OA is the way of the future

More indications recently that Open Access is the way of the future:

Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) both recently announced OA policies.

From the CAS Press Release:

“CAS said it will require its researchers and graduate students to deposit final, peer-reviewed manuscripts of research articles into the open access repositories of their respective institutes within 12 months of their official publication in academic journals. CAS will also encourage researchers to deposit previously published articles into their respective institutional repositories as well.”

This is important news because China is a growing powerhouse for scientific research output. And CAS & NSFC are two of the major funders in China. An article in Chemistry World today summarizes this well:

“In 2012, Chinese scientists published 186,577 papers in journals indexed by Thomson Reuters Science Citation Index (SCI) database, accounting for 13.9% of the world’s scientific output. More than 100,000 of these were funded by the NSFC. CAS scientists published 18,000 SCI papers in 2012.” [emphasis is mine]

The other indication of which I speak:

The annual meeting of the Global Research Council (GRC) is currently underway in Beijing (coincidence? I think not…). GRC is comprised of the heads of science and engineering funding agencies from around the world. They have just endorsed a ‘state of play’ report on Open Access to publications [more details here].

The OA tipping point was reached long ago perhaps, but academic culture is slow to change. I am coming to believe that mandates, especially from funding agencies, are the only mechanism to compel significant change at a reasonable rate…


More Elsevier Bad Press

You may have caught wind of the latest brouhaha developing online against Elsevier.

Yesterday, Cambridge mathematician Timothy Glowers released data collected from 19 UK universities under a freedom of information act request – the data are what they pay annually to Elsevier for the ScienceDirect journal bundle. Elsevier has always insisted on confidentiality clauses in these licenses. (BTW: Yes, this is the same Tim Glowers that initiated the Cost of Knowledge boycott in 2012).

It is a long, and carefully documented blog post – but well worth the read: http://gowers.wordpress.com/2014/04/24/elsevier-journals-some-facts/

If you don’t have the time, this post nicely summarizes the main points: http://access.okfn.org/2014/04/24/the-cost-of-academic-publishing/

And the Research Libraries UK (RLUK) has already released a statement too: http://www.rluk.ac.uk/news/university-spend-big-deals/

I can’t say I was very surprised or shocked by any of these numbers, but the point is to make these data more transparent to academics who are often blissfully unaware (not to mention the tax-paying public who ultimately fund much of this system).

It will be interesting to see how Elsevier tries to put out this fire.

G8 Endorses OA

Today, the G8 Science Ministers released a Statement that strongly endorses open access to the results of scientific research – both data and publications.
An excerpt:

We recognise that effective global scientific research and public understanding of science and commercial innovation by enterprises is supported by free and rapid public access to published, publicly funded research. The generation, sharing and exploitation of scientific knowledge are integral to the creation of wealth and the enhancement of our quality of life. We recognise that G8 nations have an important opportunity and responsibility to promote policies that increase access to the results of publicly funded research results to spur scientific discovery, enable better international collaboration and coordination of research, enhance the engagement of society and help support economic prosperity.

A Big Day for Open Data!

Today in the U.S. …
“President Obama signed an Executive Order directing his administration to take historic steps to make government-held data more accessible to the public and to entrepreneurs and others as fuel for innovation and economic growth.”
Accessible data is open and machine-readable. This allows entrepreneurs to more easily incorporate the data into new and innovative technologies. Let the app coding begin!

Big OA news from the White House

Today the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) announced a new directive to federal agencies to develop open-access policies within the next six months.
Here is the text from the brief press release:
The Obama Administration is committed to the proposition that citizens deserve easy access to the results of scientific research their tax dollars have paid for. That’s why, in a policy memorandum released today, OSTP Director John Holdren has directed Federal agencies with more than $100M in R&D expenditures to develop plans to make the published results of federally funded research freely available to the public within one year of publication and requiring researchers to better account for and manage the digital data resulting from federally funded scientific research. OSTP has been looking into this issue for some time, soliciting broad public input on multiple occasions and convening an interagency working group to develop a policy. The final policy reflects substantial inputs from scientists and scientific organizations, publishers, members of Congress, and other members of the public—over 65 thousand of whom recently signed a We the People petition asking for expanded public access to the results of taxpayer-funded research.
To see the new policy memorandum, please visit: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/ostp_public_access_memo_2013.pdf
To see Dr. Holdren’s response to the We the People petition, please visit: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/response/increasing-public-access-results-scientific-research

