Sunday, February 22, 2009

BU Endorses University-wide OA Research Archive

From the recent press release:

Research by Boston University faculty and staff will soon be freely available in an online archive, bypassing the conventional and restrictive route of publishing papers in academic journals, announced BU President Robert A. Brown.

Although the online publishing alternative is voluntary, its unprecedented university-wide endorsement by all of BU’s 17 schools and colleges – the result of a jointly passed resolution by the faculty and the administration -- breaks new ground among U.S. institutions of higher education. . . .

The online archive will allow anyone to view BU’s scholarly work, previously only available to journal subscribers, as long as the authors are credited and the scholarship isn’t used for profit. Since journals typically own the exclusive copyright, they often control access to intellectual property, restricting academics and clinicians from distributing it freely to colleagues and students. . . .

The increased ownership and control is good news for researchers such as Barbara Millen, professor and chair of the graduate Nutrition Program at BU’s School of Medicine. While working on a book about nutrition research, Millen found herself in the paradoxical position of needing permission to use her own tables and figures after they were published in a journal that retained the copyright to her work. The challenge, said Millen, who co-chaired the University Council committee that recommended BU’s open access initiative, will be providing faculty with the tools to make their research available online. . . .

News of the University Council’s vote was welcomed by Robert Hudson, director of BU’s Mugar Memorial Library, and as co-chair of the University Council on scholarly activities and libraries, a key force behind the move toward open access. Hudson says the effort to maintain an up-to-date collection of scholarly journals costs approximately $8 million per year. Annual subscription rates can reach $20,000, and tend to increase six to 10 percent each year, making the expansion of the library’s scholarly archive a financial challenge.

“This vote sends a very strong message of support for open and free exchange of scholarly work,” said Hudson. “It really has increased the potential to showcase the research and scholarship of the university in ways that have not been evident.”

Monday, February 16, 2009

Universities Must Disseminate Research & Scholarship More Broadly

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL), the Association of American Universities (AAU), the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI), and the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC), recently issued a joint statement, “The University’s Role in the Dissemination of Research and Scholarship.” The statement is a call to action for universities to ensure the broadest possible access to the products of their work.

Some specific institutional strategies mentioned in the statement include:

--Initiate a process to develop an institutional dissemination plan by explicitly evaluating existing dissemination activities, policies relating to promotion and tenure, and policies regarding faculty copyrights. For instance, charge a campus blue ribbon task force to advise the provost on key issues raised by the emergence of new forms of scholarly publishing and the gains that might be had by utilizing more effective ways of sharing the high quality results of the processes of scholarly and creative endeavor.

--With this foundation, develop priorities for supporting new dissemination strategies that enhance the value of the multifaceted investments in faculty research and scholarship by promoting the broadest possible access to it.

--Engage departments on campus in developing fresh articulations of the criteria that are appropriate for judging the quality of contributions to their discipline, criteria that embrace emerging forms of scholarly work, where those possess the same attributes of quality and contribution to new knowledge, and do not rely solely on traditional publications and historic practices. . . .

--Where local dissemination infrastructure exists (such as institutional repositories), promote its use and expand its capabilities as required. Where needed, build new infrastructure that supports documentation of the products of faculty work, both for grant management and compliance and for more general purposes. . . .

--Encourage faculty authors to modify contracts with publishers so that their contracts permit immediate open access or delayed public access to peer reviewed work in a manner that does not threaten the viability of the journals or monographs. . . .

Friday, February 13, 2009

Update your ebook shelf

Here are two sources worth mentioning. Charles W. Bailey, Jr. announced that The Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography: 2008 Annual Edition is available from Digital Scholarship. The second sources, Catalogue of Digitized Medieval Manuscripts website attempts to keep you abreast of medieval manuscripts available on the web. The Chronicle of Higher Education describes this UCLA project.

Complete Works of Charles Darwin Online

February 12 marked the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth. Almost all of Darwin’s works are freely accessible electronically at The Complete Works of Charles Darwin Online: the complete publications; 20,000 private papers, the largest Darwin bibliography, manuscript catalogue and hundreds of supplementary works, and much more.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Peter Suber to Speak on OA at Harvard

Peter Suber will present the talk “What is the Future of Open Access?” on Thursday, February 26, at 12:30 pm in Pound Hall 100, Harvard Law School (Map). The talk is co-sponsored by the Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication and the Harvard Law School Library. RSVP requested (

More information about this presentation and about Prof. Suber may be accessed at

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Two New Open Access Econometric Society Journals

The Econometric Society has just announced that it will publish two new open access journals. (Thanks to Kit Baum, Economics Dept., for this news).

From the announcement:
Starting in 2010, the Econometric Society will publish two new journals, called Quantitative Economics and Theoretical Economics. These will be open access journals, meaning that electronic access will be free for both members and non-members of the Society. Each journal will have its own Editorial Board, with an Editor, several Co-Editors, and a set of Associate Editors. The rules for appointment of the members of the Editorial Board will be identical to those used for Econometrica. Governance of the new journals will, again, be identical to the governance of Econometrica.

Despite these similarities, it is expected that each new journal will develop its own identity. While the new journals will have very high quality requirements, they may experiment more with publishing papers in new research areas. Nevertheless there will be scope for collaboration between the three journals, which will be discussed in a committee that includes the three Editors. . . .

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

February Issue of SPARC OA Newsletter

Peter Suber recently posted the latest issue of the SPARC Open Access Newsletter. In addition to the usual extensive and valuable round-up of OA activities, events, resources etc., Suber discusses some of the major questions which arise when framing a new OA policy, reviewing an older OA one, or thinking about OA policies elsewhere. The first twelve questions or decisions pertain to funding agencies, the last six to universities. Suber offers a recommendation for each of the eighteen.