Tuesday, December 18. 2007
The final report from the EPrints Community project drew some eye-opening comment from US repository manager and blogger Dorothea Salo.
In commenting on the report ("admirably honest and straightforward"), Salo found a coincidental convergence of ideas ("personally chuffed because I came to one or two of their same conclusions completely independently"), yet drew a much wider picture for repositories, with a warning about whether the communities that form around repository softwares are sustainable:
"the community-based development models that are so fashionable just at present in the repository community are equally if not more precarious. This just isn’t how libraries are accustomed to acquiring their software and having their needs met! The EPrints report goes into the results of this disconnect in considerable sheepish detail, so I don’t need to; I will merely remark that I’m not bullish on Fedora Commons or the DSpace Foundation."
As long as IRs are centred on libraries Salo suggests a big green light for emerging repository services, such as EPrints Services:
"What are libraries accustomed to? RFPs. Vendors. Hosted services. Black boxes. Fee-for-service, not fee-for-input. Passive, reactive technology management involving minimal technical staff. Saying “no” to anything, from chat-reference services to blogs and wikis to open-source repository software and its associated pay-to-play community structures, that doesn’t fit into those categories."
Is this a fair picture? It seems to predict the broad outcomes of the community project, yet it doesn't wholly reflect the position of the EPrints Community members, who joined after all, but it perhaps explains why we didn't get more members.
If pay-to-play doesn't work, it appears that fee-for-service will:"These federations and commonses and foundations and stuff had better get to work on some kind of fee-for-service funding model," Salo continued, "because they’re fish in a barrel if they don’t."
It looks like it is time to reexamine the role of the repository community, and perhaps with it the architecture of the institutional repository, to reach out to those who are less interested in the repository software they may find themselves using than in wanting to be able to do something useful with the IR, and who are willing to encourage others to do the same.
Friday, December 7. 2007
Repository software developers need to engage more with those who run the repositories, that is, those who choose and use the software. For open source software this would appear to be a natural process, but can it help make the software more sustainable? And can the community that evolves to do this be sustainable too?
The EPrints Community project set out to investigate both questions. It produced a sparkling new version of EPrints software (v3), but showed why successful and sustainable community involvement remains a difficult and elusive goal. The report has lessons for repository software, community building and the management and commercialisation of related services. How these approaches evolve and interact is going to have a big impact on which repository software is successful in the longer run.
To find out more, see the final report from the EPrints Community project
The blog is back, well, temporarily at least.
What happened to the blog? The blog was produced to serve the EPrints Community, which was a originally a JISC-funded project. That project finished in April 2007, and appeared to mark the end of active Community development, although Community remains an advertised package by EPrints Services.
With the end of the project, and of my role with the Community, it was natural to stop posting to the blog, and wrong to let it drift into serving another purpose. EPrints Insiders is the EPrints Community blog.
Why is the blog back? Although the project ended some time ago, we have just produced the final report, and it seemed appropriate to announce it here. That's what the next blog will do.
It's likely that will be it again, for now. The blog will remain, but postings are likely to be at best intermittent until the Community sparks back into life, which we hope it will in some modified form.
Tuesday, April 24. 2007
The Directory of Open Access Repositories, OpenDOAR, has extended the range of services that operate on the data held in the directory. Where the alternative repository service, ROAR, offers quantitative services, OpenDOAR is promoted more as a qualitative, quality-assured listing. Beyond the original search and browse functions, these new services enable more quantitative approaches to be built on its primary data, by the host and by third-parties.
OpenDOAR API (Application Programmers' Interface)
"The API lets developers use OpenDOAR data in their applications. It is a machine-to-machine interface that can run a wide variety of queries against the OpenDOAR Database and get back XML data. Developers can choose to receive just repository titles & URLs, all the available OpenDOAR data, or intermediate levels of detail. They can then incorporate the output into their own applications."
Example applications using the API include a repository-location map 'mash-up', a subject listing of repositories, and a tool to direct depositing authors to local repositories.
16 charts are presented as default, including:
- Repositories or Repository Organisations by Continent or Country
- Usage of Open Access Repository Software Platforms
- Open Access Repository Types
- Grades for Metadata Re-use policies, [Full Text] Data Re-use policies, etc.
- Growth of the OpenDOAR Database
Graphs are an add-on to the existing 'Find' page. Results can be viewed as charts whatever search is performed. For instance, by using the country filter to see how the "United States" and "Europe" compare, or to see how usage of EPrints differs from DSpace and Bepress.
