Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Letter from the Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions Supporting FRPAA

Member universities of the Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions (COAPI) recently wrote a letter registering strong support for the Federal Research Public Access Act.

. . . . We were therefore gratified to see the bipartisan, bicameral reintroduction of FRPAA on February 9. By virtue of this legislation, all major US funding agencies would establish policies providing broad public access to their funded research through free online availability of the peer-reviewed articles that researchers develop through federal grants.

In essence, FRPAA would extend the highly successful public access policy of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which ensures that the public has access to the published results of NIH-funded research. Because of this policy, the NIH now provides free online access to 2.4 million articles downloaded a million times per day by half a million users. University researchers account for 25% of these users, guaranteeing that they can build upon the broad range of research that the taxpayers have funded. Companies account for another 17%, showing that the policy benefits small businesses and corporations, who need access to scientific advances to spur innovation. Finally, the general public accounts for 40% of the users, some quarter of a million people per day, demonstrating that these articles are of tremendous interest to the taxpayers who fund the research in the first place and who deserve access to the results that they have underwritten.

By requiring other funding agencies to develop policies allowing public access to research, FRPAA would amplify the benefits of the NIH policy, providing even more benefits to researchers, business, and the public. These benefits work synergistically with our own institutional open-access policies by making more uniform the availability of research results and providing greater transparency of government-funded research. . . .

Friday, June 8, 2012

MLA Journals allow OA posting

Good news for authors of MLA journal articles! They have adopted a new author agreement that will allow posting  in open access repositories such as eScholarship@Boston College. Here's the announcement:

The journals of the Modern Language Association, including PMLA, Profession, and the ADE and ADFL bulletins, have adopted new open-access-friendly author agreements, which will go into use with their next full issues. The revised agreements leave copyright with the authors and explicitly permit authors to deposit in open-access repositories and post on personal or departmental Web sites the versions of their manuscripts accepted for publication. For more information on the new agreements, please contact the office of scholarly communication.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

In April of this year the World Bank announced a new open access policy:
Effective July 1, 2012, the Open Access Policy requires that all research outputs and knowledge products published by the Bank be licensed Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY) as a default. Today, as the first phase of this policy is unfolded, the Bank launched a new Open Knowledge Repository with more than 2,000 books, articles, reports and research papers under CC BY. President of the World Bank Group, Robert B. Zoellick, said in the press release:
“Knowledge is power. Making our knowledge widely and readily available will empower others to come up with solutions to the world’s toughest problems. Our new Open Access policy is the natural evolution for a World Bank that is opening up more and more.”
In May, the bank held an event called What the World Bank's Open Access Policy Means for Development. Video of the event is available on the site. Timothy Vollmer summarized the event on the Creative Commons news blog:
The conversation Monday revolved around the impact and potential for World Bank research — and open access in general — for development in countries around the world. For example, how will access and reuse of research under an open access policy create opportunities to solve large global challenges such as climate change and hunger?

The panelists jumped in, and stated that an immediate, baseline benefit of the open access policy is that now, World Bank research is aggregated in one place and made available for free to anyone with an internet connection. This is not the case with subscription journals, where readers have to pay to view the articles. Mike Carroll noted the importance of addressing copyright concerns in open policies. Even when research is made available for free online, if readers are unclear about the rights available to them, the articles and data will not be as valuable or impactful. This is especially important in developing nations, where republication and moving information from the Internet to an offline environment requires copyright permission. With open licenses such as CC BY chosen by the World Bank, permission to republish and translate articles into other languages is automatically granted. Carroll pointed to related success in the Open Education space. He said that many MIT Open CourseWare materials have been translated and put into use in other countries (such as Vietnam) specifically because the original resources were published under an open license that permitted translation and reuse.