SPARC Open Access Newsletter, 9/2/11

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Peter Suber

Sep 2, 2011, 12:52:01 PM9/2/11

     The SPARC Open Access Newsletter, issue #161
     September 2, 2011 
     by Peter Suber

     Read this issue online


SOAN is sponsored and published by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC).


Access to dangerous knowledge:  reflections on 9/11 ten years later

Less than a month after the 9/11 attacks ten years ago, the non-partisan, non-profit Project on Government Oversight (POGO) urged the US Department of Energy (DOE) to remove certain information from its website.  "[D]etailed maps and descriptions of all ten nuclear facilities with weapons-grade plutonium and highly-enriched uranium....contain virtual target information for terrorists."  The DOE agreed and took down the information.  Less than two months later, POGO protested that the DOE had removed too much information.  "Communities have a legitimate need and right to have information about what goes on in their neighborhoods."

Three years later, in 2004, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission removed some documents from its web site on the theory that they might be useful to terrorists.  One week later it put them back online.

Sometimes we put security first and decide later that we went too far.  Sometimes we go the other way.  In 1975, Martin Hellman developed a secure encryption algorithm that the National Security Agency feared would help our enemies.  The NSA tried to block its publication, but Hellman fought back and prevailed.  After the 9/11 attacks, however, he regretted his position.

It's hard to find the right balance.  It's hard to know whether we should even aim for balance.  Should we put principle ahead of balance and, if so, which principle?  If it's the principle to protect national security, that would give us one outcome, but if it's to protect the public's right to information, that would give us the opposite outcome.  If we retreat to balance, then who should strike it, under what criteria, and with what oversight?  

The hard question at the center of this thicket is whether we should restrict access to dangerous knowledge.  For now, let's define "dangerous knowledge" as any knowledge which can be put to harmful uses.  For example:  How to weaponize anthrax.  How to mix cement.  Where to buy armor-piercing bullets.  Where to buy fertilizer.  How to find the nearest nuclear processing plant.  How to find the nearest beach.  

The even-numbered examples are not facetious.  Some rare and exotic knowledge could cause harm (how to enrich uranium) and some common and indispensable knowledge could cause harm (how to drive a car).  We can't wish away this complexity in order to make safety an easy problem rather than a hard one.

The case for restricting access to dangerous knowledge is that restrictions could reduce harm and the risk of harm.  The case on the other side is captured by these four propositions:  (1) Essentially all useful knowledge has harmful uses, and hence could be deliberate or collateral damage in a danger-suppression regime; (2) restricting access for potential terrorists also restricts access for citizens, journalists, researchers, inventors, manufacturers, and policy-makers; (3) determined malefactors can generally find ways around access barriers which block ordinary citizens; and (4) protecting ourselves against danger generally requires the use of dangerous knowledge.

I don't want to reargue these two cases here.  But I do want to point out that the strengths of the second case are more evident in a moment of calm reflection than in the blood-boil of panic.  Moreover, we seldom think calmly about this question.  We generally turn our attention to it only when forced by moments of panic.  At those moments, the case for restricting access to dangerous knowledge has two significant advantages:  it's easier to boil down to a slogan, and its connection to safety is direct rather than indirect.  

The US hasn't suffered a major terrorist attack in ten years.  So why bring this up now?  The main reason is that we're one attack away from facing these questions all over again.  The next time we face these questions, we'll improvise a new set of answers.  We won't be calm, and we won't be in a mood to extract lessons from history.  If our experience ten years ago is any guide, our leaders will feel immense pressure to find a set of adequate-looking answers and to appear to be united about them.  The national mood will quickly limit our freedom to debate the answers.  (Dick Cheney:  To question our leaders is to help terrorism.)  Those who want to restrict the conversation will do so in the name of the freedom they want to restrict.  

I bring this up now because we're not distracted by panic.  We will make ourselves both safer and freer if we can think through the arguments pro and con, in a moment of calm, before we'll need answers again, before we'll be distracted by panic again, and before we'll be vulnerable again to a toxic mix of real fear and opportunistic fear-mongering.