Trial email distribution service
Repository managers can be difficult to address directly through mail lists. Here OpenDOAR tries to provide a solution by taking repository email addresses from its records and creating an interface - using a series of simple menus and options on a request form - for users to send mail to selected elements of the list, including by countries, continents, language groups and software platform. The list created by the user's selections is unseen, and mails are directed through a moderated service.
As this is a pilot service the types of emails that will be accepted for redistribution have to be confirmed, although it is anticipated that the follow types will be passed on:
-Emails announcing conferences, events and workshops
-News or announcements concerning OA software platform developments
-News of Open Access developments
-Requests for collaborators on a project, research or similar
-Announcements of research results of general interest to OA community
Having used the service, this is a useful way to segment the audience. The problem for any list based on email addresses published by repositories is that they tend to be impersonal and are often inactive. This is a failing of repository management, and could in turn limit the effectiveness of this service.
Monday, April 23. 2007
Knowledge Exchange, an initiative sponsored by European research agencies, has produced six reports (all dated February 2007 but made available on 26 March 2007) exploring interoperability between institutional repositories. These are essentially noteform reports from the strands of a workshop held in Utrecht (January 16-17, 2007), and present recommendations aimed at resolving current problems and concerns. The reports cover:
"The group proposes four initiatives:
1. initiate two studies, one on the need for author Identification and one addressing the potential business models for a author ID based services,
2. establish a prototype for cross institution use of author ID, which can serve as a blueprint,
3. arrange workshops for experts from the library field and from universities and from the Internet community identifying relevant initiatives and potential architectures for a service and finally to
4. establish a working group looking into the flow of relevant metadata."
"It was suggested to develop a European e-prints Application profile. Such a profile should work out the very specific metadata that only apply to doctoral e-theses."
Exchanging Research Info
"The objective of the strand was to bring together CRIS (Current Research Information Systems) and OAR (Open Access Repositories)."
"Once this work is done the definition of an optimized services model, integrating CRIS and OAR becomes more feasible and can be based on the principles of reuse of services (also on a supra-institutional level) and proper ownership of data."
"Current practice was reviewed, and found unsatisfactory, although it is difficult to be precise about exactly where the shortcomings are without a clearer idea of the services that are intended to use the metadata. The group also concluded that the other thematic strands at the workshop were likely to recommend work that would be relevant to research paper metadata."
"Aimed to analyze the current implementations of the protocol in the IRs of the Knowledge Exchange countries, to identify the major issues they encountered, finally, to consider the necessary evolutions in the deployment of the protocol that can allow to support the new requirements of scalability and services for IRs in the next few years."
"A number of individual initiatives have produced statistics of various kinds for individual repositories, but the real challenge is to produce statistics that can be collected and compared transparently on a global scale. This report details the steps to be taken to address the issues to attain this capability."
The partner organisations behind Knowledge Exchange are:
- Electronic Research Library (DEFF) in Denmark
- German Research Foundation (DFG)
- Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) in the United Kingdom
- SURF Foundation (SURF) in the Netherlands
L'Hostis, Dominique, and Pascal Aventurier
Open Archives: Towards A Deposit Mandate?
INRA's Scientific Information Directorate, in Archive Ouverte en Sciences de l'Information et de la Communication, (French versions) v1, 22-11-2006; v2, 06-12-2006; (English translation) v3, 03-04-2007
Summary conclusion: "Institutional repositories enable the storage (archiving) of all scientific work in a digital form for the purposes of access and preservation. Numerous studies have demonstrated that above all they provide added value in the form of increase in visibility, usage and impact for scientific work. Deposit rates, however, will remain very low (at around 15%), until institutions adopt mandatory deposit policies.
"Mandatory deposit has shown itself to be the only way to ensure the deposit of 100% of annual research output in an open institutional archive, an essential condition for deriving all the benefits anticipated from Open Access. The mandate should be linked to assessment: this will guarantee a high deposit rate and facilitate the work of assessment commissions.
"Linking mandatory deposit with the assessment process has two advantages:
- an increase in the number of documents deposited in open institutional archives, thus guaranteeing the regular updating of data,
- a considerable reduction in the work necessary to prepare assessments, for both assessors and researchers."
