Scholarly Communication

OA research in the news: The Townsend Thai Project

Posted April 18th, 2013 by Katharine Dunn

In 1997, economist Robert Townsend and colleague Sombat Sakunthasathien, a Thai government researcher, began to gather data on family and community finances in rural and urban Thailand. They’ve never stopped. Their program, the Thai Family Research Project (part of the Townsend Thai Project), includes surveys of 2,880 households and 262 community groups. It has resulted in hundreds of thousands of data points, making it one of the largest datasets in the developing world. Among their findings is that much of Thailand’s expanding economy is coming from rural areas. They’ve now written a book, Chronicles from the Field, which delves into statistics but also recounts the human side of doing field work. “Organizations deal with people, and this is all about the people,” Townsend tells the MIT News. “You need to build up trust. The households need to understand why you’re asking them all these questions, and you need to be honest with them. By going back, you establish that you care.”

The book is accompanied by a documentary film, “Emerging Thailand: The Spirit of Small Enterprise,” which will screen at MIT on April 23 at 5:30 p.m. in E25-111.

Explore Professor Townsend’s research in the Open Access Articles collection in DSpace@MIT, where it is openly accessible to the world.

Since the MIT faculty established their Open Access Policy in March 2009 they have made thousands of research papers freely available to the world via DSpace@MIT. To highlight that research, we’re offering a series of blog posts that link news stories about scholars’ work to their open access papers in DSpace.

Open access gains momentum in Washington

Posted April 12th, 2013 by Katharine Dunn

White House takes action to increase access to the results of federally funded scientific research

When MIT faculty adopted an open access (OA) policy for their scholarly articles in March 2009, they expressed a strong philosophical commitment to disseminating “the fruits of their research and scholarship” as widely as possible. The MIT Libraries are paying close attention to recent events in Washington that have the potential to expand this commitment to include a significant percentage of all federally funded research in the United States.

On February 22, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issued a directive asking each federal agency with over $100 million in annual research and development expenditures to develop a plan to support increased public access to the results of research they fund. Agencies have six months to come up with policies that would make both articles and data openly available to the public, consistent with a set of objectives set out in the memorandum. The OSTP has been evaluating the need for more open access to federally funded research for several years; in 2010 and 2012 it collected public comments, including those from MIT.

Eight days earlier, on February 14, bipartisan lawmakers in both houses of Congress introduced a bill called the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), which would provide open access to work funded by US government agencies that spend at least $100 million a year on research. FASTR is a stronger version of an earlier bill that failed to make it out of committee. It asks that authors make their peer-reviewed manuscripts available to OA repositories within six months of publication; that agencies devise common deposit procedures (thus making the law easier to comply with); and that articles are deposited in a format and under terms that allow them to be widely reused and analyzed.

“By next year, I hope we can say: Don’t give candy; give knowledge,” writes Peter Suber, director of the Harvard Open Access Project, in his analysis of the Valentine’s Day bill.

Suber calls the executive and legislative strategies complementary. The directive alone isn’t law, which means the next president could rescind it. As for FASTR, it’s unclear whether it will be adopted and how the sequester — the across-the-board budget cuts to federal agencies — will affect it.

“The legislative situation in Washington is problematic due to the budget impasse,” says Ann Wolpert, director of MIT Libraries. “But open access advocacy groups continue to keep pressure on the appropriate committees of Congress.”

In late February, Wolpert published a serendipitously timed article in the New England Journal of Medicine called “For the Sake of Inquiry and Knowledge — The Inevitability of Open Access.” The article was one of four opinion pieces on the pros and cons of OA that the journal commissioned last fall. In it Wolpert explores the “powerful motivations” underlying open access, including the fact that scholarly authors write for impact, not royalties, that much of research is taxpayer funded, and that journal publishers have often disproportionally raised their subscription prices. The Internet, of course, was the disruption to the long-running, intricate scholarly publishing system that has enabled open access.

“For all its known flaws, no one wants to destroy peer-reviewed publication,” Wolpert writes. “But the nonpublisher stakeholders in the scholarly communication system can no longer support the prices and access constraints desired by traditional publishers.”

