Friday, November 20, 2009

Oberlin Joins the Ranks of Faculty Endorsed Open Access

Oberlin College Faculty Unanimously Endorses Open Access - Press Release 11/20/2009

OBERLIN, OHIO -- The Oberlin College General Faculty unanimously endorsed on November 18 a resolution to make their scholarly articles openly accessible on the Internet. As a result of the measure, the rich scholarly output of the Oberlin faculty will become available to a much broader national and international audience. The Oberlin resolution is similar to policies passed at Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Kansas, and Trinity University.

“Through this resolution the Oberlin College faculty has expressed a principled commitment to disseminating their scholarship as widely as possible,” said Sebastiaan Faber, Professor of Hispanic Studies and Chair of the General Faculty Library Committee. “The current system of journal publishing, which largely relies on subscriptions and licenses, limits access to research information in significant ways, particularly for students and faculty at smaller and less wealthy institutions, as well as for the general public. Access is also seriously limited around the world in countries with fewer resources.”

Under the new policy, Oberlin faculty and professional staff will make their peer-reviewed, scholarly articles openly accessible in a digital archive managed by the Oberlin College Library as part of the OhioLINK Digital Resource Commons. Oberlin authors may opt out of the policy for a specific article if they are not in a position to sign journal publishing agreements that are compatible with the policy, or for other reasons. The resolution also creates an institutional license that gives Oberlin College the legal right to make the articles accessible on the Internet through the digital archive. The resolution further encourages, but does not require, authors to submit publications other than peer-reviewed articles in the same manner.

“Moving toward open access makes economic, philosophical, and ethical sense,” said Faber. “Open access democratizes knowledge and helps level the scholarly playing field.” Faber also notes that the policy will benefit Oberlin’s authors by increasing access to their work, making the high-quality scholarship of Oberlin faculty much more visible to external audiences. “We hope that other colleges and universities will follow suit by adopting similar policies,” he said.

“I’m delighted that Oberlin’s faculty and staff have made this important commitment to open access,” said Ray English, Azariah Smith Root Director of Libraries. “The movement for open access to scholarly research information is international in scope and growing rapidly as academic institutions, research-funding agencies, and policy makers see the benefits of unfettered access to scholarly research. The library looks forward to putting in place the support structures that are needed to carry out this important initiative.”

Adopted at the recommendation of the General Faculty Library Committee, the policy calls for the committee, in consultation with a faculty council, to establish procedures for carrying out the policy and to monitor its implementation. Policy implementation will be coordinated by a scholarly communications officer, a member of the library staff designated by the director of libraries. The text of the faculty resolution is available online at:

The Oberlin College Student Senate recently endorsed the national “Student Statement on the Right to Research,” which expresses a similar commitment to making scholarly research information openly accessible.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

New Google Settlement

The revised Google Settlement document is now available for review. You can read responses in the following places:
For an excellent summary of the changes in the revised document, see Kevin Smith's posting on the Duke Scholarly Communication blog.

If you have additional articles or comments you'd like to share, please post.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

First Liberal Arts College to Adopt Open Access - Trinity University

I want to sincerely congratulate my colleague, Diane Graves, at Trinity University in San Antonio for her major accomplishment. Diane has been active in SPARC and a longtime advocate for Open Access and change in scholarly publishing. Diane has helped the rest of her colleagues in the Oberlin Group libraries by setting an example and leading the way for small, liberal arts colleges to adopt the open access standard. You can read the complete press release here. Kudos Diane!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Oberlin Letter to Scientific American

Scientific American was recently purchased by Nature publishing group. Our subscription was to increase from $24 per year to $300 per year. In addition to canceling our subscription, we joined with other library directors from 48 other Oberlin Group member libraries to send a letter protesting the price increase. Articles have appeared in a variety of places:

Chronicle of Higher Education, Oct. 13, "College Library Directors Protest Huge Jump in 'Scientific American' Price"

Inside Higher Ed, October 13, "Library Directors Protest 'Scientific American' Prices"

Library Journal, Oct. 13,"College Librarians Protest STM Pricing for Consumer Magazine Scientific American"

A copy of the Oberlin letter

And now we have the response from the publisher. If anyone believes we should resubscribe to this journal based on this letter, please do share your thoughts with me.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Letter of Support for Federal Research Access Act of 2009

President Brian Rosenberg is one of the 57 liberal arts college presidents who signed a letter of support for the new legislation to expand public access to federally funded research. An article in today's Inside Higher Education has the details and a link to the letter.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Compact for Open Access Publishing

Four universities have joined together to form a new iniative entitled Compact for Open Access Publishing Equity (COPE) to support open access publishing. Information on the project which includes Cornell, Harvard, Dartmouth, MIT and my alma mater, the University of California at Berkeley, will be found at their website
The point of the project is to support "equity of the business models by committing each university to 'the timely establishment of durable mechanisms for underwriting reasonable publication charges for articles written by its faculty and published in fee-based open-access journals and for which other institutions would not be expected to provide funds.'"

