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Knowledgespeak’s exclusive interview with Clive Snell, Managing Director, Info International
Institute/Association/Council/Academy/ Society/Organisation > Scholarly/Professional Publishing > Regulations, guidelines and other institutional frameworks > Public policies / MOUs>
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Public policies / MOUs

   
 

European Commission releases recommendation on access to and preservation of scientific information
- 08 May 2018

The European Commission has released a new set of recommendations to the Member States that offer guidance and propose the best way to implement and support open science practices. The new recommendations include sections on incentives, rewards and require action plans from member states with concrete and measurable objectives. They are to replace the recommendations of 2012 which set out clear guidelines as to how publically funded work should be made openly and freely available. This was followed by a robust mandate regarding the EC H2020 open access policy requirements, in which, as well as its many other activities in Open Science, OpenAIRE has played a strong and informed part, especially in its outreach activity. The social infrastructure that comprises National Open Access Desks (NOADs) in each Member State (and beyond) ensures an effective support mechanism for the mandate and implementation of the recommendations.

OpenAIRE welcomes these new sets of recommendations, and the commitment to open science that the EC wishes to promote among Member States. OpenAIRE has embraced these changes already by being active in these areas in the new phase of its project funding, OpenAIRE Advance.

The new recommendations take into account the changing contexts, namely the concept of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), the Digital Single Market, as well as other components of an open science landscape. OpenAIRE is already active in the early stages of EOSC via a number of concerted actions such as providing a federated suite of core services which enable greater convergence with EOSC, integrating research infrastructures into the OpenAIRE environment and outreach to the global scientific community.

Also welcomed are the new set of measures by the EC to increase the free-flow of data, thereby recognising its value as a key enabler of innovation and growth in Europe and indeed beyond. The call to adopt these further principles for the greater sharing of research outputs prepares the groundwork for the next funding phase after H2020 and the implementation of the European Open Science Cloud.

These recommendations can reach their full potential in a joined-up infrastructure environment via interoperability of infrastructures; multi-stakeholder dialogue; supporting FAIR data uptake; developing scholarly commons; skilling and training potential; support for incentives and rewards; and more transparency.

OpenAIRE is willing and well-placed via its network of NOADs to support this renewed set of recommendations. However, it is important that the community supports these recommendations via a synchronised set of open science policies within and between Member States, and their corresponding research communities and infrastructures. OpenAIRE can help to fulfil its potential in supporting coordinated actions across policymakers, institutions, funders, research recommendations provided a joined-up approach to maximise the rewards and impacts of science.

A concerted effort should be made to strengthen a linked open science technological and legislative environment that covers all research outputs from all phases of the research life-cycle (data, publications, software, methods, protocols etc) and to support a cultural change among researchers as well as institutional change in research practice within academic institutions and funders towards open science.

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SAE International and MaaS sign MoU for the creation of integrated mobility standards
- 04 May 2018

SAE International, a global association committed to being the ultimate knowledge source for the engineering profession, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Mobility as a Service (MaaS) Alliance to support and foster collaborative efforts in creation of guidelines and standards for development of more integrated and seamless mobility services.

Under the MoU, SAE International and MaaS Alliance agree to share knowledge in the shared mobility guidelines and standards development and pursue, where feasible, into coordinated technical efforts and harmonization.

The first SAE shared mobility standard will be 'SAE J3163 Taxonomy and Definitions Related to Shared Mobility and Enabling Technologies.' This recommended practice, slated to be published later this year, will provide a taxonomy for shared modes and related service, operational, and business models.

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AAAS and Science & Technology Australia sign MoU to enhance the role of STEM on the global stage
- 13 Apr 2018

The American Association for the Advancement of Science has signed a memorandum of understanding with Australia's leading scientific organisation, pledging to foster collaborations to enhance the role of science, technology, engineering and mathematics on the global stage.

The agreement stems from a meeting last spring between representatives of Science & Technology Australia and leaders of AAAS in Washington, D.C., where both sides explored pursuing opportunities of shared interests, including cooperative efforts to address international science policy issues.

The agreement paves the way for joint activities, exchanges and collaborative initiatives to bring the Australian and U.S. STEM sectors together.

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Committee on Publication Ethics announces changes to its Code of Conduct and new policy on expulsions
- 30 Nov 2017

The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) recently announced changes to its Code of Conduct as well as a new policy on sanctions against member journal editors and publishers that do not follow their 'principles.'

Until recently, members of COPE agreed to adhere to their Code of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors (and Publishers). Members also agree to follow the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing.

Both of these documents provide very helpful advice on how to organise and run a professional journal. The Code of Conduct includes 'must do' items for members as well as 'aspirational' suggested best practices. Two weeks ago, the Code of Conduct was replaced with the new 'Core Practices.'

In announcing the Core Practices, COPE explained that the Code of Conduct carried a legal connotation, which was not intended. Also, COPE recognised that some items were extremely specific (e.g., "Editors should follow the procedure set out in the COPE flowchart on complaints") while others were very open to interpretation (e.g., "Editors should strive to ensure that peer review at their journal is fair, unbiased and timely"). There are also elements of the code that are not relevant at all journals (e.g. "Editors should have a written contract(s) setting out their relationship with the journal's owner and/or publisher").

The new Core Practices contain 10 categories from the Code. There is a brief paragraph describing each and a link to further resources. The resources include case studies, blog posts and articles, guidelines if available, and COPE's famous flowcharts that provide step-by-step suggestions on how an editor or journal could handle ethics issues.

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American Chemical Society responds to reports of changes in agency scientific policies
- 26 Jan 2017

The American Chemical Society (ACS) is monitoring, with concern, reports stating the Trump administration is changing scientific communication policy and grant procedures. During this transition, ACS urges the administration to clarify, as soon as possible, its positions on these policies.

The American Chemical Society has established public policies underscoring the importance of unfettered scientific discourse and exchange to ensure the integrity, credibility and reliability of the scientific enterprise.

The ACS Freedom of International Scientific Exchange statement notes: Science and scholarship flourish when scientists collaboratively pursue and publish research and communicate without externally imposed impediment, limitation, or restriction. It is important for organisations that represent scientists and educators to advocate the most open and fair exchange among scientists without limitations imposed by national and global political concerns.

In addition, the Society’s Scientific Integrity in Public Policy statement underlies ACS’ detailed perspective on science policy, and states in part: Scientists and engineers have an obligation to provide comprehensive, transparent, unbiased, and understandable technical analyses. Policymakers have the responsibility to consider these analyses and any other relevant technical input in a comprehensive, transparent, and unbiased manner.

Related policy materials are available at https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/policy/publicpolicies.html.

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USDA and CHORUS sign MoU to advance public access to content reporting on USDA-funded research
- 15 Nov 2016

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and CHORUS have signed a memorandum of understanding to work together to advance public access to content reporting on USDA-funded research.

USDA already links from the PubAg portal to CHORUS-verified, publicly accessible content on CHORUS Publisher Members' sites. Closer collaboration between the two organizations aims to further increase public access to publications covered by the PubAg/AGRICOLA systems.

USDA issued its Public Access Plan in November 2014, identifying their PubAg portal as a foundation for hosting data sets and articles from extramural researchers who receive USDA funding, and intramural authors who do research as agency staff. The Plan also indicated a strong interest in public-private partnerships to maximize the agency's investment and balance the needs of all involved in scholarly communications.

CHORUS enables sustainable, cost-effective, and transparent public access to content reporting on funded research. Built on proven infrastructure, CHORUS operates at no cost to the government, academic institutions, or taxpayers, and minimizes costs to publishers, overheads for funders, and administrative burden for authors. CHORUS verifies public access, the availability of reuse license terms, and long-term archival and preservation arrangements and reports on these metrics in agency and publisher level dashboards; over 288,000 articles are currently monitored and these numbers are growing daily.

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Wellcome initiates open access requirements for publishers
- 06 Sep 2016

Wellcome has published a set of requirements for open access publications, which will come into force next spring.

The policy outlines what is required of publishers in order to receive article processing charges (APCs) from the charity. These include uploading articles to PubMed Central (PMC), making updates available to PMC if they are corrected or retracted, publishing content under a Creative Commons Attribution Licence (CC BY) and offering a reimbursement policy for APCs.

Publishers are requested to sign up to the requirements by December 16, 2016, and they will come into force on April 1, 2017. Wiley, Springer Nature, OUP, Royal Society and PLOS, who combined publish almost 50% of Wellcome funded research outcomes, have all committed to signing up to the requirements.

Charity Open Access Fund (COAF) members Cancer Research UK, British Heart Foundation and Parkinson's UK will also apply the same requirements for outcomes of research they have funded. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation introduced the requirements in their Open Access Policy in January 2015, which come into full effect in January 2017.

Since 2006 Wellcome has worked with the publishing and research communities to champion unrestricted access to research, and accelerate the rate at which new discoveries can be applied to improve health. Its open access policy aims to ensure publications can be accessed, read and built upon.

The move to produce a set of publisher requirements came following an analysis by Wellcome of the number of articles which were non-compliant with their open access policy.

Sector bodies and research associations Jisc, SCONUL, UKCoRR and RLUK are also supportive and will help to promote these requirements amongst the research community.

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Florida State University Faculty Senate passes university wide open access policy
- 23 Feb 2016

The Florida State University Faculty Senate, in consultation with its Library Committee and staff of the FSU Libraries, voted unanimously this week to adopt a university-wide Open Access (OA) policy.

