Open Access in 2007
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The irrepressible progress of the open access movement means that every new year is richer than the last. At some point the thicket of new developments will make it impossible to write an annual review that does justice to the full range of activity. As I wrote this year's review, the fifth since I started the series in 2003, I kept thinking that the point had come in 2006.
The sheer volume of open access activity in 2007 is staggering. As in past years, it reflects policies and projects from every academic discipline and every region of the world, and from respected researchers, universities, libraries, learned societies, publishers, funding agencies, and governments. But in contrast to past years, it defies comprehensive cataloguing, at least in a journal article.
Here are some highlights of 2007 in 15 categories. Apologies to all the projects, policies, and developments I had to omit.
(1) Open access mandates
The compelling case for mandating open access for publicly funded research spread even further in 2007 than in 2006. Last year, when I called 2006 the year of the mandate, I didn’t think that would be possible.
Let me start with the OA mandate at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), because it's the most recent and because it's the culmination of a three-year drama. Here's a quick synopsis of the saga, limited to 2007:
When the year began, the NIH was requesting, not requiring, open access to NIH-funded research, under a policy in effect since May 2005. In March 2007, NIH Director Elias Zerhouni told Congress (for the second time) that the agency needed an OA mandate. In July 2007 the House of Representatives adopted (for the second time) an appropriations bill demanding an OA mandate at the NIH. In October 2007 the Senate adopted the same language (for the first time). In November, President Bush vetoed the bill for reasons unrelated to the NIH provision, and the House failed to override the veto. Congress responded by combining many of the vetoed appropriations into one omnibus bill, cutting spending down to levels that the President could accept, and retaining the NIH OA provision without modification. Congress passed the bill on December 19 and Bush signed it on December 26, 2007. The NIH is the world's largest funder of non-classified scientific research and its research results in about 65,000 peer-reviewed journal articles every year.
Earlier in 2007, OA mandates were adopted by the UK Arthritis Research Campaign, the UK Arts & Humanities Research Council, the UK Department of Health, the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Executive Health Department, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, France's National Agency for Research (Agence nationale de la recherche), the Research Foundation Flanders (Fonds voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek), and the Swiss National Science Foundation.
Two of the Research Councils UK merged, one with an OA mandate (Particle Physics & Astronomy Research Council) and one without (Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils), but the new merged organization had an OA mandate (Science and Technology Facilities Council). The European Commission FP7 Grant Agreement contains an OA mandate. The Flanders Marine Institute (Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee) adopted a policy that functions like a mandate, and Armenia is developing a national OA system which looks like it will mandate green OA while providing support for green and gold OA. (For the difference between green and gold OA, see the appendix.)
Among private funders, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute adopted an OA mandate. The UK Medical Research Council and British Heart Foundation, which both already had OA mandates, joined with a group of private-sector pharmaceutical companies to fund research into biomarkers, and all parties agreed to operate the fund under an OA mandate. And this list doesn't even include the university mandates and data mandates (which I cover below).
The UK is clearly the country with the greatest number of agencies mandating OA to publicly funded research. Six of the seven Research Councils UK now have adopted mandates, and the seventh (Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council) is still deliberating. All 10 members of the UK PubMed Central Funders Group have adopted mandates. Until the NIH writes the policy Congress has asked it to write, the UK is also the country with the greatest volume of research subject to an OA mandate.
Other funders and jurisdictions are considering mandates. The Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering & Technology released a beautifully strong draft OA mandate for public comment. The European Research Council pledged to adopt an OA mandate in 2006, before the agency itself was officially established; the agency launched in February 2007 and in September reiterated its commitment to an OA mandate. A bill introduced in the Brazilian Parliament would require public universities to mandate OA to their research output, and the Ethics Committee of France's Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique recommended the broadest possible dissemination of research publications and data.
Some serious 2007 recommendations for OA mandates are still pending with policy-makers. In Europe, there were calls for an EU-wide OA mandate from the European Research Advisory Board, the European University Association's Working Group on Open Access, and a petition was organized by six government and non-profit organizations. The petition now has 26,900+ signatures, including 1,300+ signatures from research institutions. In the US, eight non-profit organizations launched a similar petition (temporarily offline), and other calls for OA to publicly funded research came from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Energy. The final report of a joint UK/US meeting (sponsored by JISC and the NSF) recommended an OA mandate for publicly funded research. In the UK, the e-Infrastructure Working Group of the Office of Science and Innovation endorsed the OA mandate at the Research Councils UK. Library and Archives Canada and Germany's Green Party called for open access to publicly funded research. In India, the National Knowledge Commission recommended an OA mandate first through its Working Group on Libraries, then again through its Working Group on Open Access and Open Educational Resources, and yet again in a letter from its chairman to the Indian Prime Minister. In South Africa, Eve Gray, a publishing consultant, recommended an OA mandate in a policy paper for the Open Society Institute, and then a month later reported that the South African government appeared to be moving in that direction. The Botswana Minister of Education, Jacob Nkate, and Slovenian Minister for Growth, Ziga Turk, called for OA mandates to publicly funded research.
Most of the funder OA policies adopted in 2007 were mandates, and all the adopted mandates were for green OA, but there were a few eddies in the stream where the current ran backwards. The Hong Kong Research Grants Council and the Canadian Breast Cancer Research Alliance decided to encourage rather than require OA for the research they fund, following the failed first version of the NIH policy. The World Health Organization (WHO) Intergovernmental Working Group on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property (IGWG2) was considering an OA mandate until November, when it weakened its draft policy and settled for mere encouragement. It's not likely that any of these organizations could do better than the NIH at eliciting voluntary compliance from busy researchers, and more likely that publisher lobbying and agency misunderstandings blocked the adoption of stronger policies. Two of the adopted mandates in 2007 — the UK Arts & Humanities Research Council and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research — had large loopholes allowing publishers to opt out for themselves and for all grantees who choose to publish with them. The Australian Productivity Commission proposed a gold OA mandate, not realizing that a gold OA policy would either regulate publishers rather than grantees (a needlessly strong step) or severely limit the freedom of authors to publish in the journals of their choice.
