First IR in Belarus

Iryna Kuchma, The first open access repository in Belarus – Belarusian State University Digital Library, EIFL, September 23, 2009.

The Fundamental Library of the Belarusian State University celebrated the National Library Day (9-15-09) by registering the first open access institutional repository in Belarus – BSU Digital Library – in the Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR). Congratulations to our colleagues from Belarus! …

New pro-repository group to launch during OA Week

COAR: Confederation of Open Access Repositories, DRIVER, apparently recent.

One of the objectives of DRIVER II has been the building of an organisation around the DRIVER infrastructure, capable of maintaining it over time. A process of consultation has revealed the need for an organisational model of partners representing the repository community, comprising organisations and individuals that represent a common strategic interest in Open Access scholarly communication rather than in a common technology.

An independent investigation was conducted, providing insight into the way such an organisation could be shaped, taking into account its networked and cross-border character, as well as its wide ranging stakeholder community and their differentiated needs. The goals of the new organisation, COAR, the Confederation of Open Access Repositories distinguishes between the need to continue the DRIVER network as an operation, and the need to work globally at the spread of Open Access Repositories by lobby, by influencing policy development and by providing guidance and training. COAR will be a lightweight organisation, a “registered not-for-profit” Association (eingetragener Verein, e.V.) with the host seat in Göttingen, Germany.

Summed up in the catch phrase- coined by Subbiah Arunachalam, the Indian guru and protagonist of Open Access – as ‘reaching the unreached’, the extension of the vision of DRIVER from a primarily European focus , to serve the development of a global knowledge infrastructure can sanction no “untouchables”. …

Aim of COAR: COAR is an international not-for-profit association that aims to promote greater visibility and application of research outputs through global networks of Open Access digital repositories.

COAR strives to achieve this aim in pursuing two main goals.

  • The first goal set concerns the operation, maintenance and further development of the DRIVER Confederation not as a project but as a sustainable and viable operation

  • The second goal set concerns the more general and strategic goals with respect to development, advocacy, and representation of Open Access and repositories. …

COAR will be launched during Open Access Week 2009. If you are interested in participating in COAR, a nominal membership subscription of €100 is envisaged in the first year, with banded subscriptions thereafter, based on organisational budget, to be agreed by the first General Assembly. …

Dutch science minister supports OA

Warna Oosterbaan, ‘Maak wetenschappelijke publicaties openbaar’, NRC Handelsblad, August 1, 2009. SPARC Europe today posted an English translation:

Scientists who receive subsidies from the Dutch Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) must make their scientific publications available on the internet. That is the view of prominent library directors and scientists. Minister Plasterk (Science, [Dutch Labor Party]) agrees with them on “the principle that all research funded by public money should be accessible to everyone.”

Each year NWO distributes 550 million Euros of public money, being the main funder of scientific research in the Netherlands. …

Bas Savenije, director general of the National Library of the Netherlands in The Hague, and former director of Utrecht University says “if health centres and GPs asked me ‘can you give us access to recent scientific literature’ I must tell them that the scientific publishers do not allow us to. It would be wonderful if we were able to grant access to patient associations, college programmes, training centres and SMEs”. Savenije wants NWO to grant their subsidies on the condition that scientific publications are accessible. …

NWO does not set the condition of public access. In other countries important research financiers do so … NWO has made it known “in principle to be in favour of open access”.

Plasterk is Minister for Education, Culture and Science in the current Dutch government.

Also see:

See also our past posts on Plasterk and NWO.

Paper retracted for breaking publication embargoes on open data

Randy Schekman, PNAS takes action regarding breach of NIH embargo policy on a PNAS paper, editorial, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, September 18, 2009.

After the paper titled “PKNOX2 gene is significantly associated with substance dependence in European-origin women,” by Xiang Chen, Kelly Cho, Burton H. Singer, and Heping Zhang, published online August 31, 2009 in PNAS, our editors became aware that Dr. Zhang had signed a Data Use Certification indicating his agreement to comply with the NIH Genome-Wide Association Studies Policy for Data Sharing, which applies to the Gene Environment Association (GENEVA) studies, of which the Study of Addiction, Genetics and Environment (SAGE) is a part. Under the policy, investigators agree not to submit findings of the SAGE dataset(s) for publication until September 23, 2009. The PNAS publication clearly violates the SAGE embargo, and the authors agreed to retract their work in PNAS on September 9, 2009. …

This oversight does a disservice to the SAGE investigators on this National Human Genome Research Institute-funded genetic study of addiction, the other investigators who abided by the NIH embargo, and the scientific community. …

Alan E. Guttmacher, Elizabeth G. Nabel, and Francis S. Collins, Why data-sharing policies matter, editorial, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, September 18, 2009.

