Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Friday, April 08, 2005

New issue of The Acquisitions Librarian

The new issue of The Acquisitions Librarian (vol. 17, nos. 33/34) is now online. Only the TOC and abstracts are free for non-subscribers, at least so far. Here are the OA-related articles:
  • Eugenio Pelizzari, Harvesting for Disseminating Open Archives and the Role of Academic Libraries
  • Donna Skekel, The Method Behind the Madness Acquiring Online Journals and a Solution to Provide Access
  • Anna Alwerud and Lotte Jorgensen, ELIN@: Electronic Library Information Navigator - Towards the "One Stop Shop"

"Second generation" OAI finding system from DLF

The Digital Library Federation has launched an OAI Portal to catalog the OAI-harvestable repositories at DLF-member institutions. DLF also provides a cross-archive search engine for the set. Excerpt from the (undated) announcement: 'The Digital Library Federation has begun a 2-year project to research, design, and prototype a second generation OAI finding system, capitalizing on the lessons learned from the first wave of OAI harvesting and using, as its raw material, collections drawn from across the DLF membership. Our research here builds on the digital objects, motivated scholarly users, and high-level OAI expertise that we have across our 38-member organization, and is informed by ongoing research into metadata creation and service building at Emory, Michigan, UIUC, and elsewhere, including our colleagues in the NSF's (OAI-based) National Science Digital Library. The Open Archives Initiative (OAI) has proven itself as a protocol that allows basic metadata records to be created by many providers and then gathered up by harvesters who use those records to create library services (e.g. In the act of using it over several years in library settings, however, a range of issues have come to light that need research and development if OAI is going to mature into its full potential: collections as well as item records need further development, and we need richer mechanisms of creating dialog between harvesters and providers; the hurdles to adoption need careful study, particularly how to embed the very idea of creating public, harvestable metadata as a routine step in our digitizing workflows, and how to speed up the feedback loop from a harvester to a community of providers such as exists in the library world, who typically respond positively to such "good practice" guidance. The aim we have clearly in mind is to foster better teaching and scholarship through easier, more relevant discovery of digital resources, and a much greater ability for libraries to build more responsive local services on top of a distributed metadata platform.'

More on OA to US government information

Thomas Downing, An Initial Survey and Description of How Selected United States Government Libraries, Information Centers, and Information Services Provide Public Access to Information Via the Internet, in Proceedings Bicentennial Conference on Bibliographic Control for the New Millennium: Confronting the Challenges of Networked Resources and the Web, Washington, D.C., 2000. (Though published in 2000, the article wasn't OA until now.) Abstract: 'The purpose of this survey is to describe how selected United States Government agencies provide information to the public via Internet services. With more than 2,000 Federal library and information centers located throughout the world this effort, of necessity, is selective and findings neither represent all libraries nor do they identify all approaches currently used to present information via the Web. An effort has been made to describe services without attributing values to particular site characteristics. This report provides a brief snapshot in time of a complex and rapidly evolving world. While not definitive in scope, it is hoped that this report will provide a baseline for anyone who may wish to revisit some of these sites in the future to determine how services may have been expanded, reduced, or refined.'

More on OA to drug trial data

Transplantation, the journal of The Transplanation Society, has joined other journals calling for open access to clinical drug trial data. From yesterday's press release: 'The editors of Transplantation, the official journal of The Transplantation Society, have announced that Transplantation will join with other leading kidney journals and the major general journals --such as New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet-- in establishing a policy that clinical research studies involving trials will only be considered for publication if they have been submitted to a free, electronically searchable clinical trial register. The new policy is outlined in an editorial [PS: access limited to subscribers] to be published in the April 15 issue of the Transplantation....By requiring advance registration of clinical trials, the editors seek to ensure that full information on these studies will be freely available to the general public. The policy is intended to address the problem of "selective publication" --studies yielding negative results are often not submitted for publication, and thus not included in the body of available research evidence on a given treatment....Under the new policy, all studies to be submitted for publication in Transplantation or the other kidney/transplantation journals must be listed in a public trials registry....The editors do not stipulate any specific trial registry, but the registries must be available to the public without charge and electronically searchable, among other requirements.'

