For Immediate Release
November 22, 2005
Contact: Jennifer Heffelfinger
TAXPAYER ADVOCACY GROUP LAUDS CALL BY NIH ADVISORY PANEL
FOR MANDATORY PUBLIC ACCESS TO RESEARCH
Majority of NIH Public Access Working Group members also support
free availability of NIH-funded research papers within six months of publication
Washington, DC – The Alliance for Taxpayer Access, a national coalition of over 60 library, non-profit, and patient advocacy groups, today 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 a 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 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 by early 2006.
The Public Access Working Group, which reports to the Board of Regents of NIH’s National Library of Medicine, includes 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).
Heather Joseph, executive director of SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), says “We are pleased that the Public Access Working Group has pointed the way for NIH to achieve its goals of archiving NIH research, advancing science, and providing taxpayers with access to research.” SPARC is a founding member and administrator of the Alliance for Taxpayer Access.
o A news report on the November 15 NIH Public Access Working Group meeting, “NIH Public Access Policy Should be Mandatory, Advisors Recommend,” appeared in Health News Daily (November 17, 2005).
o A list of the Public Access Group Working members is at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/od/bor/workgroup_roster.html.
The Alliance for Taxpayer Access is a coalition of stakeholders who support reforms that will make publicly funded research accessible to the public. Formed in 2004, the Alliance played a leading role in the drive for free access on the Internet to peer-reviewed articles funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. It is administered on behalf of Alliance members by SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition). Information on the Alliance may be found at www.taxpayeraccess.org. Alliance members include:
AIDS Action Baltimore
AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition
American Association of Law Libraries
American Library Association
American Medical Student Association
Amherst College Library
Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum
Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries
Association of College & Research Libraries
Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs
Association of Research Libraries
Autosomal Recessive Polycystic Kidney Disease and Congenital Hepatic Fibrosis Alliance (ARPKD/CHF Alliance)
Barth Syndrome Foundation
Boston College Libraries
Boston Library Consortium
Bowdoin College Library
Carnegie Mellon University Libraries
Chemists Without Borders
Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation
CUNY – City College Libraries
Coalition for Heritable Disorders of Connective Tissue
Colorado State University
Conquer Fragile X Syndrome
Denison University – William H. Doane Library
Down Syndrome Treatment and Research Foundation
Eastern Kentucky University Libraries
Emory University Libraries
Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE)
Global Neuroscience Inititative Foundation
Greater Western Library Alliance
International Mosaic Down Syndrome Association (IMDSA)
International Journal of Medical Sciences
IsoDicentric 15 Exchange, Advocacy and Support (IDEAS)
Kent State University Libraries
Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering & Technology
Loyola Univesity Chicago Libraries
Medical Education Online
Mycosis Fungoides Foundation
National Alliance for Autism Research
National Coalition for PKU & Allied Disorders
National Fragile X Foundation
National Tay-Sachs & Allied Diseases Association
New England Biolabs
Ohio Library and Information Network
Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy
Prader-Willi Syndrome Association
Public Library of Science
Pseudoxanthoma Elasticum (PXE) International
Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC)
Special Libraries Association
Spina Bifida Association of America
Tourette Syndrome Association
Tufts University Libraries
University of Colorado at Boulder Libraries
University of Connecticut Libraries
University of Kansas
University of New Hampshire
University of Wisconsin – Madison Libraries
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh – Forrest R. Polk Library
Utah Academic Library Consortium
Wayne State University College of Nursing
Williams College Libraries
(202) 296-2296 x121
Fax: (202) 872-0884
... Concerning Increasingly Expensive Journals
by Theodore Bergstrom and R. Preston McAfee, two California economists.
12th October 2005
[The full report from the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers is available at http://www.alpsp.org/publications/pub11.htm; below is the introduction from Chief Executive Sally Morris]
Discussion of Open Access tends to be strong on rhetoric but short on facts. When ALPSP originally conceived of this study, it was our aim to try to correct this balance by analyzing the effects, both financial and non-financial, of adopting an Open Access publication model. The more we looked into it, the more substantial the undertaking became; we were therefore delighted when both HighWire Press and the American Association for the Advancement of Science agreed to co-sponsor the study, and we later welcomed the opportunity to include data from the members of the Association of American Medical Colleges.
