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January 31, 2006

PubMed Central Open Access Archiving Policies: Request to Deposit Articles Does not Work. Requirement is a to-be-implemented Must

The Winter 2006 issue of ARL's Federal Relations and Information Policy is now online. Section V.B is on the NIH public-access policy and V.C is on the CURES Act. Excerpt by OA News (P.Suber. "More on the NIH policy and CURES Act", 31 Jan 2006):

Based on a review of statistics detailing grantee deposit rates, the NIH Public Access Working Group, comprised of key stakeholders including members of the library community, recommended that researchers be required to deposit articles in PMC in lieu of the current policy which is voluntary. Ann Wolpert, Director of Libraries, MIT, is a member of the Working Group. The library community strongly supports this recommendation. ARL will continue to monitor the NIH policy and work with others in the community, SPARC and the Alliance for Taxpayer Access (ATA) in particular, on this evolving policy....

Introduced on December 14, 2005, by Senators Joe Lieberman (D-CT) and Thad Cochran (R-MS), the bipartisan “American Center for Cures Act of 2005” would expedite the development of new therapies and cures for life-threatening diseases. One provision in the bill calls for free public access to articles stemming from research funded by agencies of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), including NIH, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Under the proposed legislation, articles published in a peer-reviewed journal would be required to be made publicly available within 6 months via NIH's PubMed Central online digital archive. The library associations note that although some final electronic manuscripts are made available on PubMed Central, many are not—and delays in posting research on PubMed sometimes thwart public access to important articles for up to a year. The library announcement is available at www.librarycopyrightalliance.org. ARL will promote the public access provision in the CURES legislation.

January 30, 2006

ABC of Open Archives Initiative and OAI Protocol for Metadata Harvesting. A scholar must-know

Philip Hunter, OAI and OAI-PMH for absolute beginners: a non-technical introduction, a PPT presentation at the CERN workshop on Innovations in Scholarly Communication (OAI4) (Geneva, October 20-22, 2005). Self-archived January 30, 2006. Abstract:

1. Coverage: - Overview of key Open Archives Initiative (OAI) concepts.
- Development of the OAI Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH).
- Non-technical introduction to main underlying technical ideas.
- Some considerations regarding implementation of OAI-PMH, with particular focus on harvesting issues. For those who would like an introduction to, or revision of, the main concepts associated with OAI then this session will provide an ideal foundation for the rest of the OAI4 workshop.

2. Audience: Decision-makers, Managers, Technical staff with no previous OAI-PMH knowledge. This is a tutorial for those who may not themselves do hands-on technical implementation, but might make or advise on decisions whether or not to implement particular solutions. They may have staff who are implementers, or may work with them. Technical staff are likely to prefer the technical tutorials, but may want to attend this one if they are at the very early stage of simply requiring background information.

3. At the end of the tutorial participants will have gained knowledge of:
- the background of the OAI as an initiative;
- how the OAI-PMH developed; - the uses and functions of OAI-PMH;
- the vocabulary used in discussing OAI;
- problems and issues in harvesting metadata;
- some basic non-technical issues in implementing OAI-PMH;
- some of the technical support/tools available;
- sources of further information in all of these areas.

Source: P.Suber. Beginner's introduction to OAI and OAI-PMH. OA News Blog. (30 january 2006) [FullText]

January 29, 2006

Two More Open Access Repositories Indexed by Thomson's Web Citation Index

"Ulrich Herb has announced on SOAF that... [b]oth OA repositories (SciDok the institutional repository at Saarland University, and PsyDok the disciplinary repository for psychological OA content) at Saarland University and State Library (SULB, Germay) will be added to Thomsons Web Citation Index and Current Web Contents." (thanks to OA News Blog Posting)

January 28, 2006

Google Explains Why it Helps China Government to Limit Peoples' Access to Information

Andrew McLaughlin, Google's senior policy lawyer, has blogged an explanation of Google's decision to censor the Chinese version of its index. Excerpt:

"We know that many people are upset about this decision, and frankly, we understand their point of view. This wasn't an easy choice, but in the end, we believe the course of action we've chosen will prove to be the right one. Launching a Google domain that restricts information in any way isn't a step we took lightly. For several years, we've debated whether entering the Chinese market at this point in history could be consistent with our mission and values. Our executives have spent a lot of time in recent months talking with many people, ranging from those who applaud the Chinese government for its embrace of a market economy and its lifting of 400 million people out of poverty to those who disagree with many of the Chinese government's policies, but who wish the best for China and its people. We ultimately reached our decision by asking ourselves which course would most effectively further Google's mission to organize the world's information and make it universally useful and accessible. Or, put simply: how can we provide the greatest access to information to the greatest number of people? Filtering our search results clearly compromises our mission. Failing to offer Google search at all to a fifth of the world's population, however, does so far more severely. Whether our critics agree with our decision or not, due to the severe quality problems faced by users trying to access Google.com from within China, this is precisely the choice we believe we faced. By launching Google.cn and making a major ongoing investment in people and infrastructure within China, we intend to change that. No, we're not going to offer some Google products, such as Gmail or Blogger, on Google.cn until we're comfortable that we can do so in a manner that respects our users' interests in the privacy of their personal communications. And yes, Chinese regulations will require us to remove some sensitive information from our search results. When we do so, we'll disclose this to users, just as we already do in those rare instances where we alter results in order to comply with local laws in France, Germany and the U.S. Obviously, the situation in China is far different than it is in those other countries; while China has made great strides in the past decades, it remains in many ways closed. We aren't happy about what we had to do this week, and we hope that over time everyone in the world will come to enjoy full access to information. But how is that full access most likely to be achieved? We are convinced that the Internet, and its continued development through the efforts of companies like Google, will effectively contribute to openness and prosperity in the world. Our continued engagement with China is the best (perhaps only) way for Google to help bring the tremendous benefits of universal information access to all our users there. We're in this for the long haul. In the years to come, we'll be making significant and growing investments in China. Our launch of google.cn, though filtered, is a necessary first step toward achieving a productive presence in a rapidly changing country that will be one of the world's most important and dynamic for decades to come. To some people, a hard compromise may not feel as satisfying as a withdrawal on principle, but we believe it's the best way to work toward the results we all desire."

Source: Google explains its decision to work with Chinese censors. Open Access News Blog (28 January 2006) [FullText]

January 27, 2006

NIH Introduced Important Enhancement to Author Manuscripts Under the NIH Public Access Policy

New Status Tag for PubMed Citations, NLM Technical Bulletin, January 27, 2006.

Author manuscripts for published articles were added to PubMed Central (PMC), NIH digital archive of life sciences journal literature, beginning in July 2005 (see article: PubMed Links to Author Manuscripts in PMC...). A new status tag, [PubMed - author manuscript in PMC], will appear on PubMed citations for articles that would not normally be cited in PubMed because they are from journals that are a) not indexed for MEDLINE or b) do not participate in PMC. This small number of citations can be retrieved using the search: pubstatusnihms. As these citations are processed, the status tag will change as appropriate, with a final designation of [PubMed]. To retrieve all citations in PubMed for which author manuscripts are available in PMC, use the search: author manuscript (thanks to Peter Suber Posting at OANews).

January 26, 2006

Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR) Emerged

Tim Brody's Institutional Archives Registry has changed its name to the Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR). To mark the occasion, Stevan Harnad has written a reminder of ROAR's strengths. Excerpt by Peter Suber ("Brody registry now ROARs", OA News):

For researchers or OA advocates (or detractors!) who are interested in the current state, growth rate and distribution of Open Access Repositories (or Archives) worldwide, ROAR, the Registry of Open Access Repositories (created by Southampton doctoral student Tim Brody as part of his thesis, and for the Eprints and OpCit projects) allows anyone to generate growth charts by archive type, or by individual archive. It can also rank-order archives by the number of OAI records they currently contain (i.e., their size). ROAR is a gold-mine of current, cumulating data, ripe for anyone enterprising enough to want to report an up-to-date quantitative analysis of how OA IRs are progressing today, and where. I also take this opportunity to remind all OA Archives and OA IRs to please *register* with ROAR so you too can be counted, and your content growth tracked. The size and growth data are classified by the type of Archive: (i) Distributed Institutional/Departmental Pre-/Postprint Archives (275), (ii) Central Cross-Research Archives (69) (iii) Dissertation Archives (e-theses) (62), as well as (iv) database Archives (e.g. research data) (10), (v) e-journal/e-publishing Archives (53), (vi) demonstration Archives (not yet operational) (24), (vii) "other" Archives (non-OA content of various kinds) (79). The archives can also be classified by country, and by the software they use.