FSU joins a growing list of major universities with similar policies designed to create a safe harbour for faculty intellectual property rights and dramatically increase the visibility of FSU journal scholarship. Many years in the making, this policy builds upon the Faculty Senate's Open Access Resolution, which was adopted by a unanimous vote in 2011 and demonstrated the faculty's support for open access in principle.

Under the new policy, faculty grant FSU permission to share the accepted versions of their scholarly articles for non-commercial purposes and agree to send the accepted, peer-reviewed versions of their articles to Library staff to be made publicly available in DigiNole: FSU's Research Repository and Digital Library. By granting non-exclusive rights to the university, faculty create a safe harbor against overly-restrictive intellectual property agreements and retain far greater control over their work than they would in standard publication contracts.

Through working with FSU Library staff to make their articles publicly available in DigiNole, faculty will also dramatically increase the visibility of their research, potentially attracting more citations than they otherwise would if their scholarship were available exclusively in pay-walled journals. Making faculty journal articles available in DigiNole also greatly simplifies the process of complying with federal funder public access mandates.

A full copy of the Open Access Policy will be published in the FSU Faculty Senate Bulletin. The Research Repository Team in the University Libraries' Office of Digital Research & Scholarship will work with FSU faculty toward the successful implementation of the new policy.

FSU Libraries' newly formed Office of Digital Research and Scholarship (DRS) provides support, infrastructure and consulting for technology-focused research projects in the areas of digital humanities, academic/digital publishing, data management, and more. DRS is focused on building collaborative research partnerships across campus, and providing platforms for new forms of scholarship.

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KFAS and AAAS sign Memorandum of Understanding
- 01 Feb 2016

Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). Through this cooperation, KFAS, Kuwait's advocate of innovation, technology and science, aspires to enrich its expertise, scientific innovations and education for the service of the Kuwaiti community and humanity.

KFAS and AAAS will coordinate on basis of shared values for advancing science, engineering and innovation for the benefit of the society. They will set up mechanisms for expertise exchange, personnel interaction and the transfer of knowledge.

The agreement will be valid for three years and aims to promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) awareness, and STEM education, for Kuwaiti families, build competitive research capacity in the Kuwait research community, support technology and knowledge transfer and catalyzing research for economic development in Kuwait. It also aims to enhance capacity for research management and oversight in Kuwait institutions, connect research to enterprise and boost the research and innovation environment in the private sector.

Both entities will work together to facilitate networks of expertise that include researchers from all areas of sciences and technology, persons specialised in product development and technology transfer, innovators and entrepreneurs from all fields, organize workshops, symposiums and targeted expert advice.

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Cambridge University and JRC sign MoU to promote and deepen scientific collaboration
- 09 Sep 2015

The University of Cambridge and the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission represented respectively by Jennifer Barnes, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for International Strategy and Vladimír Šucha, Director-General, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote and deepen scientific collaboration.

The MoU foresees cooperation in development of practices in the use of evidence to inform policymaking, notably with the University of Cambridge Centre of Science and Policy; academic exchanges; and joint research projects in areas of common interest. A pilot activity on Green Growth and Sustainability is already being developed involving the JRC Institute for Environment and Sustainability, The Cambridge Forum for Sustainability and the Environment and The Cambridge University Strategic Initiatives.

This is the latest in a number of agreements with which the JRC pursues closer cooperation with the European scientific community through partnerships with universities, national academies and other umbrella research organisations. The University of Cambridge is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world and is widely regarded as one of the world's most influential and prestigious academic institutions.

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Johnson Matthey and the Chinese Academy of Sciences Holdings Co., Ltd. sign Memorandum of Understanding
- 24 Aug 2015

Johnson Matthey's Chief Executive, Robert MacLeod recently announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Johnson Matthey and the Chinese Academy of Sciences Holdings Co., Ltd. (CASH). CASH is wholly owned by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), China's top science and technology research and educational organisation.

The MOU was signed on July 31 by Robert MacLeod and CASH General Manager Suo Jishuan under witness of CAS President Bai Chunli at CAS headquarters in Beijing, and will facilitate future broad collaboration between the two parties.

On behalf of CAS, CASH exercises the investor's rights for the state-owned operating assets within the wholly-owned, shareholding and joint-stock companies affiliated to CAS, and takes responsibility of asset preservation and increment. Founded in 1949, CAS is the cradle of science and innovation in China with 104 research institutes, two universities, 12 academies and over 100 key national laboratories across China.

Science and innovation is also a cornerstone of Johnson Matthey's strategy to develop the next generation of sustainable products for its customers and the company spent around £170 million on research and development (R&D) last year. The MOU is therefore primarily focused on collaborative R&D efforts aimed at the joint development and commercialisation of new technologies and will support Johnson Matthey in further growing its presence in China.

Johnson Matthey has already established a strong presence in several locations in China, including Shanghai, Beijing and Yantai. The company’s focus is on using chemistry and applications expertise to solve major global challenges such as air pollution, conservation of natural resources, climate change and promoting health – challenges that are hugely relevant in China, where up to 500,000 premature deaths a year on mainland China are caused by air pollution.

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The BMJ becomes first general medical journal to require data sharing for all submitted trials
- 02 Jul 2015

The BMJ, a weekly peer-reviewed medical journal, requires sharing of individual patient data for all clinical trials, effective July 1, 2015. This means that trials will be considered for publication only if the authors agree to make the relevant anonymised patient level data available on reasonable request.

According to Elizabeth Loder, The BMJ's acting head of research, The BMJ is the first general medical journal to require data sharing for all trials, extending its initial policy on sharing data for trials of drugs or devices, which took effect in January 2013.

In an editorial to mark the launch of the new policy, she explains that the initial policy focused on trials of drug and devices 'because many high profile, serious allegations of selective or non-reporting of trial results related to such products.' However, she says, growing experience and evidence show that reporting problems are not limited to the corporate sector, but affect academic and government sponsored trials as well.

Today's announcement follows initiatives by the US Institute of Medicine (IOM), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Nordic Trial Alliance, to encourage data transparency.

For instance, a recent IOM report called for a transformation of existing scientific culture to one where 'data sharing is the expected norm' while WHO has said the main results of clinical trials should be made publicly available and submitted for journal publication within a year of study completion.

The efforts of industry, too, must be acknowledged, says Loder. In particular, Medtronic's cooperation with the Yale University Open Data project and GlaxoSmithKline's leadership on data disclosure efforts stand out.

Making anonymised patient level data from clinical trials available for independent scrutiny allows other researchers to replicate key analyses, reduces the possibility that studies will be unnecessarily duplicated, and maximises use of the information from trials - an important moral obligation to trial participants, she writes.

She acknowledges that an initial investment of time and money is needed to prepare trial data for sharing, 'but after the first use there are few additional costs; in essence, the value of the data increases with each use,' she concludes.

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The National Science Library of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and IOP Publishing sign new MoU to support OA publications
- 24 Mar 2015

The National Science Library of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (NSCL) and non-profit scientific publisher IOP Publishing (IOP) have signed a new Memorandum of Understanding to support open access publications for Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) researchers.

The Memorandum indicates the commitment of both organisations to work together to create sustainable open access options for the future.

CAS introduced its Open Access Policy in May 2014 and the NSCL has been working to establish efficient and streamlined processes with publishers like IOP to fulfil this policy.

As a result of this agreement, IOP will support CAS authors to self-archive their accepted manuscripts by directly depositing papers published in IOP’s journals in the CAS repository. NSLC has also agreed to fund a proportion of article publication charges for CAS authors who wish to publish with IOP on a gold open access basis. IOP and CAS will also work together to explore longer term sustainable solutions for funding open access publishing, including an agreement to balance article publication charges and subscription fees.

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HHS releases plans for public access to federally funded research
- 09 Mar 2015

On February 27, 2015, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released implementation plans for five HHS agencies based on a common policy approach in response to the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) 2013 memorandum regarding public access to federally funded research. The OSTP memorandum directed federal agencies with R&D budgets of $100 million or more to develop plans to make the published results of federally funded research freely available to the public within one year of publication.

The five HHS agencies that released public access plans are the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR).

In the release of these plans, HHS Secretary Burwell noted that the five agencies worked collaboratively to establish 'guiding principles' as well as a framework to develop implementation plans for each agency to best meet the needs of the agencies' missions and research communities. All of the agencies will utilise PubMed Central as a central repository for deposit of peer-reviewed journal articles, either final manuscripts or published articles. The embargo period will be capped at no more than 12 months.

With regards to digital data, HHS and each agency see digital data policies as 'evolving' and recognise that much of the HHS agencies' funded digital data resides externally to these agencies. To date, HHS has no shared repository for deposit of HHS agencies' digital data. An internal HHS Enterprise Data Inventory will serve as the catalogue for all HHS data assets and will, over time, be linked to HealthData.gov, a platform through which the public will be able to locate and access federally funded research data. A valuable element of the HHS release regarding digital data is the development of a data-management template by the CDC that will standardise the types and format of information to be submitted by researchers in their data-management plans.

HHS calls for the 'support for training and workforce development related to scientific data management, analysis, storage, preservation, and stewardship of data.’

It is expected that the HHS agencies' plans and policies will become effective no later than end of the calendar year 2015. Links to the federal agency plans and policies that have been released to date are being collected on the ARL website.

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Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation set to introduce new open access policy in January 2015
- 22 Dec 2014

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is set to introduce an open access policy next month for the studies it funds that goes further than most other research funders.

