If you paid for it, you should be able to read it. For publicly financed science research, the Obama administration agrees.
I’m aware that this decision wasn’t just because of this We The People petition (which I signed) but it’s nice to think that the petition has an effect. Read the entire memorandum here (pdf) and here is the short post on the White House blog about it. The Association for American Publishers is in favor of this move, in contrast to their strongly worded opposition to the FASTR Act, a bill endorsed by many library associations. Read more about the Open Access to Research movement.
This is yet another “big deal” open access move in what is starting to look like The Year of Open Access.
I was doing my generalized clicking around this afternoon and saw this FriendFeed comment (originally via Twitter) “How much does an annual library subscription to the top 20 closed-access journals cost? Lets start a virtual library for non-scientists.” I was all set to comment “Hey there aren’t really individual prces for a lot of those journals because of bundling and bla bla bla” but then realized someone else had gotten there before me and included a link to just such a list.
I had not seen the University of Californiaâ€™s Office of Scholarly Communication price list before but there it is in all its resplendent glory. Bill Hooker ran some analysis on these numbers back in March (start here if you are truly a numbercrunching fanbrarian) and draws some interesting conclusions. If you really like this sort of thing, you really should put Open Reading Frame in your feed reader.
I did some email back and forth with Brian Kenny from School Library Journal last month when I was trying ot find back issues of their content online. I incorrectly assumed that because I couldn’t find it, it wasn’t there. He took the time to set me straight. Now he’s written an editorial for SLJ asking ALA why more of their content isn’t freely available online, drawing the same conclusion I have “[L]ibrarians are the most vocal advocates for open access to journal contentâ€”except, apparently, when itâ€™s their own publications.”
I know, I know, I’m like a Ranganathan fangirl. “The library is a growing organism! blah blah blah” But this is Ranganathan news that is current! And cool! The Digital Library of Information Science & Technology Classics Project has gotten permission from the Sarada Ranganathan Endowment for Library Science to provide open access to many of Ranganathan’s works. There is some preliminary material scanned from the Five Laws of Library Science available already.
Peter Suber’s Open Access newsletter and related blog should be required reading for librarians who care about free access to information. This month he discusses three large proposed shifts in the way the Internet works that could have long-lasting implications for open access: the webcasting treaty, network neutrality debates and the end of free email. Heavily footnoted and clearly explained, these ideas should be read and understood by people concerned with equality of access.
If companies like AT&T and Verizon have their way, there will be two tiers of internet service: fast and expensive and slow and cheap (or cheaper). We unwealthy users –students, scholars, universities, and small publishers– wouldn’t be forced offline, just forced into the slow lane.