Israel Scholar Communication Scrolls

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February 28, 2006

Chemists using Wikipedia

Jon Evans, Information free-for-all, Chemistry World, February 24, 2006. Excerpt by Open Access News Blog:

"The online encyclopaedia Wikipedia could become the main source of chemical information in 5–10 years, according to a professional chemist who contributes to the site... a recent study in Nature found that the accuracy of scientific entries in Wikipedia was not far behind those in Encyclopaedia Britannica. This finding is supported by regular contributor Martin Walker, assistant professor of organic chemistry at the State University of New York at Potsdam, US. Many of the chemistry entries are now reasonably accurate, he said, but you have to know where to look. ‘A general rule on Wikipedia is that an article that has been heavily edited and around for a long time is usually pretty good,’ Walker told Chemistry World, ‘if it hasn’t, it may be flawed.’ The accuracy of Wikipedia’s entries will continue to improve as contributors begin to organise themselves and take responsibility for certain subjects, he said. Chemistry content on the site is coordinated through two so-called ‘wikiprojects’, said Walker: chemistry and chemicals. Entries can still suffer from poor English and deliberate vandalism, but these problems are gradually being resolved and can be pinpointed quickly. ‘Try vandalising something like hydrochloric acid and see how long it takes someone to fix it,’ said Walker. Many of the Wikipedia contributors are quite young, but Walker estimates that there are around 10 PhD-qualified chemistry contributors, as well as several knowledgeable graduate and undergraduate chemists. More professional chemists should get involved, urged Walker. ‘We have come a long way, but there is still a huge amount to be done,’ he said. Walker will speak about his Wikipedia involvement at the American Chemical Society national meeting in March. ‘[Wikipedia] will become for information what Google is for searching,’ he predicted. "

February 27, 2006

Launch of Open J-Gate in India

Today marks the launch of Open J-Gate, an OA journal portal from Informatics India. From the site:

"Open J-Gate is an electronic gateway to global journal literature in open access domain. Launched in 2006, Open J-Gate is the contribution of Informatics (India) Ltd to promote [OA]. Open J-Gate provides seamless access to millions of journal articles available online. Open J-Gate is also a database of journal literature, indexed from 3000+ open access journals, with links to full text at Publisher sites. Open J-Gate Features and Benefits: [1] Portal with the largest number of e-journals. Open J-Gate indexes articles from 3000+ academic, research and industry journals. More than 1500 of them are peer-reviewed scholarly journals. [2] Links to one million+ open access articles. This number is growing with 300000+ new articles added every year. Full-text links are regularly validated. [3] Constant updating. The Open J-Gate site is updated every day. [4] Well designed journal classification. All journals are classified in a three-level hierarchical system to provide for better relevancy in search results. [5] Table of Content (TOC) Browsing. Users can browse the TOC of latest issue and the back issues. [6] Easy-to-Use search functionalities. Database allows various search options for the user’s convenience. The subscriber can search by Title, Author, Abstract, Authors’ Address/Institution, Keywords, etc. " (thanks to Open Access News Blog posting of 27 february 2006)

February 26, 2006

Institutional Repositories in India

Anup Kumar Das, B.K. Sen, and Chaitali Dutta, Collection development in digital information repositories in India, Vishwabharat@TDIL, 17 (2005): pp. 91-96. Self-archived February 22, 2006. (Thanks to SEPW and Peter Suber)

Abstract: The institutional repository (IR) is a contemporary concept that captures and makes available through Internet and intranet the institutional research output and other relevant documents to the users by way of digitizing the output The IRs have already started emerging in India. This study highlights the importance of IR, delineates the scope and methodology projects the findings. Most of the repositories are using open source information repository software like DSpace, Greenstone Digital Library Software and GNU EPrints. It is observed that generally documents like theses and dissertations, seminar papers, journal articles, etc., are being found more in the repositories. Some of the problems of the repositories have been highlighted and suggestions offered.

February 25, 2006

Google Scholar citation counts nearly as good as Thomson's Scintific (ISI)

Léo Charbonneau, Google Scholar service matches Thomson ISI citation index, University Affairs, March 2006. (Thanks to Dean Giustini and Peter Suber) Excerpt:

"The free Google Scholar service does as good a job as Thomson ISI’s science citation index for performing citation counts and could be used as a cheap substitute to the costly Thomson service, says a University of British Columbia professor. Thomson’s citation databases are accessible through the company’s Web of Science portal only by subscription, which can cost a university tens of thousands of dollars a year. Daniel Pauly, director of the Fisheries Centre at UBC, and Konstantinos Stergiou, of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece, compared the two methods using 114 papers from 11 disciplines published between 1925 and 2004. For papers published before 1990, the authors found that the citation counts were proportional. In other words, if Thomson ISI found that a particular paper was cited 10 times as often as another, Google Scholar found the same ratio. However, for these older papers, the actual citation counts with Google were about half that of Thomson. But, for papers published from 1990 on, not only were the citation counts proportional, the actual number of citations was nearly the same. The result is “very surprising,” said Dr. Pauly. “I didn’t expect Google to perform so well. . . . I expected some vague proportionality, but I did not expect that it would be roughly one to one.”" Post updates are available here.

February 24, 2006

Google Scholar's Principal Engineer Compares ISI Web of Science and Google Scholar

Anurag Acharya is Google Scholar's Principal Engineer. After Dr. Pauly's article Web of Science vs. Google Scholar was debated on blogs/listservs, Anurag was asked three questions:

1. Is the Google Scholar index the same searchable index, regardless of location?

Anurag: It is the same index and the same ranking [regardless of location].

2. Have you tested Google Scholar's performance from various geographic points globally? Are you aware of any country to country variations due to specific network issues [preventing it from performing similarly]?

Anurag: I don't know of any filtering at the network level. The index at our end is the same.

3. How often does GS change? daily? monthly?

Anurag: We cannot share update information, but our long-term goal is to update every day.

Please note: Full text and comments by Dean Giustini are available at this post primary socurce: UBC Google Scholar blog

February 23, 2006

Open Access as a Campaign Issue in a Student Government Election

Gavin Baker is running for the Student Senate at the University of Florida. Baker co-founded the Florida chapter of Free Culture and is making open access a campaign issue. His platform is offline at the moment (but the problem is probably temporary, so keep trying). He told [Peter Suber] in an email:

"I'll advocate for open access to university research and journals, work to expand library digitization projects, promote open source software and open file formats... As far as I know, I am the first student to make open access an electoral issue."

He's the first as far as I know too. His candidacy and position could make a difference: At UF, the Student Senate controls an $11 million budget, the third largest in the US. Go, Gavin!

Note to students elsewhere: learn about open access and what you and your university can do to promote it. Take your commitment into your research and future career. But in the meantime, take it into your student government!

