Monday, April 28, 2008

Guide to Creating Institutional Open Access Policies

SPARC and Science Commons today released a new white paper "Open Doors and Open Minds: What faculty authors can do to ensure open access to their work through their institution." This is intended to assist institutions in adopting policies, analogous to that adopted by the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences in February, that will help disseminate an institution's scholarly works as widely as possible. From the document's overview:

The Internet has brought unparalleled opportunities for expanding availability of research by bringing down economic and physical barriers to sharing. The digitally networked environment promises to democratize access, carry knowledge beyond traditional research niches, accelerate discovery, encourage new and interdisciplinary approaches to ever more complex research challenges, and enable new computational research strategies. However, despite these opportunities for increasing access to knowledge, the prices of scholarly journals have risen sharply over the past two decades, often forcing libraries to cancel subscriptions. Today even the wealthiest institutions cannot afford to sustain all of the journals needed by their faculties and students.

To take advantage of the opportunities created by the Internet and to further their mission of creating, preserving, and disseminating knowledge, many academic institutions are taking steps to capture the benefits of more open research sharing. Colleges and universities have built digital repositories to preserve and distribute faculty scholarly articles and other research outputs. Many individual authors have taken steps to retain the rights they need, under copyright law, to allow their work to be made freely available on the Internet and in their institution’s repository. And, faculties at some institutions have adopted resolutions endorsing more open access to scholarly articles.

Most recently, on February 12, 2008, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) at Harvard University took a landmark step. The faculty voted to adopt a policy requiring that faculty authors send an electronic copy of their scholarly articles to the university’s digital repository and that faculty authors automatically grant copyright permission to the university to archive and to distribute these articles unless a faculty member has waived the policy for a particular article. Essentially, the faculty voted to make open access to the results of their published journal articles the default policy for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of Harvard University.

As of March 2008, a proposal is also under consideration in the University of California system by which faculty authors would commit routinely to grant copyright permission to the university to make copies of the faculty’s scholarly work openly accessible over the Internet.

Inspired by the example set by the Harvard faculty, this White Paper is addressed to the faculty and administrators of academic institutions who support equitable access to scholarly research and knowledge, and who believe that the institution can play an important role as steward of the scholarly literature produced by its faculty. This paper discusses both the motivation and the process for establishing a binding institutional policy that automatically grants a copyright license from each faculty member to permit deposit of his or her peer-reviewed scholarly articles in institutional repositories, from which the works become available for others to read and cite.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Print Journals: Do They Have a Future?

Richard K. Johnson and Judy Luther recently published an interesting article, “Are Journal Publishers Trapped in the Dual-Media Transition Zone?” in ARL: A Bimonthly Report, No. 257 (April 2008). It discusses why print journals are still available despite many predictions that they'd be "extinct" by now. The article largely focuses on how journal publishers visualize the future of print and electronic journals.

Excerpt from the article's introduction

Most observers have long predicted the eventual replacement of printed journals with electronic-only publications. Yet today — some 15 years after the Web first captured the popular imagination — most journals are published in dual print and electronic formats and many are still published in print only. A growing number of journals are born digital, but the digital metamorphosis of established journals seems stuck in the transition zone.

With the establishment of online editions of journals, the next step was presumed to be that print would be shed and journals would continue their development in strictly electronic form. In the abstract, this makes perfect sense. After all, online publication opens compelling new possibilities for use of journals. Moreover, most users have warmly embraced online access. As a society director of publications observed, electronic publishing increasingly offers authors a “more hospitable environment” in which to publish.

While evidence suggests research libraries are moving inexorably toward electronic access to most journals, that doesn’t necessarily mean users have abandoned print en masse or that printed journals will no longer be published. Publishers are reluctant to turn their backs on existing revenue streams from print subscriptions, even if they are declining. And library subscriptions are not the only piece of the puzzle for many journals, such as those that largely rely on print advertising revenue. For society publishers, membership-related factors further complicate the situation.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Periodicals Price Survey 2008

Library Journal recently published its annual analysis of periodical prices: Periodicals Price Survey 2008: Embracing Openness. The study provides an excellent overview of the developments (there were many!) in the Open Access arena over the past year.

The study reveals that periodical prices over the past year have continued their inexorable increase, the rate of increase in the Humanities being particularly striking.


