ATA Commends NIH Public Access Development
The Alliance for Taxpayer Access (ATA), a national coalition of over 60 library, non-profit, and patient advocacy groups, has praised the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Working Group (PAWG) for recommending that researchers be required to deposit published articles resulting from NIH funding in PubMed Central (PMC), NIH’s online database of journal literature. At the November 15 meeting of the working group, a majority of members also called for articles to be freely available in PMC within six months of their publication in a journal. The current NIH policy is voluntary for funding recipients and allows access to be delayed for up to one year.
Data presented to the working group indicates that less than five percent of eligible papers are currently being deposited in PMC. The Public Access Working Group’s recommendation is considered significant because of Congressional concern that the current policy has failed to achieve the goals set out by the policy. This past summer, the House and Senate called on NIH to report on the policy’s progress, particularly focusing on compliance rates, by early 2006.
The Public Access Working Group, which reports to the Board of Regents of NIH’s National Library of Medicine, includes representatives from publishers, societies, researchers, patient groups, and libraries. It was convened by NIH last May to inform the implementation of its Public Access Policy (http://publicaccess.nih.gov). For more information: http://www.taxpayeraccess.org/docs/Release051122.html.
Open Content Alliance
The recently-launched Open Content Alliance (OCA) is an international network of academics, libraries, publishers, technology firms working to create a flexible, open infrastructure for bringing large collections of digitized material into the open Web; the fundamental principle behind the program is open accessibility. The content will be built upon permanently archived digital content, and the OCA will also adhere to protection of the rights of copyright holders.
OCA founding members include the Internet Archive; Yahoo! Search; Hewlett-Packard Labs; Adobe Systems; the University of California; the University of Toronto; the European Archive; the National Archives (U.K.); O’Reilly Media, Inc.; and Prelinger Archives. Technological and some financial support will come from Adobe and Hewlett-Packard. Content collections will cover a wide range of material, including digitized print and multimedia content. For more information: http://www.opencontentalliance.org.
OpenData email discussion list
SPARC has launched the new “SPARC-OpenData” e-mail discussion list, which explores issues of access to digital data associated with peer-reviewed science, technical and medical (STM) research. The list’s founder and moderator is Peter Murray-Rust of the Unilever Centre for Molecular Sciences Informatics at the University of Cambridge (UK).
Adovcates of Open Data believe that although there are substantial potential benefits from sharing and reusing digital data upon which scientific advances are built, much of it is lost or underutilized because of legal, technological and other barriers. The new discussion list will enable participants to debate issues of access to and re-use of research data that researchers or funders wish to see available for use by others. The list’s emphasis is on defining the scope of Open Data and collecting examples of desirable and undesirable practices. To subscribe to the SPARC-OpenData discussion list, send a message to: <SPARC-OpenDatafirstname.lastname@example.org>. Further details on the SPARC-OpenData discussion list are online at www.arl.org/sparc/opendata/
Open Access Programs Web site
SPARC has launched a new web page (https://db.arl.org/oap) on which librarians and administrators can share the concept and execution of open access programs to educate faculty at their universities. On this page, SPARC members and others can submit information about the open access program on their campus and browse information about other institutions’ open access programs. The site also contains information on institutional repositories and scholarly communication programs in general, along with a letter from SPARC Director Heather Joseph and a link to SPARC's Open Access web page. The program information now on the site was originally gathered by Rebecca Kemp, Electronic Resources/Serials Librarian at UNC Wilmington. Contributions are encouraged.
Wellcome Trust Open Access Requirements
The UK's Wellcome Trust now requires that grantees deposit articles generated with Wellcome funds into the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) PubMed Central open access repository. As of October 2005, "all Wellcome Trust grantees will have to submit an electronic copy of the final manuscripts of their research papers into PubMed Central (PMC)," to be made "freely available to the public, via the web, no later than six months after the official date of final publication."
Notably, the Wellcome Trust will encourage grantees to embrace open access publishing by providing them with additional funding to cover the costs of page processing charges levied by open access publishers, including the Public Library of Science and BioMed Central. Wellcome Trust officials also announced that the trust is working with a number of other major science funders in the UK, including the Arthritis Research Campaign, Cancer Research UK, British Heart Foundation, and Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) to "explore the feasibility of establishing a UK PubMed Central." In a news release, the officials said they were now seeking a formal tender process, to identify a contractor who can "run and develop a UK-PMC service that will be launched early in 2006." The Wellcome Trust is one of the world's largest biomedical research charities, spending over £400 million ($708.8 million) annually to support 3500 researchers in 44 countries. See http://www.wellcome.ac.uk.
Rise in Number of Authors Publishing in OA Journals
Twenty-nine percent of senior authors questioned say that they have published in an open access journal, according to a new independent survey. This is up eighteen percentage points compared to a similar question asked in a study carried out in 2004 by the same researchers, a two-and-a-half-fold increase in just twelve months. "New Journal Publishing Models: An International Survey of Senior Researchers," was produced by CIBER, an independent publishing think tank based at City University in London. The study, published in September 2005, is based on a survey of 5513 authors -- typically principal investigators or research group leaders - who had published in an ISI-indexed journal during 2004. It is the follow up to a previous CIBER study conducted in 2004.
Ian Rowlands and Dave Nicholas, the authors of the report, found that "the research community is now much more aware of the open access issue." The report authors write, "There has been a large rise in authors knowing quite a lot about open access (up 10 percentage points from the 2004 figure) and a big fall in authors knowing nothing at all about open access (down 25 points)." Altogether 81 percent of authors claim to have some awareness of open access, up from 66 percent in 2004.
Rowlands and Nicholas found that, "Authors strongly believe that, as a result of open access, articles will become more accessible." 75 percent of authors surveyed agreed with the statement "High prices make it difficult to access the journals literature."
The researchers also found that "senior authors and researchers believe downloads to be a more credible measure of the usefulness of research than traditional citations." Open access has been shown elsewhere to lead higher downloads of articles. The CIBER report was commissioned by the Publishers Association and the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers. The full report is available from CIBER’s Web site at: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/ciber/ciber_2005_survey_final.pdf