Welcome to the SPARC Open Access Newsletter, issue #109
May 2, 2007
by Peter Suber

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Trends favoring open access

This article began with a simple attempt to identify trends that were changing scholarly communication.  I expected to find trends that were supporting the progress of OA and trends that were opposing it or slowing it down.  The resulting welter of conflicting trends might not give comfort to proponents or opponents of OA, or to anyone trying to make predictions, but at least it would describe this period of dynamic flux.  It might even explain why OA wasn't moving faster or slower than it was.

But with few exceptions I only found trends that favored OA.  Maybe I have a blind spot or ten.  I'll leave that for you to decide.  I'm certainly conscious of many obstacles and objections to OA, and address them every day.  The question is which of them represent trends that are gaining ground.

While it's clear that OA is here to stay, it's just as clear that long-term success is a long-term project.  The campaign consists of innumerable individual proposals, policies, projects, and people.  If you're reading this, you're probably caught up in it, just as I am.  If you're caught up in it, you're probably anxious about how individual initiatives or institutional deliberations will turn out.  That's good; anxiety fuels effort.  But for a moment, stop making and answering arguments and look at the trends that will help or hurt us, and would continue to help or hurt us even if everyone stopped arguing.  For a moment step back from the foreground skirmishes and look at the larger background trends that are likely to continue and likely to change the landscape of scholarly communication. 

I've found so many that I've had to be brief in describing them and limit the list to those that most affect OA.

* First there are the many trends created by OA proponents themselves:  the growing number of OA repositories, OA journals, OA policies at funding agencies, and OA policies at universities.  Whether these were inspired by those that came before them, or focused primarily on local obstacles and opportunities, they create worldwide synergy and inspire kindred projects elsewhere.  The growing mass is becoming critical.  The growing volume of OA is a cause, and not just an effect, of progress.  The more OA literature we have, the more it educates new scholars about OA, demonstrates the benefits of OA, and stimulates others to demand OA or provide it.  The reason is simply that OA literature is the best advertisement for OA literature. 

* Although knowledge of OA among working researchers is still dismally low, every new survey shows it increasing, and every new survey shows increasing rates of deposits in OA repositories and submissions to OA journals.  The absolute numbers may still be low, but the trajectories are clearly up.

* More scholars are posting their articles online even if they don't have their publisher's permission.  As long ago as October 2005, Alma Swan found that seven out of eight articles published in the inaugural issue of Nature Physics, which had a six month embargo on self-archiving, were free online somewhere on the day of publication.  Regardless of what this shows about copyright, it shows a healthy desire for OA.  We don't know whether the volume of OA produced this way is large or small, but already (according to the April 2007 RIN study) readers routinely try Google and email requests to the author before interlibrary loan when they hit a pay-per-view screen at a journal web site.  This number will continue to grow.

* Subscription prices are still rising faster than inflation after more than three decades.  A March 2006 study by the ALPSP found that high journal prices cause many more cancellations than OA archiving.  Rapidly rising prices undermine the sustainability of the subscription model.  They undermine publisher arguments that we shouldn't fix what isn't broken.  They undermine the credibility of publishers who argue that OA threatens peer review by threatening their subscriptions and yet who adopt pricing models that aggravate market dysfunction, race toward unsustainability, and invite cancellation.  They strengthen the incentives for libraries, universities, funders, and governments to join the campaign for OA. 

* The cost of facilitating peer review is coming down as journal management software (especially, open-source software) improves.  This reduces the cost of publishing a peer-reviewed journal, improves the financial stability of peer-reviewed OA journals, and multiplies the number of business models that can support them.

* More publishers are launching hybrid OA experiments (publishing some OA articles, at the authors' choice, in exchange for a publication fee).  I've been critical of many of these programs, in part for high prices and needless restrictions that reduce author uptake.  But even with low uptake they will (slowly) increase the volume of OA literature, (slowly) spread the OA meme to more authors and readers, and (slowly) bring publishers first-hand information about the economics of one kind of OA publishing.