Also read Neurobiology of Lipids (an Open Access publication from Rehovot) article "Scientists, consider where you publish" (available for free at this link). It is written by Michael Seringhaus, Yale Molecular Biology Graduate Student.

February 22, 2006

Primer to follow: Librarian Awarded for Open Access Activism

Ray English, Director of Libraries at Oberlin College and champion of OA, has received the ACRL Academic/Research Librarian of the Year Award. From today's announcement (thanks to Peter Suber OANews Blog):

“Ray English is an influential librarian,” said award committee chair Les Canterbury. “He is a leader in various organizations on state and national levels including the Oberlin Group of Liberal Arts Colleges, OhioLINK, ACRL, and other units of the American Library Association. Under his direction, Oberlin College has led a Mellon Foundation initiative involving six academic libraries that's designed to attract a more diverse population to the library profession through undergraduate internships. “English's greatest impact as a librarian, perhaps, and the area of his work that stands out to the selection committee, is his advocacy for open access to the results of scholarly research.

The breadth and depth of his knowledge of issues related to dissemination of scholarly output, and his commitment to access to information, led to his leadership role in information policy-setting arenas. He has been a primary leader of the ACRL scholarly communications program, has been active in the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), and has fostered close cooperation on scholarly communications issues among ACRL, SPARC, and the Association of Research Libraries. In addition, and on a larger stage, he has influenced, as an expert contributor, national policy on public access to federally-funded research, including the recent National Institutes of Health Public Access Policy.”

PS: Ray is also one of the most active and effective members of the Open Access Working Group. Congratulations, Ray! Update. Also see Rani Molla, Librarian Ray English Wins National Award, Oberlin Review, February 24, 2006.

February 21, 2006

University Policies are the Next Step for Open Access

John Lorinc, The bottom line on open access, University Affairs, March 2006. Also available in French. (Thanks to Stevan Harnad and Peter Suber) Excerpt:

"The rapidly evolving debate over free online scholarship drives right to the heart of some of the most fundamental questions about research....Worldwide, there are about 24,000 scholarly journals, but only three to seven percent of them are considered to be “open access” – OA for short – meaning that they make their research papers available for free on the Internet. But the rapidly evolving debate over open-access scholarship extends well beyond academic journals like the [new] one at www.econtheory.org, and drives right to the heart of some of the most fundamental questions about research: Do publicly funded universities and granting bodies have a democratic – indeed a moral – obligation to ensure that academic scholarship is available on the Internet? What kinds of public and institutional policies are needed to make such wide-ranging dissemination both possible and useful? And what are the implications for publishers, research libraries, copyright, and for scholarship itself? Few self-respecting researchers argue with the idea per se. “It’s easy to get people to sign off on a principle,” says Stevan Harnad, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Cognitive Science at Université du Québec à Montréal.

“It becomes interesting and substantive when you take a practical policy.” Since the mid-1990s, Dr. Harnad has been at the centre of an international campaign to promote open access. But it’s only in the last three or four years – since the George Soros Open Society Institute orchestrated a 2002 summit of OA activists in Budapest – that granting bodies and universities have begun to look hard at how to translate open access from a feel-good cyber principle into something entrenched in the way academics do business – either by encouraging them to patronize open-access journals or urging them to routinely upload all their published research papers to a growing network of institutional repositories. “The right to know is at the forefront [of OA],” says John Willinsky, a language and literacy education professor at the University of British Columbia who heads the Public Knowledge Project, a research initiative that asks whether and how online technologies can improve the quality of academic research. “The critical point we’re at now is mandated access. We’re seeing a momentum build.” The epistemological benefits are difficult to dispute. Dr. Harnad refers to studies showing that citations can more than double for articles that are freely available on the web. Accessible online papers benefit academics in poor countries where universities have few resources. And research libraries see institutional electronic repositories as one way of ensuring the preservation of digitized online material that is highly vulnerable to the problem of disappearing URLs...

In the past few years, large research councils in the U.S. and U.K. have grappled with the mechanics of applying the OA principle to publicly funded research. In Canada, in late 2004, the board of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council approved OA in principle; council staff are preparing recommendations based on public consultations....But open-access advocates contend that universities must now step up to the plate and adopt policies that compel faculty to “self-archive.” ...Tim Mark, executive director of the Canadian Association of Research Libraries, describes... the “absurd” situation whereby academics working for publicly funded institutions give up their intellectual property rights to commercial journal publishers, who turn around and sell the fruits of their labour right back to those institutions in the form of costly journal subscriptions...

The potential of the OA movement, [Harnad] argues, doesn’t begin with policy conditions aimed at altering the operating conditions for a small subset of journal publishers [to make them convert to OA]. Rather, it needs a much broader-based effort to make institutional self-archiving a routine and unquestioned part of the work of scholarship – as basic as including bibliographies and reference lists at the end of any paper. OA advocates say the pieces for such a cultural change are beginning to fall into place. There are now numerous open-source software and “harvesting” systems that allow institutions to create searchable, indexed and networked electronic repositories... But, as Dr. Harnad observes, the availability of user-friendly archiving software is necessary but not sufficient. That’s why, in 2005, OA activists approved the Berlin 3 institutional policy commitment. It calls on universities and research institutions to establish policies requiring academics to self-archive, as well as encouraging them to publish in open-access journals...

So far 17 universities and research institutions – including the University of Zurich, Portugal’s University of Minho, and the University of Southampton, where Dr. Harnad taught before joining UQAM – have signed the 2005 Berlin commitment. No Canadian universities are signatories. How do academics feel about self-archiving? “Authors haven’t picked it up,” says Dr. Willinsky at UBC. “It has a lot to do with the fact that the focus of [academics’] work is getting published, not getting circulated.” Indeed, a U.K. survey of scholars showed that about half of the respondents had self-archived at one point, mainly on personal websites, but many didn’t do it routinely. Yet 95 percent said they’d be prepared to self-archive if their university required it as a condition of tenure or employment. What’s become increasingly apparent is that copyright issues aren’t a roadblock for the OA movement... While journal publishers, from giants like Elsevier to upstarts like Econtheory.org, will continue to work out a sustainable online business model, the OA policy ball has now landed squarely in the university sector’s court. "

February 20, 2006

Time for an Open Access mandate at National Institutes of Health

Dorothea Salo, Spaghetti that didn't stick, Caveat Lector, February 16, 2006. Excerpt by Peter Suber (OA News Blog 17 February 2006):

Open Access News spread the word today that the first Report on the NIH Public Access Policy...is out. Compliance rate? A desperately pathetic 3.8%. Three point eight percent of the literature that was eligible for archiving under this policy actually got archived. You begin to see what repository rats are up against?

