Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, August 13, 2005

More on estimating citations from downloads

Henk F. Moed, Statistical Relationships Between Downloads and Citations at the Level of Individual Documents Within a Single Journal, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 56, 10 (2005). Only this abstract is free online.
Statistical relationships between downloads from ScienceDirect of documents in Elsevier’s electronic journal Tetrahedron Letters and citations to these documents recorded in journals processed by the Institute for Scientific Information/Thomson Scientific for the Science Citation Index (SCI ) are examined. A synchronous approach revealed that downloads and citations show different patterns of obsolescence of the used materials. The former can be adequately described by a model consisting of the sum of two negative exponential functions, representing an ephemeral and a residual factor, whereas the decline phase of the latter conforms to a simple exponential function with a decay constant statistically similar to that of the downloads residual factor. A diachronous approach showed that, as a cohort of documents grows older, its download distribution becomes more and more skewed, and more statistically similar to its citation distribution. A method is proposed to estimate the effect of citations upon downloads using obsolescence patterns. It was found that during the first 3 months after an article is cited, its number of downloads increased 25% compared to what one would expect this number to be if the article had not been cited. Moreover, more downloads of citing documents led to more downloads of the cited article through the citation. An analysis of 1,190 papers in the journal during a time interval of 2 years after publication date revealed that there is about one citation for every 100 downloads. A Spearman rank correlation coefficient of 0.22 was found between the number of times an article was downloaded and its citation rate recorded in the SCI. When initial downloads --defined as downloads made during the first 3 months after publication-- were discarded, the correlation raised to 0.35. However, both outcomes measure the joint effect of downloads upon citation and that of citation upon downloads. Correlating initial downloads to later citation counts, the correlation coefficient drops to 0.11. Findings suggest that initial downloads and citations relate to distinct phases in the process of collecting and processing relevant scientific information that eventually leads to the publication of a journal article.

Also see Tim Brody, Stevan Harnad, and Leslie Carr, Earlier Web Usage Statistics as Predictors of Later Citation Impact, a preprint forthcoming from Journal of the American Association for Information Science and Technology.

Abstract: The use of citation counts to assess the impact of research articles is well established. However, the citation impact of an article can only be measured several years after it has been published. As research articles are increasingly accessed through the Web, the number of times an article is downloaded can be instantly recorded and counted. One would expect the number of times an article is read to be related both to the number of times it is cited and to how old the article is. This paper analyses how short-term Web usage impact predicts medium-term citation impact. The physics e-print archive -- -- is used to test this.

And don't forget Tim Brody's Correlation Generator, which predicts citations from downloads for articles in Citebase.

Open knowledge management

Yukika Awazu and Kevin Desouza, Open Knowledge Management: Lessons From the Open Source Revolution, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 55, 11 (2004). Only this abstract is free online, at least so far:
Awazu and Desouza examine open source communities to derive insights on augmentation of knowledge management projects. Open source material is available to all, re-distributable, non-discriminatory, and modifiable. Knowledge, when viewed as an organizational resource, typically does not have these characteristics but is rather protected as a scarce commodity. Since 80% of knowledge is contributed by 20% of the employees there exists a large free rider problem which open source communities attack by giving high status to contributors. The open knowledge agenda modeled on open source communities has great potential.

Access recommendations for UNESCO and WSIS

The international participants at the conference, UNESCO Between Two Phases of the World Summit on the Information Society (St. Petersburg, May 17-19, 2005), drafted a Final Document to guide the upcoming WSIS meeting in Tunis. (Thanks to Julia Bolton Holloway.) Excerpt:
The Conference recommendations...are intended specifically for UNESCO and through it for other international organisations, national governments, private sector, civil society, and research and education community. It was advised that the Conference recommendations presented in the Final Document be forwarded both to UNESCO and to the heads of the national delegations of the countries participating in the Summit’s preparatory process for submitting to the Tunis discussion. [Recommendations:] concentrate [UNESCO and UN-agency] financial resources on supporting or implementing self-sustainable Educational, Scientific and Cultural Information systems without costly recurrent licensing fees, with the help of Open Access repositories...; to support creation of second disclosure Open Access information resources whereby authors are describing the results of their research that have already been published elsewhere; to provide financial support to first and second disclosure Open Access resources to eliminate the need to charge publication fees; to support the creation of an association of Open Access Publishers to reinforce their effectiveness in collaboratively raising financial resources and in gaining collective renown; to create or support seed funding programs to create new Open Access information resources everywhere in the world and to promote the conversion of existing resources to the Open Access model; to require as a grant or endorsement condition publication in the Open Access model of any full report of research being even partially funded, or morally endorsed by them; to support and endorse the initiatives of Funding Institutions to implement their own mandatory Open Access Archives; build Open Access repositories in a way that would allow easy site mirroring as well as complete copying on portable media, such as CDs or DVDs, to allow access to knowledge in regions with little or non-existent Internet connections; to provide funding and in-kind assistance to a Free Software project that implements the peer-to-peer functionality as recommended by the WSIS Plan of Action to allow efficient exchange of scientific information; consider the problem of reasonable restriction of copyright principle for the sake of education, science, and culture in the Information Society and to develop the guiding policy principles for improving access to official public information; encourage creation of programs of acquiring non-exclusive intellectual property rights to support the Information Society development; to facilitate creation of community centres providing free access to legal information.

