Thank FRPAA’s introducing co-sponsors

Please take a few moments to thank FRPAA’s introducing co-sponsors for their leadership on public access, even if you don’t live in their district.  A strong showing of support from our community will help embolden our champions to lobby their colleagues in Congress aggressively for FRPAA’s passage.  Contact information for each of our introducing sponsors is below.

You can thank the sponsors in a number of ways.  First and foremost, you can use our template thank you letter to create your own which you can submit to the offices either through their webforms (you can use the address of their district office as a stand-in if you don’t live in their district) or by faxing it.  You can also post a short thank you to their Facebook page or on Twitter.  Finally, you can call the sponsors’ offices to let them know you appreciate their support for public access.



Template FRPAA Sponsor Thank You Letter

[Your name & address]


[Legislator’s Address]

[Legislator’s Fax number, if faxed]


Dear Senator / Representative :

I am writing to applaud your leadership in introducing the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2012.  This important legislation will ensure that students – and the rest of the public – have free and timely access to articles reporting of the results of government-funded research projects.

[Add information about you or your organization and why public access is important to you specifically.] 

Due to often-high subscription prices and shrinking library budgets, students – and the professors who teach us – often run into barriers when trying to access research articles, a large portion of which are underwritten with our tax dollars. Your bill will significantly expand students’ access to the research articles that form the building blocks of our education – from the core to the cutting edge.  By improving undergraduate and graduate education, FRPAA will provide students the up-to-date training we need to hit the ground running after graduation and will equip the United States with the highly skilled workforce necessary to compete in a 21st century economy.

Thank you for your leadership on the important issue of public access to federally funded research.  Please don’t hesitate to let me know how our community can be of assistance in building support for FRPAA.  We look forward to working with you to secure its passage.


[your name]


cc. [your representative – see]

US House and Senate introduce bipartisan bill to unlock federally funded research, improve students’ educations

For immediate release
February 09, 2012

For more information, contact:

Nick Shockey
Director, Right to Research Coalition
+1 202 296 2296
nick [at] arl [dot] org

US House and Senate introduce bipartisan bill to unlock federally funded research, improve students’ educations

Washington, DC – In a coordinated effort signaling the importance of public access to publicly funded research, both chambers of the United States Congress today introduced the Federal Research Public Access Act, important legislation which would improve American higher education by requiring that federally funded research be made openly available to the public.  The bipartisan bill was introduced in the House by Representatives Mike Doyle (D-PA), Kevin Yoder (R-KS), and Lacy Clay (D-MO), and in the Senate by Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX).

The Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA) would unlock the United States’ $60 billion annual investment in research that yields a significant portion of all peer-reviewed articles published every year. These articles form the basis of students’ educations in nearly any field, from the core to the cutting edge.  Making all federal research openly available will significantly expand students’ access to the resources necessary for a complete, up-to-date education.

“The National Association of Graduate-Professional Students (NAGPS) strongly supports the Federal Research Public Access Act,” said NAGPS President and CEO, Matt Cooper.  “Empowering students with open access to federally funded research will significantly improve graduate and professional education in the US and boost American competitiveness in the global economy.  In an era of severe budget pressures in higher education, open availability of this research will enable all graduate and professional students in the US to quickly incorporate new knowledge into their research, teaching, and education.”

By improving undergraduate and graduate education, FRPAA will also benefit students when it comes to putting their educations to use after graduation. Students – with the benefit of more up-to-date training – will be better able to hit the ground running in their careers and contribute immediately in both the public and private sectors.

“The American Medical Student Association (AMSA) applauds the introduction of the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA),” said Danielle Salovich, AMSA’s National President. “AMSA members rely on publicly funded research during their training as students and later as practicing physicians. By ensuring medical educators and trainees have unfettered access to the most cutting-edge research, FRPAA will produce a health professions workforce better prepared to serve the U.S. health care needs and compete in the global economy. On behalf of the nation’s future physicians, AMSA continues to support free and timely access to federal research and urges swift passage of FRPAA.”



