News from the open access movementJump to navigation
EContent has an unsigned note on the CrossRef-Google deal in its April 30 issue, CrossRef Launches Google-powered CrossRef Search. Excerpt: "CrossRef has announced a new initiative that is intended to enable users to search the full text of peer-reviewed journal articles, conference proceedings, and other resources covering scholarly research from nine publishers. Called CrossRef Search, this new pilot program uses the collaborative environment of CrossRef, the reference-linking service for scholarly publishing, and Google search technologies. CrossRef Search is available for free to users on the Web sites of participating publishers, and encompasses current journal issues as well as back files....CrossRef works behind the scenes with Google to facilitate the crawling of content on publishers' sites and sets the policies and guidelines governing publisher participation in the initiative. As well as enabling CrossRef Search, the partnership with Google also means that full-text content from the publishers is also referenced by the main Google.com index in its more general searches."
Toni Feder, US Government Backs Off From Imposing Restrictions on Publishers, Physics Today, May 2004. Excerpt: "The federal government has eased restrictions on editing manuscripts from countries under US trade embargoes, but some publishers remain wary that the narrowness of the 2 April ruling leaves them vulnerable to improper regulation and prosecution."
Wendy Grossman, Can we? May we? Will we? The Inquirer, April 30, 2004. The title questions refer to the prospect that we will digitize all human knowledge, store it online forever, and make it openly accessible. Grossman sketches the vision of Brewster Kahle. Excerpt: "One reason I'm not [willing to pay for copyright permissions] is philosophical: I believe that archiving open access to our cultural history is important. The kind of fine-grained charging this idea would represent is, I believe, destructive. Creators are net consumers of intellectual property. If you drive research costs through the roof, few will be able to afford to create anything new --and those who are will be funded by large media companies. It will be impossible to survive as an independent."
The new issue of The Electronic Library (vol. 22, no. 2) is now online. Here are the OA-related articles. Only abstracts are free online, at least so far.
Mark Walport, The paperless revolution in knowledge, Financial Times, April 30, 2004. The director of the Wellcome Trust summarizes its new report on open-access publishing. Excerpt: "Another issue is that once copyright is surrendered, anyone wanting to look at that research in the future, including the researchers and the body that funded them, must pay whether they read the paper journals or access them online. Thus, the Wellcome Trust, which funds £400m of research a year, is denied opportunities to disseminate the results of studies it funds. The National Health Service is a big funder of medical research. Some 90 per cent of the findings are published on the internet but the NHS must pay subscriptions to journals to read many of the results. The taxpayer paid for the research and will pay again for researchers to use it. There is an alternative: an extra 1 per cent of the research grant could be passed to the researchers who would use it to pay for their work to be published on online peer-reviewed journals that are freely available to anyone. It retains all the essential peer-review quality control of the old system but maximises the availability of research results....A report launched today by the Wellcome Trust, available to everyone at www.wellcome.ac.uk/publications shows that publishing a paper in the traditional way costs between £800 and £1,500. Under open access, the cost is £550 to £1,100. The report shows this is an efficient, affordable and high quality model sustainable for the long term."
On April 23, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) opened the Marian Koshland Science Museum, a meatspace museum in Washington DC with a first-rate web site. Exhibits are based on research from NAS research reports and include links to OA texts and data. Also see Jacqueline Trescott's story in the April 23 Washington Post, Koshland Museum Takes Science Out Of the Textbook and Slashdot discussion, New Science Museum --Now With Real Science!. (Thanks to Matt Cockerill.)
Robin Cover, Delivering Classics Resources with TEI-XML, Open Source, and Creative Commons Licenses, Cover Pages, April 28, 2004. A snapshot of OA initiatives in the field of classics, focusing on the April 2004 "Cultural Informatics" issue of the OA journal, Classics@, published by Harvard's Center for Hellenic Studies. (Thanks to Ross Scaife.)
Katie Mantell, Open access 'can cut costs by up to 30 per cent', SciDev.Net, April 30, 2004. A short summary of the new Wellcome Trust report. Excerpt: "Making scientific research freely available on the Internet could cut publishing costs by as much as 30 per cent without lowering publication standards, according to a new report by the Wellcome Trust, the United Kingdom's leading biomedical research charity....A payment of US$1,950 per research paper published would be sufficient to support a high quality and sustainable publishing model, it says. This, it adds, compares to an average of US$2,660 to publish a paper under the traditional system, in which readers pay for accessing research through their subscriptions to scientific journals....'The evidence presented [in the report] appears to contradict a lot of the figures quoted by commercial publishers and leaves me asking the question --how much profit should be made in publishing scientific research, which holds a potential benefit to us all, and which was funded by the public purse,' says Mark Walport, director of the Wellcome Trust."
