Israel Scholar Communication Scrolls

Reshaping academic communication. Liberating the scholarship from commercial publisher cabal. Uniting global Jewish scholarship

November 20, 2007

Dampening Opening Access Value Is a PR Action by Conventional Influential Publishers

Peter Suber recently received an email from "Miss Phlogiston", another insider at the American Chemical Society. As with the original "ACS Insider" (see one, two), Peter knows nothing about the pseudonymous author. Excerpt from her message:

I am writing you this email in [alliance] with the original Insider at the American Chemical Society. The Chronicle of Higher Education confirmed last week that executive bonuses at the American Chemical Society are tied to the financial success of their publishing division. This money may be influencing opposition to Open Access publishing by ACS executives. The executive director pulls in almost $1 million annually.

To prevent Open Access:

ACS Editor Rudy Baum has written numerous opposing editorials in Chemical & Engineering News.
The Society has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars for lobbyists.
ACS Publishing Executive, Brian Crawford, helped hire a suspect PR firm which created a covert organization called Partnership for Research Integrity in Science and Medicine (PRISM).
Question: Is ACS being run in the interest of members or to fatten the wallets of its executives? Please reference the following time line with supporting sources.

[1] Sept 2004 - Rudy Baum writes an editorial in C&EN entitled "Socialized Science." Rudy argues, "Open access, in fact, equates with socialized science." Rudy does not mention that bonuses for ACS publishing executives are tied to publishing profits.

[2] June 2006 - Rudy Baum writes "Take A Stand," another C&EN editorial against "socialized science." He argues, "As a member of the ACS Publications Division executive team, I am very familiar with the tremendous effort, expense, and human resources that are poured into producing the finest chemistry journals and databases in the world." As support, Rudy cites the position of the scholarly division of the Assn. of American Publishers (AAP). Rudy does not disclose that the chairman of the AAP's scholarly division is Brian Crawford, a publishing executive at ACS.

[3] July 2006 - As Nature later reports, Several publishing executives with ACS, Wiley and Elsevier meet with PR operative, Eric Dezenhall, to discuss a plan to defeat open access. Dezenhall advises the executives to equate Open Access with a reduction in peer review quality.

[4] August 2006 - ACS publishing executive, Brian Crawford, writes a letter against Open Access to the Los Angeles Times. In the letter, he states, "Publishers will keep working to expand access to research while maintaining the integrity of peer review and copyright protection." Crawford identifies himself the "chair of the executive council of the professional and scholarly publishing division of the Assn. of American Publishers."

[5] January 2007 - Nature reports that several publishing companies (Elsevier, ACS, Wiley) have hired PR operative Eric Dezenhall to fight Open Access. In the past, Dezenhall represented several celebrities, as well as felons convicted in the Enron debacle.

[6] January 2007 - Scientific American reports that ACS has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to hire lobbying firms to defeat Open Access. ACS' own internal lobbyists are also working against Open Access, but the exact expense cannot be determined from published records.

[7] Summer 2007 - Former ACS journalist, Paul D. Thacker, writes in the SEJournal that Rudy Baum and other ACS executives sought to discredit his reporting after his editor received complaints from ACS President, Bill Carroll. Thacker claims that Carroll chairs the ACS Committee on Executive Compensation which reviews the bonuses of the publishing executives such as Rudy Baum. Rudy Baum does not address the issue of compensation, but Carroll states that his Committee does not review editorial bonuses.

[8] September 2007 - The Assn of American Publishers launches a new group called Partnership for Research Integrity in Science and Medicine (PRISM) coalition, an anti-open-access group. The group claims that Open Access will hurt peer review.

[9] Early October 2007 - ACS sends out a press release stating that several anonymous emails about executive pay and bonuses are filled with "erroneous and misleading claims." The press release notes that compensation for ACS executives is approved by the Committee on Executive Compensation, however, executive compensation is not "related to the Society's position on open access." The press release continues, "Our Society's position is also represented by the Association of American Publishers, a non-profit organization whose membership encompasses the major commercial and non-profit scholarly publishers, including ourselves."

