SPARC Author Rights Forum Established

The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition has established a new mailing list: the SPARC Author Rights Forum.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) has introduced a new discussion forum on the topic of author rights. The SPARC Author Rights Forum provides a private and moderated venue for academic librarians to explore copyright and related issues in teaching and research—especially questions arising from the development of digital repositories and recent public access mandates.

The SPARC Author Rights Forum has been established to support educational outreach to authors on issues related to retaining their copy rights. Topics relevant to the list include, but are not limited to:

  • Ensuring copyright compliance with public access policies, including the new National Institutes of Health mandate
  • Rights of faculty under copyright and contract law
  • Availability and use of author addenda
  • Working with publishers to secure agreements to retain needed rights
  • Experiences in developing institutional copyright policies and educational programs

The list will focus primarily on the U.S. and Canadian legal environments, though members of the international community are welcome to join. Educators, researchers, policy makers, librarians, legal counsel, and all who have an interest in responsible author copyright management are encouraged to contribute. The SPARC Author Rights Forum is moderated by Kevin Smith, J.D., Scholarly Communications Officer for Duke University Libraries.

List membership is subject to approval and posts are moderated for appropriate topical content. To request membership in the SPARC Author Rights Forum, send any message to sparc-arforum-feed@arl.org.

NIH Open Access Mandate Becomes Law

President Bush has signed the "Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008," which includes the NIH open access mandate. The mandate states: "The Director of the National Institutes of Health shall require that all investigators funded by the NIH submit or have submitted for them to the National Library of Medicine's PubMed Central an electronic version of their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts upon acceptance for publication, to be made publicly available no later than 12 months after the official date of publication: Provided, That the NIH shall implement the public access policy in a manner consistent with copyright law."

Read more about it at "OA Mandate at NIH Now Law and "Public Access Mandate Made Law."

House Doesn't Override Presidential Veto of Labor-HHS Bill Which Contains NIH OA Mandate

By two votes, the House failed to override President Bush's veto of the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008, which contained the NIH open access mandate (the vote was 277-141). Bloomberg reports that Senate Democrats have a new strategy:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Democrats will combine the 11 unfinished appropriations bills still needed to fund the federal government into one measure that exceeds the administration's request by $11 billion—half the $22 billion Democrats initially supported.

However, CQPolitics reports that:

The White House brushed off Reid’s proposal Thursday, as administration officials have done previously when Democrats have said they are willing to negotiate on funding levels.

"The president has been clear that Congress should adhere to the budgetary process and pass individual funding bills at reasonable and responsible spending levels," said Sean Kevelighan, a spokesman for the White House budget office. "Perhaps [the] Democratic leadership in Congress. . . should concern itself less with capturing political news cycles and more on their fundamental responsibility to fund the federal government."

Peter Suber had this to say about the override failure:

OK, on to Plan B.  The OA mandate for the NIH is a small part of a big bill to pay for about one-thirteenth of the federal government.  Some version of the appropriation will certainly pass and get the President's signature.  You can already see the jockeying between Congressional leaders and the White House about the contours of that version.  There are four grounds for optimism:

  1. The OA mandate was approved by both houses of Congress.  The easiest provisions to delete are those approved by just one chamber and kept by the House-Senate conference committee.
  2. The OA mandate has bipartisan support in Congress and Republican friends in the Executive Branch.
  3. The President has expressed strong objection to some of the policy provisions of the bill, but his stated concern about the OA provision is very mild by comparison.  If Congress deletes some of the more sensitive provisions in the spirit of compromise, it needn't touch the OA mandate.  In fact, deleting the OA provision would do virtually nothing to ingratiate the President.
  4. To reduce overall spending levels in the bill, Congress will cut some of the appropriations.   But the OA mandate is a policy change, not an appropriation.  There's no need to cut it to satisfy the President's fiscal objections to the current bill.   Stay tuned.

President Bush Vetoes Bill Containing NIH Open Access Mandate

President Bush has vetoed the FY 2008 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bill, which contained the NIH open access mandate.

