Do developing countries profit from free books?: Discovery and online usage in developed and developing countries compared

For years, Open Access has been seen as a way to remove barriers to research in developing countries. In order to test this, an experiment was conducted to measure whether publishing academic books in Open Access has a positive effect on developing countries. During a period of nine months the usage data of 180 books was recorded. Of those, a set of 43 titles was used as control group with restricted access. The rest was made fully accessible.The data shows the digital divide between developing countries and developed countries: 70 percent of the discovery data and 73 percent of online usage data come from developed countries. Using statistical analysis, the experiment confirms that Open Access publishing enhances discovery and online usage in developing countries. This strengthens the claims of the advocates of Open Access: researchers from the developing countries do benefit from free academic books.

Rice University Press: Nascentis fame

Rice University Press (RUP), which began full operation in February 2007, proved a short-lived experiment. After three years of supporting one paid staff position and modest additional funding for contracted book design work, office expenses, and travel, Rice closed the press down as part of a larger, campuswide, budget-cutting effort. Faced with a choice between investing more financial and human capital in its press as a condition for gaining substantial foundation support or opting out of the experiment altogether, university administration chose the latter. Short-lived as the RUP experience was, it nevertheless offers some important lessons for people pondering the future of academic publishing and its inexorable move in a digital direction. There is no question that traditional printed-on-paper publishing is dying out and that it will be replaced by digital academic discourse distributed on a different economic model. There are, however, substantial questions about when and how this paradigm shift will come about, and the Rice University Press story may offer some answers.

Editor’s Note [16.1]

I’m delighted to hand over the reins of The Journal of Electronic Publishing to Maria Bonn (Editor) and Jonathan McGlone (Managing Editor). We at Michigan Publishing are excited to see the journal continue to feature new scholarship and create new opportunities for exploring and improving professional practice in the years to come.

Join Jack Andraka in making publicly funded research available to all!

Watch Jack ›› Learn about FASTR ›› Take Action!


Jack Andraka perfectly illustrates the power of free, online access to scientific and scholarly research articles, a concept called Open Access. Yet, even though taxpayers fund much of the published research, most scientific papers are locked behind expensive paywalls that can cost $30 per article or thousands of dollars per journal subscription. These prices are so high that students like Jack — and even top researchers — often have to go without the benefit of cutting edge information in their field.

Fortunately, Jack and others are advocating for a solution, called the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (or FASTR).  FASTR is a bipartisan bill that would require research articles funded by taxpayers to be made freely available online within six months.  This bill would help both students like Jack and established researchers alike to gain access to the articles they need to discover the next breakthrough, accelerate scientific advancement, and improve the lives of people all around the world, while generating economic and job growth.

Fill in the form below to send a letter to your legislators in Congress urging them to pass FASTR and help gifted researchers like Jack get access to the articles they’ll need to make the next big discovery!

Note: after you click take action, you will have the chance to review the letters before they are sent.

If the form below does appear properly on your device, follow this link directly to our action center


Mandate Open Access (OA) Says L.J.Haravu of Open Source ILMS-NewGenLib Fame

As a part of Open Access Week-2013 was organized the special lecture by Mysore Librarians and Information Scientists Association (MyLISA). Mr. L.J. Haravu, UNESCO Expert on implementation of technology base library services in South East Asia and Arab Countries, gave a special lecture on this occasion on the theme of “Open Access: The Philosophy and Trends” at the SBRR Mahajana First Grade College, Mysore, India on 26th October 2013.

Haravu started his lecture by citing some of the historical, cultural and social movements that have influenced the human civilization in the past. He pointed out that these movements have started because of some fundamental causes that hindered the human freedom and aspirations of common people. These movements have resulted in new legislations, regulations and reforms, he said. Continuing his lecture he said that movements have by-products or spin-offs.
During 1950s and 60s India witnessed a library movement in a big way, as a part of this there were movements in the areas of classification and indexing, thesaurus building. Now we have been witnessing a new kind of movements in the field of library automation, digitization, open source software adaptation, etc. 

