In this issue:
1. SPARC News
2. Partner News
3. Industry Roundup
4. Open Access News
5. SPARC Recognition Programs
6. Upcoming Workshops, SPARC-ACRL Forum
7. Articles of Interest
Editor’s Note: SPARC e-news debuted in the spring of 1999, and though SPARC has grown and changed a great deal since then, SPARC e-news has not – until now. We’re pleased to introduce our new format, which allows for linking and easier navigation. Comments and suggestions are welcome, as always, as we continue to refine SPARC e-news and make it more useful and relevant
for readers. Thank you, as always, for supporting SPARC. Alison Buckholtz
1. SPARC News: New Senate Bill to Broaden Access to Federal Research
On May 2, Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) introduced the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006. The groundbreaking bill requires federal agencies that fund over $100 million in annual external research to make electronic manuscripts of peer-reviewed journal articles stemming from their research publicly available via the Internet. Bill text is at http://cornyn.senate.gov/doc_archive/05-02-2006_COE06461_xml.pdf. Further details are available at http://www.taxpayeraccess.org/frpaa/.
“The expanded access to research called for by this bill will help accelerate true innovation in science and medicine,” said Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC. “The public’s interest is clear; whether it is speeding a response to a potential flu pandemic, developing energy alternatives or putting the brakes on global warming, access to publicly funded science is more critical than ever.”
The following agencies have extramural budgets in excess of $100 million and under this legislation would be required to make their research publicly accessible: Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, Department of Education, Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Transportation, Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the National Science Foundation.
SPARC and the Alliance for Taxpayer Access (ATA), of which SPARC is a founder, urge members to act now to support the legislation. Facilitating this kind of broad and often unexpected use of research will have direct, positive results on discovery and innovation and will benefit all Americans. Here are ways to show support:
Phone, fax, or e-mail your senator and request that s/he cosponsor the bill; contact information is
available at http://www.senate.gov.
Fax a letter of support and/or thank you note to Senators Cornyn (202-228-2856) and
Lieberman (202-224-9750) (templates available at
Issue a public statement of support from your organization and share it widely with members, colleagues, and
- Post the new ATA "We support taxpayer access" button on your Web site, available at
Introduction of the Federal Research Public Access Act is a landmark in our quest for taxpayer
access to federally funded research. Please
help us make it a reality by making your voice heard on Capitol Hill. Visit the SPARC FAQ page (http://www.arl.org/sparc/resources/frpaa.html) for
help inform your campus or institution about the Federal Research Public Access
In related news, new poll
findings indicate broad support among the American public for free
taxpayer-funded research. In an online survey of public attitudes
conducted recently by Harris Interactive, 8 out of 10 (82%) adults
said they believe that “if tax dollars pay for scientific research,
people should have free access to the results of the research on the
Internet.” In addition, six out of 10 (62%) adults believe that if
these research results are easily available (for free and online), it
will help speed up finding potential cures for diseases.
These findings from the Harris Poll, one of the longest running
independent opinion polls in the United States, underscore broad
diverse sectors of the American public on the benefits of free access
to research. The original survey findings are available at
and further information from the Alliance for Taxpayer Access is at
2. Partner News
SPARC’s newest partnership is with Bioline International,
an online publishing service that provides open access to peer-reviewed research journals published in developing countries. Bioline (http://www.bioline.org.br) helps journals from developing countries reap the benefits of open access. By providing a platform for the free and open distribution of these scientific publications, otherwise largely invisible to the international scientific community, Bioline seeks to fulfill the promise of open access publishing.
Evidence is mounting that Bioline’s efforts are bearing fruit. The use of publications on Bioline’s platform has increased dramatically over the past several years, with downloads of articles from the service’s 50-plus journals now averaging in excess of 200,000 per month. Bioline studies suggest that increased awareness and usage translate into improved journal quality by inspiring higher submission rates -- especially from international authors -- and improved citation rates.
Bioline’s service includes a technical platform and document conversion, which are free to journals that wish to offer free online access to readers yet lack the financial and technical resources to do so. The wide range of subjects and disciplines covered by Bioline include biotechnology, biodiversity, environmental and ecological sciences, food science, agriculture, veterinary science, medicine, microbiology, and taxonomy.
