Monday, July 31, 2006

Consumer Groups Support Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006

In May two United States senators, John Cornyn and Joseph Lieberman, introduced the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA) of 2006. FRPAA would require all US government agencies that fund over $100 million in research per year to support open access publication of any resulting research.

Library organizations immediately announced support for FRPAA. Today a consortium of consumer groups, coordinated by the Alliance for Taxpayer Access, announced their support as well. Momentum for open access continues to grow.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Forget Faculty - Let's Sell Open Access (OA) To Librarians

Meredith Farkas over at Information Wants to Be Free has been blogging about the skills needed for 21st century librarianship. Her most recent post (July 29th) finds her "selling" information literacy, and while I like some ideas, she includes a few snoozers - don't we all.

What I like about her blog is her honest attempt at enumerating librarian skills and attitudes for the new information economy. What I don't like is her conspicuous omission of open access, or even a mention of it. In fact, the information literacy post today mentions "peer-review", but not a whit about access. Open access should not be far from the lips of every academic librarian (here's Meredith's Library success wiki and her "access" section).

Open access. Isn't it odd that some librarians miss its connection to absolutely everything we do? and the fact that it's part of the biggest communication and publishing revolution since Gutenberg?

I think OA Librarian needs to work a little harder in getting the message out. Dean

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Ranganathan Classics Coming to D-List

The Ranganathan Classics are coming to D-List! - for details, please see Gary Price's post on Resource Shelf.

Michael May, dList classics editor, posted some interesting comments on Ranganathan and OA on the SPARC Open Access Forum.

Thanks to Gary Price, Michael May and others at d-List, and of course, Peter Suber, for the information.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

More Journals in Elsevier's "Sponsored Articles" Program

On May 25, I posted news about Elsevier's "sponsored articles" program, which allowed authors of accepted articles to pay $3,000 US to make their article freely available to readers (on top of any other fees). At that time, it applied to six Elsevier journals:

Nuclear Physics A
Nuclear Physics B
Nuclear Physics B
Proceedings Supplements
Nuclear Instruments and Methods A
Physics Letters B
Astroparticle Physics

As of late yesterday, the list of participating journals has been increased to 40, with the addition of 34 more titles:

American Journal of Otolaryngology
Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics
Artificial Intelligence
Cancer Genetics and Cytogenetics
Cancer Letters
Cardiovascular Pathology
Catalysis Communications
Cell Calcium
Cellular Immunology
Computer Communications
Discrete Applied Mathematics
Epilepsy & Behavior
European Journal of Radiology
Experimental Cell Research
Food and Chemical Toxicology
GenomicsInsect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
International Journal of Parasitology
Journal of Complexity
Journal of Computer and System Sciences
Journal of Molecular Biology
Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry
Journal of Symbolic Computation
Journal of Systems and Software
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology
Neurobiology of Disease
Surface Science
Theoretical Computer Science

So, Elsevier takes a further step in the "hybrid" OA journal environment (not that they're using the words "OA" or Open Access" at all).

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Open Source, Open Access - And Open Search?

Gunther Eysenbach's cogent editorial "The Open Access Advantage" over at the open-access Journal of Medical Internet Research hits several points square on the head. The one I find most appealing is that incremental benefits accrue to researchers who publish in open-access journals; the data is clear and unequivocal. Another is the simple truth that open source tools like those developed by UBC's Public Knowledge Project are better alternatives to the commercial OA publishers.

Eysenbach also articulates an important distinction between OA giants like BioMedCentral (one of the so-called commercial or "for profit" OA publishers) and the leaner, meaner OA pioneers like CMAJ and BMJ. Though, I'd be more inclined to applaud outfits like PubMedCentral than the journals or websites he mentions.

And speaking of PubMed, it truly is a pioneer in open search, something health librarians have been advocating since we "let go" of our paranoia that end-user searching was a threat to our profession. Open search merged with open access.

There is little point in making scientific research open access in the absence of coherent open search. That means, a unified search tool - not fragmentary attempts that we've seen in 2006 by Google (sorry - I'm really hammering Google these days) and others.

Some new open, forward-thinking pioneer will find the solution - but let's hope it's sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

OA in the U.S. / Honorary OA Librarian of the Day

New in E-LIS: Peter Suber's Open Access in the United States, in Jacobs, Neil, Eds. Open Access: Key strategic, technical and economic aspects. Chandos Publishing. Peter hints at a long and in-depth leadership history of the U.S. in open access, beginning with Arpanet in 1965, but focuses on a more thorough treatment of the current top 10 U.S. OA initiatives. Worth reading! Let's all hope someday Peter has the time to complete this history...maybe after 100% OA implementation?