According to Trevor Mundel, the foundation's president of global health, the policy will enable other researchers to access the latest evidence and draw on it to advance their own research to help tackle malnutrition, infectious diseases, and child and maternal mortality.

Observers say the foundation's move may inspire other funders to adopt similarly stringent open access policies too. There are also concerns that developing world scientists who receive funds from the foundation may be prevented from publishing research in local journals, some of which lack open access options.

From the start of 2017, researchers funded by the foundation will be required to publish their scientific papers and underlying data in publications that allow immediate free access without subscription or payment. The material must also be reusable without permission or fee.

For funding agreements made during a two-year transition period beginning January 1, 2015, the foundation will allow a 12-month embargo, enabling publishers to restrict access to a paper for up to a year. The foundation says it will pay 'reasonable fees' that a publisher requires to publish on these terms.

Open access enthusiasts hope the move will encourage other organisations to follow suit.

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IFLA and LIBER sign new Memorandum of Understanding
- 20 Aug 2014

The International Federation of Library Associations & Institutions (IFLA) and LIBER (Association of European Research Libraries) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding.

LIBER and IFLA share objectives in promoting access to knowledge for education, learning, and research. Significant areas of interest shared by both organizations are in the fields of copyright frameworks supporting the mission of libraries and the extension of library and research activities into the digital environment, in Europe and worldwide.

Both parties will work together to advance these interests, with a special emphasis on frameworks that foster text and data mining, research data sharing, access to content and digital preservation, in particular in Europe where they have overlapping interests.

Key objectives include to work together to advocate on areas of special interest, especially on copyright and access to information to improve the copyright landscape for library and information services and the delivery of end-user services supporting teaching, learning and research. Additionally, Both IFLA and LIBER will co-operate in advocacy activities particularly at the European level, such as at the European Commission and other relevant forums.

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Key international associations come together to underscore their support for immediate open access to research articles
- 19 May 2014

The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) has joined major international associations in support of immediate open access to research. SPARC, along with five international partner organisations, recently released a statement underscoring the importance of immediate, free access to the research of research.

As organisations committed to the principle that access to information advances discovery, accelerates innovation and improves education, these international associations endorse the policies and practices that enable Open Access - immediate, barrier free access to and reuse of scholarly articles.

Policies that promote Open Access are increasingly being adopted worldwide by research funders, academic institutions and national governments in order to improve the use and value of scholarly research. The associations fully support such policies and the dual avenues for implementing them: open access repositories and open access journals. These policies play an important role in creating an environment where collective investments in research can be maximised for the benefit of the public, and for society at large.

Many policies have employed the use of embargo periods - delayed access to research articles for a short period of time to help protect publishers' subscription revenue as they shift to new business models. These organisations consider the use of embargo periods as an acceptable transitional mechanism to help facilitate a wholesale shift towards Open Access. However, embargo periods dilute the benefits of open access policies and we believe that, if they are adopted, they should be no more than 6 months for the life and physical sciences, 12 months for social sciences and humanities. The organisations further believe that mechanisms for reducing - or eliminating - embargo periods should be included in any Open Access policy.

According to the statement, any delay in the open availability of research articles curtails scientific progress and stifles innovation, and places unnecessary constraints in delivering the benefits of research back to the public.

Signatories to the statement included: Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR), Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL), Ligue des Bibliothèques Européennes de Recherche - Association of European Research Libraries (LIBER); National Science Library, Chinese Academy of Sciences; Open Access Infrastructure for Research in Europe (OpenAIRE); and Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC).

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Scientific journals in US told to avoid manuscripts from Iran governmental researchers
- 06 May 2013

Scientific journals are reportedly being asked to help tighten US trade sanctions on Iran. On April 30, Dutch publisher Elsevier sent a note to its editorial network saying that all US editors and US reviewers must 'avoid' handling manuscripts if they include an author employed by the Iran government.

Under a policy that went into effect in March reflecting changes in a law passed by the US Congress in December, even companies like Elsevier that are not based in the US must prevent their US personnel from interacting with the Iranian government.

The sanctions, aimed at punishing Iran for its pursuit of nuclear technology, have been broadened somewhat from previous rules issued by the enforcement agency, the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), a division of the Treasury Department.

According to a treasury official, OFAC has not changed its 'general license' policy for journals; it still allows them to publish articles authored by nongovernmental scientists from Iran and other sanctioned countries. The new wrinkle is that OFAC insists that all US citizens, no matter who employs them, comply with the sanctions against papers authored by governmental researchers. That apparently prompted Elsevier to issue a warning to its employees.

An Elsevier spokesperson has explained that the new restrictions were expected to affect a small number of papers and that the company had implemented 'more specific sanctions … over the past year or two' as a result of UN recommendations.

OFAC tangled with scientific journals almost a decade ago when it proposed much harsher restrictions on communications from Iran. That led to an organised protest by the American Institute of Physics, the Association of American Publishers and others, resulting in the current understanding: OFAC permits the exhange of scientific but not government-sponsored communications from Iran.

ACM expands options for free access to content from ACM Publications
- 03 Apr 2013

The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) has introduced several policy changes that are seen to increase access to its journals and conference proceedings. The changes are intended to better balance the needs of authors and researchers in the computing community, many of whom have expressed a desire for expanded rights and open access options to ACM publications from its Digital Library (DL).

The publishing policy changes not only expand author rights but reportedly provide greater levels of flexibility in the transition to open access. Under the options now available, authors who prefer to have ACM manage the rights and permissions associated with their work can continue to use the traditional ACM Copyright Transfer Agreement.

Authors who want to retain copyright of their work can choose an equivalent exclusive licensing agreement developed by ACM. It grants certain publication and distribution rights to ACM but allows authors to retain the core intellectual property rights that are important to many authors.

Authors can also select an author-pays option that enables them to retain all rights to their work and allows them to make it openly accessible in perpetuity via the ACM DL.

In addition, the new publishing policy enables open access to the most current proceedings volume of ACM Special Interest Group (SIG) conferences at the option of their sponsoring SIG. SIGs may also make their conference proceedings freely available via the ACM DL platform for up to two weeks before the event and for a total of one month. Intended to facilitate easy access to the proceedings by conference attendees, these changes will also enable the computing community to learn about the latest technology developments presented at conferences during the time of the event.

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BISG announces publication of new Policy Statement endorsing EPUB 3
- 07 Aug 2012

The Book Industry Study Group (BISG), a US-based book industry trade association, has announced the publication of a new Policy Statement endorsing EPUB 3 as the accepted and preferred standard for representing, packaging, and encoding structured and semantically enhanced Web content - including XHTML, CSS, SVG, images, and other resources - for distribution in a single-file format. BISG member companies, and other industry stakeholders, can visit http://www.bisg.org/what-we-do-4-155-pol-1201-endorsement-of-epub-3.php to download a copy.

Reviewed and approved by BISG's 36-member Board of Directors, BISG Policy Statement POL-1201: Endorsement of EPUB 3 addresses the critical need for the global book publishing industry to rally around a single standard for the creation of digital content in order to impede recent instances of fragmentation beginning to seep into the supply chain.

BISG Policy Statement POL-1201: Endorsement of EPUB 3 encourages all member companies and other industry stakeholders to work toward adopting the full range of functionality within EPUB 3. It is understood that a period of transition is necessary for full implementation of the EPUB 3 standard. To guide industry stake holders through the transition, BISG published an EPUB 3 Support Grid in June 2012.

The Grid is a comprehensive reference tool for understanding what enhancements and features of EPUB 3 are currently usable on which devices, apps, and reading systems. Due to the rapidly changing nature of EPUB 3 support, the Grid will be frequently updated in the first year of publication. The current version is available at http://www.bisg.org/what-we-do-12-152-epub-30-support-grid.php.

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NISO and NFAIS issue new Recommended Practice on Online Supplemental Journal Article Materials, Part B for public comment
- 31 Jul 2012

The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) and the National Federation for Advanced Information Services (NFAIS) have issued a new Recommended Practice on Online Supplemental Journal Article Materials, Part B: Technical Recommendations (NISO RP-15-201x) for public comment until September 15, 2012.

Although supplemental materials are increasingly being added to journal articles, there is no recognised set of practices to guide in the selection, delivery, discovery, or preservation of these materials. To address this gap, NISO and NFAIS jointly sponsored a working group to establish best practices that would provide guidance to publishers and authors for management of supplemental materials and would solve related problems for librarians, abstracting and indexing services, and repository administrators.

The Supplemental Materials project has two groups working in tandem - one to address business practices and one to focus on technical issues. The draft currently available for comment includes the recommendations from the Technical Working Group. The Business Group draft recommendations were issued earlier this year. Following the current public comment period, the two parts will be finalised and combined into the final Recommended Practice.

Recommended Practice on Online Supplemental Journal Article Materials, Part B: Technical Recommendations, the supporting documentation, and an online commenting form are available from the NISO website at www.niso.org/workrooms/supplemental. Publishers, authors, librarians, abstracting and indexing services, and repository administrators are all encouraged to review and comment on this draft.



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NFAIS posts draft discovery service code of practice for review and comment
- 07 Feb 2012

The US' National Federation of Advanced Information Services (NFAIS) recently posted a draft Discovery Service Code of Practice for review and comment by March 16, 2012. NFAIS believes that discovery services have the potential to provide ease of information discovery, access and use, benefitting not only its member organisations, but also the global community of information seekers. However, the relative newness of these services has generated questions and concerns among information providers and librarians. These typically concern how these services meet expectations with regard to issues related to traditional search and retrieval services; e.g. usage reports, ranking algorithms, content coverage, updates, product identification, etc.