There are now a significant number of journals being published under various variants of the Open Access publishing model, both by new players and by traditional publishers, and the study covered a good proportion of these; the extent to which traditional publishers are experimenting is particularly noteworthy. Our original intentions have thus been amply fulfilled; we now have, for the first time, a substantial body of data about different forms of Open Access publishing, and a baseline of comparison with traditional subscription publishing.
Some of the findings confirmed what we thought we knew. For example, we were aware that by and large, Open Access journals were younger than subscription journals - though we had not realized how long-established some of them actually were. And, by virtue of their youth, it is to be expected that they have not yet achieved the same level of impact as more established journals. The study clarifies, however, just how much less is published in the average Open Access journal, and how much lower the rejection rate is. We were able to dispel the notion that Open Access journals do not carry out peer review or copy-editing; however, many more of them only conduct peer review in-house, which is not what would generally be understood as classical peer review, and fewer of them do any copy-editing for style and grammar.
On the financial side, we were very surprised to find just how few of the Open Access journals raise any author-side charges at all; in fact, author charges are considerably more common (in the form of page charges, colour charges, reprint charges, etc) among subscription journals. Open Access journals seem in general to be far more dependent on other sources of income, such as advertising and, particularly, sponsorship - whether in kind (e.g. provision by their institution of equipment, computing resources, accommodation, and staff time) or financial (e.g. from industry or from foundations). Over 40% of the Open Access journals are not yet covering their costs and, unlike subscription journals, there is no reason why the passage of time - evidenced in increasing submissions, quality or impact - should actually change that; their financial future therefore seems somewhat uncertain. Indeed, a surprising number of the Open Access publishers made comments which suggested that financial sustainability was not high on their list of priorities.
Is Open Access publishing a financially viable model? It is impossible to draw any firm conclusions, of course. However, from the evidence we have collected this seems by no means certain. What does appear clear, however, is that there is a general recognition that we all need to find a better model (or models) to provide wide and speedy access to research findings in the interests of science, and that a considerable amount of experimentation with various alternative models is taking place.
We hope that this report will aid further discussion of alternative publishing models by adding to the body of evidence-based research; of course, there may be alternative interpretations of the data and both the sponsors and the researchers would be happy to discuss these. We believe that it will be important to repeat the study every few years to identify any trends, as well as identifying new developments and their effects.
Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers
Date: Thu, 03 Nov 2005 15:09:42 -0500
From: Ray English
Subject: Bioline letter to Lord Sainsbury
To: ACRL Scholarly Communication T.F.
Lord Sainsbury of Turville
House of Lords
October 30th, 2005
Dear Lord Sainsbury,
I have read the comments you made in the ‘UNCORRECTED TRANSCRIPT OF ORAL EVIDENCE to be published as HC 490-I, House of Commons, before the Science and Technology Committee’ , October 19th, 2005, and wish to make a few points relating to Open Access Archiving (Institutional Repositories).
You will know that the ground-breaking proposals of the Budapest Open Access Initiative proposed two routes towards achieving universal access to the world’s publicly funded research findings: open access publishing and open access archiving. I note that the BioMedCentral team have responded with corrections regarding the progress and quality of OA publishing, based on evidence that shows daily increases in the number of OA journals now operating. With these statements I concur, since the Directory of Open Access Journals (see below) provides ample evidence of progress in this direction.
