Open and Shut: March 2005

Open and Shut: March 2005

The two-day event – one of the now bi-annual follow-up conferences for monitoring implementation of the 2003 Declaration – took place ter the incongruous surroundings of an English Edwardian Manor just north of Southampton. While the location wasgoed certainly pleasant enough (“set amongst 12 acres of beautiful landscaped gardens”, boasts the Manor’s web webpagina), obtaining an online connection wasgoed all but unlikely – even when armed with a cell phone gegevens card!

Time will tell whether the statement agreed at Berlin Trio will prove to be a geschreven uur of harmony, and proactive intent, or just one more paper wish list. History certainly suggests that the latter could prove to be the case.

PLoS’ Andy Gass is also upbeat, arguing that following Berlin Trio the signatories now have both a declaration of intent and two concrete components to work with. Spil he puts it: “Presumably, all the institutions that signed the declaration did so with the intention of following through on their commitment to ‘encourage[e] our researchers/grant recipients to publish their work according to the principles of the open access paradigm’.”

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

EC: Wij’d accept software patent defeat – ZDNet UK News

Linux a picture of health at CeBIT | Tech News on ZDNet | E-learning | Scottish universities sign open access overeenkomst

Saturday, March 12, 2005

What is Open Access?

The aim of the Open Access (OA) movement, says Peter Suber’s Open Access News, is to ensure that all “peer-reviewed scientific and scholarly literature” becomes available on the internet “free of charge and free of most copyright and licensing confinements.” The aim, he adds, is to eliminate “the barriers to serious research.”

What does this mean te practice, and how can OA best be achieved? That has bot the subject of frequent bitter dispute for at least the last ten years. Latterly the two main OA camps have consisted of those who promote the so-called Green Road (where researchers proceed to publish ter traditional subscription-based journals and then self-archive their papers on their private web webpagina or institutional repository) and those pushing the Gold Road (where researchers publish te new-style OA journals that charge a toverfee to publish papers, and then release them loosely on the internet at the time of publication).

Until recently discussions about OA have tended to be predominated by the gold volgers. However, te the wake of the UK Science and Technology Committee Report into scientific publishing, and the release of the final version of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) policy on public access to NIH-funded research, the debate has shifted significantly, and the green treatment now looks likely — for the foreseeable future at least — to set the notulen.

At the same time, most publishers now show up ready to embrace the unpreventable. Certainly the announcement this week that the American Chemical Society will introduce two experimental policies, including one te which “spil a value-added service to ACS authors and a method of further opening access to its content, the full-text version of all research articles published ter ACS journals will be made available at no charge via an author-directed Web verbinding 12 months after final publication”, seems like a positive signal that both commercial and non-profit STM journal publishers now accept that publicly-funded research vereiste be made loosely available on the web.

The ACS announcement is significant since the ACS wasgoed one of a handful of remaining publishers that consistently refused to “go green” and permit author self-archiving (technically ACS wasgoed classified spil a gray publisher).

On the surface it emerges that the ACS has had a conversion. Spil ACS Publications Senior Vice Voorzitter Brian Crawford commented “It is fundamental to the ACS mission to support and promote the research enterprise and to foster communication among its scientists. Providing unrestricted access via author-directed linksaf 12 months after publication – te addition to the 50 free e-prints presently permitted during the very first year of publication – reinforces that mission.”

Stevan Harnad, a leading voorstander of the green cause, and author of The Subversive Proposal, is unimpressed with the ACS position, believing it to be an attempt to make a virtue out of necessity. Consider, he says:

“(1) 12 month Back Access is so inconsequential for revenue that many publishers already are or are programma to opoffering it anyway – nothing to do with OA. AAAS for example suggested Back Access already Three years ago. Shulenburger had already proposed it (“NEAR”) way back te 1998!

“(Two) But besides not being OA and not being particularly different from the status quo, suggesting 12-month Back Access ter the name of satisfying the need and request for OA te general, and OA self-archiving ter particular is not an improvement but an entrenchment of what needs to be switched.

“Ter ordinary English,” he adds, “access 12 months late is not very useful ter itself and ter any case already becoming the vaandel, but from a gray publisher it is actually a excuse for not going green, and spil such, is no improvement at all. Wij should applaud partial steps only if they lead toward and increase the probability of 100% OA, not if they lead away from it!”

Even before the ACS announcement, the fear amongst OA advocates wasgoed that the NIH policy might make little difference to the progress of OA. It is widely believed, for example, that a 12-month embargo is not only unnecessary but too limitary to be classed spil Open Access. Spil Peter Suber pointed out ter the February punt of his SPARC Open Access Newsletter the “chief problem” with the final NIH policy is that “free online access could be delayed up to 12 months after publication. This is a significant delay, more serious te biomedicine than ter most other fields. It will slow down research and slow down advances that promote public health.”

NPG’s David Hoole denies this, insisting that the NPG’s fresh policy is “a genuine attempt to extend archiving rights te the setting of developments at the NIH and other funding bods, and te the setting of the Select Committee enquiry — which recommended the development of institutional repositories. Wij desired,” he adds, “to be proactive, pragmatic, and involved.”

One difficulty OA advocates face te attempting to fight back the growing embargo creep is that the Budapest Open Access Initiative (which many see spil the genesis of the OA movement) did not itself specify instantaneous access – a point that Harnad concedes. This oversight, he adds, is a legacy of the movement’s long-standing over-emphasis of the gold road. “In its gold-centrism (where the immediacy comes with the territory) the OA movement has not bot reasonably explicit that green OA too vereiste be instant and voortdurend, not just peek-a-boo. “

So wij are left with the question: what exactly is Open Access? And if OA does indeed imply instant access, how should OA advocates react to embargo creep?

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