About Author: Edward Shreeves

Posts by Edward Shreeves

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Cornell gets major grant to support arXiv

Cornell University Library has announced a major grant from the Simons Foundation to support the costs of operating arXiv. The grant will provide up to $300,000 per year to match contributions from institutions which have supported arXiv since 2010.  From the announcement:

arXiv, the free repository that has revolutionized the way scientists share information, is adopting a new governance and business model that will allow it to grow and succeed in the future….As an open-access service, [arXiv] allows scientists to share “preprint” research before publication and boasts hundreds of thousands of contributors. In 2011 alone, arXiv saw close to 50 million downloads from all over the world and received more than 76,000 new submissions.

Iowa–through the University Libraries–has committed to providing annual support for arXiv since a call for support went out from Cornell. It is an especially important resource for researchers in physics, mathematics, and computer science, among others. It has been hosted at Cornell since 2001, when its founder, Paul Ginsparg, joined the faculty. See also the article by Jennifer Howard in the Chronicle.

 

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US District Court judge again rules against publishers suing Georgia State

On Friday US District Court judge Orinda Evans ruled against publishers seeking an injunction that would have imposed restrictions on faculty wanting to use copyrighted material in courses. She also required the publishers to pay Georgia State’s attorney fees.  In a story from Inside Higher Ed Steve Kolowich reports “In the course of explaining her decision to make the publishers foot the bill for the university’s legal defense, the judge declared what observers have been opining for months: “On balance,” she wrote, “the court finds that the defendants are the prevailing party in this case.” For the opinion itself see http://chronicle.com/items/biz/pdf/pdflawsuit.pdf

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US News & World Report takes on academic journal publishing

In a long piece online at its web site, Simon Owens of US News and World Report offers an overview of academic (chiefly scientific) journal publishing and the rise of open access. See Is the Academic Publishing Industry on the Verge of Disruption?” Starting with the recent Harvard letter on journal prices (see Transitions for April 23, 2012), the article reports on moves toward open access publishing, and resistance from commercial “closed access” publishers.

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High Energy Physics Journals Move toward Open Access

Through an international effort known as SCOAP3 (Sponsoring Consrotium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics) a number of key journals in high energy/particle physics are moving towards open access. Journals in this group include Physical Review C and D, Physics Letters B, Nuclear Physics B, and several others. CERN, which is overseeing the process, announced on July 17th that the tendering process was complete. The University of Iowa Libraries has supported SCOAP3 since its earliest days.

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UK announces open access requirement for articles based on gov’t funded research

On July 16th the British government announced that it would require articles published on the basis of publicly funded research to be published in open access form. Portions of the announcement follow. An article in the Guardian describes the plan in more detail and reports some reactions.

“The government has announced that it will make publicly funded scientific research available for anyone to read for free, accepting recommendations in a report on open access by Dame Janet Finch.

This will likely see a major increase in the number of taxpayer-funded research papers freely available to the public.

Science Minister David Willetts said:

“Removing paywalls that surround taxpayer funded research will have real economic and social benefits. It will allow academics and businesses to develop and commercialise their research more easily and herald a new era of academic discovery.”

Among the recommendations that have been accepted by the Government are:

  • Moving to deliver open access through a ‘gold’ model, where article processing-charges are paid upfront to cover the cost of publication.
  • Walk-in rights for the general public, so they can have free access to global research publications owned by members of the UK Publishers’ Association, via public libraries.
  • Extending the licensing of access enjoyed by universities to high technology businesses for a modest charge.”
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Reforming Copyright

Pamela Samulelson writes about Google books, orphan works, the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) and the possibility of reforming copyright law in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

“ Copyright should be shorter in duration, more balanced, more comprehensible, and normatively closer to what members of the public think that it means or should mean.

Although we are not likely to get comprehensive reform anytime soon, perhaps we can persuade Congress to make some more modest reforms.

We know it is now possible for the cultural and scientific heritage of humankind to be made available through a universal digital library such as the DPLA. It would be a grievous mistake not to bring that future into being when it is so clearly within our grasp.”

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Predatory Publishers, or “Scaring the Children”

In a recent blog post Kevin Smith of Duke takes up the issue of open access publishers who have been labeled “predatory” for various reasons. Quoting from the post:

In an online age, criteria that are well-established in libraries for avoiding these predatory toll-access journals now must be shared more widely because researchers may unwittingly spend research funds on equally low-quality OA journals. But to call this an open access problem is to blind ourselves to its full scope and is, I fear, often motivated more by the desire to bring OA itself into disrepute, to “scare the children,” as I like to call it, than it is by a desire to protect the entire system of scholarly communications. …The problem we should be addressing is predatory publications, OA and subscription-based, and publishing ethics across the board….

…So I repeat, we should make our decisions about quality on the basis of neutral criteria that can be applied to any business model and not allow the legitimate concern over predatory practices to become a weapon used against only a single publishing option.

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Report calls for accelerating transition to open access publishing in UK

A government commissioned report titled “Accessibility, Sustainability, Excellence: How to Expand Access to Research Publications” calls for Britain “embrace and help accelerate the transition to the open-access publishing of research results.”  We called attention to this expected recommendation in a May 3rd posting. According to reporting in  the Chronicle of Higher Education “[t]he report’s main recommendation is that ‘a clear policy direction should be set towards support for publication in open-access or hybrid journals as the main vehicle for the publication of research, especially when it is publicly funded.’”

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Authors certified as class in lawsuit against Google bookscanning project.

The  Chronicle of Higher Education reports that “Judge Denny Chin on Thursday denied the company’s requests to dismiss professional associations as plaintiffs, and granted a motion to accord members of the Authors Guild status as a class in the lawsuit brought by three of its members.”

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University of California, San Francisco, adopts open access “mandate”

The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), faculty senate voted unanimously for an open access policy that requires  articles published by its researchers in scholarly journals to be made publicly available in electronic form. UCSF thus joins Harvard, Duke, Kansas and a number of other institutions in mandating such access. See the article by Michael Kelley in Library Journal and the May 23rd statement from UCSF.

As reported in the UCSF statement: “Our primary motivation is to make our research available to anyone who is interested in it, whether they are members of the general public or scientists without costly subscriptions to journals,” said Richard A. Schneider, PhD, chair of the UCSF Academic Senate Committee on Library and Scholarly Communication, who spearheaded the initiative at UCSF. “The decision is a huge step forward in eliminating barriers to scientific research,” he said. “By opening the currently closed system, this policy will fuel innovation and discovery, and give the taxpaying public free access to oversee their investments in research.”