Accordingly, the NFAIS document has been developed to assist those who choose to use this new distribution channel through the provision of guidelines that will help avoid the disruption of the delicate balance of interests involved.

NFAIS is inviting all members of the information community to review the draft and submit questions and comments for consideration by the Code Development Task Force. Background information and the draft Code can be accessed at: http://info.nfais.org/info/codedraftintroduction.pdf.

All comments are welcome and can be submitted online at: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/RV257LM. Alternatively a marked up document or written comments can be submitted to Bonnie Lawlor, NFAIS Executive Director.

Founded in 1958, NFAIS is a membership organisation of more than 60 producers of databases and related information services, information technology and library services in the sciences, engineering, social sciences, business and the arts and humanities.

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NISO and NFAIS issue draft for public comment of Recommended Practice on Supplemental Materials for Journal Articles
- 01 Feb 2012

The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) and the National Federation for Advanced Information Services (NFAIS) have issued a new Recommended Practice on Online Supplemental Journal Article Materials, Part A: Business Policies and Practices (NISO RP-15-201x) for public comment ending on February 29, 2012.

It has been observed that although supplemental materials are increasingly being added to journal articles, there is no recognised set of practices to guide in the selection, delivery, discovery, or preservation of these materials. To address this gap, NISO and NFAIS jointly sponsored a working group to establish best practices that would provide guidance to publishers and authors for management of supplemental materials and would solve related problems for librarians, abstracting and indexing services, and repository administrators. The Supplemental Materials project has two groups working in tandem: one to address business practices and one to focus on technical issues. The draft, currently available for comment, includes the recommendations from the Business Working Group.

Recommended Practice on Online Supplemental Journal Article Materials, Part A: Business Policies and Practices is available for download from the NISO website at www.niso.org/workrooms/supplemental. Publishers, authors, librarians, abstracting and indexing services, and repository administrators are all encouraged to review and comment on this draft.

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ARL releases Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries
- 27 Jan 2012

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has announced the release of the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries. The Code is described as a clear and easy-to-use statement of fair and reasonable approaches to fair use developed by and for librarians who support academic inquiry and higher education. It was developed in partnership with the Center for Social Media and the Washington College of Law at American University.

In dozens of interviews with experienced research and academic librarians, the researchers learned how copyright law comes into play as interviewees performed core library functions. Then, in a series of small group discussions held with library policymakers around the country, the research team developed a consensus approach to applying fair use.

The Code deals with such common questions in higher education as: when and how much copyrighted material can be digitised for student use; whether video should be treated the same way as print; how libraries' special collections can be made available online; and whether libraries can archive websites for the use of future students and scholars.

The Code identifies the relevance of fair use in eight recurrent situations for librarians - supporting teaching and learning with access to library materials via digital technologies; using selections from collection materials to publicize a library's activities, or to create physical and virtual exhibitions; digitising to preserve at-risk items; creating digital collections of archival and special collections materials; reproducing material for use by disabled students, faculty, staff, and other appropriate users; maintaining the integrity of works deposited in institutional repositories; creating databases to facilitate non-consumptive research uses (including search); and collecting material posted on the web and making it available. In the Code, librarians affirm that fair use is available in each of these contexts, providing helpful guidance about the scope of best practice in each.

The development of the Code is supported by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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UNESCO endorses IFLA Manifesto for Digital Libraries
- 14 Dec 2011

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has endorsed the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Manifesto for Digital Libraries at its General Conference 2011. The Manifesto provides principles to assist libraries in undertaking sustainable and interoperable digitisation activities to bridge the digital divide - a key factor in achieving the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations.

IFLA President, Ingrid Parent, welcomed the endorsement. IFLA believes that access to information resources supports education and health as much as cultural and economic development. Information about the world's achievements allows all people to participate constructively in the development of their own social environment.

Promoting the free flow of ideas is also one of UNESCO's priorities. Janis Kārkliņš, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, stressed the importance of digital libraries within UNESCO mandate. He lauded the endorsement of the Manifesto as 'part of the efforts of UNESCO and its partnership with IFLA to develop strategies for the sharing of information'.

The IFLA Manifesto for Digital Libraries is seen to be an important instrument for achieving the objectives of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). Many countries have already created national digitisation programmes, and more are expected to do so. IFLA strongly supports and encourages both national and international digitisation strategies as well as single library and partnership initiatives.

The Manifesto was initiated by former IFLA President Claudia Lux (2007-2009). Prior to UNESCO's endorsement, it was approved by the IFLA Governing Board in 2010 and by the UNESCO intergovernmental programme Information for All (IFAP) in February 2011.

The endorsement enables IFLA members to work with UNESCO Member States within the context of national e-strategies aimed at increasing access to information and development. It provides IFLA members with a stronger foundation on which to lobby for and to implement digitisation activities.

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Book Industry Study Group announces new Policy Statement on Best Practices for Identifying Digital Products
- 08 Dec 2011

The Book Industry Study Group (BISG) has announced the publication of a new Policy Statement detailing best practices for assigning ISBNs to digital products. Developed over the past 18 months within BISG's Identification Committee, BISG Policy Statement POL-1101 addresses the critical need to reduce product identification confusion in the market place.

BISG encourages all member companies and other industry stakeholders to download the Policy Statement online at http://www.bisg.org/what-we-do-cat-4-policy-statements.php and work toward adopting the suggested guidelines as soon as practical, with a target for new product introductions of no later than March 2012. The best practices are applicable to content intended for distribution to the general public in North America, but could be applied elsewhere as well.

The Policy Statement has been endorsed by BookNet Canada, a not-for-profit agency dedicated to innovation in the Canadian book supply chain; the National Information Standards Organization (NISO), where content publishers, libraries, and software developers turn for information industry standards that allow them to work together; and IBPA, the Independent Book Publishers Association.

The full Policy Statement includes level-setting definitions for Physical Book, Digital Book and Consumer as well as general rules of ISBN assignment and particular best practices for identifying digital products in the supply network. In addition, the Statement includes eight examples intended to provide guidance on how to assign ISBNs to Digital Books in real life situations based on specific use cases.

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STM signs Out of Commerce MoU facilitated by EU
- 21 Sep 2011

Michael Mabe, CEO of the International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers (STM), has signed the Out of Commerce Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Brussels, enabled through a dialogue with libraries facilitated by the European Commission (EC). The MoU recognises that the right to authorise the use of an Out of Commerce work is vested in the copyright holder (authors and publishers) and that voluntary solutions involving collective management are the way forward.

The signing of the MoU was witnessed by Michel Barnier, EC Commissioner for Internal Market and Services. Representatives of libraries, publishers, authors, creators and representatives of authors, publishers and collective management organisations for text and image based works also signed the MoU. Mabe signed the MoU on behalf of STM members.

The MoU envisages cross-border EU-wide copyright clearance and access rules. Reproduction Rights Organisations, represented by The International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations (IFFRO), can clear rights EU-wide for both mandating rights-holders and for obscure rights-holders of infrequently used materials. The MoU is limited to books and journals (and embedded materials) and does not cover newspapers or audio-visual materials.

The European Bureau of Library Information, Documentation Association (EBLIDA), the Association of European Research Libraries (LIBER) and the Conference of European National Libraries are co-signatories of the MoU. The International Federation of Libraries and Archives (IFLA) is supporting the MoU for its European members.

The European Writers Council (EWC), the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and the European Visual Artists (EVA) for the authors and the Federation of European Publishers (FEP), the European Publishers' Council (EPC) and STM acknowledged the MoU as important step in the digitisation and making available to the public of Europe's cultural heritage.

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Washington University in St. Louis Faculty Senate adopts Open Access Resolution
- 30 Jun 2011

The Washington University in St. Louis Faculty Senate has adopted an Open Access Resolution that encourages faculty members to make their scholarly and creative works freely available online. The resolution also includes a recommendation for University Libraries and the Bernard Becker Medical Library to develop the capacity to capture faculty scholarship, make it publicly accessible and preserve it over time. It also calls for a three-year review to determine the best way to implement the resolution.

WUSTL faculty members conduct research in a range of disciplines and seek to share their findings. Typically, faculty members publish their research in print or online publications that often require costly subscription fees to access. The Open Access Resolution passed by the WUSTL Faculty Senate encourages faculty to publish their research results in open access journals, such as titles in the Directory of Open Access Journals at doaj.org.

Regardless of where faculty members publish, the resolution asks them to retain the right to include a version of their publication in an institutional or other open access repository. Works, such as journal articles, in open access repositories can be viewed, free of charge, by anyone with Internet access.

The Bernard Becker Medical Library has an open access repository, Digital Commons@Becker at digitalcommons.wustl.edu, in place for School of Medicine faculty. Work on a repository for Danforth Campus faculty is under way.

The text of the resolution can be found at news.wustl.edu/Documents/Record/OpenAccessResolution.pdf.

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IPA, STM respond to IFLA treaty on exceptions and limitations for libraries and archives
- 15 Jun 2011

International Publishers Association (IPA) and the International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers (STM) have reviewed verson 3.0 of the IFLA draft treaty ("the text"). IPA and STM strongly believe that addressing fundamental problems and progress on practical issues would require as a first step careful factual identification and analysis. Given the diversity of issues they should be systematically grouped, the underlying facts explored and then addressed, the associations have noted.

