Monday, December 21, 2009

OCA vs. Google Books

Heather Morrison's preprint "Open Content Alliance (OCA) vs. Google Books: OCA as superior network and better fit for an emerging global public sphere" is both interesting and provocative.

Extracts from her conclusion:

The Open Content Alliance has been quietly and legally building a substantive network organization and collections, already over 1.6 million items, in a manner that will support the development and growth of a fully global public sphere. . . .

OCA displays key characteristics of networks, including connectedness, consistency, flexibility, scalability, and survivability. OCA has networking power, the ability to include or exclude potential nodes, based on the OCA principles which provide the basis for network power, and network-making power, or the ability to form strategic alliances. Google Books, in contrast, is a corporation with partnerships; while some aspects are network-like, Google Books lacks connectedness and consistency, and may lack flexibility and survivability, as illustrated by the stalling of Google Books for years by a class action lawsuit. . . .

OCA is an organization that is a good fit for an emerging global public sphere. The aims of widest possible access and re-use rights mean optimized access to collections for everywhere, everywhere. The approach of respect for copyright holders, contributors and the public through a legislated approach to public issues such as orphan works is compatible with, and supportive of, an ongoing healthy public sphere in the sense of democratic discourse and decision-making. While Google Books does include some elements that are supportive of a public sphere, particularly increased access to books and especially free access to public domain books, some aspects of the current iteration of the Google Books settlement are very problematic for the public sphere. The settlement per se brings issues that arguably belong to the public sphere, such as the fate of orphan works, into private contract negotiations. The parties of the settlement are not only not inclusive of the public at large, they are not even representative of all those affected. . . . The public service like appearance of Google, based as it is on Google’s focus on nonintrusive advertising, is deceptive. Google is a for-profit business, and most of Google Books will be for sale. The Google Books approach is challenged with national copyright legislation, which may result in a fracturing of collections along national lines which could result in increasing disparity in access to books and decreasing diversity of what might be a heavily used collection; both of these are divisive elements that move us away from, rather than towards, a global public sphere.

OCA is one illustration of the emerging library of the global public sphere, a network of libraries and like-minded organizations cooperating to provide the broadest possible public with the most possible access to the world’s knowledge, literature and culture. The emerging global library network, implementing a long-held desire and tendency of libraries made possible through technological developments . . . is a public good that supports the emerging global public sphere, facilitating both education in general and specific information-seeking in particular, both essential elements for conducting informed public debate in a global democratic public sphere.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A White House Invitation

The December 11th issue of Open Access News has an item about an invitation from the Obama administration's Office of Science & Technology Policy for the public and "various stakeholders" to submit answers to questions about an open access policy for scholarly articles based on federally funded research. The first phase of the discussion will focus on two questions:
  • Who should enact public access policies?
  • How should a public access policy be designed?
The article closes with the following: "We welcome your thoughtful comments in this open and participatory forum." The OSTP blog's web address is

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Dramatic Growth of Open Access

Heather Morrison's post, dated December 11, in the Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics, contains encouraging charts and graphs illustrating the dramtic growth of open access during 2009.

2009: a great year for OA!
While dramatic growth continues in all aspects of open access, the story of the year and especially of the last quarter is a dramatic leap in open access mandate policies, particularly institutional and departmental policies. In the past year, institutional mandates (as recorded on ROARMAP) more than tripled, from 25 to 79. Nearly half that growth has come in the past week, from just one country - Finland, with its recent announcement of open access mandate policies at all 26 of Finland's applied sciences universities, as reported by Peter Suber on Open Access News.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Universities and Open Acess Funds

In the latest issue of Learned Publishing Stephen Pinfield has authored "Paying for open access? Institutional funding streams and OA publication charges"

The abstract:
An increasing number of research funders are introducing open access (OA) policies. At the same time, publishers are introducing OA publication options. Research institutions need to consider how to respond to these developments, including the possible introduction of institutionally co-ordinated funds for payment of OA publication charges. This paper describes the international background to the issue of institutional OA funds and summarizes the current UK situation, presenting recently gathered data from UK institutions. It then reports on work carried out by the University of Nottingham to introduce and manage an institutional OA fund. Early usage data of the Nottingham fund are presented. The paper outlines lessons learned from the Nottingham experience, then goes on to suggest a number of ways in which institutions and other agencies can take developments forward.
The article's conclusion:
If OA publishing models are to become widely accepted and adopted, research funders, institutions, and other agencies need to put in place policies, procedures, and workflows which support them. Setting up institutionally co-ordinated arrangements for the funding of OA publication fees and ensuring such funds are properly resourced are important steps in this direction. It is essential that institutions and others monitor activity in this area and share their experiences with other key players in the scholarly communication community in order to ensure good practice norms emerge and achieve widespread acceptance.
Full article

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Monday, November 30, 2009

New England University Presidents Support Bill for Public Access

The Presidents of six public universities in New England have written a letter supporting the proposed Federal Research Public Access Act. This act (FRPAA), if passed, "would require that 11 U.S. government agencies with annual extramural research expenditures over $100 million make manuscripts of journal articles stemming from research funded by that agency publicly available via the Internet. The manuscripts will be maintained and preserved in a digital archive maintained by the agency or in another suitable repository that permits free public access, interoperability, and long-term preservation. Each manuscript will be freely available to users without charge within six months after it has been published in a peer-reviewed journal." The six universities are: U. of Connecticut, U. of Maine, U. of Massachusetts – Amherst, U. of New Hampshire, U. of Rhode Island, and U. of Vermont.

Excerpt from letter:
. . . . Dissemination of results is an essential component of the land-grant tradition of research and of our investment in science. We share your concern that far too often the results of research funded by the U.S. government are not broadly available to researchers, scientists, and members of the public. In addition to ensuring that this research is made available quickly, it is also critical that the published information remain broadly available for future use. We are pleased to see that your bill is designed to support both early, as well as long-term, access to scientific research results. . . .

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Funding for Digital Preservation, including Theses & Dissertations from Boston College

Library of Congress Selects the MetaArchive Cooperative as a Continuing Partner in the National Digital Preservation Program

NOTE: Boston College is a member of the MetaArchive Cooperative.

Chestnut Hill, MA, November, 2009 – The MetaArchive Cooperative, an independent, international membership association that coordinates collaborative and distributed digital preservation solutions for cultural memory organizations, has received $659,052 to preserve our nation’s at-risk digital materials as part of the Library of Congress’s award-winning National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP). With this funding, the Cooperative will continue to encourage and support universities, libraries, archives, museums, and government agencies as they take an active role in the preservation of their digital assets in the face of daily threats such as blackouts, fires, and hurricanes, as well as basic hardware and software failure.

