Scholarly Communication

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.

New video released: a conversation with philosophers Richard Holton and Peter Suber on open access

Posted November 26th, 2012 by Ellen Duranceau

In a new video, two philosophers, Professor Richard Holton, Chair of the MIT Faculty Open Access Working Group, and Peter Suber, author of the MIT Press book Open Access, discuss the significance of open access to research, and the MIT Faculty Open Access Policy. The video captures a live discussion held at MIT during global open access week in October, sponsored by the MIT Libraries and the MIT Press, and moderated by Director of Libraries Ann Wolpert.

The philosophers reflected on whether their discipline has motivated their support of open access to research and scholarship. Professor Holton indicated that his role as a moral philosopher has highlighted the rare position academics enjoy with respect to their writing:

“we’re not like journalists, we’re not like novelists, or composers, who have to sell their stuff…we are in this incredibly privileged position, where we can give [our articles] away, and that only adds to the benefit to us.

Peter Suber, Director of the Harvard Open Access Project, and a Faculty Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, said his “primary motivation” in supporting open access is not linked specifically to philosophy, but rather to his desire to seize the opportunity the web holds for scholarly publishing.

Holton explored the possibilities open access offers for this kind of change in the scholarly publishing system, identifying the “strong monopoly position” of some publishers as a key motivator for the MIT Faculty Open Access Policy. The Policy, Holton said, addresses the “mess” the scholarly publishing market is in by offering a “freely available database” of MIT-authored articles that is “indexed through Google Scholar and other search engines.” After making an article available in this database under the Policy, the author can still “go on and publish…with a scholarly journal,” which provides the “very important task as a kind of quality control.” He notes that MIT has made “about a third” of articles openly available since the faculty Policy was put in place.

Both speakers addressed the role of publishers moving forward. In Suber’s view, we need to “persuade publishers [that] adapting to the world of open access publishing is better than resisting,” a task that is becoming easier given the increasing momentum of open access. Holton emphasized that working antagonistically is not necessary, that

“there is a way forward for both us and the publishers.”

Suber and Holton agreed that the recent approach to open access recommended in the UK could be counterproductive. “I love the ambition” of making all of the UK’s research open access, Suber said, but the UK should “tweak the policy” so that it emphasizes depositing manuscripts in repositories, in addition to the current focus on publication in open access journals. Holton had reservations as well. The UK plan is “not a good way to go,” he says, and will lead to “double dipping” by some publishers and to “entrench[ing] the monopolies of these journals.”

Both philosophers continue to devote their time and energy to supporting open access to research, working towards lasting cultural change that will make open access — and thus wider and more equitable access — the norm. They look to the day when, as Suber said, it will be “unheard of to write an article and not deposit it in a repository.”

More information:

Scholarly publishing website
Podcasts & videos on scholarly publishing and copyright

OA research in the news: SHASS faculty win awards

Posted November 21st, 2012 by Katharine Dunn

Two MIT School of Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences faculty members have won awards for their work. Economist Anna Mikusheva received the 2012 Elaine Bennett Research Prize from the American Economic Association. The prize honors outstanding women researchers at the beginning of their careers. Mikusheva, who has PhDs in both economics and mathematics, studies econometrics theory.

Anthropologist Stefan Helmreich has won the 2012 Rachel Carson Prize for his book Alien Ocean. The prize recognizes works of social or political relevance in science and technology. Helmreich’s book, which has won several awards, explores marine biologists’ study of microbes.

Explore Professor Mikusheva’s research and Professor Helmreich’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: Ocean feeding strategies

Posted November 8th, 2012 by Katharine Dunn

Detailed computer simulation shows how a patch of nutrients gets distributed in turbulent water. Image courtesy of Roman Stocker and John Taylor

Scientists have long believed that ocean-dwelling microorganisms need not move to gather food because turbulence distributes nutrients uniformly. Using a computer model that simulates a turbulent sea, Civil and Environmental Engineering associate professor Roman Stocker and colleague John R. Taylor have shown that some bacteria swim for food and others don’t, and that there are advantages and disadvantages to both. The study, published in the journal Science last week, is the first to show how the ocean environment affects feeding strategy. “We’re working at the interface between microbiology and fluid dynamics,” Stocker told the MIT News.

Explore Professor Stocker’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 viaDSpace@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.

Global downloads of papers under MIT Faculty Open Access Policy

Posted October 26th, 2012 by Ellen Duranceau

Three years ago this week, in celebration of Global Open Access Week, the Open Access Articles Collection was launched to house papers made available under the MIT Faculty Open Access Policy. In those three years, downloads have been initiated from all parts of the globe.

Only about 1/3 of the use is from the United States, with the rest widely distributed around the world. Some of the heaviest activity comes, unsurprisingly, from well-populated and research-intensive areas such as China (11%), India (6%), the UK (5%), France (3%), and Japan (3%). Canada and Mexico make up another 3.5% of use. But downloads have originated from nearly every country, including, looking just at those with names starting with “T”: Taiwan (2%), Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Turks and Caicos Islands, and Tuvalu.

Three years in, this evidence suggests that the faculty’s goal in creating the policy — to “disseminat[e] the fruits of its research and scholarship as widely as possible” — is being met.

This news is being reported in celebration of the third anniversary of the Open Access Articles Collection, which houses papers under the Policy, and Global Open Access Week, which runs from October 22 through 26.


For more information:

MIT Faculty Open Access Policy