* More journals are willing to let authors retain key rights (especially the right of postprint archiving) and more are willing to negotiate the terms of their standard copyright transfer agreement.  More authors are willing to ask to retain key rights and more institutions are willing to help them.  Neither trend has gone far enough, but the slope of each curve is up rather than down.

* More and more toll-access (TA) journals are dropping their print editions and becoming online-only.  Steven Hall of Wiley-Blackwell predicts that 50% of scholarly journals will become online-only within the next 10 years.  As high-quality, high-prestige journals make this transition, scholars who still associate quality and prestige with print will (happily or unhappily) start to unlearn the association.  At the same time, the rise of high-quality, high-prestige OA journals will confirm the new recognition that quality and medium are independent variables.  TA publishers are joining OA advocates in creating an academic culture in which online publications can earn full credit for promotion and tenure.  Online publications needn't be OA, of course, but changing the culture to accept the first is more than half the battle for changing the culture to accept the second.

* More journals (OA and TA) are requiring OA to the data underlying published articles.  Major publisher associations like ALPSP and STM --which lobby against national OA policies for literature-- recommend OA for data.   

* More journals (OA and TA) are integrating text and data:  links between text and data files; tools to go beyond viewing to querying data; dynamic charts and tables to support user-driven what-if analyses; multimedia displays.  Some types of integration can be done in-house at the journal and kept behind a price wall.  But other types, especially those added retroactively by third parties, require OA for both the text and data.  OA invites motivated developers to use their cleverness and creativity, and the existence of motivated developers invites authors and publishers to make their work OA.

* Big publishers are still getting bigger:  merging, acquiring smaller publishers, and acquiring journals.  Market consolidation is growing, monopoly power is growing, and bargaining power by subscribers is declining.  This interests government anti-trust officials (who in the UK, for example, would already have acted if the OA movement hadn't give them a reason to watch and wait).  It gives the usual players --universities, libraries, funders, and governments-- incentives to work for OA.  And it gives smaller, non-profit publishers, excluded from big deals and competing for subscription funds against the market titans, reasons to consider OA less threatening than the large commercial publishers and, in fact, less a threat than a survival strategy.

* Big publishers are still diversifying, in part as a hedge against shrinking profit margins in journal publishing.  This doesn't help or hurt OA directly, but it shows that some publishers see the same upward trajectory for OA that we see.

* A growing number for-profit companies are offering services that provide OA or add value to OA literature --repository services, search engines, archiving software, journal management software, indexing or citation tracking services, publishing, print preservation.  These services create or enhance OA literature, fill the cracks left by other services, create a market for OA add-ons, and show another set of business judgments that OA is on the rise.  If you think that one promising future for non-OA publishers is to shift from priced access to priced services for adding value to OA literature, then these projects can help opponents become proponents.

* More mainstream (non-academic) search engines are indexing OA repositories and journals.  This makes OA content easy to find for users unacquainted with more specialized tools.  This in turn helps persuade an even larger group of publishing scholars that OA really does increase visibility and retrievability.  Hence, it helps correct a particularly common and harmful misunderstanding among authors:  that work on deposit in an institutional repository is only visible to people who visit that particular repository and run a local search.

* The unit of search has long since shifted from the journal to the article.  Now the unit of impact measurement is undergoing the same transition.  Authors and readers still care about which journal published a given article, but they care less and less about which other articles appeared in the same issue.  More and more, finding a relevant article in an OA repository, separated from its litter mates, gives searching scholars all they want.

* While OA journals and repositories continue to multiply, other vehicles for delivering OA are finding more and more serious scholarly applications:  blogs, wikis, ebooks, podcasts, RSS feeds, and P2P networks.  This is more than a geeky desire to play with cool new tools.  It's a desire to find ways to bypass barriers to communication, collaboration, and sharing.  Serious researchers are discovering that these tools are actually useful, and taking advantage of them.  Like cell phones, wifi, and the internet itself, these tools are overcoming the stigma of being trendy and moving from the fringes to the mainstream. 

