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July 31, 2007

New Model for University Presses

From Inside Higher Education, July 31, 2007.
Scott Jaschik, New Model for University Presses

As posted in Open Access News...
It’s the nightmare-come-true scenario for many an academic: You spend years writing a book in your field, send it off to a university press with an interest in your topic, the outside reviewers praise the work, the editors like it too, but the press can’t afford to publish it. The book is declared too long or too narrow or too dependent on expensive illustrations or too something else. But the bottom line is that the relevant press, with a limited budget, can’t afford to release it, and turns you down, while saying that the book deserves to be published.

That’s the situation scholars find themselves in increasingly these days, and press editors freely admit that they routinely review submissions that deserve to be books, but that can’t be, for financial reasons. The underlying economic bind university presses find themselves in is attracting increasing attention, including last week’s much awaited report from Ithaka, “University Publishing in a Digital Age,” which called for universities to consider entirely new models.

One such new model is about to start operations: The Rice University Press, which was eliminated in 1996, was revived last year with the idea that it would publish online only, using low-cost print-on-demand....

Rice is going to start printing books that have been through the peer review process elsewhere, been found to be in every way worthy, but impossible financially to publish....

Some of the books Rice will publish, after they went through peer review elsewhere, will be grouped together as “The Long Tail Press.” In addition, Rice University Press and Stanford University Press are planning an unusual collaboration in which Rice will be publishing a series of books reviewed by Stanford and both presses will be associated with the work….

Alan Harvey, editor in chief at Stanford, said he saw great potential not only to try a new model, but to test the economics of publishing in different formats. Stanford might pick some books with similar scholarly and economic potential, and publish some through Rice and some in the traditional way, and be able to compare total costs as well as scholarly impact. “We’d like to make this a public experiment and post the results,” he said.

Another part of the experiment, he said, might be to explore “hybrid models” of publishing. Stanford might publish most of a book in traditional form, but a particularly long bibliography might appear online….

Read the complete Inside Higher Education Column
Read the complete Ithaka Report

Posted by Katie Newman at 3:30 PM

July 30, 2007

University Publishing in a Digital Age

In case you've not seen the notices, the non-profit organization Ithaka has just released a report on the state of university press publishing today, University Publishing in a Digital Age. Based on a detailed study of university presses, which morphed into a larger examination of the relationship among presses, libraries and their universities, the report's authors suggest that university presses focus less on the book form and consider a major collaborative effort to assume many of the technological and marketing functions that most presses cannot afford; they also suggest that universities be more strategic about the relationship of presses to broader institutional goals.

Posted by P. Kaufman at 7:39 AM

July 27, 2007

Oxford Decreases Subscription Costs as Journals Become Increasingly More "Open Access"

Oxford University Press has announced that it is REDUCING the subscription price of many of it's journals!

Now THAT'S news!

The price reduction is in recognition of the fact that, increasingly, authors are choosing to make their articles available to all (via Oxford's Oxford Open program) by paying the optional author publication charge. This charge is currently set at $1500, if the author's institution holds an institutional subscription for the title.

As posted to the liblicense by Kirsty Luff, Senior Communications & Marketing Manager
Oxford Journals, Oxford University Press:

..the 2008 online-only prices of Oxford Open journals have been adjusted to reflect any increase in the amount of open access versus non-open access content published in each journal in 2006 compared to the amount in 2005.

Generally, the more open access content published in a journal, the lower the future online-only price. However, the picture is sometimes complicated by other factors such as changes in page
extent, issue frequency, and exchange rate adjustments. For instance, on average, our journals' page extents have increased 6% between 2006 and 2007.

A list of the journals in Oxford Open and their 2008 pricing adjustments is available. <.doc>

If an institution had a subscription for the 28 titles listed, they would have paid $17223 for e-access in 2008; with the reductions, they will now pay $16063, or a reduction of 6.3%. The range of discounts is from 1% to 19%. According to their table, the journals with the highest uptake of open access are Bioinformatics (earning a 19% reduction), Human Molecular Genetics (15%), Brain (10%), and Protein Engineering, Design and Selection [PEDS] (9%).

Let's hope the other publishers that are providing the optional open access option will offer discounts as well!

Posted by Katie Newman at 2:13 PM

July 20, 2007

Public Access Achieves Key Milestone

In a big step forward for scientific communication, the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday approved language supporting public access to the results of research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The House FY2008 Labor, HHS and Education Appropriations Bill, which passed last night, directs NIH to require its funded researchers to deposit copies of eligible manuscripts into PubMed Central immediately upon acceptance by a peer-reviewed journal, to be made freely accessible to the public no later than 12 months after publication.