While speaking on the philosophy behind OA movements, Haravu highlighted some of the major breakthrough in scholarly publishing domain which played crucial role in spreading OA movements. Some of the major changes in scholarly publishing domain that led to OA movements were: increased emphasis for publishing research papers (publish or perish syndrome), rapid increase in scholarly publications, rise in subscription cost of scholarly journals (200% to 250% of increase in the last 25 years), dwindling library budget, deprived of access to research materials, publishers monopoly and so on. Because of some of these reasons, stakeholders involved in scholarly publications – academicians, scientists, librarians, activists – launched OA movement.

The developments in contemporary technologies (Internet) provided them a great platform to provide access to information easily like never before. OA movement was formally launched in three international meetings in 2002-03, in Budapest, Bethesda and Berlin, he said. He said that there were two major rubrics of OA publishing models. One is OAJs (Open Access Journals) and another model is OAA (Open Access Archiving). He cited some of the examples for OAJs: Public Library of Science (PLoS), Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). For open access archiving major institutional repositories and OAIster. Because of OA movement, today we have, open courseware (MIT Open Courseware), open educational resources, open theses, open data and open source films, he said.


Haravu mentioned some of the barriers for open access, such as business model of OAJ publishers, emergence of predatory OA journals, authors’ reluctance for publishing their research papers in OA journals, etc.
 He urged the librarians to play an active role in creating awareness and educate academicians/executives about the importance of OA. He also urged the librarians to play crucial role in establishing institutional repositories in their respective intuitions and adopting OA mandate.

The New PLOS ONE Collection on “Sauropod Gigantism – A Cross-Disciplinary Approach”

Sauropod-Collection-600x600 (3) (2)The exceptional gigantism of sauropod dinosaurs has long been recognized as an important stage in the evolution of vertebrates, the presence of which raises questions as to why no other land-based lineage has ever reached this size, how these dinosaurs functioned as living animals, and how they were able to maintain stable populations over distinct geological periods.

We are pleased to announce the publication of a PLOS Collection featuring new research on the complex Evolutionary Cascade Theory that attempts to answer  these questions and  explain how the unique gigantism of sauropod dinosaurs was possible. The fourteen papers that make up the collection address sauropod gigantism from a number of varied disciplinary viewpoints, including ecology, engineering, functional morphology, animal nutrition, evolutionary biology, and paleontology.

Sauropod dinosaurs were the largest terrestrial animals to roam the earth, exceeding all other land-dwelling vertebrates in both mean and maximal body size. While convergently evolving many features seen in large terrestrial mammals, such as upright, columnar limbs and barrel-shaped trunks, sauropods evolved some unique features, such as the extremely long necks and diminutive heads they are famous for. Dr Martin Sander, Professor of Paleontology at Universität Bonn and coordinating author for this series of 14 papers, said of the collection:

“This new collection brings together the latest research on the biology of sauropod dinosaurs, the largest animals to ever walk on Earth. Having been extinct for 65 million years, reconstructing sauropod biology represents a particular challenge. Using a wide array of scientific expertise, often from seemingly unlikely fields, has led to some amazing insights. For example, principles of soil mechanics have been used to ‘weigh a dinosaur’ based on its trackways, whilst the latest in computer modeling can make a dinosaur walk again.

The ultimate question underlying this research is how sauropods were able to evolve their uniquely gigantic body size. The wide-ranging disciplines covered in the collection means that there is a -broad, multi-disciplinary audience for the research, as well as general interest in dinosaurs; therefore, we felt that it was essential to publish such a volume in a leading open-access journal such as PLOS ONE to ensure the widest possible dissemination of our work.”

Readers are able to download “Sauropod Gigantism: A Cross-Disciplinary Approach” not only as a PDF but also as an ebook (.mobi and .epub formats) from the collection page. It will also be available on Flipboard (search “PLOS Collections”).

Image credits:
Collection Image: Kent A. Stevens, University of Oregon

Make my collection open access!

I just sent this message to my library to tell them how much I want to support Knowledge Unlatched – let’s make open access to scholarly monographs a reality!