Universities on four continents showed that they didn't want to wait for OA policies from funders or governments. University-level OA mandates were adopted at the University of Liege, Central Economics and Mathematics Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and at Turkey's Middle East Technical University. OA mandates are also under consideration at Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the University of California. The University of Southampton Department of Electronics and Computer Science documented the success of its self-archiving mandate, showing a compliance rate between 80% and 100%, depending on how one estimates the department's overall research output. Ilmenau Technical University adopted an OA mandate for the books published by its university press. University rectors in Brazil and Europe began organizing to persuade universities in their regions to adopt strong local OA policies. The Brazilian effort is led by the University of Brasilia, and the European effort by the University of Liege. If the rectors who met in Brasilia and Liege to kickstart these campaigns all adopt mandates on their own campuses, they will double the number of universities with OA mandates, even before they persuade any other institutions. Other university organizations were active on other fronts. Universities UK supported an OA mandate in the EU, and the 12-member US Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) joined the Google Library Project, drafted an author addendum, and urged its member institutions to adopt it.
(2) Some growth numbers
OA journals and repositories grew vigorously in 2007. The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) added 486 peer-reviewed journals, increasing the total by 19% over the previous year. According to OAIster, the number of OA repositories grew by 199, or 27%. According to the Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR), the number grew by 176, or 22%, and according to OpenDOAR (Directory of Open Access Repositories), the number grew by 184, or 22%. According to OAIster, the number of records on deposit in these repositories grew by 4,560,809, or 46%. The DOAJ is adding new OA journals at an accelerating rate. The rate for all of 2007 was 1.4 titles per day, but the rates for November and December were both over two titles per day.
ScientificCommons now lists 893 repositories, the Registry of Open Access Repositories 968, and OpenDOAR 1,017. On the journal side, the Directory of Open Access Journals reached the milestone of 3,000 titles, and SHERPA's RoMEO database documented more than 300 publisher policies on self-archiving, more than doubling the number of entries since last year.
(3) Open access archiving
Green OA, or OA archiving, put down deeper roots in 2007, entirely apart from policies to encourage or require it and apart from the launch of individual new repositories. Spain, the Netherlands, and the UK spent public funds to create OA repositories at their universities. Ireland committed public funds to establish OA repositories at all its universities. In addition to supporting individual repositories, the UK used public funds to launch the Depot, a universal OA repository for UK researchers. New Zealand and Sweden launched services to harvest their institutional repositories. Australia established a registry for the nation's repositories. Germany created OA-Netzwerk to spread best practices to the national network of OA repositories. The EU's DRIVER project expanded in 2007 (after launching in 2006), wrote guidelines to facilitate the harvesting of repositories, and worked with individual repositories to bring them into compliance.
Forums and services to support repository managers proliferated, often with public funding. Managers in the UK had the UK Council of Research Repositories (UKCoRR) from SHERPA, the Repositories Support Project from JISC, and the EPrints Community from Southampton. Managers in Australia and New Zealand had the AuseAccess wiki from Arthur Sale, the Institutional Repository Community ANZ from Alison Hunter, the ORCA support network, and RUBRIC (Regional Universities Building Research Infrastructure Collaboratively) from the Australian government. Those in Germany had OA-Netzwerk from DINI. In Europe, DRIVER (Digital Repository Infrastructure Vision for European Research) set up a wiki and the Mentor program. OpenDOAR established an e-mail distribution service for sending information or announcements to different sets of OA repository managers, for example by country, language, or software platform. Early in the year, Dorothea Salo, a librarian at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, launched IR-Managers, one of the only projects not regionally focused and not based on public funds. Unfortunately, it has since shut down.
Repository software and its ecology of supporting tools continued to evolve. ArXiv and OpenDOAR opened their APIs. OpenDOAR added a range of graphs to show the state of the repositories in the directory. OpenDOAR and ROAR took part in mash-ups with mapping services (ROAR with Google Earth, OpenDOAR with Google Maps) showing the worldwide distribution of repositories. ScientificCommons started citation tracking for repository content. India launched a cross-archive search engine for the country's OA repositories. BioMed Central upgraded its Open Repository service to facilitate deposits and customization, convert files, and support RSS feeds. JISC and UKOLN launched SWORD (Simple Web-service Offering Repository Deposit) to semi-automate deposits in OA repositories. Zotero is adding a feature allowing users to upload public-domain documents to the Zotero Commons, an OA repository within the Internet Archive. The AIRway project and OCLC Openly Informatics described a way to point link resolvers to OA repositories and help researchers find OA copies of articles published in journals to which their institutions do not subscribe. PubMed abstracts by authors from the University of Michigan now link to full text OA editions of the articles in the Michigan repository. Ari Friedman wrote software to scan an online bibliography, check the OA policies of the represented publishers in ROMEO, annotate each entry accordingly, and email the authors to ask if they would self-archive their articles or email copies to a user. At least two different library OPAC packages now integrate library holdings with the contents of the institutional repository. A handful of major reports and full-length books offered guidance on building OA repositories and analyzed the factors driving and inhibiting their growth. The EPrints Community came to the end of its JISC funding and issued its final report. The DSpace community launched the DSpace Foundation and the Fedora community launched the Fedora Commons, both based on significant new funding.