More on Brewster Kahle and the OA projects of the Internet Archive

Paul Boutin, The Archivist: Brewster Kahle made a copy of the Internet. Now, he wants your files, Slate, April 7, 2005. Excerpt: 'Kahle is less the Internet's crazy aunt --the tycoon who can't stand to throw anything away-- than its evangelical librarian. "The history of digital materials in companies' hands is one of...loss," he tells me in a rushed meeting. Like it or not, the Web is the world's library now, and Kahle doesn't trust the guys who shelve the books....Instead of creating another startup that crawls the Web to make money, Brewster used his millions to preserve as much knowledge as possible and --just as important-- make it accessible to anyone who can get to a computer....The Internet Archive isn't just the Wayback Machine --the nonprofit's two dozen or so employees have filled an equal amount of disk space with uploaded film collections, presidential debates, Bugs Bunny cartoons, and news broadcasts from the Middle East. The archive is especially keen on books. They've scanned about 25,000 of them so far as part of the Million Book Project, a collaboration with Indian and Chinese agencies to create an online library in the place of bricks-and-mortar reading rooms....The final step in building the archive into a true global library: getting you to contribute. Ourmedia, a project launched two weeks ago, offers free, unlimited, permanent storage of your videos, photos, Word files, podcasts—anything that's not porn and not covered by someone else's copyright. The one catch: The files, stored on Internet Archive servers, will be freely available to anyone in the world.'

(PS: If you missed it, see this announcement from SOAN for 4/2/05: 'Many publishing researchers don't have OA repositories in their institutions or disciplines. The missing piece of the puzzle is an OAI-compliant "universal repository" that will accept eprints from any scholar in any discipline. I'm very happy to say in public for the first time that Brewster Kahle of the Internet Archive (IA) has agreed to launch just such a repository. I'm working with the technical staff of the IA to set it up now. Not only will it host new content for scholars with no other place to deposit their work, but it will offer to preserve all the other OAI-compliant repositories in the world. The IA's proven commitment to open access and long-term preservation make this a most exciting prospect.')

More Australian funding for OA

The Australian Research Information Infrastructure Committee (ARIIC) has issued a call for proposals for improving access to research information. Excerpt: 'In this call for proposals the Australian Government is looking to provide funding for collaborative projects that bring together consortia to improve accessibility to Australian research....Projects may address research information outputs such as research publications, and/or research inputs such as infrastructure to deal with research data and analysis. In accordance with the Accessibility Framework, this is in order to provide access to data and research which has been produced and/or published.'

Excerpt from the white paper accompanying the call for proposals (same link): 'Advances in online communication tools and electronic publishing, open access storage and the international standards will greatly enhance the discoverability of information....The project should expose research resources, data and results through well managed open access institutional repositories. There is now consistent evidence that this behaviour results in significantly improved exposure with consequent improved citations for research....One of the best ways to make available the results of public investment in research is to make research outcomes as accessible as possible, and the best way to do this is to expose research output through open access repositories. We are looking for projects which will work towards providing innovative and practical solutions to which make open access to research results a reality. This will need to take into account many complexities, for instance copyright legislation, university policies and funding provider policies. We are also interested in projects that explore and attempt to solve some of the barriers to establishing open access archives and building national platforms for acquiring, sharing and integrating research data. The Government is interested in seeing publicly funded research being publicly available rather than being restricted.'

More on the NIH policy from the AAP/PSP

The Spring issue of the Professional/Scholarly Publishing Bulletin is now online. This issue contains the AAP/PSP response to the NIH public-access policy (released separately on March 2 and blogged here with a few replies on the same day). The same issue contains a few additional reflections on the NIH policy by Marc Brodsky, Chairman of the AAP/PSP and Executive Director of the American Institute of Physics. Excerpt: 'A particularly distressful example of the lack of recognition of publishers' value-add is the National Institutes of Health policy of public access....The NIH plan for public access, in the guise of wanting to create a repository of all NIH funded research results --a repository that would be accessible on the Web without charge-- asks researchers not for reports to be directly sent to NIH for deposit, but rather requests the versions improved after peer review adn acceptance by a journal. We know that there are costs associated with the solicitation, processing, review, editing, marketing, distribution and archiving of journal articles. The NIH repository would take some of that value from publishers, essentially without compensation.'