Scientific Communication and the Dematerialization of Scholarship
Proquest CSA, Discovery Guides, March 2007
Abstract: Many scientific research fields are becoming massively computationally intensive, handling and mining enormous datasets, a trend that is opening up possibilities for new methods of discovery, transdisciplinary and problem-centred investigation, and very large scale collaboration. Simultaneously, research practices at the frontier are changing rapidly as scientists and engineers are moving towards a research process of continuous refinement - writing, annotating and revising in near real time using the Internet - a tendency that may be further encouraged by the emergence of new, informal writing platforms and collaborative tools. These and related developments of the last decade may be contributing to the transformation of a system of scholarly research communication, based on the printed scholarly journal and the research article, that has been in place essentially unchanged for over three centuries. Following a backward glance at the beginnings of modern scientific communication, this article draws attention to this sudden, apparently dramatic shift, reviewing moves towards the development of 'cyberinfrastructure', a vision of a 'natively digital' scholarly communication system, the proliferation of open access institutional repositories, and the possibility of entirely new forms of scholarly communication as science itself shifts into a new phase in the 21st century.
Comment: A well researched and even-handed summary account of the changes in scholarly communication being driven by the digital online form motivating open access and, by the final of the four parts of the article, institutional repositories. In its even-handedness I was surprised, but should not have been. Proquest has an IR offering, so I was expecting this to lead to a sales pitch. It doesn't. If I was more familiar with Proquest CSA Discovery Guides I should have realised it wouldn't. These guides appear to be to promote and demonstrate access and use of the literature as provided by Proquest's abstracts and other information services, and in that respect the quality of the article serves the purpose and should be no surprise.
In its coverage of these issues the article could instead have tended to blandness, but again it avoids doing so. In the IR section it manages to identify, without references, some important tensions in different library approaches:
"To achieve these ends (a focus on increasing research impact and usage by the deposit of a scholar's final, post-peer review version of an article in an institutional repository) Harnad campaigns for policies of institutional and funder-level self-archiving mandates; in the meantime, an apparent lack of willingness or incentive for faculty to self-archive, and alternative, more expansive conceptions of institutional repositories that resemble full digital libraries, have recently led some repositories to house a vast range of materials, including datasets, learning objects, presentations, technical reports, theses, video and sound files, teaching materials, and administrative and numerical data. All of these were previously unavailable campus-wide or to the wider research community. Enthusiasts for a possible new, active role for universities in management, preservation and stewardship of digital materials, and experiments with institutional repositories re-engineered as new university-based publishing platforms, seem to be setting off on a divergent path from Harnad's more focused position, which prioritises global access to peer reviewed papers."
Friday, April 20. 2007
Hedlund, Turid, and Ingegerd Rabow
Open Access in the Nordic Countries - a State of the Art Report (pdf 58pp)
Nordbib, February 28, 2007
From the Summary: The report describes the present situation in the Nordic countries (Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland) regarding Open Access in scientific publishing. The present progress report presents comprehensive policy issues when present, as well as initiatives concerning a transfer to a more Open Access publishing policy, such as immediate application of Open Access publishing at various universities or research institutes. Success stories and challenging areas are given in the report and are illustrated with concrete examples.
The reports deals with primary Open Access publishing of scientific journals, working paper series and doctoral theses as well as parallel publishing of scientific articles in publication repositories. The role of the publishers will also be examined in connection with questions about agreements.
Comment: In the general text there is an emphasis on OA publishing, although in each country section there is a summary of institutional and 'open' repositories, primarily based on data extracted from the OpenDOAR or ROAR registries.
Thursday, April 19. 2007
The first bug fix version of EPrints version 3 has been released, v3.0.1 (beta): "It fixes a bunch of issues. Most notably it speeds up the indexer and sorts out the bugs in full text searching." Full list of bug fixes in this release.
As part of the testing regime, this version is now running the EPrints demo server, DemoPrints, and the EPrints Files server, from which it can be downloaded.
Upgrading 3.0.0 to 3.0.1 is "very easy".
Markey, Karen, Soo Young Rieh, Beth St. Jean, Jihyun Kim, and Elizabeth Yakel
Census of Institutional Repositories in the United States: MIRACLE Project Research Findings
Council on Library and Information Resources, Washington, DC, CLIR pub 140, February 2007
Comment 1: Roy Tennant, Current Cites, February 2007 "This report summarizes the findings of the first phase of the IMLS-funded MIRACLE Project to investigate institutional repositories in higher education. At a survey response rate of about 21% of the 2,147 academic library directors and senior library administrators contacted, only 10.8% had implemented a repository. An additional 36.3% were planning to implement or were pilot testing an institutional repository. There is much to consider in this report, but the diversity of organizational situations, repository software options, and implementation models makes it difficult and even erroneous to make sweeping generalizations. Rather, those who are interested in this issue would do well to spend some time digesting the findings for what can inform their particular situation."
