Sunday, July 27, 2008

Kudos to Oxford: transitioning to open access

Kudos to Oxford, which continues to provide a great role model for transitioning to open access, with an announcement reminding subscribers about discounts for their authors on open access charges, a new program to extend these discounts to consortial subscribers, and price adjustments to take open access fees revenue into account for the third year in a row. For NIH-funded authors, the OA charges include not only full OA, but also deposit in PMC.

Thanks to Peter Suber on Open Access News.

This post is part of the Transitioning to Open Access and Resources and Tips: Publishers series.

Update and comment: while OUP is a role model in this one aspect, OUP's "green" policies need some significant shaping up to be truly exemplary. Currently, OUP is pale green, allowing author self-archiving but with significant restrictions, such as lengthy embargoes. To be truly exemplary, OUP should adopt a full green policy, permitting (or better yet, like Nature, encouraging) author self-archiving of postprints immediately on acceptance for publication. This is not only good OA policy; it is good publishing policy, to keep authors who are increasingly needing to provide OA to fulfill OA mandate policies, or to take advantage of the OA impact advantage as more and more authors become aware of this. [Thanks to Stevan Harnad for the tip on the OUP pale green policy].

Noteworthy Dramatic Growth July 2008: PMC & RoMEO

PubMedCentral Submissions Jump Sharply Under New NIH Policy, Library Journal Academic Newswire July 24, 2008. According to NIH's David Lipman, "It’s still too early to compute compliance rates, but the early returns suggest a stunning turnaround". The figures reported in the June 2008 Dramatic Growth of Open Access support this viewpoint.

JISC recently announced that the RoMEO service has now exceeded 400 publisher copyright policies on self-archiving. This is excellent news - with all the funders, universities, and researchers and librarians wanting and looking for opportunities to self-archive, every publisher should have a policy, and have it posted at RoMEO!

Thanks to Peter Suber on Open Access News, and to Charles Bailey for the info on RoMEO.

This post is part of the Dramatic Growth of Open Access Series.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

National Research Council OA Mandate begins January 2009

Update July 27: the NRC announcement can be found here. Thanks to Alison Ball and Peter Suber on Open Access News.

Richard Akerman on Science Library Pad has posted news of an open access mandate policy at the National Research Council, to take effect January 2009.

Thanks to Peter Suber on Open Access News for the alert.

This post is part of the Canadian Leadership in the Open Access Movement series.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Indian Institutes of Science Director favors open archives

Padmanabhan Balaram, director of the highly prestigious Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bangalore, India and editor of India's leading (open access) science journal, Current Science, explains why he favors the open access archives approach to open access, in SciDevNet.

Most scientific journals are published in Europe and the U.S., and Indian scientists tend to publish in these journals. The question is how to ensure research publicly funded is freely available to researchers in developing countries. In Padmanabhan's view, open archives is the solution. Researchers need to publish in the most prestigious journals; almost all allow author self-archiving. The OA publishing approach paid for through article processing fees has drawbacks; for the researcher in the developing country, the cost can be astronomical, and the idea of begging for waivers does not appeal.

IISc already has more than 10,000 articles in its institutional repository; this number is soon expected to exceed 20,000 articles. This is a very significant size and growth rate for any repository, an inspiration for us all!

Update July 11: to clarify, Balaram is discussing the relative advantages of two different forms of open access: open access archiving (also called the green road), and open access publishing (also called the gold road). Balaram uses the phrase "open access" where "open access publishing" would be more accurate.

Thanks to Subbiah Arunachalam.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Scientific Commons exceeds 20 million items!

Scientific Commons has now exceeded 20 million items.

Congratulations, Scientific Commons!

Other stats of interest:

More than 8 million authors

911 repositories

This post is part of the Dramatic Growth of Open Access series.

Nature Letters to the Editor

Update July 10 - see Peter Suber on Open Access News for more on the story.