The direct benefit is that all these tools presuppose OA.  Their widespread use enlarges the volume of OA research communication and entrenches the expectation that new research needs both the speed and the reach of OA.  The indirect benefit is that they hasten disintermediation.  Since the rise of peer-reviewed journals in the 17th century, most publicly disseminated works of scholarship have been vetted and distributed by publishers.  Letters and lectures were exceptions.  Now it's clear that the kinds of exceptions, and the amount of research-reporting each represents, are both growing. 

* New and effective tools for collaboration are triggering adoption and excitement:  social tagging; searching by tags; open peer commentary; searching by comments; social networking and community building; recruiting collaborators and easing the process of working with collaborators you already have; following citation trails (backwards and forwards); following "similar to" and "recommended" trails; open APIs, open standards, and mash-ups.  Collaboration barriers are becoming almost as irritating and inimical to research as price and permission barriers.  A new generation of digital scholars is deeply excited by the services that presuppose and build on OA. 

To focus on social tagging and folksonomy tools for a moment:  when applied to research literature (Connotea, CiteULike) and combined with OA and search engines, they do more than OA alone, or OA plus search engines, to enhance the discoverability of OA literature.  They also stimulate the imagination of creative developers:  once we have OA to literature and data, we can add layers of utility *indefinitely*. 

* Interest in OA and projects to deliver on that interest are both growing fast in the humanities.  Humanists are exploring OA for books and journals, and exploring the universe of useful services that can be build on an OA foundation, from searching and annotation to text-mining, co-writing, and mash-ups.  We already knew that OA was useful to scholars, as authors and readers, in every field.  But the humanities are now showing that OA is not limited to fields with high journal prices (to serve as a goad) or high levels of research funding (to pay for it).

* Huge book-scanning projects steadily increase the number of print books available in some digital form --for free or for fee, for searching or for reading.  We'll soon reach a crossover point when more full-text, public-domain books are freely available online than on the shelves of the average university library.  Apart from lowering the access barriers to a large and uniquely valuable body of literature, the book-scanning projects together create one more large real-time demonstration that useful literature is even more useful when OA. 

* At the same time, the price of book scanning is dropping quickly.  The usefulness of book literature and the absence of legal shackles on public domain texts are attracting large corporations, whose investments and competition are driving down the costs of digitization.  The repercussions will be felt in every category of print literature, including the back runs of print journals.

* Steady decreases in the size and cost of hardware and memory are making possible steady increases in the volume of data people can carry in their palm or pocket.  Free *offline* access to usefully large digital libraries is on the horizon, aided by all our efforts for free online access. 

* Evidence is mounting that OA editions increase the net sales of print editions for some kinds of books, including scholarly monographs.  This not only enlarges the corpus of OA literature, but chips away at the simplistic, reflexive fear that OA is incompatible with revenue and profit. 

On the other hand, OA books may only stimulate sales of print editions as long as most people find reading whole books on screen inconvenient and unpleasant .  This trend may be reversed by a counter-trend to improve ebook readers.

* A textbook pricing crisis is stimulating OA solutions just as the journal pricing crisis before it stimulated OA solutions.

* More universities and independent non-profits are creating open courseware, open educational resources (OERs), and other forms of open teaching and learning materials.  These help all teachers and students, even those teaching or studying in affluent schools.  They also nurture the view that educational content, like research literature, is more useful when OA

* Download counts are becoming almost as interesting as citation counts.  No one thinks they mean the same thing as citation counts, but they're easier to collect, they correlate with citation counts, and they're boosted by OA.  In turn they boost OA:  repositories that show authors their download tallies encourage other authors to deposit their work.