(PS: Four quick replies. (1) "Guise"? Does Brodsky think the stated rationale for the NIH policy is just a pretext for hurting publishers? (2) The NIH acknowledges the value added by publishers, which is why it gives them up to a year to recover their costs before it releases the articles to the public on PubMed Central. In fact, the permissible delay is even longer, since participation is voluntary and needn't occur at all. Publishers who really hate the idea can refuse to publish NIH-funded research or ask their NIH-funded authors not to participate in the plan. (3) The NIH policy only causes publishers to lose revenue if it causes libraries to cancel subscriptions, and there are at least eight reasons to think it won't. (4) But for the sake of argument, suppose it does cause some libraries to cancel some subscriptions. Brodsky's alternative would take something of value from U.S. taxpayers without compensation, namely, access to the results of research for which they have already paid in three ways, namely, through the NIH research grant, through researcher salaries at public universities, and through subscription fees at public universities. Private-sector scientific publishers have been huge beneficiaries of public investment and the NIH policy is one small step to give the public something to show for that investment.)

More on the Kansas OA policy

The University of Kansas has signed the Registry of Institutional OA Self-Archiving Policies, making it the first U.S. university to do so and the first member of the influential Association of American Universities to do so.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

OA repository for India's National Chemical Laboratory

India's National Chemical Laboratory has launched an OA institutional repository. (PS: The repository link isn't working at the moment, but since it uses the URL from today's announcement, I assume the problem is temporary.)

More on the MIT OpenCourseWare project

Doug Lederman, Spreading the Wealth, Inside Higher Ed, April 7, 2005. Excerpt: 'Four years after the Massachusetts Institute of Technology unveiled a plan to make all its course materials available online for all the world to use, Anne H. Margulies still gets asked one question more than any other: Why would MIT give this all away? "I got that very question from my cab driver on the way over here," Margulies, executive director of OpenCourseWare, said at a luncheon this week sponsored by the National Academies Forum on Information Technology and Research Universities. She spent the session both answering that question and explaining to the government officials and technology administrators in the room why MIT officials, in the face of a countervailing movement to "lock information and knowledge down," continue to believe so passionately in what they call "intellectual philanthropy." First and foremost, says Margulies, "this advances our core institutional mission of disseminating knowledge and education." But it has benefited MIT in other ways, buffing its public image, building collaboration even among its own professors, even (unexpectedly) attracting students: One in seven of MIT freshmen surveyed last year said the existence of the OpenSourceWare effort had influenced their decision to enroll.'

More on the boundaries of fair use

Scott Carlson, Legal Battle Brews Over Texts on Electronic Reserve at U. of California Libraries, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 7, 2005 (accessible only to subscribers). Excerpt: 'Publishers are objecting to an electronic reserve system at the University of California in which libraries scan portions of books and journals and make them available free online to students. In recent months, lawyers for the Association of American Publishers have sent letters to the university that object to the use of electronic reserves on the San Diego campus. The publishers say that the use of electronic reserves is too extensive, violating the "fair use" doctrine of copyright law and depriving them of sales. University officials counter that the electronic reserves at San Diego are well within the bounds of fair use....[Mary] MacDonald, the University of California lawyer, said that the reserve system had not affected publishers' profits...."I don't think it would do anything for their cause to sue us, and I don't think they would win," she said. "If they were to sue us, they could well be making a very big public-relations mistake because our faculty are world-renowned, and we are the very people who provide their publishers with things to publish. There is a growing discontent among UC faculty about prices the publishers are charging, and faculty are starting to look at other avenues for publication of their work." Jonathan Franklin, associate law librarian at the University of Washington and a fair-use scholar, said that because the doctrine had not been well defined, some institutions have let fear of litigation determine how, or whether, they set up electronic reserves. "It's very vague as to what people can do, and institutions are so risk-averse that they license things they wouldn't normally have to license," he said. Still, he said, a legal battle might help clarify matters. "I would look forward to a resolution that was public," he said, "and that set out guidelines and standards under which universities could successfully offer electronic course reserves."'

February issue of Learned Publishing

The February issue of Learned Publishing is now online. Only the TOC and abstracts are free online, at least so far. Here are the OA-related articles.
  • Evan Harris, Institutional repositories: is the open access door half open or half shut?
  • Roger Elliott, Who owns scientific data? The impact of intellectual property rights on the scientific publication chain
  • Stevan Harnad, In a paperless world a new role for academic libraries: providing open access [PS: Co-authored by Helene Bosc. See the OA edition.]
  • Anon., Open access - the impact of legislative developments
  • Sally Morris, The true costs of scholarly journal publishing
  • Robert Simoni, Serving science while paying the bills: the history of the Journal of Biological Chemistry Online [PS: See the OA edition.]
  • John Sack, HighWire Press: ten years of publisher-driven innovation [PS: See the OA edition.]