Here's the open access mandate in the bill:

The Director of the National Institutes of Health shall require that all investigators funded by the NIH submit or have submitted for them to the National Library of Medicine's PubMed Central an electronic version of their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts upon acceptance for publication, to be made publicly available no later than 12 months after the official date of publication: Provided, That the NIH shall implement the public access policy in a manner consistent with copyright law

Here's Peter Suber's analysis of the President's veto:

  • First, don't panic.  This has been expected for months and the fight is not over.  Here's a reminder from my November newsletter:  "There are two reasons not to despair if President Bush vetoes the LHHS appropriations bill later this month.  If Congress overrides the veto, then the OA mandate language will become law.  Just like that.  If Congress fails to override the veto, and modifies the LHHS appropriation instead, then the OA mandate is likely to survive intact."  (See the rest of the newsletter for details on both possibilities.)
  • Also expected:  Bush vetoed the bill for spending more than he wants to spend, not for its OA provision.
  • Second, it's time for US citizens to contact their Congressional delegations again.  This time around, contact your Representative in the House as well as your two Senators.  The message is:  vote yes on an override of the President's veto of the LHHS appropriations bill.  (Note that the LHHS appropriations bill contains much more than the provision mandating OA at the NIH.)
  • The override votes—one in each chamber—haven't yet been scheduled.  They may come this week or they may be delayed until after Thanksgiving.  But they will come and it's not too early to contact your Congressional delegation.  For the contact info for your representatives (phone, email, fax, local offices), see CongressMerge.
  • Please spread the word!

Primary Research Group Publishes International Institutional Repository Survey

The Primary Research Group has published The International Survey of Institutional Digital Repositories. Paper and PDF versions are available at $89.50 each.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

The study presents data from 56 institutional digital repositories from eleven countries, including the USA, Canada, Australia, Germany, South Africa, India, Turkey and other countries. The 121-page study presents more than 300 tables of data and commentary and is based on data from higher education libraries and other institutions involved in institutional digital repository development. . . .

Close to 41% of survey participants purchased software to develop their digital repositories. US-based institutions were much more likely than others to purchase software for this purpose. . . .

On average, a drop more than 12% of the content in the repositories came from pre-existing repositories maintained by academic departments or some other institutional unit.

A sixth of the libraries in the sample used Digital Commons software, and 28% of US-based repositories used this product. . . .

Those repositories in the sample that required less than 500 hours of labor per year had budgets of just less than $9,000 US. The largest repositories, those requiring 3,600 hours or more annually, had budgets averaging $145,444. 5.21% of the overall labor required to run the digital repositories in the sample came from academic departments not connected to the library. . . .

The mean number of journal articles held by the repositories in the sample was 772 with a mean of 162. . . .

15.56% of the repositories in the sample were funded largely through grants.

Opensecrets.Org Lists Reed Elsevier as One of Sen. Inhofe's Top Contributors

In a list of Sen. James Inhofe's top contributors for the 2001-2006 Senate election cycle, Opensecrets.Org identifies Reed Elsevier Inc. as his 11th largest contributor, with $13,250 in contributions. Opensecrets.Org notes:

The organizations themselves did not donate, rather the money came from the organization's PAC, its individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals' immediate families. Organization totals include subsidiaries and affiliates.

Before he withdrew them, Sen. Inhofe was the sponsor of two amendments” to delete or weaken the NIH Open Access Mandate in the FY 2008 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bill.

Opensecrets.Org also provides summary information about Reed Elsevier's 2006 lobbying activity, which includes a chart showing 1998-2007 totals.

Inhofe Withdraws Amendments, NIH Open Access Mandate Passes Senate

Peter Suber reports that Sen. James Inhofe withdrew his amendments to the FY 2008 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bill that would have deleted or weakened the NIH open access mandate, and that the bill has passed the Senate with the mandate intact.

The House and Senate bills will be reconciled in the fall, and President Bush should receive the final bill by year's end. It is anticipated that President Bush will veto the bill; however, the mandate's strong showing during Congressional deliberations should help ensure its future passage in post-veto legislation.

Here's an excerpt from "Defying President Bush, Senate Passes Spending Bill for Health and Education Programs" (subscription required for full access):

The president has threatened to veto the measure over what he has called "irresponsible and excessive" spending. It would take a two-thirds majority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives to override a veto. The Senate, which approved the bill 75 to 19, apparently could muster that margin, but the House might not. It passed its version of the bill in July by a vote of 276 to 140, 14 votes shy of the two-thirds mark.

