Archive for the 'open access week' category

Presentation: Predatory Open Access Journals: Myths and Realities

A couple of weeks ago I gave a presentation as part of Open Access Week at the Ontario College of Art and Design University (ie. OCADU) on "predatory" open access journals. It seemed to be well-received at the time and since then I've gotten some positive feedback as well.

So I thought I'd share the slides here in case others find what I did at OCADU useful in their own work. What I talked about is along the same lines as a post I published a while back on Some perspective on “predatory” open access journals.

First of all, I'd like to thank Chris Landry of the OCADU Library for inviting me to present. It was an honour and a huge pleasure to be invited. Chris has a nice recap of their OA Week celebrations here.

And here are my slides. Enjoy!

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Friday Fun: Six open access myths put to rest

It's been kind of a crazy week for me, so I haven't really had much of a chance to contribute to or even read a lot of the Open Access Week calls to arms out there right now.

So I thought I would kind of commandeer my Friday Fun silly lists habit and redirect that energy to open access.

So here it is, from Peter Suber:

Open access: six myths to put to rest

  1. The only way to provide open access to peer-reviewed journal articles is to publish in open access journals
  2. All or most open access journals charge publication fees
  3. Most author-side fees are paid by the authors themselves
  4. Publishing in a conventional journal closes the door on making the same work open access
  5. Open access journals are intrinsically low in quality
  6. Open access mandates infringe academic freedom

    This is true for gold open access but not for green. But if you believe that all open access is gold, then this myth follows as a lemma. Because only about one-third of peer-reviewed journals are open access, requiring researchers to submit new work to open access journals would severely limit their freedom to submit work to the journals of their choice. By contrast, green open access is compatible with publishing in non-open access journals, which means that green open access mandates can respect author freedom to publish where they please. That is why literally all university open access mandates are green, not gold. It's also why the green/gold distinction is significant, not fussy, and why myths suppressing recognition of green open access are harmful, not merely false.

Of course, read Suber's original article to get the detailed explanations of all the myths. And please do share the list widely with all your friends, relatives, contacts, faculty, librarians, and legislators.

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Canadian Tri-Agency Draft Open Access Policy & Consultations: NSERC, SSHRC, CIHR

With Open Access Week next week, there could be no greater open access-related news here in Canada than that the three granting councils are coming together to draft a common Open Access Policy.

Of those agencies (Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council, Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council and Canadian Institute of Health Research), the CIHR already has a OA policy in effect. The process will be to first release a draft policy based on the CIHR one and then consult widely in the various communities that are involved and come to an agreement for a new common policy for SSHRC and NSERC. The CIHR policy will not change as part of this process.

And what a welcome development this is. There have been rumblings of this sort of thing for a few years now, but it seemed destined to be one of those things that was more studied that implemented.

I'm including the text of the NSERC announcement below while the SSHRC announcement is here. The actual draft policy is here.

The consultations are running from October 15 to December 13, 2013 with more details below and on the SSHRC page. I am certainly pondering what my feedback will be and I hope interested parties who are reading this will consider contributing as well.

Here goes:

Consultation on the draft Tri-Agency Open Access Policy


Making research results as widely available and accessible as possible is an essential part of advancing knowledge and maximizing the benefits of publicly-funded research for Canadians. As major funders of research and scholarship in the higher education sector, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) have a fundamental interest in ensuring that the results of publicly-funded research are broadly disseminated, enabling other researchers as well as policy-makers, private sector, not-for-profit organizations, and the public to use and build on this knowledge.

In keeping with global trends on open access, NSERC and SSHRC (“the Agencies”) are considering a policy that would require federally funded peer-reviewed journal publications to be made freely available within one year of publication. The draft Tri-Agency Open Access Policy (the “draft policy”) is modeled after the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s (CIHR) Open Access Policy, which remains unchanged and continues to be mandatory. Recognizing the benefits of harmonization, the draft policy is aligned with the direction of other international research funding agencies such as those in Australia, the United States, the European Union and United Kingdom.

NSERC and SSHRC have been looking into this issue for some time and recognize that the trend towards open access involves challenges and implications for a broad range of stakeholders. This consultation is intended to foster open communication and sharing of the full range of issues and concerns. Your views and suggestions will help to shape the final form of the policy and how it will be implemented. The Agencies will continue to work closely with stakeholders on appropriate mechanisms to support and facilitate the transition towards open access.


