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September 27, 2007

Howard Hughes Medical Institute Announces Further Support for Open Access

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) the largest private funder of biomedical research in the U.S. has announced several new policies that strongly demonstrate it's support for open access:

This agreement with Springer is much better than the earlier agreement HMMI made with Elsevier whereby HMMI agreed to pay for delayed access ("green access") to articles that their authors publish in Elsevier journals rather than the immediate access ("gold access") offered through Springer's Open Choice program.

Posted by Katie Newman at 2:10 PM

Harvard Faculty Council recommends an OA policy

With thanks to Peter Suber's Open Access News and the Harvard Crimson ...

Harvard Faculty Council recommends an OA policy
Alexandria Hiatt, Profs Might Make Their Articles Free: Faculty Council proposes ‘open access’ for journal articles, Harvard Crimson, September 27, 2007.

The Faculty Council, the 18-member governing body of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), advanced a measure yesterday that would make articles written by Harvard professors in scholarly journals available online at no cost.

The proposal would create a system of “open access” whereby the authors could make their work available either on a personal or university Web site for free, according to Weary Professor of German and Comparative Literature Judith L. Ryan, who serves on the council.

Professors would have the option to opt out of the new system, Ryan said.
“The problem this is supposed to address is the increasing monopoly that has developed on the part of scholarly journals, who are now making it increasingly difficult for people to access the material they publish,” she said.

“Libraries everywhere are paying huge amounts to scholarly journals,” she added, “and that means the amount of money they can spend on other purchases is increasingly squeezed.”

The program has been spearheaded by Welch Professor of Computer Science Stuart M. Shieber. According to Ryan, Shieber has appeared before the council three times in the past year and a half and has worked closely with the University Office of General Counsel to address any possible legal issues....

The proposal will now come before the full faculty for a vote. Ryan said she expected it to be addressed at a Faculty meeting this term.

The measure will immediately take effect if passed, according to Ryan, and the publishers will have little recourse.

“It is pretty certain that other universities would follow,” she said, “And that is crucial because it would put pressure on big publishers.”

Local perspective --
University of Illinois' Provost Linda Katehi has strongly urged faculty to retain the rights to use their own articles and to make them as widely accessible as possible. The University Senate concurred, passing a resolution that urges faculty to modify the copyright agreement forms they sign when submitting their papers for publication, using an addendum created for use by CIC members.

From Katehi's 7/10/07 note to the faculty:
"It [the Addendum] 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."

Katehi goes on to say:
"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."

Posted by Katie Newman at 1:51 PM

September 20, 2007

Sinking or Swimming: NY Times Select Removes Fee Barrier

Yesterday, the New York Times suspended its "Times Select" fee-paid service, choosing instead to make everything, including its archives, free to all readers. See for more information.

This is a significant event in the evolution of online newspapers and newspaper services. Could it be a harbinger of things to come? Last night, NPR's "All Things Considered" ran a story on the Times' change of heart ( in which it focused on the Times' (and others') new ad-based revenue models that are being used instead of the traditional subscription/ad models. The story also reported that Rupert Murdoch is considering a similar open access model for the Wall Street journal after he takes over its ownership.

Posted by P. Kaufman at 8:24 AM

September 18, 2007

Publish and Perish: The Future Fate of Not-for-Profit Society–sponsored Journals?

In a Journal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry editorial (Volume 55 (10): 981-982, 2007) Kevin A. Roth, Editor-in-Chief, Denis G. Baskin, Executive Editor recently announced a plan by which they hope to keep their society's journal afloat. After acknowledging the slow erosion of institutional print subscriptions, they've taken the bold move of going to a "Print on Demand" model. The journal will no longer be published and distributed in print. In addition to online subscriptions,

"the JHC will continue to be available in hard copy for those institutions or individuals who prefer to have the gorgeous print issue available or simply have limited access to the online version of the JHC. There will be no diminution in the quality of the print journal...Authors may benefit from reduced costs, because digital printing will eliminate traditional color printing costs, which can be considerable."

They go on to discuss the issues that many scholarly society publishers are facing these days as they struggle to remain afloat. Interestingly, they are not considering going "open access", though it can be noted that they are OA after a 12 month embargo. (See other Highwire titles that have similar embargo periods.)

Posted by Katie Newman at 1:16 PM

September 14, 2007

Free Online Bioscience Course from Lehigh University

Lehigh University (Bethlehem PA) is offering a totally free online biology course, Bioscience in the 21st Century. It is described as:

A multidisciplinary survey course in which several theme-based topics in bioscience and their social/ethical considerations will be explored. ...
A major goal of the course will be to communicate the importance of a systems-driven, multidisciplinary approach in bioscience. Several contemporary issues (e.g., obesity, infectious diseases, cancer, stem cell biology, advances in cell biology and medicine, genome-based medicine, neurophysiology-related topics, bioinformatics, interfaces between organic chemistry and biology, advances in engineered biomedical systems, advances in bioimaging, social/ethical considerations) will be discussed.
Lectures will be presented by faculty from different disciplines in order to highlight cross-disciplinary perspectives on fundamental problems and potential solutions in bioscience. This course is envisioned as the initial tool for shaping an intellectual approach to bioscience that routinely values interconnections among disciplines and reduces/eliminates the tendency to compartmentalize learning “by subject.”
A second goal of the course is to provide scientific literacy for non-majors and the public. Students who are not formally registered for the course are encouraged to attend lectures based on their interests. Course materials including the syllabus, course materials, and all lectures are available on the web with full access for the entire Lehigh community and interested members of the public.
Lecturers will include Lehigh University professors from a variety of departments, as well as special guests. Check for weekly postings of lectures, and class resources.
This virtual classroom opportunity is funded through a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The grant recognizes Lehigh’s innovative approach to preparing students to address emerging issues in modern biology and biomedical research.

Check out the