If you haven't checked out Open Access News yet today, please note, today's OA News is very highly recommended for OA Librarian types, with no less than 3 librarian-related news items - at least, so far! Peter Suber is hereby recognized as Honorary OA Librarian of the Day.

The librarian items of the day are:
Library Groups Support EC report OA Recommendations

Looking for OA Library Journals

Notes on the LITA Preconference

Thanks, Peter!

This post reflects my personal opinion only and does not represent the opinions or policy of the BC Electronic Library Network or the Simon Fraser University Library.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Institute on Scholarly Communication Accepting Applicants

The Association of Research Libraries and Association of College and Research Libraries are currently accepting applications for the Institute on Scholarly Communication. The 2.5 day immersion program will equip participating librarians with the tools to educate other library staff members, and to engage in a dedicated outreach plan on their campuses. Participants are encouraged to apply in teams, particularly if they work for larger institutions.

The deadline to apply is August 15, and the application is here. The institute will be held December 6-8, 2006. This is the second offering of 2006, because the first session proved extremely popular. If you're in a position to create change on your campus, or want to be in this position, you should apply for the Institute on Scholarly Communication!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

July 2006 SPARC Open Access Newsletter

Peter Suber has just released the July 2006 SPARC Open Access Newsletter. Peter's Summary:

This issue takes a close look at the big step toward OA mandates at the RCUK, the big step toward an OA mandate at the NIH, and the case for mandating OA to electronic theses and dissertations. The Top Stories section takes a brief look at the Royal Society's decision to switch to hybrid OA journals, the PLoS preview of PLoS ONE and its first-ever fee increase, the results to date of Oxford's OA experiments, protests within the American Anthropological Association about the AAA decision to oppose FRPAA, the Science Commons launch of Scholar's Copyright, some new OA policies at three research institutions, and more news and comment on FRPAA.

Heather's comments:

The section on OA to theses and dissertations is thorough, and very much worth reading. While the focus of the open access movement has been on the peer-reviewed research article, from my viewpoint the opening up of access to resources such as theses is one of the more remarkable impacts of the open access movement. Until recently, theses and dissertations were among the more difficult resources to access; due to the expense and concerns about loss of unique or few paper copies, libraries have tended to discourage interlibrary loans. With open access archives, this situation is rapidly changing; the resources, such as theses and dissertations, that were once among the least accessible, are quickly becoming among the most readily accessible. This is important for librarians to know, and not just open access advocates; everyone who works on a reference desk, in library instruction, or interlibrary loans, needs to be aware of the growing OA theses and dissertations, to provide appropriate service.

The comments on the protest of the American Anthropological Association members on the society's decision to oppose FRPAA is well worth noting. According to one member of the Steering Committee, not even the Steering Committee was consulted before this position was taken. This may be the case with other associations and societies as well - members of associations might want to have a look to see what their association is saying.

Dramatic Growth of Open Access June 2006

My June 2006 Dramatic Growth of Open Access Update is now available.


The Dramatic Growth of Open Access continues in the second quarter of 2006, although at a somewhat less hectic pace than the first quarter. Since I've only started noting growth on a quarterly basis beginning last December, it is possible that this reflects seasonable variation, i.e. two months of this period fall within the summer semester in the northern hemisphere, a slower time at academia in general.

Growth continued very strong in both the gold and green roads. DOAJ, today at 2,292 journals, added 134 journal titles, an increase of about 1 and 1/2 titles per day (calendar days, not business days), about an equivalent of a 25% annual increase. More than half a million items were added to an OAIster search, for a total of more than 7.6 million items, or about the equivalent of a 24% annual increase. At the current rate of growth, an OAIster search can be anticipated to encompass more than a billion items before the end of 2007.

The most significant change was a drop in the % increase to Highwire Free Press Online, from an 18% increase in the first quarter to a less than 1% increase in this quarter. It is too soon to draw any conclusions from this change, which could reflect Highwire procedural timing.

Stevan Harnad comments that a missing element is the excellent data available from ROAR, the Registry of Open Access Repositories. An excellent point, and something I'm meaning to add.