NSERC and SSHRC invite institutions, associations, organizations and individuals to provide input on the draft Tri-Agency Open Access Policy (HTML version or PDF version). Institutional and organizational representatives are asked to consult their researchers and membership and report on the collective perspective. Individuals may also respond independently.

Please note that the draft policy is accessible until December 13, at which time the consultation period ends. Responses should be sent electronically to Please indicate the section(s) of the draft policy being referred to, within your written feedback. For more information please consult our Frequently Asked Questions or contact


The Agencies would like to thank the groups and individuals who have provided advice and feedback through the development of the draft policy.

For those that are interested, a few months ago I created a resource page on Open Access in Canada. It's nice to know such things are useful. It's even been linked from the NSERC FAQ page.

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Recent Presentations: Getting Your Science Online and Evaluating Information

As I mentioned way back on October 22nd, I was kindly invited to give a talk at the Brock University Physics Department as part of their seminar series. The talk was on Getting Your Science Online, a topic that I'm somewhat familiar with! Since it was coincidentally Open Access Week, I did kind of an A-Z of online science starting with the various open movements: access, data and notebooks. From there I did a quick tour of the whys and wherefores of blogs and Twitter.

There was a good turnout of faculty and grad students with lots of great questions and feedback, some more skeptical that others but definitely stimulating and, I hope, worthwhile.

Here are the slides:

Thanks again to Thad Haroun and the Brock Physics Department for inviting me!

And the other notable presentation was just yesterday, part of my intervention in a section of one of York's science-for-non-science-majors courses, Natural Science 1700 Computers, Information and Society. The prof, Dov Lungu, and I collaborated on a three-part Information Literacy section for the course. In my three one-hour sessions I covered some of the basics of surviving the information needs of university life and in the second part, a fairly typical library session on how to find resources for the class. The third part was a bit more interesting in that Dov gave me free reign to talk about evaluating information online, pretty well any way I wanted.

I wouldn't normally bother to share my course materials here on the blog, but I rather like the presentation I used and I thought it went over fairly well. The various ridiculous examples I used worked well to spark a bit of discussion in quite a large class.

As usual, I appreciate any feedback.

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Getting Your Science Online: Presentation at Brock University Physics Department

It seems that Brock University in St. Catherine's, Ontario really likes me. Two years ago, the Library kindly invited me to speak during their Open Access Week festivities. And this year the Physics Department has also very kindly invited me to be part of their Seminar Series, also to talk about Getting Your Science Online, this time during OA Week mostly by happy coincidence.

It's tomorrow, Tuesday October 23, 2012 in room H313 at 12:30.

Here's the abstract I've provided:

Physicist and Reinventing Discovery author Michael Nielsen has said that due to the World Wide Web, “[t]he process of scientific discovery – how we do science – will change more over the next 20 years than in the past 300 years.” Given the cornucopian nature of the Web, there’s a tool or strategy that will help most everyone with concrete goals in their research program. In this session we’ll take a look at some of the incredible opportunities the Web has opened up for scientists, from Open Access publishing, Open Notebooks and Open Data on the one hand, to blogs, Twitter and Google+ on the other.

It looks to be great fun! I'd like to thank Thad Haroun and the Brock Physics Department for kindly inviting me. I'll post the slides on the blog later this week.

The rest of this post is what I guess would count as "supplemental materials" for the presentation. The first chunk is a bunch of links on the main topics of the presentation, all the various "Open Whatever" topics. The rest is a long list of readings on blogs, Twitter and general social media for academics that I've assembled over the years and at least somewhat digested into the presentation, mostly based on a post from last year but will some extra and more recent items added.
Open Access

Open Access Mandates & policies

Open Access Repositories


Open Data

Open Notebook Science

Blogging networks


Blog Aggregators

Some physics & math blogs

And here are the blogs/twitter/social media resources I promised.

Feel free to add any suggestions in the comments.

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Around the Web: #OccupyScholComm in chronological order

Ah, #OccupyScholComm.

The perfect Open Access Week topic!

And just like the broader Occupy protests movement, the aims and policy pronouncements of the "movement" are perhaps not as vague as they might seem to the casual observer.