However, according to the associations, the text presented is a forgone conclusion based on an unbalanced perspective on copyright. In its current form, the text is not a constructive basis to address concerns and does not even clearly state what these might be.

In particular the text is seen to lack any factual analysis of the challenges libraries face. Instead it surmises that the problems of libraries around the world are uniform and all resolvable by an international instrument. It was noted that the text undermines the consensus achieved in recent WIPO treaties. Also, it does not allow any policy space to distinguish between different countries in different stages of development, different types of libraries and different legal traditions.

Further, the STM and the IPA note that the text fails to define what a library is and does not distinguish between different types of libraries. It unites in a single document all possible exceptions from around the world, without regard for the balance that governments carefully weigh at the national level. Some clauses venture into areas that are outside copyright law, and change fundamental legal principles of contract, common and civil law

IPA and STM recognise the important role that libraries play in providing access to literary works and complimenting the products and services offered by publishers. National libraries also perform many important public functions. In particular, in developing countries, libraries face great challenges in obtaining and making available valuable knowledge.

IPA and STM stand ready to work towards identification, analysis and solution of clearly identified problems jointly with libraries. Both the associations have set out five guiding principles that they believe should be applied in any consideration of these matters, once the factual identification and analysis has been completed.

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STM applauds Spanish government efforts to improve Spanish science
- 20 May 2011

The International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers (STM) has welcomed the balanced legislation in the new Spanish Science Law.

The Plenary of the House of Representatives adopted the Law on Science, Technology and Innovation by 289 votes in favour, 3 against and no abstentions. The bill updates the 1986 law, Spain's first scientific legislation after becoming a democracy.

Article 37 of the wide-ranging bill includes encouragement for the development of open access repositories. It also mandates deposit of research outputs funded by the General Budget of the State in publicly accessible repositories within twelve months of publication. This applies to the authors accepted version of the manuscript, and the bill requires third party agreements such as copyright transfer to be respected.

While the bill was being debated, STM has asked the Spanish Government, Ministry for Science and Innovation to consider more flexibility in terms of embargo periods for public access. Not every discipline or sub-discipline has the same attitude to material being available before final publication, nor does every discipline have the same pattern of access to scientific articles.

STM has called on the Spanish government to make funds available to government-funded researchers for open access publication. Publishers are committed to the wide dissemination and unrestricted access to content they publish, on the understanding that services that publishers provide must be paid for in some way. Unfunded mandates for self-archiving have the potential to undermine the sustainability of STM publishing with negative impacts on scholarly communication, the Association noted.

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New IHTSDO policy to enable free use of English-language SNOMED CT terms and identifiers in international research databases
- 31 Jan 2011

The International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation (IHTSDO) has announced a new policy to enable free use of English-language SNOMED CT terms and identifiers in international research databases, in complementary health IT standards, and in other projects and resources available worldwide. The new policy allows SNOMED CT to serve as a standard vocabulary for key data elements and value sets in international resources that accept input from - and are used in - both IHTSDO Member and non-Member countries.

Access to the complete international release of SNOMED CT (including translations, hierarchical, definitional, and mapping relationships) continues to require an IHTSDO Affiliate License. The Affiliate License is free in IHTSDO Member countries, in more than 40 countries designated as low-income by the World Bank, and for approved research projects. Fees apply for regular use in other countries.

New international databases in development by the US National Library of Medicine's National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) will be among the early beneficiaries of the new policy.

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AAP and DC Principles express concern over NIH's images initiatives
- 14 Jan 2011

The Professional & Scholarly Publishing (PSP) division of the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and members of the DC Principles Coalition have previously commented to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and National Institute of Health (NIH) on the implementation of various policies affecting the publishers of scholarly and academic journals, including the Public Access Policy. The organisations have accepted as a general principle that NIH would, in its implementation of the Public Access Policy, abide by the Congressional requirement under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008 to implement the policy.

In a letter addressed to the Director of NIH, the two organisations expressed their disappointment that an October 2010 notice from the NIH announces a number of applications involving images from journal articles deposited in PMC. These include the creation of NIH Images, a new NCBI database of images, and the enhancement of images and image searching on PubMed as well as on PMC. According to the organisations, the NIH has not negotiated with and obtained permission from the journal publishers who own the copyright in the respective articles, including images and other illustrations. Further, they state that such use is a derivative work and an unauthorised expansion and extension of the limited rights granted NIH, and as such would violate copyright law. A number of members were consulted and no publisher reported having been contacted by NIH for permission to create such derivative uses.

PSP members claim to be actively engaged in enriching the content that they publish, including by the use of images and extended image information including metadata to permit image searching. The NIH implementation directly impacts such projects and unfairly competes with academic and scholarly journal publishers, they have noted. Such concerns were precisely the reasons why the Congress provided a narrow grant of rights and noted the requirement to comply with copyright law, it has been observed.

PSP members are also actively engaged with providing permission processes that are easy to request and negotiate. Publishers are also happy to engage in meaningful discussion with NIH to understand what NIH's intentions are with respect to the images database, and consider the research needs and the competitive aspects.

The organisations have called on the HHS and NIH to reverse this policy. This is because it applies to article manuscripts submitted under the Public Access Policy and to any content submitted by a journal where the derivative use of the images is not expressly permitted in an agreement.

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US associations oppose provision expanding NIH public access policy to other agencies
- 17 Dec 2010

Representatives of the American Physiological Society and the Association of American Publishers (AAP) have written a letter opposing legislation to expand a policy of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The legislation seeks to expand the NIH policy requiring that private-sector scientific journal articles reporting on government-funded research be made freely available on the Internet. The letter is signed by over 70 scientific and medical societies, university presses and commercial publishers.

On behalf of the many STM journal publishers and tens of thousands of their US employees, these organisations have expressed their strong opposition to a provision that is included in the omnibus appropriations bill: SEC. 524. The policy regarding public access to research results established for the NIH by section 217 of division F of Public Law 111-8 shall apply to all departments funded in this Act having more than $100,000,000 in annual expenditures for extramural research.

This provision would impose a new government mandate requiring that private-sector scientific journal articles reporting on government-funded research be made freely available on the Internet. This is expected to expand the so-called 'negative' policy in place at the NIH to other major federal agencies. Implementation of the provision will undermine private sector investments, jobs, intellectual property and US leadership in scientific research, it has been pointed out.

While government funds scientific research, non-profit and commercial journal publishers invest hundreds of millions of dollars each year in the peer review, editing and publishing of these articles. Government mandates that require these private sector publishers to make their peer-reviewed, value-added journal articles freely available on the Internet would fundamentally undermine a significant segment of the US publishing industry that employs 50,000 in the US and contributes over $10 billion annually to the nation's economy, it has been observed. For many US journal publishers, more than 50 percent of their revenue comes from overseas subscriptions, contributing to a positive balance of trade.

Publishers welcome the opportunity to work with the federal government to address public access in a meaningful way that does not jeopardise the current peer-review publishing system with all the benefits it provides to the US, the letter noted. They believe that the public access provision in the America competes legislation which received thoughtful input from many Congressional, Administrative and non-governmental entities is a better approach.

Further, the letter notes that this is a critical issue for scholarly societies and companies, and urged for the removal of the provision expanding the NIH public access policy to other federal agencies from the omnibus appropriations legislation.

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ARL launches online forum for libraries supporting the NSF Data Sharing Policy
- 03 Dec 2010

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has released a new resource for libraries supporting the recently revised NSF Data Sharing Policy. The Guide for Research Libraries: The NSF Data Sharing Policy, by Patricia Hswe and Ann Holt, is a set of Web-based resources that introduces and explains the policy. Hswe and Holt also offer advice for library professionals who work with researchers seeking funding and provide links to a range of resources that have been created by ARL member libraries and others.

The Guide's authors are actively seeking information on additional resources libraries are creating. The Google group, ARL Data Sharing Support Group, has been established as a contact point for librarians interested in sharing and exchanging information on their efforts to advance and support researchers creating data management and sharing plans. Individuals can join the group by emailing http://groups.google.com/group/arl-data-sharing-support-group.

The Guide for Research Libraries: The NSF Data Sharing Policy is freely accessible at http://www.arl.org/rtl/eresearch/escien/nsf/index.shtml.

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Royal Society of Chemistry moots increase in R&D spending
- 16 Aug 2010

As the UK Government's autumn CSR (Comprehensive Spending Review) approaches, the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) has entered the recent debate over research and development funding, via a letter sent to Prof. Adrian Smith of the department for Business Innovation and Skills. In the letter, RSC chief executive Richard Pike has pointed to a quartet of messages of extreme importance to ensure a sound R&D community for Britain in the future to keep the country competitive and innovative.

From the standpoint of the RSC, the four principal messages which it would wish to convey address the total level of government funding for R&D, funding of teaching in universities, the effectiveness of scientific decision-making within government, and the desirability of independent advice to improve scientific and economic outcomes for the benefit of the country.

Current governmental funding of 1.7 percent of GDP places UK at 14th in a recent comparative assessment, says RSC. Further decline risks opening a wider gap between UK and its major industrial competitors such as Japan, US, South Korea, Germany and France. Although China, at about 1.4 percent of GDP, is less than that for the UK, this proportion is increasing rapidly over time and in absolute terms far exceeds all other countries, with the exception of Japan and the US, says RSC representatives. Within the chemistry sector, the RSC expects China to overtake the US next year to become the largest source of scientific papers published in the world.

