Wednesday, 23 December 2009
- OSTP, and
- German Parliament, pasted on Eberhard Hilf’s blog -
The intention of these interventions has been to ensure that the needs of the research communities in developing countries is highlighted. As the previous two postings to this EPT blog have shown, the understanding and incorporation of open access policies and the establishment of repositories and journals is moving ahead with some strength in these regions. This is largely due to the work of such organisations as the eIFL network, Bioline International, SciELO, MedKnow publications and many others. We hope that the important efforts of these organisations continues to accelerate in 2010 – and EPT wishes them every success.
Monday, 21 December 2009
In his opening address, Prof. Indrikis Muiznieks, University of Lithuania (LU)’s vice rector said, ‘It was stressed, that today’s science and research are dynamic and collaborative and it is important to sustain the communication processes, rather than simply archive research results in the form of a single journal article.’ He said that LU is looking forward to exploring the benefits of open access as a viable solution to existing problems in scholarly communication.
During the seminar Tetiana Yaroshenko, University Librarian and Vice President for IT, National University of Kyiv Mohyla Аcademy, Ukraine, presented the governmental and institutional open access policy landscape and the collective actions of universities and libraries to promote open access. She described the implementation of a national open access mandate – open access to research funded by the state budget of Ukraine is required by the Law of Ukraine “On the principles of Developing Information Society in Ukraine in 2007-2015”. To implement this mandate, the Vernadsky National library of Ukraine created a full text registry of 965 journals  and a DSpace repository.
The seminar brought together 78 researchers, research managers and policy-makers, journal editors and publishers, librarians, and ICT specialists to discuss the latest developments of the open access movement and to debate how to raise the visibility of research outputs from Latvian universities and research organisations, and how to build their capacities in global knowledge sharing. To read the full report, click here.
Furthermore, the first open access repositories have been launched in Belarus, Botswana and Mozambique. As the eIFL newsletter says: Congratulations to the Fundamental Library of the Belarusian State University with the first open access institutional repository in Belarus – BSU Digital Library, to the University of Botswana with the University of Botswana Research, Innovation and Scholarship Archive and to the Centro de Formação Jurídica e Judiciária, Universidade Eduardo Mondlane and Universidade Politécnica with the national Mozambican Repository! Aissa Issak, eIFL country coordinator for Mozambique and coordinator of Mozambican Repository SABER, has sent us a detailed account on how the project got started and developed until it was officially launched on November 4, 2009. Please read her full story.
Furthermore – again – the Republic of Moldova published an Open Access Declaration.
To read all the OA events that have taken place around the developing world, click on the eIFL Newsletter. As Iryna Kuchma states in the eIFL report, “Deep interest in Open Access was in evidence, as tens of thousands of individuals attended live events, logged onto Web casts, shared videos, and participated in contests calling on stakeholders to express their support for Open Access through creative uses of digital resources. “
Many congratulations to all concerned and may 2010 keep up this breathtaking speed of development!
Monday, 14 December 2009
An article describing the establishment and progress over a decade of the Institutional Repository of the Universidad de Los Andes (IR-ULA) in Venezuela is of interest to all organisations in the developing world (or elsewhere) planning the establishment of an IR. The article provides guidelines/recommendations based on ULA's experience.
The ULA, a 200-year old, geographically isolated university, is now considered to be a ‘Technology Mecca’ in Venezuela. Starting in 2000, the IR now holds some 19,000 records and has attracted 40,000,000 visits to its portal. See here for statistics of usage.
According to an UNDP report, ‘. . . . this small town can be considered an innovation territory where signs of technology appropriation can be detected and where ICT are statistically significant within the Latin America context’. It is clear that the early acceptance of open access has put the ULA on the world map and provided global recognition for its research activities.
Note: the ULA web site is in Spanish, the statistics pages in Spanish/English.
Monday, 7 December 2009
But one thing seems clear. If we are to accumulate all possible scientific knowledge about climate change, biodiversity conservation, engineering progress, social consequences – and do this with some urgency - and at the same time develop essential practical solutions to change current culture to a more sustainable one, then we must share knowledge.
The mutual exchange of information is something to which all nations can agree and work towards together. So it is to be hoped that open access advocates will be raising this important and eminently do-able building block to achieving global answers to the problems we face.
It is very good that SciDevNet have a Copenhagen blog to report activities of interest to the scientific communities. If there are other groups in Copenhagen, it is to be hoped they will use every opportunity to raise the issue of open access to essential information. This is something we can do.
Note that there is a link to SciDevNet from this blog. Please add links to other information/Copenhagen resources as a comment to this post.
Monday, 30 November 2009
## An interesting article titled, ‘Be Creative, Determined, and Wise: Open Library Publishing and the Global South’ discusses the many issues affecting access to information by developing countries. Matthew Baker, in a feature article in Information Today, discusses how libraries can address the problems facing the ‘information divide’ - internet infrastructure, language, political/economic instability, cultural factors, censorship . . . Matthew Baker says: “As libraries continue to work on opening access to scientific and scholarly research, and as they assume more and more the roles, responsibilities, and capacities of publication, they are strategically placed to help significantly reduce the global digital information divide. There is much work to be done. By keeping the important ethical and social justice priorities of the open access movement at the heart of the evolving publication roles of libraries, we can bring the best instincts and practices of libraries to bear on this important issue. Librarians know this about OA. We love it. It gets us all fired up.” See here.