Because of the diversity of research culture, Wolpert writes, we should expect open access to come in fits and starts depending on the discipline and on new communication tools that will “flourish or perish.”

For now, the White House directive provides a welcome push. “I’m confident the library community and academia will be active during this time in support of plans that make sense from the perspective of research universities and their libraries,” Wolpert says, adding that the MIT Faculty Open Access Working Group of the Committee on the Library System has both FASTR and the directive on its upcoming agenda.

Royal Society of Chemistry offers vouchers to publish articles open access without fee

Posted April 3rd, 2013 by Ellen Duranceau

The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) has announced an experimental program for 2013 that will provide vouchers to authors, allowing them to publish their RSC articles open access without paying the standard article publication fee.

The program, called “Gold for Gold,” is offered at universities, like MIT, whose libraries subscribe to “RSC Gold,” the entire package of RSC journals and databases.

All MIT authors publishing in RSC journals are eligible. A limited number of vouchers (based on the cost to the MIT Libraries for the RSC Gold subscription) will be distributed by the Libraries on a first-come, first-served basis. Vouchers can be applied only to articles that have been accepted for publication, and cannot be applied retrospectively to articles already published.

To request a voucher, send an email request to rscvouchers@mit.edu, including:

    Your name

 

    The title of your article

 

    The RSC journal the article has been accepted by

If vouchers are still available, a voucher number will be sent back to you by the Libraries via email.

To use a voucher, it should be entered into the Gold for Gold online acceptance form after the author receives notification that the article has been accepted. (The author will be asked to sign a different publication agreement at this stage.)

Benefits of vouchers
Upon publication, the article will be accessible to all readers, worldwide, regardless of whether they or their institutions subscribe to RSC journals. The Gold for Gold open access articles will be published under the Creative Commons Attribution license, maximizing the potential for openness and reuse.

RSC explains that they envisioned the program as “a mechanism to ease some of the economic burden on our authors who either needed to comply with open access mandates or simply wanted their articles published open access for other reasons.” Choosing the RSC open access option is one way to fulfill the requirements of the NIH Public Access Policy, with no action required by the author other than indicating the article is NIH funded.

For more information, or to provide feedback about this pilot program:
Gold for Gold FAQ
Erja Kajosalo, Chemistry & Chemical Engineering Librarian

OA research in the news: Profs receive undergrad teaching award

Posted April 3rd, 2013 by Katharine Dunn

Linda Griffith

Four professors were recently named MacVicar Faculty Fellows, honored for their outstanding undergraduate teaching and commitment to innovation in education. The honorees are Linda Griffith, Rob Miller, Laura Schulz, and Emma Teng; each receives an allowance for 10 years to help “enrich the undergraduate learning experience.”

Explore Professor Griffith’s research, Professor Miller’s research, and Professor Schulz’s research in the Open Access Articles collection in DSpace@MIT, where it is openly accessible to the world.

Since the MIT faculty established their Open Access Policy in March 2009 they have made thousands of research papers freely available to the world via DSpace@MIT. To highlight that research, we’re offering a series of blog posts that link news stories about scholars’ work to their open access papers in DSpace.

Worldwide downloads reflect success of Open Access Policy at fourth anniversary

Posted March 29th, 2013 by Ellen Duranceau

The MIT Faculty established their Open Access Policy in March, 2009 to support the widest possible dissemination of their research and scholarship. Four years later, their articles are being read worldwide, with downloads requested from nearly every country on earth.

Only one-third of the use originates in the United States, while North America as a whole accounts for 36% of the activity. Downloads are otherwise widely distributed, with even the well-populated and research-intensive countries of China, India, and the UK contributing just 10%, 6%, and 5% respectively. Downloads from around the world include those from Nigeria and Argentina (both 0.1%), Estonia (.05%) and Malta (.02%). Europe is the origin of consistent activity, including from Italy (2%), Poland (0.7%), and Spain (.01%). Australia and New Zealand account for an additional 2% of downloads.