… Numerous examples of broad data sharing, ranging from the Human Genome Project, to the Framingham Heart Study, to the myriad genomewide association studies deposited in the dbGaP database of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), offer compelling testimony to how broad access accelerates and empowers scientific investigation to benefit society.

However, for both ethical reasons and the purely practical concern of making broad data access workable, it is vital to recognize and protect both participants’ and investigators’ interests. …

The interests of the investigator who places data in an accessible database also require protection. The major available protection is the guarantee of a period of exclusivity in submission of abstracts and publications for a number of months (usually 6 to 12). This exclusive period is assured by allowing data access only to end users who agree to abide by it. …

With these principles in mind and after considerable public input, the NIH implemented a “Policy for Sharing of Data Obtained in NIH Supported or Conducted Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS)”. This policy provides guidance for researchers who are interested in accessing data from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) database dbGaP, requiring recipient investigators and their institutional officials to sign an agreement (the Data Use Certification) by which they will comply with the terms of data access, including a 12-month period of exclusivity. …

[The] research community that must police itself and prevent inappropriate publication in the future. This will require that recipient users of community data resources be fully aware of data use limitations to which they agree and be scrupulous in honoring them. It will require that reviewers question whether data access terms have been followed in submitted manuscripts. It will require that publishers ensure that authors observe the same level of ethical behavior for data access as for conflict of interest or research misconduct. It will require that the NIH design effective strategies for alerting the research community to this issue and implement steps that make breaches difficult to commit and easy to discover. …

Liberal arts colleges come out for FRPAA

The presidents of 57 liberal arts colleges in the U.S. today released a letter supporting the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2009 (FRPAA, S.1373). The colleges are members of the Oberlin Group of Libraries. From the letter:

… Liberal arts colleges are important components of our nation’s scientific and
scholarly productivity. Studies have shown that our institutions are highly
effective in producing graduates who go on to obtain Ph.D. degrees and
become productive researchers. Our faculty actively pursue research,
much of it with government funding, and often working in partnership with
talented undergraduates. Unfortunately, access to research information
paid for with tax dollars is severely limited at our institutions – and indeed at
most universities. Academic libraries simply cannot afford ready access to
most of the research literature that their faculty and students need.

The Federal Research Public Access Act would be a major step forward in
ensuring equitable online access to research literature that is paid for by
taxpayers. The federal government funds over $60 billion in research
annually. …
Given the scope of research literature that would become available online,
it is clear that adoption of the bill would have significant benefits for the
progress of science and the advancement of knowledge. …

Also see:

EOS, group of pro-OA univ. administrators, launches

After a premature launch in June, Enabling Open Scholarship launched today. From the press release:

Enabling Open Scholarship (EOS), a new organisation for senior management in universities and research institutions, has been launched today. …

As we rapidly approach 100 formal, mandatory, policies on Open Access from universities, research institutes and research funders a group of senior directors of universities and research institutes have come together to launch a new forum for the promotion of the principles and practices of open scholarship. …

Enabling Open Scholarship (EOS) provides the higher education and research sectors around the world with information on developments and with advice and guidance on implementing policies and processes that encourage the opening up of scholarship. It also provides a forum for discussion and debate amongst its members and will be taking that discussion into the wider community.

EOS membership is for senior institutional managers who have an interest in — and wish to help develop thinking on — strategies for promoting open scholarship to the academy as a whole and to society at large. …

EOS offers an outreach service to universities and research institutes — whether members or not — that need help, advice, guidance or information on open scholarship issues. We do this through our website and also by providing information on an individual basis to institutions that need it.

The EOS board is composed of people who have personally designed or instigated the kinds of changes in their own institutions that herald the benefits of the open scholarly communication system of the future. Now this expertise is available for others to tap into. …

See also our past posts on Enabling Open Scholarship and its predecessor, EurOpenScholar.

