Library Journal Academic Newswire for July 24, 2008 reports:
[S]ubmissions to PMC began steadily rising in December 2007, soon after it became clear a mandatory policy would be adopted in 2008. By the first month following passage of the new policy, January 2008, monthly submissions to PMC hit an all-time high of 1255, and have continued to increase significantly every month so far this year. In April 2008, when the policy officially took effect, submissions spiked even more sharply, rising from 1852 total submissions in March, to 2,765 in April and 2,593 in May. The April/May 2008 figures represent well over double the number of submissions for the same months in 2007 (1,198 PMC submissions in April ’07; 948 in May ’07). Although official figures for June have not yet been posted, the NIH’s Dr. David Lipman told the LJ Academic Newswire the submission totals were higher than May.
The NIH statistics are available here. The graph makes a compelling visual.
Open Students, a site devoted to issues of interest to emerging scholars, premiered earlier this year. It is produced by SPARC, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, and led by Gavin Baker, a 2007 graduate of the University of Florida. The site discusses fair use of academic works in dissertations, the cost of subscription and pay per view access to scholarly literature, the potential of open access and self-archiving, and what students can do to improve the scholarly publishing system.
Open Students welcomes submissions from guest bloggers.
At the end of May, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released "Core Principles for Communication of the Results of Scientific Research Conducted by Scientists Employed by Federal Civilian Agencies" [PDF]. The guidelines state, in part:
Research data produced by scientists working within Federal agencies should, to the maximum extent possible and consistent with existing Federal law, regulations, and Presidential directives and orders, be made publicly available consistent with established practices in the relevant fields of research.
1. Agencies should develop, and update as necessary, clear guidelines regarding processes for sharing research data and results generated by Federal scientists. These guidelines should be consistent with the Information Quality Act guidelines.
2. In developing the guidelines, agencies should endeavor to establish clear policies regarding preservation and storage of and access to publicly available data.
3. Agencies should work to ensure awareness of and compliance with these guidelines, and ensure that responses to requests for publicly releasable information are made promptly, accurately, and completely....
Peter Suber, in his June 27, 2008 Open Access News blog, offers many observations. Key excerpts:
Note two aspects of this subset:
1. The guidelines only apply to research by agency employees, not research by grantees. The distinction matters because under US law (17 USC 105), research by government employees is uncopyrightable.
2. The guidelines only apply to data, not texts. This distinction also matters because (most) data elements are uncopyrightable facts.
The guidelines apply to research funded by 15 named federal agencies: NASA, NSF, NIH, EPA, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, Education, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Transportation, and Veterans Affairs. OSTP is asking all 15 agencies to develop policies in accordance with the guidelines and submit a progress report by July 31, 2008.
OSTP is calling for an open data mandate, but may or may not succeed in getting one. The statute requires OSTP to write the guidelines but it doesn't require the agencies to comply. It does ask the OSTP to "ensure" that the agencies adopt policies in conformity with its principles, but it's unclear what power OSTP has to do that. On the other hand, the agencies may comply voluntarily. Not only will they face little or no counter-lobbying from publishers, but the OSTP developed the guidelines in the first place "in consultation with...the heads of all Federal civilian agencies that conduct scientific research" (COMPETES Act, Section 1009).
From the June 26, 2008 Chronicle of Higher Education ("Colleges Should Change Policies to Encourage Scholarship Devoted to the Public Good, Report Says," by Audrey Williams June):
A national consortium of more than 80 colleges and universities is urging higher education to revamp its tenure and promotion policies so that what it calls public scholarship is recognized and rewarded.
In a new report, the group, Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life, details the obstacles that exist for faculty members in the arts, humanities, and design whose scholarly or creative work is done with, for, or about the public, and contributes to the public good. The report [pdf], "Scholarship in Public: Knowledge Creation and Tenure Policy in the Engaged University," also offers strategies that colleges can use to create attractive environments for such work to be done and reviewed.
"The bottom line is excellent scholarship is just that—excellent scholarship," said Timothy K. Eatman, assistant professor of higher education at Syracuse University and a co-author of the report, which was produced by the consortium's tenure team. "What we want to do is make sure there are ways for public scholarship to be evaluated so we can discern what is excellent and what isn't."
Imagining America will continue the dialogue on the value of public scholarship at its national conference at the University of Southern California in October and at regional conferences held this year and next. However, the report's authors say that people can use the report to begin the discussion about reshaping tenure and promotion policies now.
The University of Minnesota was represented on the group by Gail Dubrow, Dean of the Graduate School and Vice Provost.
President Bruininks is also mentioned in the report:
Robert Bruininks, former provost and current president of the University of Minnesota, made public engagement his issue, starting a reexamination of the university’s public mission and the implications of this mission for scholarship and creative practice. This civic thrust, sustained by the Council on Public Engagement and the Vice President for Engagement, is now in its seventh year.
From Peter Suber's SPARC Open Access Newsletter, issue #123, July 2, 2008:
The Stanford School of Education adopted an OA mandate, by a unanimous faculty vote. The Stanford policy is modeled closely on the two OA mandates at Harvard.