open access

U.S. States considering public access policies

Timothy Vollmer, April 17th, 2013

oa state seals

With the introduction at the federal level of both the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR) and the White House public access directive, several states have begun to think about supporting public access to publicly funded research. Like the proposed federal legislation and White House policy, the state-level bills aim to support the notion that the taxpaying public should have access to the research it funds. The Illinois legislation is particularly interesting in that it has included a reuse rights provision whereby the articles developed as a result of state funds would be shared under an open license such as CC BY.

California

Notwithstanding any other law, each state agency that provides funding in the form of a research grant to a grantee for direct research shall develop a public access policy that shall do the following:

(1) Include a requirement that electronic versions of the author’s final manuscripts, or a link to an electronic version of the author’s final manuscript in an open access digital repository of original research papers that have been accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals and result from research supported from state agency funding, be submitted to the funding state agency and the California State Library.

(2) Provide free online public access to such final peer-reviewed manuscripts or published versions as soon as practicable, but not later than six months after publication in peer-reviewed journals. [...]

New York

Each agency that provides funding for direct research shall develop a public access policy that shall:

(i) Include a requirement that electronic versions of the author’s final manuscripts of original research papers that have been accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals and result from research supported from funding by the state of New York, be submitted to such funding agency;

(ii) Provide free online public access to such final peer-reviewed manuscripts or published versions as soon as practicable but not later than six months after publication in peer-reviewed journals; [...]

Illinios

(a) No later than 12 months after the effective date of this Act, each public institution of higher education shall develop an open access to research articles policy.

(b) All public institutions of higher education shall develop policies that provide for the following:

(1) the submission, by all faculty employed by the public institution of higher education, to the employing institution (or to an institution designated by the employing institution) of an electronic version of the author’s final manuscript of original research papers upon acceptance by a scholarly research journal, including peer-reviewed journals and related publications used by researchers to disseminate the results of their institution-affiliated research; [...]

(4) free online public access to the final peer-reviewed manuscripts or published versions immediately upon publication in a peer-reviewed journal;

(5) an irrevocable, worldwide copyright license granted by the author to the public that permits any use of an article on condition that the author and original publisher are attributed as such and that any such attribution is not made in a way that implies endorsement of the use by the author or original publisher. [...]

New York state seal is in the public domain.

California state seal licensed under CC BY-SA.

Illinois state seal is in the public domain.

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Open Education Around the World – A 2013 Open Education Week Summary

Paul Stacey, April 5th, 2013

OpenEdWk

Creative Commons congratulates all those who participated in the second annual Open Education Week March 11-15, 2013. It’s impressive to see how global open education has become with contributors from over 30 different countries showcasing their work and more than 20,000 people from over 130 countries visiting the Open Education Week website during the week. Open Education Week featured over 60 webinars open to participation from anyone and numerous local events and workshops around the world.

We thought we’d highlight a few Creative Commons global affiliate events from Open Education Week and share a list of urls for Open Education Week webinar recordings the Open Courseware Consortium has published.

The Creative Commons China Mainland team successfully held an Open Education Forum on the afternoon of March 16th at Renmin University of China, Beijing. One highlight of this salon worth special attention is the Toyhouse team from Tsinghua University led by Prof. Benjamin Koo, and their recent project eXtreme Learning Process (XLP). This team is a inspiring example of innovative learning, and a user of CC licenses and OER.

Tobias Schonwetter, Creative Commons regional coordinator for Africa gave an Open Education for Africa presentation explaining why Creative Commons is so important for Open Educational Resources.

The School of Open launched with:

  • 17 courses, including 4 facilitated courses and 13 stand-alone courses (for participants to take at their own pace).
  • ~15 course organizers, affiliated with several organizations/initiatives, including: the National Copyright Office of Australia; University of Michigan’s Open.Michigan; Kennisland/CC Netherlands; Communicate OER, a Wikipedia initiative; Open Video Forum (xm:lab, Academy of Fine Arts Saar); Jamlab (a high school mentorship program in Kenya); Wikimedia Germany and CC Germany

These are just the tip of the rich global discourse that took place during Open Education Week. All webinars during Open Education Week were recorded, with links listed below. You can also view the videos directly on the Open Education Week YouTube channel and on the Open Education Week website, under events and webinars.