More on OA to UK theses and dissertations

From a JISC press release, today: 'Around 14,000 academic theses are produced in the UK each year, representing perhaps the richest resource of primary research in fields ranging from molecular chemistry to medieval history. Today, JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee), CURL (Consortium of Research Libraries in the British Isles) and the British Library announced the development of a new national framework for the provision, preservation and accession of theses – both printed and electronic – to help researchers in higher education, science and industry to tap this currently underused resource. Electronic Theses Online [PS: sometimes called EthOS, for Electronic Theses Online Service] aims to offer full text access via the web to all theses electronically stored on a central host at the British Library via the British Library’s developing access and delivery infrastructure. It will also offer access to information about other theses held in institutional and consortial repositories in the UK, while a single interface will enable cross-searching across both nationally- and institutionally-held theses. Procedures to address all aspects of intellectual property rights (IPR), royalties and permissions will be fully integrated into the service....Research in the US has shown that the use of theses increases spectacularly with electronic access. Electronic Theses Online will also pursue an advocacy programme, targeting academics, senior administrators and information professionals, helping to transform the use of theses in learning, teaching and research, and ensuring a far greater national and international visibility for UK research.' (PS: Apparently EthOS does not yet have a web site. When it does, I'll link to it.)

Making OA resources even more accessible at minority-serving institutions

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), a division of the NIH, offers many OA resources in genetics and genomics. Nevertheless, it is concerned that these resources are not as accessible as they should be at "minority-serving institutions". On April 5 it issued a call for public comments on making these resources more effectively available. Excerpt: 'Investigators at some minority-serving institutions (MSIs) may not have adequate access or the appropriate research resources to use genetic and genomic technologies and applications in their research studies. NHLBI-supported resources in genetics and genomics (e.g., Programs in Genomic Applications, NHLBI Shared Microarray Facilities, NHLBI Clinical Proteomics Programs, etc.) have been developed to advance scientific discovery in health and disease by providing information and education, tools, and resources to link genes to biological function.... This information is freely available to the research community. While such information and resources are widely disseminated, they may not be as readily available to investigators at MSIs. Therefore, there is a need to promote genetic, genomic, and proteomic resources, as well as their application and availability, to investigators at MSIs.' Comments are due by June 17, 2005. (Thanks to Research Research.)

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

University of Kansas resolution on open access

On March 10, the University of Kansas Faculty Senate unanimously adopted a resolution supporting open access. Excerpt: 'The business practices of some journals and journal publishers, moreover, are inimical to scholars' interests and threaten to limit the promise of increased access inherent in digital technologies. Development of university collections of scholarly material is more and more constrained by the rising costs of journals and the databases that index and aggregate those journals. Faculty, staff, students, and university administrators must all take greater responsibility for expanding access to scholarly information and ensuring its long-term accessibility while maintaining scholarly standards of quality. Therefore, the University of Kansas Faculty Senate:...[3] Calls on all faculty of the University of Kansas to seek amendments to publisher's copyright transfer forms to permit the deposition of a digital copy of every article accepted by a peer-reviewed journal into the ScholarWorks repository, or a similar open access venue;...[5] Encourages tenured faculty in particular to support journals (and their publishers) whose pricing and accessibility policies are consistent with continuing access to this literature through the choices faculty make in the submission of papers, the allotment of time to refereeing activities, and participation in editorial posts; [6] Calls on University administrators and departmental, school, college and University committees to reward efforts by faculty, staff, and students to start or support more sustainable models for scholarly communication, and to provide financial and material support for organized activities initiated by faculty, staff, and students that will ensure broad access to the scholarly literature;...[8] Also calls on the University, professional scholarly associations, and professional organizations of university administrators to establish clear guidelines for merit salary review, peer evaluation on federal grants, and promotion and tenure evaluation of faculty and staff that will allow the assessment of and the attribution of appropriate credit for works published in such venues....'

In a March 25 memorandum explaining the resolution, Provost David Shulenburger urged Kansas faculty to deposit their research output in the institutional repository, ScholarWorks. Excerpt: 'KU ScholarWorks, a digital repository, is now available as a convenient site in which to place your published work, working papers, datasets, and other original material. Items placed in KU ScholarWorks will be archived permanently and will be available to search engines like Google and Google Scholar. Many studies demonstrate that articles that are available electronically are cited in other publications at four or more times the frequency of works that are not available electronically. It is in your interest and the University's to populate KU ScholarWorks with a complete set of KU faculty's scholarly output.' Shulenburger also suggests language to use in a copyright transfer agreement to reserve the right to deposit work in ScholarWorks. (Thanks to Richard Fyffe.)

