29 May 2015

Collabra is now open for submissions

Copyright Collabra 2015
The open access journal Collabra is now open for submissions. Collabra is a fully open access mega-journal covering three main fields of study: Ecology & Environmental Sciences, Life and Biomedical Sciences, and Social and Behavioural Sciences. We have blogged about Collabra previously, so if you are interested in finding out more check out our previous post here.

Here's a quick summary of Collabra:
  • It has a relatively low APC (Article Processing Charge) of $875 USD
  • Collabra gives reviewers the option of receiving payment for their reviews
  • Collabra can waive the APC charge for those unable to pay
  • It offers optional open peer-review
  • Use of article-level metrics to track downloads, pageviews, and social-media sharing
  • Post-publication commenting on articles. 
Collabra has partnered with the platform provider Ubiquity Press - an open access publisher who provide a variety of journal hosting services (as well as book publishing). By entering into such a partnership, journals can share infrastructure which can enable greater efficiency and sustainability.

We are also delighted to report that University of St Andrews academic Akira O'Connor from the School of Psychology and Neuroscience has joined the Social and Behavioural Sciences editorial team at Collabra.

To submit an article to Collabra or to find out more visit the website.

22 May 2015

Open Access in the Netherlands: Solid citizens

Despite its small size the Netherlands is punching above its weight in Open Access practice and advocacy, driven by a strong sense of social justice.  As early as 2009 The National Library of the Netherlands was involved with the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) in a pilot project looking at long-term preservation of electronic journal collections.  The Hague is home to the Ligue des BibliothĂ©ques EuropĂ©ennes de Recherche (LIBER- Association of European Research Libraries). LIBER is currently coordinating the development of the EC FP7 Gold Open Access Pilot to pay article processing charges (APCs) for research papers up to 2 years beyond the life of the grant.  In April work translating the SHERPA/RoMEO interface into Dutch was completed and released while the translation of the publisher policies continues.  There is a national website for Open Access supported by Utrecht University Library.  Sander Dekker (pictured), the Dutch State Secretary Department of Education, Culture and Science is an enthusiastic supporter who favours international cooperation. Amsterdam is hosting the 7th Conference on Open Access Scholarly Publishing.

Credit: Image from Saskia Franken, Towards Open Access in the Netherlands, Oslo, April 21 2015

Amsterdam is also the headquarters of the publishing behemoth Elsevier that dominates the medical and scientific publishing market. Elsevier recently caused controversy by unexpectedly changing its sharing and hosting policy, and is able to use its considerable resources as a major Dutch taxpayer to lobby for industry interests. Particularly controversial was its decision to reinstate embargoes for voluntary deposit of accepted manuscripts into institutional repositories like Research@StAndrews:FullText. It also introduced a policy to apply the most restrictive Creative Commons license (CC-BY-NC-ND) to accepted manuscripts against the spirit of many funder mandates and sitting uncomfortably alongside an embargo period. A statement has already been signed by many international organizations against the policy.

It's therefore not surprising that the Dutch have been most active negotiating with publishers on immediate Gold Open Access.  This aligns with the UK Research Councils' preference for Gold, but the Dutch have not been so quick to flash their credit cards.  They've done a lot of work on progressive publication offsetting models. This approach has helped institutions negotiate reduced APCs, subscriptions and institutional costs and introduce a more streamlined publishing experience for authors with less bureaucracy. The Springer Agreement concluded in December last year is a good example that was subsequently taken forward by the Jisc/Springer  model in the UK in March.

The Association of universities in the Netherlands (VNSU) and the Dutch Government are leading a heroic stand-off with Elsevier on Open Access and subscription fees.  Elsevier agreed to automatically extend institutions' access to its bundle of 2,200 journals when talks reached an impasse last year.  It remains to be seen how and whether the balance of researcher v. Elsevier interests can be resolved in the Netherlands and beyond.

19 May 2015

iFutures 2015 conference

©2014 University of Sheffield

The iFutures 2015 conference is now open for registration. The conference, now in its third year, is run by and for postgraduate researchers in the information science community. This year's event has the theme: "Open Information Science: Exploring New Landscapes".

"We want to know how is open information influencing your research? Openness is a key part of Information Science research, from using open source tools and big open data sets to open standards advocacy, creating open accessible environments in institutions, and opening information science to radical perspectives and exploring diverse communities. We want to hear about your research and how these themes relate to it." iFutures

The keynote speakers at the event are Fabio Ciravegna (Professor of Computer Science at Sheffield University) and Helen Kennedy (Professor of Sociology at Sheffield University). The event will also include student presentations of research papers, workshops on impact, as well as poster and Pecha Kucha sessions.

The event will take place on Tuesday 7th July.

Sign up for the event here.

Location: Jessop West Exhibition Space.

Venue Details:
The University of Sheffield
Jessop West
1 Upper Hanover Street
Sheffield S3 7RA

15 May 2015

Open access in the United States: land of the free (access to research)

Yellowstone national park, © Quan Yuan/Getty Images
In 2013, a memo from John Holdren, director for the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) at the White House, was sent to all heads of executive departments and agencies:

“The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) hereby directs each Federal agency with over $100 million in annual conduct of research and development expenditures to develop a plan to support increased public access to the results of research funded by the Federal Government. This includes any results published in peer-reviewed scholarly publications that are based on research that directly arises from Federal funds” OSTP memo p.2

Affected agencies were to be responsible for coming up with a plan to open up research outputs as well as data in line with the agenda set out in the memorandum. Plans would be required to have a number of key elements: fostering public/private partnerships, improving public access to data, improving access to research through searching and archiving facilities, etc.