The marked changes brought on by the advance of open access has so far had little effect on the price of subscribed journals, the notable exception being some 3300 peer-reviewed journals listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), all of which are free. Prices of subscription-based journals increased nine to ten percent in 2008, driven by an extremely weak dollar. Non-U.S. titles in the humanities and social sciences increased even more (11 percent), because publishers in these disciplines tend to price in native currencies, driving U.S. prices up when those currencies are converted to dollars. The sciences, on the other hand, are dominated by large European publishers that price in U.S. dollars, reducing the volatility of prices and keeping price increases in foreign scientific journals under nine percent. Given the continuing slide of the dollar, expect increases in 2009 to approach ten percent overall.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

OA Mandate at Two UK Universities

The University of Stirling has become the first academic institution in the UK to oblige staff to make all their published research available online. See the 9 April, 2008 press release. At about the same time, the University of Southampton announced a similar University-wide Open Access mandate. Southampton's School of Electronics and Computer Science was the first (2001) in the world to adopt a self-archiving mandate. This policy has now been applied to the whole university.

For a complete list of OA policies, funder and institutional, worldwide see:

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Research Library in the Information Age

Recently, Professor Robert Darnton spoke about The Research Library in the Information Age at a meeting of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in Cambridge, MA. Professor Bernard Bailyn introduced him. Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor Robert Darnton is Director of the Harvard University Library and Bernard Bailyn is Adams University Professor, emeritus, Harvard University. Audio downloads of both speeches are available.

The Audacity of SCOAP3

The Association of Research Libraries today (April 8th, 2008) posted The Audacity of SCOAP3, an essay by Ivy Anderson, Director of Collections, California Digital Library. The essay describes the major issues and arguments behind SCOAP3 (Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics), the new CERN scholar-led initiative to promote open access for the major journals in the field. SCOAP3 calls libraries and funding agencies into international partnership to reduce publishing fees, while still providing the necessary monetary support for the peer review and publishing process. The American Physical Society and the IEEE, two of the major society publishers in the field, are currently engaged in discussions with SCOAP3.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Libraries as Publishers

BC Libraries entered the publishing sphere a couple of years ago when it began to co-publish open access refereed e-journals. The Libraries now co-publish four journals: Cities and the Environment (CATE); Journal of Technology, Learning, and Assessment; Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations; TEACHING Exceptional Children / TEACHING Exceptional Children Plus. All are accessible from eScholarship@BC.

BC Libraries are not unusual in its publishing endeavors. The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has just published the results of a study of publishing services provided by ARL member libraries. From the 2 April, 2008 press release:

The study verified that research libraries are rapidly developing publishing services. By late 2007, 44% of the 80 responding ARL member libraries reported they were delivering publishing services and another 21% were in the process of planning publishing service development. Only 36% of responding institutions were not active in this arena.

Key findings of the study include:

  • Publishing services are rapidly becoming a norm for research libraries, particularly journal publishing services.
  • Service development is being driven by campus demand, largely from authors and editors.
  • Libraries are addressing gaps in traditional publishing systems, not replicating traditional publishing.
  • Substantial investment in open source applications such as Open Journal Systems, Open Conference Systems, D-Pubs, and DSpace is facilitating service development.
  • The numbers of titles research libraries are publishing represent a very thin slice of the scholarly publishing pie; yet, collectively research libraries are beginning to produce a substantial body of content.
  • Library publishing services are part of a range of new kinds of services libraries have developed or are developing, such as repository and digitization services.
  • Library publication services are developed in ways that are consonant with research library service culture, including close consultation with researchers and frequent use of partnerships.
  • The use of various forms of revenue generation is common for publishing services, but core support comes from library resources and in some cases new campus funding.

The full report many be downloaded from the ARL Web site

Thursday, April 3, 2008

SPARC Open Access Newsletter, April 2008

Peter Suber has posted the April issue of his SPARC Open Access Newsletter. This issue "brings together the many online guidelines and resources for implementing the new NIH policy, and takes a close look at the principles and policy options for universities considering an OA policy."

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Section 108 Study Group Issues Report - The Library Today (Library of Congress)

Section 108 Study Group Issues Report - The Library Today (Library of Congress):

March 31, 2008
Study Group Issues Report Recommending Changes in Copyright Law to Reflect Digital Technologies
Section 108 Study Group Looks at Exceptions to Law for Libraries and Archives

"After nearly three years of intensive work, the independent Section 108 Study Group has issued its report and recommendations on exceptions to copyright law to address how libraries, archives and museums deal with copyrighted materials in fulfilling their missions in the digital environment. The report is available at Section 108 is the section of the Copyright Act that provides limited exceptions for libraries and archives so that they may make copies to replace copyrighted works in their collections when necessary, preserve them for the long term and make them available to users."