The NIH did its level best to communicate the policy to researchers, and they’re decently competent at outreach. As far as I know, publishers didn’t spread much FUD among researchers. Even so, a big fat nothing happened, because the policy had no teeth and researchers don’t understand and don’t care about the economics or socioinformatics of publishing. I part ways with Stevan Harnad on a lot, but he’s dead right about one thing at least: if researchers don’t have to provide open access, they mostly won’t. I can cajole and jolly and educate and reason with them all I want, but I won’t have nearly the impact of a policy with teeth.

We can’t coddle researchers on this; it’s tantamount to coddling Elseviley Verlag. Fortunately, it looks as though the NIH policy is likely to sprout teeth. Because of that, I’m actually not at all saddened that this particular spaghetti-strand didn’t stick when thrown at the wall. We now have cogent evidence that “voluntary” open-access policies aren’t worth spit. That removes a fairly big pillar that Elseviley Verlag likes to hide behind.

February 19, 2006

DARE aims to triple OA repository deposits

The Dutch DARE project has set itself the goal of depositing 100,000 full-text eprints in the DARE network of OA repositories in the year-long period from October 1, 2005, to October 1, 2006. This would triple the number of items on deposit in the national repository network. From yesterday's announcement:

Dubbed 'hunDAREd thousand’, a new major project was launched on 1 October 2005 in which all Dutch universities, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) intend adding 100,000 full-text documents to the DARE (‘digital research’) archives. The project runs until 1 October 2006. By that time the DARE partners hope to have a total of 150,000 academic publications, dissertations, pre-prints, datasets and other research material available for all on www.DAREnet.nl. This will make the documents searchable on other search engines as well. The institutions involved are participating in the project in their own ways. Various universities are focusing on certain faculties or, at the request of their Boards, are providing more researchers for Cream of Science. Others hope to stimulate the actual supply of material, encouraged by their chancellors. Researchers’ own websites are being combed and journals published by research institutes and schools are being included. With this added effort the universities want to improve the structure of and streamline the process of supplying research results. To do so, a link is being established with Metis, the research information system used by all universities.

In the combined harvest of 100,000 new articles, doctoral theses are a common focus. Every year about 2500 of them, about five percent of the country’s entire academic output, are published. DAREnet is making these theses visible under their own heading, ‘Promise of Science’... The creation of a virtual showcase for universities using doctoral theses not only helps shape their profiles as well as those of the graduates in question, it also often enhances access to previously elusive research results. Promise of Science is therefore an extension to Cream of Science, the partial collection already in place. Alongside ‘established’ researchers, extra attention is now being given to ‘up and coming’ research talent.

Source: Peter Suber. DARE aims to triple OA repository deposits. Open Access News Blog (17 February 2006) [FullText]

February 18, 2006

Rise of free digital content, fall of priced printed content

Sergey Dmitriev, Have We Seen the Back of the Hard Copy Reader? St. Petersburg Times (Russian Federation), February 14, 2006. (Thanks to LIS News.) Excerpt by Open Access News Blog (17 February 2006):

All of this means that the market of e-content (that at present basically means mobile content) is one of high growth potential. The hard-copy format is doomed to fall in its share of the market. The Internet University of Informational Technologies gives a few of its courses in the traditional way, despite their complete accessibility on the web site. The university’s administration believes that free publication on the web in no way influences book sales, because those who read books and those who read books on a computer are different categories....Sooner or later open source will settle down in the mobile world. Motorola released a mobile with Linux, and Nokia is already selling a Linux-based internet tablet. On such platforms the installation of DRM systems is pointless... In due course much can be expected from the much-hyped Google project called ‘Print.’ It can therefore be said that there is plenty of similar, accessible content. Moving the text to pocket computers and mobile phones by oneself is less and less complicated. A shift in our system of values is now taking shape. When a new generation that now downloads illegal music from the internet and uses open source software will age, it will more likely change the law than its way of thinking... It means that content in itself is not recognized as a good. And of interest to the market, from a commercial point of view it can only be as a contextual part of a more complicated service. Such thinking, and its corresponding business model, is clearly visible in such companies as Google: on one hand their services are impossible to copy, on the other for end users they are free.

February 17, 2006

Israel Scholar Beware: Open Access Nature Distorted by Major Publicher CEO

Elsevier CEO Erik Engstrom gave a presentation on Open Access at the Reed Elsevier Investor Seminar 2005 last November 21, 2005. (Scroll to p. 39 of the seminar report.) Since the slides are not easy to cut and paste, I'll link to William Walsh's excerpts, since he's already done the work. (Thanks, William.)

Comment by Peter Suber (Open Access News Blog, 14 February 2006):

I see no signs of animosity in the talk. But I do see several misunderstandings: (1) Engstrom frequently refers to the "author pays" model, even though this is an inaccurate label for the business model he has in mind. (2) He repeats the inaccurate observation that OA journal launches peaked in 2001 and have declined since. (3) On author attitudes, he cites the CIBER 2005 report, which seems to have asked authors whether they'd be willing to pay a fee out of pocket, and does not cite the Key Perspectives reports, which better understand the way that OA journals actually operate. (4) He relies on the discredited Cornell calculation, which assumes that all OA journals charge author-side fees and that all fees would be paid by universities. (5) He relies on the discredited assumption that OA journals exclude indigent authors, unaware that most OA journals charge no fees at all and most of the others waive them in cases of economic hardship. (6) He cites the Kaufman-Wills report for its retracted conclusion about weak peer review, but seems unaware that the same report also showed that fewer than half of OA journals charge processing fees, and that a greater percentage of non-OA journals charge author-side fees than OA journals.

February 16, 2006

US National Library of Medicine Board of Regents Recommends Strengthening the NIH Policy on Public Access

The NLM Board of Regents (BOR) met on February 7-8 to discuss the November 2005 recommendations from the the Public Access Working Group for strengthening the NIH public-access policy. The BOR sent a letter to NIH Director Elias Zerhouni on February 8, summarizing its own recommendations. The letter is not yet online. Excerpt by OA News Blog:

The report of the November 15 Working Group meeting reveals that the current rate of participation in the voluntary Policy is very low (less than 4%). Since there is evidence that the submission system is relatively easy to use and that the majority of NIH-funded researchers appear to know about the policy, technical difficulties or lack of awareness do not appear to be primary reasons for non-compliance.
Based on this information and the opinions expressed by the Working Group members, the Board has concluded that the NIH Policy cannot achieve its stated goals unless deposit of manuscripts in PubMed Central becomes mandatory. We favor public release of NIH-funded articles in PubMed Central no later than 6 months after publication, although some flexibility may be needed for journals published less frequently than bimonthly. We were pleased that most of the publishers on the Working Group indicated an interest in depositing the final published version of articles in PubMed Central on behalf of NIH-funded authors. The Board agrees that this would be highly desirable. The Board encourages NIH and NLM to develop a careful plan for transitioning to a mandatory policy. It will be important to provide clear guidance and a reasonable timetable, to minimize burden on NIH-funded researchers and grantee institutions, and also to continue to work with publishers to make it easy for them to submit articles on behalf of their NIH-supported authors. The next Working Group's next meeting is scheduled for April 10. I [BOR chair, Thomas Detre] would be happy to engage the Group in assisting with transition planning, if that would be helpful.