(4) Open access journals
Gold OA, or peer-reviewed OA journals, also put down deeper roots in 2007, entirely apart from the launch of individual new OA journals. Canada (through the Social Science and Humanities Research Council) used public funds to support OA journals. Germany (through the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) and the Scandinavian countries (through Nordbib) used public funds to launch new OA journals and convert existing toll-access (TA) journals to OA. Five individual experiments at CERN, which already operated under a green OA mandate, encouraged their researchers to submit new work to OA journals. INASP and the Lund University Library joined forces to raise the visibility of OA journals published by developing countries.
The European Research Council agreed to pay publication fees at fee-based OA journals, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute extended its existing policy to cover fees at hybrid OA journals. The CNRS' Institut de physique nucléaire et de physique des particules (IN2P3) agreed to pay the publication fees for French physicists who publish in the OA Journal of High Energy Physics. These funder policies were welcome but not fundamentally new. By contrast, universities began launching funds expressly to help faculty members pay publication fees at fee-based OA journals. The Universities of Amsterdam, Nottingham, and Wisconsin all launched OA journal funds in 2007. Texas A&M University announced its willingness to help faculty pay publication fees even without a central OA fund. The Research Councils UK made it easier for UK universities to launch such funds by offering to reimburse them, at least in part, for their payments.
By my conservative count, based on what crossed my desk, 65 journals converted from TA to OA in 2007, more than twice the number as in 2006 and probably twice the number from all previous years combined. Smaller numbers converted from TA to hybrid OA, from hybrid OA to full OA, and from fee-based OA to no-fee OA. Hindawi converted its last two TA journals to OA and became an OA-only publisher. (Is it a coincidence that a few months later it reported that its submissions were up 70% over the previous year?)
CERN's SCOAP3 project (Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics) made steady and inspiring progress toward the goal of converting all the major journals in particle physics to OA by redirecting the flow of subscription funds. The coalition has now recruited members from Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, and the US. The Mellon Foundation announced its willingness to fund a study of massive redirection projects designed to support OA journals.
Sage launched its first line of full OA journals, after teaming up with Hindawi, and after their merger Wiley and Blackwell launched the first full OA journal for either company. Bentham Science Publishers announced an ambitious program to launch 300 OA journals before the end of 2007, a goal it later revised to 200. In late December 2007 it had Web sites for 166 new OA journals at different stages of development. The year also saw new OA-oriented start-ups in Birchley Hall Press, Co-Action Publishing, Marquette Books, Merlien, and Pabst Science Publishers.
The DOAJ launched a membership program, improving its prospects for longevity. Its institutional parent, Lund University, launched a companion service to DOAJ called Journal Info, to help scholars evaluate journals where they might submit their work. For non-OA journals, it recommends OA alternatives and indicates the journal's self-archiving policy, subscription price per article, and subscription price per citation. A group of scientists launched Eureka Science Journal Watch, a wiki to collect information about OA and TA journals and to organize strategies to expand OA. A group of Spanish researchers launched SCImago, an OA database of journal data organized by field and country, supporting flexible queries and its own journal rank measurement. JISC and the University of Glasgow launched OpenLOCKSS, a LOCKSS-based preservation system specifically for OA journals.
We learned more about the existing range of OA journals, sometimes contrary to prevailing wisdom. Harvesting data from the DOAJ, Bill Hooker, a postdoctoral researcher in cell and molecular biology at Shriner's Hospital for Children, not only updated a 2005 study on the predominance of no-fee over fee-based OA journals, but surveyed the full DOAJ, not just a sample. He found that 67% of full OA journals in the DOAJ charged no publication fees, 18% charged fees, and 15% didn't make it easy for the DOAJ to find out. (Kaufman and Wills had found in October 2005 that 52.8% of sampled OA journals charged no publication fees.) Caroline Sutton and I found 427 societies publishing 496 full OA journals, and 19 societies publishing 74 hybrid OA journals, challenging the widespread belief that society publishers, as such, feel threatened by gold OA. (These numbers update those we published in the November 2007 issue of the SPARC Open Access Newsletter.) We also found that most society OA journals, like most OA journals overall, charged no publication fees. But the no-fee society OA journals form a much larger majority (83.3%) than the no-fee OA journals overall (52.8% for Kaufman-Wills two years ago, 67% for Hooker last month).
(5) Hybrid open access journals
The hybrid OA journal model, publishing both OA and non-OA articles in the same journal and generally charging a publication fee for the OA articles, expanded in 2007, but much more slowly than in 2006. WorldSciNet adopted the model for all 133 journals published by WorldScientific and all eight journals published by Imperial College Press; Karger Medical and Scientific Publishers adopted the model for eight of its journals; the American Physiological Society for 10 of its journals; Professional Engineering Publishing for all 19 of its journals; the American Geophysical Union for the majority of its 19 journals; and the ALPSP adopted it for its journal, Learned Publishing. Taylor & Francis added 31 journals to its hybrid OA journal program. Emerald launched an unusual (but not unprecedented) no-fee hybrid program for its engineering journals.
Oxford's hybrid OA Journal of Experimental Botany waived its publication fee for authors from subscribing institutions. Springer struck a deal with the Dutch library consortium UKB (Universiteitsbibliotheken en de Koninklijke Bibliotheek), and later with the University of Göttingen, under which current subscription payments are considered to cover publication fees for affiliated authors. These experiments show that the hybrid model is still evolving, and that there's room for creative ways to reduce publication fees for subscribing institutions or to reduce the likelihood of cancellations.
