Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Article in Salon on OA

Andrew Leonard writes a great column in on "How the world works". Today there was this:

Science publishers get even stupider

For fans of increased public access to taxpayer-funded scientific research, 2007 got off to an eye-opening start when Nature broke the news in January that Eric Dezenhall, a public relations high flier, was advising a group of scientific publishers to start pushing the theme that "public access equals government censorship."

I had some fun with that tidbit: "... any publisher of scientific research who even begins to entertain the notion that free access to scientific information can or should be equated with government censorship should be mocked mercilessly in every publication, online or off, free or subscription required, evanescent as a blog or solid as a hard-copy Encyclopedia Britannica, from now until they beg forgiveness from every human on this planet for their disingenuous mendacity." A few days later I was similarly unkind while reviewing Dezenhall's book "Damage Control."

Despite my rhetoric, I can't say I actually believed that the publishers would take Dezenhall's advice. But that is exactly what has happened, reports Peter Suber, the author of a blog exquisitely focused on the topic of open access. On Aug. 23, the Association of American Publishers announced that it was forming a lobbying organization, the Partnership for Research Integrity in Science and Medicine (PRISM), to fight back against the perfidious influence of the open access revolutionaries.

A specter is haunting commercial science publishers:

Policies are being proposed that threaten to introduce undue government intervention in science and scholarly publishing, putting at risk the integrity of scientific research by ... undermining the peer review process by compromising the viability of non-profit and commercial journals that manage and fund it [AND] opening the door to scientific censorship in the form of selective additions to or omissions from the scientific record.

Peter Suber's own demolition of PRISM's press release is recommended as a starting point for discussion. Interested parties would also do well to review the terrific conversation that broke out in the Salon comments area when this topic came up in January, before making ill-considered assertions as to how open access will lead to the death of peer review and the end of civilization as we know it.

I stand by my original opinion. The American Association of Publishers and everyone associated with it should be ashamed of trying to protect their profit margins by slandering the open access movement as government intervention and censorship. Research paid for with government funds should be freely accessible to the general public. Peer review will survive. PRISM, however, will be doomed by its own weasel words, which represent a betrayal of everything science stands for.

A taste of Suber, responding to one of the talking points in PRISM's press release:

3. "Recently, there have been legislative and regulatory efforts to compel not-for-profit and commercial journals to surrender to the Federal government a large number of published articles that scholarly journals have paid to peer review, publish, promote, archive and distribute." The word "surrender" here is false and dishonest. Recent legislative and regulatory efforts have encouraged free online access to peer-reviewed manuscripts within 12 months of publication. A few efforts, which have not yet passed, would require this kind of free online access. But every one of these efforts (1) has applied to the final version of the author’s peer-reviewed manuscript, not to the published edition, and (2) has been scrupulous to avoid amending copyright law or interferring with the transfer of copyright.

And let us stress again. This is for research that the public paid for, not Monsanto or Merck.

Let the mocking begin.

Andrew Leonard

Saturday, August 25, 2007

LIS literature and the gold road: 30% there!

The Directory of Open Access Journals currently lists 77 fully open access, peer-reviewed scholarly LIS journals. This list includes 2 titles with title changes, so the actual total is 75.

An Uhlrich's search for active, scholarly / academic refereed journals with "library" as a subject yields 246 titles.

This means that librarianship is already 30% of the way on the gold road, full open access publishing.

Analysis of recent journal start-ups is even more encouraging! For example, all of the journals listed in either DOAJ or Ulrich's with a start year of 2007 are open access. There are 9 journals in Uhlrich's with a start year of 2006, 8 in DOAJ (88%). There are more scholarly LIS journals with a start year of 2000 or later in DOAJ (39) than there are in Uhrich's (31)!

Full data are available in the open access spreadsheet LIS and the Gold Road.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

JASIS pushing to liberalize author agreements

The Journal of the American Society for Information Science (JASIS) is pushing Wiley to liberalize its author agreements, according to Editorial Board member Christine L. Borgman. Good for you, Christine and JASIS!!!

Excerpt from Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed Aug. 22: Publishing and Values (main focus is Anthrosource moving to Wiley Blackwell):

Christine L. Borgman is a professor of information studies at the University of California at Los Angeles and author of Scholarship in the Digital Age: Information, Infrastructure, and the Internet, to be published in October by MIT Press. She is also on the editorial board of a journal published by Wiley-Blackwell, The Journal of the American Society for Information Science.