## No institutional repository? No worry. Authors from any country in the world can now deposit their published articles in the ‘DEPOT’ service. Previously restricted to the UK, all authors can now benefit from open access visibility straight away. If they later want to return their articles to their own IR, then that can be done.
Based at the University of Edinburgh and supported by JISC, the Depot explains that it provides two main services:
• a deposit service for researchers worldwide without an institutional repository in which to deposit their papers, articles, and book chapters (e-prints).
• a re-direct service which alerts depositors to more appropriate local services if they exist.
“The first time a researcher visits the Depot we will automatically check with OpenDOAR, the registry for open access repositories, to find a more appropriate local repository. If none exists then the author will be invited to deposit their research in the Depot. The Depot is OAI-compliant allowing deposited e-prints to be 'harvested' by search services, and other repositories, giving them instant global visibility.”
So don’t wait for your institute to set up its own repository – let everyone have access to your publications now, go deposit in the Depot! [But your institute should have its own IR too as it is getting left behind – now over 1500 have been set up around the world - and there are so many institutional benefits to be gained.]
Friday, 13 November 2009
The only purpose of open access to research literature is to provide the widest possible distribution of the latest research findings to the global community and to enable the development of new knowledge for the benefit of mankind. And the prime need for this international sharing of research knowledge is the increasing urgency to solve the planet’s problems – climate change, new infectious diseases (swine flu, avian flu, malaria . . .), other diseases, hunger, poverty, drought, flooding . . . the list is endless.
Now, we are able to take advantage of the Internet and its world wide reach and make essential research available through this means. But online distribution is not enough since the regions facing the gravest problems cannot afford commercial access to all the information they need. So free-of-cost access is also needed, coupled with the freedom to copy and share the content.
Now that we have the infrastructure (in much of the world), we have watched as two means of providing access have emerged: 1) to deposit copies of refereed published articles in open access institutional repositories (or linked centralised repositories) or 2) to publish in open access journals. As these new paradigms for academic knowledge-sharing get underway, advocates of the twin tracks are developing many new supporting applications, establishing standards, setting up networks, providing statistical packages and much else to improve their services.
This is all wonderful, but the promotion of the two parallel mechanisms is confusing newcomers and creating divisions in the OA community. While acknowledging that both routes (known now as the green and gold tracks respectively) are commendable, it seems very clear that the fastest route to sharing essential research has to be through the establishment of institutional repositories (IRs). Why? Because they are low cost (free software), quick to set up (minimal sysop time, much free online and offline help available), can be established without the need to set up new bodies (editorial boards, publishing partners, refereeing procedures/participating referees) and finance them, provide global access wherever the articles were published and, most importantly, the author communities can continue to follow existing procedures – publishing for free in their favourite journals. For more information on all aspects of OA – academic, technical and policy – visit the Open Access Scholarly Information Sourcebook (OASIS).
As we know, all that authors must do to encompass OA and benefit from global distribution of their publications, is ‘the few key strokes’ needed to deposit copies of their accepted articles in their own IRs, thus complying with the steadily increasing number of institutional/funder mandates. But OA-deniers say that progress is very slow and authors are not complying with deposit requirements. So I have checked the numbers of articles deposited in the IRs in two developing countries, India and South Africa, and in the UK.
Totalling the number of deposits in the ROAR database on November 11th 2009, the following were recorded:
India 47,809 deposits
South Africa 22,222 deposits
UK 718,530 deposits
In these three countries alone, therefore, approaching 800,000 deposits have been made. And as there are now >1500 IRs registered in the ROAR database today, you can work out that already significant steps have been taken to free the world’s research literature. And while it is true that not every deposit will be a full text research article (there will be theses, reports, presentations too), all this information is important and now free to all, to be built on and used as the academic communities require. But more needs to be done.
So what are today’s OA priorities?
The globally connected community of research workers, communications specialists and their financial backers needs to stop a moment and think about the priorities for OA’s future.
Is the priority to protect the quality of research publications?
Or to advance the careers of researchers?
Or to promote the stature of research institutes?
Or to help funding organisations assess the value of their investments?
Or to ensure the continuity of journals?
While all these are very important and greatly helped by open access - and ways to achieve them are rightly being discussed - they are not what open access is primarily for. [Nor is it a priority to protect the profits of the commercial publishing industry, which has benefited from free material for their journals, free refereeing and free professional effort on editorial boards]. To repeat – open access is solely to advance research and allow new knowledge to be shared, developed and used for the future benefit of mankind.
For economically poor countries, the development of the fastest, lowest cost route to open access is a ‘no brainer’. It’s a major priority. The developing world urgently needs the establishment and filling of IRs right now. Without a strong research base, the poorer countries will forever depend on donations and will be unable to contribute their essential and unique knowledge to the world’s information pool.
Since starting to write this post a comprehensive article appeared in the Times Higher Education supplement, together with a Leader on the same topic.
Coincidentally, many of the points raised in this blog have been clearly and well aired in the THES piece, so you may find it interesting to link to the article and the appended comments. Of associated importance are the open access journals published in the developing countries, for example SciELO, Bioline International, MedKnow Publications and many others, filling the S to N knowledge gap and bringing researchers in these regions into the international research community.
Thursday, 5 November 2009
Acting Director of NISCAIR, Dr B C Kashyap, in his welcome address, highlighted the importance of globalizing S&T knowledge and announced that the 17 peer-reviewed journals published by NISCAIR are all made open access through the NISCAIR national open access repository. The repository now holds 5757 articles, thus making a major contribution to the distribution of essential research information.