As the model matured, it began to show some ups and downs. For the second year in a row, Oxford reduced the subscription prices on a batch of its hybrid journals (this year, 28) to reflect the growing number of authors who paid for the OA option. The Royal Society also reduced its publication fees. Blackwell stopped describing its hybrid program as an experiment. The American Society of Animal Science converted the Journal of Animal Science (JAS) to a hybrid OA journal, but JAS Editor Larry Reynolds wrote an editorial against the move. Peter Murray-Rust, a Professor of Chemistry at Cambridge University, discovered that Oxford, Ingenta, and the British Library were charging for access to papers that should have been OA; he also found some supposedly free papers at hybrid journals from ACS, Blackwell, RSC, and Springer in which the free abstracts linked only to TA editions of the full text or in which free full-text papers used all-rights-reserved copyright statements instead of promised open licenses. All the publishers acknowledged the problems and promised to fix them.
(6) Author addenda
The number of author addenda more than trebled in 2006, but they were all suggestions waiting for adopters. In 2007, universities started adopting them. (Author addenda are lawyer-written contract provisions to supplement a publisher's standard contract, allowing authors to retain the rights they need to authorize OA.) The Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) wrote its own author addendum and then asked its 12 member institutions to adopt it. At least three did so: The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and the University of Minnesota.
SPARC and Science Commons consolidated their author addenda and launched an online tool to help authors choose and implement an addendum. SPARC and CARL produced a Canadian version of the SPARC author addendum. Washington University revised its author addendum to make clear that when authors submit it to a journal, and the journal publishes the underlying article, the publisher will be deemed to have accepted the terms of the addendum.
With or without mandates, more governments committed themselves to OA for publicly funded data. Norway adopted an OA mandate for public geodata. Canada, Ireland, and Australia began providing OA to publicly funded digital mapping data, without a mandate. After long resistance, the UK Ordnance Survey began to do the same, at least experimentally. (Earlier in the year, a legal analysis by Charlotte Waelde, an expert on intellectual property at the University of Edinburgh, concluded that the data are not protected by copyright but at most, only by the database right; a JISC report recommended a general UK policy of OA for research data; and the new UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown endorsed the principle of public access to public data.) The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe recommended "wide public access to research results to which no copyright restrictions apply" (i.e. data). Publishing consultant Eve Gray reported that the South African government was moving toward a policy of OA for publicly funded research data. The Australian government proposed an Australian National Data Service to promote OA and re-use of publicly funded research data. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) issued principles and guidelines to implement its 2004 Declaration on Access to Research Data from Public Funding. California is about to adopt the strongest and broadest OA mandate for greenhouse gas data in the US, and Pennsylvania is about to join the other 49 states in mandating OA for state statutes. And the UN Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP) adopted an OA mandate for most kinds of data covered by the convention.
The US Government Accountability Office called on four major federal funding agencies (DOE, NASA, NOAA, and NSF) to enforce their existing policies on data sharing. Twenty-two US federal government agencies formed an Interagency Working Group on Digital Data (IWGDD), plan to deposit the data generated by their research grantees in a network of OA repositories, and are considering an OA mandate. The US National Archives joined the OA web portal Geospatial One Stop. The NSF Office of Cyberinfrastructure launched a data interoperability project (INTEROP). Google created a Public Sector Initiative to improve its crawling of OA databases hosted by federal, state, and local government agencies in the US. A group of open government activists convened by O'Reilly Media and Public.Resource.Org drafted principles for open government data. For the first time the US made progress toward OA for its three most notorious non-OA government resources: PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records), the database of federal court docket information; NTIS (National Technical Information Service), the online databases of research and business data; and CRS Reports, the highly regarded reports from the Congressional Research Service. The first two began offering OA to selected portions of their content, previously TA, and the third is the subject of a new bill in the Senate to mandate OA.
Nature editorialized in favor of e-notebook science and data sharing, and Nature Biotech recommended "that raw data from proteomics and molecular-interaction experiments be deposited in a public [OA] database before manuscript submission." Maxine Clarke, Publishing Executive Editor at Nature, said that the journal would consider requiring and not merely recommending OA for multimedia data if there were a suitable OA repository supporting annotation and long-term preservation. Wiley threatened legal action when Shelley Batts, a graduate student at the University of Michigan, posted a chart from a Wiley article from the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture on her blog; when she replaced it with her own chart of the same data and blogged Wiley's threat, the blogosphere exploded and Wiley said it was all a misunderstanding.
Data-sharing policies were adopted by the UK Medical Research Council, the Ethics Committee of France's Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), the Audiovisual Communications Laboratory at Switzerland's Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, and the International Telecommunications Union. The NIH launched a new data-sharing program for its neuroscience research. There are too many new OA databases to name separately, but since I've mentioned the NIH, I should add that it launched the Database of Genotype and Phenotype (dbGaP) and SHARe (SNP Health Association Resource). It described SHARe as "one of the most extensive collections of genetic and clinical data ever made freely available to researchers worldwide."
Google began helping researchers exchange datasets up to 120 terabytes in size, too large for ordinary online uploads and downloads. At no charge to the researchers, it will ship a brick-sized box of hard drives from one research team to another, provided that the data have no copyright or licensing restrictions and the bricks stop first at Google headquarters for copying and offline storage. In time, Google hopes to make the datasets OA. The company also began sharing files of its own data with researchers on the condition that they make the results of their research OA.
