Thursday, June 7, 2012

Modern Language Association Adopts New Open Access Policy

The Modern Language Association announced on Tuesday that it was adopting a new Open Access author friendly policy. From their press release: "The revised agreements leave copyright with the authors and explicitly permit authors to deposit in open-access repositories and post on personal or departmental Web sites the versions of their manuscripts accepted for publication." MLA webpage This is great news and one can hope that other associations start to follow suit. It has been a good month for open access advocates!

Friday, May 25, 2012

"Open Access: The People's Petition" - a blog posting by Richard Poynder

Richard Poynder's blog posting has a good overview of the petition and includes an interview with John Willbanks. It's a short, but worthwhile read. Academic librarians have been advocating for OA for more than a decade, but as pointed out in this blog posting, it is the public who need to get behind this push. As stated in the posting: "That something else became an initiative called Access2Research. The objective was to engage the public in the discussions about OA. As Wilbanks wrote on his blog, 'The only thing missing from the open access debate is the public.'" {emphasis mine}

Monday, May 21, 2012

Public Access to Federally Funded Research - Please sign the petition

Message from SPARC - Call to Action - Deadline June 19
We need 25,000 signatures.

Excerpts from SPARC message:  "As you know, the Obama Administration has been actively considering the issue of Public Access to the  results of Federally Funded Research this year. They have recently completed a year-long Interagency Working Group examination of the issue, and have had the opportunity to consider the public input contributed during the RFI process that ended in January. 

We now have a brief, critical window of opportunity to underscore our community's strong commitment to expanding the NIH Public Access Policy across all U.S. Federal Science Agencies. The Administration is currently considering which policy actions are priorities that will they will act on before the 2012 Presidential Election season swings into  high gear later this summer.  We need to ensure that Public Access is one of those priorities. 

To help accomplish this, SPARC will be working with our network of partner organizations across the library, 
publishing, research, student, and advocacy communities to post a petition to the White House's "We the People" site requesting action on this issue, starting on Monday, May 21st. If the petition garners 25,000 signatures within 30  days, it will be reviewed by White House staff, and considered for action. 

In order to reach this number, we need each and every SPARC member to do all that you can to activate your
networks, and to encourage as many colleagues to sign the petition as possible. Qualified signers must be at least 13  years old, have a valid email address, and come from inside or outside the U.S. Additional information - and the 
petition text - will be available at:

As you all know, we have worked extremely hard to get - and keep - the issue of public access to federally funded
research on the Administration's radar screen. We have been very successful in doing so, but illustrating the depth 
of public support represented by 25,000 signatures will help drive home the importance of this issue at a critical time. "

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Britain Announces Plan to Make Publicly Financed Research Freely Available

In the Wired Campus issued dated May 2, 2012, Jennifer Howard posted an article about the British 

government declaring that it wants to "make all research paid for with public money freely available 

online."  One can only hope that our legislators will take notice.

You can read the full article here -  and the following is a brief excerpt (emphasis mine.)

May 2, 2012, 2:35 pm

Throwing its weight behind open access, the British government has declared it wants to make all research paid for with public money freely available online. If it succeeds, the move is likely to have significant consequences for publishers, and will boost the international momentum of the open-access movement. But the government won’t share details about how it will make the plan a reality.
David Willetts (left), Britain’s minister for universities and science and a member of the Conservative Party, made the announcement today at the general meeting of the U.K. Publishers Association in London. (The full text of Mr. Willetts’s remarks is available here.) He shared the gist of the news in a column published yesterday in The Guardian newspaper.
“Giving people the right to roam freely over publicly funded research will usher in a new era of academic discovery and collaboration, and will put the U.K. at the forefront of open research,” Mr. Willetts wrote. “The challenge is how we get there without ruining the value added by academic publishers.”

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

"Values and Scholarship" - Letter from CIC Provosts supporting FRPAA

Provosts from the Committee on Institutional Cooperation
(Big 10 Universities, including the U of M) 
Original Source  and complete essay will be found here:

Excerpts From Inside Higher Education, Feb. 23, 2012
Values and Scholarship - 
February 23, 2012 - 3:00am

"We are the provosts of 11 large research universities that engage in over $5.6 billion of funded research each year. That research is directed at serving the public good through medical advances, improved defense systems, enhanced agricultural and industrial productivity, technological innovation, and reasoned social policy. In the aggregate, the outcomes of this research fuel America’s global leadership, improve the quality of life in our communities, and enrich the educational experience of our students.
While the collective portfolio of federally funded research undertaken by our universities incontrovertibly strengthens our country, the research process itself is strengthened by an academic culture that encourages the free and open exchange of ideas among scholars. Scholarship finds meaning through — and is continuously improved by — open sharing, critical assessment of peers, and incorporation into subsequent work.
As provosts and chief academic officers, we take pride in knowing that our campus colleagues are motivated, first and foremost, by the opportunity to advance the public good. Toward that end, our scholars seek to share information broadly as the most effective way to assure excellence — not just for themselves, or for a particular university, but for the relevance of their disciplines and the world-changing outcomes each can produce."