The Alliance for Taxpayer Access has issued a press release about the legislative victory.

Read more about it at "More on Inhofe" and "OA Mandate at NIH Passes the Senate."

Text of the Inhofe Amendments That Affect the NIH Open Access Mandate

Below is the text of Sen. James Inhofe's amendments to the FY 2008 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bill that affect the NIH open access mandate (thanks to Heather Joseph at SPARC).

Amendment 3416:

To strike provision to maintain the NIH voluntary research public access policy

Beginning on page 76 strike line 24 and all that follows through line 7 on page 77.

Amendment 3417:

To modify provisions to maintain the NIH voluntary research public access policy

On page 77 line 7 insert before the period the following:

'and in addition only where allowed by and in accordance with the policies of the publishers who have conducted the peer review and accepted the manuscripts for publication'

Here's the affected section of the bill:

Page 76

24 SEC. 221. The Director of the National Institutes of
25 Health shall require that all investigators funded by the

Page 77

1 NIH submit or have submitted for them to the National
2 Library of Medicine’s PubMed Central an electronic
3 version of their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts upon ac-
ceptance for publication to be made publicly available no
5 later than 12 months after the official date of publication:
6 Provided, That the NIH shall implement the public access
7 policy in a manner consistent with copyright law.

ALA Says Contact Senate Before Noon Tomorrow to Support NIH Open Access Mandate

The American Library Association is strongly recommending that U.S. citizens who want to support the NIH open access mandate by voicing their opposition to the amendments (#3416 and #3417) to the FY 2008 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bill proposed by Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) do so by noon on Monday, October 22nd.

Here's the latest action alert from ALA: "Fight Continues for Public Access to NIH Medical Information—Urge Your Senators to Support NIH Public Access Policy (and Oppose Inhofe Amendments)"

You can use a cut-and-paste version of the Alliance for Taxpayer Access text about the amendments to simplify the process of sending the e-mail via the ALA Web form, but personalizing this text with an added sentence or two is recommended.

NIH Mandate May Be Deleted or Weakened: Urgent Need to Contact the Senate

Peter Suber reports that the NIH open access mandate may be deleted or weakened by last-minute amendments to the FY 2008 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bill (see his posting reproduced in full below).

You can easily contact your senators using the ALA Action Alert Web form with my cut-and-paste version of the below ATA text or you can use the same form to write your own text.

Urgent action need to support the NIH bill

The provision to mandate OA at the NIH is in trouble.  Late Friday, just before the filing deadline, a Senator acting on behalf of the publishing lobby filed two harmful amendments, one to delete the provision and one to weaken it significantly.  We thought we'd done everything and only had to wait for the Senate vote.  But now we have to mobilize once more, and fast, to squash these amendments.  Here an announcement from the Alliance for Taxpayer Access:

URGENT CALL TO ACTION: Tell your Senator to OPPOSE amendments that strike or change the NIH public access provision in the FY08 Labor/HHS appropriations bill

The Senate is currently considering the FY08 Labor-HHS Bill, which includes a provision (already approved by the House of Representatives and the full Senate Appropriations Committee), that directs the NIH to change its Public Access Policy so that participation is required (rather than requested) for researchers, and ensures free, timely public access to articles resulting from NIH-funded research. On Friday, Senator Inhofe (R-OK), filed two amendments (#3416 and #3417), which call for the language to either be stricken from the bill, or modified in a way that would gravely limit the policy’s effectiveness.

Amendment #3416 would eliminate the provision altogether. Amendment #3417 is likely to be presented to your Senator as a compromise that “balances” the needs of the public and of publishers. In reality, the current language in the NIH public access provision accomplishes that goal. Passage of either amendment would seriously undermine access to this important public resource, and damage the community’s ability to advance scientific research and discovery.

Please contact your Senators TODAY and urge them to vote “NO” on amendments #3416 and #3417. (Contact must be made before close of business on Monday, October 22). A sample email is provided for your use below. Feel free to personalize it, explaining why public access is important to you and your institution. Contact information and a tool to email your Senator are online [here]. No time to write? Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 to be patched through to your Senate office.

If you have written in support before, or when you do so today, please inform the Alliance for Taxpayer Access. Contact Jennifer McLennan through jennifer@arl.org or by fax at (202) 872-0884.