The workshop was based on the Open Journal System, an open source publishing software, and was attended by five CSIR laboratories that publish peer-reviewed journals. The participants were NEERI-Nagpur, CDRI-Lucknow, CIMAP- Lucknow, CFTRI-Mysore and SERC-Chennai. Mr. Sukhdev Singh, Technical Director, National Informatics Centre and Mr. S. B. Burde, Scientist, NISCAIR were the faculty for the workshop. All stages of Editorial processing from online submission of manuscripts to its final hosting for open access were covered in the workshop.
So many congratulations are due to the CSIR, and NISCAIR in particular, for leading the way in providing open access to this important body of research information - and crucially by providing training to other CSIR colleagues!
Wednesday, 28 October 2009
Among all the important OA Week activities, there was some fun too. Here is the winner of the SHERPA Haiku ‘Spirit of Open Access’ Competition:
Set your research free
As flowers offer nectar
To the passing bee
Congratulations to Miggie Pickton,
And here are a few of the runners-up:
Like birds, authors' rights
fly away from their control
never to return
A candle under
a bushel is wasted light
try open access
Rob Szarka, szarka.org
To those who share their knowledge
With the world beyond
The addition of full text
connected and well-informed
research moves forward
Jon Mason, InterCog
The locked door opens
And brilliant autumn sunlight
Pours into the room.
Padraig Manning, HSE
Help barriers fall
An open age dawns
Jessie and Tony Hey,
Should not perish, closed, within
a domain price-locked.
OA is worldwide
bringing scholars together
and spreading their words
In the autumn rains
Gold leaves float down secured in OA silos – research advances And a limerick to encourage deposit in IRs: A geneticist working in Found a gene to zap helicobacter. He made it OA And before you could say Jack was made a Distinguished Professor. Enjoy!
open access means no trudge
to the library
And another that wasn’t in the runners-up list:
Gold leaves float down
secured in OA silos –
And a limerick to encourage deposit in IRs: A geneticist working in Found a gene to zap helicobacter. He made it OA And before you could say Jack was made a Distinguished Professor. Enjoy!
A geneticist working in
Found a gene to zap helicobacter.
He made it OA
And before you could say
Jack was made a Distinguished Professor.
Monday, 19 October 2009
This week sees a great number of activities taking place around the world to celebrate the growth of open access to refereed published research findings!
Here is a first list of events as recorded in Open Access News. Please make sure your celebrations are made known to everyone - those taking place in developing and emerging regions could be posted as comments to this posting as well as on the OAN/OATP site.
Image from Seedmagazine.com
Monday, 12 October 2009
“African universities will buy 60 Gb of bandwidth and set up a continental network
Almost unnoticed African universities have come together to sort out their bandwidth problems in the new era of fibre. In April 2010, European NREN Dante will start to implement with eastern Africa’s UbuntuNet Alliance, a continental network to link up African universities with plentiful bandwidth to their colleagues across the globe. On 1 November West and Central Africa will set up its own network organisation to join the process. African universities currently spend an estimated US$1.4 million and are destined to become important players in network development.
15 million euros from the European Commission will go via European National Research Network (NREN) Dante to buy connectivity for African universities with a start date for implementation of April 2010. A 25% contribution will either come from the African Union or national Governments. According to UbuntuNet Alliance’s Tusu Tusubira:”Dante will buy the cross-border connectivity and UbuntuNet may get to operate it. UbuntuNet wants to be part of the implementation and to develop the opportunity.”
In advance of this happening, National Research Networks (NRENs) have been buying their own capacity in considerable quantity at low prices that acknowledge universities are a different type of customer. . . .
South African NREN TENET got the ball rolling by buying an STM64 from Seacom, which is just short of 10 Gbps. .. . . As an independent cable provider Seacom understood the importance of the university market as an “anchor tenant” early whereas some of the other telco-initiated cable providers were keener on universities buying individually at higher prices. As Dunacan Martin, CEO of TENET tells it:”Seacom has been very supportive.”
”By the end of year, the South African research and education backbone SANRen will (be) connected and the full bandwidth can be delivered to the member universities. ”
. . . . However all is not plain sailing as the capacity will have to cross borders to supply universities in neighbouring countries. The problem as Martin has discovered is as follows:”Cross border connectivity prices are controlled by unpublished agreements between incumbent operators on either side of the border. One of the negotiating partners, Telkom, said it would drop its prices to accommodate us but the other country’s telco would not agree”.
On the West and Central side of the continent, the Co-ordinator of Research and Education Networking of the Association of African Universities, Boubakar Barry has been the moving force behind getting an UbuntuNet Alliance-like structure together that will be launched on 1 November.
Barry emphasises the unique nature of universities as customers: ”Providers should not consider the Higher Education and Research institutions as normal customers. They are critical for the development of Africa. It’s now very important for them to be able to part of the game with this type of infrastructure for global academic collaborations. . . . The same rules cannot apply to Higher Education and Research Institutions that apply to other operators. It’s a public good. If you train and educate people, it benefits the private sector as they need highly trained engineers. Networked universities will provide them.”
So, a major step forward, a recognition of the value to economies of research connectivity, but a few hurdles to be crossed on the road to equality of access to global research. For the full article click here.