Johan Steenbakkers, Treasuring the Digital Records of Science: Archiving E-Journals at the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, RLG DigiNews, April 2004. Excerpt: "In the Netherlands, Dutch universities, the KB, and three other academic institutions co-operate with the SURF Foundation (the foundation for the national science data network) in project DARE (Digital Academic Repositories). The aim of DARE is to create an infrastructure of institutional repositories that will enable digital recording services, access, storage, and distribution of the Dutch academic output. The DARE infrastructure will closely interface with the e-Depot so that the published electronic academic output will be archived and preserved for the long term. Specific procedures and technological solutions will be developed, including provisions for return delivery, from the e-Depot to the repositories, of a copy of the original e-publication or a preserved and accessible copy."
On April 7, a group of universities and K-12 schools launched the CampusEAI Consortium to develop and share digital content for educators, including open-source software and open-access music, movies, television, and curricular materials. Nothing at the web site or in the press release explains what "EAI" stands for. (Thanks to the ITRU Update.)
Dror Feitelson and Uri Yovel, Predictive ranking of computer scientists using CiteSeer data, Journal of Documentation, 60, 1 (2004) pp. 44-61. Only this abstract is free online: "The increasing availability of digital libraries with cross-citation data on the Internet enables new studies in bibliometrics. The paper focuses on the list of 10,000 top-cited authors in computer science available as part of CiteSeer. Using data from several consecutive lists a model of how authors accrue citations with time is constructed. By comparing the rate at which individual authors accrue citations with the average rate, predictions are made of how their ranking in the list will change in the future." (Thanks to Erik Arfeuille.)
Johns Hopkins University has a Scholarly Communications Group (mainly of university librarians) and they have set up a concise and navigable resource on scholarly publishing issues, including resources for authors, a listing of university policies (both at JHU and other institutions) and organizations that help, a catalog of alternative publishing models, a bibliography, and a news page. (Source: Susan Payne via Info Career Trends)
Miriam A. Drake, Institutional Repositories: Hidden Treasures, Searcher (May 2004). Drake offers a thorough evaluation of the range and kinds of academic institutional repositories. She covers repositories' archival functions, models and standards such as the open archives initiative, kinds of repositories such as DSpace and California's escholarship program, as well as software such as EPrints. The author also digs into questions of how repositories can be used by faculty and researchers, policy questions, legal issues such as copyright, collaboration with other insitutions and funding. One section, "Effect on Publishing," speaks to the complementary roles of repositories and open access:
Institutional repositories and the open access movement will affect the publishing business. Each day, it becomes clearer and clearer that academic institutions, corporations, and other organizations will no longer pay the prices charged by scholarly publishers. Players in the open access movement and builders of repositories have reacted to high journal prices by beginning plans to disaggregate the structure of scholarly publishing, to eliminate or curtail the distance between author and reader, to disintermediate.
