22 May 2015

Open Access in the Netherlands: Solid citizens

Despite its small size the Netherlands is punching above its weight in Open Access practice and advocacy, driven by a strong sense of social justice.  As early as 2009 The National Library of the Netherlands was involved with the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) in a pilot project looking at long-term preservation of electronic journal collections.  The Hague is home to the Ligue des BibliothĂ©ques EuropĂ©ennes de Recherche (LIBER- Association of European Research Libraries). LIBER is currently coordinating the development of the EC FP7 Gold Open Access Pilot to pay article processing charges (APCs) for research papers up to 2 years beyond the life of the grant.  In April work translating the SHERPA/RoMEO interface into Dutch was completed and released while the translation of the publisher policies continues.  There is a national website for Open Access supported by Utrecht University Library.  Sander Dekker (pictured), the Dutch State Secretary Department of Education, Culture and Science is an enthusiastic supporter who favours international cooperation. Amsterdam is hosting the 7th Conference on Open Access Scholarly Publishing.

Credit: Image from Saskia Franken, Towards Open Access in the Netherlands, Oslo, April 21 2015

Amsterdam is also the headquarters of the publishing behemoth Elsevier that dominates the medical and scientific publishing market. Elsevier recently caused controversy by unexpectedly changing its sharing and hosting policy, and is able to use its considerable resources as a major Dutch taxpayer to lobby for industry interests. Particularly controversial was its decision to reinstate embargoes for voluntary deposit of accepted manuscripts into institutional repositories like Research@StAndrews:FullText. It also introduced a policy to apply the most restrictive Creative Commons license (CC-BY-NC-ND) to accepted manuscripts against the spirit of many funder mandates and sitting uncomfortably alongside an embargo period. A statement has already been signed by many international organizations against the policy.

It's therefore not surprising that the Dutch have been most active negotiating with publishers on immediate Gold Open Access.  This aligns with the UK Research Councils' preference for Gold, but the Dutch have not been so quick to flash their credit cards.  They've done a lot of work on progressive publication offsetting models. This approach has helped institutions negotiate reduced APCs, subscriptions and institutional costs and introduce a more streamlined publishing experience for authors with less bureaucracy. The Springer Agreement concluded in December last year is a good example that was subsequently taken forward by the Jisc/Springer  model in the UK in March.

The Association of universities in the Netherlands (VNSU) and the Dutch Government are leading a heroic stand-off with Elsevier on Open Access and subscription fees.  Elsevier agreed to automatically extend institutions' access to its bundle of 2,200 journals when talks reached an impasse last year.  It remains to be seen how and whether the balance of researcher v. Elsevier interests can be resolved in the Netherlands and beyond.

19 May 2015

iFutures 2015 conference

©2014 University of Sheffield

The iFutures 2015 conference is now open for registration. The conference, now in its third year, is run by and for postgraduate researchers in the information science community. This year's event has the theme: "Open Information Science: Exploring New Landscapes".

"We want to know how is open information influencing your research? Openness is a key part of Information Science research, from using open source tools and big open data sets to open standards advocacy, creating open accessible environments in institutions, and opening information science to radical perspectives and exploring diverse communities. We want to hear about your research and how these themes relate to it." iFutures

The keynote speakers at the event are Fabio Ciravegna (Professor of Computer Science at Sheffield University) and Helen Kennedy (Professor of Sociology at Sheffield University). The event will also include student presentations of research papers, workshops on impact, as well as poster and Pecha Kucha sessions.

The event will take place on Tuesday 7th July.

Sign up for the event here.

Location: Jessop West Exhibition Space.

Venue Details:
The University of Sheffield
Jessop West
1 Upper Hanover Street
Sheffield S3 7RA

15 May 2015

Open access in the United States: land of the free (access to research)

Yellowstone national park, © Quan Yuan/Getty Images
In 2013, a memo from John Holdren, director for the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) at the White House, was sent to all heads of executive departments and agencies:

“The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) hereby directs each Federal agency with over $100 million in annual conduct of research and development expenditures to develop a plan to support increased public access to the results of research funded by the Federal Government. This includes any results published in peer-reviewed scholarly publications that are based on research that directly arises from Federal funds” OSTP memo p.2

Affected agencies were to be responsible for coming up with a plan to open up research outputs as well as data in line with the agenda set out in the memorandum. Plans would be required to have a number of key elements: fostering public/private partnerships, improving public access to data, improving access to research through searching and archiving facilities, etc.

The memo asked agencies to ensure that the public are able to read, download, and analyse peer-reviewed manuscripts and final published versions within a suggested 12 month time frame. The twelve month time frame mirrors that of both Canada and China (blogged about previously). Agencies should also ensure that metadata for research is made publicly available immediately upon first publication with a link to where final versions are available.