* There is a rising awareness of intellectual property issues in the general public, rising impatience with unbalanced copyright laws, and rising support for remedies by governments (legislation) and individuals (CC licenses).  Copyright laws are still grotesquely unbalanced, and powerful corporations who benefit from the imbalance are fighting to insure that the laws are not revised in the right direction any time soon.  But in most countries an aroused public is ready to fight to insure that they are not revised in the wrong direction either, something we haven't seen in the entire history of intellectual property law.

However, this only guarantees that the content industry will have a fight, not that users and consumers will win.  Just last week (April 25) we lost the first-reading vote in the EU parliament on the Second Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive (IPRED2).  But at least there was significant opposition and the bill has not yet been adopted.

* The shock of the new is wearing off.  OA is gradually emerging from the fog of misunderstanding.  For this one, I won't be brief.

Scholars who grew up with the internet are steadily replacing those who grew up without it.  Scholars who expect to put everything they write online, who expect to find everything they need online, and who expect unlocked content they may read, search, link, copy, cut/paste, crawl, print, and redistribute, are replacing those who never expected these boons and got used to them, if at all, looking over their shoulder for the copyright police.  Scholars who expect to find the very best literature online, harmlessly cohabiting with crap, are replacing scholars who, despite themselves perhaps, still associate everything online with crap. 

Some lazy students believe that if something is not free online, then it's not worth reading.  This has never been true.  However, it's gradually becoming true and those who want it to become true can accelerate the process.  Those who want to live in a world where all peer-reviewed journal literature is free online are themselves growing in numbers and will soon have the power in universities, libraries, learned societies, publishers, funding agencies, and governments to bring it about. 

Moreover, as the OA percentage of research literature continues to grow, then more users will start to act (with or without justification) as if all research literature worth reading is already OA.  As this practice spreads it will function as one more incentive for authors and publishers to make their work OA.

In short, generational change is on our side.

But even the passage of time without generational change is on our side.  Time itself has meant less panic and fewer panic-induced misunderstandings of OA.  Everyone is getting used to the idea that OA literature can be copyrighted, the idea that OA literature can be peer-reviewed, the idea that the expenses for producing OA literature can be recovered, and the idea that OA and TA literature can co-exist (even for the same work).  Surprisingly many of our early troubles can be traced to the fact that people just couldn't grasp these ideas.  The problem was not incoherent ideas or stupid people --though both hypotheses circulated widely-- but panic, unfamiliarity, and the violation of unquestioned assumptions.  For some stakeholders, clear explanations, repetition, or experience with working examples solved the problem.  But for others it just took time. 

When the AAP/Dezenhall story broke in January 2007, I saw many scholars on blogs and listservs discover OA for the first time.  Unlike earlier waves of newcomers (for example, after Congress asked the NIH to develop an OA policy in July 2004), this wave typically got it right the first time.  "Of course OA is compatible with peer review."  "Of course there are no copyright problems if the copyright-holder consents."  "Of course the censorship argument is bull." 

When newcomers got OA wrong in the past, sometimes they had been misled by an explicit error published somewhere, perhaps by another newcomer.  But most of the time they just made unconscious assumptions based on incomplete information and old models.  This is the shock of the new at work.  If OA uses the internet, then it must bypass peer review.  If OA articles can be copied ad lib, then there must be copyright problems.  If OA is free of charge for end-users, then its proponents must be claiming that it costs nothing to produce and it must be impossible to recover the costs.  These conclusions, of course, were uninformed leaps.  Many who understood the conventional model (priced, printed, peer-reviewed, copyright-protected) saw a proposal for something different and didn't know how many parameters of the old paradigm the new proposal wanted to tweak.  Their hasty and incorrect surmise:  all of them.  It was a classic case of seeing black and white before seeing shades of gray.