Saturday, 3 October 2009
Open Access Week (19-23 October 2009) is on the horizon and there are many activities planned to mark the occasion. For a full list see. But here are a few activities of special interest to EPT people:
- A recent announcement from the NECOBELAC project (European and Latin American Country collaboration in open access dissemination of information for the protection of public health)is of interest. A workshop is to be held in Rome in October and a leaflet giving further information about the programme and speakers has just been produced – available from here.
- A UK competition has been launched to find the institutional repository that has made the highest number of full text deposits during OA Week! Only eligible for UK IRs, but what a good idea to get those IRs filled! See. Other countries could copy the idea and if you haven’t organized an OA week event yet, this is an easy and very worthwhile way to do so.
- The formal constitution of COAR: the Confederation of Open Access
Repositories is scheduled to take place in Open Access Week 2009. See. An outcome from the DRIVER infrastructure, COAR is a community-driven approach, where institutions can determine how they want their repositories to be deployed. The action plan is directed towards international organisational support for Open Access in research infrastructures around the globe. The EU’s DRIVER programme has lead to a growing number of international developments supporting the exchange of research information between the EU member states and other regions, see for example NECOBELAC, above.
Good wishes for a happy and fruitful OA Week!
Monday, 28 September 2009
Here is notice of an important landmark development. The statement from the launch announcement says:
“As we rapidly approach 100 formal, mandatory, policies on Open Access from universities, research institutes and research funders a group of senior directors of universities and research institutes have come together to launch a new forum for the promotion of the principles and practices of open scholarship.
The aim of Enabling Open Scholarship (EOS) is to further the opening up of scholarship and research that we are now seeing as a natural part of ‘big science’ and through the growing interest from the research community in open access, open education, open science and open innovation. These, and other, 'open' approaches to scholarship are changing the way research and learning is done and will be performed in the future.
Enabling Open Scholarship (EOS) provides the higher education and research sectors around the world with information on developments and with advice and guidance on implementing policies and processes that encourage the opening up of scholarship. It also provides a forum for discussion and debate amongst its members and will be taking that discussion into the wider community.”
For more, see and the EOS Home page at home
Open Scholarship – Open Science – Open Source – Open Access – it is remarkable how the approach to sharing and using research data has changed from what was considered a way-out concept to becoming established practice. EOS is a response to formalizing and advancing what is now our way of working and its launch marks an important stage in global research development.
Thursday, 17 September 2009
Thanks to eIFL, we learn that 26 rectors of universities in the Ukraine endorsed the Olvia Declaration that includes academic freedom, university autonomy and the role of science and education for sustainable development.
Academic freedom includes open access to research information through the development of open repositories and open access journals, enabling the free communication of researchers in the Ukraine with peers around the world.
In Article 2.11 of the Action Plan on implementing the Olvia declaration, it is stated:
“To practice open access to knowledge Universities and research organizations should:
• develop institutional polices and strategies on open access (free and unrestricted access to full text peer reviewed research results), provide access to, search and usage of the above mentioned works by the faculty to every internet user to increase scientific, social and economic impact of the research;
• launch and develop open institutional repositories and open access journals;
• encourage open use of this information for research and education.”
This follows on from the Belgorod Declaration to stimulate and support open access to scientific knowledge and cultural heritage endorsed by 10 rectors of universities of the CIS countries in May 2009, as reported in this blog on July 10th.
eIFL and its partner colleagues in the Ukraine are greatly to be congratulated for achieving this important step towards global research communication.
Photo from eIFL newsletter, with thanks.
Tuesday, 18 August 2009
Troubles that can occur when attempting to analyse web statistics include accessions by web crawlers, crawlers or other access processes becoming ‘stuck’, intranet usage that may be of local relevance, or occasional individual authors downloading their own publications for distribution, teaching or other purposes. These records of ‘usage’ would not reflect global professional interest in articles.
As criticism of web statistics as ‘worse than useless’ has been made, it seemed important to check with some of the experienced managers of established IRs what actions are taken, if any, to minimize spurious downloads. Are the usage statistics they record of full text downloads reliable? Are steps taken to remove machine-generated accessions? Here are the answers they provided:
- "Yes, we “clean” our download statistics to exclude crawlers, agents and other “anomalous” situations. We do it in two complementary ways:
Automatic exclusion of downloads originated by “well behaved” crawlers and/or by crawlers already identified as such in our database of agents and crawlers;
We automatically generate an “observation list” of “suspicious” behavior from particular IP addresses. Every month we check that list, and 3 things can happen: 1 – We conclude it’s a crawler and the IP is added to the crawler database and the downloads are removed from the statistics; 2 – We conclude it’s not a crawler and the IP is removed from the suspicious list; 3- We can’t get a conclusion and the IP remains for another month on the observation list".
- “We had to specifically exclude a lot of crawlers, as they occasionally clobbered up the eprintstats database that we use. That is the main reason that our usage stats dipped at the start of this year. I don't think that repeat downloads are a big problem - those from the local Intranet are identified anyway. I do recall that one obscure paper was top of the charts one month, which turned out to be due to a crawler getting stuck on it, so I removed its stats.”
- “I think the figures for downloads are more reliable than those for abstract views. There is bound to be some crawler usage in our stats, but I think we have done what we can to minimise them and so I don't think the stats give a distorted picture. I agree that you do need to be cautious when quoting web usage stats.”
- “As a rule of thumb, about 50% of repository downloads are attributable to non-human clicking. Our IRStats makes efforts to filter these out. For a start, we maintain a list of addresses of the major, known crawlers. We also ignore sites that download "too much". And finally we discount multiple downloads of the same item from the same browser within a particular period. . . . I think that (to our best efforts) you don't need to adjust the figures at all from IRStats. What we can't tell you is whether the downloads represent "genuine scholars", "commercial researchers", "members of the public", "students" or "mistaken downloads".”
