29 November 2013

Creative Commons 4.0 - new guidance reduces uncertainty


Following two years of development, the Creative Commons organisation has released new licences that are more user-friendly and more internationally robust than ever before. Version 4.0 licences have now been launched with changes that "make sharing and reusing CC-licensed materials easier and more dependable than ever before".

Along with the new licences there is updated guidance available that clarifies some uncertainties. The main changes are listed in What's new in 4.0, and the FAQ have been expanded to reference the new licences. Areas such as attribution are explained in detail: as well as confirming that all CC licences require users to acknowledge the creator of licensed material, there is clarification about modifying work:
"You must also indicate if you have modified the work—for example, if you have taken an excerpt, or cropped a photo. (For versions prior to 4.0, this is only required if you have created an adaptation by contributing your own creative material, but it is recommended even when not required.) It is not necessary to note trivial alterations, such as correcting a typo or changing a font size. Finally, you must retain an indication of previous modifications to the work."
The licences themselves have been re-organised with language which is easier to understand across the world, and they now include Sui generis database rights which are recognised in the European Union. The 'human-readable' licence deeds have links to definitions and further guidance, for example what is 'appropriate credit'

Creative Commons 4.0 licences are available now at http://creativecommons.org/choose/

Background to Creative Commons 4.0 development: http://wiki.creativecommons.org/Version_4

26 November 2013

Open Access Button - mapping paywalls

A new tool has been launched this week to raise awareness of open access and provide evidence for 'paywalls'. Now if you are asked for payment in exchange for access to a scholarly article you want to read, you can record your frustration, and potentially find a version of the article you were seeking.

The Open Access Button was created by students David Carroll and Joseph McArthur, and is a very simple browser-based tool. It takes seconds to download and install, and is very intuitive to use. In a few easy steps:
  • Sign up for the button at https://www.openaccessbutton.org/ 
  • Drag the button into your bookmarks
  • When you hit a paywall, click the button
  • Details of the article load automatically - just add your location and a note of why you need access
  • Use the tools to search Google Scholar or CORE (an aggregation of repositories) for the article 

In this example, the search took me straight to the article in Research@StAndrews:FullText

How to use the Open Access Button

Guardian article: Push button for open access 

Mapping the paywalls: https://www.openaccessbutton.org/

15 November 2013

Open Access monograph - Wellcome Trust OA funding in action

Just a few weeks after the Wellcome Trust strengthened their open access policy to include monographs, the first OA monograph funded by the Trust has been published by Palgrave Macmillan.

Fungal Disease in Britain and the United States 1850-2000, by Dr Aya Homei and Professor Michael Worboys, is now available as a free ebook. See the full details, and download under a Creative Commons licence from http://www.palgraveconnect.com/pc/doifinder/10.1057/9781137377029

In an LSE blog post, the author stated:
We are delighted that our book is being published open access and feel that it will ensure that our subject, the history of fungal disease, will enjoy a much wider audience than would otherwise have been the case.
Professor Worboys goes on to describe the process as being the same as it would be for a print version, other than a little extra work on obtaining image permissions - none of which were refused. Sam Burridge of Palgrave Macmillan describes their approach to publishing open access across all their formats, and hopes this book will be the first of many.

Blog post: The Wellcome Trust funds its first open access monograph, helping medical humanities reach wider audiences

To build on the theme of this OA book, we took a look in Research@StAndrews:FullText and found this thesis - rather different in scope but of interest locally:
Patterson, Stephen (1989) The control of infectious diseases in Fife, c. 1855-1950
and via our Research@StAndrews portal we found this article, partially funded by Wellcome, and available free from Europe PMC:
Telford, J. C., Yeung, J. H. F., Xu, G., Kiefel, M. J., Watts, A. G., Hader, S., Chan, J., Bennet, A. J., Moore, M. M., & Taylor, G. L. (2011). The Aspergillus fumigatus sialidase is a KDNase: structural and mechanistic insights. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 286(12), 10783-10792

We hope it won't be long before we can add a Wellcome Trust-funded open access monograph to our collection!

6 November 2013

Impact of open access on teaching

During this year's Open Access Week, BioMed Central highlighted a number of open access articles that address questions of impact on society. Having just caught up with the collected tweets, we are delighted to see an article in BMC Bioinformatics by St Andrews authors Daniel Barker et al. mentioned as a way that open access can benefit the public:
The article is about teaching bioinformatics to biologists at the University of St Andrews with a low-cost computing environment, and an embedded open access course:
By including an explicit Open Access licence, and removing or replacing material incompatible with this from 4273π Bioinformatics for Biologists, we have been able to share it with anyone interested, the world over, in such a way that they can – with minimal care – re-use and adapt it without accusation of plagiarism or copyright violation.
The article is of course open access itself, paid for by the University's membership of BioMed Central

The full list of stories are available from the BioMed Central blog