[10] October 22, 2007 - As reported in The Scientist, Rudy Baum declines to state if his compensation is tied to publishing profits. Of an anonymous email claiming the contrary, he says, "When anonymous material comes into the office I throw it out right away."

[11] October 24, 2007 - ACS rebuts the anonymous email in the Chronicle of Higher Education. The Chronicle interviews ACS Executive Director, Madeleine Jacobs, who "did confirm that senior executives and some managers in the publishing division have a 'small portion' of their overall incentive compensation 'based on meeting certain financial targets.' She did not agree that such incentive pay, however small, represented a conflict of interest in the group's opposition to open-access legislation and called such argument 'spurious.'" ...

For References and Post FullText please see OA News Blog

November 17, 2007

Academic freedom includes sharing knowledge as a public good, US teachers say

Academic Freedom in the 21st-Century College and University (.pdf), the Statement on Academic Freedom from the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), September 2007. (Thanks to John Ober and Peter Suber) Excerpt:

...Academic integrity in research, however, requires discoveries to be shared and knowledge to be considered primarily as a public good instead of a private possession.

Academic freedom requires the free exchange of ideas and information, following prudent and responsible academic and institutional standards. However, the growing commercialization of research presents problems for free exchange. For example, confidentiality agreements with business sponsors of research serve the business’s interest in restricting information to stop competitors from appropriating ideas. However, such agreements may conflict with intellectual free exchange, not allowing others to learn enough to be able to test, replicate and/or refute the theories and the evidence supporting them. This retards the development of knowledge and the potential for new discoveries....

Of course, faculty, instructional staff and other professionals performing research at the institution can, and their institutions may, legitimately claim ownership of the products —such as publications and patents— of research conducted under the auspices of the institution. But the ideas and results of research should be freely shared...

November 14, 2007

How libraries handle Open Access resources: educating users is a must

How libraries handle OA resources and educate users about OA

Anna K. Hood, SPEC Kit 300: Open Access Resources, Association of Research Libraries, September 2007. (Thanks to Charles Bailey and Peter Suber) The link points to the OA executive summary and conclusion. The full report is a 140 pp. book available for $40 from Amazon.

From the executive summary:

Faced with ever-increasing journal subscription costs and declining library collections budgets, libraries are expanding their collections by making open access (OA) research literature available through their catalogs, Web sites, open URL resolvers, and other resources....

The purpose of this survey was to gather information on whether and how ARL member libraries are selecting, providing access to, cataloging, hosting, tracking usage of, and promoting the use of open access research literature for their patrons by using established library resources such as the OPAC and link resolvers....

The survey was sent to the 123 ARL member libraries in March 2007. Seventy-one responses were received by the deadline, a return rate of 58%. All but one of the survey respondents provide access to OA resources. These 70 libraries represent 57% of the ARL membership.

From the conclusion:

Almost all of the ARL member libraries that responded to this survey provide access to open access literature, linking to externally hosted content and hosting OA content on their servers. Many of their institutions have made formal statements in support of open access efforts and the majority of these libraries provide financial support for external OA resources by paying author fees, etc. Some provide financial support for locally hosted content that is in addition to hosting and staff time....

In most libraries the selectors and the selection criteria are the same as for other materials, especially other electronic resources.

Cataloging methods and staff are also largely the same for OA resources as for other electronic resources....

In addition to providing links to a variety of externally hosted OA resources, the responding libraries also host a wide range of OA resources on their own servers. These resources include digital collections and archives, pre-publication material, lectures, primary source material, finding aids, theses and dissertations, grey literature, Web sites, and databases, as well as journals. As with print collections, the libraries provide storage, access, and maintenance for these local digital collections.

The most common place to list OA resources is the library’s primary finding aid, the OPAC. They also can be found along with other electronic resources on Web pages, in open URL resolvers, and in other third-party title lists or portals. Of course, locally hosted resources are often found directly by searching institutional repositories.

While most libraries promote OA recourses in the same ways as other resources, many of the responding libraries are actively educating faculty and students about open access and other issues in scholarly communication and make a point of introducing this relatively new type of resource through Web sites, newsletters, campus forums, flyers, and blogs...