Basically, #OccupyScholComm is about scholars rejecting profit-driven toll-access publishing and taking back the control of their own scholarly output.

Or something like that.

Anyways, it all started with this tweet from OpenAccessHulk:


And grew from there. There's quite a bit of traffic on twitter under the #OccupyScholComm hashtag.

Since I seem to be the first person to use the tag in a blog post, I thought I'd collect a bunch of posts here. I'm doing them in chronological order, like I did with McMastergate, hoping to add more posts as they happen.

The posts don't have to explicitly use #OccupyScholCojmm but do need to reference the Occupy theme in some way. Of course, I appreciate any suggestions for posts I might have missed in the comments.

It's a good start. Let's keep it going and #OccupyScholComm together.

Update 2011.10.26. Added the In The Library with the Lead Pipe post.
Update 2011.10.27. Added Agnostic, Maybe post, which I knew about but forgot to add yesterday.

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Open Access Week: Exploring Open Science

As I mentioned a few days ago, the kind librarians of Brock University in St. Catherines, ON invited me to give a talk as part of their Open Access Week suite of events.

I've included my slides for the presentation below. There was a small but engaged group of mostly librarians that turned up.

Please don't let the high number of slides deter you from zipping through the presentation. A good chunk of the slides only have a couple of words on them and another good chunk are screen shots of xkcd strips.

The slides are in our IR here and on Google Docs here.

I'd like to thank Barbara McDonald and all the other librarians at Brock for their kind invitation.

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Open Access Week: Explore Open Science with me at Brock University on Wednesday

The kind librarians at Brock University in St. Catherines, Ontario have invited me to help them celebrate Open Access Week!

Their rather impressive lineup of OA Week events (and I'm not just saying this because I'm involved, believe me) is here.

My part is a talk I'm giving on Wednesday:

Wednesday, October 20 2-3:30

Exploring Open Science

Join John Dupuis, Head of the Steacie Science & Engineering Library, York University, for a discussion of how Science and Technology academics and publishers are responding to the growing open access movement and the changing nature of research in their fields by becoming more innovative in the services and features they offer.

(all events will be held in the e-classroom, TH 253 - no need to register!)

The talk is somewhat inspired by the Web 2.0 Community Building Strategies: The World of Science 2.0 session I gave at the Ontario Library Association conference in 2009 but I think will also be significantly different as well.

If you're in the neighbourhood, please do drop by and say hi. I'll be posting my presentation a bit later in the week for all to see. After all, it is Open Access Week!

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Open Access Week: Principles for Open Bibliographic Data

It's Open Access Week this week and as part of the celebrations I thought I highlight a recent declaration by the Open Bibliographic Working Group on the Principles for Open Bibliographic Data. It's an incredible idea, one that I support completely -- the aim is to make bibliographic data open, reusable and remixable. Creating a bibliographic data commons would lead to many opportunities to create search and discovery tools that would be of great benefit to scholarship, education, research and development.

I won't try and explain the details of the declaration since it's released under a CC-BY license and I can therefore just reproduce it right here for all to see. I'll do that below.

Before I do that, I'll respond to the group's call for feedback. One thing that struck me right away is that it would be great if a project like that could make a mention of the utility of authors making subject bibliographies open as well. I'm thinking here of the kinds of things that you would normally see at the backs of books or review articles.

David Weinberger is a good example. He's looking for a bibliography commons to hold the reading list for his current book project, Too Big to Know.

Ideally, I'd like a site that is an open commons, maintained by an institution that has some legs. It should present my biblio in standard readable and re-citable forms, but should also treat it as data in a database so that it can be refactored. I'd love for it to have LibraryThing's social functionality. And in a perfect world, it'd let me enter just some key data, look it up, and fill in the rest in perfectly formatted form. (Again, LibraryThing does cool stuff in this area, for books.)

A recent example of a book I read with a very interesting and useful bibliography is the novel Swastika by Michael Slade. It had a list of some great resources on Nazi secret weapon programs, a topic I'm interested in professional because of my role as history of science collections development librarian for my library. York also has a course on Science, Technology and Modern Warfare.

