News from the open access movementJump to navigation
The open-access Journal of Research Practice (JRP), is scheduled to launch in early 2005 and seeks research institutions and scholarly associations willing to help support the costs. Current backers include the Center for Science in Society at Bryn Mawr College, the Nokia Research Center in Beijing, the Universidad de Santiago de Chile, and the Xavier Institute of Management in Bhubaneswar, India. For details on the journal and how additional institutions can show their support, see today's announcement from the editors, D.P. Dash and Héctor R. Ponce.
Dan Hunter, Walled Gardens, a preprint forthcoming from the Washington & Lee Law Review, Vol. 62, 2005. Abstract: 'The most significant recent development in scholarly publishing is the open access movement, which seeks to provide free online access to scholarly literature. Though this movement is well-developed in scientific and medical disciplines, American law reviews are almost completely unaware of the possibilities of open access publishing models. This Essay explains how open access publishing works, why it is important, and makes the case for its widespread adoption by law reviews. It also reports on a survey of law review publication policies conducted in 2004. This survey shows, inter alia, that few law reviews have embraced the opportunities of open access publishing, and many of the top law reviews are acting as stalking horses for the commercial interests of legal database providers. The open access model promises greater access to legal scholarship, wider readership for law reviews, and reputational benefits for law reviews and the law schools which house them. This Essay demonstrates how open access comports with the institutional aims of law schools and law reviews, and is better suited to the unique environment of legal publishing than the model that law reviews currently pursue. Moreover, the institutional structure of law reviews means that it is possible that the entire corpus of law reviews could easily move to an open access model, making law the first discipline with a realistic prospect of complete commitment to free, open access of all scholarly output.'
The new issue of Data Science Journal (vol. 3, 2004) contains a Special Section on Selection, Appraisal, and Retention of Digital Scientific Data.
Lawrence Lessig will post the full text of his first book, Code, to a wiki and invite every interested person to collaborate in writing the OA second edition. Quoting from his blog posting: 'Five years ago, I published Code. It's time for an update. But rather than update in the old fashioned way, Basic Books has agreed to the following: Beginning in February, we'll be posting Version 1 of Code to a Wiki. "Chapter Captains" will then supervise updates and corrections. Depending upon the progress, sometime near June, I will take the product and edit and rewrite it to produce Code, v2. The Wiki will stay live forever (under a Creative Commons license). The edited book will be published in the fall. I have donated my advance for Code, v2 to Creative Commons. All royalties beyond the advance will be donated as well....My aim is not to write a new book; my aim is to correct and update the existing book. But I'm eager for advice and expert direction. If you're interested in volunteering, email me at this address. I am grateful to Basic Books to allow me to try this experiment. I worked very hard five years ago to learn enough to write Code. I'm extremely eager for the book to gain from the collective wisdom of at least part of the Net.'
Nuclear Receptor Signaling Atlas (NURSA) is:
... a resource within which bioinformatic and bench research efforts can be pursued in a synergistic and multidisciplinary approach on a common intellectual and technological platform. The primary directive of the NURSA program is to gather and organize information relating to key aspects of orphan nuclear receptor biology, with the aim of extending this blueprint to the wider discipline of nuclear receptor signaling.Nuclear Receptor Signaling - Fulltext v1+ (2003+); ISSN: 1550-7629. Quoting from the journal's focus statement:
The nuclear receptor signaling field is currently well served by primary research journals. To complement these journals, NRS will provide a forum dedicated to the publication of short, focused review and perspective articles, in addition to descriptions of techniques and their applications in the nuclear receptor field. Unlike traditional journals, Nuclear Receptor Signaling articles will, where appropriate, be fully cross referenced with NURSA Molecule Pages and datasets, providing background and context where needed. The subject matter of Nuclear Receptor Signaling is restricted to functional, structural and biological facets of signal transduction by nuclear receptors and coregulators, and the regulatory impact of these molecules on gene networks in target cells.
The AAAS Science and Intellectual Property in the Public Interest working group (SIPPI) has posted the presentations from its October meeting on how to create a workable exemption for research in U.S. patent law. The problem arose when a federal court held in Madey v. Duke University (October 2002) that lab research by Duke scientists did not fall under the "experimental use" defense against patent infringement. (PS: Experimental use is to patent law roughly what fair use is to copyright law. But since Madey, it seems to be an empty category, even for unpublished lab work at non-profit research institutions. Restoring the experimental use exemption is critical for unfettered scientific inquiry.)
Google Scholar has added an advanced search page letting users search by author, title, publication, or date. Also see the GS advanced search tips page for examples and documentation. (PS: In today's ResourceShelf Gary Price reminds us that GS is still in beta and notes that the date search isn't error-free.)
The UNESCO Information for All Program (IFAP) has announced a new round of funding. While IFAP often overlaps with OA, the new funding program is limited to projects in "information literacy, preservation of information, and ethical, legal and societal implications of the information society." If you can make your project fit under one of these rubrics, the application deadline is February 20, 2005.
