Saturday, September 20, 2008

Legislation to change copyright - your access to publicly funded research is threatened

Summary of legislation below, after reading, please contact Keith Ellison, MN Representative on the House Judiciary Committee to protest this proposed legislation. His phone: 202-225-4886, email from his website
When writing, please be sure to refer to his role on the House Judiciary Committee

Proposed Legislation-
On September 11, 2008, the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee (Rep. John Conyers, D-MI) introduced a bill that would effectively reverse the NIH Public Access Policy, as well as make it impossible for other federal agencies to put similar policies into place. The legislation is HR6845: “Fair Copyright in Research Works Act” (

Please contact your Representative and Senators no later than September 24, 2008 to express your support for public access to taxpayer-funded research and ask that he or she OPPOSE HR6845. Especially important are members of the House Judiciary Committee ( and Senate Judiciary Committee ( (Draft text and contact details are included below).

HR6845 is designed to do the following:

1. Amend current copyright law (Title 17).

2. Prohibit all U.S. federal agencies from conditioning funding agreements to require that works resulting from federal support be made publicly available if those works meet either of two conditions:

a. They are funded in part by sources other than a U.S. agency, or

b. The results from "meaningful added value" to the work from an entity that is not party to the agreement.

3. Prohibit U.S. federal agencies being able to obtain a license to publicly distribute, perform, or display such work by -- for example -- putting it on the Internet.

4. Makes broad policy by stifling public access to a wide range of federally funded works, and effectively overturns the crucially important current NIH Public Access Policy.

5. Because it is so broadly framed, the proposed bill would require an overhaul of well-established procurement rules in effect for all federal agencies, and could disrupt day-to-day procurement practices across the federal government, including in critical areas such as research to support national defense and homeland security.

6. In particular, the bill would repeal the longstanding "federal purpose" doctrine, under which all federal agencies that fund the creation of a copyrighted work must reserve a "royalty-free, nonexclusive right to reproduce, publish, or otherwise use the work" for any federal purpose. This will severely limit the ability of U.S. federal agencies to use works that they have funded to support and fulfill agency missions and to communicate with and educate the public.

7. The bill is a blunt instrument that uses extremely broad language to override existing procurement law, and as such has serious implications for the entire U.S. federal government far beyond articles resulting from research funding.

8. Because of the NIH Public Access Policy, millions of Americans now have access to vital health care information from the NIH’s PubMed Central database. Under the current policy, nearly 4,000 new crucial biomedical articles were deposited in the last month alone. This proposed bill would prohibit the deposit of these articles, and as a result, researchers, physicians, health care professionals, families and individuals will find it much harder to get access to this critical health-related information.

Constituents across the country are asked to contact Congress and let them know you support public access to federally funded research and OPPOSE HR6845. Again, the proposed resolution would effectively reverse the NIH Public Access Policy, as well as make it impossible for other federal agencies to put similar policies into place.

Friday, September 12, 2008

NIH Policy Under Attack

Today's issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education features an article about the current battle underway in Congress to reverse the NIH policy for public access to research that is funded by tax payer dollars. For more information on the current debate, you will find the article here.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Open Doors and Open Minds - SPARC Whitepaper

SPARC published a white paper in April 2008 entitled, "Open Doors and Open Minds: What faculty authors can do to ensure open access to their work through their institution." The link to the pdf will be found at

I hope to use this document as a point of increasing conversations on campus in Fall 2008.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

SPARC Video Contest

From a SPARC email announcement:
"The organizers of the Sparky Awards video contest have released several new resources to help college instructors and librarians engage students in an exploration of information sharing and copyright by encouraging their participation in the 2008 contest, “MindMashup: The Value of Information Sharing.” Contestants are invited to submit videos of two minutes or less that imaginatively portray the benefits of the open, legal exchange of information on the Internet. Mashup is an expression referring to a song, video, Web site, or software application that combines content from more than one source.
Educators at all types of institution – including 4-year colleges and universities, community and junior colleges, art and film schools, and others – are invited to incorporate the contest into fall curricula, whether as a formal assignment or extracurricular activity. The following new resources are available to facilitate adoption of the contest:
• Video invitation to enter the Sparky Awards
• Sparky Awards promotional poster
• Educators’ Guide to Using the Sparky Awards in Your Classes
• Librarians’ Guide to Introducing the Sparky Awards on Your Campus
• Banner ad art to promote the Sparky Awards on Web sites
All tools are available for download and customization through the Sparky Awards Web site at, along with complete details on the awards.
The 2008 Sparky Awards are organized by SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) and cosponsored by the Association of College and Research Libraries, the Association of Research Libraries, Campus MovieFest, Penn Libraries, Students for FreeCulture, and The Student PIRGs."

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

New Open Access Humanities Press

In today's issue (May 7) of the Chronicle of Higher Education, there is a new collaborative effort for open access in the humanities. Open Humanities Press which is part of the Public Knowledge project announced that 7 established open access journals were joining the project to expand interest in OA for the humanities. Full article will be found at:

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Recent article on periodicals pricing - great summary of year in review

Periodicals Price Survey 2008: Embracing Openness

Global initiatives and startling successes hint at the profound implications of open access on journal publishing

By Lee C. Van Orsdel & Kathleen Born -- Library Journal, 4/15/2008

Please read at

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Resources for Information on Open Access

In preparation for Gavin Baker's appearance on Tuesday, April 15, I wanted to post some links to recent blogs which discuss OA at other liberal arts colleges and OA news in general. In addition to Peter Suber's Open Access News, see

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Peter Suber's article on "Publisher groups criticize attempts to help authors retain more rights"

See Peter Suber's post in Open Access News for Tuesday, March 11th regarding publishers responses to attempts to help academic authors retain more rights. Many publishers do allow more privileges for authors, which is why we recommend reading the publisher's agreement very carefully. As per the presentation to the Science Division on March 5th (see website for link to presentation), each publisher has a different agreement. As we have learned in the library from negotiating licenses for ejournals, careful reading can identify both privileges as well as issues that may need to be negotiated. Please do contact your liaision librarian if you have questions about publisher agreements for your submitted articles.