Founded by students in the summer of 2009, the Right to Research Coalition is an international alliance undergraduate and graduate student organizations, representing nearly 7 million students, that promotes Open Access to scholarship.  The Right to Research Coalition believes no student should be denied access to the published articles they need, because they or their institution cannot afford access.  The coalition works to educate the next generation of scholars and researchers about Open Access and to advocate for policies at the campus, national, and international levels that expand access to the results of research.

The Right to Research Coalition is supported by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC).

What elephants want: Ranging and raiding in Asia and Africa

Forget the elephant in the room. Try the elephant on the farm, raiding crops for a tasty treat while risking the wrath of frustrated farmers.

This tug-of-war for territory and resources is just one manifestation of the growing tensions between economic development and environmental conservation, and today we have two papers, from two continents, that provide new information about how we might be able to strike the right balance between sometimes conflicting development goals.

The first study compares the behavior of Asian elephants in fragmented versus non-fragmented forests in Borneo. Using a satellite tracking program to monitor five female elephants, the researchers found that the home range, or the area covered by a wild animal over the course of a year, for elephants in non-fragmented forest was approximately 250 to 400 square kilometers. When the forest was fragmented, though – primarily by human developments such as roads, farms, and villages – the home range nearly doubled, to about 600 square kilometers.

The authors, led by Raymond Alfred of Sabah University of Malaysia, suggest that the significant increase in the home range could reflect increased difficulty in satisfying food and water needs in a highly fragmented environment. Their results could possibly help alleviate some of this elephant stress by providing guidelines for determining how much space is needed for long-term elephant preserves.

Using such guidelines could also help control elephant crop raiding, which has become a major problem in both Asia and Africa. As people move into  elephant habitat, elephants have begun sampling their crops to enrich their diet – leading farmers to sometimes kill the thieves, which is particularly concerning given the conservation listings for both Asian (endangered) and African (vulnerable) elephants.

There has been some work to develop methods to protect both the elephants and the crops, including installing “beehive fences” as deterrents (see this paper for more information about the surprising relationship between elephants and bees), but today’s paper, led by Patrick Chiyo of University of Notre Dame, takes a different angle, looking at what can cause an elephant to initiate crop-raiding behavior.

Crop raiding is known to be more common among male than female elephants, so the team investigated the raiding behavior of male African elephants in Amboseli National Park in Kenya. Out of about 365 male elephants, they identified 43 individual crop raiders, and estimated that there could be an additional 40 perpetrators who remained undetected. In other words, about 20% of the male elephants may be raiders. Males at their reproductive peak were nearly twice as likely to raid, and the authors suggest that his behavior could be due to increased energetic needs for mating, or increased risk-taking behavior associated with their age.

Furthermore, the elephants were more likely to raid if their elephant “friends” were raiders as well. It’s not all about peer pressure though – the effect gets stronger the older the raider friends are, suggesting that the elephants are actually learning from their older, wiser companions. This implied intelligence should come as no surprise, given all the evidence for elephant smarts (see, for example, this study on elephant learning) – and it makes me think that, conservation concerns aside, elephants might have something to teach us about respecting our elders.

Image source: brittanyhock on Flickr

Established journal with IF of 5.14: Evolutionary Applications to publish under open access model

Evolutionary ApplicationsFrom February 2012 Evolutionary Applications joins the Wiley Open Access publishing program of fully open access journals published by Wiley.  All newly published articles in the journal will be open access: free to view, download and share for non-commercial use. 

Since its launch in 2008, Evolutionary Applications has attracted very high quality submissions and has attained an Impact Factor of 5.145 as well as winning the 2009 ALPSP award for the best new journal. 

As the journal strives to remain current and relevant to the scientific community at large the Journal’s Editorial team recognize the importance of maximizing the visibility and accessibility of the research published in Evolutionary Applications both to increase its impact and to comply with funder mandates.   To help achieve these goals, the publishing team at Wiley along with the support of the Editorial team, have decided to convert Evolutionary Applications to an author-pays open access model.

Liz Ferguson, Publisher of Evolutionary Applications at Wiley-Blackwell comments: “This is the first journal that Wiley has converted to publish under an open access model. Evolutionary Applications is a great fit with our new Wiley Open Access publishing program.  Our substantial presence in this area and our growing experience of open access makes us confident that the journal will continue to go from strength to strength and appeal to both authors and readers under an open access model.”