Comment 2: This is a remarkably wide and detailed survey of library directors and staff about the status (or not) of their IRs. Where legal documents typically advise reading the small print, be warned, this is effectively all small print. Fortunately, there is a good summary document, quite long on its own, which can be used to find pointers to sections worth dipping into. A short report on preliminary findings from this census preceded this version. Overall, this picture of IR development is confused, with no overriding vision or consistency of purpose evident.
Extracts from the Executive Summary
Who Participated in the MIRACLE Project Census of IRs in the United States?
Of the 2,147 academic library directors and senior library administrators MIRACLE Project staff contacted, 446 participated in the census—a response rate of 20.8%. Characterizing the extent of their involvement with IRs, 236 (52.9%) respondents reported that they have done no IR planning (NP) to date, 92 (20.6%) respondents are only planning (PO) for IRs, 70 (15.7%) respondents are actively planning and pilot testing IRs (PPT), and 48 (10.8%) respondents have implemented (IMP) an operational IR (Figure 2.1).
What Kinds of Educational Institutions Have and Do Not Have IRs?
MIRACLE Project staff used the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education (CCHE) to characterize census respondents (Table 2.2 and Figure 2.3). Research universities vastly outnumber other CCHE classes with respect to involvement in IR planning, pilot testing, and implementation (Table 2.3). Most NP and PO respondents come from master’s and baccalaureate institutions.
What Are Useful Investigative Activities?
Staff involved with various phases of IR efforts have voracious appetites for information about IRs, especially information pertaining to best practices and successful implementations at institutions similar to their own (Tables 4.1, 8.1, 8.2, and 9.3). The needs assessment is not as important as other investigative activities (Table 4.1 and Figure 4.1). Pilot testing one or more IR-system packages is very important. About 16% of MIRACLE census respondents are pilot testing one or more IR-system packages (Figure 2.1), and almost three-quarters of PO respondents intend to pilot test IR-system software (Figure 4.2). Benefits of pilot testing include developing the requisite technical expertise for IR implementation, evaluating IR-system software, and estimating implementation costs (Table 4.3). For most PO institutions in the census, the next step is to widen the scope of their investigations. For most PPT institutions, the next step is to implement IR-system software (Figure 4.3). Very few (about 10%) PO and PPT institutions are likely to terminate their IR efforts (Figure 4.5).
What Content Is in Pilot-test and Operational IRs?
Both pilot-test and operational IRs are very small (Figure 6.1). About 80% of the former and 50% of the latter contain fewer than 1,000 digital documents. Only four (8.3%) pilot-test IRs and seven (19.4%) operational IRs contain more than 5,000 documents. There is no relationship between IR size and age. Pilot-test and operational IRs contain a wide range of text, numeric, and multimedia files, but traditional text-based document types that are the result of the research enterprise of staff and students at postsecondary institutions are especially characteristic of these institutions’ content (Table 6.1).
What Progress Have Respondents Made on IR Policies?
At least 60% of census respondents with operational IRs report they have implemented policies for (1) acceptable file formats, (2) determining who is authorized to make contributions to the IR, (3) defining collections, (4) restricting access to IR content, (5) identifying metadata formats and authorized metadata creators, and (6) determining what is acceptable content (Figure 6.2). There are many more IR-related activities for which these institutions report drafted policies or no policies at all.
Bergstrom, T. C. and Lavaty, R.
How often do economists self-archive?
eScholarship Repository, University of California, February 8, 2007
Abstract: To answer the question of the paper's title, we looked at the tables of contents from two recent issues of 33 economics journals and attempted to find a freely available online version of each article. We found that about 90 percent of articles in the most-cited economics journals and about 50 percent of articles in less-cited journals are available. We conduct a similar exercise for political science and find that only about 30 percent of the articles are freely available. The paper reports a regression analysis of the effects of author and article characteristics on likelihood of posing and it discusses the implications of self-archiving for the pricing of subscription-based academic journals.