January 25, 2006

Open Access textbooks subsidized by ads. Why not?

Add Freeload Press to the list of publishers of OA textbooks. For some background, see Jessica Frizen, Company makes free textbooks possible, Pendulum Online, January 19, 2006. Excerpt by Peter Suber OA News Blog:

As a worker in Elon's campus bookstore for two and a half years, senior Molly Steinberg said she's seen a student pay as much as $1,000 for textbooks in a single semester. The amounts that students pay for textbooks each year may drastically decrease over the next few years due to a new textbook company that is out to sell a new type of textbook: free ones. "With the cost of college skyrocketing and with aid not keeping pace, we want to see as many students as possible have free textbooks," said Tom Doran, CEO and founder of Freeload Press. "(Textbooks) are too important to go without . . . we're seeing textbook purchases declining as tuition increases." Freeload Press, which was created in St. Paul, Minn., gave its downloadable college textbooks a test run this past fall. Fifty-one instructors from 20 colleges used the company's e-books, and because of the positive feedback from both students and professors, 175 colleges and universities are registered to use them for the spring 2006 semester. Elon University finance professor, Wonhi Synn, will be the first professor in North Carolina to provide free textbooks to his students next semester. "The reason I'm trying this out for my section is because the textbook I'm using is good quality," he said. "I would not adopt something that is sub-quality just because it's free." Students in Synn's Fundamentals of Financial Managing class will download their e-books using Adobe Acrobat format from Freeload Press' Internet Portal...If they would rather have a hardcopy, the company also offers paperback e-books with advertising, which are sold for 60 percent less than the original cost of the textbook. "We debated about using a browser base, but students want a sense of ownership," Doran said. "They want the information right on the laptop or desktop so they can have at it any time they want without worrying about being connected."...Freeload Press is currently using 10 corporate sponsors. When businesses sponsor Freeload Press, they are able to put advertisements in the front of the printed book and in chapter openings of e-textbooks....So what's the possibility of every student getting all of their textbooks for free in the next couple years? Doran said it may be a longer project than we may hope. But he also said that these first steps made by Freeload Press are meant to cause a reaction and make an example for other companies to follow. "That's our goal," Doran said. "We're trying to show other publishers that we work, we can get sponsors and we can get academics to use the commercial textbook."... Freeload Press is the first media and publishing company to adopt the idea of using commercial sponsoring to reduce the price of textbooks.

January 24, 2006

Librarian Noteworthy: Directory of Open Repositories Launched

OpenDOAR (the Directory of Open Repositories) has officially launched its list of OA archives and repositories. From today's press release:

"OpenDOAR - the Directory of Open Access Repositories - is pleased to announce the release of its primary listing of" open access archives....Some of these archives hold material on a single subject: others are based in universities and hold information from across many different subjects. Leading universities in the UK, Sweden, Germany, France and across Europe, Australia, India, the USA and world-wide have built an expanding international network of archives. Repositories have been built by research funders, like the US National Institutes for Health or the UK-based Wellcome Trust. There are now large numbers of archives of different sizes, composition and scope and new repositories are regularly established. Keeping track of these repositories and the range of information that they hold is a challenge. Although most open access repositories have been designed to allow information about themselves to be gathered automatically, discrepancies can creep into the system. Therefore, each of the OpenDOAR repositories have been visited by project staff to check the information that is gathered. This indepth approach gives a quality-controlled list of repository features. In addition, while reviewing these archives, project staff are building a picture of the world-wide development of open access repositories, noting new features and directions. This information is being analysed to create the next version of the listing, with further information and categories being noted for each repository. In the meantime, the newly released list will continue to grow as new repositories are added. The aim is to create a bridge between repository administrators and the service providers which "harvest" repositories. A typical service provider would be a search engine, indexing the material that is held. General search often brings back too many "junk" results. Information from OpenDOAR will enable the search service to provide a more focussed search by selecting repositories that are of direct interest to the user - for example, all Australian repositories, or all repositories that hold conference papers on chemistry. Bill Hubbard, the joint OpenDOAR manager said: "We are very pleased to launch the initial list of OpenDOAR. The range and number of repositories we are seeing coming on-stream is inspiring. We are working to classify these and produce information for search-providers, funding agencies and others, which will benefit scholars and researchers around the world. We would like to thank all of the contributors that have sent in information and suggestions." OpenDOAR is a joint collaboration between the University of Nottingham in the UK and Lund University in Sweden." (thanks to Peter Suber)