Webinar recordings

Monday, March 11

·       Building Research Profile and Culture with Open Access 
·       Learners orchestrating their own learning
·       Learning Innovations and Learning Quality: The future of open education and
        free digital resources
·       Näin käytät ja teet avoimia sisältöjä /How to use and create open content
·       New global open educational trends: policy, learning design and mobile
·       The multiple facets of Openness in #udsnf12  
·       Licencias Creative Commons para recursos educativos, ¿que son? ¿como usarlas?
·       Designing OER with Diversity In Mind
·       وسائل تعليمية تشاركية : تطوير الوسائل التعليمية تشاركيًا باستخدام أداة الابتكار ومنصة  سكراتش البرمجية
·       Driving Adoptions of OER Through Communities of Practice
·       Khan Academy: Personalized learning experiences
·       Good practices on open content licensing
 
Tuesday, March 12
 
·       OCW in the European Higher Education Context: How to make use of its full
        potential for virtual mobility
·       OLDS MOOC Grand finale (final convergence session)  
·       Äidinkielestä riippumaton suomen kielen opetus
·       Opening Up Education
·       CourseSites by Blackboard: A Free, Hosted, Scalable Platform for Open
        Education Initiatives
·       Xpert Search Engine and the Xpert Image Attribution Service
·       Capacitación para la educación abierta: OportUnidad en Latinoamérica
·       Language learning independent of mother language
·       Interactive Learning with Wolfram Technologies
·       Collaborative Boldly Confronts Licensing Issues
·       Buenas prácticas en el uso de licencias para contenidos abiertos
 
Wednesday, March 13

·       是“誰”在使用你的開放式課程網站呢?
·       The interaction, co-construction and sharing of Netease Open Courses
        网易公开课的互动、共建和分享
·       Who is using your OCW site?
·       Políticas nacionales de Acceso Abierto en Argentina
·       Open Policy Network: seeking community input
·       OER Commons Green: A Unique Lens on Open Environmental Education
·       Creative Commons 4.0 Licenses: What's New for Education?
·       How Community Colleges are Innovating with Open Educational Resources
·       P2PU: A Showcase of Open Peer Learning
 
Thursday, March 14

·       Open Access policy development at the University of Pretoria: the why, what
        and how?
·       What you can learn from the UKOER experience
·       Why Open Access is Right for the World Bank
·       What's behind Open Education? A philosophical insight
·       Utilizing OER to Create a Pathway Towards an Affordable Degree  
·       Toolkit Working Group: Tools to help users discover the content they need (1)
·       Learning toys for free: Collaborative educational tools development using
        MakeyMakey and SCRATCH platforms
·       Teach Syria: The Impact of Teaching Global to Today's Youth
·       Re-Creative Commons
·       Validating the Learning Obtained through Open Educational Resources
·       OER and Alternative Certification Models: An Analysis Framework
·       The Open Educational Resources in Brazil as an Instrument to Get Access to
        Qualification, The Government Role at OERs Creation & FGV and
        São Paulo State Case Studies
 
Friday, March 15

·       Open Education for Africa
·       National policies of Open Access to scientific outputs in Argentina
·       Re-thinking Developmental Education: Creating a STEM Bridge in the National
        STEM Consortium
·       Toolkit Working Group: Tools to aid and encourage use of OERs in teaching
·       Crowd-sourced Open Courseware Authoring with SlideWiki.org
·       Using OER to reduce student cost and increase student learning
·       What's next? An open discussion about open education
·       OpenStax College Textbooks: Remixable by Design
·       An OER Editor for the Rest of Us
 

Kudos to the OCW Consortium for organizing this event. We look forward to next years.