It seems that Nature ran a Letter to the Editor claiming that open access is harmful to developing countries, but is not publishing critical letters from scholarly authorities in this area (Peter Suber, Stevan Harnad, Subbiah Arunachalam, Leslie Chan, and Barbara Kirsop). In the interests of both open access and intellectual freedom, following is the text of the letters, thanks to the American Scientist Open Access Forum.

A number of people responded to the letter to
Nature, from Dr Gadagkar, IISc Bangalore, India,
by sending corrections of the impression given by Nature's headline
(Open Access more harm than good for developing countries) and the
misunderstandings of the policies of OA journals.

Unfortunately none of the letters I know about were published by
Nature. Other letters may have been sent unknown to me. Therefore,
so that misunderstandings may be corrected, I attach the letters sent
by Peter Suber, Stevan Harnad and three of the EPT Trustees (Subbiah
Arunachalam, Leslie Chan and myself).

It is important the Nature headline and the misunderstanding are
corrected as the EPT and many other colleagues are very concerned that
the economically poor countries do indeed benefit from the very significant
benefits that OA offers.

Here are the letters, in the order in which they were sent to Nature:


[1] Text of letter sent to Nature by Professor Stevan Harnad, Canada
Research Chair at the University of Quebec at Montreal, and Professor of
Cognitive Science at the University of Southampton, UK


Open Access (OA) means free online access to peer-reviewed journal
articles. There are two ways to provide OA:

(1) either by publishing one's article in an OA journal that makes all
articles free online ("Gold OA")

(2) or by publishing one's article in a non-OA journal and
self-archiving it to make it OA ("Green OA")

R. Gadagkar (Letter to Nature, 22 May 2008) suggests that although
denying access to users because of unaffordable subscription fees
to the user-institution is bad, denying publishing to authors because
of unaffordable OA publishing fees to the author-institution is
worse, especially in the Developing World.

The usual reply is that (1) many Gold OA journals do not charge
a publishing fee and (2) exceptions are made for authors who
cannot pay. More important, there is also Green OA self-archiving,
and the self-archiving mandates increasingly being adopted by
universities (e.g. Harvard) and research funders (e.g. NIH).

Self-archiving costs nothing, and if it ever makes subscriptions
unsustainable it will by the very same token generate the windfall
institutional savings out of which to pay for OA publishing instead.

Nor are the costs of publishing likely to remain the same under
self-archiving: If journal subscriptions are ever no longer in
demand (because users all use authors' self-archived drafts
rather than publishers' subscription-based versions) journals
will not convert to OA publishing under its current terms (where
journals still provide most of the products and services of
conventional journal publishing), but under substantially
scaled-down terms.

Current costs of providing the print and PDF edition, of access-provision
and of archiving will all vanish (for the publisher). Those
functions will have been off-loaded onto the distributed network of
OA institutional repositories, each hosting its own peer-reviewed,
published output. The only service that peer-reviewed journal
publishers will still need to provide then will be peer review itself and the
windfall institutional cancellation savings will be more than enough to
pay for that.

But until then, Green OA is OA enough -- and free.


Stevan Harnad


[2] Letter sent to Nature by Trustees of the Electronic Publishing Trust
for Development


As Trustees of the Electronic Publishing Trust for Development working
with research scientists and publishers in developing countries* for
over a decade, we write to correct misunderstandings conveyed in the
correspondence from Raghavendra Gadagkar (Nature, 453, 450, May 22nd,

First, the choice for researchers in the economically poor regions is not
between 'pay to publish' versus 'pay to read' since by far the majority of
'Gold' Open Access (OA) journals make no charge to authors whatsoever.
Most are therefore free to both authors and readers.

Second, the alternative 'Green' route to OA for universities is to create
low-cost institutional repositories (IRs) -- in which their researchers
can self-archive their publications to make them freely available to
all users with Internet access -- and this has already been adopted by
about 1300 institutions worldwide.

