Tag Archives: open access


Some resources for campus folks on the ongoing roll-out of US government agency open access policies:

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Nicole Allen (@txtbks) and I will be speaking at a panel
at LibrePlanet in Cambridge, MA, this weekend:

New research techniques like data mining have highlighted the shortcomings in “free” (as in beer) licensing of academic research, and the benefits of “libre” licensing that permits true scholarly engagement with data and scholarship. These challenges apply equally in the education sphere, where teachers often need to manipulate resources and not simply distribute them. We will survey what is sometimes called the “open movement” in academia, which incorporates open access, open education, and open data. How are researchers and educators grappling with these challenges, and what can they learn from the free software movement?


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open access – federal policies

The federal “open access” policy rollouts continue. The Department of Defense put their proposal out a couple of days ago; they will develop their own system (a la PubMed):

DoD’s repository, the Defense Technical Information Center or DTIC will create and maintain a system for the long-term preservation and access to the DoD funded peer-reviewed journal literature as well as a “catalog or locator” that identifies the location of DoD funded publicly accessible data sets. DOD’s plan calls for a 12 month embargo for journal literature during which DTIC will link out to the articles on a publisher’s website.

I’ve been asked if institutions still need OA policies, now that funders are increasingly requiring open access.  The short answer is YES, and the short reasons are these:

  • The federal policies cover federally-funded research, and other funder-policies only cover their funded research.  Many research publications are not covered under funder policies, because they were not sponsored by those organizations.
  • Funder mandates often include embargoes; these standard-length embargoes block access to the work for 6 to 24 months, on average, but without any accounting of the individual needs of that author or that work.
  • Campus IR policies are campus-focused: They allow the campus to demonstrate its own commitments to serving its communities,  the public interest — to fulfill its mission, in other words, and brand its research at the same time.
  • Campus IR policies are locally controlled, which means that they can be responsive to faculty needs — shorter embargoes, longer embargoes; ready access to campus media for publicizing research; ready availability to fix titles, update links, and maintain the work; a focus on developing tools to use the work to support the campus faculty, such as download counts and other impact metrics.
  • As requirements proliferate — what if work was funded by TWO federal grants? and a state grant? — campus institutional repositories can work with other campus entities to ensure compliance AND reduced workload for faculty.

This is a brief review of the issue.  Our staff in the UMass Scholarly Communication Office are always happy to chat with faculty and staff about policy questions.

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RIP Aaron Swartz, 1986-2013 – Open Access Activist

R.I.P. Aaron Swartz, 1986-2013

Aaron Swartz, an open access activist, committed suicide on Friday, January 10, 2013.

He was facing a 13-count indictment from the US Dept. of Justice for breaking into JStor, an academic articles database, although JStor had dropped all charges.

Academics worldwide have begun releasing their papers as a tribute, posting the URL to twitter using the hashtag #PDFtribute and the Internet Archive has begun a memorial archive.

See: NYT obituary; Larry Lessig, “Prosecutor as Bully“.

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