The year 2007 saw a wave of general OA data repositories spring up, many with built-in features for graphics and analysis: for example, Dabble, Data360, Freebase, Many Eyes, Open Economics, StatCrunch, Swivel, and WikiProteins. At the same time, several projects worked to facilitate the deposit of data in OA repositories, such as EDINA's DataShare and JISC's SPECTRa (Submission, Preservation and Exposure of Chemistry Teaching and Research Data), or to enhance the interface between data repositories and literature repositories, such as JISC's StORe (Source-to-Output Repositories).
By my informal estimate, the fields with the largest advances in OA data during 2007 were archaeology, astronomy, chemistry, the environment (including climate change), geography (including mapping), and medicine (especially, genomics and clinical drug trials).
Book-scanning projects grew significantly in 2007. The Google Library Project added the University of Texas at Austin, Princeton University, the Bavarian State Library, the University of Lausanne, Ghent University, Keio University, Cornell University, Columbia University, five Catalonian libraries including the National Library of Catalonia (Biblioteca de Catalunya), and the 12 research institutions in the US Committee on Institutional Cooperation. As in 2006, the legal suspense created by unresolved lawsuits against Google by author and publisher organizations did not stop new institutions from joining the program, although it did cause most of them to limit their participation to public-domain books. Nor did it stop McGraw-Hill, one of the plaintiffs, from adding a Google Book Search box to its Web site.
The Open Content Alliance not only expanded to 80 contributing libraries, but attracted libraries that made a point of saying publicly that they would rather pay their own digitization costs and have the OCA's openness than to have Google pay the costs and restrict the use of the resulting ebooks. Among those were the 19 institutional members of the Boston Library Consortium, including the MIT Libraries. Students at New York University asked their institution to join the OCA instead of Google for the same reason. Objecting that Google restricted use of its scanned public-domain books, Philipp Lenssen, a German programmer, liberated 100 of them by posting them to his free book site, Authorama.
Google and the OCA both enhanced their offerings as well. Google (finally) added plain-text editions to the scanned images of some of its digitized public-domain books and officially revealed its journal backfile digitization project, which quietly launched in 2006. The University of Michigan made its Google-scanned books OAI-compliant. The OCA launched a working demo of its Open Library, and described plans for a wiki-like universal catalog, online annotated bibliographies of its scanned OA books, and a program to digitize and lend orphan works, its first foray beyond public-domain books.
The European Parliament blessed the European Digital Library and urged it to speed up. Project Gutenberg launched PG Canada. The Million Book Project reached the milestone of 1.5 million digitized books, and LibriVox reached the lesser milestone of its 1,000th free online audiobook. Microsoft began digitizing more than 100,000 books from the British Library and another 100,000 from the Yale University Library. The Sloan Foundation gave the Library of Congress $2 million to digitize thousands of rare and brittle public-domain books for open access. A new major book-scanning project joined the existing players when Kirtas Technologies, maker of a book-scanning machine, teamed up with Amazon's print-on-demand (POD) subsidiary, BookSurge, to digitize rare public-domain books and sell POD editions through Amazon.
The beautiful synergy of open access and print-on-demand wasn't born in 2007 but began to spread quickly in 2007. The Kirtas-Amazon book-scanning project is based on the sales of POD editions. The first three universities to take part, Emory, Maine, and Cornell, promised to provide open access to their copies of the digital editions. Rice University Press will not only publish its own monographs in OA/POD editions, but also monographs vetted and approved by Stanford University Press. Hamburg University Press decided that all its scientific publications will be OA/POD, and later agreed to produce OA and POD editions of the works published by Schleswig-Holstein state archive. Six European university and museum presses launched a consortium, OAPEN (Open Access Publishing in European Networks), for publishing OA monographs with POD editions. The Public Domain Books Reprints Service began to sell POD editions of public-domain ebooks from the Internet Archive and Google.
We saw new series of OA books, some with and some without priced, print editions, from the University of Michigan Press (Digital Cultural Books), the University of California Press (FlashPoints), MIT Press (Digital Media and Learning), the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, the American Museum of Natural History, the Open Knowledge Foundation, and a partnership between Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society and the international Center for Computer Assisted Legal Instruction. The Canadian Library Association will consider open access for all its new monographs, case by case. The Université Libre de Bruxelles decided to provide open access to all its out-of-print books, while Ilmenau Technical University decided, conversely, to provide open access to all its new books. The University of Pittsburgh Press decided to provide open access to all its back titles and open access to all new titles after a maximum two-year moving wall.
Polimetrica released an Open Access Manifesto, the first ever from a book publisher. The American Association of University Presses released a Statement on Open Access, calling on presses to experiment with OA monographs. The UK National E-Books Project started providing free ebooks to UK universities; Pakistan's Higher Education Commission, blending subsidized priced access and open access, started providing free ebooks and ejournals to Pakistani universities.
When Springer announced that more than 29,000 of its books had been indexed by Google Book Search, it made a point of saying that the enhanced visibility boosted sales of its older titles. The first Chinese book publisher to join Google's Publisher program, Cite Publishing Holding Group, explained that it expected Google indexing to increase its sales. Tim O'Reilly published a detailed case study (O'Reilly Radar, June 1, 2007) of how the OA edition of an O'Reilly title affected the sales of the print edition. Eric Von Hippel explained to an interviewer (MIT Libraries News, April 9, 2007) how the OA editions of two of his books increased sales of the print editions. Publishers of the novels nominated for this year's Man Booker Prize considered a proposal to publish OA editions of the nominated books.