- “The visits to the IRs by the numerous crawlers are taken into consideration by the software that [is] used for generating the statistics. [But even if] such visits [are] taken care of, a small percentage (< 5%) could still creep in as new crawlers keep emerging on a regular basis. Some software have the feature of not considering the visits/downloads from the Intranet. This has to be done at the software configuration level. In our case, I'm yet to implement this feature. In my opinion, the visit/downloads from the Intranet could be up to 10%. Both the figures given above are rough estimates based on my judgement.”
It can be taken, judging from these comments from IR managers (using both eprints and dspace software), that the major ‘web-stats problems’ are taken care of and that the figures recorded for usage reflect as near as possible genuine usage. However, while the statistics tables can therefore be a reliable measure of the growing volume of research information being down-loaded daily, the following provisos remain:
- there will always be small levels of uncertainties in interpretations because of the fluid nature of the web;
- not all IRs may be as assiduous as those contacted here in ‘cleaning up’ their statistics reports, and newly established IRs may still be incorporating checking procedures;
- comparisons of usage recorded by different IRs may be difficult because of differences in configuration or management procedures. However, usage of a single site over different time periods remains a valid measurement of growth in usage of a site;
- as one of the IR managers stated, it is still not possible to identify the precise usage to which downloads will be put, and it may be that this can never be established, given the increasingly diverse ways in which the research community can now exchange information. However, it is common sense to assume that a user is unlikely to take the time to download technical articles (and in the case of developing countries to suffer the irritations and costs of low bandwidth) unless there is a genuine professional interest in an article as a way to enhance the user’s own research. There is also now good evidence to show that downloads lead to citations, and a recent paper from Cornell University analyses different mechanisms now available for measuring research impact.
- while usage figures supplied by IRs are a strong measure of the value of IR content to research, there is a need for standardisation that will make it possible for downloads from different IRs using different software to be compared. The projects known as COUNTER and PIRUS are two JISC-supported projects designed to address this, and include input from IRs (lead by Paul Needham from Cranfield Institute in the UK).
It is important that proponents of IRs ensure that the research communities understand that statistics of downloads from IRs are a reliable measurement and are different from those that may be quoted from informal and non-professional web sites. The limitations are well understood by IR managers and steps are taken to remove them as far as possible. The wider communities need to know that IR statistics are professionally managed and reflect reality within the limits that current technical methodology allows.
Since it is the mission of the EPT to promote the bi-directional exchange of research information, the reliability of usage statistics from IRs is essential if they are to be quoted as evidence of the value placed on these resources by the global research community. The comments provided by these managers of established IRs provide reassurance that they are reliable and can be quoted with confidence.
The following web sites provide examples of some of the IR statistics pages showing usage by country. From these it can be seen that usage by developing countries from IRs located both in the developed and emerging countries is high.
- University of Strathclyde, UK
- University of Otagao, Business School, New Zealand
- University of Minho, Portugal
- University de Los Andes, Venezuela
- Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore [not yet guaranteed 24/7 because of development work]
To access all registered IRs, use :
A final thought – as all working researchers know, access to any single article may be the key to a major breakthrough, so counting downloads (or even citations) can never reflect the true impact that IRs have on research – but IRs – along with open access journals – open doors that were previously closed to all but a few.
Posted by Barbara Kirsop, with many thanks to IR managers who provided details of their statistics management procedures.
Tuesday, 4 August 2009
Read in connection with the broadband news for southern Africa reported below, greater opportunities for meeting the many health problems faced by the developing world are now becoming a reality.
While much remains to be done in terms of regulatory and policy issues, this is a major step forward for all consituencies able to benefit from online access to global information, including of course research findings available to all academic communties through open access resources.
Monday, 20 July 2009
- A new Lithuanian law on science requires online access for publicly-funded research took effect on May 12, 2009 and was made possible through the commitment and hard work of the Lithuanian Research Library Consortium;
- In Poland, Krzysztof Gulda, Director of the Department of Strategy and Development of Science at the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, speaking at the conference Open Educational Resources in Poland on April 23, declared the interest of the Ministry in introducing open science models in Poland, as part of the current reform of the scientific system. In particular, he declared that the Ministry is considering introducing an open mandate for publicly funded scientific content;
- Implementation of the Belgorod Declaration on open access to scientific knowledge and cultural heritage was endorsed by 10 rectors in Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine. And on May 28 Belgorod State University presented its digital repository (dspace.bsu.edu.ru) followed by the V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University launching its digital repository eKhNUIR (dspace.univer.kharkov.ua) to implement the action plan of the Belgorod declaration on open access to scientific knowledge and cultural heritage at the university area of border regions of Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine for 2008-2013;
- In Ukraine, libraries advocated open access and the implementation of the national open access mandate and a new thematic digital repository –the Central and Eastern European Marine Repository. More than 150 Ukrainian University librarians endorsed the Open Access to knowledge statement on May 21 at the International conference “Libraries of the higher education institutions in the context of higher education modernisation” that took place in Sevastopol, Ukraine.
To implement the Open Access Mandate (open access to research funded from the state budget of Ukraine introduced in the Law of Ukraine On the principles of Developing Information Society in Ukraine in 2007-2015) the Vernadsky National library of Ukraine created a registry of 726 journals. Full text articles of 346 journals (starting from 2008) are already deposited here.
