Thursday, April 27, 2006 -- A new wiki for OA

Check out this new wiki for OA, called, founded by a group of citizens which believes all levels of government should make civic information and data accessible at no cost in open formats to their citizens. From the wiki's front page:

"Citizens for Open Access to Civic Information and Data (CivicAccess) is a group of citizens which believes all levels of government should make civic information and data accessible at no cost in open formats to their citizens. We believe this is necessary to allow citizens to fully participate in the democractic process of an "information society."

Thank you to Peter Suber, Carla Graebner and Olivier Charbonneau for messages about this wiki. The link has been added to our Resources bar (under Wikis) on the right.

(S)Uber Ego Boost

Further to the idea of a feature on the university homepage showcasing a "Faculty Article of the Day" (appealing to faculty members' egos to entice them to deposit their work in the IR), in a recent Open Access News post Peter Suber adds:

"The Dutch take this idea a step further with Cream of Science, which showcases to the whole country --or, actually, the whole world-- the best work on deposit in Dutch OA repositories. The strategy has been very successful both in attracting readers and stimulating deposits."

Thanks again, Peter.

OA Librarian in the news

In his May issue of "Cites & Insights" Walt Crawford mentions the launch of OA Librarian and has some complimentary things to say about our blog and the team. Walt's whole document is a great read, as usual, but note that pages 12-20 deal with "Library Access to Scholarship."

(Thank you to Peter Suber's recent posting alerting us to Walt's May issue).

Economist Magazine Survey of New Media

The Economist has published an important survey of new media in its latest issue, which considers the phenomenon of wikis and even briefly touches upon folksonomy. The survey touches upon the struggles between old and new media, which is really a struggle between content that is pre-packaged for a mass audience and content created on a grass-roots level by dedicated people (such as this very blog.)

The magazine--which has a fair reputation for being somewhat stuffy--actually takes a positive view of the potential for new ways to create and share intellectual work. Of note for librarians--There's no discussion of our role in this emerging media landscape. Rather than seeing it as an insult, perhaps this is an opportunity to raise awareness about the important work librarians do.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Ego? What ego?

One of the biggest challenges for academic librarians is getting faculty to deposit their articles into the university's institutional repository (IR), assuming there is one, of course. There are numerous reasons why faculty don't or won't deposit their articles, and there are numerous strategies, some more effective than others, for convincing them to do so. John Willinsky (UBC professor, and author of "The Access Principle: The Case for Open Access to Research and Scholarship") believes the key is to appeal to their ego. Faculty love to see their work widely disseminated, read, praised and cited. It feeds their ego, they're human. But what's the hook?

John suggests putting a section on the university website homepage that advertises the IR and the university's research output with a feature called "Faculty Article of the Day" (or week, if daily seems too arduous), with a link to the article in the IR. He claims that many faculty check their institution's homepage regularly to see what's new and which faculty member's work is getting attention. It won't take long before faculty realize that if they want their research featured on the homepage, they'd best find a way to deposit it in the IR.

Why not go a step further and add the same feature to the university library homepage? Double-boost those egos, and increase access and exposure while you're at it?

Thanks, John, for an excellent idea for promoting OA and IRs.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Net Neutrality Website

Peter Suber has pointed out that "compromising net neutrality will cause collateral damage to OA." Those who want to learn more about net neutrality, a pressing issue these days, can check out the Save the Internet website and its blog.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Stats Canada electronic docs at no charge!

From The Daily:

Effective April 24, all electronic publications on Statistics Canada's Web site will be available free of charge.

The Agency has been steadily increasing the volume of free content on its Web site to respond to the information needs of Canadians. This latest move makes available at no charge more than 150 electronic publications for which fees were previously charged.

Statistics Canada will continue to charge for print versions of publications and for other electronic products and services, such as CD-ROMs, specialized data tables and customized retrievals from CANSIM and the Canadian International Merchandise Trade database.

For more information, contact François Bordé (613-951-2808), Communications and Library Services Division.

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.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Open Access Archiving Maillist

An open access archiving maillist has been set up, primarily for managers of open access archives who would like to discuss issues relating to OA archiving in the dual sense of providing access and preservation.

The reason for setting up this list was interest expressed in exploring the use of LOCKSS software as a preservation mechanism for OA archives. The nature of LOCKSS requires collaborative groups, as preservation involves a set of LOCKSS boxes (usually about 6) which constantly communicate with each other. There are reasons why LOCKSS boxes are best dispersed. Hence, this list can serve as a means for OA archivers to meet other potential LOCKSS-group participants.