A growing number (44) of universities and funding organisations (including
Harvard, Southampton, Liège, CERN, NIH, Wellcome Trust, 6 of the 7 UK
research councils, and India's National Institute of Technology) have
already gone on to officially mandate Green OA self-archiving for all
their research publications.

Usage of these resources by developing countries is now well recorded.
As examples, usage of journals published in developing countries
(and making no charge to authors or readers) was recorded by Bioline
International as having reached 3.5 million full text downloads in
2007. Usage of research publications archived in IRs shows India, China,
Brazil and South Africa among the top15 most active user-countries, and
smaller developing countries to a lesser degree. Full text downloads
from just one of the 1300 registered repositories showed UK: 10,174;
India: 5,733; China: 5,070; South Africa: 1155. Detailed usage of 4
such IRs by 6 countries is shown in the EPT Blog.

It is clear from these small but representative examples of usage that OA
has huge benefits for the progress of research in the developing world,
and advances steadily.


Subbiah Arunachalam, Flat No. 1, Raagas Apts, 66 Venkatakrishna Road,
Chennai 600 028, India. Tel: +91 44‰? 2461 3224, Mobile: 97909 23941

Leslie Chan, University of Toronto, Department of Social Sciences, 1265
Military Trail, Scarborough, Ontario, M1C1A4, Canada, Tel: +1 416 287

Barbara Kirsop, Electronic Publishing Trust for Development, Wilmots,
Elmton, Worksop, S80 4LS, UK Tel: +44 1909 724184, Mobile 07773677650

Electronic Publishing Trust for Development,
University of Otago, New Zealand,
Bioline International,
EPT Blog:


[3] Letter sent to Nature by Peter Suber, Professor of Philosophy,
Earlham College, USA

Dear Sir/Madam,

Re: Raghavendra Gadagkar's letter in the May 22 issue, Open-access more
harm than good in developing world.

Nature gave Gadagkar's letter a misleading title. His argument is
not against open access (OA) as such, or even OA journals as such, but
against fee-based OA journals or "the 'pay to publish and read for free'
business model".

However, Gadagkar's argument is misleading in its own right. He is
apparently unaware that most OA journals charge no publication fees [1].
As of late 2007, 67% of the journals listed in the Directory of Open
Access Journals charged no publication fees [2], and 83% of OA journals
from society publishers charged no publication fees [3].

Gadagkar writes that "A 'publish for free, read for free' model may
one day prove to be viable..." as if it were untried, when in fact it
is the majority model around the world. Moreover, it's the exclusive
model in his own country. All OA journals published in India are of
the no-fee variety.

He also fails to mention that OA archiving already follows the model
of no fees for readers and no fees for authors. In the same week that
Nature published Gadagkar's letter, the OA repository at his institution,
the Indian Institute of Science, passed the milestone of 10,000 deposits.

Peter Suber
Research Professor of Philosophy, Earlham College
Visiting Fellow, Yale Law School




Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Elsevier moderates price a little

According to Charles Bailey, Elsevier is keeping its 2009 price increases to less than 6%, below what Elsevier claims is the industry average of 8.7% in Europe and over 10% in the U.S. Revenue from author payments is cited as one of the reasons for this moderation.

Congratulations to Elsevier for taking a step in the right direction.

The Consumer Price Index in Canada is currently 2.2% - an increase from recent months due to dramatically rising gas prices. This being the case, even without accounting for a new revenue source (author fees), a 6% increase is not modest at all, but rather very inflationary.

Think about the impact of compounding; annual price increases of 6% amount to much more over a few years. By the third year, prices have increased 20%; by the fifth year, prices have increased by 33%.

Interesting, this is the maximum increase. If some Elsevier journals are charging less than the maximum, or the average increase is less, now that would be very interesting!

Thanks to Gavin Baker on Open Access News.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Kudos: Nature Self-Archiving on Behalf of Authors

July 10 update: these kudos to Nature are shadowed by recent publication of an anti-OA Letter to the Editor - and not publishing critical Letters to the Editor by renowned scholars in this area. For details, click here.