And the library of the Institute of Biology of the Southern Seas (IBSS), Ukraine, launched CEEMaR (Central and Eastern European Marine Repository) – a thematic digital repository covering the marine, brackish and freshwater environments and providing access to papers produced by the staff of the ECET institutes in Bulgaria, Poland, Russia and Ukraine;
- And in South Africa, the first African open access institutional mandate at the University of Pretoria and a new repository at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology was registered. On May 22, Monica Hammes registered the first African open access mandate of the University of Pretoria, South Africa: www.eprints.org/openaccess.
More information about all these developments is available from
Sunday, 12 July 2009
Yet, without past research we would not know about the antimalarial activities of peptide antibiotics isolated from fungi, as reported by Nagaraj, Uma, Shivayogi and Balaram in an American Society of Microbiology publication, and freely available from the Indian Institute of Science’s repository. We would not know about a recent study on the role of rapid diagnostic tests in managing malaria, published in PLoS Medicine. Nothing would emerge to improve the treatment of malaria in the future.
There is a chain of communication in health knowledge, stretching from the primary research publication, through the development and application, through publications that ‘translate’ the knowledge appropriately for health care workers and on to the treatment of those in need. This is discussed in a recent publication by three EPT Trustees, Chan, Arunachalam and Kirsop, in the Open Medicine journal. The authors argue that if the first link in the chain is broken, the development of essential new treatments will not take place. They show that free and open access to the latest research findings is critical for the exchange and sharing of research findings that will accelerate new treatments.
The Open Medicine journal is a non-profit open access journal that encourages the free use of published reports and data. Its mission is to ‘facilitate the equitable global dissemination of high-quality health research within the health community; to promote international dialogue and collaboration on health issues; to improve clinical practice; and to expand and deepen the understanding of health and health care’.
Friday, 12 June 2009
So to meet the needs of scattered scholarly communities around the world, and to save the air-miles and workloads of dedicated people who arrange workshops, meetings and conferences on open access, the Open Society Institute has supported the development of an online, free, authoritative ‘source book’ that aims to meet the OA-needs of researchers, publishers, administrators, librarians, students and the general public alike.It should serve as an invaluable, reliable and up-to-the-minute resource for everyone concerned with the widest distribution of research information. For developing country scholarly communities, OASIS will be a treasure chest.
If you want to know how to set up an OA Institutional Repository – go OASIS! If you want to know which universities or funding organisations have OA policies in operation – go OASIS! If you want to know what business plans OA publishers have found to work best – go OASIS! There are loads of links, articles, summaries and even videos, so it is an excellent one-stop-OA-shop.
Here is the official announcement of the launch, with links to this new resource:
The Open Access Scholarly Information Sourcebook (OASIS) is being launched at the 13th International Conference on Electronic Publishing (ELUB2009), taking place in Milan, Italy from June 10-12.
OASIS aims to provide an authoritative 'sourcebook' on Open Access, covering the concept, principles, advantages, approaches and means to achieving it. The site highlights developments and initiatives from around the world, with links to diverse additional resources and case studies. As such, it is a community-building as much as a resource building exercise. Users are encouraged to share and download the resources provided, and to modify and customize them for local use. For details about the site, please visit the OASIS web site.
A brief introduction to OASIS is available here.
For more information, contact Alma Swan or Leslie Chan
The Electronic Publishing Trust for Development is pleased to have been associated with the development of OASIS and wishes all concerned much success.
Monday, 8 June 2009
And for a delightful treat, just watch the short video in which ‘Access to Knowledge’ is spoken by eIFL partners in their own languages. Click here and enjoy!
Wednesday, 27 May 2009
This news comes just as new charts showing the growth of world-wide open access mandates has been published by Alma Swan on her blog, Optimal Scholarship. The chart of half-yearly increases, shown below, clearly indicates that a better understanding of the need for sharing research information is taking place, and developing countries are joining Harvard, MIT, Wellcome Trust, and over 80 other seats of learning in accelerating the speed of research distribution and thus making best use of funding. For a full list of open access policies, see the ROARmap database.
Monday, 25 May 2009
The results of the survey will provide information on the numbers of IRs already in existence, and also on the services they are providing for their research communities.
In order to arrive at a realistic picture, the more organisations that participate the better, so if you are associated in any way with a repository at your organisation, we hope you will take part. To reach the Survey,click here.
Sunday, 10 May 2009
Written by Leslie Chan, of the University of Toronto, Director of Bioline International and Trustee of the Electronic Publishing Trust for Development, he knows all there is to know about Open Access and you can depend on the information he gives. Directed originally to Canadian scholars, it is applicable to the global academic community. Don’t miss it! Pass it on to your co-waverers!
Thursday, 7 May 2009
To access the journal, click here.
Monday, 27 April 2009
The OA-rich world may be economically poor, but understands the great benefits that OA can bring to its national research base, its education, its institutes and the progress of global research. The OA-poor world may be economically rich, but has not been informed about OA, or has been misinformed about OA, or is failing to understand how access to scholarly information is changing for the good in the age of the Internet.
But there’s a problem. The rich world has now moved on from describing the great benefits of OA to its authors, readers and administrators. As its constituencies have understood and adapted, it has begun to discuss the technicalities of tracking versions; it is wondering how data can be archived and shared; it has begun to worry about the slowness of authors to deposit their research into their institutional repositories; it is considering whether Face Book and Twitter have a place; it is assessing the value of downloads versus citations. It is gnawing away at the endless possibilities that OA has opened up . . . taking its future existence for granted.
