Open Access and Academic Freedom: Teasing Out Some Important Nuances – Anderson – – Development and Change – Wiley Online Library

Abstract:  Discussion of the ways in which open access (OA) and academic freedom interact is fraught for a number of reasons, not least of which is the unwillingness of some participants in the discussion to acknowledge that OA might have any implications for academic freedom at all. Thus, any treatment of such implications must begin with foundational questions. Most basic among them are: first, what do we mean by ‘open access’; second, what do we mean by ‘academic freedom’? The answers to these questions are not as obvious as one might expect (or hope), but when they are answered it becomes much easier to address a third, also very important, question: in what ways might OA and academic freedom interact? With every new OA mandate imposed by a government agency, institution of higher education, or funding organization, careful analysis of this issue becomes more urgent. This article attempts to sort out some of these issues, controversies and confusions.

 

A reproducible picture of open access… | Wellcome Open Research

Abstract:  Background: Open data on the locations and services provided by health facilities have, in some countries, allowed the development of software tools contributing to COVID-19 response. The UN and WHO encourage countries to make health facility location data open, to encourage use and improvement. We provide a summary of open access health facility location data in Africa using re-useable R code. We aim to support data analysts developing software tools to address COVID-19 response in individual countries. In Africa there are currently three main sources of such open data; 1) direct from national ministries of health, 2) a database for sub-Saharan Africa collated and published by a team from KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme and now hosted by WHO, and 3) The Global Healthsites Mapping Project in collaboration with OpenStreetMap.     

Methods: We searched for and documented official national facility location data that were openly available. We developed re-useable open-source R code to summarise and visualise facility location data by country from the three sources. This re-useable code is used to provide a web user interface allowing data exploration through maps and plots of facility type.

Results: Out of 52 African countries, seven currently provide an official open facility list that can be downloaded and analysed reproducibly. Considering all three sources, there are over 185,000 health facility locations available for Africa. However, there are differences and overlaps between sources and a lack of data on capacities and service provision.

Conclusions: These summaries and software tools can be used to encourage greater use of existing health facility location data, incentivise further improvements in the provision of those data by national suppliers, and encourage collaboration within wider data communities. The tools are a part of the afrimapr project, actively developing R building blocks to facilitate the use of health data in Africa.

Google Books: how to get the full text of public domain books

“While Google Books has digitised millions of books all over the world with the help of thousands of libraries as part of the Library Project, not all of those digitised books are freely available on the website. Books that are still in copyright cannot be consulted in full-text, even though you might see a snippet preview.

Sometimes, however, Google has not assessed the copyright correctly and the book is not publicly available, although Google has scanned it and it is out-of-copyright. That is the case with all books published before 1900 and some books published between 1900 and 1930.

When you know that Google Books has a scan of a book available, and you believe that the book should be in the public domain, you can ask Google to re-evaluate the copyright situation of that publication. The Google Books team will give you an answer in a couple of days….”

Open access research

“By making research freely available to anyone who needs it, open access (OA) publishing allows wider knowledge dissemination, removes reading restrictions in its gold form, and offers more opportunities for researchers to improve the visibility of their work and build a strong reputation.

Because of this, science can progress faster. This is good for everyone.

An open future calls.

How will you answer?…”

Elizabeth German Joins The Open Library Foundation as Senior Program Officer

“The Open Library Foundation has named Elizabeth German to the role of Senior Program Officer. German is an associate professor and the service design librarian at Texas A&M University and will work with the Foundation’s Board to support Foundation operations and strategic initiatives.

The Open Library Foundation enables the development, accessibility and sustainability of open source software and communities for and by libraries. The Foundation also looks to increase awareness of open source initiatives and advocate for the benefits of open source in the library space….”

Elizabeth German Joins The Open Library Foundation as Senior Program Officer

“The Open Library Foundation has named Elizabeth German to the role of Senior Program Officer. German is an associate professor and the service design librarian at Texas A&M University and will work with the Foundation’s Board to support Foundation operations and strategic initiatives.

The Open Library Foundation enables the development, accessibility and sustainability of open source software and communities for and by libraries. The Foundation also looks to increase awareness of open source initiatives and advocate for the benefits of open source in the library space….”

Why Is Access to the Scholarly Journal Literature So Expensive?

“For more than 30 years the spiraling costs of scholarly journal subscriptions, often called the “serials crisis,” have been a hotly debated topic. Academics and librarians have pointed out the high profit levels of the major commercial publishers, despite that the content they sell is provided by unpaid authors and reviewers. The publishers then resell it to the universities of these same authors and reviewers. Publishers have attempted to justify their prices by cost increases, their investments in information technology, and the value they add. A useful framework for understanding the situation is Michael Porter’s five forces model for explaining the competitive conditions in an industry. Despite claims to the contrary, the degree of market concentration in scholarly publishing is not higher than that in many other industries, and it is not the main cause of the problem. But because the big deals of different publishers are complements rather than substitutes, the leading companies essentially do not compete for customers, in contrast to other industries, such as mobile phones or automobiles. The high barriers to new entrants, partly due to journal ranking lists and impact factors, as well as the low bargaining power of suppliers and customers, explain why this industry has been so well shielded from the disruptive forces of the Internet. The protected competitive position and high profitability are also major reasons why the big subscription publishers have been slow to adopt the open access business model….”

Open Access and Art History in the 21st Century: The Case for Open GLAM – CODART CODART

“Almost 1000 cultural heritage institutions around the world1 have published some or all of their online collections for free reuse, modification and sharing. They are part of the ‘Open GLAM’ (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums) movement that views liberal access2 and reuse (where culturally appropriate3) of digital collections as fundamental to education, research and public engagement.

A key principle of Open GLAM is that works in the public domain – in which copyright has expired or never existed – should remain in the public domain once digitized. However, many museums do assert copyright in digital reproductions of public domain artworks. How legally legitimate is this? Although the answer is not straightforward (the relevant copyright law is complex and lacks international harmonization), in the European Union the standard of originality for a new copyright requires that the work be the ‘author’s own intellectual creation’….”