Comment by Peter Suber (OA News Blog, 16 February 2006)

This is important. When Congress first asked NIH to develop an OA policy (July 2004), it asked the agency to mandate OA and limit embargoes to six months. When NIH chose instead (September 2004, May 2005) to request OA without requiring it, and to permit embargoes up to 12 months, it found that it couldn't get even 4% of its grantees to comply with the request. Examining the compliance data, the Public Access Working group recommended (November 2005) strengthening the policy and now the NLM Board of Regents joins the recommendation (February 2006). Both recommendations are merely advisory, but the burden has clearly shifted to the NIH either to strengthen the policy or justify continuing with a weakened policy that doesn't meet its own goals. We're one step closer to an OA mandate for the world's largest funder of medical research.

February 15, 2006

Open Access in Turkey

Today at OA Librarian, Ilkay Holt has two postings on OA in Turkey (first, second).

Joint excerpt by Peter Suber OA News Blog:

The Congress of Informatics Technologies IV, Academic Informatic 2006 took place on February 9th - 11th at Pamukkale University in Denizli, Turkey. It was a very successful conference with variety of subject matters in seperate sessions from e-learning to open access. In the e-library sessions, the ones on open access and institutional respositories were organized around creating an awareness among information professionals about open access and its benefits. At the end of the e-library sessions, the Berlin Declaration was accepted and it was decided that a leading committee on open access and institutional respositories would provide research institutions with necessary information. This committee will be formed with participants from the Turkish Librarians' Associations, Turkish Academic Network and Information Center. After the conference, a press release was distributed covering these decisions and the benefit of open access...

[S]ome major developments on open access [are taking] place in Turkey. One of them is that having the Open Access and Institutional Repositories Working Group under Anatolian University Libraries Consortium (ANKOS). ANKOS is the strongest consortiual body in Turkey and it aims to be a guiding institution for university libraries in meeting their information needs on open access and institutional repositories with the establishment of this group. Its mission, goal, and tasks will be available in English very soon. First activity of the group was to prepare a handout on definition of open access and libraries' role in open access, providing main resources available through the Internet on a web page.

February 14, 2006

Journal Editor Resigns to Protest High Price

Journal Editor verdict: Financial policy of the journal is inconsistent with the culture and practices of the academic community

In an open letter dated yesterday, Max Steuer resigned as an editor of Emerald's Journal of Economic Studies in part because of its high subscription price. (Thanks to Ted Bergstrom and Peter Suber Open Access News Blog)

Excerpt from Dr. Steuer open letter:

"You may want to know that I resigned from editing the Journal of Economic Studies on 6 January 2006. Shortly before that date it was suggested to me that the financial policy of the journal is inconsistent with the culture and practices of the academic community. It was careless of me not to look into this before taking on the job. I simply assumed that the fees charged and other aspects of policy were roughly in line with academic conventions. This turns out not to be the case. On the 6th of January I met with a representative of Emerald Publications to discuss the position. I wanted to be sure of the position, and if possible to affect a change in policy. It was clear that the pricing policy was and is very different from that of many well-known economics journals. In particular, the current price of £6,000 plus vat for six copies is far out of line. It was also clear from our discussion that no change in policy was to be forthcoming.

As we know, the contributors and referees of academic journals are on the whole not paid and regard taking on work, particularly refereeing, as part of being members of a scholarly community. I feel badly at having asked many people to devote time to the journal... The policy of the Journal of Economic Studies is not determined by the Board of the journal, but by the owners... Board members should consider their positions."

February 13, 2006

NIH report to Congress on the development of Public Access Policy

The NIH progress report to Congress on the public-access policy is now online (dated January 2006, thanks to Peter Suber and his Open Access News Blog). Here are the highlights by Dr. Suber:

The number of articles deposited in PubMed Central under the policy from its launch on May 2, 2005, to December 31, 2005 (namely, 1,636), the total number of articles covered by the policy that should have been deposited in the same period (43,000), and the embargo periods requested by authors (60% authorized release immediately upon publication, 23% requested embargoes of 10-12 months, and 17% requested something in between). The compliance rate is a miserable 3.8%. "Lack of awareness does not appear to be the primary reason for the low submission rate."

PMC usage increases as its size increases.
NIH sees no evidence that its public-access policy "has had any impact on peer review".
The cost of handling submissions and administering the policy was $1 million for fiscal 2005. If the compliance rate grows to 50%, the cost would grow to $2 million/year. If the compliance rate were 100% (65,000 articles/year), the cost would be $3.5 million/year.

The report describes the NIH's outreach efforts to educate stakeholders about the policy: NIH staff, grantees, grantee institutions, and the journals where grantees publish their work.

Finally, the report describes the November 15, 2005, decision of the Public Access Working group (PAWG). Ten out of 11 members wanted grantees to deposit the final, published versions of their articles. Nine of 11 voted to mandate deposit and public access. Eight of 11 voted to shorten the permissible delay to six months, with some flexibility for rare exceptions. (The minutes of the PAWG meeting are also online.) The report says nothing about the PAWG recommendations except that "[t]he NLM Board of Regents will consider the opinions of the Working Group at its next meeting."

February 12, 2006

Research Libraries Shouldn't Fear Open Access

Ross Atkinson, Introduction for the Break-Out Sessions: Six Key Challenges for the Future of Collection Development. A talk at the Janus Conference on Research Library Collections, Cornell University, October 10, 2005. Atkinson is the Associate University Librarian at Cornell. (Thanks to William Walsh.) Excerpt by Peter Suber (Open Access News Blog):

Collections attract scholars, graduate students, government support, donor funding --and add prestige to the institution. This rationale for collection building --the collection as institutional capital-- is a primary motivation, even though it is seldom specifically discussed. One point we must bear in mind with respect to this rationale, however, is that it entails or implies the existence of a separate collection at each institution which can in effect compete with all others. The new environment into which we are now moving, on the other hand, is likely to be increasingly characterized by a much more unified collection to which all users would have access. Indeed, what perhaps so fascinates us and unnerves us about open access, I think, is that it might serve as a first, decisive step in the direction of a more unified, less institutionally based collection. While there is no question whatsoever that open access represents a supremely valuable trend ideologically --perhaps the ultimate aim of all collection services-- libraries continue to wrestle with its implementation and implications, including its effect on institutional identity. However, such a concern about identity, if I am correct in sensing it, is a red herring --because of what we might call the “axiom of non-equivalence.” By this I mean the trivially simple fact that individual libraries are not the same, nor will they ever be. Each has vastly different resources --not only financial, but also human and creative resources, including different visions and values. The fact is, therefore, that all scholarly publishing could convert to open access tomorrow --every scholarly publication could be made openly accessible-- and still, the accessibility, the collection service, the ability of the user to find, understand, use and apply the individual object, would vary enormously from one institution to the other. Any morbid fear we might harbor, therefore, of becoming mirror images of each other as we move toward a more unified collection is unfounded, and we cannot allow it to deter us from moving in that direction, if we decide that direction is in the best interest of our user communities...

