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October 25, 2006

Improving Access to Publicly Funded Research: Policy Issues and Practical Strategies

In remarks at a forum on “Improving Access to Publicly Funded Research,” leaders of major higher education and library organizations voiced their support for the goals of recent measures to expand public access to research funded by the US Government. The forum was co-sponsored by Association of American Universities (AAU), Association of Research Libraries (ARL), Coalition for Networked Information (CNI), National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC), and SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition).

“I fully support the aims and the specifics of the Cornyn/Lieberman Federal Research Public Access Act [FRPAA],” said David Shulenburger, Vice President for Academic Affairs of NASULGC. Introduced last May, FRPAA (S.2695) would require all US federal agencies that fund over $100 million on external research to ensure the resulting peer-reviewed research articles are available free on the Internet within six months of publication. “Scholars and the public are on the right side of this matter. Cornyn/Lieberman should become law.”

Read more of the press release

The University of Illinois is a member of AAU, ARL, SPARC, CNI, and NASULGC.

Posted by Katie Newman at 6:33 PM

October 23, 2006

Instructions Available for Loading Research Papers into PubMed Central

PubMed Central is an example of a discipline-based open access journal archive, in this case for biomedical and life sciences journal literature.

Those who have received funding from the NIH are encouraged to deposit their post-prints into PMC.

Step-by-step instructions have been developed for the NIH Manuscript Submission System (NIHMS).

Besides author-submitted articles, PMC also comprises journals that deposit material in PMC on a routine basis and generally make all their published articles available here. The journal list is available.

Posted by Katie Newman at 10:56 AM

October 18, 2006

Co-Founder of Wikipedia Starts Spinoff With Academic Editors

Can scholars build a better version of Wikipedia? Larry Sanger, a co-founder who has since become a critic of the open-source encyclopedia, intends to find out.

This week Mr. Sanger announced the creation of the Citizendium, an online, interactive encyclopedia that will be open to public contributors but guided by academic editors. The site aims to give academics more authorial control -- and a less combative environment -- than they find on Wikipedia, which affords all users the same editing privileges, whether they have any proven expertise or not.

The Citizendium, whose name is derived from "citizen's compendium," will soon start a six-week pilot project to determine many of its basic rules and operating procedures.

Mr. Sanger left Wikipedia at the end of 2002 because he felt it was too easy on vandals and too hard on scholars. There is a lot to like about Wikipedia, he said, starting with the site's open-source ethics and its commitment to "radical collaboration."

But in operation, he said, Wikipedia has flaws -- like its openness to anonymous contributors and its rough-and-tumble editing process -- that have driven scholars away. With his new venture, Mr. Sanger hopes to bring those professors back into the fold.

He plans to create for the site a "representative democracy," in which self-appointed experts will oversee the editing and shaping of articles. Any Web surfer, regardless of his or her credentials, will be able to contribute to the Citizendium. But scholars with "the qualifications typically needed for a tenure-track academic position" will act as editors, he said, authorizing changes in articles and approving entries they deem to be trustworthy.

A team of "constables" -- administrators who must be more than 25 years old and hold at least a bachelor's degree, according to the project's Web site -- will enforce the editors' dictates. "If an editor says the article on Descartes should put his biography before his philosophy, and someone changes that order, a constable comes in and changes it back," said Mr. Sanger.

To make the site even more appealing to academics, the Citizendium will require each of its volunteer contributors to register -- using a real name and a working e-mail address -- before editing any entries. In keeping with the less-wide-open strategy, the pilot project will be an invitation-only affair. (The Citizendium is seeking applications from editor and constable candidates on its Web site, and Mr. Sanger expects the pilot project to start this week.)

Read more at Chronicle of Higher Education 10/18/06

Posted by P. Kaufman at 7:10 AM

October 16, 2006

Cornell University and AAP Announce New Copyright Guidelines Governing Use of Electronic Course Content

The Association of American Publishers (AAP), US, and the Cornell University have announced a new set of copyright guidelines to govern the use of electronic course materials on the library’s electronic course reserves system, on faculty and departmental web pages, and through the various ‘course management’ websites used at Cornell. The move is part of ongoing discussions over the manner in which Cornell University provides copyrighted course content to students in digital formats.

According to the guidelines, jointly drafted by Cornell and AAP, the use of such content will be governed by the same legal principles that apply to printed materials.

The guidelines affirm that the faculty must obtain permission to distribute such works to the same degree, as permission is required for reproductions and distributions of publishers’ copyrighted works in hard-copy formats. In addition, AAP and Cornell are also discussing other possibilities that may be appropriate to encourage compliance with copyright law so that instructors' postings of electronic course content conform to legal requirements.

From Knowledgespeak, Sept 21, 2006.

Read more, from the AAP.
The Cornell Guidelines (PDF)
See also, Cornell's Checklist for Fair Use (PDF).

Posted by Katie Newman at 12:36 PM

October 13, 2006

UK Funding Agencies Mandate Deposition of Research Findings in Open Access Arenas

October 1st 2006 is a major milestone for the open access movement. There are now five major UK research funders which require open access to the published results of all the research that they fund.

The Medical Research Council (MRC), Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) and National Environmental Research Council (NERC) have all introduced policies requiring deposition in an open access repository, which took effect on October 1st 2006.

These new policies come into effect on the anniversary of the introduction of the Wellcome Trust's policy on open access, on October 1st 2005.

Matthew Cockerill, PhD
Publisher, BioMed Central

Posted by Katie Newman at 10:55 AM