The US National Institute of Health has required research outputs to be publicly available after 12 months since 2008. Recently the US Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) took steps to further implement the plans set out in the OSTP memo. The HSS plans are designed to increase public access to the results of publicly funded research across five of its operating divisions. These HSS divisions include: National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR).

The HSS plans for public access to research involve two main areas:
•    Peer-reviewed outputs must be publicly available. Researchers funded by any of the 5 agencies will be required to deposit their publications in PubMed Central within 12 months of publication.
•    Data must be publicly available. Researchers will be required to produce a data management plan outlining how their data will stored and shared.

“A major focus over the coming year will be the policy development processes necessary to turn these plans into practice.  Several agencies, such as FDA, AHRQ and ASPR, will be developing public access policies for the first time. Other agencies, such as NIH and CDC, will be updating existing policies [...] We look forward to working together with all of the stakeholders to increase the usability of health research funded by HHS, and to creating an information ecosystem that will catalyze improvements in health and healthcare for all Americans.” HSS idea lab blog

Individual action plans can be found here:
•    NIH’s Public Access Plan
•    FDA’s Public Access Plan
•    CDC’s Public Access Plan
•    AHRQ’s Public Access Plan
•    ASPR’s Public Access Plan

Sources:
http://www.hhs.gov/open/public-access/index.html
http://blogs.nature.com/news/2013/02/us-white-house-announces-open-access-policy.html
http://www.hhs.gov/idealab/2015/02/27/hhs-expands-approach-making-research-results-freely-available-public/

7 May 2015

Open Access in China: A breach in the Great Firewall?

You might not necessarily associate China with Open Access, but it has made rapid progress towards making more of its research publications open. Two powerful public agencies are instigating Open Access into Chinese scholarship - the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC). Both signed the Berlin Declaration (2003 & 2004). Just last year Beijing co-hosted the Global Research Council that discussed the GRC Open Access Action Plan.

In the same month Nature reported that CAS and NSFC had announced their Open Access mandate that with immediate effect researchers must deposit their papers into online repositories to make public within 12 months of publication. This appears to be what we would call delayed, Green OA and mirrors the US National Institutes of Health mandate and Hefce's Open Access policy in the UK. The mandates apply to researchers (CAS/NSFC) and graduate students (CAS) and CAS also encourages its researchers to undertake retrospective deposit into institutional repositories (IRs). At the moment IRs are specified for deposit and the NSFC is developing its own IR. China Academic Institutional Repository currently lists thirty-three IRs.

The NFSC has developed a blueprint for progress that includes Gold OA, the NSFC's IR, global agreement on OA in publicly funded research and an ambitious global share portal.

Detail from Figure 1. Targeting of the HBB gene in human cells using CRISPR/Cas9 from Liang P, Xu Y, Zhang X, et al. (2015) CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene editing in human tripronuclear zygotes, Protein & Cell, DOI 10.1007/s13238-015-0153-5 [Available under Open Access]

There is no Open Access fund similar to the UK Research Councils' block grant to pay article processing charges, but researchers are permitted to use their grants to cover publication costs. This is the same as the position in Canada covered in our previous post.  As in the UK several institutions are members of publisher schemes like Springer/BioMed Central. China's total R&D investment was 1029.4 billion RMB in 2012 and rising [1]; despite the potential for a publishing bonanza, progress on Gold OA has been slow due to concerns over predatory journals and pricing transparency.  So in this respect the UK could be seen as taking the lead on immediate Open Access.

Although China's research output grows exponentially its citation impact is below the world average although it is competitive with other BRIC countries [2]. Overall, the Chinese agencies hope that OA publications will grow in proportion to the rapid growth of research publications and the expansion of the OA market with encouragement from publishing institutions.

China offers great potential for development in OA policy and infrastructure and there are many opportunities for publishers. However there is a strong science bias and humanities and social sciences have not at this stage been included in the mandate. There is great emphasis on bibliometrics but, unlike the UK, China does not have a regular research assessment exercise, as reported recently by Nature.  The current drive is to improve research quality over quantity.  If China succeeds it will be a major partner with the UK promoting Open Access inside and outside the Great Firewall.

1. Development of open access in China: strategies, practices and challenges, Zhang X, Insights 27(1), March 2014
2. Open Access in China: An Overview, Wang D, 1st OASPA Asian Conference, Bangkok, June 3rd 2014

1 May 2015

Catalogue records now available for Open Book Publishers titles

Regular readers might remember a previous post about about the Library's collection of Open Access e-books from Open Book Publishers (OBP).  The Library's expert cataloguers have completed their work creating records in the proprietary MARC* format for each title.  These records are now available for libraries and institutions to import into their library management systems. They include all OBP books published until the end of March 2015 and will be updated as new titles are released.

