Fair Open Access Principles for journals

By Mark Wilson & Alex Holcombe

That scholarly communication should be “Fair” is an increasingly common concept  for both data and research outputs more widely, including the F.A.I.R. framework which articulates a set of specific principles to enhance the discoverability, use and impact of Australia’s research outputs.

Here, Mark Wilson & Alex Holcombe describe another specific use of Fair: the Fair Open Access Principles for journals.

In March 2017 a group of researchers and librarians interested in journal reform formalized the Fair Open Access Principles.

The basic principles are:

  1. The journal has a transparent ownership structure, and is controlled by and responsive to the scholarly community.
  2. Authors of articles in the journal retain copyright.
  3. All articles are published open access and an explicit open access licence is used.
  4. Submission and publication is not conditional in any way on the payment of a fee from the author or its employing institution, or on membership of an institution or society.
  5. Any fees paid on behalf of the journal to publishers are low, transparent, and in proportion to the work carried out.

Detailed clarification and interpretation of the principles is provided at the site.

Here, instead, we put these principles into context and explain the mFAIRoaPrinciplesotivation behind them.

Our basic thesis is that the current situation in which commercial publishers own the title to journals is untenable. Many existing journals were begun by scholars but subsequently acquired by Elsevier, Springer, Wiley, Taylor & Francis and other commercial publishers. These publishers now have a strong incentive to oppose any reform of the journal that would benefit the community of authors, editors and readers but not help the short-term interests of its own shareholders. We have seen several examples of this in recent years the Wikipedia entry for Elsevier, for example, collects many examples of malfeasance.

The evidence is now overwhelming that the interests of large commercial publishers are not well aligned with the interests of the research community or the general public. Thus Principle 1 is key. Changing a journal to open access but allowing it to be bought easily by Elsevier, for example, would be a pointless exercise. We must decouple ownership of journals from publication services. This will allow editorial boards to shop around for publishers, who must compete on price and service quality rather than exploit a monopolistic position. In other words, a functioning market will arise. Also, journals will have more chance to innovate by not being locked into inflexible and outdated infrastructure.

Principle 2 (authors retaining copyright) seems obvious. Large publishers have claimed that having authors assign them copyright to articles protects the authors. We know of no case where this has happened. However, publishers have prevented authors from reusing their own work!

Open access is of course the main goal and thus the associated principle (Principle 3) needs little explanation. Some authors appear to believe that posting occasional preprints/postprints on their own website is as good as true open access. This is not the case – some of the reasons are licence issues, confusion about the version of record, lack of machine readability, inconsistent searchability, and unreliable archiving.

APCs (Article Processing Charges) are a common feature of open access journals and a main source of income, particularly for “predatory” journals whose sole function is to make money for unscrupulous owners. Large commercial publishers have responded to pressure by offering OA if an APC is paid. These APCs are typically well over US$1000. The fact that over 60% of journals in DOAJ do not charge any APC, and the low APCs of some high quality newer full service publishers (such as Ubiquity Press) shows that there is much room for improvement. In many fields there is considerable resistance to authors paying APCs directly. For example in a recent survey of mathematicians that we undertook, published in the European Mathematical Society Newsletter,
about a quarter of respondents declared APCs unacceptable in principle and another quarter said they should be paid by library consortia. We do not deny that there are costs associated with OA publishing, and are not advocating every journal run using self-hosted OJS and volunteer time (although there are many successful and long-lived journals of that type, like Journal of Machine Learning Research or Electronic Journal of Combinatorics, and we feel it still has untapped potential). We aim to ensure that unnecessary barriers are not erected for authors, in particular fees – Principle 4. Any payments on behalf of authors should be made in an automatic way – the idea is for consortia of institutions to fund reasonable operating costs of OA journals directly.

Principle 5 (reasonable and transparent costs) will automatically hold if the journal is sufficiently well run and independent as described by Principle 1, and is included in order to reinforce the point that a competitive market is our main goal rather than wasting public money to maintain the current profits of publishers. Recently, initiatives such as OA2020 have emphasized large-scale conversion of subscription journals to OA. We believe that if the ownership of the journals isn’t simultaneously changed, there will remain little incentive for publishers to keep prices down. If a researcher believes that a paper in Nature will make her career, will she be denied this by the APC-paying agency if Nature choose to charge a premium APC? In addition, if journal ownership is not taken from the publishers, they can lock us into their existing technologies, which hinders innovation in scholarly communication.

We are presently working on disciplinary organizations aimed at helping journals flip from a subscription model to Fair OA, and have so far started LingOA,  MathOA and PsyOA. We plan a Fair Open Access Alliance which will include independent journals already practising FairOA principles, flipped journals, and other institutional members with a strong belief in FairOA. The idea is to share resources and harmonize journal practices. We hope that these activities will yield a way forward that avoids sterile debates about Green vs Gold OA. We welcome feedback and offers of help in our wider effort to convert the entire scholarly literature to Fair Open Access.


Mark C. Wilson is Senior Lecturer in Computer Science at University of Auckland, and founding member of MathOA Foundation.

Alex O. Holcombe is an Associate Professor of Psychology at The University of Sydney and is a founding member of PsyOA (PsyOA.org).

In their own words: academics talk about open access


Richard White. Portrait in green’ by Catriona McKillop, used with permission.

By Richard White –  Manager, Copyright & Open Access Vice-Chancellor’s OfficeUniversity of Otago.

Many of you reading this post will – like me – be dedicated advocates for open access to research.  To us the benefits are plain and it can be frustrating that we still, after fifteen or more years of OA as a movement, hear comments like:

“I have been told by my [head of department] that publishing in OA has less status because you are paying to get published – I am not sure that this is true but it seems to be a prevalent idea.”
This is an actual response from an early-career academic to a survey on OA publishing we conducted at my own institution, the University of Otago.  It’s a particularly illustrative comment: the eager youngster finding his or her way as a researcher goes to the senior colleague for advice, who with a sweeping generalisation writes off OA as a legitimate option; the respondent seems to want to believe that making his or her research as findable and readable as possible is A Good Thing but demurs to the head of department’s opinion, and the myth that OA journals have some sort of monopoly  on poor quality is continued.


OK, I’m over-dramatising this for effect but at Otago we knew that, although this comment describes the prevalence of this attitude, many of our staff were publishing in open access avenues and that many were extremely well-informed about OA, hence undertaking the survey.  While we could read the plethora of research now available on researchers’ attitudes to open access, this commonly presents a Euro- or US-centric view.  Here, at the bottom of the world, we are operating in an entirely different political and organisational context so a survey seemed a good means of not only understanding our researchers’ attitudes towards and practices in OA publishing but also of facilitating a more informed debate about our institutional policies and practices.


What did we learn?  On the face of it, our results mirrored those of surveys carried out in other places and on different scales.  Otago researchers believe that Research articles should be freely available to all, with 86% agreeing or strongly agreeing with this statement and several comments of this nature being made:


“If research is publicly funded, then the results should be accessible to the public without cost/delay/other barriers.”


“We research in areas of health equity and indigenous health. Open Access publishing is a way of reducing the inequity in access to research for marginalised populations.”


Almost exactly the same proportion said that Obtaining funding to publish OA is a barrier that prevents adoption, with 84% agreeing/strongly agreeing.


“Open access publishing is a good thing and some of the journals are very good. But, the cost is an enormous barrier which we have no answers to at a Dept level.”


“Good ‘non-funded’ work gets blocked unless a cake stall is held!”


Several respondents explicitly acknowledged the difficulties of these divergent factors:


“I’m undecided on whether I should pay for my work to be published.  I support OA, in principle I do not support publishers profiting from the products of publicly funded bodies.  There are inappropriate drivers to publications for academics and these undermine the academic mission.”


This bifurcation is pretty typical, as was the fact that respondents indicated heavy use of academic social networking sites for sharing their research (64% using such services) and limited use of our own institutional research repository or other Green OA options (only 12% having practised some form of Green OA in the previous two years).