Universities and colleges are encouraged to join the initiative and sign on in a show of support.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

More open access content in Google Books

The following article appeared in today's issue of Wired Campus. August 13, 2009
By Marc Beja with good news for open-access and Creative Commons advocates.

Original posting

"Authors who feared the expansion of Google Books' library, or who felt the company was hoarding books and filling its own coffers, now have a little less to worry about.

Google announced today that it will let authors use Google Books to distribute works that they have published under Creative Commons licenses. Readers will be able to download the copyrighted books and share them with other Google Books users as long as they comply with the authors' decisions on how the material can be used. (There are six different Creative Commons licenses, which let authors require, among other things, that their books can be repurposed only with attribution or only for non-commercial use.)

Nine books are already available to download, including Code: Version 2, by Lawrence Lessig, a director of Creative Commons, who is an advocate for open-access for books."

U of California Press and JSTOR announce new platform for scholarship

"The University of California Press and JSTOR announced today that they have joined forces to create "a single, integrated platform" for new scholarship. The venture, called the Current Scholarship Program, will debut in 2011. It aims to provide a more cost-effective way for libraries and end users to have "seamless access" to all current content from the scholarly journals published by the California press, including those from scholarly associations. Back issues and primary-source material from libraries will also be included, the announcement said. Other publishers are invited to participate if they embrace an "articulated set of principles" behind the partnership. Those principles include "fair and transparent pricing" as well as long-term access and preservation."

Original post

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Open Humanities Press

Five new open-access monograph series are being started with the University of Michigan Press. See full story at Chronicle of Higher Education.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Survival of Scholarly University Presses - reports on annual meeting of AAUP

Two articles appeared today discussing the annual meeting of the American Association of University Presses. The fate of University presses is closely tied to faculty seeking tenure. Fewer books are being accepted for publication, yet for many disciplines a published book is a requirement for tenure. Shrinking library budgets also are affecting the sales for university presses. Both articles present information on how presses are looking to find new methods in order to survive. Some presses are looking at alternatives including moving to e-format only, while other presses are being closed, and others are looking at open access. Read complete story. in Inside Higher Ed.

For more details, see The Chronicle of Higher Ed story, "Scholarly Presses Discuss What it Takes to Survive" on the annual meeting.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Student Groups issue statement for Open Access

An article in today's Inside Higher Ed ("Student Coalition Forms to Support Open Access") shares information on student groups who have joined together to issue a "Statement on Open Access." The group includes:

American Medical Student Association (June 10, 2009)
Student PIRGs (June 10, 2009)
Students for Free Culture (June 10, 2009)
Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (June 10, 2009)
California Institute of Technology Graduate Student Council (June 10, 2009)
Trinity University Association of Student Representatives (June 10, 2009)

Their website, Right to Research has a copy of the statement and a place to sign on in support. My only quibble is that as per usual, they refer to "universities" only, not colleges. It is such a simple thing to be inclusive of all academic institutions and be mindful that a significant number of articles are generated by college faculty. At the same time, it is to be hoped that students will become more involved in the Open Access Movement.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

10 University-Press Directors Back Free Access to Scholarly Articles

From an article in the Chronicle of Higher Ed: "In a move that puts them at odds with the official stance of the Association of American University Presses, a group of university-press directors yesterday issued a position statement that endorses “the free access to scientific, technical, and medical journal articles no later than 12 months after publication.” Read complete article.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Gustavus Library Faculty Sign Open Access Pledge

Gustavus Adolpus College Library Faculty Adopted the Following Open Access Pledge on May 14th. You can see the complete pledge below, and links on their web page to other institutions with statements about OA.

Open Access Pledge

The Gustavus library faculty believes that open access to scholarship is critical for scholarly communication and for the future of libraries. For that reason we pledge to make our own research freely available whenever possible by seeking publishers that have either adopted open access policies,publish contents online without restriction, and/or allow authors to self-archive their publications on the web. We pledge to link to and/or self-archive our publications to make them freely accessible.

Librarians may submit their work to a publication that does not follow open access principles and will not allow self archiving only if it is clearly the best or only option for publication; however, librarians will actively seek out publishers that allow them to make their research available freely online and, when necessary, will negotiate with publishers to improve publication agreements.

Adopted by the library faculty on May 14, 2009

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

NIH Mandate, the First U.S. Public Access Policy Made Permanent

Although the NIH Public Access Mandate still faces a legislative challenge by the Conyers Bill, the first U.S. Public Access Policy was made permanent on March 12 when President Obama signed the 2009 Consolidated Appropriates Act. The full act reads:

"The Director of the National Institutes of Health shall require in the current fiscal year and thereafter that all investigators funded by the NIH submit or have submitted for them to the National Library of Medicine's PubMed Central an electronic version of their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts upon acceptance for publication to be made publicly available no later than 12 months after the official date of publication: Provided, That the NIH shall implement the public access policy in a manner consistent with copyright law."

