Thursday, May 24, 2007

IGLOO Library: open access to documents for innovation in international governance

The IGLOO Library of The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) provides free access to documents in the area of International Governance. Topic areas include economics, environment, health, humanitarian issues, international institutions, international law, peace and security, science and technology, social and political development.

Thanks to Melissa Fraser.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

SCOAP3 Progress Towards Open Access Publishing in High Energy Physics

The SCOAP3 Working Party, Towards Open Access Publishing in High Energy Physics Report of the SCOAP3 Working Party, CERN, April 19, 2007 (but released today)

CERN and its library, led by library director Jens Vigen, is helping to lead the effort to coordinate a move to full open access publishing in high energy physics (HEP), through a consortium of purchasers and publishers.

This initiative is noteworthy in many respects. For example, economic analysis has determined that the annual budget required for full OA publishing for HEP would be no more than a maximum of 10 million Euros per year; about what the 500 purchasing members of the consortium would pay in subscriptions for about 2 journals.

Peter Suber comments:

We're watching a massive transition to OA in process. This is not only the first project to convert all the TA journals in a field to OA; it's also succeeding. It's succeeding in pulling together the needed stakeholders and it's succeeding in raising the money. It's also succeeding in showing that the final result will cost the stakeholders less than the current system.

OA advocates have always argued that funding OA doesn't require new money, just a redirection of the money now spent on subscriptions....What's most significant about the CERN project is that it's a large-scale, discipline-wide, stakeholder-united redirection project.

Finally, CERN is on track to accomplish this feat with fusion, not fissionor with cooperation and comity all around rather than antagonism and division.

For more details, see Open Access News

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Branding the library

A post on noted open access expert Alma Swan's new blog, Optimal Scholarship, on Branding the Library, may be of interest; particularly since Alma is not a librarian, but rather an academic researcher and consultant.

It seems that in the UK, libraries are seen as peripheral, which is unfortunate for scholarship. Where I come from, the library is seen as the heart of the campus, which makes sense given the importance of information for research and education throughout all academic disciplines.

Alma's blogpost is, as usual for her, based on a 6-month research study by Key Perspectives.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Be Open - Or, Be Irrelevant

I recently had a stimulating discussion with a medical faculty member about open access, and why being truly open may be important to the advancement of medicine. This is both an access issue, and a philosophical one. With all of the excitement and media coverage of Open Medicine, the faculty member was, in a sense, asking about intent and why researchers want to publish in open-access journals as opposed to one of the many pre-eminent, fee-based journals. It's important to be clear about how open access fits into our professional lives, and our emerging global society.

Excellent questions, ones we all should consider as open access advocates. First, I think it's important to conflate trends in information technology and society in general with the principles of open access. They enjoy symbiosis, I think. We live in an increasingly global world, where transnational communities and connections are now possible due to technology, and social software. Efficient, decentralized and inexpensive models of information dissemination were not available to us, even a few years ago.

Which brings me back to Open Medicine. I've been asked by colleagues to comment on our business model. At this point, we operate on very little money and are seeking philanthropic support, as well as reviewing other models of support. What propels us is a firm belief in openness, integrity in published research and transparency - ideals free from interference and conflicts. Is open access symbolic of changes in society? I believe it is. Those who try to ignore these changes, including the for-profit publishers, will increasingly risk irrelevancy. My new mantra: be open - or be irrelevant.