What was more instructive was the level of engagement with OA.  82% indicated that they provided peer-review or editorial services to ‘traditional’ journals but as many as half said they did so for OA journals.  Moreover, almost half had published at least one Gold OA article in the previous two years, with about one-fifth of all Gold OA articles being published without cost.  And there was clear evidence of the chilling effect of fees – or the perception that OA must cost money – on publishing choices, with almost one-third of those who hadn’t published any Gold OA articles indicating that they chose not to because it was “unaffordable” for various reasons.


“Too expensive.  I publish about 2-3 articles per year on open access and that’s all I can afford.”


“In my field many of the journals with the highest impact factor are open access so I would very much like to publish in them but the university won’t pay for the article charges.”


All this is a reminder that it’s easy to lose sight of what the average researcher thinks about open access, informed as it will be by their own experiences and the OA climate within their own discipline and even their own department.  We need to keep plugging away to dispel myths surrounding open access, informing and educating people about the benefits so that they can make informed decisions about their publications.  And perhaps most importantly these sorts of comments remind us that we need to build the infrastructure of openness around academics to make it easier for them to be open than not.


This survey was the topic of discussion at AOASG’s webinar on 8th May, 2017.


Visit our project page on Figshare to read the full report on the findings of our survey – including a vast number of comments like the above – or to download the survey questions and/or results data.


You can even take the survey yourself if you’re interested in the tool we developed.  Everything is licenced with Creative Commons for reuse, of course.


Not the Beall and end-all*

Assessing quality publications from multiple perspectives

By Dr Andy Pleffer & Susan Shrubb

MQ Lib_Bamboo garden_SS

image by Susan Shrubb CC BY

In the wake of the Scholarly Open Access blog shutting down (January 15, 2017), many commentators have focused on its author Jeffrey Beall and the now defunct blacklists he once maintained on ‘predatory’ publishers and journals, ‘misleading’ metrics and ‘hi-jacked’ journals. Adding to the mystery, Beall’s typically active Twitter account was recently dormant for over two months, with until recently the only public statement on the matter being supplied by his employer, the University of Colorado. Beall now says that “there was pressure from my university to stop”.

Regardless of whether you considered his work divisive, an essential service to the academic community, or somewhere in between, these opinions are beside the point. No single person or source is equipped to bear the responsibility of being the ultimate authority on what constitutes as a best (or poor) practice scholarly publishing outlet. And nor should we – as a community of academic researchers and support staff – be so willing to bestow such authority on individuals, lists, metrics or indexing databases alone. Outlets need to be assessed in the context of many measures of quality and this will always require some level of additional work.

Assessing reputable places to publish is a shared responsibility; one that should (ideally) be dispersed among academic authors and their institution(s). Those who have a stake in such assessment may include – but by no means be limited to – researchers and trusted colleagues, students and supervisors, research administrators and research librarians.

Beall’s work has most certainly shone a light on some of the most deceptive publishing practices to take place in recent years. However, his work is only a small part of the landscape. Positive attributes of scholarly publishers cannot be adequately identified through examples of negative behaviour alone, nor can they be determined in isolation from any positive measures of quality. Comprehensive decisions on quality can only be achieved when authors are widely informed. Therefore, in order to obtain a sense of the bigger picture, we must first ‘zoom out’ by consulting a broad range of sources – just as you would when investigating any research topic.

There is a wealth of reputable resources to be drawn on when critiquing suitable publishing outlets for your scholarly research. Many such resources have been established for some time (e.g. DOAJ, Ulrich’s, Scimago and SHERPA/RoMEO), while other credible initiatives continue to emerge (e.g. Think Check Submit). The usefulness of each of these for your own situation may vary depending on your motives for publishing, your research topic and any time constraints or pressures. What is of greater importance though is the series of questions we ask alongside the collective information that can be gathered on a publication outlet.

Is the scope of the outlet clearly defined on its official website? Does the outlet transparently list an editorial board (with institutional affiliations) comprising recognised experts from relevant fields? Are the peer review, copyright and Article Processing Charge (APC) policies easy to find and understand?

While Beall’s sudden departure from this discourse has been met with some suggestions for others to fill the void and take up his mantle, this again misses the point. The time is ripe for the academic community to encourage users of his blacklists – or, for that matter, users of any other list attempting to rank or articulate quality outlets – to actively adopt a broader suite of indicators and thereby build a stronger evidence base with which to make informed decisions on where to publish.

This approach has been the central to Macquarie University’s Strategic Publishing statement: a wise publishing strategy is supported by informed decisions about an outlet prior to publication. When you have invested many months or years thoroughly researching and writing your scholarly work, make sure you also take the time to ask and investigate some basic questions about a publishing outlet’s operations.

Regardless of whether we, as a community, support retiring the term “predatory publishing” or opt to replace it with another phrase altogether, we must agree to focus less on what constitutes poor (or ‘parasitic’) practices and instead facilitate a shared commitment to continuous learning, sharing knowledge among colleagues and educating each other about how to navigate the current publishing landscape together.

Dr Andy Pleffer (a research administrator) and Susan Shrubb (research librarian and budding photographer) lead the Strategic Publishing initiative at Macquarie University, Sydney.

Macquarie University is a member of AOASG.

*Thanks to Emma Lawler for inspiration behind the title.

Webinar recording & slides now available here

Measuring the openness of research

by David M. Nichols & Michael B. Twidale

NOTE:  This blog was the basis of webinar #3 in the AOASG’s 2017 Webinar series.  You can listen here to the webinar which was presented on 20th June, and see the slides here. 

As academics we are measured in many different ways, in particular our research is often characterised through the venues in which we publish and the citations to our works. Roger Burrows observes that when the value of academics is quantified, represented and framed through metrics then our “academic values” are likewise transformed. Stacy Konkiel comments that “most institutions simply measure what can be easily counted, rather than using carefully chosen data to measure their progress towards embodying important scholarly values.”


Photo: Sean MacEntee CC by 2.0

As researchers wanting to advocate for open access, we decided to explore openness from the perspective of designing a metric. Doing this made us realize that metric design is a socio-technical problem, involving considering what is easy to count, what is important to count—and what to do when these are different. A further consideration is the strange issue that a real-world metric can affect what it tries to measure. If people know you are measuring them them may change what they do. If it is a score and they are competitive they may try to increase that score. Normally this is an annoying problem for social scientists: but as social engineers we want to embrace this feature. We definitely do want to design metrics whose very existence makes people want to change their score by increasing access to information. Fortunately for this aim, we suspect that many academics are rather competitive and even the mere mention of a new metric starts some people thinking about their personal score, that of their peers and what they might do to improve their score.

In order to regard openness itself as a valued quality we need metrics that directly reflect the accessibility of all the diverse aspects of scholarly communication. In Getting our hands dirty: why academics should design metrics and address the lack of transparency Chris Elsden, Sebastian Mellor and Rob Comber argue that academics should “complement critiques of metrics with getting our hands dirty in reflectively and critically designing metrics.” We have attempted to create an alternative list of openness-oriented metrics in our paper Metrics for Openness.

In addition to directly expressing the proportion of works that are open (as ImpactStory now does) we suggest it is important to consider the nature of the online location: is the work on a personal web site or in a managed repository? Explicit metrics around such practical facets of openness can serve to validate and recognise the, often invisible, practical work of making outputs freely available.

A corollary of work behind paywalls is that there is cost for access. We suggest these costs can be personalised in the same manner as an h-index: how much does it cost for someone to access all your work? As with h-indices, such metrics can be directed at different sets of outputs; from individuals to institutions to countries. We hypothesise an avid reader who wishes to access all the non-open outputs of an institution. What would this reader have to pay to read all the 2016 outputs of a university? And how does that cost align with the often lofty vision of the institution to spread knowledge to the world?

