The NIH Public Access Policy, which was due to expire this year, has now been made permanent by the 2009 Consolidated Appropriations Act, signed into law last week.
Last year, Science Commons, SPARC, and ARL jointly released a White Paper authored by our board member Mike Carroll called “Complying With the National Institutes of Health Public Access Policy,” explaining the new NIH-mandated PubMed deposit requirement and questions that grant recipients should consider in designing a program to comply with it. At that time, the new mandatory policy had just taken effect, and many recipients were still learning how to comply. Nevertheless, the results were dramatic. Prior to NIH’s mandatory deposit requirement, under a voluntary policy NIH began in 2005, the compliance rate in terms of deposits in PubMed had been very low (4%, as published in an NIH report to Congress in 2006). Shortly after the adoption of the new mandatory policy, submissions spiked to an all time high, prompting an NIH official to project compliance rates of 55-60%. Just take a look at this NIH chart, and note the sharp rise after the policy took effect in early 2008.
In a subsequent White Paper that Science Commons and SPARC jointly issued, our recommendations included looking beyond compliance with the new policy and taking this opportunity to develop comprehensive institutional deposit and public access policies, such as Harvard’s open access policy.
Making the NIH Public Access Policy permanent will provide scholars and institutions with much needed certainty and impetus to focus on implementing these requirements within their institutions. It also creates a opportunity for scholars, universities, and the research community to take a broader look at their institution’s scholarly publishing and open access policies, not only as it applies to deposit in PubMed, but also as it applies to their own institutional repositories and scholarly communities.
We will work with our collaborators to develop further policy and legal briefings for university and public research institutions who are studying these issues. Look for that this summer.Comments Off
In this age of information overload, traditional teaching methods and roles are fast becoming extinct. Students have access to most of the relevant information in their teachers’ heads and more, but this doesn’t mean students know how to organize and interpret this information in a meaningful way.
George Siemens and Peter Tittenberger have developed a handbook for educators who want to use technologies to aid (both teachers and learners) in the learning process. The Handbook of Emerging Technologies for Learning explores “[how education is] to fulfill its societal role of clarifying confusion when tools of control over information creation and dissemination rest in the hands of learners…” The issue is “information abundance” and the handbook is designed to be a resource for educators who want to face these issues head-on.3 Comments »
This coming weekend (March 21-22) in Cambridge, Massachusetts the Free Software Foundation is holding its annual meeting, dubbed the Libre Planet Conference. Many of CC’s best friends and supporters will be there, as will CC staff Asheesh Laroia and I. If you aren’t familiar with the significance of the free software movement to free culture, start by checking out the links on our post celebrating the former’s 25th birthday, or better yet come to Libre Planet. The conference will feature the hottest issues in software freedom, some of which include a free culture component.
Another important conference is coming to the eastern part of North America — the Libre Graphics Meeting, May 6-9 in Montreal. Developers of the most important free software graphics applications will be represented. These applications are heavily used by contributors to free culture sites such as Wikimedia Commons and many of the developers engage in cutting edge free cultural productions themselves, e.g., Blender. CC staff have attended in years past and Jon Phillips is helping put together this one.Comments Off
Today marks the beginning of the second half of the month, and with it, the Ides of March are safely behind us. What else is behind us: the beta launches of several Flexbooks, aka the CK-12 Foundation‘s version of open source textbooks.
The most notable Flexbook is the one we mentioned last fall—notable because of its integral tie to state standards via a partnership with the Commonwealth of Virginia. The textbook now has a title, 21st Century Physics FlexBook: A Compilation of Contemporary and Emerging Technologies. According to Government Computer News, the effort was statewide, “a collaborative effort by the state departments of Technology and Education and volunteer educators, engineers and scientists using Web-based tools to quickly up-date educational resources” to “provide students with timely information about nanoscience, dark matter, quarks and leptons.” This only makes sense as Physics (and science in general) is a rapidly changing field that the traditional textbook review process cannot keep up with. Open textbooks, on the other hand, are instantly editable and constantly changing; you could even say that they are perpetually in beta.
What’s ahead of CK-12: the progression of existing Flexbooks and the partnerships they have with other states, where some are working on companion teacher editions.