Oxford University Press announces a new open access journal, Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, co-published with INMPRC (Ishikawa Natural Medicinal Products Research Center.) Due to financial support from the latter, there will be no author charges. (Source: George Porter, SPARC Open Access Forum)
Peter Griffin, Writer gambles by giving away novel on net, the New Zealand Herald, April 30, 2004. Another writer experiments with offering free downloads. Unlike Lessig, whose book has to do with offering free content, this one is an action novel (no CC license, either). A news article reports on Matthew Reilly and his latest novel Hover Car Racer, "a thriller that is being published in eight online instalments, two of which have so far been released." Reilly's publisher cites him as the first mainstream author to openly publish one of his works in this format. "I'm trying to get to those people who don't go into bookstores. People in the office who are online all day. It's really to reach out beyond my existing readers," the article quotes Reilly. The book is being supported by commercial sponsorship, particularly from Canon. Furthermore, Reilly remarks: "I'm encouraging people to forward it on. For every one book I sell, I reckon four people read it. If you show some goodwill the market will come back and buy the books." The writer also said he was not dissuaded by Stephen King's 200 e-book experience, where the celebrated writer abandoned the installment project when people stopped paying for it. (Source: Techdirt)
Costs and Business Models in Scientific Research Publishing. The Wellcome Trust commissioned and today announced the publication of a new study probing publishing costs of scientific journals, both those with subscription models and OA author-pay models. The press release states open access models could be cheaper by as much as 30 per cent and that OA is "economically viable" and "sustainable". "The report suggests that a £1100 payment by the author would allow a workable, high quality and sustainable publishing model. This compares to an average of £1500 to publish a paper under the traditional system." This is yet another huge show of support from a major research funding body. (Source: Robert Terry, Wellcome Trust, posting to American Scientist Open Access Forum)
Thomas D. Sullivan, Practicing the Liberty He Preaches, New York Times, April 29, 2004. (Requires free registration.) Another angle and an update on Lawrence Lessig's and Penguin's experience making the professor's Free Culture available as a free download. Sullivan reports "21 editions of the free digital version have been created." Some other numbers are cited:
Penguin said the book sold out its first printing, but the company would not disclose specific numbers....Online, meanwhile, Mr. Lessig said yesterday that he could account for around 65,000 downloads from www .free-culture.org and related sites, and 1,700 from www.legaltorrents .com, a site dedicated to free downloading. "But of course, that's an underestimate,'' he said, "as the text is echoed in other places." Penguin said the book had been downloaded 100,000 times by April 19 at Amazon .com; Amazon would not disclose sales or downloading figures.
Suhail Doi, Re: Open access publishing - Panacea or Trojan horse, Medical Science Monitor 10(4), LE3-LE4 (April 2004). (Free download with registration.) Doi responds to an earlier editorial (see posting from 2/3/04) with harsh words for existing open access models. He calls the BOAI "ridiculous," and says that author-payment models create "reverse restricted access... What this means is that control over what is published will shift from the consumers of research information to the sponsors of research. We now enter a generation of political and junk science publications simply because money determines what appears online." Doi also questions the longevity and sustainability of OA journals, claiming that "roughly half have disappeared;" but to support this statistic, he quotes a five-year old dissertation, which predates BioMed Central and other OA initiatives. The writer pooh-poohs self-archiving, calling it a "symptomatic solution" and not a real answer to costly scholarly publishing. "... What will prevent the 'library serials crisis' from becoming the 'authors publishing crisis," he asks, noting that scholars foot the bill both in the commercial and OA systems. Towards any solution to the question, Doi asks that it be "NOT researcher funded at all," and would advocate some sort of embargoed access, restricted for one year a la the DC Principles.
Dan Milmo, Reed expects US recovery to lift business division, The Guardian, April 29, 2004. At a shareholders' meeting yesterday, Elsevier executives projected rising revenues in their trade publications division, due to anticipated economic improvement in the US, among other factors. The article also reports: " Reed said subscription renewals at its largest division, science and medical, were strong despite pressure on academic library budgets. The group has brushed off the threat of open access publishing, where academic institutions and companies do not have to pay to download journals from the internet."
CrossRef and Google have announced a partnership that allows Google to search the full texts of peer-reviewed research articles. The service is free of charge and includes current and back issues from participating publishers. From today's press release: "CrossRef Search is available to all users, free of charge, on the websites of participating publishers, and encompasses current journal issues as well as back files. The results are delivered from the regular Google index but filter out everything except the participating publishers' content, and will link to the content on publishers' websites via DOIs (Digital Object Identifiers) or regular URLs. CrossRef itself doesn't host any content or perform searches - CrossRef works behind the scenes with Google to facilitate the crawling of content on publishers' sites and sets the policies and guidelines governing publisher participation in the initiative. As well as enabling CrossRef Search, the partnership with Google also means that full-text content from the publishers is also referenced by the main Google.com index in its more general searches." Participating publishers so far include the American Physical Society, the ACM, Blackwell, Institute of Physics, Nature Publishing Group, Oxford, and Wiley.
The May 2004 issue of Nature Neuroscience features a special section, Scaling up Neuroscience. With sponsorship from the National Institutes of Health, the articles on data collection, sharing, informatics and databases in the neurosciences are freely available. A series of overviews covers issues surrounding molecular, proteomic and neuroimaging data, while several shorter pieces focus on specific databases. Overall, questions of making data available to a larger research communities and providing the informational infrastructure to make use of it are recurrent themes in this issue.
