From open access to openly accessible | Research Information

“At the recent Atypon Community meeting in Washington DC, accessibility was a topic on many customers’ minds. 

This is a real shift: five years ago, very few publishers or societies were talking about accessibility. In the past, publishers’ accessibility requirements were typically driven by requests from institutions and libraries with accessibility written into their missions and their service requirements. Conversations with Atypon would often come when a publisher or society had received a voluntary product accessibility template (VPAT) and needed to know whether they were compliant. Now, with a growing commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), combined with new incoming legislation and policy requirements, publishers and societies are starting to realise they need to get serious about accessibility. New requirements all content providers will need to take note of include:

The EU Directive 2019/882 (the European Accessibility Act). Coming into in effect July 2025, the Directive promotes “full and effective equal participation by improving access to mainstream products and services that, through their initial design or subsequent adaptation, address the particular needs of persons with disabilities.” Our expectation is this type of legislation will be quickly followed in the US. 

The OSTP Nelson Memo (‘Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research’). Although primarily about delivering greater availability of US government-funded research through open access, the memorandum indicates that agency plans must outline “online access to peer-reviewed scholarly publications in formats that allow for machine-readability and enabling broad accessibility through assistive devices.” It therefore places a focus not only on the availability of resources, but the ability for all to access and benefit from these….”

Data sharing: what do we know and where can we go?

“OASPA is pleased to announce our next webinar which will focus on the what about and the why of data sharing.

The recent OSTP “Nelson memo” served as a re-focus on data as a first class research output. But maybe that’s a misrepresentation for those of us who think ‘hold on, we’ve been focused on data this whole time!?’ Well here’s a chance to learn from and with a group of experts who are thinking carefully about data sharing: what that means from different perspectives, tangible steps to take and policies to make around data, and what we can do next in our communities of practice. Attendees are more than welcome to bring their own perspectives! The webinar will be chaired by Rachael Lammey. We welcome our panelists: Sarah Lippincott will give a repository perspective with insights into where data is going post Nelson Memo and NIH Policy. Aravind Venkatesan will share the thinking, data science and workflows employed at EuropePMC to support data linking. Shelley Stall will talk about how AGU are leading the line with their data policies, and Kathleen Gregory will conclude by considering researchers’ perspectives regarding sharing and reusing data.”

Survey of US Higher Education Faculty 2023, Need for & Use of Information About Copyright

“This report looks closely at the extent and kind of information about copyright practices needed by faculty at US colleges and universities.  The report helps its readers to answer questions such as:  how much do faculty need information about copyright? How much have they used and benefited from information about copyright provided by academic libraries?  What policies in this area do faculty want libraries to follow?  How satisfied are they with current policies? What are the demographic characteristics of faculty who have consulted attorneys about copyright issues? Which faculty go to librarians and which rely on peers for copyright advice?  Which copyright issues most concern faculty? Are they more inclined to query about copyright issues related to open access? Or to issues related to making material available in their classes? The study presents specific data for faculty interest in a broad range of copyright issues, including but not limited to open access, copyright for data, issues with commercial article sharing platforms, negotiation of author contracts, use of audio-visual materials, copyright issues in citation and much more.

This study is based on data from a survey of 806 higher education faculty randomly chosen from nearly 500 colleges and universities in the USA. Data is broken out by personal variables such as work title, gender, personal income level, academic discipline, age and other variables, as well as institutional indicators such as college or university type or Carnegie class, enrollment size, public or private status and others. Readers can compare the copyright needs and practices of faculty in medicine to those in the social sciences, for example, or to business faculty. Also, copyright information consumption of associate professors can be compared to that  for full professors, or copyright consultation practices of men to that for women, etc. etc.

Just a few of this 118-page report’s many findings are that:

Broken out by work title, associate professors had the strongest need for information about copyright.
26.4% of full professors sampled had ever consulted a lawyer over a copyright issue.
Broken out by type of college, dissatisfaction with the services to advise or inform about copyright practices was highest at specialized colleges, such as seminaries, theater schools and other similar institutions.
34.12% of survey participants felt that they had a need for copyright advice about making their research available in repositories or other open access venues.”