January 23, 2006

NIH PubChem Collection Grows Again

PubChem now includes structures from CambridgeSoft, KUMGM, and SMID (here, here, and here respectively). It has also added structures and bioAssay data from the New Mexico Molecular Libraries Screening Center (NMMLSC). (thanks to Peter Suber post at OANews)

January 22, 2006

Will Open Access And Open Courseware Improve Higher Education

David Wiley will testify next week before the US Secretary of Education’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education. He's blogged his draft testimony for comment. Excerpt by P Suber OA News ("Improving higher ed through open access and open courseware"):

Once upon a time, the courses of our colleges and universities were the primary repositories of post-secondary curricular content. Today, initiatives like OpenCourseWare provide content seekers from around the world with a legitimate alternative source of curricular materials. Once upon a time, the university library was the primary repository of research like peer-reviewed journals and monographs. Today, initiatives like the Public Library of Science and pre-print services like Arxiv.org provide individuals from around the world with a legitimate alternative source of research findings. Once upon a time, a college or university’s faculty was the primary repository of technical and academic expertise in a community. Today, technologies like email and instant messaging put seekers of expertise in touch with faculty at many universities as well as professionals, “pro-am” hobbyists, and others from around the world almost instantly....Higher education must continue its efforts to become digital and mobile, while working to become significantly more open, connected, personal, and participatory....I believe that the movement toward greater openness in education, as exemplified by programs like the OpenCourseWare (OCW) initiatives at MIT, Johns Hopkins, Tufts, Notre Dame, and Utah State universities, the Foothill-De Anza Community College, and the Utah College of Applied Technology, is one of the truly great innovations in teaching and learning that has occurred in the last several decades. In the context of my remarks to the Commission, I believe that openness is the gateway to connectedness, personalization, and participation. Openness is a catalyst for further innovation. A few examples: As a faculty member, if I want to connect my course materials to prerequisite materials from classes students have already taken in order to create review opportunities or provide remediation, this connectivity is possible only if both I and the students have access to these materials. Without this openness, there is nothing to connect to, and the level of connectivity my students expect is not attainable....The time will come when an OpenCourseWare or similar collection of open access educational materials will be as fully expected from every higher education institution as an informational website is now. The United States can be either the leader in this innovation, as we were with the previous generation of higher education websites, or we can follow the rest of the world. There are already active consortia of universities engaged in OCW projects in China, in Japan, and in South America, as well as efforts at individual universities in Europe and other parts of the world. In terms of the total number of universities actively involved, the U.S. is already behind. Our first mover advantage in this area, and our subsequent ability to attract top students, will not last long....I believe that openness is the key to enabling other innovations and catalyzing improvements in the quality, accountability, affordability, and accessibility of higher education. It is my recommendation that the Commission do everything within its power to promote a commitment to openness within higher education.