If you go to UlrichsWeb.com, the standard online journal index from Bowker, you'll notice that it now supports open-access journals in two ways. First, an option on the advanced search page lets you limit searches to OA journals. Second, in regular searches, a special icon appears next to OA journals. Unfortunately you can't test either feature unless you are a paying subscriber. From the press release: "Leading the enhancement release is the debut of Open Access Journals to ulrichsweb.com. Ulrichsweb.com now contains a new "Open Access" search field by which users can search for any publication that is available via open access. Open Access publishing is a fast-growing trend that brings academic and scholarly research - much of it peer-reviewed - directly to anyone with an Internet connection. Open Access Journals (OAJ) from SPARC, PLoS, Biomed Central, the Directory of Open Access Journals and other sources are now included in ulrichsweb.com....'The number of Open Access Journals published worldwide is growing by the week. Bowker has taken a bold step to support this new open access publishing movement by showcasing Open Access Journals in the newly enhanced ulrichsweb.com service,' said Boe Horton, vice-president and general manager, library division of New Providence, N.J.-based R.R. Bowker. 'This is an extraordinary and truly global movement in the academic publishing world, with Open Access Journals being produced in fields from Agriculture to Zoology and in countries from Australia to Russia.' " (Thanks to Jan Velterop.)
Open Clip Art Project: Open Source Graphics for the Masses. A group has launched an initiative to compile an open clip art archive, which can be browsed at the site. Instructions for submitting graphics to the site are included, along with public domain guidelines furnished by Creative Commons. (Source: Creative Commons weblog)
Australian Journals OnLine (AJOL): The National Library's Database of Australian electronic journals. The Australian National Library maintains a searchable and browsable database of Australian electronic journals, some of which are published by societies, academic departments, government organizations and independent publishers. Some are open access, while others include a selection of articles for free (e.g. Australian Journal of Organic Chemistry). Many links do not work, however, which makes one wonder about the site's currency. Also includes a separate directory of Australian newspapers. (Source: ResearchBuzz)
Scholarly Publishing at the Crossroads will be held at Brandeis University on May 4, 2004 from 9 AM - 12 PM. Panelists include Emilie Marcus, Editor, Cell, and Executive Editor, Cell Press; Peter Newmark, Editorial Director, BioMed Central; Vivian Siegel, Executive Director, Public Library of Science; and Margaret Reich, Director of Publications and Executive Editor, American Physiological Society. They will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of traditional and open access modes of publishing, particularly with respect to university users. (Source: Beth Brainard, Harvard College Library)
Medical research, the media and open access, CMAJ 170(9), 1365 (April 27, 2004). One of the questions regarding OA to medical information is how that information gets translated or misintrepreted by the press and public (and if such is the case, then why allow open access to the source publication so that the public may be even more confused, skeptics may argue.) While exploring these questions in their current issue, CMAJ also points to data that signify: "Online publication brings a different readership, and a wider authorship." The journal's editors argue that such wider participation in the journal's findings points to a sustainable model. Thus, they conclude, "the Internet has given us greater visibility, permitting us to form electronic relationships with new readers, authors and contributors, all of whom have strengthened the publication. We plan to continue under the banner of "Free Access" both to users and contributors."
Alison McCook, Open access journals rank well, The Scientist, April 27, 2004. Responses to the ISI report. Quoting James Pringle, Thomson ISI's VP for Development in Academic and Government Markets: The report contains "good news to all sides of the [OA] debate". Jan Velterop and I argued that the news is good for OA journals and that their impact factors will grow over time as they become even better established. Jan also argued that the data show that OA and conventional journals are "indistinguishable, from a quality point of view", contrary to allegations from some major commercial publishers.
The House of Commons has posted the uncorrected transcript from the April 21 session of oral evidence. The witnesses on this transcript are Lynne Brindley (British Library), Peter Fox (Cambridge University Library), Frederick Friend (JISC and University College London), Di Martin (University of Hertfordshire), Jane Carr (Authors' Licensing & Collecting Society), James Crabbe (Animal and Microbial Sciences, University of Reading), Nigel Hitchin (Mathematics, Oxford), D.F. Williams (Tissue Engineering, University of Liverpool), John Fry (Microbial Ecology, Cardiff University), and David Williams (Tissue Engineering, University of Liverpool). "Any public use of, or reference to, the contents should make clear that neither witnesses nor Members have had the opportunity to correct the record. The transcript is not yet an approved formal record of these proceedings."