Clarifications on the future of OAIster

Earlier this week, we posted the latest news on the transfer of the OAIster metadata harvester to OCLC, including some points of confusion and contention. Roy Tennant of OCLC has posted two updates to clarify and defend OCLC’s actions:

Roy Tennant, The Straight Dope on OAIster, HangingTogether, September 21, 2009.

… I have heard lots of questions since we started contacting contributors with the most recent phase of the transfer plan, so the purpose of this post is to bring everyone up to date on why we are doing this, where things are, and what we hope to accomplish in the future.

  • OCLC wanted to do whatever we could to ensure sustainability of this aggregation when the University of Michigan realized they needed assistance. …
  • Starting in October, the records will be freely discoverable along with all the other content in WorldCat.org. However, it will not be possible to limit a search to OAIster records alone.
  • In FirstSearch, OAIster records can either be searched along with other FirstSearch databases, or selected to search alone. OAIster records have been searchable in FirstSearch since January 2009.
  • Contributors of OAIster records can receive free access to the OAIster aggregation in FirstSearch by request. Contributors were recently contacted to offer them such access and many have already responded that they would like to have such access.
  • No money was exchanged in this transfer and OCLC is not making any money on the OAIster aggregation. OAIster records were added to FirstSearch at no extra charge to FirstSearch subscribers, and of course there is no charge for searching WorldCat.org, where they are also exposed. …
  • We are forming an advisory board to provide us with essential advice. …

Roy Tennant, Clarification on OCLC/OAIster Transfer, HangingTogether, September 23, 2009.

… A comment on [the previous] post, as well as chatter via Twitter and on some mailing lists has prompted us to clarify the terms and conditions to make it absolutely clear that they only apply to the harvested metadata.

It was never our intent to harvest anything other than metadata. Unfortunately, the terminology used in the OAIster terms and conditions did not accurately state the rights that OCLC needs to make the OAIster data available. As a result, the OAIster terms and conditions have been corrected and are being re-sent to OAIster data providers. …

See also our past posts on OAIster and OCLC.

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Launch of EOS [Enabling Open Scholarship]

From: Bernard Rentier
To: American Scientist Open Access Forum
Subject: Launch of EOS

An organisation that will be of interest to all rectors and vice-rectors-for-research is now ready to take off.

Enabling Open Scholarship (EOS) LAUNCHES NEW ORGANISATION FOR INSTITUTIONAL DIRECTORS WORLDWIDE

Liege, Belgium
23 September 2009


ENABLING OPEN SCHOLARSHIP (EOS), a new organisation for senior management in universities and research institutions, has been launched today.

The context in which EOS has been established is that of increasing interest from governments, funders and the research community itself in opening up the way research is carried out and communicated. This interest is complemented by new research practices and processes that can work effectively only in an open, collaborative environment.

As we rapidly approach 100 formal, mandatory, policies on Open Access from universities, research institutes and research funders a group of senior directors of universities and research institutes have come together to launch a new forum for the promotion of the principles and practices of open scholarship.

The aim of Enabling Open Scholarship (EOS) is to further the opening up of scholarship and research that we are now seeing as a natural part of ?big science? and through the growing interest from the research community in open access, open education, open science and open innovation. These, and other, ‘open’ approaches to scholarship are changing the way research and learning are done and will be performed in the future.

Enabling Open Scholarship (EOS) provides the higher education and research sectors around the world with information on developments and with advice and guidance on implementing policies and processes that encourage the opening up of scholarship. It also provides a forum for discussion and debate amongst its members and will be taking that discussion into the wider community.

EOS membership is for senior institutional managers who have an interest in ? and wish to help develop thinking on ? strategies for promoting open scholarship to the academy as a whole and to society at large.

The EOS website is a resource open to all. It provides background information, data and guidance material on open scholarship-related issues. In a limited access area, members can find announcements, news and discussions.

EOS offers an outreach service to universities and research institutes ? whether members or not ? that need help, advice, guidance or information on open scholarship issues. We do this through our website and also by providing information on an individual basis to institutions that need it.