PNAS policy on NIH-funded authors

Nicholas Cozzarelli, Making research accessible: National Institutes of Health (NIH) public access and PNAS open access policies, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, April 4, 2005. Excerpt: 'PNAS complies with the NIH public access policy, and our journal policies extend public access even further. The NAS copyright policy gives authors permission to deposit their manuscripts in PMC upon acceptance. Authors can request public access to their manuscripts either 6 months after print publication or immediately upon publication if they have paid PNAS the open access fee. However, under the existing partnership between PNAS and PMC, authors can rely on PNAS to provide PMC with the official publisher version of their papers. The publisher version will, according to the new NIH policy, supersede any unformatted version deposited by the authors. PNAS automatically deposits the final, copy-edited and formatted version of all its content, regardless of funding, in PMC and makes it free at both PMC and PNAS just 6 months after publication....Although the NIH policy has been significantly scaled back from the one initially proposed in late 2004, I commend NIH Director Elias Zerhouni for taking an initial step toward a more accessible scientific literature, and I encourage him to do even more. The 2004 draft NIH policy indicated that NIH-funded authors would be required to provide a final version of their paper within 6 months of publication. The Council of the National Academy of Sciences unanimously endorsed this more comprehensive public access plan.'

(PS: The PNAS is more progressive than other journals that have so far announced policies on NIH-funded authors. PNAS is to be congratulated for agreeing to deposit its own published version of the files in PMC, to do so without regard to NIH funding, and to call on NIH to restore the earlier and stronger version of the public-access policy. But PNAS is still insisting that NIH-funded authors not authorize public access immediately after publication unless they pay the PNAS processing fee. This contradicts the NIH request that grantees authorize public access as soon as possible after publication. It also creates the dilemma, as feared, in which authors must choose between their funder and their publisher.)

More on the scope of Google Scholar

Chuck Hamaker and Brad Spry, Google Scholar, Serials, March 2005. Excerpt: 'Google Scholar apparently made a decision to index fairly completely all scholarly, known or cooperating publisher-based sites, but to only partially index university web sites based on file format identifiers, i.e. PDF or PS files....Of the 24,000 items at The University of North Carolina (UNC) Charlotte that a Google site search identifies when ‘pdf’ is used as a search term, fewer than 500 are identified in Google Scholar. This does not bode well for inclusion of special collections and other content being created by libraries specifically for the web....If we understand correctly what it does index, it is time to get on with the much larger job of identifying more trusted scholarly sources. It has done a great job with the basic stuff, indexing 25% to 50% or more from many participating sites and obvious locations (such as arXiv) and identifying scholarly content through secondary means, i.e. citations and abstracting sources like PubMed and ACM. Between the first and third weeks of December, coverage tripled for many standard publishers. But inclusion based on a fairly limited primary source list and document format (or bibliographic citations) are just a beginning. Can it go beyond this to the rest of the scholarly resources on the web?' (Thanks to T.J. Sondermann.)

Another reason to dislike PDF's

From a March 31 AP story: 'A Canadian company has developed a system for businesses to track PDF documents in much the same way they can keep tabs on Web visits. Before, businesses could count the number of times documents were downloaded, but they had no way of knowing whether the files were passed around or even opened. With the service from Remote Approach, companies can insert a small programming script into documents using the popular Portable Document Format from Adobe Systems Inc. The script sends a message over the Internet with such details as the file name, the computer's Internet address and any unique identifier the company might have included. Remote Approach is also working on a feature that would let a company block a document from being read if there's no Internet connection.' For more details, see the Robyn Weisman story in PDF Zone.

(PS: As soon as publishers can remotely disable PDF's so that users can't read them offline from personal hard drives, then PDF's will be unsuitable for disseminating science and scholarship, whether through journals or repositories. They won't be suitable again until we have trustworthy tools for scrubbing them clean of the remote activation code.)

Richard Poynder interviews Alma Swan

Richard Poynder, To the benefit of scholarship: Interview with Dr. Alma Swan, Open and Shut, April 6, 2005. This is the first part of a two-part interview. Excerpt:

RP: What were the main findings of the OA surveys?

AS: The first survey was on authors who had published in OA journals. This showed that the principle of Open Access is a very strong motivator and that the majority of people who have already done so will continue to publish their work in OA journals. The survey also identified the main concerns that authors have about OA, including quality control, IPR and copyright issues, and fears that it would threaten the publishing status quo, particularly the publishing activities of learned societies. These, by the way, are all baseless concerns when examined carefully in the light of evidence.