Evolutionary Applications continues to publish under the direction of Louis Bernatchez, Editor-in-Chief, and Michelle Tseng, Founding and Managing Editor.

Evolutionary Applications will publish all articles under the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.  A publication fee will be payable by authors or their funder on acceptance of their articles.

Please visit the journal’s website for further information and future updates.

Open Access and Eric Raymond

This blog has been tackling the problem of Open Access, what it’s vision is and how to get a coherent movement. I’ve been excited to get a comment from Eric Raymond ( ). Eric (whom I shared a platform with in ca 1996) is one of the pioneers of the F/OSS movement :

Raymond became a prominent voice in the open source movement and co-founded the Open Source Initiative in 1998, taking on the self-appointed role of ambassador of open source to the press, business and public.

Here’s his comment in full – I then comment.

Eric S. Raymond says:

February 3, 2012 at 12:06 am  (Edit)

I was one of the Open Source Initiative’s co-founders and its first president. The confusion you guys are experiencing and the issues you’re debating are startlingly reminiscent of where we were in late 1997, early 1998. As the original poster noted, we got our act together. You can too.

I endorse P-MR’s analysis and his conclusions. You need a parallel to our Open Source Definition – an Open Access Definition. And, yes, it cannot allow no-commercial-use restrictions.

The reason for the this stance in the OSD wasn’t actually philosophical, it was brutally practical. The problem is that there is no bright-line definition of “commercial use”. Licenses with a no-commercial-use provision make it too difficult to reason about your rights are. Such uncertainty exerts a chilling effect on reuses which must be permitted if “openness” is to have any meaning.

Some of you in this discussion seem ready to constitute yourselves as an Open Access Initiative and write an Open Access Definition. To which I say; do it! Audacity is required in these situations.

I’m willing to assist; I can help with drafting the definition, and I can explain lessons of experience from our community that I think will apply directly to the problems you face.

I’m delighted to get this additional confirmation we are on the right track. We are audacious, we have our own definition ( ). We are also brutally practical – if people are paying 5000 USD for “Open Access” then they should get a much better deal than what most publishers offer. So we have much of this.

What we need is a revitalised Open Access Initiative. One that insists on BOAI-compliant, OKD-compliant. If Eric can bring new insights from the F/OSS experience, great.

Discussion and creativity continues on . If you share the view that we need clear adherence to the BOAI principles and practice join the list.

Update: Open Access, SemanticPhysicalScience, Open Bibliography and #animalgarden in the snow

I’ve been off air for a bit as

  • my hard disk crashed – it emitted messages (“Your disk is about to crash”, then “Ctrl-Alt-Del to access dying disk”, then – the “rest is silence”). Since I live my life in the open I can access most of what I need – about the only thing lost was the originals of the videos .
  • the UCC server (wwmm) has been down for 2 days
  • #animalgarden were going to make a video about bibliography but they got distracted (see below)


  1. Charlotte Bolton and I have been pulling together the outputs of the #semphyssci meeting. We have planned that about 13-17 articles will come out of it and be published in J.Cheminform. Open Access costs money and we’re grateful to EPSRC/PathwaysToImpact for funding. Unlike last year ( more of the articles come from outside our group so it won’t be as hairy. We’ve posted all the videos and I will start blogging the content soon.

  1. Open bibliography has been zooming ahead. We have an increasing number of pots of BibSoup. Every week Adrian Pohl tells us of libraries who have released Open bibliographic data. The Bibserver software is becoming very easy to deploy and very useful. The animals were hoping to make a video but they got distracted telling Gulliver about snow:

  1. Open Access. There’s a critical mass of people who care about BOAI-compliant access and making that formal – and exciting. Doing rather than talking. See . We’ve come up with a clear and exciting position. If you want to return to the roots of BOAI this is the pace. Everyone is, of course, welcome


More detailed stuff in separate posts

The American Economic Association tackles ethical conflicts – good for AEA

At a recent meeting of the American Economic Association, the AEA began tackling some important ethical issues, according to this article in The Economist.

Economics has internalised the views of rich patrons, according to Luigi Zingales of the University of Chicago. His scathing analysis of journal publications revealed that papers providing justification for high executive pay were 55% more likely to be published than those opposed, and were more heavily cited by others.