The nature of scholarly outputs has changed and it is now widely recognised that supporting information such as data and code are important for interpretation and reproducibility. Consequently, these output types also need openness metrics and we extend our previous work to represent these facets of scholarly communication. Additional interpretations of openness are also amenable to the same approach.

We close by quoting part of the conclusion from the paper:

The simple act of measuring current practice can be a powerful incentive to alter that practice: we suggest authors could start with calculating their own Practical Openness Index. Where that measurement is impeded by a lack of metadata an explicit statement of potential benefits can support moves to enhance metadata provision.

A further benefit to quantifying concepts relating to the openness of published research is to provide a basis for management and policy decision-making. The frequently repeated maxim; that to control something you must first measure it, applies here. We might add that measurement also has a publicity component: one way to raise the profile of an issue is simply to measure it: what gets measured gets noticed. Indeed, it may well be that what gets measured gets to frame the argument. From an open access advocacy perspective, we suggest that it should be just as common for authors to publicise their Openness Indices as it is to publicise their h-index.

As part of the writing of the paper we subjected our own CVs to an openness-centric analysis and we can report that even this simple action creates an incentive to improve. Why not try them on your own works?

Nichols, D.M. and Twidale, M.B. (2016) Metrics for openness. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology. https://doi.org/10.1002/asi.23741

Accepted repository version.


David M. Nichols    Department of Computer Science, University of Waikato, New Zealand

Michael B. Twidale School of Information Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA

No competing interests declared.

Draft 2016 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap: Response

The Draft National Research Infrastructure Roadmap was published in December 2016, with a call for comments.

The response of AOASG (https://aoasg.org.au/) and CCAU (http://creativecommons.org.au/) is as follows.

Key Recommendations

1.                   Adopt Nine Focus Areas

·         Digital Data and eResearch Platforms

·         Platforms for Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS)


We support the definition of Digital Data and eResearch Platforms as set out.[1] We welcome the  recommendations for the formation of The Australian Data Cloud,  but given the increasing need for integration of all the outputs of research we urge that it forms part of a wider strategy that includes other research outputs and associated policies required for implementation.

The rationale is as follows.  As research becomes increasingly digital, there are opportunities for the maximisation of its dissemination and by implication how much it can contribute to knowledge, innovation and wealth creation in Australia and beyond. In this regard we welcome a focus area on platforms for Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS), which is an area where the potential for developing integrated digital infrastructure is only just beginning to be addressed. We would urge, however, that when platforms in HASS are being considered, a key element should be the need for inclusion of journal articles and other relevant research outputs, not just data collections.

Maximum dissemination of research will happen when there is coherent overarching policy as well as robust infrastructure.  In July 2016, a working group of university, research, business, government and not-for-profit sector representatives met to draft a national statement of principle aimed at opening up access to all of Australia’s research. The resulting statement proposes a framework for this access that builds on principles already established for data [2]: namely that all Australia’s research output should be F.A.I.R. (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable). We submit that for research data and outputs to be truly accessible and reusable, they should be legally, as well as technologically, reusable. This requires that they be free of overly burdensome copyright restraints and that research outputs are openly licensed.

We note that the National Research Infrastructure Roadmap specifically references the concept of F.A.I.R. in relation to data[3] but we would urge that it is applied to all research outputs.

The adoption of a F.A.I.R. policy Australia-wide would remove ambiguity in the expectations of researchers and reduce the incoherence of approach that arises from external pressures, especially from commercial publisher policies. Furthermore, it would ensure that Australia is in alignment with international policy directions in relation to more open research.

Such a policy would align with the stated definition of National Research Infrastructure i.e. – an infrastructure that “optimises the use of scarce resources to create scale from geographically distributed and highly networked facilities.” [4]

However, as well as policy, there is a need to enhance current infrastructure to ensure that all research outputs are available and integrated nationally and internationally. How best to implement this remains to be determined but the current state of the Australian research literature as fragmented and largely non-interoperable needs to be remedied.

3.                   Develop a Roadmap Investment Plan

We agree with the approach proposed: for wide engagement as this plan is developed; and with the portfolio approach.[5] As noted above, one key area for investment that is specifically required is to ensure that the outputs of research from key infrastructure projects, as well as other research outputs, are fully interoperable both nationally and internationally. The implementation of the policy noted above would support this interoperability but it also requires investment in key areas that form the cornerstone of interoperability. ORCiD identifiers for researchers are key metadata, now invested in and well promulgated through an Australian national consortium.[6] Less well established, and not currently funded, are processes required for consistent application and interoperability of other metadata for all research outputs across the entire network of institutional repositories in Australia. Rollout of such a program across the sector would lead to a dramatic increase in national and international utility of these repositories and their content. Such an approach would also build on the previous investment in these repositories under the ASHER funding scheme.[7]

In order to ensure the success of this Roadmap it is essential that long-term, stable funding from specific, ring-fenced sources, such as the Education Investment Fund, is committed for infrastructure programmes, to allow planning across budget cycles.

5.            Recognise that a Skilled Workforce is critical to national research infrastructure

There is a noticeable gap in the consistent training and support of researchers in acquiring and maintaining the skills they require to fully participate in digital scholarship. We recommend that in addition to the skills required for specific facilities and projects, programmes in training in digital literacy are developed consistently across the higher education sector.  Acquisition of such skills is now largely left up to researchers to actively seek out, rather than being considered a core training requirement. The combination of advantages in efficiency and integrity offered by moving towards an Open Science future will be better realised with more focussed attention on such workforce skills.

National Research Infrastructure Principles[8]

We support these principles, especialy those that emhasise maximising capability, collaborations, broad benefits, business case inclusion, business cases with user access, and access guidelines with as few barriers as possible.

Final comments

We highlight the observation relating to Government Leadership.[9]

“In economic terms, investment in national-scale research infrastructure in Australia or internationally is the government response to market failure as there is no functioning market to address the gap.”

We strongly suggest that in the dissemination of research outputs there is at worst a “market failure” or at best a market lagging in the provision of a functioning infrastructure to support dissemination of scholarly work. Hence, there is a critical need – and an opportunity now with development of this Roadmap – for the Australian government to take a whole-of-sector approach to ensure maximum dissemination of all of Australia’s research outputs, especially those derived from large, centrally funded infrastructure projects.


[1] Draft 2016 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap p24

[2] https://www.force11.org/group/fairgroup/fairprinciples

[3] Draft 2016 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap p24

[4] Ibid p14

[5] Ibid p12

[6] https://aaf.edu.au/orcid/

[7] https://industry.gov.au/science/ResearchInfrastructure/Pages/ASHERandIAP.aspx

[8] Draft 2016 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap p15

[9] ibid p12

Submitted by Virginia Barbour, Executive Director, AOASG, on behalf of the Australasian Open Access Strategy Group (AOASG) & Creative Commons Australia  (CCAU)

Creative Commons Australia and the Australasian Open Access Strategy Group Response to the Productivity Commission Draft Report Data Availability and Use


Prepared by Dr Virginia Barbour (AOASG) and Jessica Stevens (CCAU), December 12, 2016.