“For centuries, archives and libraries have borne the responsibility of preserving our nation’s cultural assets,” said Katherine Skinner, the Executive Director of the Educopia Institute, which hosts the MetaArchive Cooperative. “The MetaArchive Cooperative enables these groups to continue providing that essential service for at-risk digital materials, including our nation’s political, social, and cultural assets that are now created and stored on computers—newspapers, book manuscripts, correspondence files, and other items that researchers will depend upon in order to understand our world and its transition into the digital age.”

The Cooperative was founded in 2004 by Emory University, Auburn University, Florida State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Louisville, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University as part of the Library of Congress’s NDIIPP. As one of its initial collaborative ventures, the Cooperative developed an organizational model and implemented a technical infrastructure based on the LOCKSS software for preserving the digital assets of cultural memory organizations through a low-cost, geographically distributed framework.

The Cooperative began actively preserving content in 2005, including library-based repositories and ephemeral works such as online exhibitions and cultural history Web site displays. By 2007, the Cooperative had become an independent organization and began accepting new members at the discretion of the Steering Committee. Its membership has grown to include: Boston College, Clemson University, the Folger Shakespeare Library, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro, Rice University, the University of South Carolina, and the University of Hull in the UK. In partnership with the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD), the Cooperative has also created a dark archive of Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Boston College has made the transition from a paper-based submission process to an electronic submission process for all of its dissertations and theses. BC’s collection of graduate scholarship is being preserved as digital content in the ETD (Electronic Theses & Dissertations) archive of the MetaArchive Cooperative.

As NDIIPP draws to a close in 2010 and moves to formalize a national digital stewardship alliance, the Library of Congress has selected the MetaArchive Cooperative to be a continuing partner due to its sustained contribution to national digital stewardship. The Library of Congress will provide the MetaArchive Cooperative with operational funding in the amount of $659,052 during the contract period, August 1, 2009 - July 31, 2011.

Commenting on this next phase, Martin Halbert, founder and President of the Cooperative, stated that the Library of Congress should be “commended for its commitment to empowering institutional collaboration and sustainability in the preservation of our nation’s cultural memory. The Cooperative members are very proud of what they have accomplished through this unique collaborative endeavor. It has never been easy for universities in particular to pull together in such a prolonged fashion—but each of our members recognizes the importance of fulfilling the critical need for digital preservation.”

This support will enable the MetaArchive Cooperative to maintain and supplement the Cooperative’s growth and viability and to encourage other communities to also implement their own low-cost, distributed digital preservation networks using LOCKSS. As Katherine Skinner, the Program Manager for the MetaArchive Cooperative, has said, “Our goal is to encourage the adoption of distributed digital preservation. In addition to welcoming new members into the Cooperative and our existing networks, we also want other cultural memory organizations to freely adopt our technical and administrative frameworks to form new preservation networks of their own.”

For additional information please contact Katherine Skinner at 404-783-2534 or Also feel free to visit the MetaArchive Cooperative at their public website:

The MetaArchive Cooperative is an independent, international membership association administered by the Educopia Institute based in Atlanta, Georgia.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

ArXiv Awarded NSF Funding from Federal Stimulus Money

Nanotechnology Now, “your gateway for all things nano”, recently reported that the ArXiv e-print repository, housed at Cornell University, has been awarded a three-year $883,000 National Science Foundation grant, funded by federal stimulus money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). ArXiv hosts some 600,000 papers in physics, mathematics, computer science, quantitative biology, quantitative finance and statistics, with some 5,000 new papers submitted each month. ArXiv serves as a central repository and locus for scholarly discussion within the disciplines it covers, providing for extensive peer-vetting before papers are published. Among other benefits, the new monies will fund enhancements to concept searching, increasing the accessibility of these documents, and support development of new format options for researcher submissions.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Shakespeare Quartos Archive Opens Access to Hamlet

The Shakespeare Quartos Archive, a project undertaken by the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC and the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford, has just been made available (Thanks to Jill Thomas for providing the information). From the Press Release:
. . . . For the first time, all 32 existing quarto copies of the play held by participating UK and US institutions are freely available online in one place. This initiative is jointly led by the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford and the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington DC, through a joint transatlantic grant from Jisc in the UK and the National Endowment for the Humanities in the US. . . .

Now scholars can explore these different quarto versions side by side for the first time on the project website. It features high-quality reproductions and searchable full text of surviving copies of Shakespeare’s Hamlet in quarto in an interactive interface. Functions and tools – such as the ability to overlay images, compare them side-by-side, and mark and tag features with user annotations – facilitate scholarly research, performance studies, and new applications for learning and teaching.

The project, which began in April 2008, reunites all 75 pre-1642 quarto editions of Shakespeare’s plays into a single online collection. The prototype interface is at present fully functional only for Hamlet, but the Shakespeare Quartos Archive plans to apply this technology to all the plays in quarto, and to seek involvement from new partner institutions. . . .

The Shakespeare Quartos Archive contains texts drawn from the British Library, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Huntington Library, the National Library of Scotland, and the University of Edinburgh Library, in addition to the Bodleian Library. These six institutions worked in conjunction with the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities at the University of Maryland, and The Shakespeare Institute at the University of Birmingham, to digitize and transcribe 32 copies of Hamlet.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

ARL Reports Findings of E-Science Survey

In the October 2009 ARL membership meeting, the findings of a survey of ARL libraries were reported. The survey was designed to provide some information about the extent of involvement of ARL member libraries with e-science. According to the website of the UK's Science & Tchnology Facilities Council:
e-Science provides the computing, data storage and networking infrastructure required by today's advanced science facilities to support the complete scientific lifecycle, from background research, through simulation and experimental design, data collection and analysis to publication.
Here is the background information about the ARL's e-science survey:
The ARL E-Science Working Group surveyed member libraries in August and September of 2009 to gather data on the state of engagement with e-science issues among member libraries and their research institutions. The survey findings are intended to assist the membership in understanding the community’s involvement with e-science support and will help the working group act to support members in this emergent arena. The survey provides a current snapshot of data curation and e-science support activities, documenting a range of approaches and strategies evolving at research institutions and among research libraries.

The research libraries reported on widespread planning and development at their institutions and described a variety of models for service provision and infrastructure development. Library engagement in data curation was also common. Respondents provided information on library services, organizational structures, staffing patterns and staff development, and involvement in research grants, along with perspectives on pressure points for service development.

In addition to providing a picture of support for e-science activities at research institutions and models for a variety of activities and services, the survey findings provide a foundation for planning ARL’s next steps in advancing support for e-science.

