July 30, 2010

Open Folklore project announced

Indiana University Professor Jason Baird Jackson, who spoke here at our May forum on Scholarly Publishing and Scholarly Values, passed along this announcement from his professional society and his university's library:


An excerpt:

The American Folklore Society (AFS) and the Indiana University Bloomington Libraries are creating a prototype of a new scholarly resource called Open Folklore. The vision for this open-access online portal for folklore studies is to make a greater number and variety of useful resources, both published and unpublished, available for the field of folklore studies and the communities with which folklore scholars partner. In its full form, we intend for Open Folklore to be a multi-faceted project that combines digitization and digital preservation of data, publications, educational materials, and scholarship in folklore; promotes open access to these materials; and provides an online search tool to enhance discoverability of relevant, reliable resources for folklore studies. In its initial phase, the partners will construct a prototype to gather feedback from the folklore community to shape its future growth and development.


Open Folklore is intended to build on the new developments in digital circulation of folklore materials to respond to these troubling access and preservation problems. While the final shape of this project is still in development, our general plans are as follows:

* We plan to work with rights holders to make books and journals that have already been digitized fully and openly available online. For example, during the preliminary phase of the Open Folklore project, the Jewish Folklore and Ethnology Review, published from 1977-2000 by the AFS Jewish Folklore and Ethnology Section, and the Folklore Historian, published by the AFS History and Folklore Section, have already been made available for full and open use in the HathiTrust Digital Library.
* We plan to support the publication of new and existing journals in folklore with an open access publishing platform. For example, Museum Anthropology Review and New Directions in Folklore, two folklore studies titles already published in partnership with the IU Bloomington Libraries, will be included in Open Folklore.
* We plan to digitize educational material and gray literature in folklore, and to provide digital preservation for other "born digital" resources and publications. For example, the IU Bloomington Libraries have already digitized and made freely available all of the white papers and other public policy documents created by the Fund for Folk Culture.
* We plan to select and digitally archive websites of public and academic folklore programs (with their permission). This effort will guarantee access to historic Internet documents of scholarly and disciplinary relevance for the future. We have tested this idea using the AFS web site (www.afsnet.org).
* We plan to provide an online tool that will offer full-text searching of all of the above classes of material while filtering out unreliable sources.

We congratulate Professor Jackson and his colleagues on this exciting news!

Posted by stemp003 at 11:30 AM | Comments (0)

July 23, 2010

House committee to hold hearing on public access to publicly funded research

Excerpted from the July 20, 2010 press release from the Alliance for Taxpayer Access:

The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Information Policy, the Census and National Archives announced it will hold a hearing on the issue of public access to federally funded research on Thursday, July 29. The hearing will provide an opportunity for the Committee to hear the perspectives of a broad range of stakeholders on the potential impact of opening up access to the results of the United States' more than $60 billion annual investment in scientific research.


Additionally, H.R. 5037, the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA), which was introduced into the House on April 15 by Rep. Mike Doyle (R-PA) and is supported by a growing bi-partisan host of cosponsors, was referred to the Committee. The bill, and its identical Senate counterpart (introduced by Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and John Cornyn (R-TX)), proposes to require those eleven federal agencies with extramural research budgets of $100 million or more to implement policies that deliver timely, free, online public access to the published results of the research they fund.

According to the notice:

"The hearing will examine the state of public access to federally-funded research in science, technology, and medicine. The hearing will assess and delineate the complex issues surrounding public access policies. The hearing will afford an opportunity for representatives from the areas of publishing, science and research, education and patient care to provide perspective on challenges, potential impact and opportunities regarding increased access."

Posted by stemp003 at 2:15 PM | Comments (0)

July 16, 2010

Scientists for open data named SPARC Innovators

Excerpted from SPARC's June 22, 2010 press release:

[F]our leaders [...] have put forth a groundbreaking set of recommendations for scientists to more easily share their data - The Panton Principles - and [...] have been named the latest SPARC Innovators for their work.

The authors of The Panton Principles are:

• Peter Murray-Rust, chemist at the University of Cambridge;
• Cameron Neylon, biochemist at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Didcot, England;
• Rufus Pollock, co-founder of the Open Knowledge Foundation and Mead Fellow in Economics, Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge;
• John Wilbanks, vice president for Science, Creative Commons, San Francisco.

The authors advocate making data freely available on the Internet for anyone to download, copy, analyze, reprocess, pass to software or use for any purpose without financial, legal or technical barriers. Through the Principles, the group aimed to develop clear language that explicitly defines how a scientist's rights to his own data could be structured so others can freely reuse or build on it. The goal was to craft language simple enough that a scientist could easily follow it, and then focus on doing science rather than law.

The Panton Principles were publicly launched in February of 2010, with a Web site at www.pantonprinciples.org to spread the word and an invitation to endorse. About 100 individuals and organizations have endorsed the Principles so far.