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Welcome to the School of Open, Class of 2013

Jane Park, March 12th, 2013

Happy Open Education Week! We are happy to announce that the School of Open community has launched its first set of courses


The Library of Congress / No known copyright restrictions

Sign up for these facilitated courses

this week (sign-up will remain open through Sunday, March 17). These courses will start the week of March 18 (next week!). To sign up, simply click the “Start Course” button under the course’s menu navigation on the left.

  • Copyright 4 Educators (US)Sign up if you’re an educator who wants to learn about US copyright law in the education context.
  • Copyright 4 Educators (AUS)Sign up if you’re an educator who wants to learn about Australian copyright, statutory licenses and open educational resources (OER).
  • Creative Commons for K-12 EducatorsSign up if you’re a K-12 educator (anywhere in the world) who wants to learn how to find and adapt free, useful resources for your classroom, and incorporate activities that teach your students digital world skills.
  • Writing Wikipedia Articles: The Basics and BeyondSign up if you want to learn how to edit Wikipedia or improve your editing skills — especially if you are interested in and knowledgeable about open educational resources (OER) (however, no background in this area is required).

All other courses are now ready for you to take

at any time, with or without your peers. They include:

  • Get a CC license. Put it on your website – This course is exactly what the title says: it will help you with the steps of getting a CC license and putting it on your work. It’s tailored to websites, although the same steps apply to most other works.
  • Open Science: An Introduction – This course is a collaborative learning environment meant to introduce the idea of Open Science to young scientists, academics, and makers of all kinds. Open Science is a tricky thing to define, but we’ve designed this course to share what we know about it, working as a community to make this open resource better.
  • Open data for GLAMs (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums) – This course is for professionals in cultural institutions who are interested in opening up their data as open culture data. It will guide you through the different steps towards open data and provide you with extensive background information on how to handle copyright and other possible issues.
  • Intro to Openness in Education – This is an introductory course exploring the history and impacts of openness in education. The main goal of the course is to give you a broad but shallow grounding in the primary areas of work in the field of open education.
  • A Look at Open Video – This course will give you a quick overview of some of the issues, tools and areas of interest in the area of open video. It is aimed at students interested in developing software, video journalists, editors and all users of video who want to take their knowledge further.
  • Contributing to Wikimedia Commons – A sister project of Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons is a repository of openly licensed images that people all over the world use and contribute to. This challenge gets you acquainted with uploading your works to the commons.
  • Open Detective – This course will help you explore the scale of open to non-open content and how to tell the difference.

And more… check out all the courses at http://schoolofopen.org/.

Join a launch event this week


School of Open at the Citizen Science Workshop / Levi Simons / CC BY

  • P2PU: A Showcase of Open Peer Learning (Wednesday, March 13) – Join this webinar to see a showcase of some of P2PU’s best learning groups spanning topics from education to open content to programming to Spanish and more, and learn how you can participate.
  • Open Video Sudan (all week, March 10-17) – Join the Open Video Forum in improving “A Look at Open Video” and creating new courses and resources on open video in Sudan.

And more events as part of Open Education Week at http://www.openeducationweek.org/events-webinars/.

Spread the word

Just do these 3 things and call it a day.

      1. Tweet this:

      #SchoolofOpen has launched! Take free courses on #copyright, #OER, #openscience & more: http://creativecommons.org/?p=37179

      2. Blog and email this:

      The School of Open has launched! Take a free online course on copyright, CC licenses, Wikipedia, open science, open culture, open video formats, and more at http://schoolofopen.org/. Especially check out this course: [link to course of your choice here]. Read more about the launch at http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/37179.

      3. Print out a copy of this pdf and pin it to the bulletin board at your work, school, or local coffee shop.
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FASTR introduced in U.S. Congress to drastically expand public access to federally funded research

Timothy Vollmer, February 14th, 2013

Today marks an historic step forward for public access to publicly funded research in the United States. The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR) was introduced in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. FASTR requires federal agencies with annual extramural research budgets of $100 million or more to provide the public with online access to the research articles stemming from that funded research no later than six months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

If passed, the legislation would extend the current NIH Public Access Policy (with a shorter embargo) to other US federal agencies, such as the Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy, NASA, the National Science Foundation, and others.

