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.
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.