The EOS board is composed of people who have personally designed or instigated the kinds of changes in their own institutions that herald the benefits of the open scholarly communication system of the future. Now this expertise is available for others to tap into.

The current EOS board comprises:

? Bernard RENTIER (Chairman), Rector of the University of Liege, Belgium
? Tom COCHRANE, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia
? William DAR, Director General of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Hyderabad, India
? Stevan HARNAD, Canada Research Chair, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), Montreal, Quebec & University of Southampton
? Keith JEFFERY, Director of IT and International Strategy at the Science & Technology Facilities Council, Swindon, UK
? Sijbolt NOORDA, President of VSNU, the Association of Dutch Research Universities
? Stuart SHIEBER, James O. Welch, Jr. and Virginia B. Welch Professor of Computer Science in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University and Director of Harvard?s Office of Scholarly Communication
? Ian SIMPSON, Deputy Principal for Research and Knowledge Transfer, and Professor of Environmental Science, University of Stirling, UK
? Peter SUBER, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard University, Cambridge, USA
? John WILLINSKY, Khosla Family Professor of Education at Stanford University and director of the Public Knowledge Project at the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University, USA
? Alma SWAN (Convenor/Coordinateur), Director of Key Perspectives Ltd, Truro, UK

?The world of research is changing and universities and other research-based institutions must drive the change, not sit back and let it happen. Having embarked upon implementing changes in thinking and practice at my own university, I want to encourage others in my position to join the discussion and help lead the way to a better future,? said Professor Bernard Rentier. ?We will be reaching out to universities and research institutes across the world to invite them to play an active role in building better systems of scholarship for the future. EOS will provide the forum and the voice for the research community on open scholarship issues and represents a very valuable resource for those who want to join in this endeavour?.

?The benefits of open access and open scholarship have been clearly demonstrated for individuals, institutions and the public,? said Professor Keith Jeffery. ?EOS will be there to provide information and guidance from those who have already had experience of making the changes needed.?

Dr William Dar said, “Open scholarship benefits the whole world’s science, not just that of the western world. It enables the free flow of research information between north and south, east and west, helping research to progress much more effectively. EOS will be very valuable in advancing this process and improving the way science is carried out across the globe”.

For more information visit the Enabling Open Scholarship website at:
http://www.openscholarship.org

or contact the convenor:
Dr Alma Swan
+44 1392 879702
info@openscholarship.org

News from the Journals Online project

The International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications recently released its Autumn 2009 newsletter, which highlights INASP’s Journals Online (JOLs) project. The JOLs provide a low-cost online publishing platform (based on Open Journal Systems) and capacity building for journals in developing countries, with the goal of providing OA to the journals’ full text. Excerpt:

… The JOL project began in 1998 with African Journals Online (AJOL) as simple HTML pages on the INASP website. …

In accordance with INASP’s mandate to develop sustainability and local capacity, AJOL was moved to Africa in 2005 and is managed by a not-for-profit trust in South Africa. It has gone from strength to strength with more than 340 journals from 25 countries on the site in June 2009. …

Since 2006, the following Asian JOLs have been set up: Bangladesh (BanglaJOL), Nepal (NepJOL), Philippines (PhilJOL), Sri Lanka (SLJOL), Vietnam (VJOL).

The Asian JOLs now include 133 journals with 6,420 articles. As of May 2009, 73% of these are available as open access full text …

Pakistan is also being considered for a JOL.

For more information, see the recent newsletters from BanglaJOL, NepJOL, PhilJOL, and SLJOL

Google, plaintiffs, DOJ amending settlement

The plaintiffs in the Google Book Search settlement today filed a motion with the court asking to delay the fairness hearing, scheduled for October 7. In a memo accompanying the motion, the plaintiffs explain that they are amending the preliminary settlement in light of discussions with the U.S. Department of Justice. From the memo:

… As of September 8, 2009, approximately 400 objections, briefs of amici curiae, and
statements, both in support of and in opposition to the Settlement Agreement, have been filed
with the Court. …

In addition, as the Court is aware, the Antitrust Division of the United States Department
of Justice (“DOJ”) has been investigating the proposed Settlement and other federal government
agencies, including the U.S. Copyright Office in a hearing before the House of Representatives
Committee on the Judiciary, have publicly expressed views on the Settlement.