"Support for Open Access
Consistent with these deeply held academic norms, we provosts have advocated for taxpayer access to federally-funded research, writing, for example, a 2006 open letter in support of the Federal Research Public Access Act, and supporting this Congressional session’s proposed extension of the legislation (HR 4004/S 2009).
More operationally, our universities have made substantial investments in the development of open institutional repositories, as well as adopting campus guidelines and procedures to ensure compliance with federally mandated requirements that funded research results be made accessible in open access repositories. As stated above, we believe that open access to such federally-funded research reports facilitates scholarly collaboration, accelerates progress, and reinforces our government’s accountability to taxpayers and commitment to promoting an informed citizenry essential to the enduring stability of our democracy."

Read the rest of the essay at

Monday, February 27, 2012

Research Works Act is DOA

It was announced this morning that Elsevier had pulled its support for the Research Works Act.  Richard Poynder on his blog noted that Elsevier had posted a notice on its website withdrawing support for the bill.  This afternoon, the Chronicle announced that the legislation has died in Congress.

Whether it was the effect of the boycott which has resulted in over 7500 signatures or not, the fact remains that Congress still must pass the FRPAA 2012 to ensure and expand access to federally funded research. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

More on Elsevier Boycott

A blog by a University of Minnesota Math Professor, Doug Arnold, points out additional reasons for the boycott.  He states,
 "there is another reason for researchers to disassociate from Elsevier, which I find even more compelling: their many lapses in ethical and quality publishing practices. Here are some examples: 

The Elsevier journal Chaos, Solitons and Fractals published more than 300 papers by the journal's Editor-In-Chief (58 in a single year). That these papers were not subject to peer review was later confirmed by the EIC's declaration that "senior people are above this childish, vain practice of peer review." Although the copious self-publication had begun nearly 20 years earlier, the EIC's retirement from the journal occurred only in 2009.

Elsevier journals have repeatedly published plagiarized work and duplicate publications. A search turns up over thirty papers in Elsevier mathematics journals published in the last decade which have had to be formally retracted, mostly for these reasons. On more than one occasion, the same paper has been published in two different volumes of the same Elsevier journal (presumably by accident)." 

You can read the complete posting here.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Open Access "Picking up Steam"

"Whatever the White House ends up saying, and even if Congress remains gridlocked, the movement toward open publishing now seems irreversible. In 1996, Ginsparg said that it wasn’t a question of if, but when 'commercial publishers accustomed to large pre-tax profit margins' would find themselves unable to compete with a 'global raw research archive' combined with 'high-quality peer-reviewed overlays.' The answer to his question seems clear: now." 

Excerpt from an article in Slate, "The Other Academic Freedom Movement"

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Elsevier Boycott and Federal Research Public Access Act 2012

You may well ask what does the current Elsevier Boycott and the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2012 have in common?  In fact, one of the driving forces for the boycott was a reaction to the support by Elsevier for the Research Works Act.   The originator of the boycott, mathematician, Timothy Gowers, states on his website, Cost of Knowledge that “they [Elsevier] support measures such as SOPA, PIPA and the Research Works Act, that aim to restrict the free exchange of information.”
The Research Works Act is sponsored by commercial publishers who seek to prevent the National Institute of Health from making peer-reviewed commercially published articles written by its grant recipients freely available after a 12 month embargo, and to stop any federally funded agency from starting a similar practice.    The Research Works Act would not only reverse the NIH mandate enacted in 2009, but specifically would prevent any federal funded research being made openly accessible to the public

The boycott has gathered more than  6,000 signatures, and on February 9th a bipartisan bill was introduced in both the House and Senate on February 9th  that would lead to much greater access to federally funded research and is in direct opposition to the Research Works Act.  The Federal Research Public Access Act 2012 (HR 4004 and SB2096) would extend to all other federal agencies that fund research, the very successful efforts of the NIH to make articles available six months after publication.  Please support for FRPAA 2012 and let Congressional members know that you favor making federally funded research accessible to the taxpayers who paid for it, and to scholars, such as yourselves,  who want to build upon it.  If you want to know more about the issue, you will find a list below of articles that have appeared in the popular press. 