Suddenly everything good about the present system had to be defended, as if it were under attack.  A lot of energy was wasted defending peer review, when it was never under attack.  The friends and foes of industrial-strength copyright protection broke into different sized camps, but they too rushed to the assumption that OA would destroy what they loved or hated.  The debate about OA often drifted toward the larger debate about what was good and bad in the present system of scholarly communication overall.  This was valuable, but mixing narrow OA issues with broader ones created false impressions about what OA really was, how compatible it was with good features of the present system, and how easy OA was to implement.

The OA debates still waste a lot of energy talking about peer review and copyright.  The shock of the new hasn't fully worn off; it's wearing off gradually.  OA advocates, growing in numbers and effectiveness, can't keep the idea from being distorted or misunderstood.  But they have kept it from being distorted or misunderstood as much as it would have been otherwise. 

As time passes, we see a steady rise in the proportion of correct to incorrect formulations of OA in the ambient intellectual atmosphere.  When people encounter a fragmentary version of the idea for the first time today, their guesswork to flesh it out is guided by a much more reliable range of clues than just a few years ago.  If they take the time to run an online search, the chances that they'll find good information before someone else's guesswork are nearly 100%. 

It's tempting to focus on the elegance of OA as a solution to serious problems and overlook the need for the sheer passage of time to overcome the shock of the new.  Even if we acknowledge the need for cultural change in the transition to OA (far more critical than technological change), it's easy to underestimate the cultural barriers and the time required to work through them.  Yes, OA is compatible with peer review, copyright, revenue, print, prestige, and preservation.  But that doesn't quiet resistance when those facts about it are precisely the ones hidden by false assumptions caused by the shock of the new.

I'm not saying that all resistance to OA is, or was, based on a misunderstanding of the idea itself.  But much past resistance was; this portion is in decline; and this decline is largely due to the passage of time and the rise in mere familiarity with a new idea.

The changes wrought by time spotlight a sad irony in our history.  Nobody is surprised when cultural inertia slows the adoption of radical ideas.  But cultural inertia slowed the adoption of OA by leading many people to mistake it for a more radical idea than it actually is.


I know that this account of trends would not be complete without those that work *against* OA.  But there aren't many.  I've mentioned the improvement in ebook readers, which may interfere with the ways that OA books increase sales for print editions.  Here are two more.

* Researchers themselves control the rate of progress toward OA, but after all these years most of them are still oblivious to its existence and benefits.  As I've noted above, there is a trend toward greater familiarity with OA.  But there is unquestionably a counter-trend of impatience with anything that distracts attention from research.  This preoccupation is generally admirable and makes researchers good at what they do.  But even from the narrow perspective of what advances research, it is having perverse consequences and limiting the audience, impact, and utility of the research on which scholars are so single-minded focused.

* Some publishers opposed OA from the beginning and sometimes their opposition was fierce.  But some who opposed it apparently saw it as a utopian fantasy of naïve academics that would never be embraced by serious researchers, let alone by serious institutions like universities, libraries, foundations, and government agencies.  Publishers in the second camp, who thought OA would be alarming if it caught on, but then hit the snooze button, are now hearing the alarm.  While some publishers actively support OA, or experiment with it in good faith, those that oppose it are getting their act together and spending serious money to lobby against government OA policies.  In money and person-power, their lobbying forces, especially in Washington and Brussels, vastly exceed our own.  All we have going for us are good arguments and good trends.



Here's what happened, or what I noticed, since the last issue, emphasizing action and policy over scholarship and opinion.  I put the most important items first, with double asterisks, and otherwise cluster them loosely by topic.  Most of the time, I link to my blog postings, not to the sources themselves, because I only want to include one link and my blog postings usually bring many relevant links together. 

** The chief Flemish research agency, Research Foundation - Flanders (Fonds voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek - Vlaanderen, or FWO), adopted an OA mandate for FWO-funded research.

** The EC adopted a FP7 Grant Agreement which requires grantees to submit electronic copies of their journal articles to the EC and permits the EC to redistribute them online.  (I reported this last month, but at that time the agreement was only a draft.)