According to Pollock, "It's commonplace that we advance by building on the work of colleagues and predecessors - standing on the shoulders of giants. In a digital age, to build on the work of others we need something very concrete: access to the data of others and the freedom to use and reuse it. That's what the Panton Principles are about."

Posted by stemp003 at 3:30 PM | Comments (0)

July 9, 2010

PLoS study examines effect of open access on availability of the scientific literature

An article published last month in PLoS ONE assesses "the overall share of the peer reviewed article literature, which is available as OA, either published directly or made available as copies in different sorts of repositories." From the abstract:

Methodology/Principal Findings

The proportion of peer reviewed scholarly journal articles, which are available openly in full text on the web, was studied using a random sample of 1837 titles and a web search engine. Of articles published in 2008, 8,5% were freely available at the publishers' sites. For an additional 11,9% free manuscript versions could be found using search engines, making the overall OA percentage 20,4%. Chemistry (13%) had the lowest overall share of OA, Earth Sciences (33%) the highest. In medicine, biochemistry and chemistry publishing in OA journals was more common. In all other fields author-posted manuscript copies dominated the picture.


The results show that OA already has a significant positive impact on the availability of the scientific journal literature and that there are big differences between scientific disciplines in the uptake. Due to the lack of awareness of OA-publishing among scientists in most fields outside physics, the results should be of general interest to all scholars. The results should also interest academic publishers, who need to take into account OA in their business strategies and copyright policies, as well as research funders, who like the NIH are starting to require OA availability of results from research projects they fund. The method and search tools developed also offer a good basis for more in-depth studies as well as longitudinal studies.

The full article is available online:

Björk B-C, Welling P, Laakso M, Majlender P, Hedlund T, et al. (2010) Open Access to the Scientific Journal Literature: Situation 2009. PLoS ONE 5(6): e11273. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0011273

Posted by stemp003 at 3:30 PM | Comments (0)

July 2, 2010

University of California balks at 400% price increase from Nature

The chair of the University of California - San Francisco's Committee on Library and Scholarly Communication, and two UC librarians, sent a letter to UC faculty in early June. It opens:

UC Libraries are confronting an impending crisis in providing access to journals from the Nature Publishing Group (NPG). NPG has insisted on increasing the price of our license for Nature and its affiliated journals by 400 percent beginning in 2011, which would raise our cost for their 67 journals by well over $1 million dollars per year.

While Nature and other NPG publications are among the most prestigious of academic journals, such a price increase is of unprecedented magnitude. NPG has made their ultimatum with full knowledge that our libraries are under economic distress--a fact widely publicized in an Open Letter to Licensed Content Providers and distributed by the California Digital Library (CDL) in May 2009. In fact, CDL has worked successfully with many other publishers and content providers over the past year to address the University's current economic challenges in a spirit of mutual problem solving, with positive results including lowering our overall costs for electronic journals by $1 million dollars per year.

NPG by contrast has been singularly unresponsive to the plight of libraries and has employed a 'divide and conquer' strategy that directs major price increases to various institutions in different years. Their proposed new license fee is especially difficult to accept in a time of shrinking UC library budgets and with the many sacrifices we all continue to make Systemwide. Capitulating to NPG now would wipe out all of the recent cost-saving measures taken by CDL and our campus libraries to reduce expenditures for electronic journals.

The Chronicle of Higher Education reported on the story on June 8. Nature defended itself in the Chronicle the following day, claiming that California Digital Library was "paying an unfair rate" and violating confidentiality by negotiating in public.

The following day, CDL rebutted each point raised by Nature, noting that "[o]ur Faculty library committees have explicitly requested that they be consulted on major negotiations and journal cancellations" and also using historical data to counter Nature's claims that its pricing is fair:

[A]n increase of 7% per year translates to an increase of 40% over five years. Few, if any, library budgets have gone up at even a fraction of that amount over a comparable period (the materials budget of the UC Libraries increased by 7.46% between 2005 and 2009 and is now slated to decrease during the next few years). In other words, 7% increases compounded annually are budget busting (also note that 7% is more than three times the average US rate of inflation for the past few years). [...] Between 2005 and 2009, NPG increased their licensing fees to the University by 137% (granted this included some new titles, but truthfully not enough to warrant such a dramatic price increase). Even when our license was placed on a new and, we believed, more stable footing in 2008, our fees still increased by 5%. But now, NPG claims that their proposed 400% increase is to make up for "an unsustainable discount" that they have provided UC all along. We find this to be an implausible explanation given the remarkably large sums of money others and we already pay to NPG every year. The notion that other institutions are subsidizing "our discount" is nonsensical. If anything, other institutions are simply paying too much."

No updates have been issued since June 10.

P.S. -- The comments on the UC/Nature negotiations by our Faculty Forum speaker, Professor Jason Baird Jackson of Indiana University, are available here.

Posted by stemp003 at 4:31 PM | Comments (0)