Legislation Promoting Public Access to Federally Funded Research Introduced

Today, members of the U.S. House and Senate introduced the “Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act of 2013” or FASTR. The bill, similar to the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA), includes provisions that would enable digital reuse of publicly funded research and would ensure free, timely, online access to the published results of research funded by federal science and technology agencies. According to the Association of Research Libraries (of which UCSD is a member), provisions in this bill constitute an important step forward that reflects both how research is conducted and growing community practice. The Library hopes that you will contact your House and Senate delegations and ask that they co-sponsor FASTR.

FASTR would require those agencies with annual extramural research budgets of $100 million or more to provide the public with online access to research manuscripts (or final published articles under certain circumstances) stemming from such funding no later than six months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Within one year of enactment of FASTR, these agencies are to implement a public access policy and to the extent practicable, agencies should follow common procedures for the collection and deposition of research papers. The bill gives individual agencies flexibility in choosing the location of the digital repository to house this content, as long as the repositories meet conditions for interoperability, public accessibility and long-term preservation. An important change from past bills includes the need for agencies to provide “research papers…in formats and under terms that enable productive reuse, including computational analysis by state-of-the-art technologies.”

The World Bank’s new open access policy and repository

The World Bank announced yesterday that it has created a “search-engine friendly” Open Knowledge Repository that contains more than 2,000 books, articles, reports and research papers and will allow the public to distribute, reuse and build upon much of its work—including commercially.

The repository, launched today, is a one-stop-shop for most of the Bank’s research outputs and knowledge products, providing free and unrestricted access to students, libraries, government officials and anyone interested in the Bank’s knowledge. Additional material, including foreign language editions and links to datasets, will be added in the coming year.

And, in a bid to promote knowledge-sharing around the world, the Bank has become the first major international organization to require open access under copyright licensing from Creative Commons—a non-profit organization whose copyright licenses are designed to accommodate the expanded access to information afforded by the Internet.

The repository and Creative Commons licenses are part of a new open access policy that takes effect on July 1 and will be phased in over the next year. The policy formalizes the Bank’s practice of making research outputs and knowledge products freely available online, but now much of that content can be shared and reused freely, if the Bank is credited for the original work.

Universities Join Forces to Support Open-Access Policies

The University of Kansas (KU) has had a faculty-approved open-access mandate in place since 2009. What it hasn’t had is a group of like-minded institutions to share ideas with about how to support such policies.

Today KU and 21 other universities and colleges announced that they’re joining forces to form the Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions, or Coapi. The new group will “collaborate and share implementation strategies, and advocate on a national level,” it said in a statement. The group’s members so far include Arizona State, Columbia, Duke, Emory, Harvard, Oregon State, Stanford, and Trinity universities as well as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Oberlin College. “The goal is to provide more practical advice and ideas for refining and expanding policies on our individual campuses but also to leverage those policies into action,” said Lorraine Haricombe, the dean of libraries at KU.

Ms. Haricombe began working to put together the coalition after hearing scholars and librarians on her campus talk about the challenges of complying with the open-access mandate. For instance, she said, it’s been difficult to get some publishers to allow faculty authors to deposit copies of journal articles in Kansas’s institutional repository, as the policy mandates. Ms. Haricombe said that another topic for Coapi is how to shift some of the money libraries pay for journal subscriptions over to support author-side fees charged by some open-access publishers. “My hope is that we will be able to speak with a collective voice about these issues that we face on our campuses,” she said.

The group will meet at the upcoming Berlin 9 open-access conference, to be held in November in Washington, to talk about which issues to focus on first. It will also discuss establishing itself as a formal membership organization and inviting other institutions to join. The group has the support of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, or SPARC, a national group that advocates for open access.

–Jennifer Howard in The Chronicle of Higher Education, August 2, 2011.

Issues in Applied Linguistics Now Published in eScholarship

UC eScholarship is pleased to announce the publication of volume 17, issues 1 & 2 of UCLA’s Issues in Applied Linguistics. Initially launched in 1989 as a print-only journal, this volume marks the journal’s first digital publication.

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A New Digital Repository for Sociology Instructors

The American Sociological Association has just unveiled Trails (http://trails.asanet.org/Pages/default.aspx), a digital repository where sociologists can post syllabi, lesson plans, bibliographies, and other teaching resources.   The site already holds more than 2,700 items, and its doors are open for new submissions.
Not every submission will be automatically archived. Materials will be assessed by peer-review committees for their fidelity to a set of principles of high-quality teaching that have been identified by the association. Committee members “are absolutely encouraged and empowered to turn down material,” says Margaret Weigers Vitullo, director of the association’s academic and professional-affairs program. But the process is not intended to be a roadblock, she says. “Our goal for the peer-review process is not only to sort out which materials belong in the repository, but also to promote a conversation within the discipline about effective teaching and learning.”
Because items published on Trails will be peer-reviewed, Ms. Vitullo hopes that some faculty members will be able to include them in their tenure-and promotion portfolios. “I think Trails can set up a model for promoting the recognition of the scholarship of teaching and learning,” she argues. “As Ernest Boyer said, faculty reward systems will need to be revised in order for faculty members to truly be rewarded on the basis of their scholarship of teaching.”
An annual subscription to the Trails site costs $25 for association members, $100 for nonmembers. It is not yet known if institutions such as the UCSD Libraries will be able to license or subscribe to the repository for the benefit of the campus community, or at what cost.

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