** EDINA, JISC, and SHERPA launched the Depot, a universal OA repository for UK researchers.

** JISC and UKOLN launched SWORD (Simple Web-service Offering Repository Deposit), a project to streamline deposits in OA repositories.

** Bentham Science announced plans to launch 300 OA journals before the end of 2007.

** Canada's Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) launched a funding program to support OA journals.

** The Swiss National Science Foundation is ready to mandate OA to SNSF-funded research but holding off its announcement while it works out permission problems.

* The Task Force on Electronic Publication for the American Philological Association (APA) and the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) issued its Final Report, supporting OA archiving and OA publication of previously microfiched works.

* The EU's High Level Expert Group on Digital Libraries talked to the European Commission about "how to ensure more open access to scientific research".

* The EU Research Commissioner, Janez Potocnik, wrote a "green paper" on the future of the European Research Area.  Although the paper is dated April 4, 2007, it asks whether the EU needs an OA policy as if the February Brussels meeting and all the preceding consultations and recommendations had never taken place.

* The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) issued Principles And Guidelines For Access To Research Data From Public Funding (December 2006) to implement its Declaration on Access to Research Data From Public Funding (January 2004).

* We learned that France's Institut national de recherche en informatique ete en automatique (INRIA or National Institute for Research in Computer Sciences and Control) deposited its entire research output in HAL, the centralized French OA repository, and that the Direction Générale de la Recherche et de L'innovation (DGRI, a division of the French Ministry of Research) was considering an OA mandate for research funded by France's major public funder, the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR).

* France's Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA) released an English translation and update of a November 2006 report recommending an OA mandate.

* The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Access to Research Outputs Policy Advisory Committee (AROPAC) released the minutes of its January 24 meeting in which discussed its evolving OA policy, refused to extend the embargo beyond six months, and looked to the EURAB recommendation as a possible model for the CIHR policy.

* Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC) launched its OA repository as a pilot project in December 2005 and has now made it official.

* JISC announced a new £5.3m funding program which includes money for OA repositories.  Proposals are due by noon on June 21, 2007.

* The Australian Partnership for Sustainable Repositories (APSR) launched Online Research Collections Australia (ORCA), a registry and support network for OA repositories in Australia.

* Virginia Tech launched an OA archive to understand the 32 murders that took place on its campus two weeks ago and to commemorate its victims.

* The World Health Organization launched a new OA database on Drug Target Prioritization.

* The Genetic Alliance created Disease InfoSearch, a portal to the extensive and OA research on genetic diseases within the US National Library of Medicine.

* The NCBI introduced a raft of new features for the Entrez databases, including PubMed Central.

* OCLC launched a pilot version of WorldCat Local which sorts results in order of their accessibility to the user.

* The International Alliance of ALS/MND Associations made its digital library OA.  (ALS/MND stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / Motor Neurone Disease.)

* The library at Technische Universiteit Delft launched an Open Access Wiki (in English).

* The Open Knowledge Foundation launched version 0.4 of its Open Shakespeare project.

* The Open Knowledge Foundation released version 0.4 of Open Economics.

* Open Medicine is a highly-anticipated new peer-reviewed OA journal launched by editors who were fired or resigned from the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

* The OA Digital Humanities Quarterly finally launched after almost two years of gestation.

* Kritike is a new peer-reviewed OA journal of philosophy published by the University of Santo Tomas in the Philippines.

* Chinese Southern Diaspora Studies is a new peer-reviewed OA journal from the Australian National University.

* The Presses Universitaires de Limoges launched two new OA journals: Nouveaux actes sémiotiques and The Arkeotek Journal ("devoted to the archaeology of techniques").

* BioMed Central announced the first three OA journals from its offshoot, PhysMath Central.

* The Journal of Social, Evolutionary & Cultural Psychology is a new peer-reviewed OA journal.

* ePosters is a new OA journal of scientific posters.

* The Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) converted its journal, the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland Bulletin, to OA. 