Reminder: NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing effective on January 25, 2023.

“The purpose of this notice is to remind the community of the effective date of the NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing (DMS Policy) and summarize available key resources.

As noted in the Final NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing (NOT-OD-21-013), the effective date of the DMS Policy is January 25, 2023 for competing grant applications submitted to NIH for the January 25, 2023 and subsequent receipt dates; proposals for contracts  submitted to NIH on or after January 25, 2023; NIH Intramural Research Projects conducted on or after January 25, 2023; and other funding agreements (e.g., Other Transactions)  executed on or after January 25, 2023, unless otherwise stipulated by NIH.

The DMS Policy applies to all NIH research, funded or conducted in whole or in part by NIH, that results in the generation of scientific data. Note that the DMS Policy does not apply to research and other activities that do not generate scientific data, for example: research training, fellowships, infrastructure development, and non-research activities. See Research Covered Under the Data Management & Sharing Policy for more details.

The DMS Policy has two basic requirements:

Submission of a Data Management and Sharing (DMS) Plan outlining how scientific data and any accompanying metadata will be managed and shared, considering any potential restrictions or limitations. 
Compliance with the Plan approved by the funding NIH Institute, Center, or Office.

DMS Plans should describe how data will be managed and appropriately shared. See Writing a Data Management & Sharing Plan for details, sample Plans, and an optional format page which includes six elements recommended to be included in a Data Management and Sharing Plan. Guidance on planning and budgeting and selecting a data repository are available on the NIH Scientific Data Sharing website. Application Guide instructions have been updated to provide instructions for DMS policy implementation.

Ultimately, the new DMS Policy promotes transparency and accountability in research by setting a minimum set of expectations for data management and sharing. This means that other NIH policies or NIH Institutes, Centers, Offices, or programs may build upon these expectations, for instance, by specifying scientific data to share, relevant standards, repository timelines, and/or shorter data sharing timelines for meeting programmatic needs, the DMS Policy sets a consistent baseline across NIH.

In preparing for DMS Policy implementation, NIH has developed a number of helpful resources that we encourage investigators and institutions to review:

DMS Policy Overview
DMS Policy FAQs
Learning Resources including 2-part webinar series on DMS Policy
Statements and Guide Notices …”

Time to Reform Academic Publishing | Forum

“In particular, as graduate, professional, and medical students, we have been shaped by the relics of an inequitable publishing model that was created before the age of the internet. Our everyday work—from designing and running experiments to diagnosing and treating patients—relies on the results of taxpayer-funded research. Having these resources freely available will help to accelerate innovation and level the playing field for smaller and less well-funded research groups and institutions. With this goal of creating an equitable research ecosystem in mind, we want to highlight the importance of creating one that is equitable in whole….

But today, the incentives for institutions do not align with goals of equity, and change will be necessary to help support a more equitable system. Nor do incentives within institutions always align with these goals. This is especially true for early-career researchers, who might struggle to comply with new open-access guidelines if they need to pay a high article publishing fee to make their research open in a journal that is valued by their institutions’ promotion and tenure guidelines.

To these ends, it is imperative that the process for communicating research results to the public and other researchers does not shift from a “pay-to-read” model to a “pay-to-publish” model. That is, we should not use taxpayer dollars to pay publishers to make research available, nor should we simply pass these costs on to researchers. This approach would be unsustainable long-term and would go against the equity goals of the new OSTP policy. Instead, we hope that funders, professional societies, and institutions will come along with us in imagining and supporting innovative ways for communicating science that are more equitable and better for research….”

Legislation of Concern in 2023 – EveryLibrary

“EveryLibrary is monitoring state legislation during the 2023-2024 session that would limit Americans’ freedom to read and think for themselves. Of most concern are proposed laws that would allow for civil and criminal prosecution of librarians, educators, higher ed. faculty, and museum professionals.