Regardless of whether they choose to distinguish between open access and traditional, subscription-supported resources when selecting, processing, and promoting materials, ARL member libraries have embraced open access resources and integrated them into their existing workflows...

November 10, 2007

Washington Post Writes About Open Access

Rick Weiss, Open Access to Research Funded by U.S. at Issue, Washington Post, November 1, 2007. Excerpt by OA News Blog:

A long-simmering debate over whether the results of government-funded research should be made freely available to the public could take a big step toward resolution as members of a House and Senate conference committee meet today to finalize the 2008 Department of Health and Human Services appropriations bill.

At issue is whether scientists funded by the National Institutes of Health should be required to publish the results of their research solely in journals that promise to make the articles available free within a year after publication.

The idea is that consumers should not have to buy expensive scientific journal subscriptions -- or pricey per-page charges for nonsubscribers -- to see the results of research they have already paid for with their taxes.

Until now, repeated efforts to legislate such a mandate have failed under pressure from the well-heeled journal publishing industry and some nonprofit scientific societies whose educational activities are supported by the profits from journals that they publish.

But proponents -- including patient advocates, who want easy access to the latest biomedical findings, and cash-strapped libraries looking for ways to temper escalating subscription costs -- have parlayed their consumer-friendly "public access" message into legislative language that has made it into the Senate and House versions of the new HHS bill.

That has set the stage for a last-minute lobbying showdown.

"There's been loads of debate and discussion, and at last it's going forward," said Heather Joseph, executive director of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, a Washington-based library group. She has been a persistent presence on Capitol Hill, making the case for open access....

Scientists assert that open access will speed innovation by making it easier for them to share and build on each other's findings.

"Congress recognizes that, in the Internet age, unimpeded access to publicly funded research results is essential for the advancement of science and public health," said NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni....

Opponents say that the economics of the open-access model are still experimental and tenuous, and that some open-access journals are dependent on philanthropic foundation money to balance their books. They also contend that the approach raises copyright issues.

"I think there are some very serious questions to examine as to whether this is an unwarranted government intrusion into the private-sector publishing industry," said Allan R. Adler, vice president for legal and government affairs at the Association of American Publishers, which has organized efforts to quash the movement...

With both Senate and House appropriation committee chairmen in favor, the language requiring the change would normally be virtually assured, despite a recent negative White House pronouncement. But Hill watchers said that -- given President Bush's threat to veto the bill for budgetary reasons and the likelihood of a continuing resolution, which would not have the new language -- it is too soon for the open-access movement to publish a victory paper.

Comments by Peter Suber:

One correction: The policy would require deposit in an OA repository (PubMed Central), not submission to OA journals. It's about green OA, not gold OA. This correction applies to Rick Weiss, for example in his second paragraph, and to Allan Adler and the AAP, whose objection to the economics of OA journals is not relevant to a policy that focuses exclusively on OA archiving.

If Adler is thinking that that the NIH policy will force subscription journals to convert to OA, then he should connect the dots, explain his theory in more detail, and respond to the counterevidence from physics. I detail this counterevidence in an article in the September 2007 issue of SOAN (see esp. section 5).

Weiss says that opponents also cite copyright problems with the policy, though he doesn't elaborate. But the NIH provision of the bill concludes with these words: "...Provided, That the NIH shall implement the public access policy in a manner consistent with copyright law." What part of "consistent with copyright law" do these unnamed opponents not understand?

Adler also objects to "government intrusion into the private-sector publishing industry." Here's one way that I've responded to this objection in the past: "The complaint about 'government intrusion into the market' is disingenuous. Scientific research and publication are permeated by government spending and government policies... In the US, most scientific research is funded by taxpayers, most scientists work at public institutions and are paid by taxpayers, and most subscriptions to subscription-based journals are purchased by public institutions and paid for by taxpayers. If publishers really mean that government money and policymaking should keep out of this sector, then they should say so. But they know that they would go bankrupt under such a rule. What they really want is the present arrangement of government subsidies for the work they publish, government subsidies for their own subscription fees, and double-payments by taxpayers who want access."

