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September 26, 2006

Ten University Administrators Oppose FRPAA

From OPEN ACCESS NEWS (9/22/06):

It had to happen. After 125 university presidents and provosts have publicly endorsed FRPAA, the DC Principles Coalition found 10 who oppose it. From today's announcement:

Senior academic officers from 10 institutions issued a letter to Senators John Cornyn (TX) and Joseph Lieberman (CT) expressing their concerns about the provisions of S.2695, the "Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006." These institutions, which collectively make nearly $3 billion in annual research investments, expressed their concerns that mandating a six-month public release of journal articles would negatively impact the academic community and the publishers that disseminate their work.

In signing the letter in opposition to S.2695, Dr. Robert Rich, Senior Vice President and Dean, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, expressed his concern that "the legislation would damage the special relationship between scholarly societies and academic communities who work in partnership to ensure that these communities are sustained and extended, science is advanced, research meets the highest standards, and patient care is enhanced with accurate and timely information." Rich also expressed concern that "S.2695 would divert scarce Federal dollars away from research in order to provide a service already provided to the public by society publishers."

The nonprofit publishers comprising the DC Principles Coalition are among those who are able to provide public access to literature either immediately or within months of publication without government mandate through corporate and academic subscriptions. According to Martin Frank, Ph.D., Executive Director of the American Physiological Society (APS) and a member of the Coalition, "a six-month release mandate may force some journals to shift to a publication model requiring authors to pay for their publications through their Federal grants, diminishing funds available for research to benefit the public good."

The ten signing the letter were:
Robert R. Rich, MD, Senior Vice President and Dean, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, Birmingham, AL

Richard P. Saller, Ph.D., Provost, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL

John R. Sladek, Jr., Ph.D., Vice Chancellor, Research, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, CO

Kenneth L. Barker, Ph.D., Provost and Vice President for Research, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY

Mary J.C. Hendrix, Ph.D., President & Scientific Director, Children's Memorial Research Center, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL

Bruce A. Holm, Ph.D., Senior Vice Provost, SUNY at Buffalo and Executive Director, NYS Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics & Life Sciences, Buffalo, NY

Leonard R. Johnson, Ph.D., Vice Chancellor for Research, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN

Barbara A. Horwitz, Ph.D., Vice Provost-Academic Personnel, University of California, Davis, CA

Richard J. Traystman, Ph.D., Associate Vice President for Research, Planning, and Development, Associate Dean for Basic Science Research, Oregon Health and Sciences University, Portland, OR

David E. Millhorn, Ph.D., Vice President, Office of Research and Economic Development, University of Tennessee System, Knoxville, TN

See Peter Suber's comments, and comments from others, as reported in the Open Access News.

The full letter from the 10 who oppose FRPAA.

Posted by Katie Newman at 10:51 AM

September 25, 2006

Digital Access to Archival Works: Could 108(b) Be the Solution?

Section 108(b) of the Copyright Law, which deals with unpublished works, is often described primarily has a “preservation” clause, with its primary purpose being to ensure that our manuscript heritage is not lost. A closer look at the legislative history of the section, however, reveals that Congress was primarily concerned with increasing scholarly access to unpublished materials. Limited distribution to other libraries and archives to enhance research access to the original materials, it concluded, does not compete with the copyright owner’s right to commercially exploit the work. Under the original section 108(b), there were no limits on the number of copies that could be made for deposit in other repositories. Today digital technologies could provide a means of providing access to research materials without having to distribute physical copies to other repositories (though distribution of copies for preservation purposes would still be desirable).

Read the entire paper at: Stanford University Libraries, Copyright & Fair Use, September 24, 2006

Posted by P. Kaufman at 3:42 PM

September 21, 2006

EPA Headquarter Library To Close Next Month

Scientists and other researchers who use the Environmental Protection Agency’s Headquarters Library may soon find it somewhat harder to consult the collection. According to a notice published today in the Federal Register, the EPA will close its main library to visitors as of October 1 and will rely on the Internet and interlibrary loan to give patrons access to its holdings. The EPA said that patrons had increasingly requested and received library materials electronically in recent years, making a physical library less of a necessity. Also, the notice said, tighter security at federal buildings since the September 11 terrorist attacks had led to a drop in library visitors. The EPA also said it needed to save money.

Chronicle of Higher Education Daily News Blog 9/21/06

Posted by P. Kaufman at 1:29 PM

September 18, 2006

‘Nature’ opts for open peer-review systems

Scientific journal Nature is trialing an open peer-review system to review papers submitted for publication. Under the initiative, manuscripts will be uploaded to a pre-print server and made available online to members of the scientific community in a blog format. Take a look at the papers currently up for review.

Comments submitted are subject to review themselves prior to being published, and those commenting will be required to put their name and institution to their words. In addition to public review via the Peer Review Trial, manuscripts will continue to be sent to Nature's experts for a closed review. Also, authors can choose not to have their work reviewed in this manner, as there are some disadvantages associated with having an open peer-review. Although access is intended primarily for the scientific community, anyone can access the pre-published material.

