October 6, 2005

U.S. Senate Supports NIH Public Access Policy; Requests Report

One month after the U.S. House of Representatives endorsed the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access policy and called for measures to judge its effectiveness, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee followed suit, requesting a prompt and thorough report evaluating the success of the policy. The Senate report accompanying the Fiscal Year 2006 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill requests a report from NIH by February 2006 that will include data on the total number of applicable works submitted since the May 2 implementation date, as well as the embargo period selected by each submitting author.

Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC, the founding organizational member of the Alliance for Taxpayer Access (ATA), noted that ATA members are committed to continuing to work to ensure the implementation of a meaningful public access policy at NIH, and are encouraged by this strong signal of support from Congress.

ATA believes that the NIH policy's success will be measured by the number of articles deposited in PubMed Central and made accessible to the public soon after publication, and has consistently asked that the NIH publicly post such statistics to help gauge the policy’s effectiveness. Last month, NIH Director Elias Zerhouni issued a positive response to ATA’s request to post these critical submission data on the NIH public access website. (To view this document, go to http://www.taxpayeraccess.org/docs/NIH_Postings_Response.pdf)

Data released by the NIH at a recent meeting of the NIH Public Access Working Group indicate that the number of submissions since the policy's implementation is very low. Based on annual data, NIH funding is responsible for about 65,000 scholarly articles per year. Therefore, NIH grantees could have chosen to place approximately 11,000 articles on PubMed Central——making this taxpayer-funded research available free to the public. However, statistics provided by NIH show that only three percent of this number, or 340 articles accepted for publication, have been submitted by NIH grantees.

-- *SPARC e-news*, June-July 2005

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The German Research Foundation studied author attitudes toward OA

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation) released a major new study of author attitudes toward OA. It's based on the responses of over 1,000 German scientists to questions about their experiences with OA journals, OA preprint archiving, and OA postprint archiving.

From Jutta Haider's translation of the executive summary: 'Until now, throughout all disciplines, very few researchers actively publish in Open Access. Of all those questioned only about every tenth had published in an Open Access journal. According to those questioned the distribution of freely accessible preprints on the Internet -­ common practice only in some subjects - is also done infrequently. Somewhat more frequently papers that had already been published elsewhere are secondarily distributed for free online....In contrast to the low Open Access publication activity a majority of those questioned throughout all disciplines approve of an increased advancement of Open Access by the German Research Foundation. Whereas those at earlier stages of their careers in the natural, life, and engineering sciences support the advancement of Open Access somewhat more strongly than their already more established colleagues....The preparedness of scientists to use part of their funding to finance the free availability of their publications is proportionate to the expenditure scientists already have to provide to publish conventionally. Therefore life scientists are most prepared to pay author fees for open access publications, while humanities scholars and social scientists are least prepared....Proposals of the researchers with regards to the question how the German Research Foundation could advance Open Access essentially aim at the following: measures to intensify the debate surrounding freely accessible publications, measures to assure the quality of Open Access journals, and the ­ technical, legal, organizational ­ support of secondary Open Access publication of material that was previously published in a conventional way.'

-- [adapted from] Peter Suber, SPARC Open Access Newsletter, August 2, 2005

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Science Commons launches the OA Law Program

On June 8, Science Commons launched the Open Access Law Program, led by Dan Hunter of the Wharton School and Mike Carroll of the Villanova Law School and the Creative Commons.

The program includes:
* OA Law Journal Principles
* A list of journals complying with the principles
* An OA Author Pledge
* A list of authors taking the pledge
* An OA Model Publishing Agreement

The program is well-designed and badly needed. When it launched, I said in OAN that every discipline should have a similar initiative. Now I can announce that Science Commons plans to provide just that. The overall project will be called Science Commons - Open Access Scholarship Project. The separate projects will be called the Open Access Philosophy Program, Open Access Mathematics Program, and so on across the disciplines. The discipline-specific projects will be uniquely able to respond to discipline-specific opportunities and obstacles to OA. If you're interested in participating in the Science Commons OA program for your field, contact Dan Hunter, .

Lawrence Lessig, Open Access Law: Launched, June 8, 2005.

Science Commons press release, June 6, 2005.

Duke University Law School issued a press release (June 22, 2005) to publicize its admirable OA initiatives, including the fact that its seven law journals were prominently featured in the OA Law Program.