In addition to a summary of survey finding, information about resources for institutional and library support of e-science is available.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

In Letter to Congress 41 Nobel Prize Winners Urge Open Access

On 6 November, 2009 forty one Nobel Prize-winning scientists in medicine, physics, and chemistry delivered an open letter to Congress urging open access to federally funded research and requesting support for the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2009 (S.1373). Excerpts:
Dear Member of Congress:
As scientists and Nobel Laureates, we write to express our strong support for S. 1373, the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA). This bi-partisan legislation, sponsored by Senators Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and John Cornyn (R-TX), would enhance access to federally funded, published research articles for scientists, physicians, health care workers, libraries, students, researchers, academic institutions, companies, and patients and consumers.

Broad dissemination of research results is fundamental to the advancement of knowledge. For America to obtain an optimal return on our investment in science, publicly funded research must be shared as broadly as possible. Yet, too often, research results are not available to researchers, scientists, or members of the public. We believe Congress can and must act to ensure that all potential users have free and timely access on the Internet to peer-reviewed federal research findings. This ultimately magnifies the public benefits of research by promoting progress, enhancing economic growth, and improving the public welfare. . . .

The open availability of federally funded research for broad public use in open online archives is a crucial building block in laying a strong national foundation to support accelerated discovery and innovation. It encourages broader participation in the scientific process by providing equitable access to high-quality research results to researchers at higher education institutions of all kinds – from research-intensive universities to community colleges alike. It can empower more members of the public to become engaged in citizen science efforts in areas that pique their imagination. It will equip entrepreneurs and small business owners with the very latest research developments, allowing them to more effectively compete in the development of new technologies and innovations. Open availability of this research will expand the worldwide visibility of the research conducted in the U.S. and increase the impact of our collective investment in research. . . .
The full text of the letter with the names of the forty-one US and foreign Nobel laureates is available here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

University Public-Access Mandates Are Good for Science

David Shulenburger in an article (10 November, 2009) in PLoS Biology argues that universities mandating open access to the scholarly research by their faculty is good for science. His conclusion :
. . . . As a careful observer of scholarly communications, I'm convinced that the public goods aspect of faculty research will ultimately compel public access to it. Public goods have the characteristic that use of them by one individual does not diminish their value to others. In fact, the knowledge presented through scholarship generally becomes more valuable as it is shared more widely and becomes a building block upon which further scientific advances may occur.

Faculty members can accelerate the process. We can persuade colleagues on our own campuses to pass public-access mandates like those at Harvard, MIT, and Kansas. We can speed up what otherwise might be a 20-year process and make it happen in three or four. We can urge Congress to expand the NIH mandate to all federal funding agencies . We can convince the less-enlightened scholarly societies that representing our disciplines means working for public access to scholarship rather than opposing it.

It is impossible to know how much more rapidly scientific progress will occur if all the scholarly literature becomes accessible. What we each know is the frustrations we've experienced in our own research because of access difficulties. It is within the power of the university faculty in this country to remove these roadblocks. Supporting adoption of a public-access deposit mandate on your campus is an effort most worthy of the involvement of dedicated scientists.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Call for Copyright Rebellion

In Inside Higher Education (10/06/2009) Steve Kolowich reports on the 5th November talk given by Lawrence Lessig at the 2009 Educause Conference. Excerpts:
The manner in which copyright law is being applied to academe in the digital age is destructive to the advancement of human knowledge and culture, and higher education is doing nothing about it.

That is what Lawrence Lessig, the Harvard University law professor and renowned open-access advocate, told a theater of higher ed technologists Thursday at the 2009 Educause Conference here. In his talk, Lessig described how digital and Web technology has exploded the conditions under which copyright law had been written. . . .

Copyright law was originally intended to protect those who create for profit (Lessig used the example of recording artist Britney Spears). But academics also create original works, he said, and they are — or should be — motivated by a desire to advance human knowledge, not line their pockets. Therefore, sealing their work behind copyright barriers does no social good. . . .

Lessig cited several examples of how copyright law in academe has hampered the pursuit of knowledge: neurologists who were unable to aggregate data for a large-scale brain-mapping project due to copyright restrictions; filmmakers who faced staggering costs re-clearing copyrights on images they used in a civil-rights documentary series when they wanted to release it on DVD. He even recounted a recent incident in which he had been using a medical information Web site to try to diagnose his ill daughter, when he noticed a note that said portions of an article he was reading had been redacted under copyright law. . . .

Academics — presumably stakeholders in the effort to advance knowledge — have been uncharacteristically and disturbingly silent on the copyright “insanity” that has befallen the information trade, Lessig said. . . .

The video of Prof. Lessig's lecture is available at (one needs to download Silverlight Player: Thanks to Mark Caprio for alerting me about the video.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

"Bibliotheca Alexandrina: A Digital Revival"

The Bibliotheca Alexandrina is undertaking major interesting and important projects. See the article Bibliotheca Alexandrina: A Digital Revival in the Nov/Dec, 2009 issue of EDUCAUSE Review.

Latest SPARC Open Access Newsletter

The November issue of the SPARC Open Access Newsletter has just been posted.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Cornell University Library Publishes New Digitization Manual

Cornell University Library has just published the book "Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for Digitization for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums.” From the 29th Oct., 2009 press release:
. . . . Based on a well-received Australian manual written by Emily Hudson and Andrew T. Kenyon of the University of Melbourne, the book has been developed by Cornell University Library’s senior policy advisor Peter B. Hirtle, along with Hudson and Kenyon, to conform to American law and practice.

The development of new digital technologies has led to fundamental changes in the ways that cultural institutions fulfill their public missions of access, preservation, research, and education. Many institutions are developing publicly accessible Web sites that allow users to visit online exhibitions, search collection databases, access images of collection items, and in some cases create their own digital content. Digitization, however, also raises the possibility of copyright infringement. It is imperative that staff in libraries, archives, and museums understand fundamental copyright principles and how institutional procedures can be affected by the law.

“Copyright and Cultural Institutions” was written to assist understanding and compliance with copyright law. It addresses the basics of copyright law and the exclusive rights of the copyright owner, the major exemptions used by cultural heritage institutions, and stresses the importance of “risk assessment” when conducting any digitization project. Case studies on digitizing oral histories and student work are also included. . . .

The work is available for free download at: <> and <>. One may also purchase a print copy for $39.95 at .

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Depot-- Repository for Those Without an Institutional Repository of their Own

International researchers at institutions lacking open access repositories can now use The Depot service to preserve open access to their scholarly papers, articles, and book chapters (e-prints). As part of the deposition process, researchers are alerted to the availability of local, more appropriate repositories, if they exist, by Depot's re-direct service, Repository Junction. As new, relevant repositories are created, Repository Junction will support the transfer of previously-deposited materials to the new repository. Created with initial funding by JISC, a major force in advancing open access data in the UK and worldwide, and hosted by EDINA, the JISC national academic data center based at the University of Edinburgh, The Depot was initially launched in 2007, and has now been re-launched in celebration of Open Access Week (Oct. 19 - 23, 2009). The Depot is OAI-compliant, allowing deposited e-prints to be 'harvested' by search engines, and other repositories, across the world. (Boston College researchers can use eScholarship@BC for open access deposition of their materials.)