* PLoS ONE (which promised to evolve) upgraded to v. 0.6.

* JISC and the University of Glasgow launched OpenLOCKSS, a new program to use LOCKSS for preserving OA journals.

* Environmental Law, the OA law review published by the Lewis & Clark Law School, now has an OA companion, Environmental Law Online.

* After 16 years of TA publication, the astronomy journal, Meta Research Bulletin, added an OA edition.  MRB is published by Meta Research.

* Blackwell stopped describing its hybrid journal program, Online Open, as an experiment ("on trial as a service through to the end of 2007").

* The BioMed Central journal impact factors rose again last year.

* In an interview with Thomson's In-Cites, Derek McPhee, editor-in-chief of Molecules, attributed his journal's high citation rate to open access.

* The subscription price of Elsevier's hybrid journals went up faster last year than the price of the average Elsevier journal, despite the company's promise to reduce subscription prices in proportion to author uptake of the OA option.

* David Schwartz, Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), slashed the budget for the NIEHS's highly regarded OA journal, Environmental Health Perspectives, and has been told by two members of Congress not to renew attempts to privatize the journal.

* The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) heard from more angry customers and may lift its notorious DRM.

* A group of society publishers announced Scitopia.org (to launch officially in June), a federated search engine of their journal backfiles, most of which are not OA. 

* The Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) Foundation joined the Alliance for Taxpayer Access.

* The Open Universiteit Nederland signed the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge.

* OpenDOAR launched an email distribution service for sending information or announcements to different sets of OA repository managers, e.g. by country, continent, language, or software platform.

* OpenDoar officially announced its open API (originally announced March 2007).

* The Electronic Publishing Trust for Development (EPT) released its April 9 letter to the European parliament on an OA policy for the EU.

* The Open Access to Knowledge (OAK) Law project at Queensland University of Technology released its Guide to Developing Open Access Through Your Digital Repository.

* Open Access Law Canada is a new project to help bring OA to Canadian legal research.

* The Canadian government began providing OA to digital mapping data gathered at public expense.

* A legal analysis by Charlotte Waelde concludes that UK mapping data is not protected by copyright but only, at best, by the database right.  The UK Ordnance Survey disagrees.

* German scholars are protesting regressive copyright proposals.

* Textensor launched PublicationsList, a tool letting authors make online linked lists of their OA publications.

* Eric Von Hippel explained to an interviewer why he wanted OA to the full texts of two of his books and how the OA editions have increased sales of the print editions.

* Cornell University added a print-on-demand service (BookSurge, a subsidiary of Amazon) to the OA collection of rare works digitized from its library.

* The OA Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy announced that it was nearing its fund-raising goal.

* SHERPA won the SPARC Europe Award for Outstanding Achievements in Scholarly Communications for 2007.

* Chris Armbruster's paper, Cyberscience and the Knowledge-based Economy, Open Access and Trade Publishing, won this year's Access to Knowledge (A2K) writing competition sponsored by the Yale Law School Information Society Project (ISP) and the International Journal of Communications Law and Policy (IJCLP).

* The OpenLearn project at the UK's Open University won a platinum award at the 2007 IMS Global Learning Consortium Learning Impact Awards.

* Key Perspectives documented the extent of faculty ignorance of OA in a study for the Research Information Network.


Coming this month

Here are some important OA-related events coming up in May.

* May 1, 2007.  The start of the public comment period for Janez Potocnik's green paper on the European Research Area.  (The paper includes a question about EU-wide OA policy.)  The comment period ends August 31, 2007.

* May 20, 2007.  The deadline for the ten campuses of the University of California to review a draft OA policy (January 29, 2007) for the UC system.

* Sometime in May 2007,  a consortium of German universities will launch its Informationsplattform Open Access.