To aid this reflection, I'd like to add two observations, one on each side.  

The first is that there really is such a thing as dangerous knowledge.  Some of it has little redeeming social value (how to weaponize anthrax) and some has plenty (how to mix cement); some of it creates risks of severe harm and some of it only creates risks of milder forms of harm.  These distinctions underlie our standing solution to the problem of dangerous knowledge:  making some knowledge classified, and punishing its public release.  The theory is that that when the risk of harm outweighs the benefits of public access, classification is justified.  As a general solution, it may itself be justifiable, but whether it is justified in practice depends on details and judgments which are themselves classified.  

The second is that the US has erred needlessly far on the side of safety.  We have studied our response ten years ago and should take note of the conclusions.

"Thomas H. Kean, the chairman of the 9/11 commission, said that three-quarters of the classified material he reviewed for the commission should not have been classified in the first place...." 

A 2004 study by the Rand Corporation concluded that the U.S. federal government deleted too much previously-OA information from government web sites in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.  

A 2004 report by the National Research Council concluded (as I paraphrased it at the time) not merely "that OA to genome data on pathogens is better than its suppression and better than toll access to the same data...[but that] the benefits of OA are worth the risk of smallpox, anthrax, and Ebola hemorrhagic fever --three pathogens whose genome sequences were already OA at the time the report was published.  Compare that to the claim, regarded as radical in some quarters, that the benefits of OA are worth the risk of decreased journal subscriptions." 

A 2007 study by the National Research Council concluded that legitimate security concerns "do not justify the use of extreme measures that could serve to significantly disrupt the openness that has characterized the U.S. scientific and technology enterprises...."


When serious novels like Jurgen, Lady Chatterly's Lover, and Ulysses were suppressed for obscenity in the early 20th century, liberals defended the freedom of speech and opposed the censorship of literature by arguing that a novel never seduced anyone.  It wasn't a bad slogan, for a slogan.  But it had the insidious effect of denying the power of literature.  Literature can change people, and that power is part of the reason that literature is worth reading.  Can we oppose the censorship of literature without denying the power of literature?  

Likewise, knowledge is unexpectedly useful, for beneficial ends, harmful ends, or both, and that power is part of the reason that knowledge is worth acquiring.  Can we oppose access restrictions without denying the power of knowledge to do harm in the hands of a determined malefactor?

If it weren't for considerations like these, we could dodge the hard question by arguing that there's no such thing as dangerous knowledge.  We could try to maintain a firm distinction between knowledge and its uses.  Knowing the genome of smallpox or the mechanism of a fission reaction isn't the same thing as making a biological or nuclear weapon.  Fair enough, but this distinction doesn't stop censors or censorship.  People who want to make it harder to build biological or nuclear weapons could serenely admit that no knowledge is intrinsically dangerous, and limit their attention to knowledge with harmful uses.  

The similar reflex argument that "guns don't kill people, people kill people" doesn't take seriously the power of guns.  If it didn't oversimplify, people interested in the free circulation of ideas could use a similar argument for knowledge:  "Knowledge doesn't build weapons of mass destruction, people build weapons of mass destruction."  But it oversimplifies.  Those who want to regulate guns are thinking of their harmful uses in the hands of malicious or careless people, and those who want to restrict access to dangerous knowledge are thinking of its harmful uses in the hands of malicious or careless people.  Defending the innocence of guns, novels, or knowledge, when artificially abstracted from people and their interests, doesn't get us very far.  It doesn't even address the hard question.


If something is sometimes harmful and sometimes not, then we might want to limit its circulation in order to limit the harm it causes.  For the moment put aside the question *whether* we ought to do that with knowledge.  Instead think about *how* we might do it.

When we want to limit the circulation of cigarettes, we ban them for people below a certain age, and we tax them to make them more expensive for everyone else.