(9) Electronic theses and dissertations
More countries and institutions saw the logic of open access for electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs). Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the UK announced a working demo of the European e-Theses portal, which harvests its contents from local, interoperable OA repositories in the participating countries. Sweden, which already had an OA portal of theses and dissertations, launched an OA collection of the English-language theses. Italy's Conference of University Rectors adopted guidelines for the deposit of ETDs in OA repositories. The Australian Open Access to Knowledge (OAK) Law Project released a Copyright Guide for Research Students, introducing OA and Creative Commons (CC) licenses for authors of theses and dissertations. ProQuest began giving universities open access to all of their own PQ-hosted ETDs. The University of Florida began digitizing past dissertations for open access. Ohio University's Russ College of Engineering and Technology and Center for International Studies decided to require electronic submission of theses and dissertations. Canada's University of Victoria streamlined its process for the electronic submission of ETDs. Students at Harvard College Free Culture launched an OA Thesis Repository for undergraduate senior theses.
In 2007 there was an explosion of interest in OA videos for scholarship, research, and education. PLoS and partners launched SciVee ("YouTube for scientists"), specializing in OA videos explaining OA journal articles. New collections of OA science videos launched at AthenaWeb, Bioscreencast, DNATube, Science Hack, SciTalks, VideoLectures, and the video channel at Science Daily. The Video Journal of Conference Presentations is a peer-reviewed OA journal of conference presentations. BioMed Central launched a YouTube channel, increased its support for video in multi-media BMC articles, and joined with Intelligent Television to launch the Open Access Documentary Project, which will produce documentary videos about open access. The University of California at Berkeley and the University of Southern California launched their own YouTube channels for lectures and public events. Yale's new open courseware project features OA videos of actual classroom sessions. JISC and the Wellcome Trust teamed to provide open access to 400+ films important in the history of medicine. SPARC announced the first annual SPARC Discovery Awards, or Sparkies, a contest for videos on information sharing. Lawrence Lessig, Professor of Law at Stanford University, organized a campaign asking US TV networks to release their presidential debate broadcasts either to the public domain or under a CC license; Barak Obama, John Edwards, and Chris Dodds endorsed the campaign; CNN agreed to participate and Fox News did not. In short, bandwidth and tools — which will only get better — make it easy to bring the power of video to other forms of exposition, helping to move online scholarship beyond digital replicas of print scholarship.
(11) Wikis and encyclopedias
2007 saw a flurry of activity in what could be called the Wikipedia neighborhood. Germany began using public money to fund scientific articles for the German Wikipedia. A group of German scholars launched DBpedia, an OA database harvesting uncopyrightable facts from Wikipedia and using them to support sophisticated queries to Wikipedia and links to other OA datasets. Luca de Alfaro and colleagues from the University of California at Santa Cruz wrote software to color-code Wikipedia passages according to their trustworthiness, when this is a function of how seldom the contributor has been overruled by other contributors. Virgil Griffith, a graduate student at Caltech, wrote software to track Wikipedia edits to their IP addresses, showing many powerful corporations deleting criticism and polishing their images. The Wikimedia Foundation began developing tools to print Wikipedia articles and export them to OpenOffice formats. Wikipedia worked out a complicated deal with Creative Commons and the Free Software Foundation allowing it to relicense under CC licenses. (Expect a vote by Wikipedians in early 2008.) Daniel Paul O'Donnell, Sage Ross, John Willinsky, a Nature editorial, and other voices — including my own — urged scholars to strengthen Wikipedia by adding expert content and linking to peer-reviewed OA articles. Nature found that Wikipedia was comparable to the Encyclopedia Britannica in accuracy; all the errors it identified in Wikipedia were quickly corrected while those identified in EB still remain.
Ezclopedia is another user-written OA encyclopedia trying to do better than Wikipedia. Debatepedia is a new wiki from the International Debate Education Association and Georgetown University, organizing pro and con arguments on major policy questions. Archivopedia is a new wiki-based encyclopedia of library and information science, supporting search of the OA primary sources with a Google Co-op search engine. Freebase is a wiki-like free database from Danny Hillis' Metaweb that aims to capture "the world's knowledge" and has already negotiated to capture knowledge from BioMed Central's OA journals. Just last month, Google launched Knols, a Wikipedia rival from a different direction offering author attribution, ad revenue, and built-in tools for rating and annotation. Citizendium launched in 2006 but in 2007 moved out of alpha into beta, adopted the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike (CC-BY-SA) license, and announced plans for major changes in governance and scope that justify the label Citizendium 2.0. Four physicians in Cleveland launched AskDrWiki, and Elsevier launched WiserWiki, two of many new wikis on medical research that can only be edited by physicians. WHO converted its database, the International Classification of Diseases, to a wiki. The Sloan Digital Sky Survey launched Wikisky, a cross between a virtual telescope, database of astronomical data, digital library of astronomical texts, annotatable wiki, and Google Earth for the sky. Wiley's Wrox Press launched a new line of OA books on computer programming in the form of wikis.
Some other encyclopedia developments were about open access, but not about wikis. Two foundations and a group of research institutions launched the Encyclopedia of Life, a multimedia OA compendium of biodiversity on our planet. Open Semiotics Resource Center is a combination OA repository, OA encyclopedia, and OA peer-reviewed journal. The OA Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy reached the fund-raising milestone needed to trigger matching funds from the US National Endowment for the Humanities.