The bill text is available here. The legislation was introduced with bi-partisan support in both the House and Senate. Sponsors include Sens. Cornyn (R-TX) and Wyden (D-OR), and Reps. Doyle (D-PA), Yoder (R-KS), and Lofgren (D-CA).

Creative Commons has supported policies aligned with the practice of making taxpayer funded research available free online and ideally under an open license that communicates broad downstream use rights, such as CC BY. While FASTR – like the NIH Public Access Policy before it – does not directly require the application of open licenses to the scientific research outputs funded with federal tax dollars, it represents a key next step toward increasing the usefulness of public access to research.

Specifically, FASTR includes provisions that move the ball down the field toward better communicating reuse rights. Peter Suber notes,

  • FASTR includes a new “finding” in its preamble (2.3): “the United States has a substantial interest in maximizing the impact and utility of the research it funds by enabling a wide range of reuses of the peer-reviewed literature that reports the results of such research, including by enabling computational analysis by state-of-the-art technologies.”
  • FASTR includes a formatting and licensing provision (4.b.5): the versions deposited in repositories and made OA shall be distributed “in formats and under terms that enable productive reuse, including computational analysis by state-of-the-art technologies.”
  • FASTR requires that the annual report from each covered agency include a statement from the agency on “whether the terms of use applicable to such research papers are effective in enabling productive reuse and computational analysis by state-of-the-art technologies” (4.f.2.B.i) and the results of the agency’s “examination of whether such research papers should include a royalty-free copyright license that is available to the public and that permits the reuse of those research papers, on the condition that attribution is given to the author or authors of the research and any others designated by the copyright owner” (4.f.2.B.ii).

In addition to making articles free to access and read after a six-month publishing embargo, these new provisions make a significant impact in pushing federal agencies to ensure that the research they fund is available and useful for new research techniques like text/data mining.

SPARC has issued an action alert, and there are several specific things you can do to support of FASTR. Today marks the 11th anniversary of the Budapest Open Access Initiative, and you can voice your support that the public needs and deserves access to the research it paid for and upon which scientific advancement and education depends.

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Clarifications about CC BY in the UK Open Access Policy

Timothy Vollmer, February 8th, 2013

In the UK, the House of Commons has asked for feedback on their Open Access Policy. One provision of that policy requires that articles funded through the Research Councils UK (RCUK) must be released under a CC BY license. Last year, CC submitted a short comment in support.

And just last month, the House of Lords completed a consultation period which has generated some misinformation about how the CC BY license operates. So, in order to clarify some of these misconceptions, Creative Commons and Creative Commons UK submitted a joint response to the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee to set the record straight.

We’ve pulled together some clarifications to some of the uncertainty lobbed at the CC BY license provision in the Open Access Policy. Some of the reasons given that CC BY should not be retained include:

  • it would promote “misuse of research or would cause authors to “lose control of their work”
  • third party rights negotiations for content that authors wish to include within an openly licensed article would prove too difficult
  • open licensing provides less protection against plagiarism
  • CC BY is not widely used in OA publishing
  • authors should choose licensing conditions, not funders

These claims are confusing, misguided, or not backed up by evidence. We offer our responses and support here.

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Celebrate Open Access Week with CC

Elliot Harmon, October 18th, 2012

Next week, Creative Commons will be joining individuals, institutions, and publishers all over the world in celebrating Open Access Week. Find out where you can find Creative Commons and its affiliates during OA Week, and share your own OA events in the comments.

Open Access Week 2012 Kickoff Webcast

On Monday, CC founding board member Michael Carroll will be speaking at the open access week kickoff event hosted by SPARC and the World Bank.

Webinar: Creative Commons and the Future of Open Access

On Tuesday, CC education technology and policy coordinator Greg Grossmeier will be speaking about CC licensing for open access publishing in a webinar hosted by the University of Northern Colorado Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning.

Open Data and Open Access Panel

If you’re in Northern California on Wednesday, join CC policy and data manager Timothy Vollmer, UC Davis university librarian and CC Science advisor MacKenzie Smith, and California Digital Library’s Carly Strasser for a discussion on advancements in open access and open data at UC Davis.

