Sunday, March 30, 2008

NIH Director on Public Access Policy

On 26 March 2008 NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni issued a statement regarding the 20 March public meeting about the impending implementation (beginning 7 April, 2008) of the new NIH Public Access Policy. Excerpts from the statement:

"We believe that public access after a reasonable embargo period of up to a year to research funded by NIH will help advance science and improve human health while preserving peer review and the value of scientific publishing," said NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D. He explained that the improved access will be a "dynamic resource to not only research publications and display publications, but to link them to all sorts of knowledge that NIH has invested in making research more efficient for all scientists."

The meeting was held to ensure the policy's implementation will work as successfully as possible for all involved. . . .

NIH established a voluntary public access policy in 2005, but only a small percentage of the manuscripts submitted were deposited under that policy. If the policy remained voluntary, Zerhouni said, about new 64,000 journal articles arising from NIH funds would not be available to the public each year. . . .

The meeting was a listening session, and supported by 451 comments collected in advance of the meeting. Preliminary analysis indicates over 60% of these pre-meeting comments expressed support of the Policy as implemented, but approximately 15% thought the 12-month delay period was too long and 15% had concerns that a mandatory policy will be detrimental to scientific publishers.

The public may view the video cast and pre-meeting comments at:

. . . .

The policy and supporting materials can be found at:

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Harvard and Institutional Repositories

There's a good overview of the February "open access mandate" vote by Harvard's Arts and Sciences faculty in the April 2008 issue of Walt Crawford's Cites & Insights: Crawford at Large. Crawford also provides in this issue a perceptive commentary on recent developments in institutional repositories.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Benefits of Rights Management for Authors

The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), and SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) have released a short video on the increasing need for authors to retain their rights, i.e. copyright, over their own work. The two-minute video presentation explains in simple, graphic terms the potential for wider exposure of scholarly articles when authors retain key rights. The press release is available at The address of the video is:

Sunday, March 16, 2008

What is Open Access, Anyhow?

On February 29, 2008, Rick Luce, Emory University, presented the talk “What is Open Access, Anyhow” at the SCOAP3 (Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics) U.S. Focal Meeting at the University of California at Berkeley. Luce contends that it is now time for real action and true commitment by scholars: “It is now widely accepted that the commitment of scholars is essential for bringing forward the desired change. . . Let’s stop pointing fingers, stop looking for the perfect formula – seize the opportunity to take control, be an active shareholder in owning part of the communication of science.” He ends his talk by reiterating something he wrote almost ten years earlier in April, 1998: “We must do much more that aggregate and provide access to scientific digital information . . .Our job now is to wire people’s brains together so that sharing, reasoning, and collaboration become part of everyday work”

A video of Rick Luce’s talk is available at

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Report on the First International Public Knowledge Project (PKP) Scholarly Publishing Conference

In the January 2008 issue of the journal Searcher, David Mattison reported on the first International PKP Scholarly Publishing Conference 2007, held in Vancouver, British Columbia, from July 11-13, 2007. The keynote speech was given by Prof. John Willinsky, author of a key work on scholarly communication, The Access Principle: The Case for Open Access to Research and Scholarship and one of the pioneers of the open access and open source software movement.

Because the conference covered a wide array of issues that are essential for the development of scholarly communication (the need for more open access journals, open access archives, education of academics, etc.), the article serves as an excellent overview of scholarly communication and its future. The article is available to the BC community. True to his own philosophy, Willinsky has made his book, The Access Principle (MIT Press, 2005), freely available.

Monday, March 10, 2008

ARL-NASULGC Webcast on NIH Public Access Policy Now Online

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC) have made available an archived version of their March 7, 2008, webcast on "Institutional Compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy: Ensuring Deposit Rights."

The webcast archive is freely available from

"This webcast explores the legal aspects of author rights management within the context of the new Public Access Policy adopted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Effective April 7, 2008, the new policy requires investigators to deposit their articles stemming from NIH funding in PubMed Central. Institutions confront a key set of issues raised by the need to ensure that authors maintain the legal rights required to allow compliance with the new policy."

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETDs)

Currently, the vast majority of BC’s dissertations completed since the mid-1990s are accessible full-text through the database Dissertations and Theses - Full Text (ProQuest). Of course, they are only available to those who have access to this relatively expensive database. BC’s dissertations are not yet Open Access (OA). However, it is hoped that this lack of Open Access will change and that BC’s dissertations will in the future be available to anyone with internet access.

Many doctoral dissertations (numerous Masters theses too) completed at other institutions are currently OA. The Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD, “an international organization dedicated to promoting the adoption, creation, use, dissemination and preservation of electronic analogues to the traditional paper-based theses and dissertations” links to numerous OA theses and dissertations.

There is an informative article, “ETDs, Scholarly communication, and Campus Collaboration: Opportunities for Libraries,” in the March 2008 issue of C&RL News. The article provides a good overview of the distinct benefits of ETDs, i.e. Electronic Theses and Dissertations, and discusses some of the issues involved in setting up an ETD program.

SPARC Open Access Newsletter (March 2008)

The March 2008 issue of the SPARC Open Access Newsletter (by Peter Suber) is now available. This issue takes a close look at the new OA mandate adopted by a unanimous vote of Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences. The round-up section briefly notes 109 OA developments from February.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

UC Berkeley and the California Digital Library announce signing “expression of interest” letter for SCOAP3 initiative

SCOAP3 (Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics) offers a new model for open access publication in the area of high energy physics (HEP). The model is built upon the idea that publishing costs should be widely distributed, and that payments should reflect the level of HEP publishing activity in a given country. SCOAP3 partners (HEP funding agencies, libraries and library consortia) will finance their contributions toward open access publication for six key HEP journals by canceling journal subscriptions. Libraries and library consortia are encouraged to sign similar “expression of interest” letters to encourage the publishers of the six journals currently under discussion to enter into negotiations.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Copyright and the NIH Public Access Policy

SPARC, Science Commons, and ARL have jointly sponsored a new white paper, Complying with the NIH Public Access Policy - Copyright Considerations and Options, offering options for university implementation of the new NIH public access policy.

Excerpts from the press release:

Effective April 7, 2008, investigators must deposit articles stemming from NIH funding into the agency’s PubMed Central online archive, to be made publicly available no later than 12 months after publication in a journal. Complying with the National Institutes of Health Public Access Policy: Copyright Considerations and Options will help provosts, research administrators, and campus counsel understand their institution’s copyright-related obligations and options under the new Congressionally mandated policy, which was announced in January and replaces an earlier voluntary approach.

The timely analysis was prepared by Michael W. Carroll, an attorney, copyright expert, and faculty member at Villanova University law school. Carroll reviews the policy and its background, explains the legal context, and presents six alternative copyright management strategies that will help grantee institutions assure they reserve the necessary rights for articles to be made available in PubMed Central. . . .

"The benefits to biomedical research of the new NIH policy are ultimately nothing short of tremendous,” said Heather Joseph, executive director of SPARC. “The sooner we can get effective implementing mechanisms in place, the sooner researchers, institutions, and the public can put PubMed Central to work. With April implementation drawing near, this paper will be a great tool to help administrators jumpstart the local planning process.” . . . .