Although the fight is not over, it is important to note that the NIH Public Access Policy has continued to steadily gain momentum, and has now advanced farther in the legislative process than ever before. While the House Appropriations Committee has been keenly interested in NIH public access for several years, legislative support has now solidified and expanded this year to include strong, explicit backing from the Senate Appropriations Committee, as well as the full U.S. House of Representatives. These successes are due to the energetic collective action of an extremely broad coalition of taxpayer access supporters.

The U.S. Senate now will take up the matter.

Posted by P. Kaufman at 1:14 PM

July 13, 2007

26 Nobel Laureates Support Open Access Mandate at NIH

From Open Access News
Twenty-six US Nobel laureates in science have written an open letter to Congress calling for an OA mandate at the NIH (July 8, 2007). This is actually their second such letter. The first letter (PDF), signed by 25 Nobel laureates, was sent on August 26, 2004.

Excerpt from the new letter:

As scientists and Nobel laureates, we are writing to express our strong support for the House and Senate Appropriations Committees' recent directive to the NIH to enact a mandatory policy that allows public access to published reports of work supported by the agency. We believe that the time is now for Congress to enact this enlightened policy to ensure that the results of research conducted by NIH can be more readily accessed, shared and built upon to maximize the return on our collective investment in science and to further the public good.

As we noted in a letter to Congress urging action on this policy nearly three years ago, we object to barriers that hinder, delay or block the spread of scientific knowledge supported by federal tax dollars including our own works. Thanks to the internet, we can transform the speed and ease with which the results of research can be shared and built upon. However, to our great frustration, the results of NIH-supported medical research continue to be largely inaccessible to taxpayers who have already paid for it.

Despite best intentions, the voluntary policy enacted by NIH over two years ago has simply not improved public access significantly. As active scientists, it does not surprise us that a request with neither incentives nor consequences attached to submit our articles so that they are freely available simply does not make the lengthy “to-do” lists of our colleagues. We firmly agree with NIH Director Elias Zerhouni, who indicated in his testimony to the Senate LHHS Appropriations Subcommittee this year that only a mandatory policy will be an effective policy. Requiring compliance is not a punitive measure, but rather a simple step to ensure that everyone, including scientists themselves, will reap the benefits that public access can provide. We have seen this amply demonstrated in other innovative efforts within the NIH most notably with the database that contains the outcome of the Human Genome Project.

The public at large also has a significant stake in seeing that this research is made more widely available....Librarians, physicians, health care workers, students, journalists, and investigators at thousands of academic institutions and companies are currently hindered by unnecessary costs and delays in gaining access to publicly funded research results.

Over the past three years, public access to work produced in other countries has been greatly expanded. Both government and philanthropic funding agencies in several nations have outpaced the U.S. in advancing policies for sharing the results of their funded research, with rules that are more stringent than those now employed by the NIH. In the United Kingdom alone, 5 of the 7 Research Councils and the leading foundations that support science have enacted mandatory public access policies; it is now estimated that 90% of the biomedical research funded in the U.K. is covered by a mandatory enhanced- or open-access policy.

Enhanced public access will not, of course, mean the end of medical and scientific journals at all....The experience of dozens of publishers has shown that even with embargo periods of 6 months (or shorter), journals continue to thrive. In addition, since this policy will apply only to NIH-funded research, journals will contain significant numbers of articles not covered by this requirement as well as other articles and commentary invaluable to the science community....

We strongly encourage you to realize this overdue reform by adopting language in the FY08 Appropriations measure that requires the NIH Public Access Policy to be made mandatory.

Signed by 26 Nobel Laureates:

Peter Agre, Chemistry, 2003
Sidney Altman, Chemistry, 1989
Paul Berg, Chemistry, 1980
Michael Bishop, Physiology or Medicine, 1989
Baruch Blumberg, Physiology or Medicine, 1976
Gunter Blobel, Physiology or Medicine, 1999
Paul Boyer, Chemistry, 1997
Sydney Brenner, Physiology or Medicine, 2002
Johann Deisenhofer, Chemistry, 1988
Edmond Fischer, Physiology or Medicine, 1992
Paul Greengard, Physiology or Medicine, 2000
Leland Hartwell, Physiology or Medicine, 2001
Robert Horvitz, Physiology or Medicine, 2002
Eric Kandel, Physiology or Medicine, 2000
Arthur Kornberg, Physiology or Medicine, 1959
Harold Kroto, Chemistry, 1996
Roderick MacKinnon, Chemistry, 2003
Kary Mullis, Chemistry, 1993
Ferid Murad, Physiology or Medicine, 1998
Joseph Murray, Physiology or Medicine, 1990
Marshall Nirenberg, Physiology or Medicine, 1968
Stanley Prusiner, Physiology or Medicine, 1997
Richard Roberts, Physiology or Medicine, 1993
Hamilton Smith, Physiology or Medicine, 1978
Harold Varmus, Physiology or Medicine, 1989
James Watson, Physiology or Medicine, 1962