In 2023, we are paying the most attention to state legislative initiatives in eight categories: efforts to limit access to school library databases, proposals to establish book rating systems, mandating or prescribing materials challenge policies, efforts to regulate collection development policies, use of parental control policies to limit free speech, changes to obscenity and harmful to minors definitions that preempt First Amendment guarantees, bills that limit or outlaw the teaching of “divisive concepts”, and bills that would criminalize libraries, education, and museums by removing long-standing defense from prosecution exemptions under obscenity laws. 

We do more than monitor bills. EveryLibrary is an active and engaged partner with several state library associations helping them create and field effective legislative advocacy strategies. We provide them with free access to a suite of digital advocacy tools including our Action.EveryLibrary.Org site, FightForTheFirst.org, and SaveSchoolLibrarians.org. If you would like to talk about how EveryLibrary can assist your state library association or advocacy group, please contact our executive director John Chrastka today….”

Massachusetts (Re)Joins the Effort — Readers First

“On Friday January 20th, Ruth Balser of the 12th Middlesex district filed “An Act empowering library access to electronic books and digital audiobooks.”

So, Rhode Island now has company and two states are showing the bravery that characterized the Tea Party (in Boston Harbor, not the more recent and very much less illustrious political movement) and the American Revolution.

The bill is different than most previous library ebook legislative efforts and is likely to have benefitted from the expert advice of Mr. Kyle Courtney….

But this is to pick nits a little ignoble—for the bill is bold, cogent, and important. Love its provision that libraries can’t be restricted from talking about what we pay for licensing from publishers/vendors. That anti-competitive restriction needs to be rejected in every state. The part about severability—if one provision is ever struck down, the rest still stand—is important for all state efforts as well….”

Guest Post – “We are ready to move forward”: A Professional Society’s Route to Open Access – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Some publishers have been quoted as saying it is too soon to tell if this mandate will impact their journals. My colleagues and I at the ANS have known for some time that our journals would be impacted by the wider movement toward open research publishing. In many ways, the OSTP’s latest public access guidance is a big win for federally funded researchers and the entire nuclear community. ANS has recently published numerous OA supplements alongside some national US labs and the benefit to authors and researchers is far-reaching. The Nelson Memo only reaffirms that we as publishers must continue to be proactive in finding sustainable solutions that work for authors, the publishers of those journals and for society. We are ready to move forward.

But it is not an all-or-nothing approach. The ANS has long taken a progressive stance to ensure that we stay at the fore of the evolution of scholarly publishing, whilst ensuring that we continue to meet the needs of our members and our wider research community….”

 

All Things Open Week 2023 | All Things Open | Conferences, Workshops, and Lectures | Kennesaw State University

“The Kennesaw State University (KSU) Libraries invite all interested parties to submit a proposal for inclusion at the inaugural All Things Open Week, April 3-7, a series of events dedicated to promoting inclusive and intentional open access practices regardless of discipline or audience. If you are passionate about open pedagogy, open data, or open science frameworks, consider sharing your perspective….”

The Gaping Problem At The Heart Of Scientific Research – CodeBlue

“But the very need for these groups to call for research to be made available in the middle of a global emergency demonstrates the failure of the current publishing system.

Making research immediately free to read, which, when combined with the use of an open publishing licence, is known as ‘open access’ — is a hot topic in science. Global health bodies know how important open research is, especially in times of emergency, which is why they have repeatedly called for research to be made open. 

The latest plaintive request came in August 2022 from the US White House Office of Science and Technology Policy for mpox research to be made open. Previous global calls were in 2016 for Zika and in 2018 for Ebola. 

The consequences of lack of access to research can be dire. In 2015 a group of African researchers claimed that an earlier Ebola outbreak could have been prevented if research on it had been published openly.

The past 12 months have seen a flurry of changes in open access globally and from January 2023, the high profile journal Science will allow published research to be immediately placed in publicly-accessible repositories at no cost to scientists.

