Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Vancouver enters the age of the open city

Update: Vancouver City Council endorsed this motion on May 21, 2009.

Text of the central portion of Andrea Reimer's motion:

Be it resolved that the City of Vancouver endorses the principles of:

* Open and accessible data: The City of Vancouver will freely share with citizens, businesses and other jurisdictions the greatest amount of data possible while respecting privacy and security concerns.
* Open standards: The City of Vancouver will move as quickly as possible to adopt prevailing open standards for data, documents, maps and other formats of media.
* Open source software: The City of Vancouver, when replacing existing software or considering new applications, will place open source software on an equal footing with commercial systems during procurement cycles.

from: CBCnews.ca

A motion to go before Vancouver City Council to support open standards, open data, open source: http://eaves.ca/2009/05/14/vancouver-enters-the-age-of-the-open-city/

Thanks to Cory Horner and the civicaccess list.

This post is part of the Canadian Leadership in the Open Access Movement series.

[Disclosure: I am very proud to call Vancouver home!]

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Enhancing the debate on open access: knowledge for all, not just all researchers

The International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) and the International Publishers Association (IPA) have just released a joint statement on Enhancing the debate on open access, calling for a more rational, less heated approach to open access.

Excerpt from the IFLA/IPA statement:

2. IFLA and IPA recognise that the concerns of academic authors must be at the heart of this debate - their scientific freedom, and their needs as researchers, teachers, authors, reviewers and users are paramount.
3. IFLA and IPA acknowledge that the broadest possible access to scholarly communications is an important shared objective and that potential access to all research by all researchers, irrespective of geographical location or institutional affiliation is a shared aspiration of libraries and publishers.


This statement places the concerns of academic authors at the centre of the debate, and assumes that access for all researchers is at issue. What about the rest of us? Students, educators, the taxpayers who fund much of the academic research, medical and other professionals, the developing world where there are many fewer academic authors and researchers? My perspective: knowledge is for all, and the goal of open access is access for all.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Open Access Imperative and Education

As originally posted to the liblicense list, May 12, 2009.

Recently, a question was raised on liblicense as to whether open
access is necessary outside of the field of medicine.

The answer is: YES!!

While the moral imperative of open access is perhaps most easily seen
in the field of medicine, the same arguments apply across the

One example is the field of Education. Even at the very
wealthiest universities where students and faculty have access to
all the literature in this field, access to the scholarly
literature for the practising educator, parents and other
professionals involved in education (such as school-based social
workers), is for all practical purposes limited to what is freely
available. Evidence-based practice is this area - teachers who
are able to keep up with the latest in their field and look up
answers to issues that come up in the classroom - requires open
access. School library budgets tend to be very limited; a school
library that has all the resources that it needs to meet the
needs of the students is indeed fortunate. A school library with
sufficient resources to meet the needs of teachers and
administrators is truly exceptional.

Fortunately, ERIC, the Educational Resources Information Centre,
has been making education indexing freely available for some
time, and is now providing as much full-text as possible.

The ERIC website can be found at: http://www.eric.ed.gov/

Education is a common human need, and is of necessity taught at
many post-secondary institutions that are not so wealthy. Here,
freely accessible resources can make a huge difference in the
quality of education for the future educator.

Outside of the wealthy, developed world, free access to scholarly
educational information could well be the key to making it
possible to training new educators. In our global world, we need
an educated populace around the world. If our neighbours
understand about environmental issues and how to identify and
deal with a potential new pandemic, we all benefit. This
understanding requires education, starting with the basics.

What goes around, comes around. Fortunately, lately a good deal
of what is going around is free access to the best of the
knowledge of humankind, our scholarly literature.

WolframAlpha: glimpse of the future

This 13-minute video is highly recommended as a glimpse of what can be done when data are open and our computational power is shared: http://www.wolframalpha.com/screencast/introducingwolframalpha.html.

Highlights: type in 5 miles per minute and almost instantly have a list of useful and interesting conversion information; type in france fish production and quickly find out the total fish production per year in France - and that it is 1/5 of the annual trash production of New York!

See also Peter Suber's post on this topic on Open Access News.

Michael Geist's creative open access initiative!

Michael Geist has recently launched a very innovative approach to open access education, with his Friday Forum - a weekly series of virtual conferences - open access. The first Friday Forum features a virtual conference, consisting of selecting videos from other conferences, including speeches by OA leaders Melissa Hagemann, John Willinsky, and Peter Suber, Carl Malamud, Subbiah Arunachalam, Leslie Chan, and the publisher's perspective by Dr. Frances Pinter.

This post is part of the Canadian Leadership in the Open Access Movement series.

Hat tip to Peter Suber on Open Access News.

Heather's April-May 2009 presentations

My latest three presentations are now available in E-LIS:

Open Access in Canada - Overview and Update. BC Library Conference, April 2009.
With Devon Greyson, Don Taylor, and Andrew Waller. Highlight: Andrew's early announcement of the University of Calgary Libraries and Cultural Resources open access mandate policy.

Open Access: What's in it my for my library?. Alberta Library Conference, April 2009.
With Andrew Waller. Focus on the practical aspects of connecting readers with all those open access resources.

Open Access: Dramatic Growth & Policy.
Blogfesores, University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez, May 8, 2009.
This presentation focuses on the dramatic growth of open access, with an emphasis on Puerto Rican / Latin leadership in the gold road, or open access publishing, and an overview of open access policy developments around the world.

Monday, May 11, 2009

University of Calgary Library Faculty Open Access Mandate

Kudos to the University of Calgary Library Faculty for their Open Access Mandate! Details are available at Open Access in Libraries & Cultural Resources, featuring a picture of Canadian librarian OA activist Andrew Waller seated at the desk.

This is a faculty-led mandate, in which Libraries & Cultural Resource staff commit to making their own work open access.

Text of the mandate:

As an active member of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, Libraries and Cultural Resources at the University of Calgary endorses the Budapest Open Access Initiative, the Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing and the Berlin Declaration.

LCR academic staff members believe that the output of our scholarly activities should be as widely disseminated and openly available as possible. Our scholarly output includes but is not limited to journal articles, books and book chapters, presentations if substantial, conference papers and proceedings, and datasets.

Effective April 17, 2009, LCR academic staff commit to

* Deposit their scholarly output in the University of Calgary’s open access scholarly repository
* Promote Open Access on campus and assist scholars in making their research openly available
* Where possible, publish their research in an open-access journal"

Thanks to the University of Calgary Libraries and Cultural Resources for yet another example of Canadian Leadership in the Open Access Movement. Note that this is an inititiative that any library can take, without waiting for the university as a whole to adopt a mandate. This will provide a great training ground so that the library will be well prepared to provide support when the institution-wide mandate is adopted. This is assuming that every institution will eventually adopt an open access mandate; the benefits of OA to the institution are so compelling that my position is that ubiquitous institutional OA mandates are a matter of time (and hard work on advocacy, of course). For evidence of this coming ubiquitous OA mandate, see this post on the European University Association unanimous commitment to OA policy development.

Monday, May 04, 2009

ERIC adds 192,000 free fulltext from its microfiche collection

Kudos to ERIC, the Education Resources Information Centre, for digitizing and making freely available over 192,000 free full-text documents from its microfiche archive. This is over 55% of the archive. We can all help ERIC further this effort by helping to contact rightsholder to clear permission for the rest. This adds significant value to the free ERIC Index.

Hat tip to Peter Suber on Open Access News.

This post is part of the Dramatic Growth of Open Access Series.