Regarding Open Access Archiving, I think you may not be fully informed that this relates to the archiving in interoperable archives of already published papers (as well as other institutional material of value to the international scientific community such as pre-prints, theses, teaching material etc). Some 93% of publishers questioned have agreed to OA archiving of their published material (see the ROMEO database, below), with varying degrees of time-embargoes. Their decision is clearly based on the evidence from the physics discipline where the major physics journals have existed in partnership with the arXive archive for over 10 years and have reported no decline in subscriptions, and in one case are assisting in the mirroring of the archive. Recently, as you will be aware, the RCUK group have unanimously proposed OA archiving, as have the Wellcome Trust, the House of Commons S&T Committee and a growing number of independent universities and countries. The list below shows some of the major statements already publicised and you will see that there is a truly international concensus on the value of this development.
Publishers (both commercial and non-profit) are arguing that their profitability will be impaired if OA Archiving continues, but their worries are not based on evidence (which shows the contrary) but on speculation. I am of the generation that can well recall the doom-laden predictions for the music industry when discos began playing recorded music (the music industry has flourished and benefited), when email began (the postal services still operate successfully), or when television first began to develop (theatres and the film industry continue unabated), so it seems that the S&T publishing industry will continue to play a valuable role as in the past, and the more enlightened will adapt and flourish in partnership with the academic community.
If the RCUK proposals are adopted this will put the UK at the forefront of international communication, using the unprecedented power of the Internet to share research findings as widely as possible. I must declare an interest in the success of these proposals since I work with colleagues around the world to support access to and inclusion in the open access movement for the benefit of all scientists from developing countries who have greatly restricted access to essential research information. The development of OA archives provides an unprecedented opportunity to support research globally (which in turn leads to the steady alleviation of poverty and the growing independence of poorer countries). This becomes increasingly urgent in view of the current problems that have a global dimension AIDS, avian influenza, climate change, environmental disasters where local knowledge and its progress are important for all humanity. All that matters is that research findings are shared as widely as possible, making the greatest impact on scientific progress. The development of open access institutional archives is a low cost, practical tool to bring this about, in parallel with open access journals. The RCUK proposals are indeed enlightened and I and colleagues around the world much hope that they will be agreed and implemented, putting British research in a highly visible and influential position in international research and supporting research in less advantaged regions.
Cc Philip Willis, Chair House of Commons S&T Committee
Open Access Policy statements
Budapest Open Archives Initiative (Soros Foundation), two recommended strategies to achieve open access to scholarly journal literature, February 14th 2002:
Wellcome Trust Statement in support of Open Access: Published in October 2003: http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/doc_WTD002766.html, operating from October 2005
Berlin Declaration on the Open Access to knowledge in science and the humanities: October 2003, a Declaration signed by over 50 major institutions, universities, funding organisations and other interested bodies committed to open access to scholarly publications. February 2005:
CERN confirms its commitment to Open Access, March 2005:
WSIS Declaration of Principles:
The Case for Institutional Repositories: A SPARC Position Paper, July 2002 - prepared by Raym Crow:
Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing: the outcome of a meeting of research organisations to agree on steps to be taken to support the transition to open access publishing:
Scotland declaration in support of Open Access: 20 institutions in Scotland have already signed the October 2004 Declaration:
Finland has made a nation-wide commitment to Open Access by partnership with BioMedCentral:
Public Library of Science, Statement signed by just under 30,000 individuals from 175 countries who support the concept of open access:
U K Government Science & Technology Committee recommendations on science publishing:
Salvador Declaration on Open Access
University of Southampton to make all its academic and scientific research output freely available
Universities of Netherlands set up repositories
Cornell University endorses and adopts resolution on Open Access
Case Western University draft resolution on open access
University of Namibia sets up Institutional Archive and defines Open Access policy:
Bioline International eprints server: makes available all papers on an OA basis from over 40 journals published in developing countries
Registries of OA developments
OpenDOAR: University of Nottingham, UK and University of Lund, Sweden: A service to list Open Access research archives. Such repositories have mushroomed over the last 2 years in response to calls by scholars and researchers worldwide to provide open access to research information.
Register of Open Access Archives: shows numbers and kinds of records in nearly 500 registered archives http://archives.eprints.org/
Directory of Open Access Journals: lists 1718 OA journals; 76,565 articles.
Publisher Copyright Policies and Self-Archiving