In August 2022, the Office of Science and Technology Policy issued a memorandum to all US research funding agencies that by January 1, 2026, they must make all the research they fund immediately publicly available, along with the data behind that research….

As 2023 unfolds, it seems that the benefits of open access have been proved beyond doubt. The next emergency in front of us, climate change, is much more complex, and there too are calls for open access.

Serious investment in a variety of approaches is essential to ensure a diverse, equitable, open access future.”

How the James Webb Space Telescope broke the universe | MIT Technology Review

“Every day, JWST can collect more than 50 gigabytes of data, compared with just one or two gigabytes for Hubble. The data, which contains images and spectroscopic signatures (essentially light broken apart into its elements), is fed through an algorithm run by STScI. Known as a “pipeline,” it turns the telescope’s raw images and numbers into useful information. Some of this is released immediately on public servers, where it is picked up by eager scientists or even by Twitter bots such as the JWST Photo Bot. Other data is handed to scientists on programs that have proprietary windows, enabling them to take time analyzing their own data before it is released to the masses….”

POLICY BRIEF: Opposing Attempts to Criminalize Librarianship through State Obscenity Laws

“In 2023-2024, we anticipate that many legislators whose bills failed the last session will reintroduce language in this session and anti-access activists will be inspired to sponsor their own regressive initiatives. The EverLibrary Institute is releasing a new Policy Brief “Opposing Attempts to Criminalize Libraries and Education Through State Obscenity Laws” to help state library associations anticipate this legislation and prepare properly to oppose unnecessary politicized changes to settled state law….”

Survey of US Higher Education Faculty 2023, Payment of Open Access Publication Fees

“The report gives highly detailed information on which faculty are receiving support from academic libraries, academic departments, foundations, and college or university administrative departments for the payment of open access publication fees. Separate data sets track payments by each source, enabling the report’s end users to compare support given by academic libraries to that given by academic or administrative departments. The study also helps define who is making personal payments for publication in open access journals.

This 114-page study is based on data from a survey of 725 higher education faculty randomly chosen from nearly 500 colleges and universities in the USA. Data is broken out by personal variables such as work title, gender, personal income level, academic discipline, age and other variables, as well as institutional indicators such as college or university type or Carnegie class, enrollment size, public or private status and others. Readers can compare support received by faculty in medicine to that in the social sciences, for example, or to business faculty. Also, support for associate professors can be compared to support for full professors, or support for men to that for women, etc. etc.

Just a few of this report’s many findings are that:

15.59% of faculty sampled have had their college library, administration or academic department pay a publication fee for them to enable open access publication of one of their works.
27.7% of faculty who consider themselves political conservatives sympathize with the goals of the open access movement.
Broken out by work title, assistant professors were the most likely to receive a subsidy from an academic library for the payment of an open access publication fee….”

Fair Use Creep Is A Feature, Not a Bug

“Fair use is essential to internet for at least two reasons. First, the vast majority of what we do online, from email to texting to viewing images and making TikToks, involves creating, replicating, and/or repurposing copyrighted works. Since copyright is a limited but lengthy monopoly over those works, in theory, using or even viewing them might require a license; now, and for many decades in the future.

Second, technological innovation rarely means starting from scratch. Instead, developers build on existing technologies, hopefully improving them. But if the technology in question involves code, it is likely copyrightable. If so, that add-on innovation might require a license from the rightsholder, giving them a veto right on technological development.

As digital technologies dramatically (and sometime controversially) expand the reach of copyright, fair use helps ensure that the rights of the public expand as well….

In Hachette v. Internet Archive, four of the biggest publishers in the world, are trying to shut down Controlled Digital Lending, which allows people to check out digital copies of books for two weeks or less and only permits patrons to check out as many copies as the Archive and its partner libraries physically own. That means that if the Archive and its partner libraries have only one copy of a book, then only one patron can borrow it at a time….

Fortunately for the public, fair use has likewise grown to protect the original purpose of copyright: to encourage forward progress. And no matter what Hollywood or John Deere tells you, that’s a feature, not a bug.”