Implications: "The large differences in posting behavior between economists and political scientists, and that between economists at research intensive universities and those at teaching universities suggests to us that the decision about whether to self-archive is often not an informed rational decision, but a response to the information and norms supported by their peer groups. Authors are more likely to learn about the possibilities of self-archiving by observing their colleagues, than from their own investigations."
Comment: Stevan Harnad, How often do economists self-archive? (fwd) "An important paper"
Tuesday, April 17. 2007
The latest 2-day EPrints training course is to be run from Thursday 3rd May 2007 in Southampton, UK.
These short, focussed courses develop the skills required to deliver and maintain an effective repository, and provide hands-on experience of using EPrints. Courses are taught by the experts, that is, by the developers of EPrints. This course will be led by Tim Miles-Board, manager of EPrints Services and responsible for many EPrints repositories, with support from other members of the development team.
Courses are aimed at all repository team members - librarians, managers, and technical staff - of new and prospective institutional adopters of EPrints, and can also benefit new members joining established EPrints teams. Previous participants have described the course as 'empowering', improving their own role as well as helping them to understand and work effectively with other team members.
For the first time the course will be run using EPrints version 3.0, the latest release, as the platform for practical training. EPrints v 3 has been described as "a significant milestone towards ideal repository software".
Over the two days the course will cover
Day 1 - Repository Capabilities and Customisation
Day 2 - Advanced Repository Customisation
See the full programme overview.
Brown, S. and Swan, A.
Researchers' use of academic libraries and their services
Research Information Network and the Consortium of Research Libraries, April 2007
also available from ECS EPrints, 12 April 2007
Extracts, focussing on findings concerning IRs. (Note, page numbers are as indicated on the pdf, not by the pdf viewer.)
(section 8.2, p 43) In the survey we asked researchers for their views of the relative importance in five years’ time of the roles of librarians. A list of 13 options was provided ranging from activities librarians currently undertake, such as custodianship of collections and special collections, to activities which librarians may conceivably undertake in the future. The proportions of researchers identifying the seven most highly ranked roles are presented in Figure 22."
Seven most highly ranked roles:
- Custodian of print-based and digitised archives and special collections.
- Manager of institutional repositories of digital information
- Administrator dealing with the purchasing and delivery of information services
- Subject-based information expert
- Teacher of information literacy and related skills
- Manager of the vast datasets generated by e-research and grid-based projects
- Technology specialist facilitating electronic access to information resources
Manager of institutional repositories of digital information
"In spite of the current low take-up of institutional repositories, 61% of researchers believe that the management of such repositories will become a core role for librarians within five years; and an additional 25% think it will be an ancillary role. Only 6% think librarians should not be involved with the management of institutional repositories. ... Those who are aware of the repository in their institution will tend to be aware of the role of the library, since in all cases in the UK it is the institution’s library that has initiated and manages the institutional repository. It is thus quite natural for these ‘aware’ researchers to assume that this responsibility falls more naturally to the library than to any other entity on campus. Nevertheless, it is notable that so many of them think it will be a core role."
(section 8.3, p 46) "Having looked at researchers’ perceptions of the role of libraries in the future, we report here on the views of librarians themselves as to what sorts of roles they might call their own in five years time. The results shown in Figure 23 indicate that the core roles librarians currently undertake will still be core roles in five years time. These include administration, negotiating the purchase and executing the delivery of information resources, serving as custodians of archives and special collections, offering subject-based expertise, and teaching information literacy and related skills. But there are a number of additional roles that librarians are interested in developing: providing specialist advice in copyright and IPR issues; managing non-technical metadata issues; acting as technology specialists in facilitating access to electronic resources; and – most importantly – managing institutional repositories of digital information." (Figure 23 ranks 'Manager of IRs and digital info' 5th among core roles.)
(section 9.4, p 59) "We asked about what libraries have done so far to promote awareness of open access within their research communities. We asked researchers whether resources provided by their institution’s library had increased their understanding of open access. A list of six options was provided, and the results are presented in Figure 32. Alongside the researchers’ responses are figures for the proportions of librarians who reported that their library had made efforts to explain and promote open access to the research community using the methods listed.
"Nearly half of the researchers surveyed said that open access has never been promoted to them in any of the ways listed. This may mean either that librarians have not communicated with these particular researchers as yet, or that they have done so but researchers have not received the messages. As the results show, between 27% and 46% of librarians have made efforts to communicate with researchers using one or more of the methods listed but these efforts appear to have had only very limited impact. That said, it would seem that researchers are finding out about open access somehow – either through communications from the library or from other sources - since, as reported in section 8.3, 19% of them say they are “very familiar” with the concept and a further 33% say they are “familiar” with it.