But as the OA-rich communities discuss progress and new developments, they perforce repeat the difficulties. ‘There are still only 16% of the world’s research articles available through OA – how can we speed this up?’, yet they no longer mention that even 16% represents millions of free research articles. ‘There are only 1300 IRs so far’ – yet they don’t mention that these are increasing at the rate of 1-2/day (1319 yesterday, 1321 today!). ‘It has taken $xxxxx to set up our campus-wide digital resource’ – yet a simple repository to hold an institute’s research publications can be done on a shoe-string. ‘There has to be long-term commitment’ – very true, and in organisations that have understood the importance and value to them of OA, the commitment is there. As the debates and exchange of ideas surge ahead, organisations that are not immersed in the exciting OA opportunities for research communities only hear about the remaining challenges while the great benefits are no longer voiced. And hardly anyone bothers to mention the highly impressive usage being made of OA resources – which in the end is all that counts.
It is a bit like trying to sell a ‘green’ car. ‘Yes, madam, it is a bit small. No, it doesn’t have central locking. No, it doesn’t have retractable wing mirrors’. . . . no sale. But the successful salesman adds, ‘But you will save $x on fuel. You will save $x on tyre replacements. You will have very low insurance costs. You will have very low greenhouse gas emissions. We sold three models yesterday alone . . . they are the cars of the future. Would you like a test drive?’
For OA newcomers there are plenty of test drives to be found at ePrints and elsewhere, and there are very satisfied customers at Harvard, MIT, UK Research Councils, Wellcome Trust, Universities in Portugal, Australia, Venezuela, India, Scotland . . . . see ROAR or openDOAR. And the OA-usage statistics are incontestable proof that these organisations have made the right choice, see for example the University of Strathclyde , or the University de los Andes.
Organisations and individuals that still hesitate should get the full story and ask themselves if such prestigious organisations as Harvard would unanimously agree to an open access policy unless it was right for its organisation, right for the progress of research? But how to get the full story that is authoritative, up-to-date, impartial? Fortunately, the OSI-supported Open Access Scholarly Information Sourcebook (OASIS) is coming to a website near you very soon, to provide a comprehensive resource for all would-be OA-rich scholars.
Posted by Barbara Kirsop, Electronic Publishing Trust for Development.
Friday, 24 April 2009
Full details are available from the BI News site. Let us hope more organisations are willing to make a similar commitment so that information from the developing world remains available to all.
Thursday, 23 April 2009
1. Leslie Chan, Associate Director of Bioline International, and EPT Trustee asks a number of questions in a presentation he made recently to the Canadian academic communities. He asks, for example:
- Why is your institution’s library paying millions of dollars each year for journal subscriptions and yet you are still unable to access some of the journals you need for your research?
- Why do we give away our work and contribute free labour to refereeing for journals that put restrictions and price barriers on access?
He answers many such questions and dispels many myths about open access, see here.
2. An excellent review of the state of Open Access and the prices of toll access journals (today showing a 9-7% average increase in subscriptions), plus a series of tables referring to prices of publications in different disciplines, different countries and different years. Van Orsdel and Born - see here.
Wednesday, 1 April 2009
Subbiah Arunachalam on Open Access in India from Leslie Chan on Vimeo.
Saturday, 28 March 2009
I was there at the one-day conference on scholarly communication organised by CSIR at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, yesterday [24 March 2009]. We had a good gathering - more than 150 people at any given time. We had good speakers: Prof. Sunil Sarangi, Director, NIT, Rourkela, spoke about how at NIT they were able to come up with faculty support for India's first and so far only institutional mandate for open access. Dr D K Sahu, MedKnow Publications, Mumbai, spoke from personal experience how open access publishing is profitable in more than one sense and cleared the many myths about the publication of OA journals. Prof. Mangala Sunder Krishnan of IIT Madras gave an overview of the NPTEL project and gave a glimpse of the National Mission supported by the Ministry of Human Resource Development. Prof. John Willinsky of Stanford University told the audience that open access was all about the history of science and how even the usually secretive Isaac Newton came to acknowledge the importance of unfettered dissemination of scientific research results. Willinsky also told us how within months of joining the Stanford Faculty he persuaded his colleagues at the School of Education to adopt a Faculty-initiated mandate for open access to all their research publications. For Willinsky, open access is a basic human right. Prof. Leslie Chan of the University of Toronto stressed the importance, value and benefits of the commons - be it a spacious and well-maintained garden or the intellectual commons. He gave several practical suggestions. He gave a dramatic example of an African researcher whose papers, when placed in an open access server started attracting citations at an unusually high rate. In his inaugural address, Dr Gangan Prathap, Director of NISCAIR, CSIR's publishing arm, told us that CSIR journals recovered through subscription revenue only about 30% of the costs and the intangible benefits that would accrue by making all the journals open access would far exceed any loss in revenue. Dr Prathap mentioned it was only the mindset and our nature to hold on to 'the intellectual property' we generated that stood in the way of adopting open access. I pleaded for taking advantage of the web technologies in both accessing the information we need from around the world and making our own work more visible and stressed the need for walking the talk and converting intent into action.
The conference ended with a lively panel discussion moderated by Prof. Leslie Chan. Prof. Chopra mentioned two great benefits of journals going open access and online: the first is ecological - all the trees we cut to produce print journals could be saved; the second is control of plagiarism, as it is easy to detect in the online environment. Dr Hirwani, Head of URDIP, CSIR, Pune, told us that at CSIR they were interested in creating both intellectual property and intellectual commons.