RP: And the second survey?

AS: The second survey was on self-archiving....It was carried out specifically as a follow-up to the study on OA journals, because we wanted to establish the state of play for both methods of OA provision. This second study is not yet published: I'm just finishing the report.

RP: Can you say what its main findings are?

AS: That self-archiving is a growing activity, that there is still a considerable level of ignorance about it as a means for researchers to provide OA without having to change publishing habits and preferences, that it takes very little time to do, and that the vast majority of authors have no objections in principle to being required to self-archive by their employer or funder....[T]here are no significant philosophical or logical barriers to providing OA by self-archiving, but there remains a very significant issue to do with awareness, and this has big advocacy implications.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

More on OA and peer review

Daniel Engber, Quality Control: The case against peer review, Slate, April 5, 2005. Another look at the reliability of peer review after a notable failure, in this case the infamous "prayer study" published by the Journal of Reproductive Medicine in 2004 and repudiated and discredited in 2004. Excerpt: 'Why did this quackery get so far before being exposed? The prayer study seemed legitimate because it appeared in the pages of a "peer-reviewed" medical journal. That means the paper was vetted by an independent panel of experts in the field....More sweeping changes have also been suggested. Well-trained, full-time editors and professional statisticians might be able to perform the functions of peer review on their own. Or scientists en masse might be recruited: Paul Ginsparg, who runs a digital archive for unpublished physics papers, has suggested that putting "preprints" of scientific papers on the Web could let the community as a whole decide which papers are most useful. Unpublished work could be tracked by an objective measure --like how often it's cited or downloaded—and then passed along for formal publication.'

(PS: Both OA archives and OA journals are compatible with any kind of peer review, from the most traditional to the most innovative. Engber may present Ginsparg's position accurately, but he leaves the false impression that OA archiving is a step toward peer-review reform when it is an independent variable compatible with any position on peer review.)

Patent reform in a larger context

James Love, Options to traditional patents, Financial Express [of India], April 6, 2005. Mostly on patent reform in India, but also touching on the many related issues raised by the WIPO development agenda, including OA. Excerpt: 'Will India embrace the most closed and proprietary models for controlling access to knowledge, or will it find a way to reconcile its obligations under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) with the need to protect human rights? Will India have the vision to explore the promise of new models for supporting creativity and innovation? Or will it follow the worst impulses of increasingly discredited systems for restricting access to knowledge?...First, the United States and Europe are now engaged in a growing debate over the best ways to promote innovation. The idea that high levels of intellectual property protection are best is now under attack. Regardless of what is said in Delhi, back home wealthy countries are backing open standards for the Internet, open-source software, open-access archives for publicly-funded scientific research, public domain databases like the Human Genome Project or the HapMap Project and similar open initiatives.'

OA at the NIST digital library

Nancy Allmang, Rosa Liu, and Susan Sanders, Building an Information Commons at the National Institute of Standards and Technology Library: A Case Study, Libres, March 2005. Abstract: 'With the advent of the new Knowledge Society, special libraries need to review user zones and services to ensure that they continue to provide features customers want and need. They must now offer spaces and places for people to come together, as in the English Commons of old, to share ideas and technologies. They must heed the call of the open access movement and begin to play a part in it. This article discusses details of the transformation of physical and virtual spaces of the Research Library of the National Institute of Standards and Technology over the past two years into a comprehensive InfoCommons.'

From the body of the article: 'In support of Open Access principles, the NIST Virtual Library now includes a category called (Free) Open Access journals on its E-journals page. Links were selected with the guidance of the Research Library Advisory Board after consulting the Directory of Open Access Journals (free, full text, quality-controlled scientific and scholarly journals at Lund University's NIST’s Information Services Division has published several articles explaining open access in its monthly internal newsletter. As an example to NIST scientists, library staff themselves are making an effort to publish articles in free or Open Access library journals.'

Report on CC licenses for academic projects

Marieke Guy and Brian Kelly, QA Focus information for digital libraries, Indicare, April 5, 2005. Abstract: 'Creative Commons (CC) licences are a way to clarify the conditions of use of a work and avoid many of the problems current copyright laws pose. This article describes how a CC licence has been used to maximise take-up of the deliverables from QA Focus, a JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) funded project. It then looks at CC's potential in the European academic sector and discusses relevant issues.'