"Even if they are familiar with the concept, researchers are much less familiar with how to make their own research output available on an open access basis; as is well-known, publishing in traditional subscription-based journals remains the most commonly used means of dissemination, and librarians appear to be having little influence on researchers’ publishing habits. Just 4% of researchers said a librarian had advised them to accompany publication in a subscription-based journal with deposit of a copy of the article in an open access repository; and only 1% of researchers said a librarian had advised them to publish in open access journals."
"As Figure 34 shows, only 14% of arts and humanities researchers are familiar or very familiar with the options available to make their own outputs open access, and 81% are not. Similarly, while 17% of social science researchers know what their options are, 78% do not. Physical science researchers show greater familiarity: 30% know how to make their work open access, while 66% do not. Life science researchers again show the greatest familiarity: 36.5% know how to make their work open access while 60% do not. By far the greatest levels of familiarity are reported by librarians: 73% of library directors are familiar with how researchers can make their research outputs open access, as are 65% of their librarian colleagues."
(section 9.4, p 66) "Librarians told us that in order to make more of a success of their open access schemes, they need two things: first, the explicit support of institutional senior management, to raise awareness of the importance of the issue and to formulate stronger policies on how it should be tackled; and second, that making research outputs open access should be as simple as possible. Their ideal, to encourage researchers to participate, would be a very simple process for depositing articles, with a ‘few-clicks’ procedure for entering accurate metadata. We note that repository software suppliers are working to simplify the deposit process as much as possible, and to find ways to ensure accuracy in the metadata: the newest version of EPrints, for example, has several places where drop-down lists appear after the first few letters of a field entry are typed (e.g. author’s name or journal title)."
Comment: Peter Suber, More data on faculty ignorance of OA "Section 9.4 thoroughly documents the still-widespread faculty ignorance of OA, OA repositories, and OA journals. This finding is two-edged. On the one hand, it's very discouraging, especially after all this time. On the other hand, it supports our claim that the problem is ignorance, not opposition. My experience is that it only takes a couple of minutes to excite faculty about OA, once you get their attention. The hard part is --still-- getting their attention."
Where can authors deposit open access versions of their papers if their institution does not have a repository? In the UK they could use a new service called The Depot, based on EPrints software. In conception this looks like an excellent service since it fills a gap where IRs are missing, but is predicated on the anticipation that those IRs will appear eventually. When an institution sets up a new IR, any content in the Depot from that institution will be transferred to the new IR.
According to JISC, which is funding the venture, as IRs are created, The Depot will help populate the new IRs: "The Depot will therefore act as a ‘keepsafe’ until a repository of choice becomes available for deposited scholarly content. In this way, The Depot will avoid competing with extant and emerging IRs while bridging gaps in the overall repository landscape and encouraging more open access deposits."
"The Depot helps provide a level-playing field for all UK researchers and their institutions, especially when deposit under Open Access is required by grant funding bodies", JISC continued.
In addition, a redirect service, UK Repository Junction, will show a depositing author if a repository already exists at the author's institution. enabling the content to be "correctly placed there instead of in The Depot."
Although The Depot has been announced by JISC, the service will not be 'live' until June.
Thursday, April 12. 2007
There have been some unwelcome, if isolated, developments concerning the conditions laid down by publishers and involving payments for self-archiving in repositories ('green' OA). These cases involve the publisher the American Chemical Society (ACS) and, separately, an arrangement between Elsevier and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), a US-based medical research funding agency, the latter principally concerning subject repositories (in this case PubMed Central) rather than IRs. These developments have been reported in a reflective and balanced update article:
Paying for green open access
SPARC Open Access Newsletter, issue #108, April 2, 2007
Note. Hybrid journal programs are where traditional subscription-based journals allow authors to selectively pay for online OA to their papers, i.e. gold OA by-the-paper rather than by-the-journal.
Extracts: "First the ACS re-announced its hybrid journal program, AuthorChoice, and reminded us that authors who wish to self-archive must pay the AuthorChoice fee. Then Elsevier and the HHMI agreed that when an HHMI-funded author publishes in an Elsevier journal, HHMI will pay Elsevier a fee to deposit the peer-reviewed postprint in PubMed Central six months after publication."