Raising taxes on cigarettes does reduce their circulation.  But it does the job selectively and limits circulation much more for the poor than for the rich.  If we wanted to reduce access for everyone equally, or for a different subset of the population, then price tags do the job badly.

John Adams had a similar objection to the Stamp Act of 1765.  It made nearly every kind of paper more expensive, including the paper used by newspapers, magazines, broadsides, journals, books, and university diplomas.  The effect was to reduce the circulation of ideas to the poor.  No doubt, Adams would also have objected to the equal or uniform reduction in the circulation of ideas.  But he especially objected to this economically stratified way of doing it because he was convinced that the young republic needed a well-educated and well-informed population without regard to social rank.  (I owe this point about John Adams to Lewis Hyde, _Common as Air_, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010, pp. 93-95.)

Apart from copyright, the chief restriction we put on the circulation of knowledge today is price.  Like the Stamp Act and tobacco taxes, journal prices create a much larger access barrier for the poor than for the rich.  If we wanted to reduce access only for dangerous people, and only for knowledge that could be used for dangerous purposes, then price tags do the job badly.  The majority of people denied access have harmless or beneficial uses in mind, and for the rare terrorists who have harmful uses in mind, price is the least of their concerns.

You might think that no one would seriously argue that using prices to restrict access to knowledge would contribute to a country's national and economic security.  But a vice president of the Association of American Publishers made that argument in 2006.  He "rejected the idea that the government should mandate that taxpayer financed research should be open to the public, saying he could not see how it was in the national interest. 'Remember -- you're talking about free online access to the world,' he said. 'You are talking about making our competitive research available to foreign governments and corporations.' "


If we wanted to keep dangerous knowledge out of the hands of dangerous people while keeping it accessible to everyone else, and if we agree that prices don't do this job, then how could we do it?

That's the right question to ask in a calm moment.  If we could thread this needle, we could reduce harm without harmfully reducing the circulation of information and ideas.  If it would necessarily fail, because keeping terrorists uninformed necessarily keeps citizens uninformed, then'd have to reconsider.  

If we're willing to restrict knowledge for good people in order to restrict knowledge for bad people, at least when the risks of harm are sufficiently high, then we already have a classification system to do this, and the question is whether we run it properly.  On that question, we should reflect calmly on the relevant studies done after 9/11.

Meantime, let's take care not to mistake the OA connection.  First, even the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA), the strongest and widest OA legislation ever proposed in any country, would exempt classified research from its OA mandate.  

Second, if we decide to make a serious effort to restrict access to dangerous knowledge, then we should not allow it to be published even in the conventional (TA) sense.  The 9/11 attackers were well-funded and could easily afford to read pay-per-view research.  Allowing TA publication but stopping short of OA would not solve the security or dangerous-knowledge problem.  In this sense, the dangerous-knowledge problem is not a narrow OA problem.  It's a wider publishing or free-expression problem.  Open challenge:  name any kind of knowledge that would be safe to publish in a TA journal but unsafe to make OA.

We can be sensitive to danger and still want OA for all publishable knowledge, just as we can be sensitive to danger and think that the United States overreacted badly after 9/11 in restricting access to knowledge.  But will we remember this when we need to?

* Postscript.  Here are the earlier installments in this series.  

Reflections on 9/11 [two weeks later] (2001)

Reflections on 9/11, one year later (2002)

Reflections on 9/11, three years later (2004)

Reflections on 9/11, four years later (2005)

(I didn't write one in 2003 or in 2006-2010).


Scaling back the newsletter

This summer I started work on a major new initiative, tentatively called the Harvard Open Access Project (HOAP), to gather and extend Harvard's experience with OA and use it catalyze the growth of OA within Harvard and beyond.  It's all very new, and I'll say more about it in future issues.  I bring it up now for one reason:  To give HOAP the time it deserves, I must scale back this newsletter.