CC New Zealand Guest Blog Series

Courtesy of CC Aotearoa New Zealand, here’s a great collection of perspectives from thought leaders on the open access landscape in New Zealand.

Connecting the Dots Between Open Access and Open Educational Resources

Watch an archived discussion hosted by SPARC, with CC director of global learning Cable Green and Student Public Interest Research Groups’ Nicole Allen.

New Open Access Resources

Open Access Wikipedia Challenge
In this new School of Open challenge, learn how to reuse open access content to improve a Wikipedia article.

HowOpenIsIt?
PLOS, SPARC, and OASPA have just released the first iteration of a great reference guide for understanding open access standards. Timothy recently wrote about the guide for the PLOS blog.

Good Practices for University Open-Access Policies
Our friends at the Harvard Open Access Project have written a new guide for universities considering OA policies.

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Budapest Open Access Initiative policy recommendations for the next 10 years

Timothy Vollmer, September 18th, 2012

Ten years after the release of the Budapest Open Access Initiative, OA advocates last week released updated recommendations in support of open access around the world, touching on areas including policy, licensing, sustainability, and advocacy. Of particular interest are recommendations that urge funders to require open access when they make grants: “When possible, funder policies should require libre OA, preferably under a CC-BY license or equivalent.” When funding agencies institute open access policies for the grant funds they distribute, they increase the impact of the research produced. This is because the outputs can be widely reused under the CC-BY license, which allows for reuse for any purpose (even commercial) so long as attribution is given to the author.

The updated recommendation document includes a section on licensing and reuse (see the three listed below). The document “recommend[s] CC-BY or an equivalent license as the optimal license for the publication, distribution, use, and reuse of scholarly work.”

OA repositories typically depend on permissions from others, such as authors or publishers, and are rarely in a position to require open licenses. However, policy makers in a position to direct deposits into repositories should require open licenses, preferably CC-BY, when they can.

OA journals are always in a position to require open licenses, yet most of them do not yet take advantage of the opportunity. We recommend CC-BY for all OA journals.

In developing strategy and setting priorities, we recognize that gratis access is better than priced access, libre access is better than gratis access, and libre under CC-BY or the equivalent is better than libre under more restrictive open licenses. We should achieve what we can when we can. We should not delay achieving gratis in order to achieve libre, and we should not stop with gratis when we can achieve libre.

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Counting down to the Open Knowledge Festival (Sept 17-22)

Jane Park, August 29th, 2012

We’re psyched to be a part of OKFestival: Open Knowledge in Action. The OKFestival takes place September 17-22, 2012 in Helsinki, Finland, and features “a series of hands-on workshops, talks, hackathons, meetings and sprints” exploring a variety of areas including open development, open cultural heritage, and gender and diversity in openness. You can buy tickets to the festival for any number of days until September 16 at http://okfestival.org/early-bird-okfest-tickets/. The OKFestival website has all the details, including the preliminary schedule.

We are particularly interested in and helped to shape the Open Research and Education topic stream, where we are leading an “Open Peer Learning” workshop on Wednesday (Sept 19) from 11:30am to 3:30pm. For the workshop the School of Open (co-led by Creative Commons and P2PU) is combining forces with the OKFN’s School of Data to explore, test and develop learning challenges around open tools and practices in data, research, and education. Participation in the workshop is free (you don’t even have to buy a festival ticket), but space is limited, so RSVP at: http://peerlearningworkshop.eventbrite.com/

The workshop will be held in this awesome space, reserved for four HACK workshops:

hack-2
hack-2 / juhuu / CC BY-NC-SA

For those of you able to come to Helsinki, look out for our CC staff reps, Jessica Coates and Timothy Vollmer, along with many of our European affiliates who will be holding a regional meeting on Day four of the fest.

For the rest of you, you can still participate in helping to build initiatives like the School of Open from wherever you are by visiting http://schoolofopen.org/ and signing up for the mailing lists there.