Virtually any history book is going to be a great example of this and, of course, many other kinds of books as well, both academic and non-. Whenever I read a book I pay close attention to the bibliography and often use it as a collection development tool. A couple of relatively recent examples of this are the history of spaceflight Countdown and the Isaacson Einstein biography. In both cases, I used the bibliographies to improve our collections in these areas. The Swastika one I'll be looking at pretty soon as well.

As such, I think there would be a lot of value in more explicitly encouraging authors (and others with such subject-based bibliographies) to make their bibliographies for such books openly available; lots of time and effort goes into their creation, distinct in many ways from the value in the book itself. I can imagine people using sites such as LibraryThing, GoodReads and especially Zotero or Mendeley as homes for such things.ots of work go into these and it would be nice if a corner of a project like this could be made available.


Principles for Open Bibliographic Data

For some time now the OKFN Working Group on Open Bibliographic Data has been working on Principles on Open Bibliographic Data. While first attempts were mainly directed towards libraries and other public institutions we decided to broaden the principle's scope by amalgamating it with Peter Murray-Rust's draft publisher guidelines. The results can be seen below. We ask anyone to review these principles, discuss the text and suggest improvements.

Principles on Open Bibliographic Data

Producers of bibliographic data such as libraries, publishers, or social reference management communities have an important role in supporting the advance of humanity's knowledge. For society to reap the full benefits from bibliographic endeavours, it is imperative that bibliographic data be made openly available for free use and re-use by anyone for any purpose.

Bibliographic Data

In its narrowest sense the term 'bibliographic data' refers to data describing bibliographic resources (articles, monographs, electronic texts etc.) to fulfill two goals:

  • Identifying the described resource, i.e. pointing to a unique resource in the set of all bibliographic resources.
  • Addressing the described resource, i.e. indicating how/where to find the described resource.

Traditionally one description served both purposes at once by delivering information about:

  • author(s) (possibly including addresses and other contact details) and editor(s),
  • title,
  • publisher,
  • publication year, month and place,
  • title and identification of enclosing work (e.g. a journal),
  • page information,
  • format of work.

In the web environment the address can be a URL and the identification a URI (URN, DOI etc.). Identifiers thus fall under this narrow concept of 'bibliographic data'.

Furthermore there is several other information about a bibliographic resource which in this document falls under the concept of bibliographic data. This data might be produced by libraries as well as publishers or online communities of book lovers and social reference management systems:

  • Identifiers (ISBN, LCCN, OCLC number etc.)
  • rights associated with work
  • sponsorship (e.g. funding)
  • tags,
  • exemplar data (number of holdings, call number)
  • metametadata (administrative metadata (last modified etc.) probably often created automatically).
  • relevant links to wikipedia, google books, amazon etc.
  • cover images (self-scanned or from amazon)
  • table of content
  • links to digitizations of tables of content, registers, bibliographies etc.

Libraries as well produce authority files like:

  • name authority files,
  • subject authority files,
  • classifications.

We assert that the information associated with an individual work is in the public domain. It follows that an individual bibliographic entry derived from the work itself is free of restrictive rights as are authority records. This holds true as well for individual authority records. There might only be rights on aggregations of bibliographic and authority data.

Formally, we recommend adopting and acting on the following principles:

  1. Where bibliographic data or collections of bibliographic data are published it is critical that they be published with a clear and explicit statement of the wishes and expectations of the publishers with respect to re-use and re-purposing of individual bibliographic entries/elements, the whole data collection, and subsets of the collection. This statement should be precise, irrevocable, and based on an appropriate and recognized legal statement in the form of a waiver or license. When publishing data make an explicit and robust license statement.

  2. Many widely recognized licenses are not intended for, and are not appropriate for, metadata or collections of metadata. A variety of waivers and licenses that are designed for and appropriate for the treatment of are described here. Creative Commons licenses (apart from CC0), GFDL, GPL, BSD, etc. are NOT appropriate for data and their use is STRONGLY discouraged. Use a recognized waiver or license that is appropriate for metadata.</strong>
  3. The use of licenses which limit commercial re-use or limit the production of derivative works by excluding use for particular purposes or by specific persons or organizations is STRONGLY discouraged. These licenses make it impossible to effectively integrate and re-purpose datasets and prevent commercial activities that could be used to support data preservation. If you want your data to be effectively used and added to by others it should be open as defined by the Open Knowledge/Data Definition - in particular non-commercial and other restrictive clauses should not be used.
  4. Furthermore, it is STRONGLY recommended that bibliographic data, especially where publicly funded, be explicitly placed in the public domain via the use of the Public Domain Dedication and Licence or Creative Commons Zero Waiver. This is in keeping with the public funding of most library institutions and the general ethos of sharing and re-use within the library community. We strongly recommend explicitly placing bibliographic data in the Public Domain via PDDL or CC0.