January 20, 2006

Google's Cache is Fair Use of a Copyrighted Material

Nevada Court Rules Google Cache is Fair Use, a press release from the EFF, January 25, 2006.
A federal district court in Nevada has ruled that Google does not violate copyright law when it copies websites, stores the copies, and transmits them to Internet users as part of its Google Cache feature. The ruling clarifies the legal status of several common search engine practices and could influence future court cases, including the lawsuits brought by book publishers against the Google Library Project. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) was not involved in the case but applauds last week's ruling for clarifying that fair use covers new digital uses of copyrighted materials. Blake Field, an author and attorney, brought the copyright infringement lawsuit against Google after the search engine automatically copied and cached a story he posted on his website. Google responded that its Google Cache feature, which allows Google users to link to an archival copy of websites indexed by Google, does not violate copyright law. The court agreed, holding that the Cache qualifies as a fair use of copyrighted material. "This ruling makes it clear that the Google Cache is legal and clears away copyright questions that have troubled the entire search engine industry," said Fred von Lohmann, EFF senior staff attorney. "The ruling should also help Google in defending against the lawsuit brought by book publishers over its Google Library Project, as well as assisting organizations like the Internet Archive that rely on caching."

Comment by Peter Suber ("Google's cache is fair use", OA News Blog): The Google cache returns full-text while the Google Library Project returns only short snippets. If anything, then, the Library Project has a stronger argument for fair use than the cache did.

January 19, 2006

The growth of OA Means New Opportunities for Libraries

Heather Morrison, The Dramatic Growth of Open Access: Implications and Opportunities for Resource Sharing, Journal of Interlibrary Loan, Document Delivery & Electronic Reserve, 16, 3 (2006).

Abstract: The Open Access movement seeks to make scholarly, peer-reviewed journal articles freely available to anyone, anywhere over the World Wide Web. There were some very significant developments in the area of Open Access (OA) in 2004, including statements by major funders in support of Open Access. There are now so many Open Access scholarly journal articles freely available, that, in the author’s opinion, being aware of, and using, the resources and related tools is now essential for libraries. Libraries can provide more resources faster for users by supplementing paid resources with ones that are Open Access. Library resources, such as link resolvers, are beginning to incorporate Open Access materials and web searches for Open Access materials. For example, the reSearcher software suite includes Open Access collections along with subscription-based resources in the CUFTS journals knowledgebase, and a web search for an Open Access copy of an article in the GODOT link resolver. SFX also incorporates Open Access journals. After exhausting more traditional resources, interlibrary loans staff are beginning to include Google searching in their workflow. This article will discuss what Open Access is, the dramatic growth of Open Access, and major collections, resources and tools. Implications, issues, and leadership opportunities for resource sharing specialists will be explored.

Source: P Suber. The growth of OA: opportunities for libraries. OANews (22 January 2006) [FullText]

January 18, 2006

Build Open Access on Data, Not Rumor

First published at SPARC OA Forum, 17 January 2004

Dear Colleagues,

Following two major Open Access Forums (i.e. SPARC OA Forum and American Scientists OA Forum) for more then a month I become confident that an attempt to build Open Access on one-sided discussions, poor arguments, rough estimations and feelings not supported by the strong data may discredit the Open Access.

Examples are illustrated (but not limited to) in the Am Sci OA-Forum response "What is the threshold for open access Nirvana?" by Eugene Garfield, President, The Scientist, in my recent SOAF post "How big is OA journals' readership?", and a series of posts that Open Access does not mean ones' business model of charging author or institution.

Open access became first, an irreversible technology-based intrinsic part of science-for-the-public-interest, second, a vital need for academic libraries, third, a not-for profit model for a number of low-cost independent journals, and only then ones' business model.

I call to preserve the academic ethos of Open Access by ensuring rumor-free Open Access development. As Open Access gain momentum is reached, its' further development must be evidence-based and education-based.

One of such contributions is the article by Eulalia Roel "Electronic journal publication: A new library contribution to scholarly communication" in College & Research Libraries News, January 5, 2004. The info on this article appeared on January 7, 2004 at Peter Suber's Open Access News but did not hit any of two major Open Access Forums. The article describes "how the University of Arizona library, with help from SPARC, became the publisher of the open-access Journal of Insect Science."

Another educational treasure is Peter Suber's "What you can do to help the cause of open access".

Here is the latest example of a research article on Open Access. Few days ago we all were informed about the publication at D-Lib Magazine January 2004 issue (issue TOC) article "The Cost per Article Reading of Open Access Articles" by Jonas Holmström.

