PLoS E-Newsletter for Institutional Members

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Open Access Week Declared for 2009: Popular Annual Event Extended over One Week, October 19-23

October 19-23, 2009, will mark the first international Open Access Week. Open Access Week is a means to broaden awareness and understanding of open access to research, including access policies from all types of research funders, within the international higher education community, and the general public. The now-annual event has been expanded from a single day to accommodate widespread global interest in the movement toward open, public access scientific and medical research.

Organized by SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), the Public Library of Science, and Students for Free Culture in partnership with (Electronic Information for Libraries), the Open Access Directory (OAD), and OASIS (Open Access Scholarly Information Sourcebook), Open Access Week builds on the momentum initiated by the student-led national day of action in 2007 and adopted by the 130 campuses in 30 countries that celebrated Open Access Day in 2008.

This year, the organizers will highlight the growing suite of educational resources that local hosts can use to design their own programs on OA, for their respective audiences and time zones. The OASIS project, developed with direction from an expert editorial team and advisory board, features resources for researchers, administrators, librarians, students, and the public—as well as for different OA awareness levels—that will be the centerpiece of the 2009 Open Access Week program.

These audience-specific resource lists will be supplemented by the growing clearinghouse of educational materials available through the OAD, which will again serve as the key index for participating campuses and organizations on five continents. Through the collaborative functionality of both OASIS and OAD, videos, briefing papers, podcasts, slideshows, posters, and other educational tools will be drawn from all over the Web to be featured during Open Access Week 2009.

The organizers will work with registered participants to develop a variety of sample program tracks, such as "introduction to campus open-access policies and funds for administrators," "OA 101," and "complying with the NIH public access policy" that take full advantage of the tools of OASIS and the OAD. Scholars, students, libraries, publishers, individuals, and campuses everywhere are invited to adapt these tools as needed and to mark Open Access Week by hosting an event, distributing literature, blogging, or wearing an Open Access t-shirt.

"I'm participating in Open Access Week again this year because I want to shed light on the big ideas that open access represents: information access, intellectual property, economics of scholarly information, and sophisticated communication networks," said Allyson Mower, Scholarly Communications and Copyright Librarian for the University of Utah's Marriott Library. "Events surrounding open access are important because they touch on everyone's daily reality. People search for information every day and usually consume whatever is available. Making quality information accessible is part of a complex system, and Open Access Week brings the complexity to the surface—helping to make the system work better."

"After the success of last year's Open Access Day, we're delighted to be co-organizing the first ever Open Access Week with our fellow collaborators, again in conjunction with the anniversary of our flagship journal," said Peter Jerram, CEO for the Public Library of Science. "We would ask our supporters to celebrate the fifth anniversary of PLoS Medicine by spreading the word about Open Access and getting involved in the week."

"There's no more certain sign of the momentum behind open access to research than an annual, global celebration of this scale," added Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC. "Occasions like this are the best possible way to attract attention from busy faculty members and administrators. It's SPARC's pleasure to be working with our partners to realize the event once again this year."

Visit the Open Access Week blog site and register your institution to receive updates about OA Week today!.

2009 Consolidated Appropriations Act Ensures That NIH Public Access Policy Will Persist

March 11, 2009, President Obama signed into law the 2009 Consolidated Appropriations Act, which includes a provision making the National Institutes' of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy permanent. The NIH Revised Policy on Enhancing Public Access requires eligible NIH-funded researchers to deposit electronic copies of their peer-reviewed manuscripts into the National Library of Medicine's online archive, PubMed Central (PMC). Full texts of the articles are made publicly available and searchable online in PMC no later than 12 months after publication in a journal.

The NIH policy was previously implemented with a provision that was subject to annual renewal. Since the implementation of the revised policy the percentage of eligible manuscripts deposited into PMC has increased significantly, with over 3,000 new manuscripts being deposited each month. The PubMed Central database is a part of a valuable set of public database resources at the NIH, which are accessed by more than 2 million users each day.

The new provision reads in full:

The Director of the National Institutes of Health shall require in the current fiscal year and thereafter that all investigators funded by the NIH submit or have submitted for them to the National Library of Medicine's PubMed Central an electronic version of their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts upon acceptance for publication to be made publicly available no later than 12 months after the official date of publication: Provided, That the NIH shall implement the public access policy in a manner consistent with copyright law.

"This is a significant moment for all of us in the health community, and for efforts in health reform.  With free access to health research, individuals are empowered with the knowledge necessary to understand the health threats they and their families face," said Sharon Terry, President and CEO of Genetic Alliance.   "Congress recognizes the incredible power of technology and innovation in enabling new solutions for the proactive management of health, consumer-driven healthcare, and novel partnerships and collaborations in research.  Congratulations to us all."

The NIH Public Access Policy addresses the public's growing need for high-quality health information and promotes accelerated scientific advancement in the biomedical sciences.

"Public access to publicly funded research contributes directly to the mission of higher education," said David Shulenburger, Vice President for Academic Affairs at NASULGC (the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges). "Improved access will enable universities to maximize their own investment in research, and widen the potential for discovery as the results are more readily available for others to build upon."

