Archive for February, 2009

OA policy of the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute

On 01 February 2009, the Canadian Cancer Society integrated the operations of the National Cancer Institute of Canada (NCIC), creating the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute. This new Institute has an Open access policy that is currently the same as the policy that was adopted on 01 August 2008 by the NCIC. (See: Another Canadian Access Policy, October 1, 2008).

Comment: The new Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute is supported by funds provided by the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS). The CCS is a national, community-based organization of volunteers. The NCIC was established in 1947 through a joint initiative of the CCS and what was then the federal Department of National Health and Welfare (now Health Canada). However, most of the funds used by the NCIC to support cancer research in Canada were donated to the CCS, or to the Terry Fox Foundation. Thus, the NCIC was quite different from the NCI, which is an agency of the federal government of the USA. In the past, this difference was a source of some misunderstanding, which the change in name should dispel.

Added February 28, 2009: A shorter link to this post is: This shorter link has been posted on the Twitter page for jimtill.


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Is academic research a bubble?

An iconoclastic post: The Bubble In Academic Research, The Last Psychiatrist, February 16, 2009. Excerpts:

Open access articles isn’t nearly as big a threat to publishers as simply unbundling the journals from each other, letting universities decide which ones to buy.

So open access doesn’t threaten subscription revenues, it threatens the number of journals they can publish. It’s the multitude of journals, each with its inflated subscription rate, that brings in the real money. Also, each crap journal carries advertisements; even a crap journal with a small niche can have higher ad rates because of the bundling.


Take away the journals and the [academic research] system collapses. Force researchers with NIH grants to publish their findings without the marketing and packaging of a journal, and you’ve effectively halted half of the NIH research, until another generation of researchers with a different research model show up for work. …..

The academic research system is flawed because it does not incentivize research, it incentivizes the process of research.

Academic research is a bubble, money keeps flowing into it as long as it produces quality research. Who decides quality? Journals are the rating agencies …..

If someone could look behind the ratings, and take measure of the actual value of the research, the bubble would pop faster than, well, you get the idea. Then there’s the “systemic risk.” Journals collapse, academic centers collapse from lack of funding, Pharma loses the AAA rating on their studies which are done by academics, published in journals, etc.

Research would be forced to change completely– and for the better. But you’ll have a decade or so recession in science and education while the old generation dies out and the new one becomes old enough to start work.

Recommendation: Read the entire post, and the comments about it.

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An example of the value of OA datasets

Prognostic gene signatures for non-small-cell lung cancer by Paul C Boutros and 8 co-authors, including Frances A Shepherd, Ming-Sound Tsao, Linda Z Penn and Igor Jurisica, Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2009(Feb 5) [Epub ahead of print]. [PubMed Citation][OA full text (PDF)][Version in PMC]. Excerpt from the Discussion:

This extensive validation was only possible because of the public availability of a large number of previous studies, highlighting the benefit of earlier work in the field.

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FRSQ policy on OA

Stevan Harnad, Heather Morrison and Peter Suber have noted the Policy regarding open access to published research outputs of the Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec (FRSQ) [version in French]. They didn’t comment on the Guiding Principles of the policy:

This Policy is based on four guiding principles that, together, underpin the concept of open access to research outputs:

Academic freedom – The Policy recognizes the importance of academic freedom as a means of advancing knowledge. It reaffirms the complete independence of researchers in determining the relevance of distributing research outputs and the means used to do so.

Use and development of research outputs – The Policy supports researchers in furthering the use and development of research outputs through distribution, transfer, translation or commercialization. It particularly encourages the dissemination of knowledge to the scientific community and to output users.

Compliance with ethical standards – The Policy requires compliance with the highest standards in matters of research ethics and the protection of personal information. Beyond the relevant legal and regulatory standards, it insists on the importance of transparent and fair action with the populations participating in a study or likely to be affected by the results. Furthermore, the Policy also reiterates the importance of adherence to the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) standards for research, when animals are used in experiments.

Harmonization of rules – The Policy ensures harmonization of standards and practices among health research funding agencies. It also takes into account Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) requirements in order to prevent needless overlap and to facilitate Policy implementation by researchers.

Note this commitment, in the 4th principle, “to prevent needless overlap and to facilitate Policy implementation by researchers” by taking into account “Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) requirements“. [CIHR Policy].

A prediction: Further efforts at harmonization of the OA policies of Canadian funding agencies will be on hold until PubMed Central Canada is up and running. (For updates on PMC Canada, see the website of NRC-CISTI’s Partnership Development Office).

This prediction could, of course, be regarded as a contribution to the ongoing debate about the the locus of deposit for Green OA to peer-reviewed research publications. For a recent contribution to this debate, see: Authors: I don’t care where you deposit, just do it, Gavin Baker, A Journal of Insignificant Inquiry, February 5, 2009. (Found via: Against the primacy of IRs, Gavin Baker, Open Access News, February 6, 2009). Please note, in particular, the last sentence of the post dated February 5:

The ultimate goal is opening all research, regardless of where the authors work or who funded the research.

Another minor comment: Note that “open access” in French is “libre accès”. So, how to translate “libre OA” into French? (“Libre OA” is the kind of OA which removes price barriers and at least some permission barriers, see: Gratis and libre open access, Peter Suber, SPARC Open Access Newsletter, August 2, 2008). My own opinion is that the “gratis OA-libre OA” nomenclature is very useful for discussions among advocates of OA, but isn’t yet widely appreciated.

For this reason, I’m currently using the term “publicly accessible” instead of “gratis OA” in posts to my other blog, Cancer Stem Cell News. My CSC News blog has a primary focus on cancer stem cells (although a secondary objective is to foster awareness of OA among those interested in cancer stem cells). I’ve used the term “open access” only in relation to “libre OA” (in accordance with the definition that was included in the Budapest Open Access Initiative, February 14, 2002).

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Public domain access E-resources

Several Public Domain Access E-Resources are listed by the Bangalore University Library. One of the resources is Marsland Press.

Several journals are named on the left-hand frame of the webpage at The initial ones are published by Marsland Press. The remainder, beginning with China Media Research, are not (although one must click on each link to distinguish those published by Marsland Press from those that are not). PDF versions of articles published by Marsland Press journals are publicly accessible (Gratis OA).

Another website for Marsland Press, at, currently lists two additional journals, Stem Cell and World Rural Observations. Articles are currently being solicited for the initial issue of both of these journals.

The new journal Stem Cell should not be confused with an existing journal, Stem Cells, co-published by AlphaMed Press and Wiley-Blackwell. The latter is a Hybrid open access journal.

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