We speak often and rightly of a crisis in scholarly communication. That crisis is not a matter of egregiously priced science journals; as disastrous as such excessive pricing is, it is really only a symptom of the so-called crisis. Nor is the crisis simply a result of the fact that each player on the horizontal line is trying to use the information object for a different purpose - for that has always been the case, probably back to antiquity. No, the crisis is rather a result of the fact that there is now a level of technology available to each player on the line, such that each player can assert its will and compete with other players much more effectively. What any player on the horizontal line can do is therefore now heavily contingent upon what other players can and want to do... [P]ublishers are... obviously competing among themselves - as are libraries. What is perhaps most different about libraries, however, is that they have some difficulty acknowledging and dealing with that competition. They may even pretend sometimes that no such competition takes place. They focus instead with intensity on the horizontal line - publishers, the Evil Empire, vendor effectiveness-- perhaps in order to avoid taking the vertical line into account... Speaking personally, what scares me about the brilliant, trail-blazing, revolutionary arrangement the Google 5, and especially Michigan, have made with Google, is not the effect of that arrangement on the horizontal line. Such a service, if it can be effected, can indeed only benefit the movement of scholarly information from writer to reader. What scares me is rather the effect of the arrangement on the vertical line - on research libraries’ relationships with each other. I am frankly frightened that I will not be able to provide users at Cornell with a level of collection service that will be competitive with the collection service that Michigan will be able to provide its users, once its entire print collection is in digital form. And I think many research libraries are concerned about this --although, again, we are loath to discuss it.

February 11, 2006

Technology Showcase: Canadian Public Knowledge Project Offers Free Open Source Software for the Publishing of Journals and Conferences

Since 2001, the Public Knowledge Project has offered free, open source software for the management and publishing of journals and conferences. Open Journal Systems and Open Conference Systems are being used in various places around the world to reduce publishing costs, improve management, enhance indexing, and increase access to knowledge on a global scale. See Demos and Downloads for more information about these systems

The Public Knowledge Project is a federally funded research initiative located at the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University on the west coast of Canada. It seeks to improve the scholarly and public quality of academic research through innovative online environments. More

What is the Open Journal Systems?

Open Journal Systems (OJS) is a journal management and publishing system that has been developed by the Public Knowledge Project through its federally funded efforts to expand and improve access to research. OJS assists with every stage of the refereed publishing process, from submissions through to online publication and indexing. Through its management systems, its finely grained indexing of research, and the context it provides for research, OJS seeks to improve both the scholarly and public quality of referred research. OJS is open source software made freely available to journals worldwide for the purpose of making open access publishing a viable option for more journals, as open access can increase a journal's readership as well as its contribution to the public good on a global scale (see PKP Publications).

Features

1. OJS is installed locally and locally controlled.
2. Editors configure requirements, sections, review process, etc.
3. Online submission and management of all content.
4. Subscription module with delayed open access options.
5. Comprehensive indexing of content part of global system.
6. Reading Tools for content, based on field and editors' choice.
7. Email notification and commenting ability for readers.
8. Complete context-sensitive online Help support.

Consult OJS in an Hour for more details and to take OJS for a test-drive.

Open Journal System Version 2.1 released February 3, 2006

Release 2.1 of OJS features built-in support for Spanish (Spain) and Portuguese (Brasil) locales, plugins, custom mastheads, statistics and reporting, PATH_INFO workarounds, issue-specific section ordering, multiple editor assignment, bug fixes, and much more. Special thanks to Ramón Fonseca and Sergio Ruiz Pérez for their contributions. See the Download page and release notes for more information.

February 10, 2006

Current Anonymous Review System of STM publications is flawed, new Open Access Journal Founders Say

Biology Direct from BMC to employ Open Peer review, first experiemnted by British Medical Journal

Biology Direct is a new peer-reviewed Open Access journal from BMC. From today's press release:

BioMed Central is pleased to announce the launch of Biology Direct, a new online open access journal with a novel system of peer review. Biology Direct will operate completely open peer review, with named peer reviewers' reports published alongside each article. The journal also takes the innovative step of requiring that the author approach Biology Direct Editorial Board members directly to review the manuscript. The journal...launches with publications in the fields of Systems Biology, Computational Biology, and Evolutionary Biology, with an Immunology section to follow soon. Biology Direct considers original research articles, hypotheses, and reviews and will eventually cover the full spectrum of biology. Biology Direct is led by Editors-in-Chief David J Lipman, Director of the National Center Biotechnology Information (NCBI) a division of the National Library of Medicine (NLM) at NIH, USA; Eugene V Koonin, Senior Investigator at NCBI; and Laura Landweber, Associate Professor at Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, USA. Lipman has long been interested in open access and has been central in the development of PubMed, GenBank and PubMed Central, the NLM's open access repository for literature in the life sciences.

Lipman and Koonin, speaking on the eve of the journal's launch, explain the motivation for establishing Biology Direct: "We were compelled to launch this experiment because, while scientific publishing cannot be effective without peer review, we saw flaws in the current, predominantly, anonymous review system that run too deep to be rectified without a radical departure from the standard practices. It is our hope that the open peer-review system of Biology Direct, which allows a direct relationship between authors and reviewers, will be a major advantage for everyone involved - authors, readers, and reviewers alike." Biology Direct aims to provide authors and readers of research articles with a unique system of peer review. Authors must approach three Editorial Board members directly to gain their agreement to review the manuscript or to nominate alternative reviewers. Editor-in-Chief Laura Landweber says, "Our Editorial Board members were carefully chosen, since they will almost autonomously run the journal: one can select one's own reviewers and, in most cases, they will be drawn from the editorial board itself, thus ensuring a high standard of review. An advantage of selecting one's own reviewers is the ability to choose people who will at least understand the article, since in so many new areas of biology finding the appropriate reviewers can be part of the problem of the conventional peer-review system." This novel review process gives the author the opportunity to discuss points raised directly with the reviewers, and to revise their manuscript as much or as little as they wish, according to the suggestions or criticisms of the reviewers. Ultimately, reviewers can express reservations about the manuscript but publication can still go ahead unrevised (if the author wishes) unless there are ethical or scientific problems with the manuscript. The aim is to publish the most complete, informative, and interesting manuscripts possible but not to obstruct publication except in extreme cases.