The memo asked agencies to ensure that the public are able to read, download, and analyse peer-reviewed manuscripts and final published versions within a suggested 12 month time frame. The twelve month time frame mirrors that of both Canada and China (blogged about previously). Agencies should also ensure that metadata for research is made publicly available immediately upon first publication with a link to where final versions are available.

The US National Institute of Health has required research outputs to be publicly available after 12 months since 2008. Recently the US Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) took steps to further implement the plans set out in the OSTP memo. The HSS plans are designed to increase public access to the results of publicly funded research across five of its operating divisions. These HSS divisions include: National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR).

The HSS plans for public access to research involve two main areas:
•    Peer-reviewed outputs must be publicly available. Researchers funded by any of the 5 agencies will be required to deposit their publications in PubMed Central within 12 months of publication.
•    Data must be publicly available. Researchers will be required to produce a data management plan outlining how their data will stored and shared.

“A major focus over the coming year will be the policy development processes necessary to turn these plans into practice.  Several agencies, such as FDA, AHRQ and ASPR, will be developing public access policies for the first time. Other agencies, such as NIH and CDC, will be updating existing policies [...] We look forward to working together with all of the stakeholders to increase the usability of health research funded by HHS, and to creating an information ecosystem that will catalyze improvements in health and healthcare for all Americans.” HSS idea lab blog

Individual action plans can be found here:
•    NIH’s Public Access Plan
•    FDA’s Public Access Plan
•    CDC’s Public Access Plan
•    AHRQ’s Public Access Plan
•    ASPR’s Public Access Plan

Sources:
http://www.hhs.gov/open/public-access/index.html
http://blogs.nature.com/news/2013/02/us-white-house-announces-open-access-policy.html
http://www.hhs.gov/idealab/2015/02/27/hhs-expands-approach-making-research-results-freely-available-public/

7 May 2015

Open Access in China: A breach in the Great Firewall?

You might not necessarily associate China with Open Access, but it has made rapid progress towards making more of its research publications open. Two powerful public agencies are instigating Open Access into Chinese scholarship - the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC). Both signed the Berlin Declaration (2003 & 2004). Just last year Beijing co-hosted the Global Research Council that discussed the GRC Open Access Action Plan.

In the same month Nature reported that CAS and NSFC had announced their Open Access mandate that with immediate effect researchers must deposit their papers into online repositories to make public within 12 months of publication. This appears to be what we would call delayed, Green OA and mirrors the US National Institutes of Health mandate and Hefce's Open Access policy in the UK. The mandates apply to researchers (CAS/NSFC) and graduate students (CAS) and CAS also encourages its researchers to undertake retrospective deposit into institutional repositories (IRs). At the moment IRs are specified for deposit and the NSFC is developing its own IR. China Academic Institutional Repository currently lists thirty-three IRs.

The NFSC has developed a blueprint for progress that includes Gold OA, the NSFC's IR, global agreement on OA in publicly funded research and an ambitious global share portal.

Detail from Figure 1. Targeting of the HBB gene in human cells using CRISPR/Cas9 from Liang P, Xu Y, Zhang X, et al. (2015) CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene editing in human tripronuclear zygotes, Protein & Cell, DOI 10.1007/s13238-015-0153-5 [Available under Open Access]

There is no Open Access fund similar to the UK Research Councils' block grant to pay article processing charges, but researchers are permitted to use their grants to cover publication costs. This is the same as the position in Canada covered in our previous post.  As in the UK several institutions are members of publisher schemes like Springer/BioMed Central. China's total R&D investment was 1029.4 billion RMB in 2012 and rising [1]; despite the potential for a publishing bonanza, progress on Gold OA has been slow due to concerns over predatory journals and pricing transparency.  So in this respect the UK could be seen as taking the lead on immediate Open Access.

Although China's research output grows exponentially its citation impact is below the world average although it is competitive with other BRIC countries [2]. Overall, the Chinese agencies hope that OA publications will grow in proportion to the rapid growth of research publications and the expansion of the OA market with encouragement from publishing institutions.

China offers great potential for development in OA policy and infrastructure and there are many opportunities for publishers. However there is a strong science bias and humanities and social sciences have not at this stage been included in the mandate. There is great emphasis on bibliometrics but, unlike the UK, China does not have a regular research assessment exercise, as reported recently by Nature.  The current drive is to improve research quality over quantity.  If China succeeds it will be a major partner with the UK promoting Open Access inside and outside the Great Firewall.

1. Development of open access in China: strategies, practices and challenges, Zhang X, Insights 27(1), March 2014
2. Open Access in China: An Overview, Wang D, 1st OASPA Asian Conference, Bangkok, June 3rd 2014

1 May 2015

Catalogue records now available for Open Book Publishers titles

Regular readers might remember a previous post about about the Library's collection of Open Access e-books from Open Book Publishers (OBP).  The Library's expert cataloguers have completed their work creating records in the proprietary MARC* format for each title.  These records are now available for libraries and institutions to import into their library management systems. They include all OBP books published until the end of March 2015 and will be updated as new titles are released.

We hope that making high quality metadata available in this way will remove a potential barrier when librarians are considering whether to include Open Access books in their collection. This effort also shows how readers, authors, publishers and institutions can benefit from Open Access publishing models. The Library catalogue currently lists fifty-five OPB books and we encourage readers to dive in!

St Andrews Library is enjoying working with an Open Access publisher and learning from the collaboration.

Allegorical copper plate (1781) "Works of Darkness. A Contribution to the History of the Book Trade in Germany Presented Allegorically for the Benefit of and as a Warning to All Honest Booksellers" from Deazley R, Kretschmer M, Bently L (2010), Privilege and Property: Essays on the History of Copyright, Open Book Publishers, Cambridge