That editorial board, she said, has been pushing Wiley to liberalize its author agreements, so that authors have more leeway to place their papers in online repositories. Currently, they have wide access to place their writings on their own Web sites, but limits elsewhere. Borgman said this model no longer makes sense competitively. More and more scholars, she said, “want repository-friendly journals” and won’t publish in places they don’t view as committed to some measure of open access. Why publish in a journal that is closed off, she said, when you can be in a journal where more people will find your research?

Borgman said that the journal’s editorial board is still waiting for a response from the publisher.

Hat tip to Peter Suber, Open Access News.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Persian blog for E-LIS

A Persian blog for E-LIS is now available.

Thanks to Alirezi Noruzi, E-LIS Editor for Afghanistan and Iraq, Editor-in-Chief of Webology

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Coming Revolution in Scholarly Communications and Cyberinfrastructure

CTWatch Quarterly has just published a very interesting special issue, The Coming Revolution in Scholarly Communications and Cyberinfrastructure. Highly recommended reading! Thanks to Peter Suber of Open Access News for the tip - and a handy clickable table of contents!

Internet Archive is now officially a library!

According to a June 25, 2007 Announcement, the Internet Archive is now officially a library! It's about time, congratulations!

Thanks very much to Brewster Kahle and the Internet Archive for archiving OA Librarian and other blogs such as The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics. In my opinion - this is library work!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

CARL and SPARC offer Canadian authors new tool to widen access to published articles

CARL and SPARC have teamed up to provide a Canadian version of the SPARC Author Addendum. Please spread the word! This message is an important example, and recognition, of Canadian Leadership in the Open Access Movement

Le texte français suit le texte anglais

For immediate release
August 15, 2007

For more information, contact:
Tim Mark, CARL
(613) 562-5385

Jennifer McLennan, SPARC
(202) 296-2296 ext. 121

Popular author copyright addendum adapted for use in Canada

Ottawa, ON and Washington, DC - August 15, 2007 - The Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) and SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) today announced the release of the SPARC Canadian Author Addendum, a new tool for authors in Canada to retain key rights to the journal articles they publish.

Traditional publishing agreements often require that authors grant exclusive rights to the publisher. The new SPARC Canadian Author Addendum enables authors to secure a more balanced agreement by retaining select rights, such as the rights to reproduce, reuse, and publicly present the articles they publish for non-commercial purposes. It will help Canadian researchers to comply with granting council public access policies, such as the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Policy on Access to Research Outputs. The Canadian Addendum reflects Canadian copyright law and is an adaptation of the original U.S. version of the SPARC Author Addendum.

"The SPARC Canadian Author Addendum allows researchers to have maximum impact and visibility for their publications - with the comfort of knowing important rights still belong to them," stated Carolynne Presser, Chair of the CARL Scholarly Communication Committee and Director of Libraries at the University of Manitoba.

"The Canadian Addendum is an important contribution to the ongoing international movement to support authors in making research articles accessible to all who may benefit from their findings," said Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC. "Canada has been a leader in the move toward increased access to research and we're pleased to have played a role in collaborating with CARL on this important initiative."

An explanatory brochure complements the Addendum. Both the brochure and addendum are available in French and English on the CARL and SPARC Web sites and will be widely distributed. SPARC, in conjunction with ARL and ACRL, has also introduced a free Web cast on Understanding Author Rights. See for details.

For more information, please see the CARL Web site at or the SPARC Web site at

CARL is the leadership organization for the Canadian research library community. CARL's members represent Canada's 27 major academic research libraries, Library and Archives Canada, the Library of Parliament and the Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (CISTI). For more information see

SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), with SPARC Europe and SPARC Japan, is an international alliance of more than 800 academic and research libraries working to create a more open system of scholarly communication. SPARC's advocacy, educational, and publisher partnership programs encourage expanded dissemination of research. SPARC is on the Web at

Publication immédiate
Le 15 août 2007

Renseignements :
Tim Mark, ABRC
(613) 562 5385

Jennifer McLennan, SPARC
(202) 296 2296, poste 121

Un addenda populaire sur le droit d'auteur est adapté pour utilisation au Canada

Ottawa (Ontario) et Washington, DC - le 15 août 2007 - L'Association des bibliothèques de recherche du Canada (ABRC) et SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) ont annoncé aujourd'hui le lancement de l'Addenda de l'auteur canadien SPARC, un nouvel outil permettant aux auteurs du Canada de conserver d'importants droits sur les articles de revue qu'ils publient.