Thanks for your continued efforts to support public access at the National Institutes of Health.

—–

SAMPLE EMAIL

Dear Senator:

On behalf of [your organization], I strongly urge you to OPPOSE proposed Amendments #3416 and #3417 to the FY 2008 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bill (S.1710). These amendments would seriously impede public access to taxpayer-funded biomedical research, stifling critical advancements in lifesaving research and scientific discovery. The current bill language was carefully crafted to balance the needs of ALL stakeholders, and to ensure that the American public is able to fully realize our collective investment in science.

To ensure public access to medical research findings, language was included in the in the FY 2008 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Bill directing the NIH to make a much-needed improvement to its Public Access Policy — requiring that NIH-funded researchers deposit their manuscripts in the National Library of Medicine’s online database to be made publicly available within one year of publication in a peer-reviewed journal.  This change is supported by NIH Director Elias Zerhouni, and a broad coalition of educational institutions, scientific researchers, healthcare practitioners, publishers, patient groups, libraries, and student groups — representing millions of taxpayers seeking to advance medical research.

Amendment #3416 would eliminate this important provision, leaving only a severely weakened, voluntary NIH policy in place. Under the voluntary policy (in place for more than two years) less than 5% of individual researchers have participated — rendering the policy ineffective. The language in Amendment #3417 would place even further restrictions on the policy, ensuring that taxpayers – including doctors and scientists – are unable to take full advantage of this important public resource.

Supporting the current language in the FY08 LHHS Appropriations Bill is the best way to ensure that taxpayers’ investment in NIH-funded research is used as effectively as possible.  Taxpayer-funded NIH research belongs to the American public. They have paid for it, and it is for their benefit.

I urge you to join the millions of scientists, researchers, libraries, universities, and patient and consumer advocacy groups in supporting the current language in the FY08 LHHS Appropriations bill and require NIH grantees to deposit in PubMed Central final peer-reviewed manuscripts no later than 12 months following publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Vote NO on Amendments #3416 and #3417.

Comment.  The ATA is not exaggerating.  This is urgent.  If you're a US citizen, please contact your Senators and spread the word.  Note the short deadline.  Your Senators must hear from you before the end of business on Monday, October 22:  two days from now.

Contact the Senate Now to Support the NIH Public Access Policy Mandate

If you are a U.S. citizen, now is the time to contact your Senators if you want to support the NIH open access mandate.

You can easily contact your senators using the ALA Action Alert Web form with my cut-and-paste version of ALA/ATA text or you can use the same form to write your own text.

If you want to write your own message, Peter Suber has gathered together key documents for talking points. If you use my cut-and-paste text, add a few sentences at the start of the text to personalize it.

Here's what Peter Suber has to say about the Senate fight:

This year is our best chance ever to win an OA mandate at the NIH. But the opposition from the publishing lobby is fierce. Remember that the AAP/PSP has launched PRISM, the behemoth Copyright Alliance has weighed in, and Elsevier has hired an extra lobbying firm. If you're a US citizen, please do what you can: contact your Senators and spread the word.

The Dezenhall Proposal: What Would $300K to $500K Buy the AAP?

The leaked text of Eric Dezenhall's anti-open-access proposal to the Association of American Publishers has been made available as part of a NewScientist article by Jim Giles, who broke the Dezenhall story in January.

This is a must read for those interested in open access issues.

Source: Suber Peter. "Background on the AAP Hiring of Eric Dezenhall." Open Access News, 20 September 2007.

Cut-and-Paste NIH Public Access Policy Message to Senate Updated

I've updated the cut-and-paste text on the Contact the Senate about the NIH Public Access Policy page to include mention of and a link to the ALA/ARL/SPARC "Mandatory Public Access to Federally Funded Research Does Not Violate Copyright Obligations" statement.

You can use the cut-and-paste text in the linked ALA Contact Your Senators in Support of Open Access Web form, which will allow you to easily e-mail your senators by entering your Zip Code.