The list is open to anyone, however, in order to avoid spam, subscribing and unsubscribing is manual. To subscribe, please contact me at heather dot eln dot bc dot ca.

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.

OA in ALPSP report

OA repositories and their affect on the subscription decisions made by librarians is the focus of the recently-released report by the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP), "ALPSP Survey of Librarians on Factors in Journal Cancellation". I haven't read the entire report yet (it's not OA) though I did complete the survey. It seems that there is concern on the part of ALPSP about what the burgeoning amount of content in OA repositories of various stripes will do to library journal subscriptions. The results of the survey may allay these worries, at least in part; for instance, respondents said that availability of articles in repositories was behind faculty needs, usage, and price as a factor in cancellations and that repositories are not seen by librarians as substitutes for "properly managed journal holdings". The data that does make ALPSP sweat a bit is that 54% of respondents said that availability in "OA archives" is an important factor in determining cancellations and that 81% believe that this importance will grow in the next half-decade.

The summary and conclusions, survey results, and press release can be found at

OA in Latest Library Journal Serials Pricing Article

Open Access is mentioned several times in the latest version of the annual serials pricing issue (as well as looking at prices over the last several years, the article usually provides a summary of the major issues in the journal world since the previous report). In fact, OA is noted as occupying "center stage in the journals marketplace in 2005, eclipsing issues of price, publisher mergers, and big deals". Some of the items covered are:

  • The increase in the number of journals included in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) ( The article notes that, as of mid-February 2006, DOAJ contained 2,044 OA journals, up over 600 from the same period in 2005 (as of this morning, DOAJ was at 2184).
  • The high impact factors for some OA journals, especially notable considering the youth of these journals. PLOS Biology and some BMC titles are given as examples
  • The research that shows "that OA articles generate between 25% and 250% more citations than non-OA articles in the same journal from the same year". This comes from the "oft-quoted" article "Ten-Year Cross-Disciplinary Comparison of the Growth of Open Access and How it Increases Research Citation Impact" (IEEE Data Engineering Bulletin 28(4) pp. 39-47,
  • The report from the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) that shows that subscription-based journals are more likely to charge author fees than OA journals are. This report also indicates that 40% of OA journals are still in the red financially.
  • The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Research Councils of the UK (RCUK) situations. These involved recommendations to direct scholars to deposit their research results (articles) in OA repositories.
  • The OA options offered by commercial journal publishers. The article mentions Open Choice from Springer (,,1-40359-0-0-0,00.html; affects 1200 journals), Online Open from Blackwell (; affects 80 journals), Oxford Open from Oxford University Press (; affects 42 journals), and Author Select from the American Institute of Physics (; affects 3 journals).
  • The fact that over 90% of scholarly publishers allow article pre- and/or post-prints to be deposited in subject and/or institutional repositories by authors (see SHERPA for a list:, though not many authors are doing this.

The complete LJ article can be found at

Friday, April 14, 2006

Open Educational Resources

Interesting site!
Open Educational Resources: Free Access to Open Materials for Teaching, Learning and Research. Designed for developing countries, free access for anyone to search and deposit works. Supported by the William & Flora Hewlitt Foundation.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Does Human Health Rely on Open Access (OA)?

In this week's New England Journal of Medicine, the article
Access to the Scientific Literature — A Difficult Balance
Dr. Martin Frank asks provocatively "How should we decide which public good is preferable?..." Open access to the best medical evidence, or promoting the research that advances medical knowledge? There is little point in having access to scientific literature, frankly, in the absence of care - suggests Frank.

Much of what Dr. Frank uses as a lightning rod in his debate of the pros and cons of open access in medicine comes from UBC's John Willinsky's book The Access Principle. The article raises good points about the economics, ethics and politics associated with access to medical evidence in an age when access to healthcare is itself a significant challenge.

E-LIS on Laurie the Librarian's blog

Laurie the Librarian has blogged a nifty explanation of E-LIS:

As a librarian, are you looking for a place to digitally store your papers, presentations, or other materials that you would like to share with the rest of the profession but don't have the means to do so? Why not try E-LIS?

Thanks for the plug, Laurie - and, nifty blog!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

The CERN Library Team: an OA Inspiration!

CERN - the world’s largest particle physics laboratory and birthplace of the World Wide Web, and the CERN Library Team – currently led by Jens Vigen, has been a leader in the open dissemination of scientific results since its inception decades ago. CERN’s free distribution of preprints in paper format has evolved with the technologies available, from FTP to World Wide Web distribution, to the current OAI-compliant CERN Document Server (CDS). If any discipline could afford to rest on its OA laurels, you would think it would be physics! The CERN Library Team, however, is not resting on its laurels at all, but continues to lead the way, from OA via self-archiving to a current push towards full OA publishing (and self-archiving, too).