Alix Cody, Google, colleges team up to provide research tools, The Dartmouth Online, April 27, 2004. Dartmouth is about to adopt a DSpace institutional repository and participate in the Google harvesting project. Not much detail here about either one.
When I first blogged Chris Awre's article from the April issue of Learned Publishing, The JISC's FAIR Programme: disclosing and sharing institutional assets, it was only accessible to subscribers. But he has now created an OA edition by depositing it in E-LIS. Thanks to Chris for doing so and to LP for granting permission. (PS: This is another example of an author of an article about OA providing OA to the article by following the steps I recommend in my call to authors. I'm very glad to see the call working as intended. To save time and space in the future, however, I'll probably just add the new URL to the original blog posting rather than write a new posting about the OA edition.)
Jennifer L. Holberg and Marcy Taylor, Getting the Profession We Want, or A Few Thoughts on the Crisis in Scholarly Publishing, Pedagogy 4(1), 1-7 (2004). (Access restricted to subscribers.) The editors of Pedagogy explore the economics of the scholarly monograph, a condition of tenure for many academic departments. As library book budgets are increasingly constrained by the rising costs of books and especially journals, university presses and would-be authors have suffered. Holberg and Taylor review much of the discussion around this issue, highlighting suggestions that academics focus on the scholarly article rather than the monograph. One of the problems, they point out, is "it is naive to see the journals market as more secure than the book market....Electronic publication is not, as many seem to believe, free or even cheaper than traditional publication. In fact, it is just as expensive as print publication ...since by far the largest costs in producing a journal are editorial." They remark also that institutions are cancelling journals at a rapid rate, or purchasing them through aggregators who pay less to the university presses. The authors do not mention open access publishing; rather, they speculate on potential solutions such as changing the standards for tenure, more emphasis on teaching and development of educational materials and increased valuation of scholarly editing and reviewing. (Source: Chronicle of Higher Education Daily Update)
Nicholas G. Tomaiuolo, The Web Library (Medford, N.J.: Information Today, 2004). $29.95. Tomaiuolo, a reference librarian at Central Connecticut State University, compiles an impressive collection of resources that are freely available on the web. Frequently he qualifies this description, showing that a free resource may be incomplete or be frustrating to use (such as FindArticles.com, which provides access to thousands of scholarly and popular articles, but offers little flexibility to the searcher.) Throughout the book, the author documents how a savvy user can save costs on subscriptions and monographs and have access to a wide range of periodicals, preprint servers, electronic books, news sources, reference books, archival materials and images; where there are toll resources, Tomaiuolo shows what one can expect to get for one's money. The book doesn't discuss open access as such; however, Tomaiuolo has an interesting section on scientific literature in particular, stating: "There is probably no category of periodical literature generally more expensive to access then the scientific, technical and medical (STM) literature. Ironically, there is probably no greater need for inexpensive access to a category of literature than STM. In order to promote health, treat diseases, and make informed research, administrative and clinical decisions, medical researchers generally agree that the dissemination of this literature should be rapid and free." (p.53) The author goes on to summarize initiatives such as publishers' extending access to developing countries, the growth and variety of preprint servers and tools such as the Cross Archive Searching Service. Furthermore, he maintains a web page linking to all the resources that he cites and providing updates with new material or a focus on a particular topic. So while one is waiting for more of the literature to become open access, one can take advantage of resources already openly available, as Tomaiuolo amply demonstrates.
Stephen R. Heller, Thermo Data on the Web, Today's Chemist at Work 13(4), 17-8, 20 (April 2004). Remarking the shift from volumes of print databooks to searchable online databases, Heller identifies several currently-available physical and chemical property data sources, including the free NIST Chemistry WebBook and several proprietary web databases from scientific societies and vendors in the U.S. and abroad. He also points to a resource page of more than 100 sources of thermodynamic data and property information maintained by a lab the University of Illinois Chicago.
Leo Waaijers, Open Access needs to get 'back to basics', Nature, April 23, 2004. Excerpt: "[H]ow can we be expected to counter assertions about the sustainability of Open Access business models, given that publishers are themselves secretive about their own business cases? It would be a great insight if every publisher were to make public the breakdown of its prices into three components: the costs of the publishing process from submission to presentation, the costs of the subscription process, and their profit margins. Until these figures are public, assertions as to the sustainability of various business models are speculative at best and manipulative at worst."
The journal tally at the Directory of Open Access Journals just lept from the 800's to over 1000. As I write, it's 1,068.