In the report "Follow-up Study of the Finances of Chemistry and Physics Departments in UK Universities", a sample of 11 chemistry departments showed that all were in deficit on research activity during the period 2007-08, largely because the overhead element of grants was still short of full economic costing (FEC). The very significant contribution of the chemical sciences to the country's economy is to be summarised in a report by Oxford Economics entitled, "The economic benefits of chemistry research to the UK", which will be launched later this year.

The financial position of teaching in chemistry at university over the same period 2007-08 in the above report showed significant improvement because of increased tuition fees from home undergraduates and additional funding from HEFCE for strategically important and expensive laboratory-based subjects. Even so, most of the departments in the study were operating with a teaching deficit approaching 10 percent. Moreover, the future situation is likely to deteriorate because of the downturn on public expenditure, upward pressure on staff costs and the decline in 17-18 year olds during the period 2010-2019. According to RSC, given the contribution of the chemistry and chemistry-dependent industries to the UK economy, it is essential to develop a long term vision for the chemical sciences in higher education, with chemistry-related science available to undergraduates at all universities, in order to maintain and further develop the science base within the UK.

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Google, Verizon outline network neutrality rules
- 10 Aug 2010

Internet search services provider Google Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc., a US-based American broadband and telecommunications company, have released a policy statement, according to which, phone and cable TV companies, that provide Internet access, should be barred from slowing down, blocking or charging to prioritise Internet traffic flowing over their regular broadband lines. The companies, however, left room for broadband providers to charge extra to route traffic from premium services such as remote medical monitoring and smart-grid controls over dedicated networks that are separate from the public Internet.

Google and Verizon laid out their vision in a policy proposal that they hope can serve as a framework for Congress and the Federal Communications Commission in drafting so-called 'network neutrality' rules. Such rules are meant to ensure that phone and cable providers cannot favour their own services or discriminate against Internet phone calls, online video and other web services that compete with their core businesses.

Although broadband providers such as Verizon and Internet-content companies such as Google are at opposite ends in the increasingly bitter debate over such rules, the two companies have been in talks for months to try to identify common ground. Their proposal comes just days after the FCC declared an impasse in negotiations to craft an industry-wide compromise on the thorny issue.

The proposal from Google and Verizon is expected to give the FCC authority to enforce those rules for wired networks by prohibiting broadband providers from discriminating against or favoring Internet traffic. The proposal would allow the agency to impose a penalty of up to $2 million on companies that violate the rules. Wireless carriers, which have more capacity constraints, would not be subject to the restrictions, although they would have to disclose their network management practices.

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AAP expresses concern on government mandates requiring free access to journal articles
- 30 Jul 2010

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) has warned that government mandates requiring free access to journal articles published by the private sector would seriously undermine scientific communication, as well as US jobs, exports and copyright protection. In testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Allan Adler, AAP's Vice President for Legal and Government Affairs, stressed that efforts to impose mandates were based on lack of understanding of the distinction between the 'research' that is funded by the Federal government and the private-sector journal articles that validate and document the process, findings and significance of that research.

The AAP testimony described the inevitable unintended consequences of mandated public access. Policies that require publishers' work to be made freely available online enable foreign governments, corporations and others to use US publishers' output without compensation. Companies in China, for instance, are even re-selling the peer-reviewed manuscripts and articles that publishers are now required to post on the NIH's PubMed Central database.

According to AAP, the subscription revenues that pay the cost of scientific publishing are seriously compromised when articles are available free on a government website. Mandates diminish the copyright protection that allows publishers to invest in publishing. This kind of government intrusion into the free market, the association noted, creates a harmful precedent for many other US industries whose viability depends on the ability to develop and protect their intellectual property.

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IMLS calls for cooperator to develop guidelines for public access to technology
- 26 Jul 2010

The US' National Broadband Plan released in March 2010 presented a vision of pervasive and affordable broadband that will provide every American an equal opportunity to engage in the educational, economic and social life of the nation. One of the recommendations of the plan called on the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to develop guidelines for public access technology based on populations served and organisation size. The recommendation had also stated that IMLS should work with organisations to develop guidelines and review them annually to reflect changing technology and practices. In response, IMLS has issued a request for proposals for a cooperator to develop a framework of the principles, elements, or characteristics of organisations and communities that foster digital inclusion.

The guidelines are projected to help libraries and community-based organisations assess their needs for public access workstations, portable devices and bandwidth. The framework is seen as the first step in the development of final guidelines that will be used as the basis for benchmarks, evaluation tools or performance measures.

The ultimate purpose of this work is to provide resource allocators, policy makers and community leaders with the tools they need to build the capacity of public libraries and community-based organisations to meet the public's information needs. IMLS reportedly encourages coordination among these stakeholders so they leverage existing infrastructure and make strategic investments to achieve digitally-inclusive communities.

Deadline for proposals is August 30, 2010, with the anticipated award amount of $150,000. The award will be for a maximum of six months from date of award. The estimated award date is October 15, 2010, with a start date of November 1, 2010, contingent upon fiscal year 2011 funding.

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ARL, ALA and EDUCAUSE file comments in support of the FCC's 'Third Way'
- 19 Jul 2010

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has joined the American Library Association (ALA) and EDUCAUSE in voicing support for the FCC's Notice of Inquiry (NOI) proposing a 'third way' forward on the difficult question of regulatory authority over broadband Internet access service.

Libraries, librarians, higher education and research networks, and their users all rely on a fast, reliable, and open Internet. The associations urged the FCC to act quickly and responsibly to re-establish its authority over broadband access so that it can return to its vital role in encouraging broadband rollout and adoption and protecting the openness of the Internet.

Broadband policies affect libraries, researchers, and higher education institutions in at least two ways - both as users of broadband services and as providers of Internet-based content. High-capacity broadband is the key infrastructure that libraries, community colleges, colleges, universities, and many others depend upon to provide 21st century research and educational services, job-training courses, distance learning classes, access to e-government, and computer and technology training. According to the associations, of the options outlined in the FCC's notice, the Third Way proposal is the only realistic way to protect the open Internet and to achieve the goals of the National Broadband Plan.

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OCLC Board of Trustees approve new WorldCat record use policy
- 22 Jun 2010

The OCLC Board of Trustees has approved a new WorldCat record use policy, developed by a Record Use Policy Council and informed by community input. WorldCat Rights and Responsibilities for the OCLC Cooperative will be effective August 1, 2010. The new policy outlines the rights and responsibilities associated with stewardship of the WorldCat bibliographic and holdings database by and for the OCLC cooperative. This includes the use and exchange of OCLC member-contributed data comprising WorldCat.

The policy was drafted by the Record Use Policy Council, a group of 12 library leaders charged by the OCLC Board of Trustees to craft a replacement for the Guidelines for Use and Transfer of OCLC Derived Records, which was developed in 1987.

In April 2010, the Record Use Policy Council submitted to the library community and to the OCLC Board a draft policy that began a two-month period of community review and discussion. More than 275 comments were gathered via e-mail, phone, meetings and letters, in an online forum, and by monitoring blogs, listservs, and Twitter. At the end of May, community input was incorporated and a policy statement was submitted to the OCLC Board, which approved the revised document during its June meeting.

The policy is based on the premise that OCLC members value WorldCat as a comprehensive, timely, and accurate reflection of the consolidated holdings of those members. The policy's intent is to encourage the widespread use of WorldCat bibliographic data while also supporting the ongoing and long-term sustainability and utility of WorldCat and of WorldCat-based services such as resource sharing, cataloging, and discovery.

The new policy will become effective August 1, 2010, replacing the Guidelines for Use and Transfer of OCLC Derived Records. Because the data sharing environment is constantly and rapidly evolving, this new policy will be regularly reviewed to ensure its continued timeliness.

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Royal Society to publish new guide on climate change
- 02 Jun 2010

The Royal Society has announced that it will publish a new guide on the science of climate change to help the public gain a better understanding of the issue. The guide is due to be published this summer.

The new public facing document on climate change will seek to provide an updated status report on the science in an easily accessible form, also addressing the levels of certainty of key components. This had been planned for some time (it is 3 years since the last such document), but was given extra impetus by a number of Fellows who were concerned that older public facing documents could be interpreted as an unwillingness to accept dissenting views. The new document will supersede previous documents.

The document will be prepared by experts from within the Fellowship. As with all policy statements and reports published by the society, the guide will be subject to review by other Fellows with a broad range of views and expertise. The final document will be agreed by the Council of the Society.

Further details on this project is available online at http://royalsociety.org/Climate-Change.

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IOP seeks Government assurance to keep STEM at the heart of recovery
- 25 May 2010

As the Government outlines action required to strengthen the UK's troubled economy, the Institute of Physics (IOP) seeks assurance that the Government will keep science, technology, engineering and Maths (STEM) at the heart of the recovery.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has reportedly promised to protect spending on research, innovation, business and enterprise, and student numbers in higher education. However, IOP is disappointed that fewer opportunities for new science, technology, engineering and Maths (STEM) students will be opening up now that the scope of the University Modernisation Fund has been diminished.

According to Dr Robert Kirby-Harris, chief executive at IOP, the Government needs to keep its focus on improving the uptake of STEM subjects at university and the creation of a business environment conducive to the growth of high technology businesses.

The Institute of Physics is a scientific charity devoted to increasing the practice, understanding and application of physics. It has a worldwide membership of more than 36 000 and is a leading communicator of physics-related science to all audiences, from specialists through to government and the general public. Its publishing company, IOP Publishing, claims to be a world leader in scientific publishing and the electronic dissemination of physics.