Heather Joseph, spokesperson for the Alliance for Taxpayer Access noted, "Thanks to the work of a wide coalition of patients, libraries, researchers, publishers, students, and taxpayers, the results of NIH-funded research can be accessed - and used - in ways never before possible. The successful implementation of this policy will unlock the potential of this research to benefit the public as a whole. "

For more information, and a timeline detailing the evolution of the NIH Public Access Policy beginning May 2004, visit the ATA Web site at

Additional Journal News

Creative Reuse Example: Chinese Translation of PLoS Computational Biology "Ten Simple Rules" Collection

In a wonderful example of creative reuse of open literature, PLoS Computational Biology's "Ten Simple Rules" collection of Editorials has recently been translated into Chinese by members of the EpiMan discussion forum. Originally written by Editor-in-Chief Philip E. Bourne and collaborators, this collection of 11 articles (October 2005-June 2008) offers professional tips and advice and is a popular and valuable resource and focus of discussion for scientists and other professionals at every stage of their career.

The members of EpiMan , a non-profit academic forum based in China, saw the potential value of a translation of this work, and a collaboration of 18 members of the forum translated the articles into simplified Chinese. The resulting PDF, which is now available to download on PLoS Computational Biology's website, was first distributed by the EpiMan forum in December of 2008. The group is currently seeking a publisher to produce print copies of the translation for distribution in the Chinese mainland.

PLoS actively encourages the free dissemination and reuse of information to maximize the impact and value of our published work. Under the Creative Commons Attribution License, material may freely be copied, translated, distributed, and re-imagined (providing the original authors are credited).

The Publishers' Pushback against NIH's Public Access and Scholarly Publishing Sustainability, by John Willinsky, ScienceCommons.

Last September, US Congressman John Conyers introduced the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act. John Willinsky explains how the bill's Orwellian title obscures its true aim: to derail the new policy implemented by the National Institutes of Health to open access to publicly funded research, amid talk of sustainability that cuts both ways.

Annual Lecture on the Evidence Base Supported by StatRef: Open Access and the Evidence Base—the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Tuesday, May 19th, 1:00 to 2:30 pm, Medical Librarian Conference

The open-access movement to support free access to research findings made a significant advance with the founding of the Public Library of Science (PLoS) in 2000. It took another leap forward with the passage of legislation mandating free access to NIH-funded research after a one-year embargo. In this invited paper session, we will look at the impact of open access and the NIH mandate on the body of research that is becoming available to the worldwide community with a focus on the impact on health sciences libraries. Whether you work at a hospital library with online access to hundreds of journals or a major academic health sciences library with access to thousands of online journals, how will the body of research available to you change the operations and functions of your library? How could it change the scholarly communications process in general? Will there be a potential impact on the current structure of journal-based publishing as the primary distribution point for emerging research? Will the law of unintended consequences bring about results we haven't thought of yet? These are some of the questions we will examine in the 2009 Lecture.

  • Karen Butter, University Librarian and Assistant Vice Chancellor University of California, San Francisco
  • Heather Joseph, Executive Director SPARC, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition
  • Catherine Nancarrow, Public Library of Science Managing Editor, PLoS Computational Biology, PLoS Pathogens, PLoS Genetics, PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases

Open Access Updates and Resources

2009 Is Open Access Year in the Netherlands

On February 10, 2009, SURF. announced the Kick Off. (in Dutch) of the Dutch Open Access Year. 

On November 28, 2008, the Vrije Universiteit van Amsterdam hosted a mini-symposium to anticipate OA Year.  The presentations are now online. Also see Trix Bakker's article about OA Year and the Amsterdam symposium, in Dutch or Google's English .

Open Publishing Support Fund: Increasing the Impact of UTK Research Through Open Access

Co-sponsored by UTK's Office of Research and the University Libraries

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville Office of Research and University Libraries have established a fund of $20,000 for fiscal year 2008-2009 to support publishing in open access journals.

Texas A&M Considers an OA Policy

Texas A&M University is considering an OA policy.  For details, see this report on its recent symposium, The Changing Landscape of Scholarly Communication In the Digital Age. (College Station, Texas, February 11-13, 2009).

Study at UIUC Suggests $4.38 in Grant Income for Each Library Dollar.

While return on investment (ROI) studies have become common in the public library arena, a pioneering ROI case study involving the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) suggests that each dollar invested in the library in 2006 returns US$4.38 in grant income. The study, while limited in scope and arguably in need of refinement, has spurred research at several other universities worldwide.

SAGE: Society Publishing Survey Shows Open Access Winning Support.

Although they are nonprofit membership organizations, scholarly societies have offered some of the stiffest resistance to open access (OA) thus far, concerned that the new model could deprive them of much-needed revenue. But those attitudes may have begun to change, indicates a survey (download the PDF) of 118 societies conducted by publisher SAGE and released at the end of 2008. Among the survey's findings: "changing journal sales models (44%) and open access (42%) are major challenges" facing scholarly societies. "However, there is as much support for OA as there is concern, across all disciplines."

PLoS Out and About

Date Location Event
May 1–5, 2009Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaCouncil of Science Editors

Jocalyn Clark, one of PLoS Medicine's senior editors, will be chairing two sessions at the meeting on the Evidence on Open Access and Effectiveness of Peer Review Models.

May 15–20, 2009 Honolulu, Hawaii Medical Library Association (MLA) Please stop by booth #1018 and visit with Managing Editor, Catherine Nancarrow, PLoS Computational Biology, PLoS Genetics, PLoS Pathogens, PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Feedback or comments?

We would love to hear from our Members! Contact Donna Okubo, Institutional Relations Manager at

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