We welcome comments from these readers around the world through the articles deposited in the Open Access Articles Collection. Open the fulltext of any article and click on “Please share how this access benefits you” to tell us your story.

This news is being reported in celebration of the 4th anniversary of the adoption of the MIT Faculty Open Access Policy.

MIT Faculty Open Access Policy’s fourth birthday marks new monthly download peak

Posted March 29th, 2013 by Ellen Duranceau

The MIT Faculty Open Access Policy, which turns four this month, has hit a new milestone with that birthday: a record 59,284 downloads in a month.

There have a total been over 900,000 downloads from the Open Access Articles Collection, which was established in October 2009 to house papers under the Policy. That collection now makes over 8,700 articles openly available worldwide.

This news is being reported in celebration of the 4th anniversary of the adoption of the MIT Faculty Open Access Policy.

MIT Faculty Open Access Policy at 4: new appreciative readers from around the world

Posted March 28th, 2013 by Ellen Duranceau

This month the MIT Faculty Open Access Policy turns four, and its impact is being felt by grateful readers around the world.

Downloads have been initiated from nearly every country. What’s more, individual voices are now associated with many of those downloads. We have been collecting comments from readers since July 2012, and we have learned in just a matter of months of the many new and thankful audiences that are finding the MIT faculty’s articles.

Appreciative comments have come from students, job seekers, researchers in developing nations, independent scholars, journalists, hobbyists, retired engineers and scientists, and patient advocates, among others.

These comments reflect the success of the faculty in meeting their goal of “disseminating the fruits of [their] research and scholarship as widely as possible,” through their Open Access Policy.

This news is being reported in celebration of the 4th anniversary of the adoption of the MIT Faculty Open Access Policy.

 

MIT Faculty Open Access Policy: 8,700 papers available to the world

Posted March 28th, 2013 by Ellen Duranceau

As of March, 2013, the 4th anniversary of MIT Faculty Open Access Policy, over 8,700 papers are being made openly available to the world in relation to the Policy.

The total number of papers reached 8,500 in February, and as of this month, has grown to more than 8,700. This total represents an estimated 1/3 of the papers written by faculty since the Policy was adopted.

Readers — particularly those who would not otherwise have access — have been finding and using this wealth of information, including researchers from Germany and Peru.

This news is being reported in celebration of the fourth anniversary of the MIT Faculty Open Access Policy.

OA research in the news: Atomic collapse seen for the first time

Posted March 21st, 2013 by Katharine Dunn

Scanning tunneling microscope image shows an artificial atomic nucleus on graphene. Courtesy of Michael Crommie

A team of researchers from MIT and other institutions have shown atomic collapse, a phenomenon predicted decades ago but never before observed. The researchers, including physics professor Leonid Levitov, devised a new technique to simulate atomic nuclei on the surface of graphene, which is a sheet of densely packed carbon atoms. Using graphene made it possible to manipulate and observe the nuclei, in part because they move slower. They report their findings in an upcoming article in the journal Science.

Explore Professor Levitov’s research in the Open Access Articles collection in DSpace@MIT, where it is openly accessible to the world.

Since the MIT faculty established their Open Access Policy in March 2009 they have made thousands of research papers freely available to the world via DSpace@MIT. To highlight that research, we’re offering a series of blog posts that link news stories about scholars’ work to their open access papers in DSpace.

OA research in the news: Moniz nominated Secretary of Energy

Posted March 7th, 2013 by Katharine Dunn

This week, President Barack Obama nominated physics professor Ernest Moniz to head the U.S. Department of Energy. Moniz previously served the White House as associate director for science in the Office of Science and Technology Policy and as undersecretary of energy, both under President Bill Clinton. Moniz is founding director of the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI). MITEI, which links science, innovation, and policy, has supported about 800 research projects on campus and engaged 25 percent of MIT faculty.

Explore Professor Moniz’s research in the Open Access Articles collection in DSpace@MIT, where it is openly accessible to the world.

Since the MIT faculty established their Open Access Policy in March 2009 they have made thousands of research papers freely available to the world via DSpace@MIT. To highlight that research, we’re offering a series of blog posts that link news stories about scholars’ work to their open access papers in DSpace.