Creative Commons Australia (‘CCAU’) and the Australasian Open Access Strategy Group (‘AOASG’) welcome the opportunity to comment on the Productivity Commission’s Draft Report on Data Availability and Use (‘Draft Report’). ‘Creative Commons is an international non-profit organisation that provides free licences and tools that copyright owners can use to allow others to share, reuse and remix their material, legally’.[1] CCAU is an affiliate that supports Creative Commons in Australia.[2] The AOASG is a non-profit organisation which aims to advocate, collaborate, raise awareness and lead and build capacity with respect to open access for all the outputs of scholarship in Australia and New Zealand.[3]

CCAU and AOASG support the implementation of policies to increase availability and use of data. We aim to contribute to the discussion regarding consumer rights, specifically, the right to access. As noted by the Commission in their Draft Report, the legal and policy frameworks under which data (both private and public) is collected and shared and accessed in Australia is not as progressive as other parts of the world, for example the European Union’s Open Data strategy as a core part of the Digital Single Market.[4] Australia’s inaction in this ‘global movement’ may have a detrimental effect on innovation and research outputs.[5]

The Draft Report proposes a ‘fundamental change’ to the ‘legal and policy frameworks under which public and private sector data is collected’.[6] This proposed fundamental change is timely, sensible and would better align Australia’s data practices with those of other international jurisdictions. CCAU and AOASG support the findings and draft recommendations, in particular those contained in Chapter 3, ‘Public Sector and Research Data Collection and Access’, Chapter 6, ‘Making Data Useful, Chapter 8, ‘Options for Comprehensive Reform’ and Chapter 9, ‘A framework’. The recommendations highlight a number of factors, including the importance of public interest with respect to facilitating access to publically funded data and information. There is a clear need to align the Australian legal framework and policies with respect to data availability and use with the best practices and norms of other international jurisdictions. The advantages for Australia to be gained through alignment of legal and policy frameworks for data availability will include the facilitation of sharing of data between jurisdictions.

Specific Comments on chapters


There are terms in the report that are not consistently defined such as the use of the term ‘open access.[7] We would urge that terms should be specifically defined and used consistently. It is essential to differentiate between ‘free access and ‘open access’. ‘Free access’ only denotes there is no cost to the reader. Open access includes the application of an appropriate license such as those endorsed by CCAU and Australian Government’s Open Access and Licensing Framework (AusGOAL),[8] secure archiving, as well as free access.

Chapter 3 Public Sector and Research Data Collection and Access

CCAU and the AOASG support the recommendations to implement data registers.[9] We believe that public sector data should be ‘open by default’.[10] The implementation of data registers would assist in the aggregation and curation of data. The recommendation that data should be released as a first priority and that the register would provide information with respect to any data sets that are not publically available would provide more transparency in research findings, funding distribution and overall, the implementation of registers for data aggregation would be of significant benefit for Australian consumers. Such registers would increase the visibility and discoverability of research data. This recommendation highlights the importance of metadata in the discoverability process, specifically in the description of datasets.[11] Poor quality metadata is one of the key reasons data is functionally unavailable. There is an urgent need for consistency in the application of standard metadata to datasets. We support the recommendation to implement data registers and that these registers publish up to date lists of data.[12]

As noted in the Draft Report, arrangements for sharing and releasing research data in Australia are under review.[13] There are a number of ongoing investigations into open data and open research. As noted in this Draft Report, the Australian Government recently released its Draft Report on Research Infrastructure which noted the importance of discoverability of research data and proposes, in accordance with emerging standards, that research should be, ‘Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable’ (F.A.I.R.).[14] Another group noted in the Draft Report, The Open Access Working Group’,[15] is also investigating the issues pertaining to open access and research data.  In addition to these, we also note a group convened by Universities Australia and the Council of Australian University Librarians (of which AOASG is a member) is advocating for an approach to access to research outputs more widely under the F.A.I.R. principles.[16] We believe that the recommendations of the Productivity Commission’s Draft Report, to make research data more openly available and to implement registers to aggregate the data, would align closely with the objectives of these other interested groups and ultimately would be beneficial for the Australian research culture. As noted by the Commission, increasing access to research data is consistent with recent international academic developments.[17]

There has been significant public policy and investment represented by the Australian National Data Service (ANDS) in the past 6 years.[18] This investment, to support data and its responsible curation and identification as a major element of research infrastructure in Australia has been world-leading. This report complements this infrastructure initiative through the development of stronger policy and legal frameworks.

Whilst the Draft Report mentions the Australian Research Council (ARC) figure for research outputs, we note that this figure should be taken as a very provisional figure, given the current difficulties of collecting such data consistently.[19]

We further agree with the Productivity Commission that the recommendations made in the recent Intellectual Property Arrangements Inquiry, Draft Report, with respect to making publications from publicly-funded research available on an open access basis after one year, should be extended to the ‘underlying data’.[20] We would strongly suggest that the one year limit should be an absolute maximum and in general, immediate open access should be the standard.

Chapter 6 Making Data Useful

We support the recommendation for Government agencies to adopt and implement data management standards to support increased data availability.[21] We would further add that this recommendation and its careful implementation is likely to have the most immediate and far reaching effect of the majority of the recommendations.

We note that a concern of the Commission with respect to improving the useability of public data is implementing consistent metadata and metadata standards and the potential upfront costs on initial data custodians.[22] We agree that the curation and aggregation of data comes with associated financial and implementation cost. Data management plans and pre-planning data management strategies are central to minimising the costs associated with data management that have to be borne by custodians. We note that generally, the costs of such management are repaid many times over in the extra value that can be extracted from well curated datasets compared with poorly curated datasets. Data management as part of the lifecycle of research overall is an area which requires more consideration and resourcing, especially within academic institutions.

With respect to the ‘standardisation and curation of data in the research sector’,[23] we would note that although a number of journals do have data sharing policies, they are solely aimed at availability of data associated with specific publications, and not at the wider goal of good data management practices. We note that access to data is just one aspect of such practices. We would strongly advise against any data availability policy or process that directs access to data via publisher sites as an appropriate option. It should be noted that the aims of publishers operate separately from the needs of researchers, institutions or indeed the national interests of a country and the greater good of society globally. Providing access to important datasets at publishers’ sites risks replicating the same situation we have now for many research papers, which, despite more than 15 years of global advocacy for public access, remain behind publishers’ paywalls.

By contrast, open access repositories at Australian academic and research institutions, and regional and national sites for data storage such as Nectar Cloud,[24] as well as open access discipline-specific repositories (of which many now exist) are appropriate sites. We would urge that all research institutions should be supported to develop robust data management strategies of which the provision of repositories should form one part. Furthermore, given the rapidly evolving landscape of options for data curation and storage, we would re-emphasise the need for ongoing training in this area, and encouragement for institutions to develop training frameworks to support the provision of scaffolded data management training to their research communities.

Chapter 8. Options for Comprehensive Reform

We welcome the overarching views taken in this section.[25] We agree that there is currently ‘no shared vision amongst public sector data holders in Australia on how to consistently deliver widespread data sharing and release’.[26] We support the finding and the view that there is now an opportunity to develop this shared vision.

We note the Commission is seeking views with respect to the curation of the data, whether it should occur by the original data custodian or whether ‘…giving the release authority the ability to curate the data (aggregated model) could provide it with a secondary revenue source to help support and retain its capability’.[27] If the data was available on an open access basis, there would be no reason why the data couldn’t be further curated to make it more useful by the release authority.

With respect to research data, we would strongly support the federated model, guided by a well-defined set of policies and standards, including specific standards for metadata. This area of policies and standards in data management is a further area where ANDS has provided important leadership.[28] We further agree that there is a clear need for a designated agency to oversee the policy considerations.[29] Such an agency would be important to ensure accountability for progress and outcomes and further, this designated agency would be a champion with respect to encouraging the necessary cultural change in various sectors.

We would note that there are a number of organisations, with overlapping aims advocating for change towards more openness in research outputs and data. In addition to ANDS, organisations include ourselves; AOASG, which represents a number of Australian Universities, and Creative Commons Australia, as well as Open Data Institute Queensland, (ODIQ’).[30]  However, we agree that more extensive advocating and championing ‘…this policy of greater openness’ would be beneficial. [31]

With respect to reforms to open up re-use of research data, specifically, the proposed conditions on funding, we would support incentivising institutions and also specific researchers by providing benefits to those that share data.[32] Part of this opening up of data would require the adoption of standards that ensure data sharing and reuse was properly tracked, for example by the adoption of standards for citing datasets.