I'll make two major changes with a few minor consequences.  First, I'll write articles quarterly rather than monthly.  Second, I'll drop the roundup section completely, starting with this issue.  

Because the roundup section has been the largest part of the newsletter other than the article, I'll only publish a new issue when I publish an article.  Hence, the other sections of the newsletter (Five years ago, Ten years ago, and Coming) will also cut back from monthly to quarterly.  

* The article section

I may write more than one article per quarter if I have time, or I may miss a targeted issue if my load is too heavy.  But I'm reducing my own expectation from twelve articles/year (and twelve issues/year) to four.  I'm aiming for issues in March, June, September, and December.

* The roundup section

There are two reasons to drop the roundup section.  First, it's very time-consuming and my overriding need right now is to recapture some time.  Second, every item in the roundup section is already in the feed of the OA Tracking Project (OATP).  Those who want to stay on top of OA-related events can follow the OATP feed and miss nothing.  

I'll continue tagging new developments for OATP, at the same level at which I've been tagging since I launched OATP in 2009.  I'm only dropping the extra effort of selecting the most important items, organizing them into nine categories, and writing paraphrases or carving out representative quotations every month for the newsletter.  

I feel the way I did when I curtailed my blogging (July 2009) and then dropped the blog altogether (April 2010).  I may be dropping something of value, and the new system may not do what the old system did.  But the old system didn't scale, I must move on, and I'll continue to work full-time for OA.

If some of the value of the roundup section was its classification into subtopics, that will continue in OATP.  OATP supports subtopic tags, for example, "oa.mandates", "oa.norway", "oa.oa_week", "oa.philosophy", "oa.quality", "oa.repositories".  I always use them when I tag new developments, and I encourage other OATP taggers to use them as well.  The range of OATP tags is much wider than the nine categories I used for roundup, and OATP has the additional advantage that items can belong to every relevant category, not just one.  

If some of the value of roundup was its selectivity, that too will continue.  In selecting the most important items of the month for the newsletter, I emphasized "action and policy over scholarship and opinion."  Since January 2011 or so, I've tagged "roundup-worthy" items with "" and will continue to do so.

Here's the feed of all new OA-related developments (thanks to all participating OATP taggers, including yourself if you're willing).
--HTML version
--RSS version

Here's the subset of new OA-related developments I find "roundup-worthy".
--HTML version
--RSS version

I should add that OATP isn't merely a decent substitute for the roundup section of the newsletter.  It's more comprehensive than the SOAN roundup ever was, scales better with the rapid growth of OA, and is far more amenable to mashups with other tools and services.  Moreover, while I'm laying down the roundup section of the newsletter, one of my projects at Harvard is to improve OATP.  Toward the end of 2011 or start of 2012, I hope to launch a new platform for OATP which will make participation easier for taggers and more useful for readers.  The new version should support tagging platforms other than Connotea; reduce or eliminate duplicates and spam from the feed; make use of an ontology on the output side without giving up a folksonomy of user-defined tags on the input side; provide better searching and continuous, trouble-free uptime; and offer all these powerful features for tracking arbitrary topics, not just OA.  Stay tuned.

For more on OATP, see the project home page and FAQ.

* Other changes at SOAN and SOAF

By coincidence, a few other changes recently took effect at SOAN (the newsletter) and SOAF (the associated discussion forum, moderated since 2008 by Stacie Lemick).  Both moved from SPARC/ARL listservs to Google Groups.

If you were already subscribed to SOAN or SOAF, you're still subscribed.  To unsubscribe, just follow the instructions for unsubscribing from Google Groups.