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Support Grows for Open Access to Science Research

Elliot Harmon, June 29th, 2012

PeerJ Founders Peter Binfield and Jason Hoyt
PeerJ Founders Peter Binfield and Jason Hoyt / Duncan Hull / CC BY

In their excellent Washington Post opinion piece, Matt Cooper and Elizabeth Wiley suggest that federally funded research should be freely accessible over the Internet. They argue that when students lose their access to academic databases after graduation, society doesn’t get the same benefits it could from that research:

Students’ library cards are a passport to the specialized knowledge found in academic journal articles — covering medicine and math, computer science and chemistry, and many other fields. These articles contain the cutting edge of our understanding and capture the genius of what has come before. In no uncertain terms, access to journals provides critical knowledge and an up-to-date education for tomorrow’s doctors, researchers and entrepreneurs.

But should that access cease at graduation? Or would you rather a graduating medical student, perhaps your future doctor, be able to keep up with the latest advances? Would you rather an ambitious graduate student feel comfortable leaving the academy to found the next Google, knowing she still has access to the latest insight in her field and is able to build upon it?

Cooper and Wiley’s organizations — the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students and the American Medical Student Association, respectively — joined Creative Commons and many other allies in support of a petition on Whitehouse.gov for free access to scientific journal articles arising from taxpayer-funded research. The petition quickly reached its goal of 25,000 signatures, sending a clear message that it’s time for the government to rethink open access policies.

Meanwhile in Britain, the Minister for Universities and Science recently commissioned a study on how the UK could adopt open access for publicly-funded research. Dame Janet Finch and her team released their findings last week, championing in particular the “gold” route to open access.

But how do the publishers themselves fit into the discussion? Some are actively exploring open access publishing models. This month, Peter Binfield and Jason Hoyt unveiled PeerJ, a new kind of peer-reviewed academic publisher. Contributors pay a $99 lifetime membership fee, and all articles are licensed CC BY. Funded by Tim O’Reilly, PeerJ has been getting a lot of attention in the mainstream press.

Coincidentally, science publishing stalwart Nature has also adopted the CC BY license, through its open access component Scientific Reports. Previously, researchers could choose whether to license their works BY-NC-SA or BY-NC-ND. Starting July 1, they’ll have the CC BY option as well. Nature’s Jason Wilde explains the decision to drop the required noncommercial stipulation:

There has been much debate about commercial reuse on open access articles […] We believe in offering our authors choice. And we now know some authors will want to choose CC BY, not least as a result of new funder mandates. Unlike Nature Communications and our other titles, Scientific Reports does not have established revenues from commercial reprints or licensing, making it an economically viable proposition.

With governments, publishers, and the public all rethinking ways to make research more freely accessible, the climate seems right for a major shift toward open access.

Related: First Thoughts on the Finch Report: Good Steps but Missed Opportunities (Cameron Neylon)

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World Bank Live Event Report: Open Access Policy and Development

Timothy Vollmer, May 24th, 2012

On Monday, the World Bank hosted an event called What the World Bank’s Open Access Policy Means for Development (you can view the video recording of the event at the link or embedded below). Participants included Peter Suber from Harvard University, Michael Carroll from American University (Mike is on the Board of Directors at Creative Commons), and Cyril Muller and Adam Wagstaff from the World Bank. The discussion was timely given the Bank’s recently-announced Open Access Policy and Open Knowledge Repository. We blogged about the Bank’s announcement of these two great initiatives. The World Bank’s Open Access Policy requires that all research outputs and knowledge products published by the Bank be licensed Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY) as a default.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

The conversation Monday revolved around the impact and potential for World Bank research — and open access in general — for development in countries around the world. For example, how will access and reuse of research under an open access policy create opportunities to solve large global challenges such as climate change and hunger?