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Open letter supports US legislation to ensure free access to publicly funded research
- 05 May 2010

The Alliance for Taxpayer Access (ATA) has announced that the provosts and presidents of 27 research institutions in the US have voiced their support for the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA) via an open letter. The ‘Open Letter to the Higher Education Community’, released last week by the Harvard University Provost, is seen to signal expanded support for public access to publicly funded research among the largest research institutions in the US. FRPAA, first introduced in the Senate last year, was introduced in the House of Representatives in April 2010.

The letter states that scholarly publishers, academic libraries, university leaders and scholars themselves must engage in an ongoing dialogue about the means of scholarly production and distribution. The dialogue must acknowledge both their competing interests and common goals, it points out, adding that the passage of FRPAA will catalyse that dialogue.

According to the letter, FRPAA will be beneficial to education and research, and help the American public by promoting broad, democratic access to knowledge. While it challenges the academy and scholarly publishers to think and act creatively, it need not threaten nor undermine a successful balance of their interests, the letter says. If passed, the ATA expects to work with researchers, publishers and federal agencies to ensure its successful implementation.

ATA is a coalition of advocacy, academic, research and publishing organisations that supports open public access to the results of federally funded research. It was formed in 2004 to urge that peer-reviewed articles stemming from taxpayer-funded research become fully accessible and available online at no extra cost to the American public.

‘The Open Letter to the Higher Education Community’ is available at http://osc.hul.harvard.edu/docs/FRPAA-open-letter-2010.php.

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Medical research journal editors call for standards in comparative effectiveness research
- 28 Apr 2010

Editors of several medical research journals have issued a statement calling for rigorous standards and transparency in research that is designed to influence patient care and health policy.

Led by Dr. Harold Sox, co-chair of the 2009 US Institute of Medicine Committee on Comparative Effectiveness Research Prioritization, the statement's author list includes editors of the journals Medical Decision Making, Trials, The Cochrane Library, Journal of Clinical Epidemiology and PLoS Medicine. Editors of Journal of General Internal Medicine, The American Journal of Managed Care, Clinical and Translational Science and Croatian Medical Journal have also endorsed the statement.

Comparative effectiveness research (CER) compares the benefits and harms of different medical tests, treatments and procedures, and provides evidence to support clinicians, patients, and policy makers in deciding which approaches to use. Noting that ‘the challenge will be to realise the full potential of such research to improve health,’ the editors call on medical journals to use rigorous approaches to assess the limitations inherent in such research, such as missing data, incomplete follow-up, unmeasured biases, the potential role of chance, competing interests, and selective reporting of results.

The statement includes a list of 11 standards for the conduct and reporting of CER studies, including involvement of patients in selecting and refining research topics; public registration of research protocols prior to beginning a study; inclusion of representative populations in CER studies; rigorous peer review by independent experts; free availability and public archiving of study publications; and public declaration of all relevant competing interests.

The statement appeared in PLoS Medicine on April 27. It will also be published in the Croatian Medical Journal, Medical Decision Making, The Cochrane Library, Trials, The American Journal of Managed Care and Journal of Clinical Epidemiology.

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CMSS releases voluntary code for interactions with for-profit health companies
- 22 Apr 2010

The Council of Medical Specialty Societies (CMSS) has announced the release of the CMSS Code for Interactions with Companies. The code seeks to provide detailed guidance to medical specialty societies on appropriate interactions with for-profit companies in the healthcare sector. The voluntary code is designed to ensure that societies’ interactions with companies are independent and transparent, and advance medical care for the benefit of patients and populations. CMSS represents 32 medical professional societies, with a collective membership of more than 650,000 US physicians.

The CMSS code was developed by a 30-member task force consisting of the leaders of member societies. At the time of this release, 13 medical societies have already formally adopted the code and committed to fully implementing it. Others plan to adopt it over the coming months, and many members already have policies in place that meet or exceed some of the principles in the code. The code includes seven core principles and detailed guidance on implementation. The principles cover key areas such as conflicts of interest, financial disclosure, independent programme development and independent leadership.

The 25-page code recognises that CMSS member societies have different organisational structures and may apply its requirements differently based on their individual activities and infrastructure. Further, some societies may choose to adopt policies that are more rigorous than what the code requires.

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Scholarly Publishers urge Administration not to impose access mandates
- 22 Jan 2010

The Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division of the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and DC Principles Coalition for Free Access to Science expressed their concerns in a letter to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). The letter was submitted in response to a December 9, 2009, OSTP request for comments on ‘Public Access Policies for Science and Technology Funding Agencies Across the Federal Government.’

Scholarly and scientific journal publishers called on the Administration to adopt a collaborative approach to the development of a federal policy to expand public access to scientific information. They encouraged the Administration to avoid adopting policies that would damage the very institutions that researchers, the public and government itself rely on to peer review, publish, disseminate and preserve scientific information.

Among the proposals under evaluation is executive branch action that would direct agencies to post articles online that have already undergone peer review and other significant improvements by publishers. A mandatory policy would undermine essential intellectual property protections and blunt the ability of publishers to recover the considerable costs associated with creating journals, disseminating scientific information, building and maintaining digital platforms, managing and preserving the scientific record and coordinating the peer review process. It would artificially force a shift of those costs from users who subscribe to journals to authors, who would increasingly be called on to fund the cost of publishing their articles.

Scholarly societies, non-profit and commercial publishers are opposed to the approach taken by the National Institutes of Health in 2008, which mandated access to the post-peer reviewed articles. Publishers are concerned that inflexible, government-mandated solutions will undermine the substantial contribution the private sector makes to science through its management of the complex process that fuels millions of peer-reviewed journal articles every year.

The full text of the letter is available at http://www.pspcentral.org/OSTP.cfm

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BioMed responds to US policy forum on public access to federally funded research
- 21 Jan 2010

Open access publisher BioMed Central, UK, has submitted its contribution to the US Office of Science and Technology Policy request for contributions to its Policy Forum on Public Access to Federally Funded Research.

According to BioMed Central, the success of its open access (OA) journals proves that immediate OA to the official and authoritative version of published research results is not only desirable but also achievable and sustainable.

The success of the OA model is especially notable given that, until recently, in contrast to the substantial library budgets devoted to subscriptions to serials, there has been little funding explicitly allocated by academic institutions to cover OA publication fees. Authors have therefore had to make direct use of their research grant funding in order to publish in OA journals. The Compact for Open Access Publishing Equity is seen to be an important recent initiative, involving Harvard and other leading research universities, which seeks to address this disparity by providing central institutional funding support for OA journals. This can be expected to add to the already considerable momentum driving the growth of the OA publishing model.

BioMed Central supports both the goal of OA and the goal of ensuring that the value added by publishers is properly recompensed. In contrast to some of the contributors, the publisher states that there is no need to ‘balance’ these two goals as they are not in opposition.

As noted by other participants in this debate, the benefits resulting to the scientific community from OA to research are substantial, BioMed has stated. What may be less obvious is that OA need not threaten the role of STM publishers. The OA publishing model, in which publishers are paid directly for the service of publication, is proving in practice to be just as viable a business model as the traditional model - whereby publishers recover the costs associated with publication by taking exclusive rights and then selling access via subscriptions.

Given that there is a viable business model for publishing scholarly research that does not depend on restricting access, BioMed feels no need for the US government to arbitrarily limit the extent and reach of its OA deposit requirements attached to its research funding. It recommends that the mandatory Public Access Policy which has operated successfully with respect to National Institutes of Health funding since 2008, be extended to cover all federally funded research. Also, it proposes that consideration is given, over time, to reducing or eliminating the 12 month embargo period, because this embargo period covers the very period during which the results of research are most timely and valuable. Gradual reduction of the embargo period would provide a natural mechanism to encourage publishers to adopt business models compatible with open access, while avoiding disruptive upheaval.

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ALPSP responds to OSTP Public Access Policy consultation
- 20 Jan 2010

The Association of Learning and Professional Society Publishing (ALPSP) has submitted its response to the Public Access Policy consultation carried out by the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). OSTP, part of the Executive Office of the President in the US government, is seeking public input on access to publicly-funded research results, such as those that appear in academic and scholarly journal articles.

Currently, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) require that research funded by its grants be made available to the public online at no charge within 12 months of publication. The Administration is seeking views as to whether this policy should be extended to other science agencies and, if so, how it should be implemented.

ALPSP believes that publishers should be allowed to control their own business models without the government expropriation of value added by private organisations. The Association encourages additional research to assess the level of demand and purpose of access to the peer-reviewed literature by researchers and the public so that the most appropriate and cost-effective solution can be found. It suggests that the US should instigate a large-scale, cooperative research study involving relevant stakeholders (similar to the PEER project in Europe) to gather evidence to inform OSTP policy in this area.

ALPSP asserts that the system of peer-reviewed journals greatly assists research efficiency and suggests that Federal agencies work with publishers to find acceptable policies for public access that do not have a deleterious impact on publishers' ability to add this value. Further, it states that publishers should determine if and when versions of the article to which they have added value should be made freely available, depending on the needs of different research disciplines.

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Panel calls on US agencies to develop policies for better public access to research results
- 14 Jan 2010

An expert panel of librarians, library scientists, publishers and university academic leaders has called on US federal agencies that fund research, to develop and implement a more robust scholarly publishing system. The policies ought to ensure free public access to the results of the research they fund ‘as soon as possible after those results have been published in a peer-reviewed journal’, the panel has said. The Scholarly Publishing Roundtable was convened last summer by the US House Committee on Science and Technology, in collaboration with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Policymakers asked the group to examine the current state of scholarly publishing and seek consensus recommendations for expanding public access to scholarly journal articles.