Here are the key URLs for SOAN (SPARC Open Access Newsletter):

--the archive at my Earlham home page (complete)
--the SPARC/ARL archive (starting 3/28/01, ending 7/2/11)
--the Google archive (starting 8/2/11)
--RSS and Atom feeds (new for the Google version)
--Info on subscribing and unsubscribing (new for the Google version)

Here are the key URLs for SOAF (SPARC Open Access Forum):

--the TOPICA archive ("FOS Forum") (starting 6/12/01, ending 6/18/03)
--the SPARC/ARL archive (starting 6/18/03, ending 7/29/11)
--the Google archive (starting 8/1/11)
--RSS and Atom feeds (new for the Google version)
--Info on subscribing and unsubscribing (new for the Google version)
--Email address for posting messages (same for SPARC/ARL and Google versions)


Five years ago in SOAN

SOAN for September 2, 2006

* The lead essay in that issue:  "Nine questions for hybrid journal programs"

Excerpt:  "(1) Does the journal let participating authors retain copyright? ...(2) Does the journal use an OA-friendly license, like those from Creative Commons? ...(3) Does the journal automatically deposit participating articles in an OA repository independent of the publisher?  Does it allow the author to do so? ...(4) Does the journal waive fees in cases of economic hardship? ...(5) Does the journal promise to reduce the subscription price in proportion to author uptake? ...(6) If authors have a prior obligation to their funding agency to provide OA to their peer-reviewed manuscript, does the journal let them comply without choosing the new OA option and paying the associated fee? ...(7) If the journal previously allowed author self-archiving without an embargo, does it still allow it for authors who do not choose the new OA option? ...(8) For participating authors, do the OA publication fees cover page and color charges or are the latter laid on top of the former? ...(9) Is the fee high or low? ..."

Update:  If I rewrote this essay today, I'd add two more questions:  (10) Is the OA edition the same as the published edition?  (11) When authors choose the OA option, do the OA articles meet all the conditions promised by the publisher or do they ("inadvertently") sit behind pay-per-view screens or carry all-rights-reserved copyright notices?

* From the other top stories in that issue:

"Three institutions adopt OA mandates."

Excerpt:  "It's astonishing that we now live in an era when new OA mandates are announced every month.  In August there were three.  The biggest is from the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), making NERC the fourth of the eight Research Councils to require its grantees to deposit the results of their research in an OA repository....Stockholm University adopted the policy that faculty shall ("as far as possible") deposit copies of their peer-reviewed articles in the institution's OA repository....The University of Tasmania School of Computing adopted a policy mandating "that all refereed publications in conferences, journals and books, be deposited in the School/University repository."...Stockholm and Tasmania are the seventh and eighth universities (or university departments) that mandate OA to their research output...."

"More provosts support FRPAA and OA."

Excerpt:  "Last month I wrote about the open letter endorsing FRPAA [Federal Research Public Access Act] signed by 25 university provosts.  This month the Greater Western Library Alliance (GWLA) organized a second letter for provosts of GWLA institutions, garnering 22 signatures.  SPARC has created a web site to collect all the provosts from both letters and any new ones willing to go public....Since the site went live, the SPARC list has elicited 13 new signatures, for a total of 60 --and counting...."

"BMC launches OA Central and Chemistry Central."

Excerpt:  "BioMed Central's parent company, the Science Navigation Group, launched Chemistry Central, its first project beyond biomedicine.  At the same time it announced plans for PhysMath Central.  A new umbrella organization, Open Access Central, will coordinate the growing family of disciplinary projects...."

"CERN plans to convert particle physics journals to OA."

Excerpt:  "CERN is putting together a coalition of funding agencies, laboratories, libraries, and scientists to convert willing journals in the field of particle physics to OA.  The plan is to raise the money to pay reasonable processing fees for every article in participating journals.  The journals could drop subscriptions, go full OA, and charge neither readers nor authors.  This is the first time that any organization has tried to convert all the TA journals in a field to OA...."

"Avian flu data will be OA."

