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AOASG Newsletter, February 2016: Global & Local Open Access news

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

The Australian ORCID consortium launched on 15th February in Canberra with 40 Australia Institutions and support from the ARC and NHMRC. The Australian Access Federation has been appointed as the national ORCID Consortium Lead and will provide support for institutions to maximise the benefits of ORCID within Australia.

There were ResBaz events in Brisbane and Melbourne with OA and open peer review part of the lively discussions.

Monash University launched  their figshare service for research data management at the university.

There was debate about recent announcements on the funding of TROVE.

ANDS launched its new website.

Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand  newsletter provided a snapshot of updates from NZ and beyond



AOASG has changed its name to the "Australasian Open Access Strategy Group" to better reflect the group's activities and focus.

What's new in OA & scholarly publishing globally

A coalition of journals, funders and others announced an intention to share publications and data about the Zika virus, specifically 
  • "Journal signatories will make all content concerning the Zika virus free to access. Any data or preprint deposited for unrestricted dissemination ahead of submission of any paper will not pre-empt its publication in these journals.
  • Funder signatories will require researchers undertaking work relevant to public health emergencies to set in place mechanisms to share quality-assured interim and final data as rapidly and widely as possible, including with public health and research communities and the World Health Organisation."
In a piece in the Guardian Stephen Curry pointed  out the irony that such an initiative was needed at all.

The Budapest Open Access Initiative turned 14 

In an interesting development in repositories, OpenAIRE  and La Referencia entered into an agreement to collaborate.

Feb 22-26 was  Fair Use Week

A set of workshops on OA and repositories in Myanmar is an example of the work EIFL is doing globally. Its 2016-17 plans are here.


The European Commission's Directorate-General for Research and Innovation intends to set-up an Open Science Policy Platform to develop open science policy through a structured discussion with the main stakeholders.



As part of the Netherlands' continued aim to move towards full OA by 2014 VSNU, the association of The Netherlands Universities, released an ezine that lays out key events and their approach to OA.

The Netherlands and Wiley negotiated an offsetting deal to bundle APCs with subscription costs. This deal follows others with Elsevier and  Springer


President Obama nominated Carla Hayden, who has been a strong supporter of OA, to be the next Librarian of Congress. 

SPARC  released a statement on the third anniversary of the White House Directive for expanding public access to the results of federally funded research. It noted the need to "invest in infrastructure to support the long-term, sustainable availability of research outputs," as well as calling for Congress to pass the  Fair Access to Science and Technology Research (FASTR) Act.

Meanwhile, in a great example of the the power of repositories Suber announced that Harvard now has more than 7 million downloads from its DASH repository


The start date for the UK's HEFCE OA policy is very close. After 1st April 2016, to be eligible for submission to the next Research Excellence Framework, (REF), authors’ final peer-reviewed manuscripts that have been accepted for publication must have been deposited in an institutional or subject repository. The policy states: "Deposited material should be discoverable, and free to read and download, for anyone with an internet connection." 

HEFCE also launched an interactive map of the the impact case studies submitted to REF 2014 showing where the UK's research has had an impact globally.

Professor Adam Tickell, Chair of the Universities UK Open Access Coordination Group, delivered a report  to the UK Government on the UK OA policy. He concluded that "In order to continue to make progress in the transition to Open Access, and to maintain the UK’s leadership, no major changes to the UK’s approach are recommended.” The Minister of State for Universities and Innovation respondedsaying “I want the UK to continue its preference for gold routes where this is realistic and affordable” and went on “I also accept the validity of green routes which will continue to play an important part in delivering our open access commitment.”

A new OA mathematics journal, called Discrete Analysis, launched. The journal is notable because it is a overlay journal of the preprint server Preprints - primarily in biology in this case - were also the topic of a conference, ASAPbio, in February and which is now working post conference "in order to implement a sensible preprint system".

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. Our Twitter account has posts throughout each day.

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

Is there a long-term role in OA for sites that share academic papers?

Last year a site called Sci-Hub came to prominence. Started by a neuroscientist based in Russia, it currently holds copies of 47 million academic papers, without the permission of the publishers involved, and which it makes freely available. Last year Elsevier launched a lawsuit against the site but it continues to operate. Several recent thoughtful blogs, some rounded up here, have discussed the site. Ernesto Priego  argued that Sci-Hub is a symptom of a wider problem, but not the solution, whereas Bjorn Brembs argues that the very fact the site exists calls into question "whether the investment in the baby-steps of the last two decades [in OA] was worth the minuscule returns". Mike Taylor probably summed up best the ambivalence that many observers feel towards the site. However, he followed up with a later post which questioned  the source of some of the papers that have turned up in Sci-Hub

An earlier assessment of social sharing sites, such as Research Gate and and their relation to OA repositories came in a posting from the Office of Scholarly Communication at the University of California. The title "A social networking site is not an open access repository" sums up the post, which has in particular a useful table which compares the sites' characteristics with OA repositories. This posting became even more relevant this month after one of these sites asked researchers if they would consider paying for the service. 

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