On ACS AuthorChoice "Nor is the ACS first publisher to charge a fee for self-archiving. About a week before the ACS announced AuthorChoice, Wiley announced its hybrid program, Funded Access, which has the same effect. However, the ACS is the second, and so far Wiley and the ACS seem to be alone in this category."
"At both publishers, these fees pay for gold OA, and I should make clear that I have no objection to charging for gold OA. ... However, I do object to charging for gold OA when authors only want green OA. It's like offering a car with a free bicycle to everyone who people who only want to buy a bicycle."
"As the ACS policy is currently worded, it only charges the fee for self-archiving the published edition of an article. Hence it leaves the door open for no-fee self-archiving of the final version of their peer-reviewed manuscript, rather than the published edition. On the American Scientist Open Access Forum, Stevan Harnad asked whether ACS planned to charge for that form of self-archiving as well. Adam Chesler, the ACS Assistant Director Sales and Library Relations, said yes.
"Chesler's answer makes the ACS policy even worse than it seemed at first. It's bad enough to force authors to pay for gold OA in order to get green OA; at least they really get gold OA too, wanted or not. But under this new wrinkle in the policy, even self-archiving authors who don't get gold OA must pay for it."
On the HHMI-Elsevier deal "The Wellcome Trust (WT) OA mandate requires deposit in PubMed Central (or its UK equivalent, UK PMC) and the forthcoming HHMI mandate will do the same. However, Elsevier allows OA archiving only through the author's personal web site or institutional repository. That's why HHMI and Elsevier first sat down to talk."
"HHMI will pay Elsevier $1,000 for each article published in a Cell Press journal and $1,500 for each article in any other Elsevier journal."
"WT and Elsevier struck a deal last September for the same reasons that HHMI and Elsevier struck one now. WT agreed to pay Elsevier higher fees than HHMI is paying ($3,000 per Elsevier article and $5,000 per Cell Press article), but it got more for its money. WT got immediate OA, while HHMI is getting embargoed OA. WT got OA to the published edition, while HHMI is getting OA to an unedited edition. WT got a Creative Commons license or equivalent; while HHMI could use CC licenses on deposited, unedited manuscripts, the published editions will remain under Elsevier's copyright with no significant reuse rights. ... Actually making the deposits is a semi-automated clerical task that doesn't come close to justifying these fees."
"Thomas Cech, President of HHMI (and a Nobel laureate in chemistry) told the Chronicle of Higher Education, "There seems to be an emerging consensus that this is a viable business proposition and to some extent a fair price, to the extent that one can really know what a fair price is." But he seems to have been thinking of the price for gold OA, which includes immediate access to the published edition. There is no precedent, let alone emerging consensus, for pricing green OA. Nor is there precedent or consensus for pricing OA to embargoed access to unedited manuscripts."
Overall "The ACS program will have low uptake. The price is high and very few authors who only want green OA will pay for gold OA. Elsevier will have uptake from each of its HHMI-funded authors. That's a larger class, but it's bounded and smaller than the class of HHMI-funded authors itself. I can't see that other funding agencies are likely to follow HHMI's lead, especially after studying the details of its deal. Even those who are tempted to pay publishers for their cooperation, or who have money to burn, will see that the Wellcome Trust got much more (for) its money, and an outcome much more beneficial to research, than HHMI. But even if the direct damage is limited, these policies have let loose a dangerous new meme suggesting that publishers need compensation merely for permitting deposit in an OA repository, even if the OA edition is an unedited manuscript, even if the OA is embargoed, and even when all the publisher's costs are already covered by subscriptions. That's the real danger here."
Comment: Suber is clear about where the blame lies in each case. In the ACS case, self-archiving authors will have to draw their own conclusions about the publisher's intransigence and how to respond. In the Elsevier-HHMI case, the HHMI has made an error, which it will end up paying for itself. Suber pointed to the danger of this action confusing other policy-makers about the economics of green OA. The wider issue is that major funders such as WT and HHMI could have a hugely beneficial influence on OA policy generally, and not just in their own areas of research. However successful they are in achieving OA in those areas - one expects they will succeed given the prominence they have given to OA policy, and the price being paid - they could contribute so much more to the Bigger Picture of OA.
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From April 2008 this blog is superseded by EPrints News blog, with contributions from the full EPrints development team.
News, comment and reflection, by and for members of the EPrints Community, on matters of practical impact affecting the development and use of institutional repositories, especially those built with EPrints software. More
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