Friday, October 23, 2009

BC Library Newsletter Celebrates OA Week

This week marks international Open Access (OA) Week. OA encourages the unrestricted sharing of research results with everyone, everywhere, for the advancement and enjoyment of knowledge and society. The current Boston College Library Newsletter celebrates OA, focusing in particular on OA activities at Boston College.

MIT Open Access Articles - New Collection Supports Faculty Policy

A new development this week with MIT's DSpace: "A new collection of scholarly articles by MIT authors is openly available to the world today through MIT's research repository DSpace@MIT. . . . . . . . . "

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Institutional Repository: Will It Achieve Wide Acceptance?

In a recent article in Nature News (Sept. 9, 2009) titled "Data Sharing: Empty Archives," examples are given of institutional repositories (IRs) which have not gained acceptance among researchers. To some degree, whether or not a scientist will deposit his or her work in an IR depends upon the common practice of their particular discipline. But in many research areas the adage "build it and they will come" has not proven to be the case.

The article also provides a number of examples of efforts to encourage data sharing as well as reasons why such sharing is beneficial to researchers. Copyright concerns, privacy rights of study participants, and sufficient funding for technology can slow or halt progress toward open access to data. Successful use of IRs may ultimately depend on the backing of the major players:
Perhaps not surprisingly, data-sharing advocates say, the power to prod researchers towards openness and consistency rests largely with those who have always had the most clout in science: the funding agencies, which can demand data sharing in return for support; the scientific societies, which can establish it as a precedent; and the journals, which can make sharing a condition of publication.

Friday, October 16, 2009

More and More Students are Advocating for Open Access

The student Right to Research Coalition, a body that advocates for increased Open Access to research results, now represents over 5 million students internationally. From SPARC's 15 October's press release:

The student Right to Research Coalition, a group of national, international, and local student associations that advocate for governments, universities, and researchers to adopt Open Access practices, has now grown to include some of the most prominent student organizations from the United States and across the world. The recent addition of 8 new organizations brings the number of students represented by the coalition to over 5 million, demonstrating the broad, passionate support Open Access enjoys from the student community. . . .

“The incredible growth of the student interest in Open Access, especially the depth of their commitment to advocacy, sends a strong signal that this movement is here to stay,” commented Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC. “We’re looking forward to the energy, creativity, and passion that these groups will surely bring to ensuring that scholarly research is accessible to all.”

Student organizations are invited to join the coalition at

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Harvard, National Library of China Embark on Digitization Project

Harvard College Library and the National Library of China are collaborating on a massive six-year digitization project. One of the largest cooperative projects ever between China and US libraries, the project will digitize Harvard-Yenching Library’s entire 51,500-volume Chinese rare book collection. It is likely that the increased access to these rare texts will have a transformative impact on Chinese scholarship.

See the 9 October, 2009 press release.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

New SPARC Guide Reviews Income Models For Supporting Open Access Journals

ARL's SPARC has just released a new guide guide that provides an overview of income models currently being used to support the open-access distribution of peer-reviewed scholarly and scientific journals. From the press release:
“Who pays for Open Access?” is a key question faced by publishers, authors, and libraries as awareness and interest in free, immediate, online access to scholarly research increases. SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) examines the issue of sustainability for current and prospective open-access publishers in a timely new guide, “Income models for Open Access: An overview of current practice,” by Raym Crow.

“Income models for Open Access: An overview of current practice” examines the use of supply-side revenue streams (such as article processing fees, advertising) and demand-side models (including versioning, use-triggered fees). The guide provides an overview of income models currently in use to support open-access journals, including a description of each model along with examples of journals currently employing it.

The website/guide is accessible at

Friday, October 9, 2009

Celebrating Open Access Week Oct. 19-24 2009

To broaden your knowledge of Open Access there is a webcast on Tuesday, October 13, 2009 11:00 A.M.-12:00 P.M. Participation is free. Please register no later than 12PM Eastern Monday, October 12th. Additional news on Open Access Week 2009.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Friday, October 2, 2009

GWLA Chief Academic and Research Officers Support FRPAA

On 1 October, 2009 the Chief Academic and Research Officers of the Greater Western Library Alliance member universities sent a letter to Congress supporting the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA). The signatories of the letter were representatives from the following universities: University of Hawaii at Manoa; Washington University; University of Kansas; University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Arizona State University; University of Oregon; Texas Tech University; Kansas State University; University of Utah; Southern Illinois University Carbondale; University of Colorado – Boulder; Utah State University; University of Missouri – Columbia; Oregon State University.

The goal of FRPAA, introduced into Congress by Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Joe Lieberman, (I-CT), is to require that final manuscripts of original research papers that have been accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals and result from research supported, in whole or in part, from funding by the Federal Government be made freely available online as soon as practicable, but not later than 6 months after publication. The federal research agencies affected by this bill are those with extramural research expenditures of over $100,000,000.

Excerpt from the letter:
Timely, barrier-free access to the results of federally funded research supports the core mission of our academic institutions and is essential to fully utilize our collective investment in science. FRPAA will help us maximize this investment by increasing the sharing research results, advancing the pace of discovery, and applying this knowledge for the benefit of our communities.

The FRPAA bill also expands on the success of the public access policy of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the first U.S. agency to require public access to taxpayer-funded research. More than 450,000 unique users access material from the NIH repository each day. Under S.1373, we envision researchers and students working in fields of equal importance – from climate change to renewable energy – having the same access to federally funded research to advance their critical work.
Full-text of letter.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

DRIVER: Digital Repository Infrastructure Vision for European Research

DRIVER is an EU-funded initiative linking thousands of European digital libraries and archives in one of the largest efforts of its kind. At this time it houses over 1 million open access scientific/research documents drawn from journal articles, dissertations, books, and lectures reports and harvested from over 200 institutional and subject-specific repositories. Some 25 languages are represented. The DRIVER project is seen as still in its infancy: it establishes a working vision for future sharing of this type, aiming toward a virtual "United Nations" of repository information. (Repositories in China, India and South America have already expressed interest.) Rapid growth is anticipated due to both its technological innovation (D-NET open source software) and its forging of cross-border connections. Its Guidelines for repository managers should promote greater interoperability between different systems.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Implementing ETD Submission at Boston College

Bill Donovan, BC Libraries' Digital Imaging Librarian, recently gave the presentation, "Implementing ETD Submission at Boston College", at ETD 2009, the 12th International Symposium on Electronic Theses and Dissertations at The University of Pittsburgh. The abstract of Bill's presentation:
In June 2007, dozens of dissertations were lost en route from Boston College (BC) to ProQuest (PQ). From then on, we have shipped no more paper. Today, an online submission system provides electronic copies to both ProQuest and to BC’s Open Access repository. This presentation recounts what was required to make eTD@BC a reality.