  5. While we appreciate that certain types of bibliographic metadata do require some extra work in their creation we strongly assert that making these open has major benefits not only to the community as a whole but also to the creator (author, publisher, library, etc.). Benefits include enhanced discoverability widening the potential usage of a work and "save-the-time-of-the-reader". These types include:
    • abstracts (whether generated by author, publisher, library or machine)
    • keywords, subject headings and classification notations (whether generated by author, publisher, library or machine)
    • reviews (either human or machine-generated)

    As a fifth principle we strongly urge that creators of bibliographic metadata explicitly either dedicate this to the public domain or use an open license.

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Bill & Daniel's Excellent Open Publishing Manifesto

A few weeks ago Bill Gasarch published his Journal Manifesto 2.0 on the Computational Complexity blog.

Basically, his idea was to start a scholarly publishing revolution from the inside:

Keep in mind: I am NOT talking to the NSF or to Journal publishes or to Conference organizers. I am NOT going to say what any of these people should do. I am talking to US, the authors of papers. If WE all follow this manifesto then the problems of high priced journals and limited access may partially go away on their own. To be briefer: To the extend that WE are the problem, WE can be the solution.

It's a great manifesto and it's generated quite a bit of conversation on throughout the blogosphere. I would say I'm 90% on board with what it proposes.

However, it's a little long and perhaps a bit convoluted. It also talks about things that are a bit peripheral to scholarly discourse in the sciences, such as book publishing. It also encourages people to post online copies of articles that they don't hold copyright to.

But still, an amazing start -- a bunch of words to kick off the revolution.

Fellow Canuck Daniel Lemire went one further. He basically took Gasarch's manifesto and pared it down to the bare essentials.

This is the version I'll quote here and completely and totally endorse:

  1. Whenever you publish a paper in a conference or journal, post it on your website or on some appropriate archive (such as arXiv). In particular, as soon as you submit the final version to a conference it should go on online.
  2. Post improvements and revisions to your work. Should you spot a mistake in one of your older research paper, revise it and post the result online!
  3. If you give a talk, then post the slides online.
  4. Make it easy for other researchers to get automatic updates when you post new content. (If you use arXiv, it comes for free if you claim an arXiv user ID.)

I prefer Lemire's simplified version for a couple of reasons:

It seems less intrusive and less prescriptive and more in line with the main goals of OA, to get scholar's research production out in the open.

It also removes the point about books. In my opinion, in the scientific fields it's much more important to focus on the scholarly rather than on professional contributions. And since science mostly does not use monographs for original scholarship, it perhaps distracts from the main goal to include books.

In these areas, books are mostly professional contributions. In the humanities, for example, books are more likely to be scholarly contributions, so focusing on OA for monographs in those fields will be more important. Of course, there are a lot of very good reasons to make books open access (it even increases sales), but that's a secondary concern and a different discussion.

Lemire's manifesto also removes Gasarch's point about creating "portal" sites for particular fields and posting other people's papers to that site. The violation of copyright here makes me a little squeamish. Just because most publishers don't strictly enforce their agreements doesn't mean that we can or should just blatantly ignore those agreements. Also, I do definitely believe that authors should respect the agreements they sign. We expect publishers to respect their part of our agreements, so we should respect ours.

The key, as the manifesto states, is to get permission to post the material when we are negotiating our agreements or to chose to publish in Gold OA journal or in those that allow Green OA archiving.

A couple of relevant tools for those tasks are the SHERPA/RoMEO database of publisher copyright and self-archiving policies and the SPARC Author Rights Addendum.

Most of all, I'd like to give a huge thanks to both Bill and Daniel on their excellent contributions to the conversation about the present and future of scholarly communications.

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