In 2007, more and more open access discussions zeroed in on the details of open licenses. Much of the discussion took place in blogs, and marked a shift in focus and concern more than a series of concrete developments. But there were also some notable developments, apart from the licensing changes at Wikipedia and Citizendium (noted above). The Microformats Wiki started using the CC Public Domain Dedication. Nature began to use CC licenses for Nature Precedings and even for Nature articles reporting genome data. OpenMathText began to permit commercial reuse. Libertas Academica, already an OA publisher, agreed to use Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) licenses for its journals after Peter Murray-Rust urged it to do so in a blogged review. Elsevier adopted a liberal license, permitting a range of re-use rights as well as free online access for the articles it deposits in PubMed Central or UKPMC on behalf of funding agencies who pay it to do so. Generalizing the trend, a group of publishers and research funders agreed that when funders pay publishers to provide open access to an article, then the publishers should remove key permission barriers as well as price barriers. Shahram Ahari, researcher at the University of California San Francisco School of Pharmacy, argued that the TRIPS agreement might support compulsory licenses for distributing toll-access journal articles, without charge, in developing countries. The Open Knowledge Foundation released its Guide to Open Data Licensing and released a draft open data license for public comment. Science Commons proposed a protocol for the licensing of open data, and in less than one month is already attracting adoptors.
An Eduserv survey showed that most UK museums, archives, and libraries do not use open licenses for their digital content. The Queensland government in Australia undertook a major study of open licenses for government information. The National Library of Chile released all its digital content under CC licenses. The Japanese government is considering a new exception to Japanese copyright law that would allow uncompensated copying and distribution of medical journal articles in cases of medical emergency. A German copyright reform that took effect on January 1, 2008, allows scholars who published in Germany before 1995 to regain or retain the rights to their works (and therefore, use those rights to authorize open access) if they notify their publishers before the end of 2008.
Creative Commons dropped its DevNations license because it conflicted with the principles of open access by authorizing it only in certain countries. It also added two new licensing projects: CC0 (CC-Zero), a more effective assignment to the public domain, and CC+, which makes it easier for authors to bar commercial use and make individual exceptions. In addition, CC released the 3.0 versions of its licenses, created an add-in for OpenOffice, and launched ccLearn, which will try to spread the use of open licenses for teaching and learning.
SPARC Europe and the DOAJ announced a program to develop standards, including licensing standards, for OA journals, and to help publishers meet those standards. It's understandable why few postprints on deposit in OA repositories carry CC licenses or the equivalent. Journals that give permission for self-archiving rarely give permission to exceed fair use and permit user copying and distribution. But there's no comparable reason why so few OA journals carry CC licenses or the equivalent, and it's dismaying that so many still limit users to fair use. The SPARC-DOAJ program is the most promising bottom-up idea I've seen for remedying this situation.
Open access to courseware and other teaching and learning materials surged in 2007, so much so that I must now, reluctantly, treat it like free and open source software: a category too large to cover on Open Access News. Here's a very short list of its highlights in 2007: MIT OpenCourseware reached the milestone of 1,800 courses and launched a version of the program for high-school students. Novell launched Novell Open Courseware for its corporate training courses, the first open courseware from a for-profit company. The IEEE Signal Processing Society began making open education modules in partnership with Connexions. Sun Microsystems spun off Curriki, "the Wikipedia of curriculum." Harvard's Berkman Center teamed up with the Center for Computer Assisted Legal Instruction to create OA teaching and learning materials for law schools. The People's Open Access Education Initiative is a new open education project focusing on medical education in developing countries. The Indian Consortium for Educational Transformation launched a national open-education project. Vietnam launched Vietnamese Open Courseware and Yale University launched Open Yale Courses. A non-profit with public funding launched CultureSource, an OA portal for Canadian courseware. The EU-funded Open eLearning Content Observatory Services released a report on OA repositories for courseware and research. Creative Commons officially launched ccLearn, its project on open content and open licenses for teaching and learning, and David Wiley, who developed the first open content license, drafted a new one for the special purpose of open education. The ccLearn project and the Hewlett Foundation are building a search engine for open educational resources, and two MIT researchers are making OA lectures more useful by making them keyword-searchable. The Dutch SURF Foundation began funding projects to enhance knowledge sharing in higher education, and Utah gave $200,000 to Utah State University for OpenCourseWare. The Ministers of Education in Norway (Lisbet Rugtvedt), the Netherlands (Ronald Plasterk), and Botswana (Jacob Nkate) publicly called for open access and open education. UNESCO issued the Kronberg Declaration on the Future of Knowledge Acquisition and Sharing (focusing more on education than research), and the Cape Town Open Education Declaration made a "soft launch" in order to collect signatures before its official launch in mid-January.
In 2007, Carl Malamud, founder of the Internet Multicasting Service and former chairman of the Internet Software Consortium, launched Public.Resource.Org (PRO), a heroic new organization deserving a section to itself. With boldness and energy, PRO systematically collects public-domain information held by US government agencies and then provides open access to its own copies, sometimes after a polite request and successful negotiation and sometimes after negotiations fail. It started in May 2007, when it found that the Smithsonian Institution was selling public-domain photographs. PRO bought copies and posted them to Flickr. In June it set up a Web interface to help citizens buy public-domain documents sold by US federal government agencies; it asked the buyers to donate them to PRO, which then hosted OA copies on its own Web site. (Ari Schwartz, Deputy Director of the Center for Democracy and Technology, started a similar program in 2007 to liberate the CRS Reports of the Congressional Research Service.) In August PRO began scanning new US judicial opinions and hosting OA copies. In September it asked the US Copyright Office to provide open access to its database of copyright registrations. When the office admitted that the data were in the public domain but said that it had no control over the access policy, PRO harvested the information and hosted its own OA copy. In November, it teamed up with Fastcase to launch an OA collection of US federal case law, including Supreme Court decisions back to 1754. Fastcase donated digital files for which it had previously charged access fees. Also in November, PRO persuaded the US National Technical Information Service (NTIS) to give it 10 to 20 government videotapes every month, which PRO would then digitize and post online for open access. Until this agreement, NTIS sold access to the government information in its collection. And once more in November, PRO created an OA mirror of the entire Web site of the US Government Printing Office. In December, PRO and Creative Commons "committed to freeing all federal case law by the end of 2008," and PRO and the Boston Public Library agreed to work together to digitize government documents for open access. PRO is like an energetic Robin Hood, but even more subtle and satisfying for leaving the Sheriff no grounds for legal complaint.
