Open-Access Poll - Please Vote

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Tony Rook
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Open-Access Poll - Please Vote

Here is a recent article published on the talking about the a recent US Health and Human Services Appropriation Bill which would mandate that government-funded research should be made freely available to the public.

What do you think?

Open Access to Research Funded by U.S. Is at Issue
By Rick Weiss
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 1, 2007; Page A02

A long-simmering debate over whether the results of government-funded research should be made freely available to the public could take a big step toward resolution as members of a House and Senate conference committee meet today to finalize the 2008 Department of Health and Human Services appropriations bill.

At issue is whether scientists funded by the National Institutes of Health should be required to publish the results of their research solely in journals that promise to make the articles available free within a year after publication. The idea is that consumers should not have to buy expensive scientific journal subscriptions -- or be subject to pricey per-page charges for nonsubscribers -- to see the results of research they have already paid for with their taxes.

Until now, repeated efforts to legislate such a mandate have failed under pressure from the well-heeled journal publishing industry and some nonprofit scientific societies whose educational activities are supported by the profits from journals that they publish.

But proponents -- including patient advocates, who want easy access to the latest biomedical findings, and cash-strapped libraries looking for ways to temper escalating subscription costs -- have parlayed their consumer-friendly "public access" message into legislative language that has made it into the Senate and House versions of the new HHS bill.

That has set the stage for a last-minute lobbying showdown.
"There's been loads of debate and discussion, and at last it's going forward," said Heather Joseph, executive director of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, a Washington-based library group. She has been a persistent presence on Capitol Hill, making the case for open access.
Joseph and other supporters of the initiative have argued that subscription rolls would not plummet as a result of the requirement. Most journals contain plenty of research from non-NIH scientists, which would still be available only to subscribers, they say. And in any case, they contend, most scientists and libraries would not want to wait a year just to see research results free of charge.

They also point to the growing number of scientific journals that have switched to the open-access model, in which expenses are covered not by subscriptions but by fees charged to scientists whose work the journals publish. Such costs are usually covered by scientists' grant money.

Scientists assert that open access will speed innovation by making it easier for them to share and build on each other's findings.

"Congress recognizes that, in the Internet age, unimpeded access to publicly funded research results is essential for the advancement of science and public health," said NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni.

A two-year-old policy encouraging, but not requiring, NIH-funded scientists to publish in open-access journals has not had much impact on where scientists send their manuscripts, in part because many of the most prestigious journals have not adopted the open approach.

Opponents say that the economics of the open-access model are still experimental and tenuous, and that some open-access journals are dependent on philanthropic-foundation money to balance their books. They also contend that the approach raises copyright issues.

"I think there are some very serious questions to examine as to whether this is an unwarranted government intrusion into the private-sector publishing industry," said Allan R. Adler, vice president for legal and government affairs at the Association of American Publishers, which has organized efforts to quash the movement.

Adler criticized proponents for attaching the language to an appropriations bill instead of going through formal hearings. And he said new programs designed to gently push federally funded researchers toward open-access journals should be given more time to work.

With both Senate and House appropriation committee chairmen in favor, the language requiring the change would normally be virtually assured, despite a recent negative White House pronouncement. But Hill watchers said that -- given President Bush's threat to veto the bill for budgetary reasons and the likelihood of a continuing resolution, which would not have the new language -- it is too soon for the open-access movement to publish a victory paper.

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Tony Rook
Tony Rook's picture
Here is an OpEd from the

Here is an OpEd from the Journal Times which supports the Health and Human Services appropriations bill by using the Public Library of Science (PLoS) as a key example of Open-Access publishing....

Open Knowledge, Open Future

Tony Rook
Tony Rook's picture
Here is an interesting new

Here is an interesting new policy by Blackwell Publishing to address the open access movement.

They are giving authors the option to pay a fee which allows for their article to be immediately open access. This pay-to-publish option is being referred to as the Online Open program through Blackwell.