Also, spring!Comments Off
Thank you to all the internship applicants. It’s past the March 13 deadline, and we have more than enough submissions to review. We will not be able to interview all applicants. We will announce our final decisions by the end of this month or early April. Applicants may email inquiries to me, Jennifer Yip. (No phone calls, please.)1 Comment »
Open Access Week at the University of Michigan is “a week-long, campus-wide exploration of Open Access.” And a discussion sponsored by the Michigan Library on this topic couldn’t come at a better time; libraries are facing tough economic situations and the current political discourse around copyright and open access needs to be addressed. Featured Commoner (on behalf of Michigan Libraries) Molly Kleinman said it best on her personal blog announcing Open Access Week:
First we have the return of the dreadful Fair Copyright In Research Works Act, which is opposed by just about everyone except commercial publishers, including 33 Nobel Laureates in science. Then comes the word that together Elsevier and LexisNexis earned over $1.5 billion US in profit in 2008. For Elsevier that’s an adjusted operating margin — a profit — of 33%. While universities across the country are facing budget cuts of 20% or more, Elsevier brings in 33% profits, largely on the backs of university libraries. And economic news more broadly indicates that no library will escape unscathed. When Harvard starts laying off librarians and eliminating subscriptions, we’re all in trouble.
And that is only a small sub-section of the issues facing libraries today, including big issues like the Google Books Settlement. What better time to speak about the use of Creative Commons licenses in academic journals and what technological tools Creative Commons is developing to build an ecosystem of openness? With the right tools and the right attitude academic libraries will be a major player in fixing many of these issues.
Nathan Yergler, CTO at Creative Commons, will be speaking during Open Access Week on March 23rd on the University of Michigan campus. Everyone is welcome to join this event, and all of the events during Open Access Week. For the details about Nathan’s talk, check out the the schedule.2 Comments »
There’s about a week left to enter CC Australia’s Pooling Ideas competition before it closes on March 23. They’re giving away cool prizes, including an internship with ABC Radio National to co-produce The Night Air and mountains of CC gear.
Contestants are invited to creatively interpret the theme We are what we share, and upload their creation to Pool. It’s free, and there are no time limits or format requirements. Just tag your work we are what we share when you upload.3 Comments »
The third beta of the next version of the Firefox web browser is now available for download. For the approximately half of you reading this in a Firefox browser, the next version of Firefox will be (because the beta already is) much faster and more awesome all around (and will be released as version 3.5 to denote the significance of improvements over Firefox 3). You can help ensure the release is even better by using the beta. For the rest of you — now is a good time to get with the program.
Perhaps the most exciting feature in the future Firefox 3.5 for the commons is built-in support for the new
<video> tags and open audio and video codecs. Admittedly it isn’t easy to explain why open multimedia formats are so important for the open web — they are infrastructure, lowering a number of costs and enabling interoperability for everyone — so the benefits of widespread adoption of open formats (and opportunity costs of their lack) is systemic and largely invisible. We’re pretty comfortable with making such an argument and appreciate the challenges of doing so — though there are many concrete use cases enabled by Creative Commons licensing, we know those are the tip of the iceberg.
We’ve linked a few times to explanations of why open formats in particular are important, and back in 2004 a rant on fixing web multimedia by making audio and video on the web addressable like other items published on the web instead of opaque, which is essentially what the new tags and open formats drive at.
You can also see a few times over the past year where we’ve snuck
<video> tags into blog posts for the entertainment of people on the cutting edge running Firefox 3.1 alpha and earlier betas at the time.
The Open Video Conference taking place on June 19th and 20th in NYC has published its call for proposals:
The conference is a co-production of the Yale Law School Information Society Project, the Participatory Culture Foundation, Kaltura, and iCommons. The conference will feature talks from internet luminaries, panels and discussions, screenings of video art, and demonstrations of the newest internet video technology. We expect more than 400 participants. Here are some goals for the gathering:
- Bring together stakeholders in the online video space (video makers, coders, lawyers, academics, entrepreneurs, etc.) for cross-pollination and development of the Open Video movement.
- Raise public interest and awareness around the Principles for an Open Video Ecosystem, a community effort to define best practices in online video.
- Raise the public profile of video creators and artists working in the online space.
Former Featured Commoner Beatpick have launched a new website that aims to make it easier to explore their diverse catalog, showcasing improved search features and an easy way to find music to be used in commercial contexts. Of course, their entire catalog remains released broadly under a CC BY-NC-SA license, making it shareable and remixable as long as the artists are credited, any derivative works are released under the same license, and any sharing or reuse is noncommercial in intent.1 Comment »