Friday, September 30, 2011

Princeton Goes Open Access!

Following in the footsteps of a number of other prestigious universities, e.g. Harvard and MIT, Princeton University has adopted an open access policy that requires its researchers not to hand over to publishers their copyright of scholarly articles. However, the policy does specify that a waiver may be granted in certain cases.

More information:
. . . . The new rule is part of an Open Access policy aimed at broadening the reach of their scholarly work and encouraging publishers to adjust standard contracts that commonly require exclusive copyright as a condition of publication.

Universities pay millions of dollars a year for academic journal subscriptions. People without subscriptions, which can cost up to $25,000 a year for some journals or hundreds of dollars for a single issue, are often prevented from reading taxpayer funded research. Individual articles are also commonly locked behind pay walls.

Researchers and peer reviewers are not paid for their work but academic publishers have said such a business model is required to maintain quality.

At a September 19 meeting, Princeton’s Faculty Advisory Committee on Policy adopted a new open access policy that gives the university the “nonexclusive right to make available copies of scholarly articles written by its faculty, unless a professor specifically requests a waiver for particular articles.”

“The University authorizes professors to post copies of their articles on their own web sites or on University web sites, or in other not-for-a-fee venues,” the policy said.

“The main effect of this new policy is to prevent them from giving away all their rights when they publish in a journal.” . . . .

Friday, September 23, 2011

Internet Ruffles Pricey Scholarly Journals

D. D. Guttenplan, in an 18th September, 2011 article in The New York Times (Europe) considers the growth of open access journals and the various reactions to them.

The opening paragraphs:
LONDON — After decades of healthy profits, the scholarly publishing industry now finds itself in the throes of a revolt led by the most unlikely campus revolutionaries: the librarians.

Universities from Britain to California are refusing to renew their expensive subscriptions, turning instead to “open access” publishing, an arrangement whereby material is made available free on the Internet with few or no restrictions except for the obligation to cite it.

Paul Ayris, director of library services at University College London, describes the revolt’s goal as “the dream of every researcher — from the desktop and at the end of an Internet connection, to be able to have the world’s literature at your fingertips.”

For the moment, that dream is still a long way off. But with British universities already spending 65 percent of their library acquisition budgets on periodicals — up from 50 percent 10 years ago — and university funding cut back, the pressure for change is mounting. . . .

7000 Journals now in DOAJ

There are now more than 7000 journals listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals. 45% of the journals, more than 600,000, are searchable at the article level. See the press release.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Public Availability of Published Research Data in High-Impact Journals

In a recent PLoSONE article, "Public Availability of Published Research Data in High-Impact Journals", the authors assess the current status of making research data available in highly-cited journals across the scientific literature. Their general conclusion is that much more needs to be done to make such data available.

There is increasing interest to make primary data from published research publicly available. We aimed to assess the current status of making research data available in highly-cited journals across the scientific literature.

Methods and Results
We reviewed the first 10 original research papers of 2009 published in the 50 original research journals with the highest impact factor. For each journal we documented the policies related to public availability and sharing of data. Of the 50 journals, 44 (88%) had a statement in their instructions to authors related to public availability and sharing of data. However, there was wide variation in journal requirements, ranging from requiring the sharing of all primary data related to the research to just including a statement in the published manuscript that data can be available on request. Of the 500 assessed papers, 149 (30%) were not subject to any data availability policy. Of the remaining 351 papers that were covered by some data availability policy, 208 papers (59%) did not fully adhere to the data availability instructions of the journals they were published in, most commonly (73%) by not publicly depositing microarray data. The other 143 papers that adhered to the data availability instructions did so by publicly depositing only the specific data type as required, making a statement of willingness to share, or actually sharing all the primary data. Overall, only 47 papers (9%) deposited full primary raw data online. None of the 149 papers not subject to data availability policies made their full primary data publicly available.

A substantial proportion of original research papers published in high-impact journals are either not subject to any data availability policies, or do not adhere to the data availability instructions in their respective journals. This empiric evaluation highlights opportunities for improvement.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

All About Orphans

Those of you who follow Scholarly Communication issues closely know that the Author's Guild has filed suit against HathiTrust and others over the Orphan Works Project. Here is a selection items to read to better understand the issues:

From the New York Times: Lawsuit Seeks the Removal of a Digital Book Collection

From James Grimmelman in his blog, the Laboratorium: The Orphan Wars

From Kevin Smith, Scholarly Communications @Duke: Why is adopting orphans controversial?
And his follow-up post today: Stop the internet, we want to get off!

And, finally: ARL's Resource Packet on the issues.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Early Journal Content on JSTOR, Free to Anyone in World

JSTOR is making freely available to anyone throughout the world a vast amount of journal content. This content, almost 500,000 articles from more than 200 journals, consists of articles published prior to 1923 in the United States and prior to 1870 elsewhere. All this material, representing approximately 6% of the total content on JSTOR, may be downloaded.

A quick video tutorial about how to access this content is available.

See JSTOR's 7th September, 2011 Press Release.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions

"The University of Kansas (KU), which in June 2009 became the first U.S. public university to adopt an open access (OA) policy regarding scholarly research in peer-reviewed journals, recently announced that it had spearheaded the formation of a 22-member Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions (COAPI). The coalition includes Harvard University, Stanford University, Columbia University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

According to the announcement, COAPI will "collaborate and share [OA] implementation strategies," and advocate nationally for OA institutions. Advocacy will be aimed at bringing attention to OA and issues that could weaken OA policies, such as OA waivers required by some publishers...."


Friday, September 2, 2011

Academic Publishers Make Murdoch look like a Socialist

George Monbiot has an excellent article in The Guardian: "Academic Publishers make Murdoch look like a Socialist".

In it Monbiot castigates the outrageous profits earned by certain academic publishers, arguing that exorbitant journal costs result in less and less accessibility to the results of research, much of which the public has paid for though taxes.
. . . . What we see here is pure rentier capitalism: monopolising a public resource then charging exorbitant fees to use it. Another term for it is economic parasitism. To obtain the knowledge for which we have already paid, we must surrender our feu to the lairds of learning. . . .

The knowledge monopoly is as unwarranted and anachronistic as the corn laws. Let's throw off these parasitic overlords and liberate the research that belongs to us. . . .
Though most librarians and many faculty are aware of the article's points, the great utility of the article is that it's published in an important newspaper with a broad readership. The message is being spread slowly but, one hopes, surely. [Thanks to Robert Stanton, English Dept., for alerting me to this piece]