BioMed Central has announced the launch of the BioMed Central 2006 Research Awards, which recognize groundbreaking open access research. Awards will be made to the author(s) of the most outstanding research articles published in BioMed Central's journals during 2006. One award will be made for biology and one for medicine.
To be eligible for the awards, articles must be published during 2006 in one of BioMed Central's 150+ peer-reviewed open access journals. To nominate a published article for the award, send an email indicating the article title and a statement of support to: email@example.com.
A panel of expert scientists and clinicians will choose the winners from a shortlist of nominated articles in January 2007. To find out more, visit http://www.biomedcentral.com/researchawards2006.
BioOne will celebrate its fifth anniversary during the American Library Association meeting in New Orleans on Saturday, June 24 from 8:00 a.m.–10:00 a.m at the Omni Royale Orleans, East Salon room. During the meeting, BioOne representatives will reflect on progress during the past five years and plans for content development in 2007. For more information, please contact Stacie Lemick at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BioOne held its annual Publishers and Partners meeting in Washington, DC in late April. The meeting was attended by 71 publishers, librarians and partners. During the meeting, a broad range of topics were discussed, including BioOne's impact on research, archiving of scholarly materials and the experiences of BioOne open access publications.
Participants considered a number of options for the growth of services to the community, which will help guide BioOne's long-term strategic planning. A summary of the meeting, along with the presentations, will be available at http://www.bioone.org.
Public Library of Science
The Public Library of Science has announced its newest journal, PLoS Clinical Trials (http://www.plosclinicaltrials.org), a new open-access journal advancing the reporting of trial results. PLoS Clinical Trails is devoted to peer-reviewing and publishing reports of randomized clinical trials in all areas of medicine and public health. The journal’s commitment to a transparent trials reporting system will be achieved through the acceptance and publication of all randomized trials that are ethically and scientifically sound, registered, and reported accurately. By considering all such trials for publication irrespective of the outcome of the results, the journal aims to increase the accuracy and completeness of the evidence available for clinical decision-making by practitioners, policy makers, and patients. All trials considered for publication are rigorously peer-reviewed by expert statisticians and clinicians.
As an online journal, PLoS Clinical Trials
takes advantage of the unlimited space and interactivity the Web
provides. Each published trial
to its corresponding entry in a public registry and supplementary data,
such as original trial protocols, are linked to each report enabling
to evaluate the trial more thoroughly. A short commentary on each paper
summarizes for a general audience how the trial results add to the
Open access means that the full contents of PLoS Clinical Trials are
available to anyone to read and re-use for free, not only to
practitioners but also to patients and trial participants.
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
SEP was featured recently in the article “I Hear the Train a Comin’ – The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy”, by Greg
Tananbaum, which appeared in Against the Grain,
Vol. 18/1 (Feb. 2006). In the article, the SEP is described as
“forging a new
scholarly publishing” and the SEP’s unique endowment model was
positioned as an alternative to traditional scholarly publishing which
will hopefully be “replicated and extended” in other humanities
SEP is making substantial progress toward its three-year fundraising
goal of $2.5 million from libraries worldwide. SEP met its
interim goal of
securing new commitments and contributions of $499,000 by July 31, 2006
in order to qualify fully for the second round of matching funds from
NEH. SEP still needs support from libraries whose students use
the SEP in order to maintain open access to this valuable resource
A membership organization called Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
International Association (SEPIA) exclusively supports the SEP.
University Libraries sponsors SEPIA, and Southeastern Library Network,
Inc. (SOLINET) acts as its fiscal agent. SEPIA membership dues
free and open access to the SEP. SEPIA continues to collect membership
dues from other libraries and library consortia worldwide. Learn
about SEPIA at http://www.libraries.iub.edu/index.php?pageId=3563. To register your commitment with SOLINET, go to
http://www.solinet.net/survey/sep.htm. For a list of
already committed to the project, see
3. Industry Roundup
European Commission publishes report on the scientific publishing market
The European Commission has published “Study on the economic and
technical evolution of the scientific publication markets in Europe,”
a comprehensive and independent review of the scholarly publishing
scientific-publication-study_en.pdf). The report provides insights into how and why the
current system fails to meet the needs of researchers and points the way, through a series of recommendations, to addressing many aspects of a dysfunctional market.