Excerpt:  "Until August, things didn't look good for using OA to accelerate avian flu research.  Most national labs conducting avian flu research deposited their data in limited-access databases, deliberately erecting access barriers in order to prevent agricultural boycotts and help their researchers scoop researchers elsewhere.  There were scattered individual scientists depositing their data in OA repositories and scattered calls for other scientists to join them.  Serious change began in August.  First Indonesia announced that it would stop hoarding and start sharing its avian flu data with scientists worldwide.  Then Peter Bogner, Ilaria Capua, Nancy Cox, and David Lipman launched the Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data (GISAID), a project to provide OA to avian flu data, and published an open letter in Nature calling on all flu scientists to participate in it.  GISAID is getting good press and seems to be making progress.  The latest development is a counter-intuitive but promising plan for developing countries to patent local flu strains, provide OA to their flu data without limit or favoritism, and use their patents to negotiate royalties or discounts on any medicines developed from them...."

"The Google Library project make progress on two fronts."

Excerpt:  "There were two big stories for the Google Library project in August.  The first was that the University of California joined the program, letting Google scan books from its 100 libraries.  We don't know how many UC books Google might scan, but at 34 million volumes the UC collection is the largest academic library system in the world.  UC is the first Google partner to join the program since some publishers and author sued to stop it (UC says the program is lawful), the first partner that is already working with the Open Content Alliance (UC will continue to work with both), and the first to say that it may negotiate for a cut of Google's revenue.  The UC deal was criticized by some friends of OA, including Brewster Kahle at the OCA, who said, "Having a public institution decide to go with Google’s restrictions doesn't help the idea of libraries being open in the future."  Which leads to the second development:  Google has lifted the two most onerous restrictions on the public-domain books it has scanned.  Users may now print and download them.  Google's Library project has lagged significantly behind the Open Content Alliance in barrier-free access to the resulting texts, but is now catching up.  Note that we're not only seeing competition to scan more books, but competition to remove access barriers to them...."


Ten years ago in SOAN

Ten years ago, SOAN was called FOSN (Free Online Scholarship Newsletter) and came out several times a month.  Here are excerpts from four issues 10 years ago this month.

* FOSN for August 23, 2001

Excerpt:  "Ellen Roche was a healthy 24 year old lab technician at the Johns Hopkins Asthma Center.  She volunteered to take part in an experiment to understand the natural defenses of healthy people against asthma.  Roche was part of a group that inhaled hexamethonium, a drug which induced a mild asthma attack....Within 24 hours of inhaling the drug, Roche had lost one-third of her lung capacity.  Within a month she was dead.  The consent form she signed warned of coughing, dizziness, and tightness in the chest, but not death.  It called hexamethonium a "medication" although its approval by the FDA...had been withdrawn in 1972.  Here's the FOS [OA] connection:  Dr. Alkis Togias, the director of the experiment, apparently limited his hexamethonium research to one contemporary textbook and PubMed....Several articles published in print journals during the 1950's showed that hexamethonium could cause fatal lung inflammation.  Unfortunately, PubMed's coverage starts in the mid-1960's.  When the FDA withdrew its approval of hexamethonium in 1972, it cited the drug's "substantial potential toxicity".  Unfortunately, PubMed covers medical research, not FDA rulings...."

* FOSN for August 31, 2001

Excerpt:  "Remember that the PLoS deadline is tomorrow, September 1....[S]tarting tomorrow, the 26,000+ worldwide signers of its public letter are committed to avoiding journals which do not put their contents online free of charge within six months of print publication.  In a letter sent out today (which I've forwarded to our discussion forum), the original eight signers point out that there are more signers producing research articles than compliant journals to publish them.  The number of PLoS-compliant journals is about six....Hence it appears that one PLoS strategy for moving forward will be to encourage the development of new (free online) journals.  This will be the real breakthrough....As new FOS journals come online, publishing good articles in good numbers, and charging no subscription fees, I wonder how long it will take for the number of PLoS compliant journals to rise from six to six hundred."  

Update:  When I checked the DOAJ August 6, 2011, it listed more than six thousand (nearly seven thousand) peer-reviewed OA journals.