The bill that would mandate NIH-funded research be made openly available within 1 year of publication is making it's way through the House and Senate. It has been passed by both the House and Senate Appropriations committees, and next Tuesday (July 17th, 2007) is slated to go before the whole House. But the science & medical publishers are lobbying hard against this bill! If you'd like to send a note to our congressmen and senators expressing your opinion on this matter, follow this link.

Posted by Katie Newman at 4:01 PM

July 11, 2007

Textbook Publishers Scrutinized By Congress

There's an interesting short article in today's Chronicle of Higher Education about a briefing by textbook publishers. Congressional staff members pelted company officials with questions about the high costs of college textbooks and asserted that the publishers did not have students' best interests in mind during a briefing on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.

But the publishers said they offer professors hundreds of books to choose from for a specific subject, varying in cost from only $30 to upwards of $100, and in some cases even let the professor purchase certain chapters of a book that will not be wholly used.

Data offered by both sides about the amount students pay for textbooks varied from $644 to $900 a year. Congressional staff members, many of whose children are college students, complained about the frequency of new editions of text books that students have no choice but to purchase. Publishers described new online products that they contend will be more effective and less costly than traditional printed textbooks, but in general, these staffers seemed cautious about the efficacy of online learning tools.

Posted by P. Kaufman at 7:21 AM

July 10, 2007

Provost's Letter of Support for Retaining Publishing Rights

From Provost Linda Katehi, in an email sent to the U of Illinois Faculty, 7/10/07
Dear Colleague,

New opportunities created by electronic publishing and archiving are changing the business of scholarly publication. Because traditional publication agreements transfer copyrights to publishers and restrict electronic distribution by the author and their institution, publishers appear to have captured much of the benefit of these changes.

In November 2006, faculty governance leaders from CIC universities discussed these issues that affect scholarly communication and called for a concrete strategy that would help faculty retain more control over their published intellectual property. Subsequently, the CIC provosts issued a
Statement on Publishing Agreements and an Addendum to Publication Agreements for CIC Authors. ( The Addendum is intended to be used by faculty entering into publication agreements with journal publishers or presses. It supports authors rights to use their own published work in teaching and research, to post a publication on a personal website, or to deposit it in a repository maintained by their institution or a professional association. IDEALS ( is the University of Illinois institutional repository.

Late this Spring, the U of I Senate endorsed the principles expressed in the CIC Provosts Statement and Addendum; encouraged faculty to consider using it as well as other publication agreement addenda that increase their rights in reproducing, distributing, and archiving their own work; and asked the CIC Provosts to provide leadership in negotiating with publishers to develop new publication agreements that provide CIC authors and institutions greater rights for use, distribution and archiving their published scholarly works.

It is our responsibility as scholars to ensure that our work is available as widely as possible to maximize its scholarly impact, accessibility, and educational use. I encourage you to use the Addendum and to deposit your research and scholarship in IDEALS, which provides reliable and persistent access to its holdings.

You may read more about what the U of I is doing at the Scholarly Communication website. See:
What the U of I is doing
What YOU can do.

Posted by Katie Newman at 9:34 AM

July 9, 2007

Do the Criteria for Tenure Need to Change?

The Scientist is currently running an open-comment survey on whether folks think that the criteria on which tenure is awarded in scientific disciplines needs to change.

Among the questions to consider:

Source: The Scientist : Does tenure need to change?
Address : <>

Posted by Katie Newman at 12:37 PM

PLoS Hires ScienceBlogs Blogger to Encourage Interactivity

With thanks to Becky Smith for the heads up...

Bora Zivkovic, chief blogger at ScienceBlog's "A Blog Around the Clock", has been hired by the Public Library of Science to encourage readers to comment on the papers that are published by the various PLOS journals.

Each PLOS article provides a link whereby readers may "provide a response" to the article. Browsing through several issues of PLOS Biology indicates to me that so far this option has been underutilized so it appears Bora will have a big task ahead of himself.