SPARC and SPARC Europe have strongly endorsed the key conclusion that “policies should make sure that the market is sufficiently competitive and ‘dissemination-friendly.'" Among the recommendations made by the report is the call to “Guarantee public access to publicly funded research results shortly after publication.” Recognizing that “research funding agencies have a central role in determining researchers’ publishing practices," the study suggests that research funders should “promote and support the archiving of publications in open repositories, after a (possibly domain-specific) time period to be discussed with publishers.” This vitally important recommendation is put both to the EC and the member states of the European Union.
SPARC and SPARC Europe strongly endorse the recommendation, but note that there is no evidence of immediate access harming a journal and so a time-delay may be an unnecessary precaution that diminishes the utility of the research. The SPARC Europe response will be published on the SPARC Europe Web site at http://www.sparceurope.org.
Cornell’s DPubS to Introduce Open-Source Publishing
Cornell University Library, in collaboration with the Pennsylvania State University Libraries and Press, have selected six major academic libraries as international development partners to test and refine an open-source electronic publishing system for academic literature. The libraries at the Australian National University, Bielefeld University in Germany, the University of Kansas, the University of Utah, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Vanderbilt University will join in fine-tuning the open-source electronic publication delivery and management system DPubS (Digital Publishing System).
DPubS was conceived by Cornell University Library to aid colleges and universities in managing and disseminating the intellectual discoveries and writing of scholars and researchers. Each partner will use DPubS to publish locally and provide the core
teams at Cornell and Penn State with feedback and suggestions to expand the capabilities and functionality of the DPubS software. The partnership will also provide the project with valuable operational experience and contribute to its open-source software development. The involvement of
peer partners is the next stage in the process of generalizing the DPubS software, supported by a $670,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. DPubS will support peer review, offer extensive administrative functionality, and allow interoperability with open-source repository systems such as Fedora and DSpace.
4. Open Access News
Study Finds Evidence That OA Articles Are More Immediately Recognized and Cited Than Non-OA Articles
“Citation Advantage of Open Access Articles,” an article by Gunther Eysenbach published in the May 2006 issue of PLoS Biology, finds that articles published as an immediate OA article on a top journal site have higher impact than self-archived or otherwise openly accessible OA articles. The article finds strong evidence that, even in a journal that is widely available in research libraries, OA articles are more immediately recognized and cited by peers than non-OA articles published in the same journal. It concludes that OA is likely to benefit science by accelerating dissemination and uptake of research findings. The article is
available at http://rd.plos.org/strat/0018.php?redir=0024.
An editorial in PLoS Biology about the
article findings is available at http://biology.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/
Open Access Policy Under Development by CIHR
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) has announced its intention to develop a public access policy; the notice is available at
http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/30818.html. SPARC and CARL have both commended CIHR for its step forward and submitted comments, as requested.
JISC’s OA Program Provides Boost to Publishers and Authors
JISC’s open access funding initiative – which provided £384,500 over three years to publishers to explore open access models of publishing for their journals – has given “valuable impetus” to thinking round open access and “has had the effect of raising awareness among the UK author community,” says a new report.
as “seed money” to publishers to experiment with alternative publishing models, the report says that funding has provided publishers with “a timely opportunity to develop and experiment” with open access publishing, with all participating publishers remaining committed to their open access projects after funding has ceased. The study found that authors have also found the experience positive. The funding was designed to allow publishers to waive all or part of the open access fee they normally charge to authors based in the UK.