-- [adapted from] Peter Suber, SPARC Open Access Newsletter, July 2, 2005

Posted by stemp003 at 10:09 AM | Comments (0)

The first impact factor for PLoS Biology

From: "Rebecca Kennison"
Subject: The first impact factor for PLoS Biology - 13.9.
Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2005 15:15:15 -0400
To: SPARC-OAForum@arl.org

The open-access journal PLoS Biology has been assessed by Thomson ISI to have an impact factor of 13.9*, which places PLoS Biology among the most highly cited journals in the life sciences. This is an outstanding statistic for a journal less than two years old, from a new publisher promoting a new business model to support open access to the scientific and medical literature.

An impact factor of 13.9 places PLoS Biology above such established journals as EMBO Journal, Current Biology, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In fact, in ISI's category of general biology journals, PLoS Biology is ranked number 1.

PLoS Biology was launched in October 2003, as an open-access home to the very best in biological research. By any measure, the impact of this launch was impressive. The on-line publication of the first issue was accompanied by strong and favorable media coverage, and subsequent issues continue to receive regular attention. Content from PLoS Biology has been read, copied, redistributed, and reused, without restriction (aside from proper citation of the authors), and now we know that the journal has also been cited time and time again.

PLoS Biology was launched to provide biologists who support open access a high profile journal for their best research papers and to demonstrate that open-access publishing works for a selective journal that only publishes outstanding science. Thanks to support from funding agencies, librarians, open-access advocates, and the scientific community - in particular, the editorial board members of PLoS Biology, the reviewers, and most of all the authors who have submitted excellent work to a fledgling journal - a substantial step has been taken toward these goals.

But there is still a long way to go before the mission of the Public Library of Science - to make the world's treasury of scientific and medical literature a public resource - is fulfilled. We hope that PLoS Biology's first impact factor will inspire even greater support for PLoS journals and for open access.

* Thompson ISI [via its Journal Citation Reports database] calculated the impact factors that it announced this year by counting all the citations in 2004 to content that appeared in 2002 and 2003 and then dividing that number by the number of articles published in 2002 and 2003. For a long-standing journal, therefore, this number reflects the mean (average) number of citations over the course of a year to articles published over the two prior years. For PLoS Biology, this number refers only to articles published in its first three issues in the fall of 2003, which is why the initial impact factor is considered preliminary.

Posted by stemp003 at 9:56 AM | Comments (4)

Open Access journals get impressive impact factors

23 June 2005

Journals published by BioMed Central get new impact factors from ISI

Impressive impact factors prove that BioMed Central's Open Access journals are high quality and widely read and cited. Journals published by BioMed Central have again received impact factors that compare well with equivalent subscription titles, it was announced today, with five titles in the top five of their specialty. The high impact factors for these journals affirm that they are respected by researchers, and are fast becoming the place for authors to submit important research findings.

Five journals published by BioMed Central received their first impact factors this year. BMC Bioinformatics, with an impact factor of 5.42, has reinforced its reputation as one of the top journals in its field. Launched in 2000, it is the second highest ranked bioinformatics journal, and already has an impact factor comparable to that of Bioinformatics (5.74), the most established journal in the field, which has been publishing for more than two decades and is supported by a major society.

BMC Genomics enters the Journal Citation Reports with a respectable 3.25. This puts it in the top third of the genetics titles, and the top 20% of biotechnology journals. BMC Molecular Biology has an impact factor of 3.12, and BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders an impact factor of 1.00, putting it in the top half of the orthopaedics listing. BMC Genetics has an impact factor of 0.92.

Critical Care's impact factor jumped from 1.9 to 3.21, and the journal is now third in the Critical Care medicine field having leap-frogged the competitor title Intensive Care Medicine, the official journal of the major European society. Breast Cancer Research also increased it's impact factor from 2.93 to 2.98 and remains the second highest ranking breast cancer journal. Arthritis Research & Therapy maintains its rank of second in the rheumatology field with an impact factor of 4.55.

A number of other journal published by BioMed Central also saw their impact factors and rankings improve. BMC Infectious Diseases jumped from 1.25 to 2.07. BMC Cell Biology, with an impact factor of 2.62, is now in the top half of the cell biology listing. The impact factor for BMC Health Services Research almost doubled, from 0.68 to 1.23. BMC Cancer went up from 1.70 to 2.29 and BMC Public Health now has an impact factor of 1.55. With an impact factor of 4.03, Respiratory Research is the fifth most cited journal in the highly competitive respirology field.

The impact factors, which are calculated by ISI, look at citations in 2004 of articles published in the journals in the period 2002-2003.