With respect to building on existing journal publication requirements,[33] as noted above, we would not recommend that data sharing in research be led by journal requirements, but instead should be a more comprehensive approach that is driven by data management polices from academic and research institutions. This would also allow an Australian-led approach as opposed to one led from publishers based overseas.

The Productivity Commission asserts that, ‘[m]aking data available for reuse can be a resource intensive process that requires specific skills and experience. However, the amount of resources required can also be exaggerated’.[34] Our experience is that these costs must not be underestimated. There are substantial costs (especially of time) associated with making even small datasets functionally available in a way that ensures the data are can be properly scrutinised and reused. Especially important is that data are tagged with the right metadata. We believe these costs are outweighed by the benefits that can be derived from well-curated data, but these costs need to be built into projects, ideally at their inception. To do so systematically requires a wholesale approach of policies, standards and incentives and of training for those that generate and curate data. Apart from programs led by ANDS, there are few if any, systematic training programs in place. We believe that this is an area that requires more attention in this Inquiry.

Chapter 9 A Framework for Australia’s Data Future

CCAU and the AOASG supports the implementation of National Interest Datasets (NIDs) with a default position of immediate release of these datasets unless classified as sensitive. Further, we agree that sensitive data that is able to be de-identified should be done so and publically released within a minimal period of time. Whilst there are some instances in which it may not be appropriate to release datasets, we argue that such situations should be restricted to a very limited set of situations. We further agree that community participation and input with respect to NIDs is central to ensuring transparency in the decision making process. We note that the scope of what may be classified as a NID is unclear.

We support the draft recommendation to establish an Office of the National Data Custodian.[37] A centralised body which oversees the data management policy within Australia will provide stability and certainty with respect to the use of datasets within Australia. We support the draft recommendation to implement accredited release authorities (ARAs).[38] We believe that ARAs will provide an important safeguard to ensure that the datasets and registers are maintained and up to date. We support the use of ARAs to promote trust and transparency in organisations.

We believe that it is important for unreleased data sets to be accessible for specific purposes such as research undertaken by Universities. As such, we support the recommendation for the National Data Custodian to provide accreditation to trusted users to make certain uses of the datasets.[39]  Use of these unreleased datasets would enable research to progress and increase transparency in findings. Whilst we support this recommendation, ultimately our position is that datasets should only remain unreleased in specific circumstances where the data is unable to be de-identified or the data is sensitive.

As noted above, we support initiatives for both researchers and institutions to reward the sharing of data. We support the draft recommendation to prioritise public research funding on the basis of institutions making their research data available.[40]  Openly available data promotes good research practices and aligns with objectives of open data such as shareable and useable data. We would note that institutions will need time to implement the necessary change to comply with this recommendation.

CCAU and the AOASG advocate that the default position with respect to data should be released on an open access basis so that data is easily accessible to the public. We thus support the draft recommendation that ‘all non-sensitive public sector data should be released’.[41] We believe that the introduction of an Act which promotes the release of data, especially data in the public interest and data that is publically funded is in the public interest.[42] Further, legislation which improves the rights to access data by individuals and institutions would be of significant benefit to the Australian community.


Overall, CCAU and the AOASG support the draft recommendations and findings contained in the Draft Report. The recommendations highlight the necessity for a fundamental change in Australian legal policy and framework with respect to the management, release and availability of data. The Draft Report acknowledges the steps required to address Australia’s current deficiency in the area of data management and the importance of better aligning Australia’s practices with those of other jurisdictions. We would, however, note that there is a specific and urgent need to address the lack of training for those that generate and curate datasets.

[1] Creative Commons, https://creativecommons.org/; Creative Commons Australia and Organization for Transformative Works Submission to the Australian Government’s Online Copyright Infringement Discussion Paper, 5 September 2014,


[2] The views expressed here are those of the Australian affiliate, and are not endorsed by Creative Commons Corporation in the US.

[3] The Australasian Open Access Strategy Group, https://aoasg.org.au/.

[4] European Commission https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/open-data

[5] Productivity Commission, Draft report, ‘Data Availability and Use’, November 2016, 12

[6] Productivity Commission, Draft report, ‘Data Availability and Use’, November 2016, 12.

[7] Productivity Commission, Draft report, ‘Data Availability and Use’, November 2016, 25.

[8] The Australian Government’s Open Access Licensing Framework, http://www.ausgoal.gov.au/.

[9] Productivity Commission, Draft Report, ‘Data Availability and Use’, November 2016, Draft Recommendation 3.1.

[10] Productivity Commission, Draft Report, ‘Data Availability and Use’, November 2016, 96.

[11] Productivity Commission, Draft Report, ‘Data Availability and Use’, November 2016, 140.

[12] Productivity Commission, Draft Report, ‘Data Availability and Use’, November 2016, Draft Recommendation 3.2.

[13] Productivity Commission, Draft Report, ‘Data Availability and Use’, November 2016, 136.

[14] Australian Government, National Research Infrastructure Roadmap, ‘National Research Infrastructure Capability’ Issues Paper, July 2016, 48 <http://www.chiefscientist.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/20160716-NRIR-Capability-Issues-Paper-16-July-version-proposed-final….pdf>.

[15] Which involves the Department of Education and Training, the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, the Department of Health, the Australian Research Council, and the National Health and Medical Research Council.

[16] Force 11, The Future of Research Communication and e-Scholarship, ‘The FAIR Data Principles’, <https://www.force11.org/group/fairgroup/fairprinciples>.

[17] Productivity Commission, Draft Report, ‘Data Availability and Use’, November 2016, 138.

[18] Australian National Data Service http://www.ands.org.au/

[19] Productivity Commission, Draft Report, ‘Data Availability and Use’, November 2016, 138.

[20] Productivity Commission, Draft Report, ‘Intellectual Property Arrangements’ April 2016.

[21] Productivity Commission, Draft Report, ‘Intellectual Property Arrangements’ April 2016, Draft Recommendation 6.1.

[22] Productivity Commission, Draft Report, ‘Data Availability and Use’, November 2016, 243.

[23] Productivity Commission, Draft Report, ‘Data Availability and Use’, November 2016, 250.

[24] Nectar Cloud https://nectar.org.au/research-cloud/

[25] Productivity Commission, Draft Report, ‘Data Availability and Use’, November 2016, Draft Findings 8.1, 8.2 and 8.3.

[26] Productivity Commission, Draft Report, ‘Data Availability and Use’, November 2016, Draft Finding 8.2, 317

[27] Productivity Commission, Draft Report, ‘Data Availability and Use’, November 2016, Draft, 325.

[28] Australian National Data Service http://www.ands.org.au/working-with-data

[29] Productivity Commission, Draft Report, ‘Data Availability and Use’, November 2016, 328.

[30] Open Data Institute Queensland, (ODIQ), <http://queensland.theodi.org/&gt;.

[31] Productivity Commission, Draft Report, ‘Data Availability and Use’, November 2016, 329.

[32] Productivity Commission, Draft Report, ‘Data Availability and Use’, November 2016, 329.

[33] Productivity Commission, Draft Report, ‘Data Availability and Use’, November 2016, 330.

[34] Productivity Commission, Draft Report, ‘Data Availability and Use’, November 2016, 330.

[35] Productivity Commission, Draft Report, ‘Data Availability and Use’, November 2016, 331.

[36] Productivity Commission, Draft Report, ‘Data Availability and Use’, November 2016, 331.

[37] Productivity Commission, Draft Report, ‘Data Availability and Use’, November 2016, Draft Recommendation 9.5.

[38] Productivity Commission, Draft Report, ‘Data Availability and Use’, November 2016, Draft Recommendation, 9.6

[39] Productivity Commission, Draft Report, ‘Data Availability and Use’, November 2016, Draft Recommendation, 9.7 and 9.8.

[40] Productivity Commission, Draft Report, ‘Data Availability and Use’, November 2016, Draft Recommendation, 9.9.