Here is a summary of the program from their website -

About Online Open

Online Open offers authors who wish to publish their research in a Blackwell journal the opportunity to ensure that their article is immediately made freely available for all to access online.

This pay-to-publish option is an important part of Blackwell's response to the calls for open access and our commitment to viable high quality publishing on behalf of societies.

Authors pay-to-publish

Authors of accepted peer-reviewed articles may choose to pay a fee in order for their published article to be made freely accessible to all via our online journals platform, Blackwell Synergy.

Authors are required to download the OnlineOpen Form from the individual journal's website or by clicking a link in the
Instructions for Authors.

For 2007, the Online Open fee is fixed at US$2600, 1950 Euros or 1300 (plus VAT where applicable). Any additional standard publication charges will also apply, such as for color images or supplementary datasets.

The publication fee is charged on acceptance of the article and should be paid within 30 days by credit card by the author or other funding agency. Payment must be received in full for the article to be published Online Open.

In addition to publication online via Blackwell Synergy, authors of Online Open articles are permitted to post the final, published PDF of their article on a website, institutional repository or other free public server, immediately on publication. Blackwell Publishing will also deposit the final text of relevant Online Open articles on publication with PubMedCentral (PMC) in addition to any mirror of PMC (such as UKPMC).

Articles are published as normal

All Online Open articles are treated in the same way as any other article. They go through the journal's standard peer-review process and will be accepted or rejected based on their own merit.

The accepted articles are prepared for publication in the usual manner and are posted online on Blackwell Synergy with the full range of features associated with that journal. The articles are archived for perpetuity and are registered at relevant Abstracting and Indexing Services and at CrossRef.

Readers have full access

The only difference for the reader is that they can access all Online Open articles without restriction, something that may not be available for subscription-based articles.

Online Open articles are identified on Blackwell Synergy as being freely available for all. They are also included in the print edition of journals with an indicator which shows that the article is available for free online.

Impact on subscription prices

During the first six months of each year we undertake our annual pricing review for the following year. One of the key factors we take into account in setting subscription prices is any increase in the amount of material we expect to publish in the journal in the following year.

We will continue to use this information in setting pricing but only take into account material published under the traditional publishing model. Any articles published under the Online Open model are excluded from this calculation.

Note to authors funded by the Wellcome Trust

The Online Open service is approved by the Wellcome Trust and mentioned in its information for authors as such.

To access Online Open articles, go to

Link to Blackwell's Online Open

Tony Rook
Tony Rook's picture
And here is Blackwell

And here is Blackwell Publishing's Position on Open Access

Open Access is an important development in scholarly communications which aims to deliver unrestricted access to academic research to all those who seek it. Blackwell Publishing has been proactive in the debate: monitoring the evolving issues, contributing to government and industry evaluation initiatives, and advising the 665 societies and 800+ journal editors with whom we work.

At Blackwell our primary goal is to facilitate the dissemination of research through the licensing of access to institutions and individual customers whilst continuing to provide a return to the societies for whom we publish. We will support Open Access models which ensure that viable high quality society publishing continues to flourish.

Following is a summary of the ways in which Blackwell Publishing and the societies with whom we publish are responding to the calls for Open Access publishing:

1. Self-archiving - Our copyright assignment policy allows
authors to self-archive their final version of their article on
personal websites or institutional repositories.
2. Author pays - We are offering a new service called Online
Open which gives authors the choice to pay a publication
fee in order for their article to be openly accessible to all.
3. Free back files - Several journals offer free access to
content after a set time period, or to certain types of
material such as review articles.
4. Developing world access We offer free or low cost access to
libraries in the poorest countries through our participation in
the HINARI, AGORA, OARE, INASP and related initiatives.

And here is a link to a list of journals currently offering the Online Open service to their authors.
Online Open List - May 2007

ryan_m's picture
And now, all NIH-funded

And now, all NIH-funded research must be openly available within a year after publication (details here).