Tuesday, December 28, 2010

In the 10 December, 2010 Research Library Issue report (a bimonthly report from ARL, CNI, and SPARC) Prudence S. Adler, Associate Executive Director, Federal Relations and Information Policy, ARL, considers three critical attributes shared by the research, teaching, and learning enterprise and the Internet. They are a) providing access to research resources; b) promoting free speech; c) and fostering openness, innovation, and transparency.

The conclusion of the report (entitled Three Key Public Policies for Research Libraries: Net Neutrality, Fair Use, Open and Public Access) :
The ARL Strategic Plan calls for ARL to influence “laws, public policies, regulations, and judicial decisions governing the use of copyrighted materials so that they better meet the needs of the educational and research communities” and to contribute “to reducing economic, legal, and technical barriers to access and use of the research results from publicly funded research projects, enabling rapid and inexpensive worldwide dissemination of facts and ideas.” To succeed, research libraries are dependent upon a non-discriminatory, robust, open, technological infrastructure that will permit effective use of resources under copyright, in the public domain, and under other legal regimes. Such an infrastructure must encourage emerging scholarly communication models that realize the benefits of networked-based technologies and reflect the interests of the academy and the public.
The full report.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Fabian Society Online Archive

A London School of Economics (LSE) website particularly useful to historians of British history is the open access Fabian Society Online Archive. The Fabian Society started publishing tracts in 1884, and included in this site are most tracts up to 1997. There are about 580 tracts. Among the authors are Sidney and Beatrice Webb and George Bernard Shaw, founders of the LSE. Other famous authors include Clement Attlee; Tony Benn; Tony Blair; Gordon Brown; G. D. H. Cole; Tony Crosland; R. H. S. Crossman; Denis Healey; Harold Laski; Kingsley Martin; Harold Wilson.

Topics treated in the tracts include:

* cultural matters
* economics
* electoral reform
* foreign policy (such as colonialism, the Cold War and relations with Europe)
* industrial relations
* the Labour Party
* local government
* politics (such as electoral and parliamentary reform)
* poverty
* social reform (such as education, health and pensions)
* socialism
* women's issues

Friday, December 3, 2010

December issue of the SPARC Open Access Newsletter

Peter Suber's December issue of the SPARC Open Access Newsletter is now online. Particularly interesting is the section "The US elections and open access" where Suber considers at length the future of the FRPAA (Federal Research Public Access Act) bill which is presently before Congress. He believes that "because Congress is preoccupied with more urgent business, FRPAA has little chance as a stand-alone bill in the lame-duck session. If it expires without a vote at the end of this month, it or some variation of it will almost certainly be re-introduced in the new session. The new bill may be the same as the current FRPAA, which itself is the same as the version of FRPAA introduced in 2006, or may be revised to account for any executive action taken by President Obama in the meantime." Suber's prediction for the ultimate outcome of government mandated open access:
insofar as Republicans are inclined to work constructively for achievable progress, there will be some common ground with Democrats. That common ground will include creating jobs, stimulating the economy, opening government, showing fiscal responsibility with public funds, and mandating public access to publicly-funded research. That bodes well both for FRPAA and for an Obama executive order mandating OA from federal funding agencies. But insofar as Republicans are inclined to obstruct Democrats, reject their own party elders, or both, common ground will be a vanishing quantity. That plus Obama's tendency to seek compromise without reciprocation will mean defeat or dilution for OA policies.