BC graduate students used to submit two paper copies of their theses: one for the Archives, the other for shipping to PQ. This workflow had to change. Theses would be digitized in-house; PDFs would be uploaded. Information that students had filled in on their PQ forms would be entered manually. This workflow was labor intensive; clearly, an online submission system was needed as soon as possible.

In late 2007, a working group of library staff was formed to plan a staged transition that would ensure both preservation and access, to specify the transition stages and their timing, to allay concerns of faculty or deans, and to safeguard the integrity of the system. Importantly, we needed to educate our stakeholders regarding the benefits of an online submission system, especially when coupled with Open Access.

Starting off with an environmental scan of other universities’ ETD programs as guidance for our planning, we also began taking measures to improve the workflow, such as asking for theses on CD-R. Administrators in BC’s six schools were invited to collaborate with us. With the plan taking shape, we solicited feedback from faculty and school administrators. Concerns ranging from the very general to the very specific had to be addressed.

We are now conducting a new and improved set of eTD@BC workshops to help graduate students succeed in their online submission. While not without challenges, online ETD submission is becoming the norm at BC. Distributed digital preservation is our next step.
Click for the full-text of the presentation and for the accompanying Powerpoints slides.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Presidents of 57 U.S. Liberal Arts Colleges Support FRPAA

In an open letter (23 September, 2009) the Presidents of 57 U.S. liberal arts colleges declared their support for FRPAA, the Federal Research Public Access Act (S. 1373). This is an important letter that aptly observes: "Adoption of the Federal Research Public Access Act will democratize access to research information funded by tax dollars. It will benefit education, research, and the general public. We urge the higher education community, American taxpayers, and members of Congress to support its passage into law."
As liberal arts college presidents, we are writing to express our strong support for S. 1373, the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2009, which has been introduced into the U.S. Senate by Senators Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and John Cornyn (R-TX). This bill would require federal agencies whose external research budgets exceed $100 million to develop policies that would ensure public access via the Internet to their funded research.

Liberal arts colleges are important components of our nationʼs scientific and scholarly productivity. Studies have shown that our institutions are highly effective in producing graduates who go on to obtain Ph.D. degrees and become productive researchers. Our faculty actively pursue research, much of it with government funding, and often working in partnership with talented undergraduates. Unfortunately, access to research information paid for with tax dollars is severely limited at our institutions – and indeed at most universities. Academic libraries simply cannot afford ready access to most of the research literature that their faculty and students need.

The Federal Research Public Access Act would be a major step forward in ensuring equitable online access to research literature that is paid for by taxpayers. The federal government funds over $60 billion in research annually. Research supported by the National Institutes of Health, which accounts for approximately one-third of federally funded research, produces an estimated 80,000 peer-reviewed journal articles each year. Given the scope of research literature that would become available online, it is clear that adoption of the bill would have significant benefits for the progress of science and the advancement of knowledge.

S. 1373 would build on a number of established public access policies that have been adopted by government agencies in both the U.S. and abroad. The National Institutes of Health has implemented a very successful comprehensive public access policy, as required by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2007. All seven of the Research Councils in the United Kingdom have public access policies as do the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The bill is also consistent with the growing number of institutional open access policies that have been adopted at universities such as Harvard, MIT, and the University of Kansas.

We are supportive of the Federal Research Public Access Act because it has been crafted in a way that provides ample protection for the system of peer review. It allows for a window of up to six months before final peer reviewed manuscripts resulting from publicly funded research are made openly accessible on the Internet. In addition, it leaves control of the final published version of articles, which is generally used for citation purposes, in the hands of publishers.

Adoption of the Federal Research Public Access Act will democratize access to research information funded by tax dollars. It will benefit education, research, and the general public. We urge the higher education community, American taxpayers, and members of Congress to support its passage into law.

Full-text of letter with signatories.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Monograph's Future as Humanities Scholars See It

An article about a study described as "the first in-depth study of the role, value and future of the monograph from the viewpoint of the scholar" appeared in Aslib Proceedings earlier this year. * The study used a qualitative methodology by gathering information from 17 scholars during interviews. There was general agreement among the interviewees that despite decreasing numbers of titles being published, print scholarly books are still essential means of scholarly communication. Topics covered were funding, self-publishing, e-books, and archiving. The five authors of the study are faculty members of the Centre for Information and the Evaluation of Research (CIBER) and School of Library, Archive and Information Studies (SLAIS), University College London. From the summary of findings:
The monograph continues to be of great value in the arts and humanities field, and is seen as essential for career progression. Much concern was expressed about the decline in quality of this and other forms of writing . . . . Reservations were expressed about moving towards digital versions of the monograph, although print-on-demand was considered to be a viable option to enable the continuing publication of specialist works.
*Williams, Peter; Stevenson, Iain; Nicholas, David; Watkinson, Anthony; Rowlands, Ian. "The Role and Future of the Monograph in Arts and Humanities Research." Aslib Proceedings: New Information Perspectives, 61, 1 (2009): 67-82.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Futurity -- News from Leading Research Universities

The website was formally launched on September 15. Essentially an Open Access online research magazine, Futurity will aggregate and highlight news about the latest discoveries in such areas as science, engineering, the environment, health, and so on. Futurity, hosted at the University of Rochester, is produced and funded by a consortium of 35 leading US and Canadian research universities, all members of the Association of American Universities. Futurity provides an interesting rationale for its creation:
The way people share information is changing quickly and daily. Blogs and social media sites like YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook are just a taste of what’s to come. It will be easier than ever to share content instantly with people around the globe, allowing universities to reach new audiences and engage a new generation in discovery.

Equally significant has been the recent decline in science and research coverage by traditional news outlets. For decades, universities have partnered with journalists to communicate their work to the public, but that relationship is evolving. At the same time, research universities are among the most credible and trusted institutions in society, and now have the ability to deliver their news and information directly to readers without barriers or gatekeepers.

In an increasingly complex world, the public needs access to clear, reliable research news. Futurity does the work of gathering that news. Think of it as a snapshot of where the world is today and where it’s headed tomorrow. Discover the future.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cornell Open-Access Publication Fund

Five universities -- Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, MIT, and the U. of California at Berkeley -- are participating in what is termed the Compact for Open-Access Publishing Equity. This is an agreement by the five institutions to pay reasonable publication charges for articles written by their faculty and published in fee-based open-access journals when other funding sources are not available. From Cornell University's 15 September, 2009 announcement:
Cornell University Library and the Office of the Provost are contributing $25,000 each for a pilot program to pay publication fees in open-access journals for Cornell faculty, researchers, staff and students.