An April 7, 2009 article in Nature, by Meredith Watson, provides a view of the NIH mandate after one year. An exerpt from her article is an example of how the mandate has increased deposits:

"In March 2009, 6,425 such original articles were approved by their authors for processing; a year earlier, the number was 1,852."

Her article also provides commentary about the Conyers bill, along with other opponents of the NIH mandate.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Public Access to NIH Funded Research Under Attack, again

A new bill has been introduced to reverse the current NIH Public Access Policy as well as prohibit similar policies by other federal agencies. We're asking the community to please take time to call or write your US Representative and ask him or her to oppose HR 801, The Fair Copyright in Research Works Act. We have worked too hard for too long and it is critical that this bill not gain any momentum by gaining additional co-sponsors. We need your action no later than February 28, 2009. Please act now to express your support for public access to taxpayer-funded research and ask that he or she oppose H.R.801.

Here is a list of Minnesota U.S Representatives and a link to their websites with their contact information:

More details will be found at SPARC

Letter from SPARC with a sample letter to send to your representative. Phone calls are also very effective.

Target: All members of the House of Representatives
Subject: Ask your Representative to oppose the H.R. 801 – The Fair Copyright in Research Works Act

Last week, the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee (Rep. John Conyers, D-MI) re-introduced a bill that would reverse the NIH Public Access Policy and make it impossible for other federal agencies to put similar policies into place. The legislation is H.R. 801: the “Fair Copyright in Research Works Act” (

All supporters of public access – researchers, libraries, campus administrators, patient advocates, publishers, and others – are asked to please contact your Representative no later than February 28, 2009 to express your support for public access to taxpayer-funded research and ask that he or she oppose H.R.801. Draft letter text is included below. As always, it’s important to let us know what action you’re able to take, via

H.R. 801 is designed to amend current copyright law and create a new category of copyrighted works (Section 201, Title 17). In effect, it would:

1. 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 are either: a) funded in part by sources other than a U.S. agency, or b) the result of "meaningful added value" to the work from an entity that is not party to the agreement.

2. Prohibit U.S. agencies from obtaining a license to publicly distribute, perform, or display such work by, for example, placing it on the Internet.

3. Stifle access to a broad range of federally funded works, overturning the crucially important NIH Public Access Policy and preventing other agencies from implementing similar policies.

4. Because it is so broadly framed, the proposed bill would require an overhaul of the well-established procurement rules in effect for all federal agencies, and could disrupt day-to-day procurement practices across the federal government.

5. Repeal the longstanding "federal purpose" doctrine, under which all federal agencies that fund the creation of a copyrighted work reserve the "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.

Because of the NIH Public Access Policy, millions of Americans now have access to vital health care information through the PubMed Central database. Under the current policy, nearly 3,000 new biomedical manuscripts are deposited for public accessibility each month. H.R.801 would prohibit the deposit of these manuscripts, seriously impeding the ability of researchers, physicians, health care professionals, and families to access and use this critical health-related information in a timely manner.

All supporters of public access -- researchers, libraries, campus administrators, patient advocates, publishers, and others -- are asked to contact their Representatives to let them know you support public access to federally funded research and oppose H.R. 801. Again, the proposed legislation would effectively reverse the NIH Public Access Policy, as well as make it impossible for other federal agencies to put similar policies into place.

Thank you for your support and continued persistence in supporting this policy. You know the difference constituent voices can make on Capitol Hill.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact Heather or myself anytime.

All best,


Jennifer McLennan
Director of Communications
(The Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition)
(202) 296-2296 ext 121

Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.


Draft letter text:

Dear Representative;

On behalf of [your organization], I strongly urge you to oppose H.R. 801, “the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act,” introduced to the House Judiciary Committee on February 3, 2009. This bill would amend the U.S. Copyright Code, prohibiting federal agencies from requiring as a condition of funding agreements public access to the products of the research they fund. This will significantly inhibit our ability to advance scientific discovery and to stimulate innovation in all scientific disciplines.

Most critically, H.R. 810 would reverse the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy, prohibit American taxpayers from accessing the results of the crucial biomedical research funded by their taxpayer dollars, and stifle critical advancements in life-saving research and scientific discovery.

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 3,000 new biomedical manuscripts are deposited for public accessibility each month. H.R.801 would prohibit the deposit of these manuscripts, seriously impeding the ability of researchers, physicians, health care professionals, and families to access and use this critical health-related information in a timely manner.

H.R. 801 affects not only the results of biomedical research produced by the NIH, but also scientific research coming from all other federal agencies. Access to critical information on energy, the environment, climate change, and hundreds of other areas that directly impact the lives and well being of the public would be unfairly limited by this proposed legislation.

[Why you support taxpayer access and the NIH policy].

The NIH and other agencies must be allowed to ensure timely, public access to the results of research funded with taxpayer dollars. Please oppose H.R.801.