April 27, 2012

Harvard Faculty Advisory Council issues letter warning that costly subscriptions 'cannot be sustained'

On April 17, Harvard's Faculty Advisory Council issued a Memorandum on Journal Pricing to faculty members in all schools, faculties, and units. It warns of an "untenable situation facing the Harvard Library," citing a publishing environment where:

  • "Some journals cost as much as $40,000 per year, others in the tens of thousands"
  • "Prices for online content from two providers have increased by about 145% over the past six years, which far exceeds not only the consumer price index, but also the higher education and the library price indices"
  • The same publishers enjoy "profit margins of 35% and more"

The faculty council concludes that continuing to subscribe to journals under current pricing models "would seriously erode collection efforts in many other areas, already compromised." It offers these recommendations to Harvard faculty colleagues:

  1. Make sure that all of your own papers are accessible by submitting them to DASH in accordance with the faculty-initiated open-access policies.
  2. Consider submitting articles to open-access journals, or to ones that have reasonable, sustainable subscription costs; move prestige to open access.
  3. If on the editorial board of a journal involved, determine if it can be published as open access material, or independently from publishers that practice pricing described above. If not, consider resigning.
  4. Contact professional organizations to raise these issues.
  5. Encourage professional associations to take control of scholarly literature in their field or shift the management of their e-journals to library-friendly organizations.
  6. Encourage colleagues to consider and to discuss these or other options.
The letter has been covered by the Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Education, and the Atlantic.
Posted by stemp003 at 11:50 AM | Comments (0)

April 17, 2012

U-MN letter in support of Federal Research Public Access Act

April 16, 2012

To: Minnesota Legislators

The Federal Research Public Access Act of 2012 (S. 2096/H.R. 4004) was introduced to the House and the Senate on February 9, 2012 with robust bipartisan sponsorship. FRPAA would require that any federal agencies with annual extramural research budgets greater than $100 million provide public access to the published results of funded research within six months after publication. The University of Minnesota Senate Library Committee and Senate Research Committee members write in support of FRPAA; we believe increasing access to research stimulates progress and innovation within the academic enterprise, in industry, and in broader social contexts.

Research and scholarship thrive in environments of open sharing and collaboration, and peer review and critique. Tightly-restricted access to publications that result from federally sponsored research introduces barriers for researchers, industry innovators, and interested members of the public. When such research publications are openly available:

  • Researchers in the United States and around the world are able to more effectively and efficiently learn from, review, and collaborate with one another.

  • Published research reaches a wider audience:

    • Authors often find increased citations to their works, as well as interest from unexpected quarters.

    • Research errors or controversies can be more quickly detected and addressed.

    • Industry researchers, entrepreneurs, and innovators are better able to keep abreast of relevant research advances.

    • Funding agencies can read published results, enabling better review of the quality and productivity of funded research.

    • Members of the public have access to cutting-edge information relevant to their lives.

  • Intellectual property interests of authors, funders, research institutions, and industry research partners are largely unaffected by open access.

    • Copyrights can still be transferred to publishers, retained by authors, or shared among multiple parties via traditional contracts and licenses.

    • Copyright holders retain most of their rights even over publicly accessible works, although they may choose to make the works more broadly usable under the terms of existing open licensing schemes.

    • Entrepreneurs may be more able to learn of innovative research, but existing requirements for licensing of patents and other intellectual property rights will not change.
A recent competing bill, the Research Works Act (RWA), would have rolled back the existing successful NIH public access programs, as well as preventing the passage of FRPAA. In removing their support for RWA, its sponsors acknowledged that open access "appears to be the wave of the future." FRPAA provides a clear path towards that future of open access for federally sponsored research. While opinions vary on the optimal embargo period across all types of publications and publishers, the current NIH policy that provides public access to the published results of funded research within 12 months after publication appears to be working well. That said, a shorter embargo term could provide enhanced public access, and for many publications and publishers, will have little impact on finances.

On behalf of our two committees, representing 51 faculty, staff, students, we urge your support for FRPAA to facilitate the advancement of research and public access to the results of federally supported research.


Neil Olszewski, Chair Senate Library Committee
Linda Bearinger, Chair Senate Research Committee
Questions can be directed to Wendy Pradt Lougee, University Librarian & McKnight Presidential Professor:
wlougee@umn.edu or 612-624-1807.

Posted by stemp003 at 3:16 PM | Comments (0)

April 16, 2012

Mathematicians take a stand

Douglas Arnold, McKnight Presidential Professor of Mathematics at the University of Minnesota, and Henry Cohn, Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research New England and Adjunct Professor of Mathematics at MIT, have co-authored an article entitled "Mathematicians Take a Stand." It discusses the philosophy behind the Elsevier boycott. It is now available on arXiv and will appear
in the June issue of Notices of the American Mathematical Society, alongside an article by David Clark and Laura Hassink of Elsevier.

Posted by stemp003 at 10:05 AM | Comments (0)

April 6, 2012

April 30 event: Open Research and Learning: Collaboration, Connections & Communities

The University of Minnesota Libraries and the Department of Anthropology present

Open Research and Learning:
Collaboration, Connections & Communities

Monday, April 30, 2012 • 2:00-4:00 p.m.
Cowles Auditorium, Humphrey School of Public Affairs
Light refreshments will be served.

The "open" movement provides fertile ground for innovation and collaborations that advance research and enrich the learning environment. Through open-source tools and initiatives, students and faculty are reaping the benefits of free-flowing knowledge and data.

The presentations include:

  • Dr. Jason Baird Jackson, folklore professor from Indiana University, will give the introductory talk on "Open Access 2.0", which includes virtual research spaces and the "collaborator practices" of the human social connections that allow a distributed human community to link together and work together in the digital humanities and beyond.
  • David J. Ernst, Director of Academic Technology, College of Education and Human Development, will talk about the open textbooks project at the U of M.
  • Dr. Lucy Fortson, Associate Professor, School of Physics and Astronomy, will talk about open data/Galaxy Zoo, citizen science.
  • Doug Armato, Director, University of Minnesota Press, will talk about open publishing initiatives at the University of Minnesota Press.

The panel moderated by copyright librarian Nancy Sims. Among the questions they will address are:

  • What social dynamics or institutional cultural shifts lead to successful open research partnerships?
  • In what ways are open textbooks a potential solution to the issues facing the traditional textbook publishing model?
  • What predictions can you make about monographic publishing practices?
  • What issues surround the concept of open data?

Attendees may ask questions and contribute to the discussion with their fellow colleagues. All perspectives and experiences are welcome.

This event has been designated by the Office of the Vice President for Research to satisfy the Awareness/Discussion component of the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) continuing education requirement.

Reserve your seat now!
(registration requested by Friday, April 27)

Posted by stemp003 at 10:35 AM | Comments (2)