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Open Access Update – 25th of May

The campaign to make access to scholarly literature fairer and broader has been picking up steam and moving quite quickly lately, so I thought it would be a good idea to collect the recent news about open access, the Elsevier boycott, and so on, all in one place.

To help you catch up with the story so far, the Guardian have published a (free) roundup of content on the “Academic Spring”.

Elsevier boycott

Timothy Gowers responded to Elsevier’s updated letter to the mathematics community. – 2/5/2012.

“Because of unsustainable subscription prices and conditions, the board of directors of the mathematics department [of the Technische Universität München] has voted to cancel all of its subscriptions to Elsevier journals by 2013.” – TUM’s mathematics library, via Jordan Ellenberg on Google+, 4/5/2012.

An associate editor of the biomedical research journal Genomics has resigned because he “cannot stand by any longer while access to scientific resources is restricted”. – Times Higher Education, 18/5/2012

Over 2000 mathematicians have added their names to the Cost of Knowledge list. Over 11,000 people from all disciplines have now signed up. People who sign up for the list pledge to refrain from any or all of publishing in, refereeing for, or sitting on the editorial boards of Elsevier journals.

Journal pricing

Harvard University Library’s Faculty Advisory Council has released a memorandum on journal pricing titled “Major Periodical Subscriptions Cannot Be Sustained” – 17/4/2012.

Open Access

The Guardian has opened a section about open-access scientific publishing on its site, and Alok Jha has coined the term ‘Academic Spring‘ to refer to the movement.

The British universities and science minister David Willetts has “drafted in the Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales to help make all taxpayer-funded academic research in Britain available online to anyone who wants to read or use it.” – The Guardian, 1/5/2012.

David Willetts has also suggested that open access “could be among the excellence criteria for qualifying articles” for REF (research excellence framework) rounds beyond 2014. – Times Higher Education, 10/5/2012

“The European Union is set to throw the weight of its €80 billion (£64 billion) research funding programme behind open-access publishing” – Times Higher Education, 17/5/2012.

“The UCSF Academic Senate has voted to make electronic versions of current and future scientific articles freely available to the public” – UCSF press release, 23/5/2012.

“Wikimedia Foundation endorses mandates for free access to publicly funded research” – Wikimedia blog, 25/5/2012.

There is a petition to the White House to “Require free access over the Internet to scientific journal articles arising from taxpayer-funded research.” It currently has just under 17,000 signatures but needs to reach 25,000 before the White House will be required to respond to it. – White House Petition


If I’ve missed anything, please put a link in the comments. I’ll try to keep posting as things develop.

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