New Recommendations For Open Access from BOAI

Ten years have passed since the landmark meeting in Budapest that many people view as the unofficial beginning of the open access (OA) movement. The meeting produced the first definition of “open access” as well as the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI).
To mark the 10 year anniversary of the BOAI, leaders in the OA movement met once again in Budapest and developed new Recommendations for the next 10 years. These recommendations were released today.
(From the press release announcement):
“The Open Access recommendations include the development of Open Access policies in institutions of higher education and in funding agencies, the open licensing of scholarly works, the development of infrastructure such as Open Access repositories and creating standards of professional conduct for Open Access publishing. The recommendations also establish a new goal of achieving Open Access as the default method for distributing new peer-reviewed research in every field and in every country within ten years’ time.”
And from the preamble to the new recommendations themselves:
“Nothing in the last ten years makes OA less necessary or less opportune. On the contrary, it remains the case that “scientists and scholars…publish the fruits of their research in scholarly journals without payment” and “without expectation of payment.” In addition, scholars typically participate in peer review as referees and editors without expectation of payment. Yet more often than not, access barriers to peer-reviewed research literature remain firmly in place, for the benefit of intermediaries rather than authors, referees, or editors, and at the expense of research, researchers, and research institutions.”
“The problems that previously held up the adoption and implementation of OA are solved, and the solutions are spreading. But until OA spreads further, the problems for which OA is a solution will remain largely unsolved. In this statement, we reaffirm the ends and means of the original BOAI, and recommit ourselves to make progress. But in addition, we specifically set the new goal that within the next ten years, OA will become the default method for distributing new peer-reviewed research in every field and country.”

The Summer of Open Access

Momentum in the Open Access movement seems to be picking up speed this summer with some notable news from Britain, and an impending response from the White House regarding the Access2Research petition (see my earlier blog entries for more on this).
Jennifer Howard, from the Chronicle of Higher Education, sums it all up very well in her Aug 13, 2012 article: A Push Grows Abroad for Open Access to Publicly Financed Research.
No news on the Canadian front however…

World Bank OA Policy

On July 1st 2012 a new Open Access Policy came into effect at the World Bank. From their April 10, 2012 press release:
“Knowledge is power,” World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick said. “Making our knowledge widely and readily available will empower others to come up with solutions to the world’s toughest problems. Our new Open Access policy is the natural evolution for a World Bank that is opening up more and more.”
Now the World Bank has been named as SPARC’s July 2012 Innovator:
“For being a pioneer in sharing research on such a global scale, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition recognizes the World Bank as its July 2012 Innovator. ”

OA Petition Reaches 25 000 in just 2 Weeks!

An update on the “We the People Petition” I blogged about last time:
25,000 Advocates Urge White House to Open Taxpayer-Funded Research to Everyone
“We the People Petition” hits 25,000 signatures in just two weeks

Washington, DC – June 4, 2012 – The movement to make taxpayer-funded research freely available online hit a new milestone on Sunday when advocates hit their goal of 25,000 signatures to a “We the People” petition to the Obama administration. The petition,
created by Access2Research (a group of Open Access advocates, including SPARC’s
Executive Director, Heather Joseph), requests that President Obama make taxpayer-funded research freely available.

OA Petition to the White House

On Monday (May 21) a petition calling for Public Access to all Federally Funded Research was posted to the White House “We the People” website:
Require free access over the Internet to scientific journal articles arising from taxpayer-funded research
If the petition garners 25,000 signatures within 30 days, it will be reviewed by White House staff, and considered for action. At the time of my writing this blog post the petition has nearly 16 000 signatures – more than halfway there in less than a week!
You DO NOT need to be an American to sign, but you do need to register on the website (a short and simple procedure).
See this video promoting the petition: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FoYxzPZDuw

The full text of the petition is here:
“We believe in the power of the Internet to foster innovation, research, and education. Requiring the published results of taxpayer-funded research to be posted on the Internet in human and machine readable form would provide access to patients and caregivers, students and their teachers, researchers, entrepreneurs, and other taxpayers who paid for the research. Expanding access would speed the research process and increase the return on our investment in scientific research.
The highly successful Public Access Policy of the National Institutes of Health proves that this can be done without disrupting the research process, and we urge President Obama to act now to implement open access policies for all federal agencies that fund scientific research.”
See more info at the access2research website.