We hope that making high quality metadata available in this way will remove a potential barrier when librarians are considering whether to include Open Access books in their collection. This effort also shows how readers, authors, publishers and institutions can benefit from Open Access publishing models. The Library catalogue currently lists fifty-five OPB books and we encourage readers to dive in!

St Andrews Library is enjoying working with an Open Access publisher and learning from the collaboration.

Allegorical copper plate (1781) "Works of Darkness. A Contribution to the History of the Book Trade in Germany Presented Allegorically for the Benefit of and as a Warning to All Honest Booksellers" from Deazley R, Kretschmer M, Bently L (2010), Privilege and Property: Essays on the History of Copyright, Open Book Publishers, Cambridge

27 April 2015

Open Access in Canada: “It’s all about choice”


© Copyright 2014 – Canadian Science Publishing.
“[O]pen access is a worldwide phenomenon. However, the urgency of implementation has greater impetus in some nations because of strong OA mandates from large, centralised funders.” Martin Paul Eve, Open Access and the Humanities, p.5. CC BY-SA 4.0
The OA mandates from large funders that Martin Paul Eve mentions in the quote above no doubt refers, at least in part, to RCUK and Wellcome trust open access mandates that have helped to drive OA in the UK. The pace of change gained even greater urgency after HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England) released its open access policy for the next Research Excellence Framework. In many respects the UK can be seen to be leading the way in open access, however there are many international initiatives happening as well. So, over the next couple of weeks we will be sharing some international developments in open access. First up is Canada where there have been recent developments akin to those in the UK with large centralised funders mandating OA for papers resulting from funded research.

In Canada there are three main state sponsored funding bodies:

“The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) (“the Agencies”) are federal granting agencies that promote and support research, research training and innovation within Canada. As publicly funded organizations, the Agencies have a fundamental interest in promoting the availability of findings that result from the research they fund, including research publications and data, to the widest possible audience, and at the earliest possible opportunity. Societal advancement is made possible through widespread and barrier-free access to cutting-edge research and knowledge, enabling researchers, scholars, clinicians, policymakers, private sector and not-for-profit organizations and the public to use and build on this knowledge.” Government of Canada, Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications Science.gc.ca*

All grants awarded after May 2015 (and all grants from 1st January 2008 for CIHR funded authors) are required to comply with the harmonised open access policy of the three funders. Grant holders will be required to make peer-reviewed journal articles freely available within 12 months of publication. Authors can choose “green” open access and deposit their accepted manuscript in an online repository, or authors can choose to publish in a journal that offers immediate open access via the “gold” route.

There are similarities between the Canadian funding agencies' OA policy and the RCUK open access policy, but there are divergences as well. One such difference is where RCUK stipulate an embargo of between 6 and 24 months depending on which of the 7 research councils has funded the research, the Canadian OA policy stipulates that only a 12 month embargo is allowed. The two policies differ in their approach to APC payments as well; unlike RCUK who have elected to supply UK institutions with funds to pay for immediate “gold” open access, in the Canadian model the cost of OA publishing can come directly from the grant as an eligible expense.

The Canadian funding agencies' open access policy is predicated on the firm belief that spreading the reach and impact of academic research is beneficial to society, both at home and abroad. Aligning the open access policy of the Agencies with international funding agencies such as RCUK was a principal concern.
“Momentum for open access has been growing as numerous funding agencies and institutions worldwide implement open access policies. The Agencies strongly support open access to research results which promotes the principle of knowledge sharing and mobilization – an essential objective of academia. As research and scholarship become increasingly multi-disciplinary and collaborative, both domestically and internationally, the Agencies are working to facilitate research partnerships by harmonizing domestic policies and aligning with the global movement to open access.” Government of Canada, Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications Science.gc.ca*

The UK is not going it alone, and to paraphrase the Canadian funding agencies, open access is a global movement. Over the next few weeks we will highlight other countries around the world that are actively making commitments to open access.


*Quotations are reproduced from an official work that was published by the Government of Canada. The reproduction has not been produced in affiliation with or with the endorsement of the Government of Canada.

24 April 2015

Our lives in a year of Open Access support

As part of our contribution to the Jisc Pathfinder project Lessons in Open Access Compliance for Higher Education (LOCH), the Library has now published its case study. A year in the life of Open Access support: continuous improvement at University of St Andrews tells the story of our engagement with the University's well-established Lean method to streamline OA processes and how this impacted on team activities. It is hoped that along with our partners' case studies this will help in defining an Open Access support service within higher education institutions that face a range of different challenges. Since publication on 3 April there have been 92 downloads of the study which is published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY).

From the Case Study: Mapping the interim state of Open Access at St Andrews, May 2014