US science policy board recommends OA

Long-Lived Digital Data Collections: Enabling Research and Education in the 21st Century, National Science Board, March 30, 2005. The U.S. National Science Board (NSB) is an independent body established by Congress to set policy for the National Science Foundation (NSF). Excerpt from the report: 'The term 'data' is used in this report to refer to any information that can be stored in digital form, including text, numbers, images, video or movies, audio, software, algorithms, equations, animations, models, simulations, etc....This report adopts the definition of 'long-lived' that is provided in the Open Archival Information System (OAIS) standards, namely a period of time long enough for there to be concern about the impacts of changing technology....The Board task force held two workshops to hear the opinions of relevant communities. These workshops have shaped the Board's analysis of issues. The first workshop focused on the experience of the NSF and other Federal agencies with digital data collections. The second workshop provided a forum to gather the views of the NSF grantee community.... Long-lived digital data collections are powerful catalysts for progress and for democratization of science and education. Proper stewardship of research requires effective policy in order to maximize their potential....In pursuing their respective interests in data collections, each actor in the data collection universe has a distinct set of responsibilities, which are outlined in the paragraphs that follow. In addition to their separate responsibilities, the groups must also act collectively to pursue some of the higherlevel goals important to the entire fields. Examples of such goals are the following:...[3] work towards interoperability between communities and encourage cross-disciplinary data integration;...[5] encourage free and open access wherever feasible; and [6] provide incentives, rewards, and recognition for scientists who share and archive data....Data authors...[should] allow free and open access to data consistent with accepted standards for proper attribution and credit, subject to fair opportunity to exploit the results of one's own research and appropriate legal standards for protecting security, privacy and intellectual property rights.' (Thanks to Clifford Lynch.)

The NSB invites public comments on its report, which should be sent to by May 1, 2005.

Update. The May 23, 2005, pre-publication draft is now online.

Stevan Harnad and the green way

Udo Seiwert-Fauti, Ein Guru auf dem 'Grünen Weg', Duz Magazin, March 24, 2005. A profile of Stevan Harnad and his campaign for self-archiving. Only this blurb from the TOC is free online, at least so far: 'Prof. Dr. Stevan Harnad kämpft dafür, dass Forscher ihre Artikel selbst im Internet veröffentlichen können.'

Monday, April 04, 2005

More on the Berlin3 conference

Des universitaires se mobilisent en faveur d'un accès libre aux documents de recherche, CORDIS Nouvelles, April 4, 2005. An unsigned summary of the Berlin 3 Open Access conference. (Thanks to Stevan Harnad and Helene Bosc.)

More on the Columbia University resolution endorsing OA

I just posted to SOAF the text of the resolution on open access unanimously adopted by the Columbia University Senate on April 1. Excerpt:
[...] WHEREAS the principle of open access to the fruits of scholarly research is increasingly being adopted and pursued by universities and in the scholarly community at large, and [...]

WHEREAS technological, legal and economic barriers continue to be erected to obstruct or limit open access, and

WHEREAS the availability of the fruits of scholarly endeavor ought to reflect the conditions of cooperative endeavor and common resources under which scholarly work is produced,


1. That the Senate put on record its support for the principle of open access to the fruits of scholarly research;

2. That the Senate urge the University to advance new models for scholarly publishing that will promote open access, helping to reshape the marketplace in which scholarly ideas circulate, in a way that is consistent with standards of peer review and scholarly excellence; [...]

4. That the Senate urge the scholars of Columbia University to play a part in these open-access endeavors in their various capacities as authors, readers, editors, referees, and members of scientific boards and learned associations etc., (a) by encouraging and collaborating with publishers' efforts to advance open access, (b) by retaining intellectual property rights in their own work where this will help it become more widely available, and (c) by remaining alert to efforts by publishers to impose barriers on access to the fruits of scholarly research.

How many good law reviews are there?

At Lawrence Lessig's suggestion, Open Access Law has added a sidebar listing Good Law Reviews and Bad Law Reviews. A good law review "agrees to let users copy, use, distribute, transmit and display the work publicly and to make and distribute derivative works, in any digital medium for any responsible purpose, subject to proper attribution of authorship." (These are the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution license.) Today's tally? Good law reviews = zero.