According to Dr Matthew Cockerill, Director of Operations at BioMed Central, "These latest impact factors show that BioMed Central's Open Access journals have joined the mainstream of science publishing, and can compete with traditional journals on their own terms. The impact factors also demonstrate one of the key benefits that Open Access offers authors: high visibility and, as a result, a high rate of citation."

Posted by stemp003 at 9:49 AM | Comments (0)

SPARC and University of Michigan Launch Publisher Assistance Program

May 18, 2005

Partnership Provides Business Planning and Digital Publishing Services for Open-Access Journals

Washington, DC – SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) and the University of Michigan Library’s Scholarly Publishing Office (SPO) have teamed up to launch the Publisher Assistance Program, which provides business planning and digital publishing services to facilitate open-access publishing in the social sciences and humanities. The Publisher Assistance Program, which integrates the complementary expertise of SPARC and SPO, provides a comprehensive solution for scholarly communities in search of a cost-effective way to reach potential readers.

The Publisher Assistance Program offers existing and prospective publishers a variety of benefits based on SPARC’s and SPO’s in-depth experience in the field. Integrating this experience into the Publisher Assistance Program, SPARC and SPO together provide a business planning process to ensure the sustainability of the journal under an open-access or cost-recovery model, including the transition from a print, subscription-based model to an online open-access model. The Publisher Assistance Program will also offer a package of options for journal development, production, hosting, and maintenance. These packages will include free online hosting for open-access journals and a variety of digital publishing options that SPO will offer on a cost-recovery basis.

“Many editors and publishers of journals in the social sciences and humanities are looking for a way to do well while doing good,” said SPARC Executive Director Rick Johnson. “They frequently approach both SPO and SPARC seeking guidance on how to move their publications to an online environment, and they require both business planning advice and digital publishing technical expertise in order to achieve their goals. The Publisher Assistance Program can serve these needs and send them into the marketplace with sound business options and a superior open-access journal offering.”

"Michigan believes that the synergy between SPARC's strong advocacy role and SPO's hands-on experience in open access publishing is extraordinarily powerful," added James Hilton, Interim University Librarian at the University of Michigan.

The new Publisher Assistance Program will serve nonprofit publishers of either new or existing peer-reviewed journals that wish to operate under an open-access model. SPARC and SPO have separately provided business planning services or technical assistance to dozens of print, online, and open-access journals.

For information on how to participate in the Publisher Assistance Program, please contact Raym Crow, SPARC Business Development Consultant, at raym@arl.org.

For more information, contact: Alison Buckholtz, SPARC, alison@arl.org

Posted by stemp003 at 9:34 AM | Comments (0)

Cornell Faculty Senate Endorses Resolution on Open Access and Scholarly Communication

(Ithaca, NY, May 17, 2005) The Cornell University Faculty Senate endorsed a resolution concerning scholarly publishing at its meeting on May 11, 2005.

The resolution, introduced by the University Faculty Library Board, responds to the increasingly excessive prices of some scholarly publications and encourages the open access publication of scholarship.

Sarah E. Thomas, Carl A. Kroch University Librarian, thanked the University Faculty Library Board for their energetic engagement on behalf of increasing dissemination of scholarship through open access. "Cornell faculty have been leaders in speaking out on behalf of reasonably priced scholarly journals, and their efforts have had a world-wide impact," she said.

The resolution urges tenured faculty to cease supporting publishers who engage in exorbitant pricing, by not submitting papers to, or refereeing for, the journals sold by those publishers, and by resigning from their editorial boards if more reasonable pricing policies are not forthcoming.

Examples of Cornell faculty and librarians who have already taken action include:

Eberhard Bodenschatz, professor of physics, who became the editor in chief of the New Journal of Physics, a successful open access journal. The journal is financed by author charges, is free for all readers through the world-wide web, and provides a less-expensive, high quality scholarly alternative.

W. Brutsaert, W.L. Lewis professor of civil and environmental engineering, publishes his work in society journals. He notes most commercial journals do not levy page charges and states "this is a seductive tactic for academic authors, who are invariably strapped for research funds. But it is definitely a poisoned gift. The pricing structure of many commercial journals has gotten so totally out of hand that many libraries can no longer afford to subscribe to them. As a result, authors who continue to give preference to commercial over society journals will go increasingly unread by their colleagues."

Karen Calhoun, Associate University Librarian for Technical Services, recently resigned as assistant editor for the journal Library Collections, Acquisitions and Technical Services because of publisher Elsevier's pricing policies; she also chose to seek publication of a scholarly article in a different journal.

The resolution ... is available via Cornell University Library's scholarly communication Website: http://www.library.cornell.edu/scholarlycomm/resolution.html

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