* Notable conferences this month

German e-Science Conference 2007 (OA is among the topics)
Baden-Baden, May 2-4, 2007

Best Practices Exchange 2007: Libraries and Archives in the Digital Era
Chandler, Arizona, May 2-4, 2007

The Adaptable Repository (sponsored by Australia's ARROW)
Sydney, May 3, 2007

MIDESS Digital Repository dissemination day (OA is among the topics)
Leeds, May 4, 2007

Intellectual Property in the Digital Environment: An Update (sponsored by NFAIS)
Philadelphia, May 4, 2007

Fedora Disseminator Workshop
Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen, May 7-8, 2007

E-books and E-content 2007
London, May 8, 2007

Strategies for Open and Permanent Access to Scientific Information in Latin America: Focus on Health and Environmental Information for Sustainable Development
Atibaia, Brazil, May 8-10, 2007

Research and Training Perspectives on the Canadian Digital Information Strategy
Montreal, May 9, 2007

To Share or Not to Share: Synthetic Data Accelerate Knowledge Generation in Management and Social Science Research (a public lecture by Nigel Melville)
Oxford, May 10, 2007

Penger for publikasjoner (OA is among the topics)
Oslo, May 11, 2007

Evolution des publications scientifiques (sponsored by the French Académie des sciences) (OA is among the topics)
Paris, May 14-15, 2007

XTech 2007: The Ubiquitous Web (Open data is among the topics)
Paris, May 15-18, 2007

Building Global Knowledge Communities with Open Data (IASSIST 2007)
Montreal, May 15-18, 2007

Webcast on author rights (sponsored by ACRL and ARL) (OA is among the topics)
May 17, 2007

Promoting 21st Century Scholarly Communication: The Role of Institutional Repositories in the Open Access Movement
Hong Kong, May 17-18, 2008

Medical Library Association Annual Meeting 2007 (OA is among the topics)
Philadelphia, May 18-23, 2007
--Scholarly Publishing Issues: The Challenges and Opportunities Facing Libraries in an Open Access Environment, a symposium on May 23, 2007, 1:30 - 5:30 pm.

UKCoRR Inaugural Meeting (sponsored by SHERPA and the UK Council of Research Repositories)
Nottingham, May 21, 2007

Copyright Utopia: Alternative Visions, Methods and Policies (OA is among the topics)
Adelphi, Maryland, May 21-23, 2007

Evolving Business Models in Academic Publishing (an ALPSP seminar) (OA is among the topics)
London, May 24, 2007

Data Sans Frontières: web portals and the historic environment (sponsored by the UK Historic Environment Information Resources Network) (OA to data is among the topics)
London, May 25, 2007

National Free Culture Conference
Cambridge, May 26, 2007

Bridging Communities: making public knowledge, making knowledge public (sponsored by the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences) (OA is among the topics)
Saskatoon, May 26 - June 2, 2007

Open Innovation – New Perspectives in the Context of Information and Knowledge? (10th International Symposium for Information Science) (OA is among the topics)
Cologne, May 30 - June 1, 2007

Internet & Society 2007 Conference (sponsored by Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet & Society) (OA is among the topics)
Cambridge, Massachusetts, May 31 - June 1, 2007

* Other OA-related conferences



In my article last month on paying for green OA, I said that "HHMI will pay Elsevier $1,500 for each article published in a Cell Press journal and $1,000 for each article in any other Elsevier journal."  The truth is the other way around:  HHMI will pay $1,000 for each Cell Press article and $1,500 for each article in any other Elsevier journal.

I also said that Cell Press was reducing its embargo period from 12 months to zero.  I should have said that it was reducing it to six months. 

Thanks to Jim Till for catching both of these errors.  I've corrected both on the online edition, using strikeouts to avoid hiding the original text.



* I've added 28 new conferences to my conference page since the last issue.  In the next few days I'll delete the second asterisk marking them and the new entries will blend into the rest of the collection.


This is the SPARC Open Access Newsletter (ISSN 1546-7821), written by Peter Suber and published by SPARC.  The views I express in this newsletter are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of SPARC or other sponsors.

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