In an editorial to launch the journal, the Editors explain, "our goals with this new journal, Biology Direct, are unapologetically ambitious: to establish a new, perhaps, better system of peer review and, in the process, bolster productive scientific debate…". They continue, "Anyone who ever attended a scientific conference worth its salt knows that the discussions can be quite vigorous, often enough going to bare knuckles, especially during the coffee breaks or at the bar, but also in the conference room itself. Sometimes someone gets upset or offended but it is, definitely, an exception. And how priceless these discussions often are in providing us with new perspectives and fresh ideas for our research!"

Peter Suber Comment (OA News): I'm glad to see a new OA journal from BMC, glad to see experiments with peer review, and glad to see David Lipman, whom I respect very much, take a leading role in this. I just want to make my usual point that the openness of access and the openness of peer review are not intrinsically connected, even if there are synergies worth exploring. OA journals can use any kind of peer review, from the most traditional to the most innovative. No one associated with Biology Direct is denying that. I'm just trying head off the misunderstanding that OA journals must use open forms of review, or worse, the misunderstanding that achieving OA must wait for peer-review reforms.

February 09, 2006

Life Scientists, Search Improvements at PubMed

PubMed has added three features to its search engine: sorting by last author (rather than first author, date, or journal), searching by transliterated or vernacular title, and a status tag for author manuscripts deposited under the NIH public access policy (thanks to Peter Suber OA News Blog)

February 08, 2006

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Publication Breaks Academic Integrity

Originally published at SPARC Open Access Forum January 3, 2004

Dear Colleagues and friends,

This is a follow up letter for my earlier posting entitled "Why AAAS Science unpublish correspondence questioning its academic integrity?" (SPARC-Open Access Forum Archive, 18 Dec 2003). I will appreciate university librarians forwarding this followup e.mail to their faculties.

I read with interest today Science Editorial "Disclosure and Disinterest "by Donald Kennedy, Science Editor-in-Chief (2 Jan. 2004, p.15).

I would call this contribution a letter of intent. As Dr. Kennedy writes in his editorial, "we have tried to give authors more guidance about disclosure, and we'll continue to help our readers make their own informed judgments". I doubt this is the system Science adhered to.

A year ago on my call for a true disclosure of competing interest in the Science article by Dennis Selkoe, Harvard Professor, Elan Corporation Director, and "Elan Alzheimer's expert in pre-slump share sale" Dr. Kennedy determined that "Dr. Selkoe's statement [that he is "a consultant to Elan Pharmaceuticals, plc." (25 Oct 2002)] is a sufficient announcement of what some might perceive as a conflict."

The above is a part of my correspondence with Science provided in my June 16, 2003 Open letter to Dr. Kennedy . This letter also informed Science Editor-in-Chief that Floyd E. Bloom, AAAS Board of Directors Chair and Scripps Research Institute professor has competing financial interest as founder and CEO of Neurome, Inc. Dr. Bloom did not disclosed his financial interest in his Science "Presidential address. Science as a way of life: perplexities of a physician-scientist" (13 June 2003, p. 1680) that official AAAS news release called "Healing U.S. Health Care. AAAS Board Chairman Floyd E. Bloom calls for U.S. health care reform." (AAAS News release 13 June 2003).

Since then Science did not make public the above conflicts, and thus did not allow reader's "own informed judgement". Oppositely, AAAS Science has unpublished my Science's SAGE KE Open letter to Science Editor-in-Chief.

There are two other instances of financial conflict non-disclosure in articles on Alzheimer's disease that informed Science did not inform readers about. These are articles by Kayed et al. (18 April 2003, p.486 ; discussed in my Open Letter) and Monsonego and Weiner (31 Oct 2003, p.834, covered in my letter to colleagues ).

Contrasting with Dr. Kennedy editorial the above facts show an apparent unwillingness of AAAS Science to inform readers about not-disclosed financial interests by Science authors, and AAAS Science obstruction of a disclosure made by others.

I look forward the 'letter of intent' by Science Editor-in-Chief is materialized in a concrete actions.

Sincerely,

Alexei Koudinov, MD, PhD

Note: Alexei Koudinov competing interest statement: I do not have any competing financial interest. I aim free information dissemination and an unbiased development of Alzheimer's neuroscience. I observe the Society for Neuroscience Guidelines for Responsible Conduct Regarding Scientific Communication.

February 07, 2006

Primer to Follow: University Promotes Librarian For Open Access Activism

Lund University has awarded an honorary doctorate to Ingegerd Rabow for her work on scholarly communication and open access. From today's announcement:

I have the pleasure to announce that the Faculty of Humanities at Lund University has decided to award to Ingegerd Rabow, [senior librarian in Lund's] Library Head Office...a honorary doctorate for her work in Scholarly Communication and Open-Access. As project manager for the ScieCom - Swedish Resource Centre for Scientific Communication (www.sciecom.org), one of the driving forces behind the Nordic Conferences on Scholarly Communication (www.lub.lu.se/ncsc2006) and her work as an Open Access advocate within Sweden, the Nordic countries and elsewhere Ingegerd has contributed significantly to the movement for open access to research results. The Lund University OA-policy, the signatures to the Berlin Declaration by the Swedish Association of Higher Education and the Swedish Research Council has a lot to do with Ingegerd's work.

Comment by Peter Suber ("Honorary doctorate to Ingegerd Rabow for her OA work", OA News): I believe this the first honorary doctorate in any country for work to advance OA. All who have attended the Nordic conferences on scholarly communication or tried to get a university, professional association, or government agency to commit to OA will acknowledge Ingegerd's ability to bring people together to bring about institutional change. We need more effective advocates like her and in more countries. Congratulations to Ingegerd and kudos to Lund University for recognizing and supporting her contributions.

February 05, 2006

Librarian Noteworthy: Integrating Open Access Archive Searches Into the ILL System

The future Inter-library loan request, CharteringLibrarian, January 25, 2006. An unsigned blog posting. Excerpt (OA News Blog):

"I've been doing quite a bit of research on DSpace and other repository tools lately, and a thought has just occurred to me. At the moment, a fair proportion of our received Inter-library loan requests are actually held by us, sometimes as paper copies, but regularly as part of online subscriptions. With the proliferation of open-access repositories, more and more journal articles, theses, book chapers etc. are going to become freely available online. How about an Inter-Library loan system that automatically took request details and processed them through some kind of metadata filter, and then on to relevant search facilities? This could then offer users the option to look at any possible results, before deciding whether or not to still submit their request. It would obviously depend on the details they provided, but if it worked it could hugely reduce the time taken for these people to find their requests, and the staff time spent working on Inter-library loans. Unfortunately my skills aren't quite up to creating something that could do this...yet!