Kudos to Nature Publishing Group for yet another creative move in the direction of open access, offering to undertake a free service to self-archive on behalf of authors to help fulfill funder and institutional mandates. This move supplements other innovative practices, such as a standard author license to publish agreement that leaves copyright with the author, and actively encourages authors to self-archive in disciplinary and/or institutional repositories.

Text of the announcement:

Nature Publishing Group (NPG) is pleased to announce the initiation of a free service, launching in 2008, to help authors fulfil funder and institutional mandates.

NPG has encouraged self-archiving, including in PubMed Central, since 2005. Later in 2008, NPG will begin depositing authors’ accepted manuscripts with PubMed Central (PMC) and UK PubMed Central (UKPMC), meeting the requirements for authors funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), The Wellcome Trust, the Medical Research Council and a number of other major funders in the US, the UK and Canada who mandate deposition in either PMC or UKPMC. NPG hopes to extend the service to other archives and repositories in future.

"We are announcing our intention early in the process to solicit feedback from the community and to reassure authors that we will be providing this service," said Steven Inchcoombe, Managing Director of NPG. "We invite authors, funding bodies, institutions, archives and repositories to work with us as we move forward."

Initially, the service will be open to authors publishing original research articles in Nature, the Nature research titles and the clinical research section of Nature Clinical Practice Cardiovascular Medicine . NPG will then extend the service to society and academic journals in its portfolio that wish to participate.

For eligible authors who opt-in during the submission process, NPG will deposit the accepted version of the author’s manuscript on acceptance, setting a public release date of 6-months post-publication. There will be no charge to authors or funders for the service.

"NPG is committed to serving as a partner to the scientific and medical communities," continued Steven Inchcoombe. "We believe this is a valuable service to authors, reducing their workload and making it simple and free to comply with mandates from their institution or funder. We recognise that publishing in an NPG title can be a career high-point for researchers, and want to ensure that our authors enjoy the best possible service from their publisher of choice."

NPG has been an early mover amongst subscription publishers in encouraging self-archiving. In 2002, the publisher moved from requesting copyright transfer for original research articles to requesting an exclusive license to publish. In 2005, NPG announced a self-archiving policy that encourages authors of research articles to self-archive the accepted version of their manuscript to PubMed Central or other appropriate funding body's archive, their institution's repositories and, if they wish, on their personal websites. In all cases, the manuscript can be made publicly accessible six months after publication. NPG’s policies are explained in detail at this web page:

Thanks to Peter Suber on Open Access News, who points out that this is the first publisher to offer to deposit into institutional repositories on behalf of authors.

This post is part of the Transitioning to Open Access Series, and the Resources and Tips for Publishers Series.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Dramatic Growth June 30, 2008: correction on growth percentages

The Dramatic Growth of Open Access version showing annual growth over the past year has been corrected (the earlier version showed numeric growth as a percentage of the current year rather than the previous year).

This means that all annual growth percentages are actually higher than originally reported. For example, both RePEC and E-LIS showed growth of more than 30% in the past year, not 25% as previously reported.

The corrected version has been posted at, and at the Dataverse Network.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Open Access Class 2008: Final Projects

Links to a few of the wonderful final projects of students in my 2008 SLAIS Open Access class have been posted - subject guides to open access resources for the environment, chemistry, environmental and occupational health, HIV/AIDS, Media Studies, a tutorial on preservation issues, and a draft research projects on OA mandates.

I hope to add to the list once students return from vacation and catch up with their e-mail.

It was a real pleasure to teach LIBR 559K; my only regret was that there wasn't more time.

NIH Public Access Policy instructions prominent on PubMed home page!

Instructions for NIH-funded authors have been prominently placed on the PubMed home page.

There is a link to a list of journals that will manage the submission process with the NIH guidelines on behalf of authors - very handy! - as well as instructions for authors who publish in journals that do not provide this service.

What a good idea!

Thanks to Margaret Russell.