Selon les ententes traditionnelles de publication, les auteurs doivent souvent concéder des droits exclusifs à l'éditeur. Le nouvel Addenda de l'auteur canadien SPARC permet aux auteurs de conclure une entente plus juste du fait qu'ils conservent certains droits, comme les droits de reproduction, de réutilisation et de présentation publique des articles qu'ils publient à des fins autres que commerciales. Il permettra aux chercheurs canadiens de se conformer aux politiques d'accès public des conseils subventionnaires, comme la Politique sur l'accès aux résultats de la recherche des Instituts de recherche en santé du Canada. L'Addenda est conforme à la loi canadienne sur le droit d'auteur et il s'agit d'une adaptation de la version originale américaine du Author Addendum de SPARC.

« L'Addenda de l'auteur canadien SPARC permettra aux chercheurs d'avoir une influence et d'obtenir une visibilité maximales pour leurs publications, tout en sachant qu'ils en conservent certains droits importants, » a déclaré Carolynne Presser, présidente du Comité de la communication savante de l'ABRC et directrice des bibliothèques à l'Université du Manitoba.

« L'Addenda est une contribution importante au mouvement international actuel visant à aider les auteurs à rendre leurs articles savants accessibles à tous ceux qui pourraient tirer avantage de leurs découvertes, » a dit la directrice exécutive de SPARC, Heather Joseph. « Le Canada a été un chef de file dans le mouvement visant à élargir l'accès à la recherche et nous avons été heureux de jouer un rôle en collaborant avec l'ABRC à cette initiative importante. »

Une brochure explicative complète l'Addenda. La brochure et l'addenda sont disponibles en français et en anglais sur les sites Web de l'ABRC et de SPARC et ils seront largement diffusés. SPARC, en collaboration avec l'ARL et l'ACRL, a aussi lancé un webcast gratuit pour expliquer les droits d'auteur (Understanding Author Rights). Voir pour plus de renseignements.

Pour plus d'information, consultez le site Web de l'ABRC à ou le site Web de SPARC à

L'ABRC est l'organisme chef de file pour l'ensemble des bibliothèques de recherche au Canada. Ses membres représentent les 27 grandes bibliothèques de recherche universitaire au Canada, Bibliothèque et Archives Canada, la Bibliothèque du Parlement et l'Institut canadien de l'information scientifique et technique (ICIST). Pour plus d'information, voir

SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), avec SPARC Europe et SPARC Japon, est une alliance internationale regroupant plus de 800 bibliothèques universitaires et de recherche qui s'efforcent d'établir un système plus ouvert pour la communication savante. Avec ses programmes de promotion, d'éducation et de partenariat, SPARC favorise une plus grande diffusion de la recherche. On peut trouver SPARC sur le Web à

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Hybrids Continue: ALPSP Open Choice

I'm a little late on this and it has been blogged elsewhere but I thought I should at least mention the latest entry into the hybrid journal pool, "Open Choice" from the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP). Beginning with the July 2007 issue, authors of articles in the ALPSP journal Learned Publishing will be able to make their accepted articles openly accessible with a submission fee $2500 US for members and $3000 for non-members.

Some notes:

*This is being run as a trial for 12 months, "to see if it provides a viable way of sustaining the costs of peer review, editing and other aspects of journal publication". They will also look at amending subscription costs after the year is up, a good thing, IMHO.

*The fees are at the high end of the hybrid spectrum. The $3000 non-member fee matches that of Springer's hybrid program, which is at or near the top. My gut feeling is that this might be too pricey for the average Learned Publishing author but I could be wrong.

*The ALPSP does permit all Learned Publishing articles to become freely accessible after a year so the addition of the OA option for the current year means that at least some of the journals will be OA regardless of date of publication.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Dean Giustini interviews John Willinsky

OA Librarian blog team member Dean Giustini interviews noted open access advocate John Willinsky on Google Scholar Blog. Topics include Willinsky's move to Stanford (while still maintaining a partial post at UBC), use of blogging within journals, and sustainability for open access journals, possibly through cooperatives.

Library Fund for Open Access Publishing at University of Wisconsin-Madison

Kudos to the library at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for establishing a Fund for Open Access Publishing!.

Hat tip to Peter Suber on Open Access News for the tip.

Oxford adjusts open access pricing adjustments

I saw this first on the liblicense-l list on the afternoon of August 12 (it hadn't appeared in the liblicense-l archives as of writing - OUP announced that some of the 2008 prices for the journals with "Oxford Open" content have been amended; corporate rates were presented instead of academic ones. I gave the new list ( a once-over and I can't see too much difference between the revised rates and the previously-posted numbers though I may be missing something (others may be better able to pick out any notable variances; let me know if you see anything). Anyway, it's still a very good thing that the submission fees collected via the Oxford Open program are being taken into account in subscription pricing. OUP is certainly one of the earliest publishers to do this, if not the only one so far; I hope others will follow suit soon. Maybe we'll see more of this as 2008 subscription prices are released in the next few months?

