The homepage of Iowa Research Online has a whole new look with a Readership Activity Map. This new tool allows visitors to see full-text downloads from all over the world as they happen. When someone visits the site and downloads a Master’s Thesis or research article or any other scholarly work in the Iowa Research Online collection, a dot will appear on the map showing the user’s location and the box on the left will show what document is being downloaded. With every passing minute, readers everywhere can access and benefit from the research coming from the University of Iowa. Visit the site and see for yourself!
President Obama signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 last Friday (1/17/2014) to fund the activities of the federal government for the 2014 fiscal year. The $1.1 trillion dollar budget includes the requirement that federal agencies providing $100 million or more in annual research funding to make the resulting peer-reviewed research papers publicly available within 12 months of publication. This provision is an expansion of the Open Access policy of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to cover agencies within the purview of the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. Here is an excerpt of the bill that details this provision:
Sec. 527. Each Federal agency, or in the case of an agency with multiple bureaus, each bureau (or operating division) funded under this Act that has research and development expenditures in excess of $100,000,000 per year shall develop a Federal research public access policy that provides for—
(1) the submission to the agency, agency bureau, or designated entity acting on behalf of the agency, a machine-readable version of the author’s final peer-reviewed manuscripts that have been accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals describing research supported, in whole or in part, from funding by the Federal Government;
(2) free online public access to such final peer-reviewed manuscripts or published versions not later than 12 months after the official date of publication; and
(3) compliance with all relevant copyright laws.
Like the NIH Public Access Policy, this will require recipients of federal research funding to deposit their final research papers to an Open Access repository like PubMed Central or Iowa Research Online. Details of specific public access policies have yet to be released.
Academia.edu has received roughly 2,800 takedown notices from Elsevier for copyright infringement, reported by The Chronicle of Higher Education late last week. Academia.edu is a social network for academics to “share research papers” and has over 6 million registered users. Users of the site can create a profile, identify their institution and research interests, and upload their papers and CV to share among their peers. However, when an author publishes a paper in a journal, the journal publisher oftentimes requires an agreement that transfers copyright ownership of the paper to the publisher and restricts the unauthorized distribution of that paper. In this case, Elsevier, a major academic publisher, is compelling Academic.edu to remove papers for which Elsevier owns the copyright.
This incident is part of a larger conflict in scholarship between authors and publishers over the issue of copyright. When the business interests of publishers interfere with the scholarly interests of authors, there needs to be a negotiation toward a middle ground. A useful tool in this negotiation is the Author’s Addendum. The addendum stipulates:
“The Author shall, without limitation, have the non-exclusive right to use, reproduce, distribute, and create derivative works including update, perform, and display publicly, the Article in electronic, digital or print form in connection with the Author’s teaching, conference presentations, lectures, other scholarly works, and for all of Author’s academic and professional activities.” [Download PDF]
This addendum can be attached to any publishing agreement that requires the transfer of copyright for a scholarly journal article. The agreement is similar to the licensing agreements that are freely available from Creative Commons and are commonly applied by Open Access publishers like the Public Library of Science, PeerJ, and Open Humanities Press. For more information about the Author’s Addendum or Open Access publishing, contact your department librarian. The sharing of research is fundamental to the advancement of ideas and negotiating for more equitable rights to your work helps ensure that this practice continues in your favor.
Earlier this month, Science published a news article (“Who’s Afraid of Peer Review?”) by John Bohannon, a reporter and Harvard University biologist, that investigates the quality of the peer-review process at some fee-charging, Open Access journals in the life sciences. Bohannon submitted a credible, yet “hopelessly flawed” scientific article on cancer research to 304 relevant, fee-charging Open Access journals, 158 of which accepted it for publication It is worth noting that journals from the Public Library of Science, BioMed Central, and Hindawi, the three biggest Open Access publishers, rejected the paper outright.
The news of this study sparked spirituous debate in the blogosphere and the popular media (especially in the comments sections), oftentimes confounding its implications on the future of science, open access, and peer-review. As we approach Open Access Week (Oct. 21-27), it is important to consider what this article means in the broader context of scholarly communication.
“The takeaway shouldn’t be that Open Access is broken and not worth trying. Open Access is great and everyone believes that. It’s just a question of how to implement it.” – John Bohannon on NPR.
While Bohannon’s article uncovers problems in academic publishing, it is not clear that any of the problems are specific to Open Access. Bohannon specifically studied a subset of Open Access journals (many of which were known to be problematic) as a response to his colleague’s experience with a publishing scam, in which a fraudulent scientific journal collected publication fees from the author without performing any legitimate peer-review. Given the scope of this question and the nature of the fake research paper, the findings represent less than 4% of Open Access journals, of which less than 2% accepted the bogus paper (figures according to the Directory of Open Access Journals). Because the article did not study subscription based-journals, non-fee charging journals, non-English journals, and non-life sciences journals, it cannot be concluded that the problem is unique to Open Access.