Comment by Peter Suber. This is a great idea. Until it can be automated, patrons and librarians can run their ILL requests through OAIster, the most comprehensive search index of OA repositories worldwide. This will save time, save money, and spread the message about OA. Here's an idea for Phase 2. When Professor X submits an ILL request for an item already OA in an repository, the ILL librarian sends back a note with a URL to the item, a short explanation of what OA repositories are, perhaps with a link, a list of Professor X's non-OA journal publications, and a pointer to the institutional repository."

February 04, 2006

Open Letter on a Call to Boycott Cell Press

First Published 7 December 2003 at Scitech Library Question

15 November 2003

Dear colleagues,

I read with interest The Scientist news article "Researchers boycott Cell Press" and a followup coverage in the Open Access Now section of the The Scientist presented by the Biomedcentral [1]. It was especially interesting to me, a managing editor of an independent open access peer-reviewed scholar journal Neurobiology of Lipids, because the article enlightened the growing distress of the academic world with the conventional publishing system and discussed open access publication model [Ref. 2, also see Footnote below].

The Scientist article says that UCSF faculty Dr. Peter Walter and Dr. Keith Yamamoto urge "their colleagues to resign from the editorial boards of Cell Press, to stop submitting papers, and to refuse to review manuscripts for the journals, which also include Developmental Cell, Cancer Cell, and Immunity" because "publisher charges too much for electronic access to the material" [Ref. 1, UCSF scientists letter text is available at this link .

I would like to add to the argument of the distinguished scientists. I feel that there is a need to globally expand this timely action for another reason, an apparent lack of Elsevier and Cell Press measures to safeguard cardinal tenet of scholar science, an academic integrity.

As a researcher working on neuroscience of Alzheimer's disease and struggling to protect my fields' unbiased development I recently had to react on Neuron (a Cell Press publication) article by Hock et al. [3]. This article provided apparently false statement of the competing financial interest by the authors, but was accompanied by a favoring editorial coverage. There were no action taken thus far by Neuron or Cell Press, as there were no action in response on my earlier correspondence with the journal requesting editorial investigation to punish Dennis J. Selkoe (a Harvard professor and recent member of the NIH National Advisory Council on Aging) non disclosure of competing financial interests (as Athena founder and Elan director and shareholder) in prior Neuron publication, and while serving Neuron editorial board member. This is described and referenced in my letter to Neuron editor Kenneth Blum [3].

I also alerted via e.mail Elsevier's Corporate Relations Director Eric Merkel-Sobotta (see BMJ correspondence [4] for recent response by Eric Merkel-Sobotta on another story that involved Elsevier) that Floyd E. Bloom, AAAS Board of Directors Chair and Scripps Research Institute professor, serving as sole Editor-in-Chief for Elsevier's Brain Research has competing financial interest as founder and CEO of Neurome, Inc. The facts described in my Open letter to Science Editor-in-Chief Donald Kennedy, and the follow up correspondence [5] in my view place Science magazine in an unfortunate circus of the troubled journals.

Therefore, would I call for a boycott my major concern would be not a high subscription cost but the quality of science that one gets in exchange.

Sincerely,

Alexei Koudinov, MD, PhD
Neuroscientist and Editor
http://neurobiologyoflipids.org

Footnote: Not to be mistaken: I doubt, however, that 500$ that major commercial open access publisher BioMed Central (BMC) charges for open access article publication (note that PLoS Biology article publication charge is even higher, 1500$) adequately associated with the real cost of an online publication, the reason Neurobiology of Lipids was NOT started with BMC. Neurobiology of Lipids does not charge authors for article publication and runs at an annual budget of below the cost of one article publication at BMC.
This letter is intended for academic scientists worldwide. It was also e.mailed to media members, and scientists and editors quoted in The Scientist news article, in STLQ news "
Open Access under attack" [and at length of the above text.

Do not miss a response on a call to boycott Cell Press by Stevan Harnad, University of Southampton, UK.
Competing interest declaration: I do not have any competing financial interest. I aim free information dissemination and an unbiased development of Alzheimer's neuroscience. I observe the Society for Neuroscience
Guidelines for Responsible Conduct Regarding Scientific Communication. 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.

References:

1 McCook A. Researchers boycott Cell Press. The Scientist (Daily News: 23 Oct 2003) [ FullText ]; Editorial. Boycott highlights Open Access alternatives. The Scientist 2003, 17(22), p.A1 [ FullText ] ; UCSF faculty call for a boycott of Cell Press. The Scientist 2003, 17(22), p.A3 [ FullText, scroll down of the screen ].

Also see:

Call for Boycott of Cell Press Journals. STLQ Scholarly Publishing arhive. (Oct. 23, 2003) [ FullText ].
Open Access under Attack. STLQ Scholarly Publishing arhive. (Dec. 2, 2003) [ FullText ].

Cornell and Other Universities to Cancel Elsevier Titles. STLQ Scholarly Publishing arhive. (Nov. 17, 2003) [ FullText ].

Cornell's Statement on its Decision Regarding Elsevier. STLQ Scholarly Publishing arhive. (Nov. 14, 2003) [ FullText ].

A crisis on campus. Interview with Beverlee French, Director for Shared Digital Collections at the California Digital Library. The Scientist 2003, 17 (22), p.A2-A3 [ FullText ].

2 Held MJ. Editorial: Proposed legislation supports an untested publishing model. J Cell Biol. 2003, 162 (2), 171-2 [ PubMed ][ FullText ]; Related online publication: Council News: CSE President: Proposed legislation is an "Irresponsible Act". Council of Science Editors, Inc. web site. (Last viewed 5 Dec. 2003) [ FullText ].

Also see:

Bradley D. Journal publishers to Police themselves. The British Office of Fair Trading deems the journal market unfair. The Scientist 16, 53 (28 Oct. 2002) [ FullText ].

Walgate R. PLoS Biology launches. Open-access journal hits the Web with a splash. The Scientist (Daily News: 10 Oct 2003) [ FullText ].

3 Koudinov AR. Hasta la vista, amyloid cascade hypothesis, OR will academic dishonesty yield Alzheimer's cure? Sciences' SAGE KE (26 May 2003) [ FullText ]; Koudinov AR. 22 May 2003 Neuron article on Alzheimer: 'valid research' or a 'drug company propaganda'? BMJ (31 May 2003) [ FullText ].

4 Merkel-Sobotta E. Article Withdrawal and E-publishing. Br Med J (16 June 2003) [ FullText ]; Related British Medical Journal article: Smith R. Editorial misconduct. BMJ (7 June 2003) 326, 1224-5, doi: 10.1136/bmj.326.7401.1224 [ FullText ].