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

DOAJ Review for The Charleston Advisor: Request for Comments

I am working on a review of The Directory of Open Access Journals for the October 2007 issue of The Charleston Advisor (TCA).

Comments from libraries, publishers, members, and sponsors of DOAJ would be most appreciated.

TCA is a peer-reviewed publication, with a primary focus on review of products of interest to libraries. Some articles in each TCA issue are open access, particularly those on open access initiatives (kudos to TCA for inviting reviews on OA products and initiatives).

TCA uses a 5-star rating system (with 5 stars representing the highest possible rating), based on 4 elements: Content, Searchability, Pricing, and Contract Options.

I have a particular interest in exploring economic models for sustainability of open access initiatives. Your comments on the DOAJ membership / sponsorship model would be most appreciated. Better yet - why not have your library or organization sign up as a member or sponsor now, and render the question moot?

Some preliminary thoughts on the elements:

1. Content: is DOAJ sufficiently comprehensive, and does the vetting process result in a list that we can trust for certain elements of quality, particularly peer review and open access status? How does DOAJ as a package of journals compare with subscription packages?

2. Searchability: can you find what you need on DOAJ? Is it easy or hard? Are there types of searches not currently supported that you would like to see?

3. Pricing: free access cannot be beat! However, here is where comments on the membership / sponsorship model would fit. One way to think of this: how does the cost of DOAJ membership compare with libraries paying for staffing to manage this kind of list on their own? Organizations in developing countries have expressed an interest in membership, but the initial suggestions do not fit their circumstances. Is there a way of defining a membership contribution that makes sense everywhere? How about a suggested membership fee based on X number of average days' salary? That is, DOAJ could calculate the initial suggestion based on number of day's salary, based on average salaries in Sweden. An organization in a developing country could then calculate the same amount of salary time based on salaries in their own country, and be confident that their contribution, while different in dollar amount, is fully equivalent to the contributions of others.

4. Contract options: this element may be more obvious with subscription resources, but is important with OA resources as well. Do we know everything we need to know about how we can use the resources in DOAJ? Journals and articles are free to read, of course - but what about inclusion in coursepacks or e-reserves, distribution in class?

Please post comments by August 12, or send to:
Heather Morrison
heatherm dot eln dot bc dot ca

Updated August 12, 2007

E-LIS: the Open Archive for Library and Information Science

reposted from The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics:

E-LIS: the Open Archive for Library and Information Science, by Heather Morrison, Imma Subirats Coll, Antonella de Robbio, and Norm Medeiros, has just been published in The Charleston Advisor (TCA), Volume 9, Number 1, July 2007 , pp. 56-61(6).

As noted in the article, we are E-LIS Editors and Administrators,although we have followed the format of the peer-reviewed TCA reviews and aimed for objectivity.

In brief, E-LIS is the largest of the open access archives for LIS, by far; as of July 31, 2007, E-LIS has more than 6,200 documents. Strengths of E-LIS include support for any language (currently there are 22 languages, however more will be added if needed), strong English and Spanish language content, and high quality of contents. More than half the documents in E-LIS are peer reviewed, and many of the remainder are scholarly in nature, e.g. theses, conference proceedings. As an LIS e-prints archive, it is perhaps only natural that E-LIS is exemplary in its organization and searchability, including extensive browsing capabilities, and the JITA classification team specially developed by the E-LIS team, for E-LIS.

From a personal perspective, what is most amazing to me is E-LIS as a global, almost entirely volunteer organization. Hardware and personnel support provided by CILEA in Italy is most appreciated. The Editorial Team consists of volunteers from over 40 countries. Participating as a member of the E-LIS team is highly recommended, as a way to work collaboratively with librarian colleagues from around the globe.

This global participation highlights one of the reasons why I recommend searching E-LIS first: the results of an E-LIS search have a much broader, more diverse perspective than many of the search tools we may be more familiar with. Even though many languages are supported, every article includes an English abstract - and sometimes, the abstract is enough. Enough, at least, to give us an idea of the commonalities and differences between our efforts, and those of our colleagues.

Recently, I am proud to say, the Canadian Library Association approved a policy which included investigating a partnership with E-LIS. [Disclosure: I am the Convenor of the CLA Task Force on Open Access].