One major effect of Bohannon’s work is the fascinating discussion on Open Access and peer-review that emerged in the wake of his article. Michael Eisen, a UC-Berkeley Biologist and co-founder of the Public Library of Science, suggests that the problem Bohannon’s study reveals is in the antiquated and opaque standards of the peer-review process. Peter Suber, Director of the Harvard Office of Scholarly Communication, reminds us that Open Access is not just about publishing; to tie this news to Open Access is to ignore the far more popular Open Access archiving option (such as depositing work in Iowa Research Online or PubMed Central) which is compliant with most traditional publishing agreements. Not interested in reading other blogs? Take a listen to this Science Live Chat with John Bohannon on the response to his study.
News like this reminds us that changes in the scholarly publishing system can be far more nuanced than expected and that it is important to continue these discussions as members of the scholarly community.
Kathy Giusti, co-founder of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF), was featured on MSNBC’s Morning Joe this week to talk about how the open sharing of data can improve cancer research. The MMRF recently launched the MMRF Research Gateway to serve as an open access portal for data on Multiple Myeloma, a common form of blood cancer. The goal is to make the data openly available so that progress in cancer treatment can be accelerated. The MMRF Research Gateway requires registration, however non-profit academic, private, and governmental users can access the data free of charge. Watch the clip.
Yesterday, the Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) released a letter sent to John Holdren, the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), requesting copies of U.S. government agency plans to make the results of federally funded research freely available to the public. This follows up on a February 22nd, 2013, White House OSTP memorandum directing federal agencies that annually provide $100 million in funding for research and development to “develop a plan to support increased public access to the results of research funded by the Federal Government. This includes any results publishing in peer-reviewed scholarly publications.” The deadline for these proposals was August 22nd, 2013, and there has been no official word on the specifics of these plans yet.
To comply with these policy changes (once they take effect), the SHared Access Research Ecosystem (SHARE) has been proposed by the Association of American Universities (AAU), the Association of Public and Land-grat Universities (APLU), and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). This system will leverage current digital repository infrastructure already in place and in use at large state and publically funded Universities to create a network of publically funded, open access research through a common metadata schema. Here at the University of Iowa, our digital repository system is called Iowa Research Online.
Toward the making SHARE a reality, the AAU, APLU, and the ARL announced yesterday the formations a Joint Steering Group comprised of University Administrators, Librarians, and Technologists was formed to see this project through completion. You can read more about SHARE here.
Universities and Libraries Envision a ‘Federated System’ for Public Access to Research, Chronicle of Higher Education, by Jennifer Howard
June 7, 2013
As federal agencies scramble to meet an August 22 deadline to comply with a recent White House directive to expand public access to research, a group of university and library organizations says it has a workable, higher-education-driven solution. This week, the Association of American Universities, the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, and the Association of Research Libraries are offering a plan they call the Shared Access Research Ecosystem, or Share.
Share would expand on systems that universities and libraries have long been building to support the sharing and preservation of research. The groups behind Share have been circulating a document, dated June 7, that lays out the basics behind the idea.
Jason Mittell, an associate professor of film and media culture at Middlebury College, has written an interesting opinion piece on Institutional Open Access Policies (there is a coalition of them called Coapi) that are making the much of the scholarly output at participating institutions freely available online. He ponders why these OA Policies are not making the news more often, while MOOCs (massive open online courses) are consistently discussed in the media, and viewed as a revolutionary way to extend the reach of scholars.
He writes: “Odds are that you haven’t read much about Coapi as a revolutionary, democratizing force within higher education, especially compared with its high-profile contemporary, MOOCs (massive open online courses). While it’s quite rare to read about open-access policies in the popular news media, celebrations of MOOCs as the Great Revolution About to Overturn Higher Education As We Know It litter newspapers’ opinion pages—for instance, Thomas Friedman’s recent celebratory gloss in The New York Times.”
Read more of his opinion piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Cohen sketched out a vision of the DPLA as both a gatherer of information and a gateway to it. It will be “an important nationwide collaboration of state and regional digital libraries who will bring together all the local content and bring it upstream to this giant ocean that will be the DPLA,” he said. “The DPLA, in turn, will redirect the general public and scholars and teachers” to digital collections and cultural resources across the country.
“The idea that we can bring all this content to Americans and people all across the world is tremendously compelling,” Mr. Cohen said.
Read more at the Chronicle of Higher Education.
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.