Most scholars receive no compensation for research papers they contribute to journals. But high subscription costs that pay for peer review management, editorial services and production can limit access to research. The current shift from the traditional print model of scholarly information dissemination to low-cost digital distribution has the potential to remove all access barriers to research.

"Open-access journals are scholarly journals that are available online to the reader without financial, legal or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the Internet itself," said John Saylor, associate university librarian for scholarly resources and special collections. "Successful, highly regarded open-access publishers include BioMed Central and Public Library of Science, and there are more every day."

To pay for their operating expenses, open-access journals look to sources of income other than subscriptions, such as foundation support, subventions, in-kind support and, increasingly, publication and submission fees (often called author fees). . . .

The Cornell Open-Access Publication (COAP) Fund will underwrite processing fees for scholarly peer-reviewed articles in open-access journals for which funds are not otherwise available. Cornell faculty, postdoctoral researchers, staff or student authors can apply for COAP funding of up to $3,000.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Edgar Allan Poe Digital Collection

The Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin yesterday launched a Poe digital archive/exhibit entitled "The Edgar Allan Poe Digital Collection". This digital collection incorporates images of all Poe manuscripts and letters at the Ransom Center with a selection of related archival materials, two books by Poe annotated by the author, sheet music based on his poems, and portraits from the Ransom Center collections. Poe’s manuscripts and letters are linked to transcriptions on the website of the Poe Society of Baltimore.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Friday, September 4, 2009

Harvard's Institutional Repository Launched

Earlier this week Harvard launched DASH, its institutional repository. From the press release:
Harvard's leadership in open access to scholarship took a significant step forward this week with the public launch of DASH—or Digital Access to Scholarship at Harvard—a University-wide, open-access repository. More than 350 members of the Harvard research community, including over a third of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, have jointly deposited hundreds of scholarly works in DASH.

"DASH is meant to promote openness in general," stated Robert Darnton, Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and Director of the University Library. "It will make the current scholarship of Harvard's faculty freely available everywhere in the world, just as the digitization of the books in Harvard's library will make learning accumulated since 1638 accessible worldwide. Taken together, these and other projects represent a commitment by Harvard to share its intellectual wealth." . . . .

DASH has its roots in the February 2008 open-access vote in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. In a unanimous decision, FAS adopted a policy stating that
Each Faculty member grants to the President and Fellows of Harvard College permission to make available his or her scholarly articles and to exercise the copyright in those articles. In legal terms, the permission granted by each Faculty member is a nonexclusive, irrevocable, paid-up, worldwide license to exercise any and all rights under copyright relating to each of his or her scholarly articles, in any medium, and to authorize others to do the same, provided that the articles are not sold for a profit.
In addition, faculty members committed to providing copies of their manuscripts for distribution, which the DASH repository now enables. Authored by Stuart M. Shieber, James O. Welch, Jr. and Virginia B. Welch Professor of Computer Science and director of the Office for Scholarly Communication, the policy marked a groundbreaking shift from simply encouraging scholars to consider open access to creating a pro-open-access policy with an "opt out" clause. . . .

"The terms of use were drafted after a series of conversations with publishers about Harvard's open-access initiatives," said Shieber. "We wanted to give publishers the opportunity to articulate their concerns about Harvard's intended use of content in the repository, and we designed our repository and our practices as responsively as possible. We continue to welcome publisher input and engagement along these lines.

"Our long-term growth strategy for DASH is to integrate it so fully into other faculty tools that self-archiving just becomes second nature. When a Harvard author is updating their profile or the CV on their personal web site, upload-to-DASH will be there, and vice versa. All these loci for sharing information about publications will eventually synchronize with one another. This includes tools that store bibliographic information only, as well as those that provide open access to full text, such as the established subject repositories already used by many of our faculty to disseminate their work. Ultimately, DASH aims to provide as comprehensive and open a view of Harvard research as possible."

Open Access Checklist

Tilburg University has made available Alma Swan's Open Access Advocacy: A Checklist for Research Universities.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Op-Ed Piece on European Reaction to Google Book Settlement

Bill Echikson, an author of four books and senior manager of European communications in Google, recently published an op-ed piece in The Irish Times discussing the agreement made by Google with American authors and publishers that aims, if an American court approves, to allow US readers to search, preview and buy online access to potentially millions of out-of-print books that were scanned as part of Google Book Search. Echikson also ponders the European reaction, what he in fact calls "handwringing" and "concern", over this agreement.

Click here for the full-text of the article.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Benefits Worldwide of Nursing ETDs

In a recent article, "Electronic Theses and Dissertations: A Review of this Valuable Resource for Nurse Scholars Worldwide" in International Nursing Review L. M. Goodfellow makes a strong case that nurse scholars from both developing and developed countries could benefit from ETDs. In particular, "An international repository of ETDs benefits the community of nurse scholars in many ways. The ability to access recent graduate students' research electronically from anywhere in the world is advantageous. For scholars residing in developing countries, access to these ETDs may prove to be even more valuable."

Full text of article.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Public Access Policies and ARL Libraries

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has published the results of a survey of ARL member libraries that provides information about how those libraries are helping their faculty meet open access mandates. An excerpt from the report's Executive Summary follows:
In many academic and research institutions, libraries
have taken the lead in developing resources
and services to support authors who are required to
comply with public access policies. This survey was
designed to explore the role libraries are playing in
supporting public access policies in their institutions.
The entire report is available.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Equity for Open-Access Journal Publishing

Stuart M. Shieber, Director of the Office for Scholarly Communication at Harvard University, has authored a new article proposing changes to allow open-access journals to compete more effectively with traditional, subscription-based journals.

Shieber SM (2009) Equity for Open-Access Journal Publishing. PLoS Biol 7(8): e1000165.

Scholars write articles to be read—the more access to their articles the better—so one might think that the open-access approach to publishing, in which articles are freely available online to all without interposition of an access fee, would be an attractive competitor to traditional subscription-based journal publishing.

But open-access journal publishing is currently at a systematic disadvantage relative to the traditional model.

I propose a simple, cost-effective remedy to this inequity that would put open-access publishing on a path to become a sustainable, efficient system, allowing the two journal publishing systems to compete on a more level playing field. The issue is important, first, because academic institutions shouldn't perpetuate barriers to an open-access business model on principle and, second, because the subscription-fee business model has manifested systemic dysfunctionalities in practice. After describing the problem with the subscription-fee model, I turn to the proposal for providing equity for open-access journal publishing—the open-access compact.

Full article. (Thanks to Syed Khan for bringing this to our attention.)