It seems to me that such comments on articles could certainly add extra value to the original piece -- they could elaborate on related experiments, refute the findings, or comment on the significance of the article much as Faculty of 1000 Biology recommendations do.

Good luck, Bora!

Posted by Katie Newman at 11:05 AM

July 8, 2007

Publishing Versus Posting: Nature Magazine Turns to a Conversational Content Model

From O'Reilley Radar is this announcement from Timo Hannay of Nature:

The traditional way for scientists to share their research results is through journals. These have the benefit of being peer-reviewed, citable and archival, but as a communication channel they are also relatively slow and expensive. As a complement to this, scientists also use more immediate and informal approaches, such as preprints (i.e., unpublished manuscripts), conference papers and presentations. The trouble is, these usually aren't easy to share in a truly globally way (most repositories are institution- or funder-specific), and you can't formally cite them (which is important because citation underlies the scientific credit system).

Nature Precedings is trying to overcome those limitations by giving researchers a place to post documents such as preprints and presentations in a way that makes them globally visible and citable. Submissions are filtered by a team of curators to weed out obviously inappropriate material, but there's no peer-review so accepted contributions appear online very quickly -- usually within a couple of hours. The content is all released under a Creative Commons Attribution License, and each item is made citable using a DOI or Handle (the same systems used for peer-reviewed scholarly papers).

A similar approach has long been the norm in physics, where the the preprint server at Cornell provides an indispensible source of up-to-the-minute reports (the main reason that Nature Precedings doesn't attempt to cover physics). We're hoping to catalyse a similar degree of openness and cooperation among researchers in other disciplines. Because Nature Precedings isn't peer-reviewed (to be more accurate, the submissions are subjected to open review *after* their release, through user comments and votes), we see it as complementing rather than competing with traditional journals, just as operates alongside the peer-reviewed journals in physics.

The service is free to authors and readers alike.

In a recent entry in ContentBlogger, John Blossom compares Nature's portal with PLoS ONE, preferring the latter even though there are fees associated with it.

Posted by P. Kaufman at 9:56 AM

July 6, 2007

Google Scholar to Add Content from Elsevier's ScienceDirect

Big News! Google has recently been given permission to add content from the Elsevier ScienceDirect web portal. This means that, when searching Google Scholar (and possibly Google) we'll be able to search the full text of the nearly 2000 sci-tech journals published by Elsevier.

Until now, the only search engine that searched the full text of Elsevier journals was Elsevier's own search engine for ScienceDirect and it's subscription product, Scopus.

Many researchers are using Google Scholar due to it's ease of use and because it is capable of searching the full text (not just the titles / abstracts) of articles.

If the U of I has a subscription to the retrieved citations, you'll be able to read the articles online. If we don't have a subscription, use the "Discover" link attached to each Google Scholar record to request the article from Interlibrary Loan.

Read more about this announcement.

Posted by Katie Newman at 4:58 PM

July 3, 2007

No Extra Open Access Charges to Publish in the Journal of Experimental Botany

Earlier this Spring, Oxford University Press inaugurated a change in their article charge paradigm for those wanting to publish in the Journal of Experimental Botany: The article charge fee for publishing in an open access mode is now waived for authors who are at institutions that subscribe to the journal -- such as the University of Illinois!
Read more:

In addition, once your article is published in JEB, you will be allowed to immediately deposit a pdf of the article into IDEALS, our institutional archive of productivity.

ps -- As of 2007, members of the Am Soc Plant Biol may publish their Plant Physiology articles in an open access mode for free, too!

Studies are showing that articles that are available for free (open access) on the web are downloaded and cited more often. This means if your article is available in an open access mode, it will reach a wider audience. For example, many folks are using Google Scholar to find articles located author websites, publisher sites, as well as institutional archives such as IDEALS. These folks will find and be able to read your articles more readily!

Not interested in publishing in the J Exp Botany, but still want to provide wider access to your articles without paying extra for open access? There are several options!

Many publishers will allow you to post the post-review (but usually not the publisher's pdf) version of articles on your university digital archive [IDEALS}. You can even do this for older articles that perhaps would not be available electronically otherwise! Check the Sherpa/Romeo database to find out what the policies of your publisher are.

If you're getting ready to submit an article, don't just sign away all your rights by signing the Copyright Agreement form! Consider submitting a Copyright Addendum that reserves some rights for yourself -- you ARE the author, after all! The University Senate recently endorsed the CIC Copyright Addendum for use by U of Illinois authors.

Questions? Drop me a line!
-- Katie Newman, Scholarly Communication Officer and Biotechnology Librarian

Posted by Katie Newman at 12:53 PM