D-Lib magazine author guidelines page identifies full article as the work that has been completed, ensures rigorous editorial consideration of published articles, and welcomes opinions and letters. The above adds credibility to Jonas Holmström study, provides additional grounds to respect his opinion, and highlights a need to take critically the contrary note on Jonas Holmström article (made at the SOAF post) that "It's totally missing the point of Open Access".
I would argue that a difference in opinion of a commercial publisher making Open Access a revenue source and the opinion of academic researcher indicates apparent conflict that needs further study and careful analysis.

Libraries and Institutions may also question and analyze the-publication-cost-to-revenue ratio of an Open Access article, especially, when it is published with no copy editing by a commercial Open Access Publisher in a journal run by recruited-for-no-monies group of editors (Alexei Koudinov SPARC-OA Forum Dec 26, 2003 Post 1 , Post 2 , and Post 3 ).

I believe that an aggressive mediator of evidence-based and education-based Open Access should be Academic Librarian, routing the quality information on Open Access Development to their faculty and student communities, perhaps as an (ir)regular educational newsletter.

With best wishes for Open Access,


Alexei Koudinov, MD, PhD
Neurobiology of Lipids
http://neurobiologyoflipids.org

Competing interest declaration by A. Koudinov: I do not have any competing financial interest. I am a founding, managing and publishing editor of the Neurobiology of Lipids, an unpaid position. Neurobiology of Lipids (ISSN 1683-5506) has no affiliation with any professional association, publisher, industry member, commercial enterprise, public or government organization. The viewpoint presented in the above letter is my personal view.

January 17, 2006

Technical Criteria for Open Access Repository Software Analyzed

Andy Powell, Notes about possible technical criteria for evaluating institutional repository (IR) software, UKOLN, December 2005. Excerpt by Peter Suber (OA News Blog, 13 January 2006):

"This document attempts to identify some of the technical criteria that might be used to evaluate the different institutional repository (IR) software platform options, particularly in terms of the ‘machine’ interfaces that the repository offers. The list of issues is not intended to be exhaustive, and the approach is based on the assumption that other, non-technical, criteria such as usability and configurabilty have already received detailed consideration in other documents....Three of the most popular IR software platforms are DSpace, ePrints.org and Fedora (though there are others of course). Trying to compare these three is a little like comparing apples and oranges. DSpace is a Java-servlet application that runs under Apache Tomcat. EPrints.org is written in Perl and typically runs under Apache, using mod-perl to improve performance. Both applications provide the basis for an IR ‘out of the box’, including an end-user Web interface and so on. Both offer similar functionality to the end-user. Fedora on the other hand is more like a software toolkit. It provides the underlying IR framework, but requires custom development of a user-interface, either by layering an existing suite of user-interface tools on top of the Fedora APIs, or by building from scratch. Any decision about which IR software platform to choose must be based not only on the technical and functional capabilities of the system but also in determining best fit with organisational IT strategy and with the availability of local software development effort. However, as a way of helping with that decision making process, it may be sensible to ask the developers of these software platforms to respond to the issues raised in the sections below. Some potential questions are suggested in each section."

January 16, 2006

Directory of Open Access Journals Reports Major Milestone

This morning the DOAJ reached the major milestone of listing 2,000 OA journals. From today's press release:

As of today the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) contains 2000 open access journals, i.e. quality controlled scientific and scholarly electronic journals that are freely available on the web. The goal of the Directory of Open Access Journals is still to increase the visibility and accessibility of open access scholarly journals, and thereby promote their increased usage and impact. The directory aims to comprehensively cover all open access scholarly journals that use an appropriate quality control system. Journals in all languages and subject areas will be included in the DOAJ. The selection criteria have been updated based on feedback from users to be more understandable.

The database records are freely available for reuse in library catalogues and other services and can be harvested by using the OAI-PMH, and thereby increase the visibility of the open access journals....New titles are added frequently and to ensure that the holding information is correct you have to update your records regularly. We also have to remove titles from DOAJ if they no longer lives up to the selection criteria e.g. during the last 6 months of 2005 50 titles where removed. We are working with publishers of hybrid journals (subscription based journals where authors /institutions for a publication charge can publish articles in open access) in order to include even these articles in the DOAJ. It is our intention to be able to inform about this in the near future.