OA research in the news: Demaine receives Presburger Award

Posted March 1st, 2013 by Katharine Dunn

Erik Demaine, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, has won the 2013 European Association for Theoretical Computer Science (EATCS) Presburger Award for young scientists. The committee, which unanimously chose Demaine, cited his “outstanding contributions in several fields of algorithms, namely computational geometry, data structures, graph algorithms and recreational algorithms.” EATCS also noted his work in computational origami. Demaine and his father have created pieces that are part of New York’s Museum of Modern Art permanent collection.

Explore Professor Demaine’s research in the Open Access Articles collection in DSpace@MIT, where it is openly accessible to the world.

Since the MIT faculty established their Open Access Policy in March 2009 they have made thousands of research papers freely available to the world via DSpace@MIT. To highlight that research, we’re offering a series of blog posts that link news stories about scholars’ work to their open access papers in DSpace.

Obama administration issues directive on open access to federally funded scientific research

Posted February 22nd, 2013 by Ellen Duranceau

The White House issued a directive today that requires Federal agencies with annual spending of more than $100M in Research & Development to develop plans to make the publications that flow from the research they fund openly available to the public within a year of publication.

The directive, which takes effect today, was announced in a policy memorandum issued by the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). OSTP has been evaluating the need for more open access to federally funded research for some time, having collected public comments in 2010 and 2012, including those from MIT. The White House also received a “We the People” petition that reached the level requiring an official response.

This White House directive affects more federal agencies than FASTR, the open access bill that was introduced into both houses of Congress on February 14. Starting today, the Federal agencies have six months to develop policies for making both scientific publications and data openly accessible to the public within twelve months of publication.

For more information:
Peter Suber’s blog post

New bill would make most federally funded research openly accessible

Posted February 19th, 2013 by Ellen Duranceau

FASTR, or Fair Access to Science and Technology Research, was introduced into both houses of Congress on February 14, 2013. The bill builds upon the success of the NIH Public Access Policy by extending public access to research funded by other U.S. government agencies. It was introduced in the Senate by John Cornyn (R-TX) and Ron Wyden (D-OR), and in the House by Mike Doyle (D-PA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), and Kevin Yoder (R-KS).


Like its predecessor bill, Federal Research Public Access Act, FASTR would provide open access to research funded by agencies of the U.S. government that spend at least $100 million per year on research, and carry this out by having authors provide their peer-reviewed manuscripts through open access repositories within six months. Repositories could be hosted by an agency, or agencies could request that authors deposit in institutional or subject-based repositories.


What is new in this bill is that it calls for common deposit procedures among agencies; for formats that enable productive reuse, such as computational analysis; and for examining the potential of open licensing for the papers, to enable reuse by the public.

The bill would create open access to research funded by agencies like the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Transportation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Science Foundation.

For more information:
Peter Suber’s blog story
Peter Suber’s FASTR reference page
Text of the bill

OA research in the news: The value of higher education

Posted February 13th, 2013 by Katharine Dunn

James Poterba

David Autor

Is the cost of a university degree worth it? It’s a question on the minds of many American families in an era of high unemployment and rising tuition costs. Scholars and policymakers at an on-campus forum last week suggested that though expensive, college is valuable both to individuals and the country at large. Labor economist David Autor pointed to evidence showing that college graduates earn $250,000 to $300,000 more over their lifetimes, regardless of undergraduate major. Autor is co-director of MIT’s School Effectiveness & Inequality Initiative, whose mission is to study issues related to the economics of education. Moderator and economics professor James Poterba said that higher education is “an extremely important sector of the U.S. economy,” representing about 3.5 percent of the national GDP.

Explore Professor Autor’s research and Professor Poterba’s research in the Open Access Articles collection in DSpace@MIT, where it is openly accessible to the world.

Since the MIT faculty established their Open Access Policy in March 2009 they have made thousands of research papers freely available to the world via DSpace@MIT. To highlight that research, we’re offering a series of blog posts that link news stories about scholars’ work to their open access papers in DSpace.