However, the journal will discard any comments found to be irrelevant, intemperate or inappropriate. According to Nature's editors, both sets of comments -- the traditional peer-review opinions as well as the online remarks – will be taken into consideration while deciding whether or not to publish a study.
Interested readers can also visit the Nature web debate on Peer Review, and are invited to comment on the articles published there.
Knowledgespeak, 9/18/06

Posted by Katie Newman at 10:09 AM

September 12, 2006

American Society of Plant Biologists Members to Get Open Access for Free

It is with great pleasure that I note that the society I was associated with in a "former life", the American Society of Plant Biologists, is again venturing bravely into the arena of open access publishing! A year or so ago, they allowed their authors to make articles published in Plant Physiology or Plant Cell open access, for an additional fee of $1000 ($500 for UIUC authors, since your library has subscriptions to both titles). About 10% of the authors took them up on this offer. In a recent editorial the editor-in-chief of Plant Physiology announced that, as of the January 2007 issue, all articles published by ASPB members in Plant Physiology will have their articles made open access for no additional fee! This means that over 50% of the articles published in Plant Physiology in 2007 will be open access.

The reason for this change in policy? Don Ort, the editor-in-chief of Plant Physiology and UIUC Plant Biology professor, says that

there are strong reasons to believe that Open Access drives higher impact and citation by accelerating recognition and dissemination of research findings. A recent recent longitudinal bibliometric analysis of Open Access vs. non–Open Access papers published over a 6-month period in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences supports this premise (Eysenbach, 2006). Even in a journal widely available in research libraries and one that publicly releases its full content after 6 months, Open Access articles were found to be twice as likely to be cited in the first 4 to 10 months compared to non–Open Access articles.

Additionally, they note that even during the short amount of time that ASPB has offered the open access option, the open access articles
have been accessed about 10% more often and downloaded approximately 20% more often than the non–Open Access articles published in the same volumes.

No word, yet, on whether Plant Cell will follow in the footsteps of it's sister publication, Plant Physiology. Both of these journals are highly regarded, with impact factors for 2005 of 11.088 and 6.114, respectively.

Posted by Katie Newman at 10:38 AM

September 11, 2006

Authors Strike Deals to Squeeze in a Few Brand Names

Marketers have discovered a novel way to get their word out: embedding products in books.

The latest example is Cathy's Book, a novel due out Oct. 2 about a teen determined to find out why her boyfriend dumps her, then mysteriously disappears.

Procter & Gamble wrote a deal with the authors to include products such as Cover Girl's "Shimmering Onyx" eye shadow and "Metallic Rose" lipstick in exchange for promoting the book on P&G's teen website

Read more about this blurring of the lines between advertising and book publishing in USA Today, 9/10/06

Posted by P. Kaufman at 10:31 AM

September 9, 2006

Portico Membership Eases Print Journal Cancellation Decisions

As part of its strategy to assure sustained access to journal literature, the University Library has become a member of Portico, an electronic archiving service that provides a third-party trusted repository for electronic journals. Portico’s mission is to preserve scholarly literature published in electronic form and ensure that these materials remain accessible to future scholars, researchers, and students.

Membership in Portico provides the Library with access to a permanent archive of electronic journals from major publishers such as Elsevier, SAGE, Annual Reviews, Oxford University Press, and John Wiley & Sons. As a result, the Library can confidently cancel print subscriptions to journals for which digital subscriptions exist because it is certain these materials will be available in the future.

“Portico gives us the opportunity to continue our thoughtful approach to the long-term stewardship of our collections,” says Karen Schmidt, Acting University Librarian. “We are a recognized leader among research libraries in our commitment to preservation for future users. Decisions such as joining Portico will continue to set us apart from other research libraries as we move into the digital age.”

Librarians at the University Library are now engaged in making the annual journal cancellations decisions needed to balance their discipline-based collection budgets. Portico will be an important factor in their cancellation decisions as they continue talks with faculty and students about journal cancellations. More information, including a list of other publishers participating in Portico, is available on at the Portico website,

Posted by Katie Newman at 9:47 AM

September 7, 2006

53 College Presidents Lead Newest Show of Support for Public Access Act

Fifty-three liberal arts college presidents from across the United States, representing twenty-two states, joined together to sign a letter of support for the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006 (S.2695; FRPAA). The legislation, originally introduced by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), would require federal agencies that fund over $100 million in annual external research to make manuscripts of peer-reviewed journal articles stemming from that research publicly available via the Internet.

The letter from the 53 college presidents adds to the support given earlier by 48 university provosts (including UIUC's Provost Katehi) and demonstrates support for the Public Access Act exists across the wide breadth of the higher education community. The presidents’ letter notes, “Academic libraries simply cannot afford ready access to most of the research literature that their faculty and students need,” and that “[the Act] will benefit education, research, and the general public.” The full text of the college president's letter is online at
To read more about the university provost's support, click here and here.

Posted by Katie Newman at 9:55 AM

September 5, 2006

Portico: E-Journal Archiving Program

As a sort of insurance policy for maintaining access to electronic journals, should some unforseen catastrophe occur, the University Library is subscribing to the Portico digital archiving program. Portico offers a service that provides a permanent archive of electronic scholarly journals. Initial support for Portico was provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Ithaka, The Library of Congress, and JSTOR. A list of participating publishers is available, and includes such publishers as the American Inst. of Physics (AIP), Annual Reviews, Elsevier, John Wiley & Sons, Oxford University Press, Sage publications, and the University of Chicago Press. As of September 1st, 2006, over 3,700 titles are being preserved at Portico.

Posted by Katie Newman at 11:33 AM