Contact the Senate about the NIH Public Access Policy by 9/28/07

The Alliance for Taxpayer Access, whose membership includes major library associations, has issued a new call to action about the NIH Public Access Policy that urges interested parties to contact their Senators by Friday, September 28, 2007. You can easily contact your senators using the ALA Action Alert Web form with my cut-and-paste version of ALA/ATA text or you can fax your Senators using the fax numbers in the press release (use the below link to get to the full press release)

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

As the Senate considers Appropriations measures for the 2008 fiscal year this fall, please take a moment to remind your Senators of your strong support for public access to publicly funded research and – specifically – ensuring the success of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy by making deposit mandatory for researchers.

Earlier this summer, the House of Representatives passed legislation with language that directs the NIH to make this change (http://www.taxpayeraccess.org/media/release07-0720.html). The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a similar measure (http://www.taxpayeraccess.org/media/release07-0628.html). Now, as the Appropriations process moves forward, it is critically important that our Senators are reminded of the breadth and depth of support for enhanced public access to the results of NIH-funded research. Please take a moment to weigh in with your Senator now. . . .

Feel free to draw upon the following talking points:

  • American taxpayers are entitled to open access on the Internet to the peer-reviewed scientific articles on research funded by the U.S. government. Widespread access to the information contained in these articles is an essential, inseparable component of our nation's investment in science.
  • The Fiscal Year 2008 Labor/HHS Appropriations Bill reported out of committee contains language directing the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to change its Public Access Policy so that it requires NIH-funded researchers to deposit copies of agency-funded research articles into the National Library of Medicine’s online archive.
  • Over the more than two years since its implementation, the NIH's current voluntary policy has failed to achieve any of the agency's stated goals, attaining a deposit rate of less than 5% by individual researchers. A mandate is required to ensure deposit in NIH’s online archive of articles describing findings of all research funded by the agency.
  • We urge the Senate to support the inclusion of language put forth in the Labor/HHS Appropriations bill directing the NIH to implement a mandatory policy and ensuring free, timely access to all research articles stemming from NIH-funded research – without change – in any appropriate vehicle.

(We’ll be making additional resources for patient advocates – including the recording of our August 30 Web cast and specific talking points – available shortly as well.

Peter Murray-Rust Presentation on the Scientific E-Thesis

Peter Murray-Rust's presentation at Caltech on "The Power of the Scientific eThesis" is now available. (You may be asked to install an ActiveX control by MediaSite; you can run the presentation without it.)

Source: Smart, Laura J. "Peter Murray-Rust at Caltech." Repositories for the Rest of Us, 7 September 2007.

67 Plagiarized Papers from Turkey Removed from arXiv

The arXiv archive has removed 67 plagiarized papers, which were written by 15 Turkish physicists. Questions about the physics expertise of two of the authors emerged during their oral dissertation defenses, and the investigation widened from there.

Source: “Turkish Professors Uncover Plagiarism in Papers Posted on Physics Server.” The Chronicle of Higher Education News Blog, 6 September 2007.

PRISM Controversy Recap

While the Association of American Publishers' Partnership for Research Integrity in Science and Medicine (PRISM) initiative didn't get a warm welcome from library and open access bloggers, it certainly got a heated one.

Peter Suber has pointed out a few of the more incisive responses: "Andrew Leonard on PRISM," "Has PRISM Violated Copyright?," "John Blossom on PRISM," "More Comments on PRISM [1]," "More Comments on PRISM [2]," "More on PRISM [1]," "More on PRISM [2]," "More on PRISM [3]," "More on PRISM [4]," "Much More on PRISM," and "Stevan Harnad on PRISM." As usual, Suber's own analysis is one of the most cogent: "Publishers Launch an Anti-OA Lobbying Organization." Matt Hodgkinson's post, "PRISM Are Scum," offers another link roundup. Rick Anderson, a frequent critic of the open access movement, disclaimed any affiliation with PRISM in a 8/30/07 liblicense-l message after the organization included his "Open Access: Clear Benefits, Hidden Costs" paper in its In the News: Articles page.

Jonathan A. Eisen, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California at Davis, said the following in his "Calling for a Boycott of AAP—Association of American Publishers" posting:

I think academics and the public need to fight back against this attempt to mislead the public about the issues surrounding Open Access publishing. And one way to fight back is to recommend that the members of AAP drop out or request termination of the PRISM effort. So here is a list (see below for the full list) with links of the members of AAP. If you are involved or have connections to any of these groups, consider writing or calling them and suggesting they reconsider involvement in AAP. Look, for example at all the University presses. If they do not back out of PRISM we should consider launching a boycott of AAP members.