OA research in the news: Role of the Huntington’s gene

Posted February 1st, 2013 by Katharine Dunn

Scientists have known for two decades that Huntington’s disease, a fatal brain disorder, is caused by a mutant gene that’s expanded to include DNA repeats. But it’s not clear how the gene produces the disease symptoms. MIT biological engineers, including MIT grad student Christopher Ng and professors Ernest Fraenkel and David Housman, recently published a paper that comes closer to answering that question. They found that the protein encoded by the Huntington’s gene changes the chemical structure of genes involved in brain function. Disruptions to these genes could cause neurodegenerative symptoms.

Explore Professor Fraenkel’s research and Professor Housman’s research in the Open Access Articles collection in DSpace@MIT, where it is openly accessible to the world.

Since the MIT faculty established their Open Access Policy in March 2009 they have made thousands of research papers freely available to the world via DSpace@MIT. To highlight that research, we’re offering a series of blog posts that link news stories about scholars’ work to their open access papers in DSpace.

OA research in the news: Happiness on tap

Posted January 17th, 2013 by Katharine Dunn

More than half of people worldwide with access to water have to walk to fetch it. In urban Morocco, households relying on public taps spend seven hours a week collecting water—a burden that can lead to stress and conflict within families. Economist Esther Duflo and colleagues recently published a paper showing that when offered credit and assistance, nearly 70 percent of households bought a connection to water despite a doubling of their water bill. Nearly half of those who did said their overall quality of life improved afterwards.

Explore Professor Duflo’s research in the Open Access Articles collection in DSpace@MIT, where it is openly accessible to the world.

Since the MIT faculty established their Open Access Policy in March 2009 they have made thousands of research papers freely available to the world via DSpace@MIT. To highlight that research, we’re offering a series of blog posts that link news stories about scholars’ work to their open access papers in DSpace.

MIT professor and librarian collaborate on “10 PRINT”: Open access book explores computation, creativity and culture

Posted January 9th, 2013 by Ellen Duranceau

Using a home computer in the early 1980s meant knowing at least some programming to get it off and running. When you turned on your Commodore 64—which you may well have done; it was the best-selling single model of computer ever produced—a nearly-blank blue screen emerged. “READY,” it told you. A blinking cursor awaited your commands.

Many of us used prefab programs to play games or do word processing, but the tinkerers among us wrote their own code, long and short, to explore what computers could do. Take this one-liner in BASIC language that Associate Professor of Digital Media Nick Montfort found in a magazine from the era: 10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10. Run it on a Commodore 64 (or an emulator on your laptop today), and diagonal slashes fill the screen in a random way, building a pleasing maze that continues until interrupted.

Montfort posted 10 PRINT to an online Critical Code Studies conference in winter 2010. A lively discussion ensued among a dozen participants including MIT librarian Patsy Baudoin, who is liaison to the Media Lab and the Foreign Languages and Literatures department. Though the code is short and there’s not much known about its history, “it was obvious that there was plenty to say about it,” says Montfort. “However concise it was, it clearly connected computation to creativity, and to culture, in really intriguing ways.”

A few months after the conference, Montfort asked the 10 PRINT thread contributors to collaborate on a book exploring different aspects of culture—mazes in literature and religion, randomness and chance in games and art, the programming language BASIC, the Commodore 64 computer—through the lens of that one line of code.

The book, whose title is the code, was published in December by MIT Press. Besides Montfort and Baudoin, the authors include John Bell, Ian Bogost, Jeremy Douglass, Mark C. Marino, Michael Mateas, Casey Reas, Mark Sample and Noah Vawter. Though 10 PRINT is freely downloadable under a Creative Commons license, its first print run nearly sold out within a month. (This is another example of increased sales accompanying open access.) Royalties go to the Electronic Literature Organization, a nonprofit that promotes writing, reading, and teaching digital fiction and poetry.