A paper presented by Atif Mian of the University of California, Berkeley, Amir Sufi of the University of Chicago and Francesco Trebbi of the University of British Columbia, laid out why good policy is often most difficult to implement in the wake of a financial crisis…a redistribution of wealth from creditors to debtors could potentially benefit both groups by averting a deep downturn. Yet even though debtors are many, such redistributions are few. Effective lobbying by a few, concentrated creditors helps hold back a populist tide: a few powerful banks, for instance, may be better able to influence legislators than millions of homeowners.

Comment: this is very interesting, and lends support to something I am thinking about but have not yet written about, which is that the current situation of extreme and growing inequity is not good for anyone, not even the 1%. For example, what good will extreme wealth do for the 1% when everyone’s favorite island nation getaways are under water due to global warming? If we continue on our current path of destroying our precious water supplies through using increasingly dangerous methods of obtaining oil and gas such as hydraulic fracturing or putting pipelines to carry oil sands oil – with leaking inevitable – right through key watersheds as per the first Keystone Pipeline proposal – it is only a matter of time before all of us are drinking poisoned water and eating food supplied by poisoned water – including the 1% and their loved ones*. The only sane way forward, from my perspective, is to remove the divide between the 99% and the 1% and become one, or the 100%, living and working in harmony with each other, and with our environment.

* perhaps the 1% is thinking no problem, they will just buy what little clean water and food there is left and to heck with the rest of us. My response: from whom will you buy this? A company that puts profit before everything, and is subject to no government regulation? (postscript Feb 4 2012).

Thanks to Kyle Thompson for the pointer to the Economist article.

Pogo: Why Are Researchers Yet Again Boycotting Instead of Keystroking?

While the worldwide researcher community is again busy working itself up into an indignant lather with yet another publisher boycott threat, I am still haunted by a “keystroke koan“:

Why did 34,000 researchers sign a threat in 2000 to boycott their journals unless those journals agreed to provide open access to their articles – when the researchers themselves could provide open access (OA) to their own articles by self-archiving them on their own institutional websites?

Not only has 100% OA been reachable through author self-archiving as of at least 1994, but over 90% of all refereed journals (published by 65% of all refereed journal publishers) have already given their explicit green light to some form of author self-archiving — with over 60% of all journals, including Elsevier’s — giving their authors the green light to self-archive their refereed final drafts (“postprint“) immediately upon acceptance for publication

So why are researchers yet again boycotting instead of keystroking, with yet another dozen years of needlessly lost research access and impact already behind us?

We have met the enemy, Pogo, and it’s not Elsevier.

(And this is why keystroke mandates are necessary; just keying out boycott threats to publishers is not enough.)

Should we copyleft our personal information – including our bodies?

Data mining is a growing trend, and we can soon expect to see demand for data mining more personal information than we have seen before, such as our personal health information. My question is, should we all collectively copyleft all of our personal information, including our bodies (DNA), so that anyone who finds a way to make useful services from our information, has an obligation to provide these services in a way that benefits us?

For example, I submit that if a government or health organization authorizes the use of personal health data for research purposes leading to a commercial product, then the producer of that product has an obligation to make it available to those who provided the health information. This would not necessarily mean for free; it could mean reasonably affordable.

Could an approach like this strengthen the position of social goods such as health care?

This post is part of the Articulating the Commons series.

For further related reading, see this article in The Scientist which inspired this post:

PLoS ONE Launches New Census of Marine Life Collection on Seamounts

Seamounts – submarine ‘mountains’ which can rise from the seafloor to heights of several km – are found in every ocean basin on Earth; there are at least 30,000 large seamounts that are over 1 km high, and hundreds of thousands of smaller knolls.