* FOSN for September 6, 2001

Excerpt:  "How does BMC pay its costs so that readers don't have to?  One source of revenue is the non-research literature in its affiliated journals.  Another source is advertising.  In the future BMC may offer alert services and peer recommendations.  If it does, then it will charge for them.  However, the most interesting and controversial source of revenue will be author fees.  Jan defended the idea in a June 13 opinion piece published at his site (and described in the July 3 FOSN).  But BMC has not yet adopted the policy, and will not do so until 2002 at the earliest.  The idea is to charge authors about $500 per article.  Jan estimates that this will cover the full cost of electronic publication (peer review, mark-up, hosting, and preservation).  He also estimates that it is roughly one-tenth the cost of print publication, at least in the STM fields.  The fee would be waived for authors from developing countries and in some other circumstances.  I have some thoughts about author fees and welcome yours; see the next item, below.  Meantime, we must admit that making literature freely available to users is not free for publishers, and that author fees can generate the revenue needed to bear these costs.  Moreover, BMC will set the fee at the actual cost (taking into account the cost of waivers) so that it is not more burdensome than it has to be.  Finally, at least in the case of BMC, the fees will be levied in fields where most research is funded and authors might be able to pay the fee with soft money...."

* FOSN for September 14, 2001

Excerpt:  "There are certain images from Tuesday [September 11, 2001] that I will never get out of my head....Working for free online scholarship can support open societies that will not threaten others even if they are intrinsically open to attack by others.  But unfortunately the connection is remote and indirect....So getting back to work for us does little to prevent future attacks or help the victims of this one.  We should take care of first things first, but then we should get back to work.  The consolation is that when life returns to normal, it will be enriched by what we do, and doing it despite the strife around us is a way of making peace....We should not confuse free as unpriced with free as uncensored.  Open societies can put a price on literature more consistently than they can silence it....It already seems that one response to the attacks on New York and Washington will be the kind of diminution of liberty that facilitates law enforcement, for example, more airport searches, more sidewalk face scanning, more email eavesdropping, less strong encryption.  If so, then the U.S. will become a less open society.  But it will not on that account alone become less open with its scholarship.  So above all, let's not oversimplify.  Open societies do not guarantee open scholarship, and open scholarship does not guarantee open societies.  Within limits, each can take its lumps without the other suffering.  However, each is an important support, in a complex web of support, for the other.  Hence, they tend to thrive or suffer together.  Unfortunately, seeing them both compromised and limited is more common than seeing both thrive.  This is a reason for special vigilance in the months to come...."



In the August issue I said that Boston University launched an OA journal fund.  I should have said that the fund was launched by Bournemouth University.  (Thanks to Laura Bowering Mullen.)

In the August issue, I quoted an announcement from the Wikimedia Foundation saying that Daniel Mietchen received a grant from the Open Knowledge Foundation to become the first Wikimedian in Residence on Open Science with a focus on OA. The grant was from the Open Society Foundations, not the Open Knowledge Foundation, but the Open Knowledge Foundation will host the grant. (The Wikimedia Foundation has since corrected its announcement as well.)


Coming this quarter

Here are some important OA-related events coming up in the next three months.

* September 1, 2011.  Initial submissions due for the Beta Sprint of the Digital Public Library of America.

* September 1, 2011.  The OA mandate at the UK Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) takes effect.

* September 1, 2011.  University-wide OA mandate takes effect at Birkbeck College, University of London.

* September 9, 2011.  Deadline for submissions to the European Commission public consultation "on access scientific information...."

* October 4, 2011.  Deadline for applying for funds from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) to launch a new OA journal or convert a TA journal to OA.

* November 8, 2011.  Deadline to sign the Berlin Declaration on Open Access before the Berlin 9 Conference in Washington DC.

* OA-related conferences in September 2011

* OA-related conferences in October 2011

* OA-related conferences in November 2011

* Other OA-related conferences


This is the SPARC Open Access Newsletter (ISSN 1546-7821), written by Peter Suber and published by SPARC.  The views I express in this newsletter are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of SPARC or other sponsors.

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