Accomplishments of the CERN library team include:

The CDS - CERN Document Server repository - as of April 9, 2006, CDS contains over 800,000 bibliographic records, including 360,000 fulltext documents, of interest to people working in particle physics and related areas. A whole team of hard working people have concentrated on this, filling it, harvesting, programming, scanning, managing, etc.

Organising (along with LIBER, SPARC, SPARC Europe, OSI and the OAI) - and hosting the OAI Workshops, one of the world’s major gathering-points for the open access archiving community. As the facilitator of a breakout session at OAI4 – the CERN Workshop on Scholarly Innovations , it is my impression that this series of workshops is an accomplishment not only for advancing OA, but also as a model of how to run a workshop. This was not only one of the most informative workshops I’ve ever attended, it was also among the friendliest for networking, too.

High Energy Physics (HEP) Libraries Webzine (an OA publication).

CERN’s involvement with open access extends back decades to the very beginnings of CERN. Open dissemination of scientific results at CERN began with free distribution of preprints in paper form, and continued electronically via FTP and the World Wide Web before migrating to the current OAI- compliant CERN Document Server.

CERN is now on at the least the third OA policy revision, which addresses OA journals. In 2005, the focus at CERN library was changing publication model meetings. That is, CERN – and its library – are leading the way once more in physics, to move from OA via self-archiving to full OA via OA publishing (and self-archiving too).

The CERN Library Team, like other OA leaders that I know (even if I haven't written about them, at least not yet), has not accumulated a long list of publications and presentations – this team has been too busy implementing to write and present! There are some details about CERN Library's OA history in the presentation,
CERN Document Server Software: The Integrated Digital Library

For the latest on CERN library’s OA leadership, have a look at the SPARC Open Access Forum Archives - look for the thread, CERN’s Historic Role in OA. CERN’s Joanne Yeomans, for example, talks about current developments, including a basket (for creating one’s own bibliographies) and rating system.

Or, better yet, sign up for the SPARC Open Access Forum (SOAF), moderated by Peter Suber, and join in the discussion!

There is a sentiment amongst OA advocates, myself included, that it would be a very fine thing if some of these OA implementation leaders would have some support to promote and explain to the rest of us what they have been doing. All of us OA librarians can benefit from their experiences! Keep up the good work, CERN Library Team – you’re an inspiration to us all!

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.


This week in E-LIS: two new submissions on OA, and a brand new Greek interface!

Antelman, Kristin (2006) Self-archiving practice and the influence of publisher policies in the social sciences. Learned Publishing 19(2):pp. 85-95.

Bauer, Bruno (2005) Open Access Publishing - Trends in Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz : Initiativen, Projekte, Stellenwert. Delivered at ODOK '05 : 11. Österreichisches Online-Informationstreffen ; 12. Österreichischer Dokumentartag : "Zugang zum Fachwissen", Bozen: Freie Universität Bozen. Presentation.

Many thanks to the Greece E-LIS team for the E-LIS Greek Interface. Some of the E-LIS main pages have also been translated into Italian, Spanish, and Turkish.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Le biblioteche per la libertà d'accesso all'informazione

May 18 - 19, 2006 Bologne. Le biblioteche per la libertà d'accesso all'informazione. (Italian). Thanks to biblio-info-sociedad.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Is hiring Davidoff as Interim Editor CMAJ's last chance?

Despite an almost inexplicable series of gaffes since January 2006, emeritus editor of the Annals of Interal Medicine Dr. Frank Davidoff has agreed to serve as the Canadian Medical Association Journals' Interim Editor, according to this Canadian Press article.

Some may view Davidoff's appointment as a positive sign for the beleaguered Canadian journal, but the CMAJ is not out of the woods by a longshot. In fact, a panel led by Antonio Lamer, a retired chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, is studying the issue of the strained relationship between the CMAJ and the CMA and will make recommendations regarding a new governance structure in late June.

In the meantime, one question arises: is all of this too little, too late? Reputations are hard to build, and even harder to restore.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

April SPARC Open Access Newsletter

The April 2006 SPARC Open Access Newsletter is now available. Peter Suber highlights the The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation, DFG)'s adoption of an OA policy instructing grantees to provide OA to DFG-funded research, and discusses progress on other national open access policies.