[41] Productivity Commission, Draft Report, ‘Data Availability and Use’, November 2016, Draft Recommendation, 9.10.

[42] Productivity Commission, Draft Report, ‘Data Availability and Use’, November 2016, Draft Recommendation, 9.11.

How the insights of the Large Hadron Collider are being made open to everyone: The Conversation

If you visit the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) exhibition, now at the Queensland Museum, you’ll see the recreation of a moment when the scientist who saw the first results indicating discovery of the Higgs boson laments she can’t yet tell anyone.

It’s a transitory problem for her, lasting as long as it takes for the result to be thoroughly cross-checked. But it illustrates a key concept in science: it’s not enough to do it; it must be communicated.

That’s what is behind one of the lesser known initiatives of CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research): an ambitious plan to make all its research in particle physics available to everyone, with a big global collaboration inspired by the way scientists came together to make discoveries at the LHC.

This initiative is called SCOAP³, the Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access in Particle Physics Publishing, and is now about to enter its fourth year of operation. It’s a worldwide collaboration of more than 3,000 libraries (including six in Australia), key funding agencies and research centres in 44 countries, together with three intergovernmental organisations.

It aims to make work previously only available to paying subscribers of academic journals freely and immediately available to everyone. In its first three years it has made more than 13,000 articles available.

Not only are these articles free for anyone to read, but because they are published under a Creative Commons attribution license (CCBY), they are also available for anyone to use in anyway they wish, such as to illustrate a talk, pass onto a class of school children, or feed to an artificial intelligence program to extract information from. And these usage rights are enshrined forever.

Open science

The concept of sharing research is not new in physics. Open access to research is now a growing worldwide initiative, including in Australasia. CERN, which runs the LHC, was also where the world wide web was invented in 1989 by Tim Berners-Lee, a British computer scientist at CERN.

The main purpose of the web was to enable researchers contributing to CERN from all over the world share documents, including scientific drafts, no matter what computer systems they were using.

Before the web, physicists had been sharing paper drafts by post for decades, so they were one of the first groups to really embrace the new online opportunities for sharing early research. Today, the pre-press site arxiv.org has more than a million free article drafts covering physics, mathematics, astronomy and more.

But, with such a specialised field, do these “open access” papers really matter? The short answer is “yes”. Downloads have doubled to journals participating in SCOAP³.

With millions of open access articles now being downloaded across all specialities, there is enormous opportunity for new ideas and collaborations to spring from chance readership. This is an important trend: the concept of serendipity enabled by open access was explored in 2015 in an episode of ABC RN’s Future Tense program.

Greater than the sum of the parts

There’s also a bigger picture to SCOAP³’s open access model. Not long ago, the research literature was fragmented. Individual papers and the connections between them were only as good as the physical library, with its paper journals, that academics had access to.

Now we can do searches in much less time than we spend thinking of the search question, and the results we are presented with are crucially dependent on how easily available the findings themselves are. And availability is not just a function of whether an article is free or not but whether it is truly open, i.e. connected and reusable.

One concept is whether research is “FAIR”, or Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable. In short, can anyone find, read, use and reuse the work?

The principle is most advanced for data, but in Australia work is ongoing to apply it to all research outputs. This approach was also proposed at the November 2016 meeting of the G20 Science, Technology and Innovation Ministers Meeting. Research findings that are not FAIR can, effectively, be invisible. It’s a huge waste of millions of taxpayer dollars to fund research that won’t be seen.

There is an even bigger picture that research and research publications have to fit into: that of science in society.

Across the world we see politicians challenging accepted scientific norms. Is the fact that most academic research remains available only to those who can pay to see it contributing to an acceptance of such misinformed views?

If one role for science is to inform public debate, then restricting access to that science will necessarily hinder any informed public debate. Although no one suggests that most readers of news sites will regularly want to delve into the details of papers in high energy physics, open access papers are 47% more likely to end up being cited in Wikipedia, which is a source that many non-scientists do turn to.

Even worse, work that is not available openly now may not even be available in perpetuity, something that is being discussed by scientists in the USA.

So in the same way that CERN itself is an example of the power of international collaboration to ask some of the fundamental scientific questions of our time, SCOAP³ provides a way to ensure that the answers, whatever they are, are available to everyone, forever.

The Conversation

Virginia Barbour, Executive Director, Australasian Open Access Strategy Group, Queensland University of Technology

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Authors Alliance chief reflects on NZ Writers Forum panel


Mike Wolfe

Earlier this year Executive Director of the Authors Alliance and Copyright Research Fellow at the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology, Michael Wolfe, visited Australia and New Zealand.  He is a vocal advocate for the retention of copyright to authors.  He reflects here on the ‘Copyright and Contracts’ panel discussion at the NZ National Writers Forum. 

When it comes to issues surrounding copyright and publishing contracts, there will always be healthy disagreement in the writing world. Authors, diverse as they are, will have different priorities and strategies, and it should not be any other way. This is the spirit with which my organisation, Authors Alliance, approaches its discussions, and very much what I expected from the “Copyright and Contracts” panel at the inaugural National Writers Forum in Auckland this September.

Within that paradigm, most of the discussion was just right. I could expect and respect Paula Browning’s calls for longer copyright terms and skepticism of US-style “fair use”; although I strongly disagree with her views on those points, authors and their advocates might reasonably hold such positions. And Joan Rosier-Jones was unquestionably right to call attention to and condemn predatory publisher practices that take advantage of authors’ aspirations and hope for recognition.

But what Sam Elworthy of Auckland University Press and Copyright Licensing New Zealand proffered as author-friendly advice moved beyond the realm of polite disagreement. Elworthy was tasked with presenting the publisher’s perspective on what authors should know about copyright and contract. He may have captured some publishers’ perspectives, but unfortunately his advice was not of the sort authors ought to know.

To start, Elworthy used his first tip—that authors should clear rights to included third-party works—to cast aspersions on the quality of Creative Commons-licensed works. This casual dismissal of an enormous collection of creative work and of its authors was saddening. At a celebration of writers and writing, why should a speaker feel the need to denigrate authors and the means by which they choose to make their works available? Especially when the assertion that these works are of inferior quality is, at best, poorly informed. To start, I would direct him to books by Authors Alliance members like Cory Doctorow, Robert Darnton, Don Herzog, James Boyle, and dozens of others. In New Zealand, Thom Sleigh’s novel Ad Lib was released under a CC licence and was a NZ Listener top 100 title. But this admonition should not be necessary—as a director of a university press, he must surely be aware of the significant amount of quality scholarship presently being released under Creative Commons licences. And it is hard to imagine that he has somehow missed (or dismissed?) the myriad CC-licensed books released by his colleagues at the university presses at Oxford, Yale, Amsterdam, Duke, California, MIT . . . the list goes on. It is similarly hard to imagine that he has forgotten that some of his press’ own authors choose to publish work under Creative Commons licences. Why, then, take this position?

Otherwise, Elworthy did tell an appealing story. Assign all your rights, he said, and licensing markets will ensure your work will be translated, excerpted, and distributed around the world. That licensing revenue—some of which will come back to you in royalties!—is what makes the creative world work, he said.

Personally, as the speaker who had just cautioned attendees to carefully guard their rights, and be cautious and strategic in signing them away, I was taken aback by the prescription. Like all the most convincing and persistent myths, Elworthy’s is built around a kernel of truth. Sometimes, a given publisher is well positioned to license global rights, and its motivation to sell and market work can redound to the author’s benefit. Most business-savvy authors will likely choose to license their rights piecemeal to better maximise their returns and know their partners, and those looking to maximise public reach will look to options like Creative Commons. But all the same, many authors, having examined their options and circumstances, might nevertheless reasonably decide that carefully assigning their entire copyright to their publisher is in their best interest.