Audience participation was very good. There were many questions and the discussion was lively.
I hope CSIR will soon circulate all the presentations and a report on the conference to all participants.
To me the conference was successful. Just before the conference came to a close, the CSIR's Chief of Finance asked a couple of questions: If this was a conference on open access why was it not being broadcast to a nationwide audience through videoconferencing? Would we be writing a report and forwarding it to the key policy makers in the government? The answer to the second question, says Dr Naresh Kumar of CSIR, is yes. The conference was restricted to participants at the conference venue only, but thanks to the foresight of Mr Sunil Abraham of the Centre for Internet and Society, Bangalore, the entire proceedings have been captured on video. The Centre for Internet and Society will place the video recording as well as all the presentations on its website.
The CSIR team led by Dr Naresh Kumar and Dr Chandra Gupt deserve to be congratulated for putting together this one-day conference
Now, what next? The participants came - some from as far away as Rourkela and Mysore, heard the speakers, some asked questions, and went away. What they do in the next few days is crucial. For starters, they could talk to their colleagues about what they came to know about the changing face of scholarly communication and open access at the conference; they could initiate action to set up open access repositories in their own institutions; they may place all their published work in an open access repository; they may resolve to make all their papers openly accessible either by publishing them in OA journals or by placing them in an OA repository. If they are already doing all these they may be proactive and persuade other scientists and institutions to adopt open access. They may write to leaders of science, policy makers and concerned government officials to mobilise support for the adoption of a nationwide mandate for open access to all publicly-funded research.
Wednesday, 11 February 2009
CSIR’s head of R &D said, in a memorandum to the Directors of all CSIR laboratories,
“The CSIR is pleased to approve the implementation of the following recommendations of the Group for Open Access to Science Publications (GOASP) of CSIR":
1. All research papers published from all CSIR laboratories be made open access either by depositing the full-text and the metadata of each paper in an institutional repository or by publishing the papers in an open access journal in the first place.
2. All the CSIR published journals to be made open access.
3. Each laboratory sets up its own interoperable institutional open access repository.
4. CSIR / lab sets up one or more centre(s) which would harvest the full-text and metadata of
5. Each laboratory sets up Electronic Thesis and Dissertations Repository.
6. To hold a conference for creating awareness on Open Access.
7. To hold in house Training programmes on Open Access.
8. Sensitize CSIR researchers.
It is requested that the above Open Access activities are implemented at the earliest.”
CSIR is taking a strong lead in ensuring that much of the research carried out in
access. This is an inspiration to research leaders in the developing world and – when fully implemented -.will enrich the knowledge base of researchers everywhere.
Saturday, 17 January 2009
A letter from the Electronic Publishing Trust for Development to recent research appointees to the Obama administration: Professor John Holdren, Professor Harold Varmus, Professor Jane Lubchenko, Professor Stevan Chu.
It is with great pleasure that we note your recent appointments in the new
The resolution, through science, of urgent global problems is a priority for the safety and economic progress of all nations, yet cannot be achieved by any country in isolation. We write to you, therefore, to urge you to ensure that access to publicly funded research is free to all potential users, particularly to those in low economy regions where the costs of commercial journals are prohibitive, yet where the problems are most severely felt. Without an international perspective on disease control, climate change and other global problems, there will always be limited success, since scientific knowledge in the developing world is a crucial element to the implementation of appropriate and sustainable solutions.
The international movement towards the twin approaches to achieving free and open access to research findings2 – open access institutional repositories (current total 1239)3 holding deposits of published, peer-reviewed articles, plus open access peer-reviewed journals (current total 3812)4 – is already well established. These collectively provide open access to several million refereed published research articles. Additionally, there are now 31 open access mandates from universities and research institutions requiring the deposit of their own research article output, whether institutionally or externally funded, in their own institutional repositories, as well as 30 open access mandates from major research funding organisations5 requiring the deposit of articles arising from their financial support.
As measurement tools become established, the usage of such material is now seen to be spectacularly high, indicating the very real need for access to research previously locked in high-priced journals, accessible only to those able to afford them.
It remains of great importance, now that the groundwork is laid, that these developments are supported and extended to all research in every discipline. Already the NIH Open Access mandate exists, together with other mandates in the
We write in the hope that you will be able to use your good offices to ensure the adoption of Open Access policies by all federal agencies, thus encouraging further equivalent policy adoptions throughout the world. Environmental protection, the cure and treatment of malaria, HIV/AIDS, the containment of emerging new infectious diseases, the conservation of biodiversity and energy are all urgent issues particularly affecting the low economy regions. They cannot be solved without international scientific cooperation, depending as it must on free and open access to research publications.
We wish you much success in your new appointment and urge that the wider needs of the developing world will be high on your list of priorities. Open Access to research findings by mandated deposit in Institutional Repositories is a very low cost and achievable aim with disproportionately large benefits.
With our good wishes for 2009 and your future work,
Barbara Kirsop, Secretary/Trustee,
On behalf of Trustees of the Electronic Publishing Trust for Development
Monday, 12 January 2009
Many congratulations to the Bioline teams at the University of Toronto and the Reference Center on Environmental Information in Brazil, and to the work of the collaborating publishers! Great information for the start of 2009 and a clear indication of the importance of making research from the developing world globally available.