Archive for December, 2009

Updates sent to Twitter, December 2009

Updates related to OA, sent to Twitter during December 2009:


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Contribution to the OSTP Policy Forum

Today (December 20) is the last day for contributions to the first phase of the Public Access Forum, sponsored by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP): Policy Forum on Public Access to Federally Funded Research: Implementation.

The next phase, to begin on Dec. 21, is described at: Public Access Policy Phase One Wrap-Up: Implementation. Phase Two of this forum will focus on “Features and Technology”. It’s scheduled to run from Dec. 21 to Dec. 31. Phase Three, focused on “Management”, is expected to run from Jan. 1 to Jan. 7. (Initially, this Policy Forum was scheduled to end on Jan. 7, but the timeline has been extended by two weeks. The current plan is to “use those last two weeks to revisit, on a more detailed level, all three focus areas that will have been addressed by then“).

My own contribution to the first phase, posted today, was:

Thanks for the opportunity to post a comment. OSTP has provided innovative leadership in it’s initiation of this Policy Forum.

Who should enact public access policies?:
• Agencies that fund a significant amount of research should enact mandatory policies. Some differences in policies across agencies may be necessary at this time, but researchers (and their institutions) should not be overburdened by too many differing implementation requirements.

Version and Timing:
• The author’s final version, after peer review, of papers stemming from all publicly-funded research should be required to be deposited into an open, central repository immediately upon acceptance for publication. The author(s) should retain copyright to this version.

• Deposit should be mandatory, by funders and also by each sponsoring institution. Persistent failure by authors to comply with such a policy should lead to appropriate penalties (such as ineligibility for further funding).
• Deposit should be in a central repository. There are already two successful central repositories, arXiv and PMC. (What’s missing is a successful one for all of the social sciences and humanities). Harvesting from the central repository into the sponsoring institution’s repository should be feasible, if desired by the sponsoring institution (to reduce the burden on researchers and their sponsoring institutions).

• From an international perspective, there should be harmonization of policies by those agencies in different countries that support similar kinds of research. For example, the requirements for deposition in PMC, UKPMC and PMC Canada should not differ.
• The value-added services offered by these repositories could differ. For example, an ideal value-added service would be the provision, for each article in a repository, of credible article-level metrics (ALMs). The Public Library of Science (PLoS) has already done pioneering developmental work on such ALMs ( The repositories of sponsoring institutions could also provide value-added services not already available via the central repositories.

Comment: These comments are, of course, my own. They do not represent the views of any of the institutions or organizations with which I’m associated.

The only aspect of my comments that’s at all novel is probably the suggestion that deposition in both central repositories and the repositories of sponsoring institutions would permit each type of repository to offer different value-added services to authors and users. My current view is that such value-added services are needed to establish (or enhance) differences in “brand” across different repositories, and to increase the appeal of repositories to authors and users.

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Policies of OA journal funds about hybrid OA

The Open Access Directory page about OA journal funds provides a list of university funds to support OA journals. Policies about the use of these funds vary across universities. For example, some university funds will pay publication fees of hybrid journals, while others will not.

Funds that currently state clearly that they will not pay publication fees of hybrid journals include those of Cornell, ETH Zurich, Harvard, Lund U and U of Oregon.

Funds that currently will pay publication fees of hybrid journals, but have a cap on the maximum to be paid, include those of U of California at Berkeley (capped at $1500 per article, 4 awards per fiscal year per author), U of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (capped at $1000 per article) and the U of Wisconsin-Madison (30% of fee, to a maximum of $1500 per article, one award per fiscal year per author).

The fund of the U of Calgary currently will pay publication fees only of hybrid journals “that reduce subscription fees in response to the take-up of their Open Access programs“.

The fund of the U of Ottawa currently will pay publication fees of hybrid journals only if the journals “make articles available immediately or allow open access self-archiving immediately upon publication (no embargo period imposed)“.

The current policy about the fund of the U of Nottingham simply states that the OA fees charged by hybrid journals “can be covered by the use of the University Open Access Publishing Fund“, and provides an email address to which enquiries to access the Fund should be directed.

Comment: A major concern is that some publishers of hybrid journals indulge in “double dipping” – taking money to make articles OA without reducing their subscription fees. See, for example, Open access: are publishers ‘double dipping’? by Daniel Cressey, The Great Beyond (a Nature blog), October 20, 2009.

This is the main reason why several OA journal funds will not pay publication fees of hybrid journals, and why the fund of the U of Calgary tries to avoid support for double-dipping. However, how to be sure that double-dipping isn’t happening?

Some of the complexities involved in hybrid journal pricing have been considered in two posts (post I and post II) by Bernd-Christoph Kämper to the Lis-e-resources mailing list on October 20, 2009. His warning (also applicable to attempts to ensure that double-dipping isn’t happening): “Don’t cheer too soon” .

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More about PMC Canada

The webpage entitled: Update on PubMed Central Canada (PMC Canada), at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) website, was modified on November 30, 2009. Excerpt:

The first element of the PMC Canada system-the search interface-was launched in October 2009. It allows users to browse, search and download articles.
A manuscript submission system is being developed for PMC Canada.

Also, there’s a section on “PMC Canada: Now Open for Business” by Andrea Szwajcer in the November 2009 issue [5-page PDF] of a newsletter from the St. Boniface Hospital Library (one of the University of Manitoba Libraries). An excerpt (from page 3 of the newsletter):

The digital platform to locate and access publications includes a basic and advanced search function for PMC Canada as well as alphabetical index list to search the PMC Journals by title. The manuscript submission system is not yet available but is promised “later this year”.
This webpage is a little deceiving as you may assume that if you do a search in the search box, you are limited to strictly Canadian publications or have that ability somehow. The reality is a little more disappointing. ….

Comment: Relevant information is available via the webpage for PMC International (PMCI). Excerpts:

To date, NLM has authorized two PMCI centers: UKPMC and PMC Canada.


Like the UKPMC, PMC Canada receives all of its content through the US PubMed Central.


With the introduction of PMC Canada, all current PMC participants have been asked for permission to make their PMC content available to the Canadian site. NLM will not redistribute a journal’s PMC content to PMC Canada without the explicit permission of the publisher. These permissions are included automatically in PMC agreements signed in June 2009 forwards.

So, all articles in PMC Canada that are marked “In PMC Canada” will also be available in US PMC. Those marked “Only in US PMC” aren’t currently available in PMC Canada because the publisher has not yet provided explicit permission for them also to be archived there.

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