5 Koudinov AR. Open letter to Donald Kennedy, Science Editor-in-Chief: AAAS, Science, Alzheimer's disease and academic dishonesty. Sciences' SAGE KE (Published 16 June 2003, unpublished [at this URL, along with a follow up commenatary by a SAGEKE member] beginning of August 2003) Freely available at the following link: [ FullText ].

Also see:

Koudinov AR. Amyloid beta road show, or Has the lure of profits corrupted Alzheimer's neuroscience? Sciences' SAGE KE (originally published 5 August 2003) [ FullText ]

Koudinov AR. Letter to Colleagues: Articles on Alzheimer's in Science magazine: amyloid beta road show?
(First emailed 4 November 2003) [ FullText ]

February 03, 2006

Counting the OA journals, or: Scientists, Consider Publishing in Open Access STM Publication

Heather Morrison, Trends in refereed journals / open and toll access, Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics, January 29, 2006. Excerpt by Peter Suber OA News Blog, "Counting the OA journals ":

"Data on scholarly, peer-reviewed journals from three sources is presented and analyzed. Ulrich's reports 1,253 scholarly, peer-reviewed open access journals, about 5% of the journals in this category. The number of new journal start-ups recorded in Ulrich's since 2001 appears to be fairly steady since 2001, both for all scholarly, peer-reviewed journals, and for open access scholarly peer-reviewed journals. The largest number of open access peer-reviewed journal start-ups recorded was in 2004, the last year for which data is likely complete, with a total of 99. DOAJ includes a total of 2,009 open access journals as of today. One possible source of the discrepancy in numbers could be an english-language bias in Ulrich's; of the academic journals listed in Ulrich's, almost 90% are in the english language, while DOAJ appears to represent a much broader linguistic spectrum. Both DOAJ and Ulrich's list considerably fewer open access journals than are found in Jan Sczcepanski's list, over 4,700 journals as of December 2005. There are several possible reasons for this. One is that many academic journals are not necessarily peer-reviewed; for example, only about 40% of the journals listed as academic / scholarly in Ulrich's are peer-reviewed. If we assume that 40% of the journals in Jan Szczepanski's list are peer-reviewed, the total would be 1,880 - very close to the DOAJ figure of 2,009. There are reasons to think that all available figures for open access journals are underestimates. Jan Sczcepanski's, the longest list available, for example, focuses on social sciences, humanities, and math; it is also primarily the work of one individual working on a volunteer basis."

February 02, 2006

Open Access to Theses Has Become a Major Preoccupation for Institutes of Higher Education and Research...

...so, consider archiving your thesis with Israel Scholar Works

Diane Le Hénaff and Catherine Thiolon, Gérer et diffuser les thèses électroniques : un choix politique pour un enjeu scientifique, Documentaliste, October 2005. Only an abstract (in French) is free online for non-subscribers, at least so far. Here is Erik Arfeuille's translation of the title and abstract:

"Managing and disseminating electronic theses: policy decisions for scientific stakes. Now that the concept of open archives has been accepted by the scientific community, open access to theses has become a major preoccupation for institutes of higher education and research. Disseminating electronic theses is a key concern in providing visibility for and access to scientific documents that although not published has been validated. Following a review of the techniques used to deposit, process and disseminate theses, this article describes STAR, the French plan for depositing, publicizing and archiving this type of record, and insists on the scientific issues of a national policy on electronic dissemination of theses."

Source: Peter Suber. More on OA to theses and dissertations. OANewsBlog (30 January 2006) [FullText]

Israel Scholar Note:

February 01, 2006

Open Access is Radiply Developing STM Publishing Task Force. By Scholars

Kuan-Teh Jeang, Open Access And Public Archiving: The Future Of Scientific Publishing? NIH Catalyst, Jan-Feb, 2006. OA but temporarily offline. When the journal site comes back online, it will be here. (Thanks to Jennifer Heffelfinger.) Excerpt by Peter Suber Open Access News Blog ("OA is the future", 31 January 2006):

"Traditional journals, like print journalism, remain the dominant force at the moment. However, slowly but surely, the open-access web and electronically based upstarts are gaining traction. Indeed, a senior science writer at the New York Times recently told me --when asked how the Times sees its free web-based competitors-- "We're running scared!"...Now, the pervasiveness of the Internet offers the potential for numerous additional communities --within or outside academia, in rich and in poor nations-- to access previously guarded knowledge. Such access is in keeping not only with the concept that publicly funded science should be shared without charge, but also with the tradition long embraced by scientists that access to large databases such as the genomes of animals and plants and archives like PubMed should be free and public. Nonetheless, broad acceptance of open-access publishing is at a tipping point. Several factors may yet influence its success or failure. The first is the economics of publishing for a wide audience. The web promises to be a low-cost venue that can reach, with unparalleled rapidity, large numbers of geographically dispersed and economically disparate parties. Contrast this availability with the rising cost of the traditional print model, which threatens affordability by even the best-funded libraries in wealthy nations. For example, United Kingdom statistics show that between 1998 and 2003, the average subscription price of academic journals rose by 58 percent while retail prices increased by only 11 percent. A second factor is public demand in developed and developing worlds. The view that at-large access to scientific data is not needed because of lack of public interest is incongruent with empirical experience. Existing numbers indicate that only one-third of the users of PubMed are academicians and researchers, whereas two-thirds are the "public" --clearly not indifferent. As science moves increasingly toward globalization, access models that transcend professional classifications, national boundaries, and accidents of birth are timely and necessary.... Currently, NIH, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the United Kingdom's Wellcome Trust, Germany's Max-Planck Society and Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, and France's CNRS and INSERM have all encouraged their funded researchers to deposit peer-reviewed articles into publicly accessible repositories. The two major publishers of open-access journals --Public Library of Science (PLoS) and Biomed Central-- have also adopted policies of directly and immediately depositing their published works into PubMed Central....I have an interest in the evolution of scientific publishing. Twelve years ago I helped start a traditional journal, the Journal of Biomedical Science, which I edited for more than 10 years. Two years ago, I left that project to found Retrovirology, an exclusively web-based open-access journal. Although I have an abiding loyalty to my scientific societies and feel that they deserve continuing revenue streams, my personal read of the winds of change is that open-access publishing and publicly accessible digital repositories like PubMed Central may well be the dominant future players....Based on the acceptance that Retrovirology has gained within my scientific community, it seems to me that scientists do look beyond the cover of a journal to recognize the value of open accessibility to their work. Our journal caters to a relatively small cohort of retrovirologists, but it is accessed steadily 1,000 times each day, 30,000 times each month. These numbers are disproportionate to our known academic audience and suggest that a significant percentage of our readers are members of the public who value and trust our content. Public access, public trust, and public archives --are these not the wave of the future of scientific publishing?"