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Scholarly Communication & Related Issues: Scholarly Communications History

Scholarly communication is the life-blood of the university’s teaching and research mission. Issues of copyright, intellectual property rights, and the long-term preservation of digital assets are posing new challenges to faculty, schools, & librarians.

Association of Research Libraries (ARL)

ARL has a long history with monitoring and leading the discussion of Scholarly Communications.  Several major programs were initiated to handle the debates that followed:


Selective Timeline of the Open Access Movement


*For the complete "Timeline of the Open Access Movement" please refer to Peter Suber, Open- Access Timeline (formerly: FOS Timeline).*

  • 1991 - Carrigan, Dennis P. (1991) Publish or Perish: The Troubled State of Scholarly Communication. Scholarly Publishing 22 (3): 131-142
  • 1992 - Cummings, Anthony M., et al. (1992) University Libraries and Scholarly Communication: A Study Prepared for the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Washington: Association of Research Libraries for the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
  • 1993 - CERN announced that it was putting the basic web software into the public domain, relinquishing all intellectual property rights to it, and granting permission for all to "use, duplicate, modify and redistribute" it without charge. The signatures on this historic document are W. Hoogland, Director of Research, and H. Weber, Director of Administration.
  • 1993 - CERN launched its preprint server.
  • 1994 - Digital Libraries Initiative launched by the National Science Foundation and other U.S. federal agencies.
  • 1994 - HighWire Press launched by the Stanford University Libraries (fall or winter).
  • 1994 - The National Academies Press started the practice of creating free online full-text editions of all its priced, printed books, and documenting that the former help sell the latter.
  • 1995 - HighWire Press announced its first hosted or co-published journal, the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
  • 1998 - The National Electronic Article Repository (NEAR) proposed by David Shulenburger.
  • 1998 - Michael Rosenzweig and the rest of his editorial board resigned from Evolutionary Ecology in order to create Evolutionary Ecology Research.
  • 1999 - BioMed Central announced plan to offer free online access to all its journals.
  • 1999 - Declaration on Science and the Use of Scientific Knowledge issued by the UNESCO-ICSU World Conference on Science.
  • 2000 - Tempe Principles for Emerging Systems of Scholarly Publishing issued.
  • 2000 - Collection of Open Digital Archives (CODA) launched by the CalTech Library System. (Named "Caltech CODA" in September 2002)
  • 2001 - Wikipedia launched by Jimmy Wales.
  • 2002 - BioMed Central started charging processing fees to cover the costs of free online access.
  • 2002 - HINARI started delivering free online content.
  • 2002 - Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) launched by the Open Society Institute.
  • 2002 - OAlster launched by the University of Michigan Libraries Digital Library Production Services.
  • 2002 - Project RoMEO (Rights MEtadata for Open archiving) launched by JIC-FAIR.
  • 2002 - Project SHERPA (Securing a Hybrid Environment for Research Preservation and Access) launched by JISC-FAIR.
  • 2002 - Over 300 University of California Press books are made freely available online as eScholarship Editions, through a partnership with the eScholarship initiative of the California Digital Library.
  • 2002 - MIT released DSpace, its OAI-compliant open-source software for archiving eprints and other academic content.
  • 2002 - The Public Library of Science received a $9 million grant from the Moore Foundation for open-access publishing and announced its first two open-access journals.
  • 2003 - The Directory of Open Access Journals launched by Lund University with funding from the Open Society Institute and SPARC. (First announced February 14, 2003, but not officially launched until May 12.) 
  • 2003 - The Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing is released. 
  • 2003 - The Medical Library Association issued its Statement on Open Access. 
  • 2003 - PubMed Central became OAI-compliant .
  • 2003 - The Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities was released by the Max Planck Society and European Cultural Heritage Online. (SOAN for 11/2/03.)
  • 2003 - The UN World Summit on the Information Society approved a Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action that contained explicit, if brief, endorsements of open access to scientific information.
  • 2004 - Elsevier announced its new policy permitting authors to post the final editions of their full-text Elsevier articles to their personal web sites or institutional repositories. The policy was officially announced on June 3 but first publicized on May 27. (See SOAN for 6/2/04 and 7/2/04.)
  • 2004 - Springer launched its Open Choice hybrid journal program.
  • 2004 - Google officially launched Google Print, which eventually differentiated into the Google Publisher program (book scanning with the consent of publishers) and the Google Library program (book scanning with the consent of libraries and not necessarily the consent of publishers). Prior to the official launch, the beta was publicly revealed as early as December 2003.
  • 2005 - Creative Commons officially launched Science Commons.
  • 2005 - SPARC officially launched its Author's Addendum to help authors modify publishing contracts and retain the rights they need to authorize open access.
  • 2006 - The Public Library of Science (PLoS) officially launched PLoS ONE.
  • 2007 - Science Commons released its protocol for implementing open access data.
  • 2008 - Congress passed, and the President signed, a spending bill mandating OA to research funded by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).



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