So far, no official PRISM response to this tsunami of criticism that I'm aware of.

University of Minnesota Launches the Digital Conservancy

The University of Minnesota has launched its institutional repository, the Digital Conservancy. It utilizes DSpace.

Here's a description from the University Digital Conservancy FAQ page:

The University Digital Conservancy is a program of the University of Minnesota, administered by the University Libraries. The program provides stewardship, reliable long-term open access, and broad dissemination of the digital scholarly and administrative works of University of Minnesota faculty, departments, centers and offices. Materials in the Conservancy are freely available online to the University community and to the public.

Here are selected web pages about the Digital Conservancy:

Institutional Repositories: DOA?

Of late, an air of discouragement has begun to permeate discussions about institutional repositories. Of course, this is understandable. E-print deposit rates have been disappointing, deposit mandates hard to come by, and real operational costs have been higher than some imagined.

Are institutional repositories dead on arrival?

The answer is determined by our expectations.

If we expect swift, easy, rapid progress with university administrators and faculty enthusiastically rallying behind institutional repositories, the answer is "yes." The thrill of putting up the repository software and seeing the initial inflow of e-prints is, for many, gone; the experiment has failed; and it's time to cut our losses and move on.

On the other hand, if we expect that the establishment of fully functional institutional repositories will be a complex, lengthy, and expensive venture, we are on target, and remarkable progress has been made worldwide in a short period of time.

I'm in the latter camp. I cannot say this enough: successful institutional repositories are not primarily determined by technical factors, rather they are determined by attitudinal factors. In other words, faculty, especially key faculty such as holders of endowed chairs and journal editors, and university administrators, especially provosts and presidents, must be convinced that institutional repositories are essential infrastructure for the 21st century. For the most part, the argument rests on the scholarly communication crisis theme, with institutional repositories portrayed as part of the remedy. However, institutional prestige, institutional visibility, and improved citation impact factors are important themes as well. The successful, relentless communication of these themes to key constituencies is essential to the successful establishment of institutional repositories.

In my view, the best strategy for a institution without a repository is to start a vigorous scholarly communication outreach program first. The next best strategy is to do so in parallel with putting up an institutional repository. Next is to implement a scholarly communication program after the repository is up. The worst strategy is to put up a repository with no scholarly communication program—this is a recipe for failure.

So, chin up. It will take slow, steady effort to succeed, but it will be worth it in the end.

SPARC Canadian Author Addendum

The Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) and SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) have released the SPARC Canadian Author Addendum.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

Traditional publishing agreements often require that authors grant exclusive rights to the publisher. The new SPARC Canadian Author Addendum enables authors to secure a more balanced agreement by retaining select rights, such as the rights to reproduce, reuse, and publicly present the articles they publish for non-commercial purposes. It will help Canadian researchers to comply with granting council public access policies, such as the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Policy on Access to Research Outputs. The Canadian Addendum reflects Canadian copyright law and is an adaptation of the original U.S. version of the SPARC Author Addendum. . . .

An explanatory brochure complements the Addendum. Both the brochure and addendum are available in French and English on the CARL and SPARC Web sites and will be widely distributed. SPARC, in conjunction with ARL and ACRL, has also introduced a free Web cast on Understanding Author Rights. See http://www.arl.org/sparc/author for details.

Berkeley Electronic Press Acquires Digital Commons IR Software

The Berkeley Electronic Press (bepress) has acquired the Digital Commons institutional repository software from ProQuest. bepress was the original creator of the software.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

ProQuest and The Berkeley Electronic Press ("bepress") today announced that they have reached an agreement for bepress to purchase ownership of Digital Commons, the world's leading hosted institutional repository solution. Bepress will be adding sales and marketing staff and augmenting its existing customer support and services in addition to the hosting and technology services that it has always provided Digital Commons customers.

Bepress Chairman, Aaron Edlin, said "Institutional Repositories are core to the bepress mission of furthering scholarly communication and thus bepress is excited at the opportunity to build a close relationship with Digital Commons customers. Developing successful and vibrant Institutional Repositories will be bepress's central focus."