part of the evaluation process, 124 authors who benefited from the JISC funding took the opportunity to provide feedback on their experience of publishing in open access form. The results show that the JISC funding was influential in encouraging authors to publish in this way, and that 78% of them were likely to choose to publish in an open access form again. The findings corroborate earlier studies, which show that authors respond positively to publishing in open access journals, valuing the principle of free access to all readers and the consequent wider readership that open access enables. These, says the current study, are two of the five main factors influencing authors’ publishing decisions, the others being prestige, impact factor, and citations. The report concludes that the initiative has provided “a catalyst for change in authors’ perceptions and behavior in relation to publishing in an open access form.” Key Perspectives conducted the study on behalf of JISC. To access the
Scholarly Exchange Offers Free Journal Publishing Platform
Scholarly Exchange (http://www.scholarlyexchange.org) has launched a new open access journal,
Contemporary Management Research
(http://academic-journal.org/cmr), on its free and fully supported e-publishing platform. CMR covers business management research from a global perspective, with interests ranging from traditional management topics to e-commerce and Internet marketing. The Academy of Taiwan Information Systems Research (http://www.atisr.org) sponsors the journal.
Not-for-profit Scholarly Exchange, Inc. provides a free and fully supported e-publishing platform. Combining Open Journal Systems public-domain software with complete hosting and support, this new service offers scholars freedom and flexibility to produce academic journals at a price that fosters the open access model. Scholarly Exchange offsets its costs by keyword-relevant on-screen Google advertising. Revenues exceeding the basic support threshold of $1,500 yearly are shared with each journal to help defray editorial costs. Journals wishing to maintain an advertising-free environment or sell their own advertising sponsorship may pre-pay the technology cost. Participating journals retain all rights to their metadata and content and may charge submission or publication fees to help defray editorial costs.
Scholarly Exchange plays no role in the creation of the information or its ultimate ownership, and it serves as a facilitator for open access journals rather than a traditional publisher. The platform provides options for OAI harvesting and LOCKSS compliance. The Scholarly Exchange Web site offers editors valuable information resources to help with archiving, ultra-low-cost tagging/data conversion, and short-run/print-on-demand services commercially available.
University of Iowa Graduate Student Senate's OA Resolution
The University of Iowa's Graduate Student Senate has unanimously passed a resolution supporting open access in scholarly publishing. The resolution refers to and supports a UI faculty resolution on scholarly publishing that was recently passed and can be viewed at http://www.uiowa.edu/%7Efacsen/Agenda/Senate05-06/11-29-05/2-LibrariesResolution.htm.
5. SPARC Recognition Programs
SPARC Recognizes Herbert Van de Sompel
SPARC has named Herbert Van de Sompel, who leads the Digital Library Research and Prototyping Team at the Research Library of the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), the first SPARC Innovator. The SPARC Innovator program is a new initiative that recognizes an individual, institution, or group that exemplifies SPARC principles by working to challenge the status quo in scholarly communication for the benefit of researchers, libraries, universities, and the public. SPARC Innovators will be featured on the SPARC Web site each quarter.
Van de Sompel is the initiator of the Open Archives Initiative (OAI) and the open reference linking framework (OpenURL). The Open Archives Initiative develops and promotes interoperability standards that aim to facilitate the efficient dissemination of content, and it has had wide-ranging influence on a variety of other initiatives within the open access and institutional repository movements. To read more about Van de Sompel, please see the SPARC Innovator Web page at http://www.arl.org/sparc/innovator/.
The Wellcome Trust Receives First SPARC Europe Award
The Wellcome Trust has been presented with the first SPARC Europe Award for Outstanding Achievements in Scholarly Communications. SPARC Europe initiated the Award to recognize the work of an individual or group within Europe that has made significant advances in our understanding of the issues surrounding scholarly communications and/or in developing practical means to address the problems with the current systems.
In making the Award to the Trust the judging panel noted the Trust’s truly groundbreaking work in scholarly communication, from the commissioning of incisive research into the market, through to the formulation and implementation of clear policy in support of the widest dissemination of the research outputs funded by the Trust. The second annual Award will be presented at the CERN Workshop on Innovations in Scholarly Communications (OAI5) to be held in Geneva in 2007.