Friday, July 31, 2009

Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources (SULAIR) recently launched their Super-Enlightenment website. From Sarah Sussman's 13 April, 2009 overview of the site:
This collection assembles about three dozen rare works in French written between 1716 and 1835, covering mythology, alchemy, religion, free-masonry, science, and other topics. Rather than rejecting what we commonly think of as Enlightenment ideas and paradigms, these esoteric texts explore many of the same themes, representing what Dan Edelstein, assistant professor of Stanford's French and Italian department and faculty coordinator of this site, calls "the dark side of the Enlightenment" -- or "Super-Enlightenment." We hope that making these works available as a searchable corpus (after they have long been pushed to the margins) will open up new paths of research for scholars at Stanford and around the world. Historians, literary scholars, and art historians are some of the target audiences for this resource.

This text collection currently consists of 64 volumes, both held by SULAIR and gathered from other library collections, that are presented as searchable PDFs. Yet Super-E is not only a collection of primary sources, it also offers scholarly materials for the researcher and teacher. Nine bio-bibliographical essays by specialists in the field and Professor Edelstein's brief introduction offer historical and theoretical background to the project and to the works and authors that it showcases. Users can also sort the texts by author, date, and by the following thematic topics: Art and Architecture, Illuminism and Science, Masonry, Mythology, Orientalism, and Reform and Revolution

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Open Access and Authors’ Rights Management: A Possibility for Theology?

Kevin L. Smith, Scholarly Communications Officer at Perkins Library, Duke University, has a new article in Theological Librarianship: An Online Journal of the American Theological Library Association that discusses the landscape of Open Access with respect to theological studies. The abstract of the article “Open Access and Authors’ Rights Management: A Possibility for Theology?” is below. The full-text of the article is accessible here.

Several academic disciplines have begun to understand the benefits of open access to scholarship, both for scholars and for the general public. Scientific disciplines have led the way, partially due to the nature of scholarship in those areas and partially because they have felt the crisis in serials pricing more acutely than others. Theological studies, however, have largely been insulated from the push for open access; considering the reasons for that is the first task of this article. It is also the case, however, that the missionary impulse that stands behind much theological scholarship is a strong incentive to embrace the opportunities afforded by digital, online dissemination of research and writing. After discussing this imperative for global distribution, the bulk of the article focuses on how theological institutions, and especially their libraries, can encourage and support scholars in making their work freely accessible. Copyright issues, including the elements of a successful copyright management program, are discussed, as are some of the technological elements necessary for an efficient and discoverable open access repository. Options for licensing, both at ingestion of content and at dissemination to users are also considered. Finally, it is argued that the role of consortia and professional organizations in supporting these initiatives is especially important because of the relatively small size of so many theological institutions.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Campus Outreach to Scholarly Society Leaders, Editors, and Members

The Association of Research Libraries has just released a new guide: “Campus Outreach to Scholarly Society Leaders, Editors, and Members: Promoting positive change and a continuing role for scholarly societies”. The purpose of the guide is “to assist libraries in developing positive, supportive relationships with leaders, editors, and members of academic scholarly societies affiliated with their institutions. It will support development of faculty outreach programs at ARL member libraries by offering strategy and tactics for increasing the engagement with leaders at their institution.”

From the press release:

The guide seeks to increase library staff’s conscious connections with leaders of scholarly societies residing on their campus in order to:

--Build positive relationships between librarians and faculty members

--Create opportunities for education and dialog with key opinion leaders and decision-makers within disciplinary communities

--Identify opportunities for libraries to partner/collaborate with scholarly societies

--Enhance library leadership’s decision-making capability by building a better understanding of their faculty members’ and researchers’ ongoing needs for services from scholarly societies

Successful campus outreach should encourage and support society leaders to engage in positive change that advances the scholarly communication system, promotes new research modes, and offers a path forward in a time of paradigm shift.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Mandates to Self-Archive & Provide Open Access

The site ROARMAP (Registry of Open Access Repository Material Archiving Policies) currently lists 120 national and international institutional and funder policy mandates for self archiving scholarship and making it Open Access. 39 are institutional, 13 departmental, 39 funder, and 29 thesis. ROARMAP also lists several proposed mandates that hopefully will be actualized.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Federal Research Public Access Act Reintroduced

Last week Senators Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and John Cornyn (R-TX) reintroduced the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA), a bill to ensure free, timely, online access to the published results of research funded by eleven U.S. federal agencies. The Alliance for Taxpayer Access – ATA (BC Library is a member) applauds this bill that promotes open access to vast amounts of federally funded research. From ATA’s recent press release:

FRPAA would require those agencies with annual extramural research budgets of $100 million or more to provide the public with online access to research manuscripts stemming from such funding no later than six months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal. The bill gives individual agencies flexibility in choosing the location of the digital repository to house this content, as long as the repositories meet conditions for interoperability and public accessibility, and have provisions for long-term archiving. . . .

The bill covers unclassified research funded by agencies including: Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, Department of Education, Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Transportation, Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the National Science Foundation. . . .

“We welcome the introduction of this landmark legislation,” added Heather Joseph, spokesperson for the Alliance and Executive Director of SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition). This bill reflects the recognition that expanded access to research results will benefit all citizens. Every member of the public has a stake in this research. Whether it is understanding climate change, developing renewable energy resources, or helping to halt a flu pandemic, these research results are of critical value to every American taxpayer. We look forward to working with the wide coalition of supporters of public access to see this legislation come to fruition.”

The Alliance for Taxpayer Access calls on organizations and individuals to write in support of the bill through the Web site at

Open Access Newsletter -- July, 2009

The July issue of Peter Suber's Open Access Newsletter is now available.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

New Study of Journal Impact/Citation Patterns Compares 39 Measures

The June 2009 issue of PLoS One, a peer-reviewed, open access journal published by the Public Library of Science, carries the article, "A Principle Component Analysis of 39 Scientific Impact Measures". This article provides, perhaps, the most thorough analysis of scientific journal citation analysis to date. The authors, Johan Bollen, Herbert Van de Sompel, Aric Hagberg, and Ryan Chute, analyzed thirty-nine types of impact measurements. The conclusions show that no perfectly reliable measure exists as yet. Users of the widely-utilized Journal Impact Factor (JIF) published in the Journal Citation Reports database are urged to use this measurement, in particular, with caution.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Rare Africa Photos Go Online

Northwestern University Library has just made available a magnificent, and freely accessible, collection of thousands of rare photographs chronicling Europe's colonization of East Africa. The collection, The Humphrey Winterton Collection of East African Photographs: 1860-1960, numbers over 7000 photographs and all are searchable because of extensive metadata.

The photographs “include formal and informal portraits of Africans and their colonizers, photos of slaves and slave traders, and images depicting the building of railroads and urban areas and of traditional African life.

