The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), a specialised agency of the United Nations (UN), has announced that it will make its digital publications available to millions of people around the world free-of-charge with an open license. Following a decision by the Organisation's Executive Board in April, UNESCO has become the first member of the United Nations to adopt such an Open Access policy for its publications.
The new policy means that anyone will be able to download, translate, adapt, distribute and re-share UNESCO publications and data without paying. Janis Karklins, UNESCO's Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, announced the new policy during the opening of the World Summit on the Information Society Forum in Geneva on May 13.
By adopting this new publishing policy, UNESCO aligns its practice to its advocacy work in favour of Open Access and strengthens its commitment to the universal access to information and knowledge.
Starting from July 2013, hundreds of downloadable digital UNESCO publications will be available to users through a new Open Access Repository with a multilingual interface. All new publications will be released with an open license. UNESCO will also seek ways to apply it retroactively, i.e. to works already published. If UNESCO enters into special agreements with publishing partners the Open Access policy need not apply. Co-publishers will be strongly encouraged to adhere to the requirements of the new policy.
The new publishing policy is in line with UNESCO's Open Access to Scientific Information Strategy and its main components as well as its work on Open Educational Resources and Free and Open Source Software.
The Royal Society of Chemistry's (RSC) Gold for Gold open access initiative was recently declared 'ingenious' by David Willetts MP, UK Minister for Universities and Science.
The minister was giving evidence on open access to the House of Commons Business, Innovation and Skills Committee. When asked for his view on so-called 'double-dipping' - a concern that during the transition to full open access, UK institutions will be paying for both journal subscription fees and author publication charges - the minister held up RSC Gold for Gold as a shining example of a route to helping to overcome this issue.
Ron Egginton, Head of BBSRC and ESRC Team in the Research Funding Unit at the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, also commended RSC Gold for Gold at the session.
Gold for Gold was launched in 2012 as an innovative experiment to support researchers as they begin the funder-led transition to Gold open access.
All research institutions who are 'RSC Gold' customers are provided with credits equal in value to their subscription payment to make their faculty's papers available via the RSC's Gold open access option. The RSC took this action to enable researchers who are being asked to publish open access, but who don't always have the funding available to pay for it directly, to meet their funders' requirements.
Following an exceedingly successful pilot in the UK during 2012, the RSC has now rolled out Gold for Gold internationally. During the first few months of 2013, more than 60 institutions in 13 countries have used Gold for Gold credits to publish their articles, including the University of Cambridge, UCLA and the University of Queensland.
Licensing solutions provider Copyright Clearance Center, Inc. (CCC), US, has joined the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA), which offers a forum for bringing together the entire Open Access community.
CCC currently works with many of OASPA's members on issues such as collecting Article Processing Charges (APCs) and Open Access-aware licensing through its RightsLink for Open Access solution, which helps reduce costs, increase operational efficiency and improve author experience and satisfaction.
CCC was named one of '10 to Watch' by information industry analyst Outsell in its 2013 Open Access Market Report and recently endorsed the Research Information Network's call for cooperation among funders, universities and publishers.
The company has been helping publishers improve the author experience in collecting APCs for over six years and welcomes efforts toward standardisation and transparency.It hosts webinars and podcasts on many aspects of Open Access and works with organisations such as the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) on creating standards around Open Access as part of its non-profit mission.
Technical professional organisation IEEE, US, is seeking to increase the impact that scientific research can have on technology innovation with its first online, open-access (OA) 'mega journal' - a journal that covers a range of disciplines instead of a single-topic focus.
IEEE Access provides free online access to applications-oriented articles, meaning they explain how research can be applied in technology today. The journal is designed to appeal as much to industry as it does to academia while using a faster peer-reviewed process that maintains high article quality.
IEEE Access follows a binary peer-review process, which means submitted articles undergo the same rigorous editorial review, but the process ends with the article being accepted or rejected as opposed to undergoing multiple rounds of revisions. This results in faster publication while protecting the integrity and quality of the scholarly research.
IEEE Access is part of a growing portfolio of open-access publishing options offered by IEEE. IEEE's 425,000 members are increasingly asking for more OA options, as are organisations funding research such as the US government and Research Councils UK (RCUK). Under the model, authors pay $1,750 for each accepted IEEE Access article, and the public can then access the published article for free.
Besides IEEE Access, IEEE also offers four fully open-access, single-topic journals. Additionally, more than 100 of IEEE's existing subscription-based journals now offer an open-access option, allowing authors to choose to either publish in the traditional manner - with access provided only to paid subscribers - or pay a processing fee to publish open access and make the articles openly available to all online. For authors, these journals retain the benefit of publishing with established Impact Factors, a measure of average citations per article in a journal.
According to a 2011 report from ISI Journal Citation Reports, 17 of the top 20 most-cited journals in electrical and electronic engineering are already published by IEEE. More than 80 percent of downloads from IEEE's Xplore Digital Library database of articles come from outside the United States. The organisation expects the addition of a broad, open-access mega journal to lead to even more global sharing of information that can help bring new products and innovations to market faster.
A bill that would require California-funded research to be deposited in open access repositories recently passed the state's Assembly Accountability and Administrative Review Committee. The bill was the brainchild of California Council on Science&Tech Fellow Annabelle Kleist. Assemblyman Brian Nestande (R-Palm Desert) introduced the bill.
According to a report published in the LibraryJournal, it not clear as to how much research California does fund as agencies are not required to report their funding to the legislature. Most recent figure Nestande's office could find was $327 million in direct research funding in 2006, based on an National Science Foundation report.
As originally drafted, the bill called for a six month embargo and a new repository managed by the California State Library. However, in that form, in addition to opposition from the American Association of Publishers, NetChoice, TechAmerica, and CalChamber, it attracted critique from an unusual source - the University of California (UC) system, whose libraries spend nearly $40 million each year on access to academic journals.
In a letter to the committee, Robert L. Powell, Chair of U.C.'s Academic Council, wrote that while supporting open access in principle, the Senate has concerns that the bill's current permissible embargo period of six months may be too short, and does not conform to national open access policies. Adrian Diaz, UC, Legislative Director, asked the committee to explicitly state that UC is not a state agency, and is therefore not required to develop an open access policy of its own.
Nestande made the requested amendments, and UC now endorses the bill. She also introduced amendments to replace the new repository requirement with "allowing agencies to determine which existing repositories" they'll accept.