Notes from the web: Proposed NSF Repository, and Open Textbook act

Just a few quick points of interest from the web about developments in the US which are worth noting:

A new subject repository and OA mandate?

“In addition to the $20 million grant announced today, the Libraries received a $300,000 grant from NSF to study the feasibility of developing, operating and sustaining an open access repository of articles from NSF-sponsored research. Libraries staff will work with colleagues from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), and the University of Michigan Libraries to explore the potential for the development of a repository (or set of repositories) similar to PubMedCentral, the open-access repository that features articles from NIH-sponsored research. This grant for the feasibility study will allow Choudhury’s group to evaluate how to integrate activities under the framework of the Data Conservancy and will result in a set of recommendations for NSF regarding an open access repository.” (http://releases.jhu.edu/2009/10/02/sheridan-libraries-awarded-20-million-grant/)

(via Glynn Moody URL12124123431 and Open Education News http://openeducationnews.org/2009/10/06/nsf-considering-repository/).

This is great news! if as a result of the feasability study all publications which result from NSF funding need to have, at least Green OA, licences – this will significantly impact OA in the Sciences.

This comes in the same week as US Senator Durbin has introduced a bill proposing funding for the creation and sustained development of open textbooks. As David Wiley notes the bill also includes a clause realting to federally funded materials

“In General- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, educational materials such as curricula and textbooks created through grants distributed by Federal agencies, including the National Science Foundation, for use in elementary, secondary, or postsecondary courses shall be licensed under an open license.” http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=s111-1714

(via David Wiley http://opencontent.org/blog/archives/1103 and Open Education News http://openeducationnews.org/2009/10/01/the-open-college-textbook-act/)

I’m not sure what the odds are of this bill being passed, but alongside all the federal data being released and made openly available there is a definite shift in US goverment policy towards a position that if the public money pays for something the public should have as much access to it as is reasonable.

More than this, if educational resources produced in relation to NSF funding do end up having open licences we’re going to end up with a lot more OERs and a lot more (US) institutions having to take a serious look at how they manage their learning materials.

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