I would like to dedicate up to the remainder of my new faculty start-up fund to support this project (capped maximum of US $1,680). For the future, I would wholly support dropping the big deals of every large publisher and re-directing funding to support works like this.

As a bit of context, at the University of Ottawa we new faculty members have the good fortune of having a $2,000 start-up fund to build the collection.

International Open Access Week: Wiley’s participation

oaweekLast week (Oct 21-25) was International Open Access Week.  We spent the week particpating in discussion and sharing information. In cased you  missed anything, here is a summary of our week.

The results of  Wiley’s open access survey of 8000+ authors were published.  You can read a summary of the results on our Exchanges blog site.

We created a data visualization tool so that users can drill into the data by research experience, region, and subject area.

We also produced this infographic which shows key results from our author survey alongside OA results from our librarian survey (conducted in May) as well as Wiley’s own experiences of where authors who choose to publish OA are coming from.

We wrote about the effect that funder mandates are having on the take-up of Wiley’s OA offerings.

Also, during this International Open Access week, we announced the transition of four leading journals from the subscription model to Gold OA from January 2014, bringing the total number of Wiley’s open access titles to 28.

You can also read a comment here from Helen Bray about the role of open communications from publishers in the open science movement.

More about Wiley Open Access can be found on this blog, or here:  And lastly, don’t forget you can follow us at or tweet us at  @WileyOpenAccess

Immunity, Inflammation and Disease Publishes Issue 1.1

LSJ-12-45832-WOAI-NW-Immunology-Cover-101x131pxWe are pleased to announce that Immunity, Inflammation and Disease has now launched with the publication of its inaugural issue. Immunity, Inflammation and Disease is a peer-reviewed, open access, interdisciplinary journal, providing rapid publication of cutting-edge research across the broad field of immunology.

The Editor-in-Chief, Marc Veldhoen has selected these papers to highlight from the issue:

purple_lock_open Relative contribution of IL-1?, IL-1? and TNF to the host response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis and attenuated M. bovis BCG by Marie-Laure Bourigault, Noria Segueni, Stéphanie Rose, Nathalie Court, Rachel Vacher, Virginie Vasseur, François Erard, Marc Le Bert, Irene Garcia, Yoichiro Iwakura, Muazzam Jacobs, Bernhard Ryffel and Valerie F. J. Quesniaux
Summary: Here, we confirm that both TNF and IL-1 pathways are required to control M. tuberculosis infection since absence of both IL-1a and IL-1ß recapitulated the dramatic defect seen in the absence of IL-1R1 or TNF. However, presence of either IL-1a or IL-1ß allows some control of acute M. tuberculosis infection. Further, although TNF is essential for the early control of infection by either virulent or attenuated mycobacteria, IL-1 pathway is dispensable for controlling less virulent infection by M. bovis BCG.

purple_lock_open Human pre-B cell receptor signal transduction: evidence for distinct roles of PI3kinase and MAP-kinase signalling pathways by Kolandaswamy Anbazhagan, Amrathlal Rabbind Singh, Piec Isabelle, Ibata Stella, Alleaume-De Martel Céline, Eliane Bissac, Brassart Bertrand, Nyga Rémy, Taylor Naomi, Fuentes Vincent, Jacques Rochette and Kaïss Lassoued
Summary: PI3K and MAPK exerted opposing effects on the pre-BCR-induced activation of the canonical NF-?B and c-Fos/AP1 pathways. In addition, pre-BCR-induced down-regulation of Rag1, Rag2, E2A and Pax5 transcripts occurred in a PI3K-dependent manner.

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We would like to invite you to submit your immunology paper to the journal. All authors retain copyright in their articles and benefit from high visibility on Wiley Online Library. All articles are fully open access on publication.

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Latest Article Alert from Malaria Journal

The following new articles have just been published in Malaria Journal

For articles using Author Version-first publication you will see a provisional PDF corresponding to the accepted manuscript. In these instances, the fully formatted Final Version PDF and full text (HTML) versions will follow in due course.

Ex vivo tetramer staining and cell surface phenotyping for early activation