They represent the work of explorers, colonial officials, settlers, missionaries, military officers, travelers and early commercial photographers.”

For the press release.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Federal Research Public Access Act Introduced

The Alliance for Taxpayer Access – ATA (Boston College Library is a member) applauds the FRPAA bill introduced on 25 June by Senators Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and John Cornyn (R-TX) to broaden access to federal research results. From ATA’s press release:

Washington, DC – Senators Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and John Cornyn (R-TX) today introduced the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA), a bill to ensure free, timely, online access to the published results of research funded by eleven U.S. federal agencies. The proposed bill is welcomed by the Alliance for Taxpayer Access, a coalition of research institutions, consumers, patients, and others formed to support open public access to publicly funded research.

FRPAA would require those agencies with annual extramural research budgets of $100 million or more to provide the public with online access to research manuscripts stemming from such funding no later than six months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal. The bill gives individual agencies flexibility in choosing the location of the digital repository to house this content, as long as the repositories meet conditions for interoperability and public accessibility, and have provisions for long-term archiving. . . .

The bill covers unclassified research funded by agencies including: Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, Department of Education, Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Transportation, Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the National Science Foundation. . . .

The Alliance for Taxpayer Access calls on organizations and individuals to write in support of the bill through the Web site at

For more information about the Federal Research Public Access Act, visit

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Survival of Scholarly Presses

Jennifer Howard provides an interesting report in the 22 June issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education on the Annual Meeting of the Association of American University Presses in Philadelphia last weekend.
Bloodied but still standing, the university presses that gathered here for the annual meeting of the Association of American University Presses could have been a grimmer group. With sales down by double digits and budgets in tatters, the presses may feel as if they are going through the worst of times—although next year could be worse still. But scholarly publishing, and scholarly publishers, just refuse to die. . . .

Beyond the pragmatism, one heard the sometimes whimsical but ultimately serious clash of big ideas about the shape and fate of scholarly publishing—or "scholarly communication," a catchall term that expands to fit almost any kind of publishing.

"As we know, the crisis in scholarly communication is now in its fifth decade," joked Mr. Armato of the University of Minnesota Press as he moderated the plenary session in which Ms. Bonn, of Michigan, took part.

The comment got a laugh, but it also set up an assault on what Mr. Armato called the "polarizing and self-serving rhetoric" that fills the debate over open access and scholarly publishing. Yes, we have to learn to live with and through "the transformation that lies not ahead of us but all around us," he advised. Nobody wants to be the ancien régime, Mr. Armato said—look what happened when the tumbrels rolled—but he pointed out that "revolutions often begin without much consideration" of what's lost on the road to utopia. Revolutionary rhetoric has done more to harm scholarly communication than to advance it, as revolutions tend to ignore "the human, social, and cultural consequences of those steps and what is destroyed along the way," he warned.

In the conference's final plenary session, "Directions for Open Access Publishing," Michael J. Jensen, director of strategic Web communications for the National Academies Press, made an extreme version of the adapt-or-die argument for incorporating open access into scholarly publishing. Mr. Jensen entertained the audience with a description of his longtime obsession with crises that threaten life as we know it. Then he went for the Darwinian kill and linked print-based culture with global warming.

"C02 must be radically curtailed," he said. "Print is CO2-heavy." How about a business model that would rely on 50 percent digital sales, 25 percent print-on-demand books, and 25 percent institutionally funded open-access publishing? "Open access in exchange for institutional support is a business model for survival," Mr. Jensen advised, all joking aside.

"If we fail to make these changes, we will be knowing participants in the death spiral," he warned. "The print book must become the exception, not the rule, as soon as possible."

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Harvard Graduate School of Education's New Open-Access Policy

The Harvard Graduate School of Education is the fourth of Harvard's school/faculties to enact policies promoting open access to their scholarly writings. From the School's 16 June's press release:

The faculty of the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) voted overwhelmingly at its last faculty meeting to allow the university to make all faculty members' scholarly articles publicly available online. The resolution makes HGSE the fourth of Harvard's 10 schools to endorse open access to faculty research publications. The Faculties of Arts and Sciences, the Harvard Law School, and the Harvard Kennedy School all passed similar policies in recent months.

"The field of education and the mission of libraries have always been aligned in efforts to bring knowledge to as many people as possible. With the open access resolution, the work of the faculty at the Harvard Graduate School of Education will now be available to all -- especially those who seek to improve the quality of education worldwide," said John Collins, librarian of Gutman Library at HGSE.

As a result of the resolution, HGSE faculty will now provide their scholarly articles to the Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication for deposit in an open access digital repository that is currently under development. When the repository launches later this year, the contents will be freely available to the public, unless an author chooses to embargo or block access. The policy makes rights sharing with publishers and self-archiving the default, while allowing faculty to waive Harvard's license on a case-by-case basis, at the author's discretion.

Professor Kurt Fischer said, "Educational researchers and leaders seek to share their knowledge and findings with educators, researchers, and anyone who is interested. Unfortunately, the current situation in publishing severely restricts access. The Open Access policy moves toward making writings available to anyone who can benefit from them."
The text of Harvard's Open Access policies is available here.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

W.P.A. Posters in The Library of Congress

In The Library of Congress Digital Collections & Services is the Prints & Posters collection with an Prints & Photographs Online Catalog. One collection is #55 Posters WPA Posters (1936-1943) of 907 posters produced to publicize theatrical productions, exhibits, health and educational programs. W.P.A. refers to the Works Progress Administation (renamed Work Projects Administation in 1939). It was created by an presidential order early in the President F. D. Roosevelt administration.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

University Press Directors Argue for Open Access to Scholarly Research

The directors of ten US and Canadian University Presses have issued a position statement on Free Access to Scholarly Journal Articles:

1. The undersigned university press directors support the dissemination of scholarly research as broadly as possible.
2. We support the free access to scientific, technical, and medical journal articles no later than 12 months after publication. We understand that the length of time before free release of journal articles will by necessity vary for other disciplines.
3. We support the principle that scholarly research fully funded by governmental entities is a public good and should be treated as such. We support legislation that strengthens this principle and oppose legislation designed to weaken it.
4. We support the archiving and free release of the final, published version of scholarly journal articles to ensure accuracy and citation reliability.
5. We will work directly with academic libraries, governmental entities, scholarly societies, and faculty to determine appropriate strategies concerning dissemination options, including institutional repositories and national scholarly archives.

This stance puts these directors squarely at odds with the attitude of the Association of American University Presses (AAUP) -- see, for example, a September 10, 2008 letter from the AAUP. For an overview of the debate see Scott Jaschik's article, "Split Over Open Access", in Inside Higher Ed (6/04/2009)