But the potential downsides of authors signing away their copyright just because the publisher thinks they should are toxic. As global copyright terms continually creep upward (now standing at 50 years past the life of the author and climbing), authors signing away their rights make an increasingly weighty commitment. Assigning all rights to a publisher that is unable or unwilling to make full use of them can serve to keep work locked up beyond the public’s reach, often with little (or difficult) recourse for the author. This is not a decision to be made lightly, and certainly not as a matter of course.

And make no mistake: even the best and brightest publishers have a lousy track record of keeping work in print, much less preserved and accessible in the formats, venues, countries, and languages that an author might find important. Today, the scale of this lack of stewardship has left the vast majority of our 20th-century literary and scholarly heritage moldering away out of print and offline.

Fortunately, it is not at all difficult to have a publishing contract reserve certain rights to the author or return those rights that go unexploited. This is why at Authors Alliance we work to provide resources and advice to empower our members to avoid seeing their work’s availability suffer from a lack of publisher stewardship or the vagaries of the marketplace. Our efforts include information designed to help authors recover their rights to their older and out-of-print titles, and materials designed to help authors thinking about releasing their work on open terms, such as Creative Commons licences. When it comes to publishing agreements, we are working on a comprehensive guide to how authors can avoid the kinds of pitfalls that might put their work in purgatory. Frankly, this is the baseline of what authors deserve, publisher presentations to the contrary notwithstanding.

© Mike Wolfe 2016 CC BY

AOASG October Newsletter

21 October 2016: what’s in this month’s newsletter

Open Access Week

What’s new in OA & scholarly publishing in AU & NZ
What’s new in OA & scholarly publishing globally
Innovation in publishing models
Upcoming events in OA & scholarly publishing
OA week update
Recent writing & resources on OA

Comments on this month’s news and suggestions for inclusion in the next newsletter, planned for November, are always welcome.

Follow @openaccess_anz on twitter for daily updates.

Open Access Week 2016

Open Access week is October 24-28. There are many events globally including many in Australia and New Zealand – these are listed on our site and will be updated if we hear of more. The theme of the week is “Open in Action” and it is intended to be as inclusive as possible. See the SPARC portal for ideas.

AOASG will be tweeting throughout the week. Please let us know if you want us to highlight anything and please join us for a round up of the week at a tweetchat on Friday, 28 Oct 2016 2pm NZ; Noon AEDT; 11am AEST; 9 am AWST. All welcome. Tag tweetw with #openaccessanz

We also now have an Instagram account for any OA images to highlight. Please tag with  #openaccessanz

What’s new in OA & scholarly publishing in AU & NZ

AUT lauches Tuwhera: a new OA publishing platform
Tuwhera – meaning open in Te Reo Māori has two journals in its titles:  Pacific Journalism Review & Applied Finance Letters

ASIC company data should be open and free
The Australian government is planning to privatise the management of the Australian Securities and investments Commission database of companies.  In this artilcle  argues that this could be a potential damaging move against the government’s own open data policy.

New OA repository for ANU
Link Digital will work with the Australian National University on an innovative project called MDbox: The open access repository for molecular dynamics (MD) simulation data.

Open Library Foundation launched
A number of Australian libraries are taking part in projects being run out of the newly launched Open Library Foundation which has been established to promote open source projects for libraries and to foster and support contribution, distribution, and sustainability of the benefits of these projects.

Open access to weather data report
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) released Terms of Reference and a Request for Proposal (RfP)  for a report on open access to weather data.

How do researchers experience Open Access?
A research team at QUT is looking for Australian academic researchers who have used open access sources and content to develop an understanding of their information literacy experience.  If you would like to participate click on the above link.

What’s new in OA & scholarly publishing globally


Investigating OA monograph services: Final report 
A project to explore potential future services to support open access monograph publishing,
funded by Jisc Collections and conducted by Jisc Collections and OAPEN Foundation.

OA Publishing Policies in Science Europe Member Organisations
Key Results from Science Europe and Global Research Council Surveys

10,000 OA submissions
Ten thousand reasons to celebrate Open Access at Cambridge

OA journal eLife introduces $2,500 author fee
Bioscience journal eLife will charge a  publication fee from January 2017 to help cover the cost of its business.

Report:  OpenAIRE’s Experiments in Open Peer Review
Public report of the Open Peer Review Experiments hosted by OpenAIRE2020 and conducted by OpenScholar CIC, The Winnower, and OpenEdition.

What it means to be Green: exploring publishers’ changing approaches to Green open access
The number of publishers allowing some form of self-archiving has increased noticeably over the last decade or so.

Concordat on Open Research Data launched
Four of the UK’s leading research organisations have launched a concordat that proposes a series of clear and practical principles for working with research data.

Gold for Gold scheme to end 2017
Royal Society of Chemistry is adapting its approach to be in the best position to shape the future of open access publishing for the benefit of our community. With this in mind, it will bring its Gold for Gold pilot to an end.in 2017.

Austrian Courts Uphold Creative Commons License Terms — For Now
15 years after the CC movement started the courts are still trying to bring legal clarity to the use of CC licenses.

Towards 100% OA
This is a spearhead project that the Netherlands, as President of the Council of Europe from January to July 2016, put on the agenda.

Milestone for OASPA
The Open Access Scholarly Publishing Association has announced that  the number of their members has now reached the 100 mark.
Clapping Hands Sign on Google Android 7.0

Open Library of Humanities and University of Wales Press partner to convert journal to full open access 
The Open Library of Humanities (OLH) has entered into a partnership with the University of Wales Press (UWP) to convert the International Journal of Welsh Writing in English into a full, gold open-access journal.

Why Wellcome has set publisher requirements for OA

Robert Kiley, Head of Digital Services at the Wellcome explains why they have taken this step.  Jisc supports Wellcome’s OA requirements for publishers noting that
“It is incredibly helpful to have a funder of Wellcome’s standing be so clear about its expectations in this area.  APCs already constitute a multi-million pound market, which makes it important that everyone is clear about what is being paid for.”

Cogent OA: Creative Commons, Copyright, Open Access Knowledge Base
What might copyright look like in the twenty-first century?

German research ministry demands OA
In a new policy announcement, all research funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research will have to be open access.

GeRDI to be model of a linked research data infrastructure
Nationwide project GeRDI is to set up a linked research data infrastructure as a German contribution to the European Open Science Cloud.

The European Commission Mandates Open Data from 2017
Horizon 2020 is an €80 billion fund for research from the European Commission. Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation said in a statement that “as of the Work Programme 2017, the current Open Research Data Pilot will be extended to cover all thematic areas of Horizon 2020, making open research data the default setting.

Ireland explores Open Data benefits for Health
With the implementation of the Revised Public Sector Information Directive and the National Open Data Strategy in Ireland, more and more Irish government agencies are publishing Open Data. This has resulted in publishing over four thousand datasets on the Irish Open Data Portal.


Open Library Foundation Established
The Open Library Foundation has been established to promote open source projects for libraries and to foster and support contribution, distribution, and sustainability of the benefits of these projects.

CRL’s “Pivot” to Open Access
As of 2017, all digital materials hosted on the web by Centre for Research Libraries which derive from source materials in the public domain or for which CRL has secured the requisite rights and permissions, will be available without restriction.

Monthly MIT OA stats in an infographic

Rewarding open access scholarship in promotion and tenure Driving institutional change
Here the efforts of one institution, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), to reward OA scholarship in the P&T process are described.

Case law access project: Harvard Law today
Harvard is digitising nearly 40 million pages of case law so it  can be accessed online and for free.

Mastering OA metrics
Like their subscription-based counterparts, Open Access articles’ metadata is essential to measuring its impact in the academic world. This article is one of a series on new publishing issues.

OA boosts citation rates at UM
Open access papers attract up to a fifth more citations than those locked away in closed journals, a new study has found. Jim Ottaviani, librarian at the University of Michigan, looked at what happened when his institution made papers available through its repository and found that “an open access citation advantage as high as 19 per cent exists”.