Free backfiles from American Phytopathological Society

American Phytopathological Society opens access to several years of research in online journals. Press Release Beginning in April 2005, The American Phytopathological Society (APS) will offer free access to research articles after 24 months of publication in Phytopathology, Plant Disease, and Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions (MPMI). Phytopathology - Fulltext v87+ (1997+); ISSN: 0031-949X. Plant Disease - Fulltext v81+ (1997+) 2 year moving wall; ISSN: 0191-2917. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions Fulltext v10+ (1997+) 2 year moving wall; ISSN: 0894-0282. [Thanks to Gary Price, The ResourceShelf, for bringing this to my attention.]

More on the NIH policy

Aliya Sternstein, NIH expands digital archive, Federal Computer Week, April 4, 2005. A general introduction to the NIH public-access policy and the controversy it sparked. Excerpt: 'Critics say the open-access movement may force researchers to pay to have their articles published in professional journals because free digital archives will undermine the financial basis of medical and scientific publishing. [PS: reply 1 and reply 2.] But supporters of open access say NIH officials should have made the submission policy mandatory. "We think NIH certainly grasped the importance and rationale for taxpayer access to NIH-funded research," said Rick Johnson, director of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition. However, he said the policy's execution could have been handled better. "The unfortunate thing is that scientists have been put in the middle here," he said. "We believe that NIH had the responsibility and the authority to call upon all NIH grantees to deposit their research articles." Patrice McDermott, deputy director of the American Library Association's Office of Government Relations, expressed similar disappointment with the final policy for making researchers' participation voluntary. "We think it's a move back from what NIH initially agreed to," she said.'

APS chooses two-year embargo

The American Phytopathological Society (APS) has decided to offer free online access to its back issues after a two-year embargo. For details, see today's press release.

JISC-DEST collaboration

The UK's Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) and Australia's Department for Education, Science and Training (DEST) have announced an agreement to work together on a range of common issues. Since JISC and DEST are leaders within their respective countries in the funding and support for OA projects, this is a promising turn for international OA collaboration. One area of common work mentioned in the announcement is repository services: 'Collaborate on interoperability issues relating to the management...[and] development of repository services, including the testing of solutions where appropriate within and across each country.'

Columbia University Senate endorses open access

The Columbia University Senate has adopted a resolution supporting open access. Excerpt from a story in today's Columbia Spectator: 'The Senate...passed a resolution composed by the Committee on Libraries and Academic Computing, putting on record its support of "open access." "Open access" asserts the right of the public to use scholarly works for any responsible purpose so long as it properly attributes authorship. The resolution also urged Columbia scholars to aid the advancement of "open access" by allowing their published works to be subject to responsible use by the public.' (PS: I'm trying to get a copy of the resolution. If I succeed, I'll blog it.)

Sunday, April 03, 2005

New eprint repository software

The University of Maryland Libraries has released a beta edition of teiPublisher, open-source software for building repositories for TEI and other XML-coded digital documents. From the site: 'The <teiPublisher>, an extensible, modular and configurable xml-based repository, is being created by a team of programmers and content developers. It is designed to bridge the gap between having a collection of structured documents which are posted on the Web as static HTML or XML pages, and having a functional digital library. This is being done by providing the tools to manage an extensible, modular and configurable XML-based repository which will house, search, browse, and display documents encoded in TEI on the World Wide Web. <teiPublisher> is designed to provide administrative tools to help repository managers with limited technical knowledge manage their repositories. Building on the native XML database eXist, the application provides a range of administrative functions crucial to maintaining a web-assessable digital repository.' The site doesn't say whether teiPublisher repositories are OAI-compliant. For more details, see the press release. (Thanks to Science Library Pad.)

Update. Also see the teiPublisher FAQ, which for some reason has no link from the project home page. Here's what the FAQ says about OAI compliance: 'Is there an OAI interface in <teiPublisher> to allow metadata harvesting? No, but we provide links to XML Documents, so you could use your own harvester on the appropriate URI.' (Thanks to Ross Scaife.)

More on the French response to Google

Google à la française, The Economist, March 31, 2005. An unsigned story. Jacques Chirac wants to launch a search engine for French culture, not just digitize French books. Excerpt: 'Why not let Google do the job? Its French version is used for 74% of internet searches in France. The answer is the vulgar criteria it uses to rank results. "I do not believe", wrote Mr Donnedieu de Vabres [French Minister of Culture] in Le Monde, "that the only key to access our culture should be the automatic ranking by popularity, which has been behind Google's success."...The flaws in the French plan are obvious. If popularity cannot arbitrate, what will? Mr Jeanneney wants a "committee of experts". He appears to be serious, though the supply of French-speaking experts, or experts speaking any language for that matter, would seem to be insufficient.'