Here's another organization deserving a section to itself: the Partnership for Research Integrity in Science and Medicine (PRISM), launched in August by the Executive Committee of the Professional and Scholarly Publishing division of the Association of American Publishers (AAP/PSP). The story began in January 2007, when Jim Giles, a reporter at Nature, published leaked documents showing that the AAP/PSP, American Chemical Society, Elsevier, and Wiley met with PR consultant Eric Dezenhall, who recommended that the publishers combat government OA mandates by "equat[ing] traditional publishing models with peer review" and using messages like "public access equals government censorship". He estimated a fee of $300,000 to $500,000 for a six-month campaign. The AAP/PSP hired him, and the August launch of PRISM is the apparent result of his advice. The PRISM Web site repeated the hand-waving about peer review and the Orwellian slogan about censorship. If anything, it went further, asserting that open access "open[s] the floodgates to non-peer reviewed junk science". The response was immediate, widespread criticism and ridicule. In short order, nine important academic publishers publicly disavowed PRISM or distanced themselves from it: Cambridge University Press, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, Columbia University Press, MIT Press, Nature Publishing Group, Oxford University Press, Pennsylvania State University Press, Rockefeller University Press, and the University of Chicago Press. James Jordan, the director of Columbia University Press, and Ellen Faran, director of the MIT Press, resigned from the AAP/PSP Executive Council in protest. In mid-September PRISM toned down some of the inflammatory rhetoric on its Web site, but did not add the disclaimer requested by Rockefeller University Press "indicating that the views presented on the site do not necessarily reflect those of all members of the AAP." A week later, the AAP/PSP quietly removed all mention of PRISM from its front page, though it did not take down the PRISM site itself. In November, the Charleston Advisor's Readers' Choice Awards gave PRISM its "Lemon Award." The citation said, "These publishers should not bite the hand that feeds them." From beginning to end, PRISM billed itself as a coalition but never publicly identified any of its members.
An earlier version of this article appeared in the SPARC Open Access Newsletter, January 2, 2008. http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/newsletter/01-02-08.htm - 2007
For links to all the developments and organizations mentioned in this review, see the searchable archive of Open Access News, Peter Suber’s blog where he originally collected and discussed them. http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/fosblog.html
Most of the baseline and growth numbers in Section 2 were gathered or computed by Heather Morrison, Project Coordinator for the British Columbia Electronic Library Network. The end-of-2007 figures were recorded on December 31, 2007. http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=pqCs8wrw32HHTWuRwgm6bQA
Appendix: What is Open Access?
Open Access (OA) eliminates two kinds of access barriers at once: price barriers and permission barriers. OA literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. OA is compatible with copyright, peer review, preservation, prestige, career advancement, indexing and other features and services associated with conventional scholarly literature. It's being adopted, in one form or another, by growing numbers of scholars, universities, publishers, funding agencies, and governments. Although the campaign for OA arose for literature that authors give to the world without expectation of payment, such as journal articles, OA could be extended to any kind of digital content. For the present, though, the OA movement focuses on royalty-free scholarly communication, where the goal is to maximize dissemination of new results and advance the frontier of knowledge. OA will accelerate research and share knowledge in every field, but change is happening faster in the STM fields (science, technology, and medicine) than in the arts and humanities.
The legal basis for OA lies in ordinary, unrevised copyright law. OA for older work is based on the public domain. OA for newer work is based on the consent of the author or copyright holder, who agrees to a license that may require attribution (and prevent plagiarism), or block commercial re-use, but permits the uses required by legitimate scholarship: reading, downloading, sharing, storing, printing, searching, linking, and the crawling, mining, or other processing of the full text, for example. OA texts are delivered through two primary vehicles: OA archives or repositories, which do not perform peer review but simply make their contents freely available, and OA journals, which do perform peer review and then make the juried material freely available.
Some publishers already provide full open access; some publish hybrid (OA and toll access) journals; and others are considering different OA experiments. Most publishers and journals already permit author-initiated OA archiving of unrefereed preprints, refereed postprints, or both. Many business models are compatible with OA. While most OA publishers are non-profit, several for-profit OA publishers are already profitable. OA publishers can generate revenue from institutional subsidies, priced add-ons, auxiliary services, advertising, publication fees, or any combination. Most OA journals do not charge publication fees; but when they do, the fees are usually paid by the author's employer or research grant, not by the author out of pocket, and fees are often discounted for researchers with institutional memberships or waived in cases of hardship. There's a lot of room for creativity in finding ways to pay the costs of a peer-reviewed OA journal, and we're far from having exhausted our cleverness and imagination.
Public funding agencies in Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Scotland, Switzerland, and the UK already require OA archiving for peer-reviewed journal articles arising from publicly funded research. Since May 2005, the US National Institutes of Health has encouraged OA for publications arising from NIH-funded research, but in December 2007 Congress strengthened the policy and made it a requirement. Over 30 universities worldwide encourage or require OA archiving for the research output of the institution.
Read more about Open Access:
Budapest Open Access Initiative: http://www.soros.org/openaccess/
Open access overview: http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/overview.htm
Timeline of the open access movement: http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/timeline.htm
What you can do to promote open access: http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/do.htm