65/100 most cited works paywalled
This article looked systematically look at the top one hundred cited papers of all time and found that 65% of these papers are not open. as they note “Stated another way, the world’s most important research is inaccessible from the majority of the world.”

Publishers Appeal GSU Copyright Case
Following their second district court loss in eight years of litigation, the publisher plaintiffs in Cambridge University Press vs. Patton (known commonly as the GSU e-reserves case) have again appealed the case.

Why academics are losing relevance?
A January 2015 Pew Research Center study found an alarming chasm between the views of scientists and the views of the public. This article in The Conversation discusses the issue and suggests some approaches.

And in other international news…

Open Access Journals Strategy in Algeria
The importance of Open Access (OA) was recently recognised by Algerian scientists, libraries and publishers.

Discriminating between Legitimate and Predatory Open Access Journals:
Report from the International Federation for Emergency Medicine Research Committee

Springer Nature seals strategic cooperation agreement with the NSFC
Springer Nature and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) have entered into a strategic cooperation framework agreement.

Open Access World Bank Publications on Entrepreneurship, Jobs, and Skills
These publications were compiled as a resource for participants at the 2016 Rotary Presidential Conference on Economic Development in Cape Town, South Africa.

OA in China: ScienceOpen.com
China has committed to rapid growth in scientific research and development recently, and this is reflected in the solid evidence for a strongly developing open access research base. This Science Open blog discusses some of the issues.

Negotiating Openness:  Are participation and access enough?
Hugo Ferpozzi of the “Can OCS Meet Social Needs?” project  writes on how scientific knowledge is commonly expected to address social demands based on local problems, but the groups affected by these problems are not always capable of taking advantage of scientific knowledge outputs themselves.

Innovation in publishing models

New  Journals

Wellcome Open Research is  now open for submissions 
Wellcome Open Research, the Wellcome’s new publishing platform is now online. The platform, which was announced in July, aims to make research outputs available faster, and to support reproducibility and transparency.


Mistaking the symptom for the disease: preprints in biomedical science 
In this essay for the Winnower Yarden Katz notes that “Back in February, much significance was attributed to the fact that some biologists, including Nobel laureate Carol Greider, were posting their research articles directly on the web. Amy Harmon wrote about it for the New York Times and others looked for reasons why a culture of preprints—research published online before being submitted for peer-review—developed in physics, but not biology.” He concludes ” The hard work ahead will be to create a movement of scientists who value open science culture at their earliest stages in research, and to restructure incentives so that these scientists have a path for survival.”


Latin American Collections Now Available in Digital Repository
More than 500,000 books from the stacks of the Benson Latin American Collection, a trove of treasures related to Latin America, have been digitised and are now accessible online.

Ireland explores Open Data benefits for Health
With the implementation of the Revised Public Sector Information Directive and the National Open Data Strategy in Ireland, more and more Irish government agencies are publishing Open Data. This has resulted in publishing over four thousand datasets on the Irish Open Data Portal. 

COAR provided a brief report of the 2016 Chinese Institutional Repository Conference and  announced the launch of the new repository group in China, CHAIR

Time to re-think the institutional repository?
“Seventeen years ago 25 people gathered in Santa Fe, New Mexico, to discuss ways in which the growing number of e-print servers and digital repositories could be made interoperable.” Richard Poynder raises some questions here, which were well rebutted by  others, including Kathleen Shearer Executive Director of  COAR.

Upcoming events in OA & scholarly publishing

The DARIAH Winter School “Open Data Citation for Social Science and Humanities” is set to take place in Prague on 24th-28th of October, 2016. Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic

Open Con will be on 12-14 November in Washington, DC, with satellite events hosted around the world.
New Zealand’s National Digital Forum Conference at Te Papa in Wellington will run from 21 -23  November 2016.

Open Repositories 2017 Conference  26-30 June 2017  Brisbane, Australia
OR2017 theme is:   Innovation | Knowledge | Repositories

Recent writing & resources on OA

Articles of interest

Sweet, Sweet Irony: 7 Papers That Should be Open Access But Aren’t 

Does publishing a book as Open Access affect print sales?

The academic, economic and societal impacts of Open Access: an evidence-based review

The Post-Embargo Open Access Citation Advantage: It Exists (Probably), It’s Modest (Usually), and the Rich Get Richer (of Course)

Open access and the transformation of academic publishing: A view from Cultural Anthropology

Open access and open science – a debate 

Managing an Open Access Fund: Tips from the Trenches and Questions for the Future

Hybrid open access—A longitudinal study

A study of institutional spending on open access publication fees in Germany

Open access journals in educational technology: Results of a
survey of experienced user

OA publishing of research data in the Humanities


Altmetrics for Librarians: 100+ tips, tricks, and examplesThis ebook provides the “nuts and bolts” needed to use altmetrics in a variety of library-land scenarios, including:

  • Making collection development decisions
  • Managing institutional repositories
  • Helping faculty assemble evidence for their tenure & promotion packets
  • Teaching workshops on altmetrics

Addition to Creating the 21st-Century Academic Library Series

Volume 9 of the series Creating the 21st-Century Academic Libraryis the first of two addressing the topic of open access in academic libraries and focuses on policy and infrastructure for libraries that wish to provide leadership on their campus in the transition to more open forms of scholarship.

New and Featured OA Journals

Want more OA news?

We can’t cover everything here! For daily email updates the best ways to keep up to date is the Open Access Tracking Project.

We Tweet throughout each day and our curated newsfeed on the website is updated regularly.

The newsletter archive provides snapshots of key issues throughout the year.

Author advocate champions OA licensing


Mike Wolfe: Executive Director  – Authors Alliance & Copyright Research Fellow – Berkley Centre for Law & Technology

Recently the Queensland University of Technology Library and Office of Research Ethics and Integrity ran targeted workshops on Authorship and Publication for authors and researchers.

The two half-day sessions comprised a step-by-step guide to getting your research published, from shortlisting journals to responding to peer review.

One of the highlights of the event was a workshop from US copyright attorney and executive director of the Authors Alliance Mike Wolfe.

Mr Wolfe is a vocal advocate for the retention of copyright to authors and urged all writers to protect their right to be named as the author of their work.

He said Open Access is increasingly becoming a more widely accepted practice in publishing and ensuring your work is available Open Access will ensure its longevity in the public realm.

“When publishers hold all rights to a work we have to question how long it will ultimately be made available and sadly, for better for worse most copyrighted works have a relatively short commercial life empirically, selling for a few years or less.

“There are a number of things that authors can do about this. Part of it is just negotiating their contracts in a smart and interesting way, taking advantage of institutional resources that can help make sure that your work is available regardless of what happens to its commercial life. The other is to have it widely available from the beginning so this is open access publishing.” he said.

Mr Wolfe raised the following questions for authors to ask in relation to accessibility:

  • If you have concerns about the short term availability of your work?
  • Who can read it today?
  • How can I get it to the most readers fastest?
  • And the long term availability, of whether it will remain accessible?
  • Available in print?
  • Is it still commercially viable?

He said Open Access solves these questions by removing the commercial liability aspect of the equation.

Mr Wolfe also provided workshop participants with insightful advice about entering into publishing contracts, and protecting authors’ rights to use their own content.

He outlined three rules for approaching a publishing contract:

  1. Read the contract
  2. Negotiate
  3. Keep a copy

He acknowledged that researchers and authors can be so thrilled to be offered a contract,  they often forget the basics necessary to protect them and their work.  He said the three rules above are “extremely easy not to do.”

“As an author what you should ask, as a writer, as an owner of copyright, when you are signing them away in the course of a publishing contact it’s important to understand who is able to read your work, where around the world and on what terms.  And ultimately how long it will remain accessible.

“Open Access publishing resolves both long and short term availability for creators, ” he said.

The Authors Alliance has produced the following handbooks which can be downloaded for free.

Understanding Open Access

Understanding Rights Reversion