The panelists jumped in, and stated that an immediate, baseline benefit of the open access policy is that now, World Bank research is aggregated in one place and made available for free to anyone with an internet connection. This is not the case with subscription journals, where readers have to pay to view the articles. Mike Carroll noted the importance of addressing copyright concerns in open policies. Even when research is made available for free online, if readers are unclear about the rights available to them, the articles and data will not be as valuable or impactful. This is especially important in developing nations, where republication and moving information from the Internet to an offline environment requires copyright permission. With open licenses such as CC BY chosen by the World Bank, permission to republish and translate articles into other languages is automatically granted. Carroll pointed to related success in the Open Education space. He said that many MIT Open CourseWare materials have been translated and put into use in other countries (such as Vietnam) specifically because the original resources were published under an open license that permitted translation and reuse.

Suber and Muller said that one benefit of an open access policy (especially when combined with open access to the underlying data) is that it can help validate research and work toward consensus on a particular issue, such as climate change. This in turn can help policymakers make better, research-driven decisions. Muller said that open access promotes collaboration between colleagues, even those with different skill sets and backgrounds. With this comes the increased possibility of solving complex research problems in novel ways. Muller and Wagstaff noted that the Open Access Policy would help increase the visibility, access, and reuse of World Bank documents and research. This information will help increase the audience for important Bank research and will promote cross-border transfer of information, especially in a south-south direction (as opposed to north-south).

To highlight the dire situation in pricing for traditional journals, the panelists discussed Harvard’s recent announcement about the unsustainable cost of scholarly journal subscriptions. Suber noted that even with a journal budget of $9 million per year, the Harvard University Library realizes it cannot afford the ongoing agreements with commercial journal publishers. And clearly, if even Harvard can’t afford the full range of research, every other university in the world is worse off. However, Suber said that seven of Harvard’s nine colleges have adopted exemplary open access policies, thus retaining access to the research from Harvard faculty even if those faculty publish in traditional and expensive subscription journals.

Carroll pointed to a more fundamental problem with the current scholarly publishing ecosystem. Scholars have always written to maximize impact; the web helps makes it easy to publish to wide audience, at near zero cost. The logical conclusion to these two assumptions is that all scientific and scholarly research should be widely available for free online. However, this is not how things have shaken out. Instead, prices to access scholarly research has gone up dramatically, as half of science literature has been published by commercial houses. These commercial publishers have enjoyed up to 36% profit margins, even amid the worldwide financial crisis. This points to a larger problem, and hints that the current publishing system overall is broken. However, Suber said that there are currently some for-profit open access journals that are indeed profitable. However, he guessed that the profit margins at those companies was probably closer to 2-5%.

A related question from the audience asked why a scholar would want to publish research as open access if given the chance to publish her work in a “shiny” established journal. Panelists pointed out that the World Bank Open Access policy allows authors to do both. The policy requires that authors deposit a copy of their final paper in the Open Knowledge Repository, and doesn’t preclude researchers from publishing in traditional journals. Of course, while this framework is a step in the right direction, it doesn’t solve the underlying problem because big publishers continue to enjoy huge profit margins on their access-controlled subscription journals because university libraries continue to pay for the access that their faculty require.

Suber pointed out that there are other benefits to publishing work as open access. He said that publishing in open access journals allows authors to attach open licenses (such as CC BY) to their work. When they do so, they make the work more useful to readers and users. So, the smallest open access journal has a potentially larger audience than even the most popular paywalled journal because the work can reach anyone in the world with access to the Internet. When you couple this massive potential audience with the permission to republish and reuse via an open license, authors can maximize the impact of their work beyond the reach of any closed journal.

Mike Carroll also brought up the importance of new technologies and methods such as text mining as another tool to help solve complex problems. Challenges such as climate change are huge, and can’t be tackled by researchers individually. At the same time, there is now a huge body of research articles on the subject, and scholars are facing an information overload problem. That’s where text mining comes in, and allows researchers to conduct intensive computational analyses on huge sets of scientific texts in order to identify correlations, patterns, and unforeseen connections that would be impossible to understand by reading the articles by themselves. While the traditional publishing models typically block such text mining efforts, open access gives permission in advance, helping researchers solve problems faster and promote scientific innovation. Questions around the legal implications of text mining in relation to copyright are currently being discussed in the UK.

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