I have been covering this issue on my Scholarly Communication blog for a number of years and many faculty have heard me talk about the advantages of open access to federally funded research.  If you feel you have sufficient knowledge and want to support open access for federally funded research, please contact your House and Senate representatives and let them know you support FRPAA 2012.  If you need contact information, the Minnesota delegation will be found here:
Thank you for supporting this critical legislation.
If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.  If you want to read more, here are some additional resources:

New York Times – Research Bought and Paid For, Jan. 10, 2012

Chronicle of Higher EducationBill would  Require Public Access to Taxpayer Supported Research, Feb. 9, 2012  

ScientistOpen Access for All?, Feb. 14, 2012

Economist – “ The Price of Information”  , Feb. 4, 2012

Information Today – “The Cost of Knowledge Versus Elsevier”, Feb. 13, 2012

New York Times“Research Bought then Paid For,” Jan. 11, 2012

Monday, February 13, 2012

New Publishing Platform - CLIR and NITLE project - Anvil

A new project was announced that teams NITLE and CLIR to collaborate on a publishing platform for digital humanists.  A key component is to address a problem that will continue to exist for some time, the issue of evaluation for promotion and tenure.  
     "One of Anvil’s goals is to build a peer-review infrastructure for research that cannot be easily       represented in text. While the digital humanities are widely considered an important frontier, tenure and promotion committees still have trouble evaluating the work of digital humanists because the format is often so unfamiliar."
Excerpt -
Digital Humanities
New Seal of Approval
February 13, 2012 - 3:00am
Academics who specialize in using technology to conduct and enable new kinds of humanities research are in high demand. At the same time, the current ecosystem of scholarly publishing can be inhospitable to their often-idiosyncratic research projects.
Two well-known organizations are teaming up with a handful of colleges and universities to try to change that by building a flexible platform where digital humanists could have their research published and certified that the work has passed through well-respected editorial gantlets.
The platform, called Anvil Academic, is a joint project by the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE) and the Council for Library and Information Resources (CLIR). Anvil aims to make it easier for digital humanists to publish nontraditional scholarly work under the auspices of traditional outlets, such as university presses.
“Increasingly, research in the humanities is dependent on large data sets and involves sophisticated algorithms and visualizations in the execution of that research and in the construction of the products of scholarship,” said Chuck Henry, the president of CLIR, in a statement. “Anvil will capture the environment in which this research is conducted: a linked ecology of scholarly expression, data, and tools of analysis that will over time become itself a place for new knowledge discovery.”
The idea is that visitors could log in to the Anvil online gateway — he says whether Anvil will be subscription-based or open-access is yet to be determined — and browse through various digital research “objects,” such as searchable archives, game-based simulations and interactive maps of historical environments. Ideally, visitors will also be able to view the underlying data, media files and algorithms upon which the project is built, he says. These ingredients could be filed in a registry that other scholars could search and borrow from, Henry says.
 For complete article -

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Support Federal Public Access Act 2012

Please contact your Congressional representatives to let them know you support this bill. We need the same volume of comments from supporters as they heard from in opposition to SOPA. We need this bill!
From the Chronicle
Bill Would Require Public Access to Taxpayer-Supported Research
February 9, 2012, 12:14 pm

A bill introduced today in the U.S. House of Representatives would require federal agencies with external research budgets of $100-million or more to provide electronic access to articles based on research they help pay for. The bill, the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2012, was introduced by Mike Doyle, a Democrat of Pennsylvania. It would require free online public access to peer-reviewed manuscripts or published articles “as soon as practicable, but not later than six months after publication.” It also calls for those articles to be archived in “a stable digital repository.” Previous versions of the legislation were introduced in 2006 and 2009 but went nowhere. The 2012 bill arrives at a time when public access to taxpayer-supported research is a hot issue again. Another proposed bill, the Research Works Act, would prevent federal agencies from requiring such access.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

More on Elsevier boycott

And this in Forbes - " Elsevier's Publishing Model Might be About to Go Up in Smoke"

As mentioned in Kevin Smith's blog, this boycott is different because it is being led by the "scholars themselves." 

Boycott of Elsevier Gathering Steam

In today's Chronicle of Higher Ed, As Journal Boycott Grow, Elsevier Defends Its Practices, the list of scientists joining the boycott is growing rapidly. It is an indication perhaps that finally the impact of having access to openly accessibly articles as per the NIH mandate and the perceived threat of the Research Works Act which has Elsevier's support could be a driving issue to galvanize change.  From today's Chronicle: "And, most recently, Elsevier has supported a proposed federal law, the Research Works Act (HR 3699), that could prevent agencies like the National Institutes of Health from making all articles written by grant recipients freely available."  To see the growing list of scientists who are joining the boycott, see Cost of Knowledge website. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

One step forward, two steps back - Publishers fight open-access in Congress

In the latest attempt to stop open access, publishers are mounting an all out attack via Congress.  In an article from the Chronicle of Higher Ed -
"The main lobby group representing book publishers is making another push back against open-access efforts affecting scientific journals. The Association of American Publishers and its Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division have endorsed a bill introduced by Rep. Darrell Issa, a Republican of California who is chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The legislation, HR 3699, would generally prohibit federal agencies from freely distributing journal articles that report on federally sponsored scientific research."

If you haven't already contacted your representatives to support open access for federally funded research, please do so today.