Adam Penenberg, Time to Kill the Embargo, Wired News, December 23, 2004. The case against respecting temporary press embargoes on news releases, especially for science news. Excerpt: 'But do embargoes serve the public interest? I'm not alone when I say no. Vincent Kiernan, a senior writer who covers Information Technology for The Chronicle of Higher Education, believes that embargoes not only reduce competition, they foster fake newsworthiness. "Science works incrementally: two steps forward, one step back," said Kiernan, who wrote about press embargoes in his doctoral dissertation at the University of Maryland. He contends that there has been entirely too much coverage of new treatments, new therapies and new drugs, which the embargo system promotes. "Lavishing enormous attention on some small steps provides misleading information to the public," he said. Kiernan, who emphasized that he does not speak for the Chronicle, believes it is the journals and publicists who gain from the present system. So does Harvey Leifert, public information manager of the American Geophysical Union, or AGU, who rejects embargoes on principle, viewing them as a "game." In a recent article, [Leifert] wrote: "Scientific information does not belong to a journal; it was developed by scientists, usually with grants of public money, and has been reviewed by other independent scientists (an important function facilitated by journal editors). The goal, AGU believes, should be not to manipulate but, rather, to release this information as quickly as feasible." '
Barbara Quint, Google's Library Project: Questions, Questions, Questions, Information Today, December 27, 2004. Quint's summary of the questions that pundits and librarians are asking about Google's new project, and her attempt to track down some answers. Some examples: 'What will this cost Google?...How will Google handle duplicates between the libraries?...Is this project English-language only?...What about archiving considerations? How durable will this electronic library be?...What effect will this library-based digitization have on Google’s relationships with publishers? Is it designed to push publishers into toning the Google Print program?...How might Google’s competitors, such as Yahoo! or Microsoft, respond to this challenge?...What impact could this project have on current digitization projects?...Will librarians be threatened by the new development?...What’s next for Google? Are there any other prized content collections in its line of sight?'
Erick H. Turner, A Taxpayer-Funded Clinical Trials Registry and Results Database, PLoS Medicine, November 30, 2004. Excerpt: 'The two most frequently suggested remedies for the selective reporting of clinical trials results have been to register all clinical trials and to make their results publicly available. Registries have been called for at least as far back as 1974; hundreds have in fact already been established. Shortcomings of registries include the fact that they are often not coordinated and that participation is often voluntary and...difficult to enforce....In this essay, I argue that a highly valuable but underused registry and results database for US trials already exists within the Department of Health and Human Services, specifically within the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)....[The registry is not OA.] However, in the interest of making the FDA more "transparent," and in accordance with the Electronic Freedom of Information Act, the FDA has, for the past several years, posted selected NDA [new drug application] reviews for approved drug–indication combinations on the FDA Web site Drugs@FDA ....These NDA review documents are much more detailed than the resulting package insert and often more detailed than corresponding journal publications....I therefore suggest that we increase access to the clinical trials registry and results database that already exist within the FDA. The agency could expand its implementation of the Electronic Freedom of Information Act and make all NDA reviews, at least for approved NDAs, available in the public domain.'
Stephen M. Maurer, Arti Rai, Andrej Sali, Finding Cures for Tropical Diseases: Is Open Source an Answer? PLoS Medicine, December 28, 2004. Excerpt: 'Only about 1% of newly developed drugs are for tropical diseases, such as African sleeping sickness, dengue fever, and leishmaniasis. While patent incentives and commercial pharmaceutical houses have made Western health care the envy of the world, the commercial model only works if companies can sell enough patented products to cover their research and development (R&D) costs. The model fails in the developing world, where few patients can afford to pay patented prices for drugs....Two main kinds of proposals have been suggested for tackling the problem. The first is to ask sponsors—governments and charities—to subsidize developing-country purchases at a guaranteed price. The second involves charities creating nonprofit venture-capital firms ("Virtual Pharmas"), which look for promising drug candidates and then push drug development through contracts with corporate partners. In this article, we discuss the limitations of these two approaches and suggest a third, "open source," approach to drug development, called the Tropical Diseases Initiative (TDI). We envisage TDI as a decentralized, Web-based, community-wide effort where scientists from laboratories, universities, institutes, and corporations could work together for a common cause.'
There is now a Chinese blog devoted to open access. Launched in October 2004 and maintained by Lowie (LiWu), the English translation of its title is Open Access: Returning to Rationality in Academic Publishing. Lowie is writing a dissertation on OA journals at the Peking University Department of Information Management. (PS: Lowie's blog is a very welcome OA beachhead in China, which could rapidly become major source of OA science and scholarship.)
Helen Doyle and Andy Gass of the Public Library of Science have written Reflections on the Debate, a summary of the September-October online discussion of open access hosted by the Global Public Goods Network (gpgNet) and the Open Society Institute. The reflections close with five strong recommendations. Excerpt: 'Public, private, and inter-governmental agencies that fund research, as well as academic and research institutions, could...[r]equire as a condition of grants and employment contracts that published articles resulting from ensuing scholarly investigations be deposited immediately upon publication in at least one online repository that is supported by an academic institution, scholarly society, government agency, or other well-established organization that seeks to enable open access, unrestricted distribution, interoperability, and long-term archiving.'
The European Digital Artisans Network (EDAN) today released the Digital Artisans Manifesto. Excerpt: 'We will campaign for the creation of 'electronic public libraries' where on-line educational and cultural resources are made accessible to everyone for free. Public investment in digital methods of delivering life-long learning is needed to create an information society. The Net should become the encyclopedia of all knowledge: the primary resource for the new Enlightenment.'
The January 2005 issue of Walt Crawford's Cites & Insights is now online. This issue contains short pieces on conference blogging and the Google library project and a long section on Library Access to Scholarship in which Walt discusses the NIH plan, the rejected UK recommendations, and some recent articles about OA.