6. Upcoming Workshops
SPARC-ACRL Forum to Explore Open Data
The upcoming SPARC-ACRL forum on emerging issues in scholarly communication, to be held during the American Library Association’s annual meeting in New Orleans, will explore questions related to the field of Open Data. The forum will feature experts who are familiar with the issues associated with Open Data and known for their analysis of the evolving scholarly communication scene. It will be held on Saturday, June 24th from 4:00 - 5:30PM in the Morial Convention Center, Room 356-357. Reservations are not required.
During the past several years, Open Data has become a field of urgent interest to researchers, scholars, and librarians. With the amount of scientific data doubling every year, issues surrounding the access, use, and curation of data sets are increasing in importance. The data-rich, researcher-driven environment that is evolving poses new challenges and provides new opportunities in the sharing, review, and publication of research results. Ensuring open access to the data behind the literature will play a key role in seeing that the scholarly communication system evolves in a way that supports the needs of scholars and the academic enterprise as a whole.
As Open Data moves to the forefront of scholarly communication, librarians, administrators, and researchers will be responsible for considering new access policies for data and data curation issues. This SPARC-ACRL forum will introduce Open Data as an emerging focus, explore the challenges of managing the data deluge, and aid participants in crafting their own digital data preservation and curation policies.
Speakers include Christopher Greer, Cyberinfrastructure Advisor, Office of the Assistant Director for Biological Sciences, National Science Foundation;
Robert Hanisch, Project Manager, US National Virtual Observatory, Space Telescope Science Institute; and Clifford Lynch, Executive Director, Coalition for Networked Information.
The forum is followed by the ACRL Scholarly Communication Discussion
Group, an opportunity to exchange views with speakers from the forum
the discussion to a deeper level. The Discussion Group convenes on
Sunday, June 25th, from 4:00 – 5:30PM in the Evangeline Suite of the
For more information, visit the SPARC Web site or the SPARC Open Data email discussion list at
Other upcoming workshops:
Open Access - threat or blessing?"
2nd Euroscience Open Forum (ESOF)
July 15-19, 2006
Digital Libraries à la Carte: New Choices for the Future
Modular, International Digital Library Course
22-25 August 2006
Tilburg University, The Netherlands
Open Scholarship: New Challenges for Institutional Repositories
SPARC Europe/LIBER European conference
October 18-20, 2006
University of Glasgow, Scotland
(Details and registration information forthcoming)
7. Articles of Interest
Albanese, Andrew. New Bill Would Mandate Access to More Federally Funded Research. Library Journal Academic Newswire. May 4,
Altman, Lawrence K. For Science's Gatekeepers, a Credibility Gap. The New York Times.
May 2, 2006.
Flaxbart, David. Public Science, Public Access. Issues in Science and Technology
Librarianship. Spring 2006.
Guterman, Lila. NIH Has Little to Celebrate on 1st Anniversary of Its Open-Access Policy, but Changes May Be on Way. The Chronicle of
Education. May 11, 2006. (http://chronicle.com/temp/email2.php?id=cGxdcfxhHkzFjjX2hqCxqvxbjtHQ66m8)
Ivry, Sara. Some Publishers of Scholarly Journals Dislike Bill to Require Online Access to Articles. The New York Times. May 8,
Kaiser, Jocelyn. Bill Would Require Free Public Access to Research Papers. Science. May 12, 2006.
Pasiewicz, Matt. Educause interview with SPARC Director Heather Joseph
(Podcast from the 2006 CNI Spring Task Force Meeting.) April 24, 2006. (http://connect.educause.edu/podcasts/heather_joseph_cni_2006)
Peek, Robin. The Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006. Information Today. May 8, 2006. (http://www.infotoday.com/newsbreaks/nb060508-2.shtml)
Sternstein, Aliya. Bill demands free public access to science
reports - Articles about federally funded research would have to appear
online 6 months
after publication. Federal Computer Week. May 15, 2006. (http://www.fcw.com/article94357-05-15-06-Print)
Walters, William H. Institutional Journal Costs in an Open Access Environment. (http://www.library.millersville.edu/public_html/walters/journal_costs.pdf)
Weiss, Rick. Bill Seeks Access to Tax-Funded Research. Washington Post. May 3, 2006.
Wray, Richard. US senators propose to make scientific research freely available. The Guardian. May 11, 2006.