November 07, 2007

One medical library's efforts to support Open Access

Molly C. Barnett and Molly W. Keener, Expanding medical library support in response to the National Institutes of Health Public Access Policy, Journal of the Medical Library Association, October 2007. This article was submitted to JMLA in April 2007, well before the recent House and Senate votes to mandate OA at the NIH. Excerpt by Open Access News Blog:

Responding to recent changes in the scholarly publishing process, Coy C. Carpenter Library is expanding its scholarly communications program to better support the research publication efforts of the faculty at Wake Forest University Health Sciences (WFUHS). Recent advances in open access publishing and archiving initiatives, adoption of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) “Policy on Enhancing Public Access to Archived Publications Resulting from NIH-Funded Research” (Public Access Policy) in 2005, the rapidly increasing pool of published biomedical research, rising costs of subscription rates, and continued barriers to access have necessitated an internal redesign of the library's Faculty Publications (FP) database. Changes in the scholarly publishing environment have also spurred the creation of online resource lists specifically addressing common issues in scholarly communications, including copyright and intellectual property ownership, open access, and the importance of scholarly publishing.

These efforts, coupled with plans for educational sessions on open access and copyright retention for faculty, are intended to address common questions raised during the publishing process. In particular, the FP database will bridge faculty publication citations to individuals' personnel profiles in the university's human resources department's management software, PeopleSoft, and to the full text of faculty-authored journal articles, thus providing the institution with a more complete picture of WFUHS faculty research initiatives and outcomes. This paper illustrates key objectives in Carpenter Library's strategy for supporting scholarly communications through enhancing the knowledge management applications of the FP database and leveraging the database's functions to promote open access to research...

November 04, 2007

Helping Faculty to Realise that Toll-access n the Internet-based world is an archaism

More on the value of removing permission barriers

Heather Morrison, The Usefulness of Open Access, or Yet Another Positive OA Cycle, Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics, November 3, 2007. Excerpt by Peter Suber:

Many faculty members are currently encountering one of the sillier disadvantages of the toll-access approach in the internet-based world. That is, the decreasing usefulness of articles with the restrictions of licensing. An article that one might have put on reserve as a print copy, or handed out in class as print, without a second's thought, may well be forbidden, or much more complex to provide, in the online environment. Librarians, this is a teachable moment!

An article that is truly OA as per the Budapest definition, CAN be placed on e-reserve or distributed in coursepacks, either as a link, or as the full content of the article - with attribution, of course, but with no frustrating, time-wasting and often costly process of obtaining permissions, or dealing with the complexities of authentication or re-authentication to connect student with article...

[T]he more we promote resources like DOAJ, OAIster, Scientific Commons, etc., the more faculty will see for themselves this particular benefit of OA. This can only increase the tendency for faculty to want to seek out OA resources, and publish OA themselves - a positive cycle...

November 02, 2007

UK Prime Minister endorses public access to public info

Michael Cross, PM embraces the notion of easier access to government data, The Guardian, November 1, 2007. Excerpt by Peter Suber, OA News Blog:

The case for allowing free access to data collected and held at taxpayers' expense has received endorsement from the top of the British government. In his speech on civil liberties last week, Gordon Brown, the prime minister, said: "Public information does not belong to government, it belongs to the public on whose behalf government is conducted."

Brown's speech acknowledged the power of the web to give access to information about public services. "The availability of real-time data about what is happening on the ground - whether about local policing or local health services - is vital in enabling people to make informed choices about how they use their local services and the standards they expect."

Brown is also considering opening new parts of the government's digital archives....

However, the prime minister did not mention how his enthusiasm for allowing citizens access to data squares with the policy of encouraging some publicly-owned bodies to charge for data sets, especially for re-use in web mashups and other products. But Locus, a trade association, welcomed the speech. "Next time we hope he will focus on re-use," it said.

We agree. Over the past 18 months, our Free Our Data campaign has argued that the government should stop attempting to trade in information, but instead make its unrefined data (except where it threatens privacy or national security) freely available to all comers.

Later this month, an independent review commissioned by the Treasury will report on the costs and benefits of the current "trading fund" model...