Last Thursday, September 17, 2009, plaintiffs and Google met with senior DOJ officials.
In that meeting, the parties expressed their commitment to work with the DOJ regarding several
concerns with the Settlement Agreement.

The next day, on September 18, 2009, the United States Attorney for the Southern
District of New York, in response to this Court’s Order of July 2, 2009, filed a Statement of
Interest of the United States of America Regarding Proposed Class Settlement
(“U.S. Statement
of Interest”). Of key importance is that the U.S. Statement of Interest confirmed the DOJ’s
reciprocal desire to work with the parties to address concerns raised by the United States. …

It is because the parties wish to work with the DOJ to the fullest extent possible that they
have engaged, and plan to continue to engage, in negotiations in an effort to address and resolve
the concerns expressed in the U.S. Statement of Interest. …

Plaintiffs … are uncertain, at this stage, whether any additional form of notice, however
limited, might be required [for the amended settlement]. …

Accordingly, because the parties intend to amend the Settlement Agreement and need
adequate time to negotiate amendments among themselves and with the DOJ, plaintiffs
respectfully request that the Court adjourn the Fairness Hearing scheduled for October 7, 2009.

Plaintiffs also respectfully request that the Court schedule a status conference, for the
purpose of discussing the parties’ progress, on November 6, 2009, or at a date and time of the
Court’s convenience. At that time, the parties expect that they will be prepared to present to the
Court a schedule for further proceedings, including a Fairness Hearing, in this case.

Google has agreed that plaintiffs may represent that it does not oppose this motion.

Comment. This could be big. There’s no shortage of criticism of the terms of the preliminary settlement; the question is which changes will Google and the plantiffs adopt, and whether DOJ will sign off on them.

How and why researchers disseminate their findings

Communicating knowledge: How and why UK researchers publish and disseminate their findings is a new study released this month by the Research Information Network and JISC. The report touches on some aspects related to OA; excerpts:

… Many reports have pointed to more widespread awareness (if not
necessarily deeper understanding) among researchers’ of open
access, particularly in some areas in the biological and physical
sciences. There is some pressure on researchers from funders and
from universities to make use of open access repositories, and
previous surveys have indicated that a majority of researchers
are prepared to respond to positively to such pressures. But
uptake of open access options – either through publication in
open access journals or through deposit of articles in open access
repositories – has been slower than many would have hoped.
Our survey shows that over 60% of researchers believe that open
access repositories are either ‘not important’ or ‘not applicable’ to
the dissemination of their research. This may reflect researchers’
concerns – shown in earlier studies – that open access outlets will
be not be rated highly by peer reviewers – either in the [Research Assessment Exercise] or on
interview panels – or in any bibliometric analysis.

There are, however, significant disciplinary differences: 52% of
physical sciences and mathematics researchers say open access
repositories are ‘important’ or ‘very important’; whereas only
25% of humanities researchers say the same.

The most prevalent influence on the decision to use open access
repositories was maximising dissemination to the target audience
(47% saying it has a lot of influence, 22.% a little influence). The
requirements of research assessment has the least influence (77%
saying it had none at all). There is some evidence, however, of
an increase in awareness of funders’ and institutions’ policies
relating to open access, prompted by the desire to reach wider
audiences as rapidly as possible …

Many researchers, especially younger ones, are clear, however,
that a move to any system based even in part on citations will
have a significant effect on their publication and dissemination
behaviour. Thus 22% say it will lead them to produce more
publications; 33% that it will lead them to submit their work more
often to high-status journals; and 43% that it will lead them to
make their research freely-available on open access. Researchers
in physical sciences and maths are the least likely to see a move
to open access, perhaps because many of them have made the
move already. …

Only a relatively small minority of researchers, however, as yet
make much use of open access repositories, or of blogs, wikis
and other web-based tools to publish and disseminate their work.
For those who do use open access repositories, it is notable that
the key influences are the desire to reach key audiences speedily:
funder requirements have relatively little influence. …

Access to material online has greatly facilitated the process
of finding, reading and deciding what to cite. … A third of
researchers in the life sciences say that easy accessibility has a
major influence on what they cite, and the proportion rises
among younger researchers. In the humanities and social
sciences, easy accessibility has less influence. …