Feedback form the community tells us that the DOAJ is an important service. In order to be able to maintain and further develop the service we have decided to launch a Donation Programme that makes it possible for all users/institutions to contribute to the continued maintenance and development of DOAJ....DOAJ is or has been supported by the Information Program of the Open Society Institute, along with SPARC (The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), SPARC Europe, BIBSAM, the Royal Library of Sweden and Axiell.

Source: P.Suber. DOAJ reaches milestone, plans changes. OANews Blog (13 Jan 2006) [FullText]

January 14, 2006

Major British Medical Journal changes Access Policy

Fiona Godlee, Swept along by the tide, BMJ, January 14, 2006. A short elaboration on the new BMJ access policy. Excerpt by Peter Suber Open Access News blog:

"One unwelcome change for some readers has been the closure of access to the BMJ's non-research articles, which up until now were free for the first week of publication. The change was necessary to maintain subscription revenues. The peer reviewed research articles remain open access (free from the day of publication on bmj.com as well as being on PubMed Central), and the whole journal remains free to most countries in the developing world (those on the HINARI list). Non-research articles become free to all after a year of publication. It is always hard to be asked to pay for something that has been free, but we hope that those readers who don't get the BMJ free through their institution will see enough value in it to pay £20/$37/€30 for a year's full online access."

January 13, 2006

Science Integrity, Fraudulent Data, Plagiarism and Open Access

In an article for BBC News on the Hwang Woo-suk stem cell scandal, Paul Rincon and Jonathan Amos digress from the problem of fraudulent data to the problem of plagiarism, which allows them to make a point about OA.

Some scientists say that one of the benefits of the "open access" business model for journals - where scientific papers are free for all to read in a web-based database - could be beneficial for picking up plagiarism and possibly other forms of misconduct. A great many scientific journals are subscription-based, so that readers have to pay to view research. "We think it would be harder for people to plagiarise work once you can do extensive word searches and access more material free on the internet. You'll be able to spot where someone has lifted their work much more easily," says Robert Terry, senior policy adviser at the UK medical charity, the Wellcome Trust.

Source: P. Suber. OA can reduce one kind of scientific misconduct. OANews Blog (10 January 2005) [FullText]

January 12, 2006

Open Access increases submissions, study says

Sara Schroter, Importance of free access to research articles on decision to submit to the BMJ: a survey of authors, BMJ, January 9, 2006. Abstract:

Objectives. To determine whether free access to research articles on bmj.com is an important factor in authors’ decisions on whether to submit to the BMJ, whether the introduction of access controls to part of the BMJ’s content has influenced authors’ perceptions of the journal, and whether the introduction of further access controls would influence authors’ perceptions.

Design. Cross sectional electronic survey.

Participants. Authors of research articles published in the BMJ. Results 211/415 (51%) eligible authors responded. Three quarters (159/211) said the fact that all readers would have free access to their paper on bmj.com was very important or important to their decision to submit to BMJ. Over half (111/211) said closure of free access to research articles would make them slightly less likely to submit research articles to the BMJ in the future, 14% (29/211) said they would be much less likely to submit, and 34% (71/211) said it would not influence their decision. Authors were equally divided in their opinion as to whether the closure of access to parts of the journal since January 2005 had affected their view of the BMJ; 40% (84/211) said it had, 38% (80/211) said it had not. In contrast, 67% (141/211) said their view of the BMJ would change if it closed access to research articles. Authors’ comments largely focused on disappointment with such a regressive step in the era of open access publishing, loss of a unique feature of the BMJ, a perceived reduction in the journal’s usefulness as a resource and global influence, restricted readership, less attractive to publish in, and the negative impact on the journal’s image.

Conclusions. Authors value free access to research articles and consider this an important factor in deciding whether to submit to the BMJ. Closing access to research articles would have a negative effect on authors’ perceptions of the journal and their likeliness to submit.