Thursday, 24 April 2008

eIFL's Ukraine OA case study

The presentations and posters at the recent OR08 Conference at the University of Southampton, UK, are now available online at There is much valuable material relating to repositories to be found from this link.

Included in the OR08 posters was one presented by the eIFL Open Access program manager, Irina Kuchma. The title of the poster was ‘Open Repositories in Developing and Transition Countries: Results of Activities’. The text version and poster version are available from:

The poster included a case study of IR developments in the Ukraine. There are 7 pilot open access institutional repositories in the Universities and institutes of the National Academy of Science. According to this study, the Ukraine has had a law mandating open access to publicly funded research since January 2007.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

CODATA, JISC and the Guardian Newspaper

Two valuable documents have recently been made available and could be of interest to the research communities in Latin America and other developing regions:

1. The report of the CODATA meeting ( that took place last autumn, ‘Strategies for Open and Permanent Access to Scientific Information in Latin America: Focus on Health and Environmental Information for Sustainable Development’, has now been compiled by the organizers Centro de Referência em Informação Ambiental.

2. A special supplement of the Guardian Newspaper in association with the Joint Information Systems Committee has been published, see,,2274706,00.html. Entitled 'Libraries Unleashed', it reviews the changes taking place in libraries in the digital environment. A piece specifically about Open Access policies in universities is available from,,2275369,00.html

Friday, 18 April 2008

OA Mandates

Institutional / Funder OA Mandates

There are now over 40 mandates requiring authors to deposit articles arising from research conducted in their organisations in their institutional repositories (IRs) – see ROARmap for details of existing and agreed mandates. The number includes prestigious organisations such as the Universities of Harvard and Southampton, the NIH, the Wellcome Trust and many more. Moreover, the council of the European University Association (representing nearly 800 European universities) has unanimously recommended the establishment of interoperable institutional repositories.

In spite of this growing trend, some researchers object to being ‘mandated’ to deposit their papers. They think it will interfere with their professional independence.

I find this attitude difficult to understand. On accepting their research position, researchers are ‘required’ to carry out research; they are ‘required’ to report the outcome of their research in institutional reports and in journals of their choice. Their institutes and funders have provided the resources for the research in order to increase knowledge and they rightly wish to justify their investment and ensure the research findings are as widely known as possible. By depositing articles in their interoperable institutional repository authors are hugely increasing the distribution of knowledge to the global academic community (see, for example EPT BLog, March 26th 2008). So what’s the problem?

Those that have access already to much of the research information they need for their work may not feel there is any need to take another few minutes (because that’s all it takes) to deposit their publications in their IRs. But by deciding not to bother to do this, they are denying the 80% of the world’s researchers who live in less economically advantaged regions the means to access the research they need, to develop strong national research structures that in turn will lead to robust and independent economies. That’s the problem.

Researchers should consider an institutional or funder mandate as merely an additional small ‘requirement’ that can make a vast difference to the progress of science and the resolution of many of the world’s problems – unless of course their research is of limited value. . . .

Posted by Barbara Kirsop, Trustee and Secretary EPT

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

OA – the research laboratory without walls

Another OA benefit for all those struggling to equip their laboratories or purchase chemicals was highlighted in a recent posting on Peter Suber’s incomparable OANews. Glen Newton, Canada National Research Council’s Institute for Scientific and Technical Information, drew attention to the importance of machine open access to full text research articles, allowing all manner of research to be carried out from ‘literature-based discovery’. He referred to a study ‘that showed how researchers discovered the biochemical pathway involved in drug addiction from the literature alone. They did no experiments. This discovery was derived from an analysis and extraction of information from the literature alone’. From the published study, the methods section says, ‘The data and knowledge linking genes and chromosome regions to addiction were extracted from reviewing more than 1,000 peer-reviewed publications from between 1976 and 2006.’ And there are many other examples, says Newton.

We should alert the research communities that OA to full text articles provides an Aladdin’s cave of experimental evidence from which new knowledge can be derived.