Seamounts are important features of the deep sea for a number of reasons.  They span a wide depth range, and in many areas provide the only shallow habitat for animals that cannot survive at the depths of the abyssal plains. Most are volcanic in origin, and so are composed of hard rock, enabling animals like corals and sponges to attach. Their shape and form can also enhance localized water movement and create areas of upwelling and eddies which bring in food and trap animals on the seamount. Together these characteristics can result in some seamounts being biological ‘hotspots’ providing feeding habitats and spawning grounds for fish and other larger animals, even including seabirds and marine mammals.  This makes the study of seamount ecology very important for the understanding of ocean ecosystems. However, because seamounts are also sites for commercial fisheries, and potential sources of valuable minerals and heavy metals, there is also an urgent need to ensure sustainable management of human activities.

Despite their biological importance, however, little is known about them. Less than 300 have been surveyed in any detail, and this lack of good information of seamount biodiversity makes it difficult for managers to balance exploitation and conservation.

Introducing CenSeam

The new Census of Marine Life Collection on Seamouts (CenSeam), which launched today in PLoS ONE, aims to improve our knowledge of seamount ecology and answer pressing questions for their management. Running from 2005-2010, it was one of 14 field projects comprising the Census of Marine Life program.

Its principle goal was to create an international network of scientists to examine some of the key research questions surrounding seamounts.  Out of these questions, two overarching themes developed:

  1. What factors drive the composition and diversity of communities on seamounts, and how do they differ from non-seamount communities?
  2. What are the impacts of human activities on the structure and function of seamount communities?

While CenSeam produced a number of papers, compilations and reviews*, not all of the work was finished by the program’s official end in 2010.  This ongoing work has now become the core of a special PLoS ONE Collection on seamounts, adding to a number of other collections – covering subjects from microbes and chemosynthetic environments to continental margins – conceived under the Census of Marine Life program.

The Collection is being launched with 10 scientific papers, and two more general reviews of CenSeam: one evaluates the organization, administration, and conduct of the project –what worked and what didn’t in setting up a complex international program; and a second overview which looks at some of CenSeam’s primary findings and their implications for setting future science priorities and developing the best ways to manage and conserve seamount environments and resources.

The 10 papers in the Collection vary widely in subject matter, including:

  • detailed descriptions of the faunal communities on seamounts (invertebrates and fishes)
  • accounts of new species
  • studies on biological characteristics and behavior of seamount fauna
  • analyses of similarities and differences between seamounts and other environments (e.g., canyons)
  • new results from seamounts in regions of the Indian Ocean and near Antarctica that have not been sampled before.

The Collection is available at

Further papers have been submitted, or are currently being prepared, to add to the Collection in coming months.


* Among these were a book on “Seamounts: Ecology, Fisheries and Conservation”, special issues on seamounts in two journals (‘Oceanography” and “Marine Ecology”), a chapter in a book summarizing the Census of Marine Life, and a review paper in “Annual Review of Marine Sciences”.

This post was written by aimee whitcroft, Web Communications Advisor at NIWA. More information on the CenSeam Collection can be found at

RoMEO and JULIET Updates for January 2012


Added new publishers:

  • Arr [3/1/12] – White
  • Associação de Editores do Journal of Portuguese Linguistics (AEJPL) – White [11/1/12]
  • Industrial Marketing and Purchasing Group [3/1/12] – Green
  • Institut des Hautes Etudes de l’Amérique Latine (IHEAL) – [3/1/12] – Green
  • Modern Science Publisher – Blue [30/1/12]
  • Primitive tider [3/1/12] – Blue
  • Society for Freshwater Sciences [3/1/12] Blue
  • Tobacco Control and Public Health in Eastern Europe [Blue] [17/1/12]
  • Universitetet i Bergen, Institutt for Fremmedspraak (University of Bergen. Department of Foreign Languages) – Green [3/1/12]
  • Universitetet i Nordland, Department of Social Sciences – Green [3/1/12]
  • Weisberg – Yellow [17/1/12]

Total publishers: 1060 [30/01/12] 2 provisional [3/1/12] 2 new exceptions

Updated entries:

  • American Library Association – Policy URLs [18/1/12]
  • American Vacuum Society – Policy URL [18/1/12] Policy [18/1/12]
  • BioMed Central – Policy URL [18/1/12]
  • British Psychological Society – policy URL [31/1/12]
  • Corporation des bibliothécaires professionnels du Québec – URL [13/1/12]
  • Future Science – policy URL [27/1/12]
  • Histochemical Society – Policy URL [18/1/12]
  • Instituto Universitário de Lisboa, Centro de Estudos Africanos – Policy URL [18/1/12]
  • Kerala Orthopaedic Association – Policy URL [18/1/12]
  • Landes Biosceince – policy and policy URL [27/1/12]
  • Nordic Ecological Society – policy and policy URL [25/1/12]
  • Norges geologiske undersøkelse – Main URL [18/1/12]
  • Norsk Logopedlag (NLL) – Main URL [18/1/12]
  • Ordem dos Médicos [11/1/12]
  • Rapid Intellect – published PDF not authors version [30/1/12]
  • SAI Organization [6/1/12]
  • SpringerOpen – added pre-print [13/12/1]
  • Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Unidad Ejecutora CEA-CONICET change to Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, CONICET, Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios sobre Cultura y Sociedad (CIECS) – at request of editor [5/1/12]
  • Universidade de Coimbra, Faculdade de Letras, Instituto de História Económica e Socia [11/1/12]
  • University of California Press – Policy URL [18/1/12]
  • Vanderbilt University, Department of French and Italian – Main URL [18/1/12]

Journal Exceptions

Added (2 exceptions from 2 publishers)

  • BMJ Publishing – BMJ[30/1/12]
  • Institut des Hautes Etudes de l’Amérique Latine (IHEAL) [3/1/12]


Overall Total: 83 [30/1/12]

Publications: 67, Data: 26, OA Journals: 34 No Policy 13


  • Age UK [30/1/12] – no policy
  • Alzeimher’s Society – Encourages, may pay [12/1/12]
  • Association for International Cancer Research – No Policy [12/1/12]
  • Asthma UK – No Policy [12/1/12]
  • Ataxia UK  – No Policy [12/1/12]
  • British Skin Foundation – no policy [18/1/12]
  • BUPA Foundation [30/1/12] – OAJ encouraged
  • Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland – no policy [18/1/12]
  • Children with Cancer UK – Encourages [12/1/12]
  • Deafness Research UK – No Policy [12/1/12] under consideration [12/1/12]
  • Epilepsy Research UK – No Policy [12/1/12]
  • Formas [25/1/12] – requires
  • Forskningsrådet för Arbetsliv och Socialvetenskap [25/1/12] – requires
  • Foundation for Liver Research – No Policy [12/1/12]
  • Healing Foundation – No Policy [12/1/12]
  • Knut och Alice Wallenbergs Stiftelse [25/1/12] – requires
  • NOW [30/1/12] – publication and oaj
  • Riksbankens Jubileumsfond – Requires [12/1/12]
  • Samantha Dickson Brain Tumour Trust – encourages [16/1/12]
  • Tommys (Baby Charity)  – no policy [16/1/12]
  • Yorkshire Cancer Research – No Policy [12/1/12]


OpenDOAR Content Search News

Unfortunately, we have had to withdraw this service temporily, because the Google CSE has been producing erratic search results.

We are in contact with Google to try and fix this technical difficulty.

We apologise for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience. 2012-01-25

First EarlyView Papers for MicrobiologyOpen are Published

Wiley Open Access is pleased to publish our first EarlyView papers for MicrobiologyOpen, available here. These papers demonstrate the broad scope of the journal and illustrate the high scientific standard we will maintain going forward.

Nakamura et al.’s paper presents their research on a new species of Saccharophagus (Myt-1, found in Toyama Bay, Japan) that produces enzymes capable of effectively decomposing different kinds of seaweed and their component polysaccharides, while Yikmis and Steinbüchel present a system optimized for the expression of recombinant Lcp / active Lcp in the supernatant and the microbial degradation of rubber by different Streptomyces strains. Last, but by no means least, MicrobiologyOpen’s Editor-in-Chief, Pierre Cornelis, contributes an exciting paper which illustrates that a cosmid clone containing both an alcohol dehydrogenase and an aldehyde dehydrogenase from Acetobacter pasteurianus conferred an important production of acetic acid in E. coli, leading to the degradation of casein.

We are receiving a steady stream of submissions and look forward to receiving more. If you would like more information about submitting to MicrobiologyOpen, please visit our author guidelines and, if you decide you would like to submit, please visit our submission site here.