The various communities represented in the Roundtable have been working to develop recommendations that would improve public access without curtailing the ability of the scientific publishing industry to publish peer-reviewed scientific articles.

The Roundtable's recommendations, endorsed in full by a majority of the panel (12 out of 14 members), seek to balance the need for and potential of increased access to scholarly articles with the need to preserve the essential functions of the scholarly publishing enterprise, according to the report.

The Roundtable identified a set of principles viewed as essential to a robust scholarly publishing system, including the need to preserve peer review; the necessity of adaptable publishing business models; the benefits of broader public access; the importance of archiving; and the interoperability of online content.

Also, the group affirmed the high value of the ‘version of record’ for published articles and of all stakeholders' contributions to sustaining the best possible system of scholarly publishing during a time of tremendous change.

In issuing its report, the Roundtable urged all interested parties to move forward, beyond ‘the too-often acrimonious’ past debate over access issues towards a collaborative framework. Within the framework, federal funding agencies should be able to build an interdependent system of scholarly publishing that expands public access and enhances the broad, intelligent use of the results of federally-funded research.

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Institute of Physics publishes briefing note on climate change
- 08 Dec 2009

The Institute of Physics (IOP) has published a physics briefing note to help understand the science behind climate change as several world leaders have gathered in Copenhagen to discuss environmental issues.

Prof. Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, President of the IOP, has expressed hope that world leaders will appreciate the major contribution science can make to our understanding of all aspects of global change, including climate change. Science can improve our predictions of what might happen; physics can provide critical, objective analysis of new schemes. Physics along with technology can develop new and more efficient energy sources, and find ways of minimising waste (of all kinds).

Prof. Burnell further states that climate models are the best tools available for understanding changes in climate, and from these models it seems we are entering an unprecedentedly difficult period for the human race. Science can diagnose the problem and it can work to remedy it, but it can do neither without support from world leaders.

These comments accompany the publication of a briefing note from IOP which summarises advances in human understanding of the climate and the work being done to create a low-carbon energy infrastructure. It includes comment from some of the UK's leading climate experts.

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OCLC convenes council to study and develop new WorldCat Record Use Policy
- 16 Sep 2009

Global library cooperative OCLC, US, has announced that its board of trustees has convened a Record Use Policy Council. The council will draw upon the fundamental values of the OCLC cooperative and engage with libraries worldwide to develop the next generation of the WorldCat Record Use Policy. The intent is to recommend a new policy that is aligned with the present and future information landscape. The new policy will replace the Guidelines for Use and Transfer of OCLC Derived Records that was developed in 1987.

The formation of this council was one of the recommendations contained in the final report of the OCLC Review Board on the Principles of Shared Data Creation and Stewardship. This report was formed in January 2009 to represent the membership and inform OCLC on best practices for sharing library data.

The Policy Council is also charged with carrying out the other recommendations contained in the final report, including development of a policy to enable expanding the role and value of WorldCat in the broad information ecosystem. The members of the OCLC Record Use Policy Council have agreed to undertake a significant body of work to canvass the current and future information needs of the library community and provide a broad and inclusive set of perspectives and experiences.

Over the next seven months, the council will review key values and principles underlying the current guidelines developed in 1987; develop success criteria for a revised policy or guidelines; conduct and disseminate the results of an environmental scan of data-sharing policies; evaluate findings from the environmental scan and draft a new policy and recommendations for implementation; and develop a formal, transparent and well-managed process for vetting the new draft policy with the OCLC Regional Councils and the OCLC Global Council as the representatives of the OCLC membership.

The Record Use Policy Council will begin its work soon. The group will define an approach and timeline to carry out this charge. The council will submit a new draft policy and recommendations for implementation to the Chair of the OCLC board of trustees and OCLC President and CEO, for review and approval by the trustees in midyear 2010.

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Nielsen Book issues e-book listings policy statement
- 17 Aug 2009

Nielsen Book, operator of the UK ISBN Agency and provider of product information, transaction and sales measurement services for the English language book industry worldwide, has announced its listings policy for e-books. This is in response to the International ISBN Agency recently issuing a policy statement on the use of ISBNs for e-books. The International ISBN Agency had restated the requirement in the ISBN standard that each different format of an electronic publication requires a separate ISBN. It had also newly legitimised the application in some circumstances of ISBNs to e-book products by resellers and distributors to ensure the continuity of trade systems across the supply chain.

According to the new Nielsen policy, e-books will only be listed on the Nielsen Book database and in Nielsen Book products and services if they are identified in accordance with the ISBN standard. All digital products including e-books should be listed with all appropriate aggregators. ISBNs that refer to a generic “master” record providing information not on a tradable product in a specified format, but rather on a package of content tradable in a number of different formats, will not be eligible for inclusion on the Nielsen Book database.

Nielsen Book is adopting this policy to support what it firmly believes to be supply chain best practice.

According to the company, hardwiring bibliographic and identification practice to the limited requirements of current initiatives and experiments runs the risk of storing up inhibitors to future flexibility and adds potential costs of system re-engineering down the line. On these grounds, it recommends that publishers adopt the most flexible policy now on product identification.

Nielsen Book has strongly recommended that publishers globally adopt the International ISBN Agency recommendations.

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ARL publishes Public Access Policies, SPEC Kit 311 for member libraries
- 12 Aug 2009

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has published Public Access Policies, SPEC Kit 311, which explores the role played by ARL member libraries in supporting public access policies in their institutions.

The concept of a public access policy for research results is based on the premise that government-funded research results should be freely available without barriers to taxpayers, who provide support for the funding. With the recent enactment of the US National Institutes of Health Public Access Policy and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Policy on Access to Research Outputs, much attention has been devoted to public access policies. Many academic and research libraries have taken the lead in developing resources and services to support authors who are required to comply with these policies.

This survey was distributed to the 123 ARL member libraries in February 2009. Respondents were asked to provide information on staffing, partnerships and resources and services developed for public access policy (PAP) compliance support, and the challenges related to providing such support. Seventy libraries from 67 institutions responded to the survey. Of the respondents, 63 were at libraries located within the US (90%) and seven were at libraries located in Canada (10%).

The majority of the responding libraries provide, or plan to provide, resources and services that help authors affiliated with their institution (and/or the author’s support staff) to comply with public access policies. Thirty-seven respondents (53%) indicated that more than one library within their system provides PAP compliance support; 11 (16%) indicated that just one library within their institution is providing this support. Four other institutions (6%) are planning to support PAP compliance. Of the libraries that do not provide such support, eight (11%) indicated that another department or unit within their institution provides compliance support. Eight others (11%) responded that their institution offers no PAP compliance support.

The SPEC Kit includes documentation from respondents in the form of PAP websites, compliance FAQs and flowcharts, handouts and slides from presentations to faculty and library staff, and sample letters to publishers.

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SPARC unveils centralised web resource and group of experts to advise on OA policy
- 07 Aug 2009

The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) has announced that it has introduced a new suite of web-based tools to facilitate fact-based campus policy discussions on open access (OA). This includes key topics such as copyright, journal sustainability, disciplinary differences and author rights.

With these tools, universities can learn about campus OA policies implemented to date, including that of the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences, through videos and white papers publicly available online. They can also request copies of offline documents, including a list of ‘Responses to Common Misconceptions’ related to OA policies and ‘Choice Points’ to be addressed in policy development. Users may also request support from a group of expert advisers who helped to develop these resources; have experience with gaining faculty acceptance for an institutional OA policy; and who stand by to answer questions that remain after examining available tools.

SPARC has also announced that the University of Kansas recently became the first public university in the US to adopt a policy to ensure free and open access to the results of research outputs. The introduction of SPARC’s tool follows a growing number of colleges and universities embarking on the path toward an institutional OA policy.

According to SPARC, those familiar with OA understand the benefits that flow from providing enhanced access to scholarly journal articles. They also understand that a well-designed institutional research access policy can bring scholarly outputs to the attention of new audiences around the world without disrupting any of the foundations of scholarly communication – such as peer review, academic freedom, or the sustainability of scholarly societies and their publications.

However, many faculty members and administrators are still unfamiliar with the specifics of OA. SPARC points out that timely, accurate information about the motivations and mechanics of an OA policy and how it would operate in connection with faculty publishing practices is of crucial importance to anyone about to embark on this path.

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CERN and EU Commission announce closer scientific partnership
- 21 Jul 2009

CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, and the European Commission have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which aims to enhance the long-standing partnership between the two organisations. The MoU will provide a structured framework for cooperation across a broad range of issues of common interest, with emphasis on consolidating and further developing the European Research Area and facilitating the implementation of the European Strategy for Particle Physics, as defined by the CERN Council.

The MoU provides for the European Commission and CERN to cooperate in order to consolidate and further develop the European Research Area in all its important dimensions, as well as in the following up and implementation of the European Strategy for Particle Physics as defined by the CERN Council. Cooperation between the two sides will be based on areas of common interest, with due regard to their respective competences, institutional settings and operational frameworks. The MoU also provides for both organisations to consult and exchange information on issues of mutual interest.

The two sides agree that there exists an enormous potential for cooperation in a remarkably broad range of areas, such as research programming, training and mobility of researchers, science education, open publishing, technology transfer, innovation, building next generation infrastructures (including e-infrastructures) and global scientific cooperation.

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