Baudoin, the lone librarian of the group, has a PhD in comparative literature, which she says proved useful during the year-and-a-half collaboration. “I understood implicitly that exploring a concise line of computer code was like reading a short poem,” she says. “[As a graduate student] I wrote a 50-page paper on Catullus’s Odi et amo, a two-line Latin poem. In one sense, this line of code doesn’t appear to do a lot, but analyzed carefully, it speaks loudly.”

10 PRINT has a lot to say about a specific time. Though we can easily edit video, chat online, and play music on our laptops today, “when it comes to allowing people to directly access computation and to use that computing power for creative, expressive, and conceptual purposes, today’s computers, out of the box, are much worse” than those of 30 years ago, says Montfort. “I can type in and run the 10 PRINT program within 15 seconds of turning my Commodore 64 on. I can modify it and explore the program quite extensively within a minute. How long would it take you to produce any program like that after you started up your Windows 8 system?”

Montfort is quick to note that his interest in code like 10 PRINT is not nostalgia for a lost era; this, he says, trivializes important ideas in computer history. 10 PRINT itself is far from trivial, which is why Montfort, Baudoin and their coauthors found it a worthy book topic. “This type of program was written and run by millions in the 1980s on their way to a deeper understanding of computation,” he says.

Find 10 PRINT events under “Upcoming” at http://nickm.com.

See also: MIT News coverage of the book

OA research in the news: Chisholm and Langer win national awards

Posted January 4th, 2013 by Katharine Dunn

Two MIT researchers have won the country’s highest honors for scientists, engineers, and inventors. Sallie (Penny) Chisholm, a professor of environmental studies in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, won the National Medal of Science. Robert Langer, an Institute Professor and professor of chemical engineering, won the National Medal of Technology. President Barack Obama will present the awards at a ceremony early in 2013.

Explore Professor Chisholm’s research and Professor Langer’s research in the Open Access Articles collection in DSpace@MIT, where it is openly accessible to the world.

Since the MIT faculty established their Open Access Policy in March 2009 they have made thousands of research papers freely available to the world via DSpace@MIT. To highlight that research, we’re offering a series of blog posts that link news stories about scholars’ work to their open access papers in DSpace.

OA research in the news: The life of cheese

Posted December 20th, 2012 by Katharine Dunn

San Andreas cheese, a raw sheep's milk cheese made by Bellwether Farms in Sonoma County, California. Image courtesy of Heather Paxson

What makes a good cheese? It’s a complicated question, and one that cultural anthropologist Heather Paxson explores in her new book, The Life of Cheese. Paxson has written about (and eaten a lot of) cheese over the last decade, and in her research she’s met some of the new wave of American artisan cheesemakers, whose force has doubled since 2000. Paxson argues that handcraft cheese production is valuable in many ways: it creates “decent livelihoods, healthy ecologies, beautiful vistas, and, most immediately, good food.”

Explore Professor Paxson’s research in the Open Access Articles collection in DSpace@MIT, where it is openly accessible to the world.

Since the MIT faculty established their Open Access Policy in March 2009 they have made thousands of research papers freely available to the world via DSpace@MIT. To highlight that research, we’re offering a series of blog posts that link news stories about scholars’ work to their open access papers in DSpace.

OA research in the news: Sarma named “experimenter-in-chief”

Posted December 6th, 2012 by Katharine Dunn

Award winning teacher and mechanical engineering professor Sanjay Sarma has been named MIT’s first Director of Digital Learning. His job will be to assess how edX and other online tools can be used on campus alongside traditional classroom teaching. In an email to the MIT community, President Rafael Reif noted that Sarma will “serve as experimenter-in-chief, assessing what is working best in MIT’s current educational model, what we could do more effectively and what kind of changes we should pursue.” Sarma, whose research includes RFID and computational geometry, won the MacVicar Faculty Fellowship, MIT’s highest teaching honor, in 2008.

Explore Professor Sarma’s research in the Open Access Articles collection in DSpace@MIT, where it is openly accessible to the world.

Since the MIT faculty established their Open Access Policy in March 2009 they have made thousands of research papers freely available to the world via DSpace@MIT. To highlight that research, we’re offering a series of blog posts that link news stories about scholars’ work to their open access papers in DSpace.