An Elsevier OA journal experiment

An August 12 announcement from Albert R. Meyer, Editor-in-Chief of the Elsevier journal, Information and Computation:
The Editorial Board and Publisher of Information and Computation are pleased to announce that for one year, effective immediately, online access to all journal issues back to 1995 will be available without charge. This includes unrestricted downloading of articles in pdf format. Retrieval traffic during the open access period will be considered as future subscription policies are formulated. Journal articles may be obtained on Elsevier's Sciencedirect [here].

Comment: I don't consider introductory offers to be OA, and feel the same way about most other kinds of temporary free online access. However, this looks more like an OA experiment than a marketing ploy. If you haven't had the experience of free online access to full-text articles from an Elsevier journal, check this out. If you're in the field of information theory or computer science, spread the word. This journal needs the traffic and impact to justify extending the experiment.

More on the changes to Google Print

Michael Liedtke, Google Halts Scanning of Copyrighted Books, Associated Press (this copy in the San Francisco Chronicle), August 13, 2005. Excerpt:
Stung by a publishing industry backlash, Google Inc. has halted its efforts to scan copyrighted books from some of the nation's largest university libraries so the material can be indexed in its leading Internet search engine. The company announced the suspension, effective until November, in a notice posted on its Web site just before midnight Thursday by Adam Smith, the manager of its ambitious program to convert millions of books into a digital format. "We think most publishers and authors will choose to participate in the publisher program in order (to) introduce their work to countless readers around the world," Smith wrote. "But we know that not everyone agrees, and we want to do our best to respect their views too." Google wants publishers to notify the company which copyrighted books they don't want scanned, effectively requiring the industry to opt out of the program instead of opting in. That approach rankled the Association of American Publishers. "Google's announcement does nothing to relieve the publishing industry's concerns," Patricia Schroeder, the trade group's president, said in a statement Friday. "Google's procedure shifts the responsibility for preventing infringement to the copyright owner rather than the user, turning every principle of copyright law on its ear."...The project troubles publishers because they fear making digital versions of copyrighted books available on the Internet could open the door to unauthorized duplication and distribution, similar to the rampant online pirating that has decimated the sales in the music industry. Publishers are also upset that Google might be able to generate more advertising revenue by offering an index of copyrighted books and so far hasn't offered to pay any royalties for its potential financial gains....Google executives have positioned the scanning project as a largely altruistic endeavor that will make it easier for people around the world to read the valuable — and often rare — material stockpiled in libraries.

Also see the Slashdot discussion of the news. More coverage.

"We are witnessing a sea-change"

Robert Kiley, Open access and the Wellcome Trust, He@lth Information on the Internet, August 2005. Kiley is the Head of Systems Strategy for the Wellcome Library at the Wellcome Trust. Excerpt:
The Trust supports the open access model as it meshes with our mission – namely to foster and promote research with the aim of improving human and animal health. We believe that providing free access to the research we fund helps to ensure that this work is applied and built upon. Much of the debate over the past 18 months or so has focused on the costs of moving to an open-access publishing model. In response to this, the Wellcome Trust commissioned some independent research...that concluded that the author-pays [or funder-pays] model offers a viable alternative to subscription journals, and that the dissemination of the results of research is a marginal cost and part of the costs of the research itself....Perhaps [the Wellcome decision] of most significance was the announcement that, from 1 October 2005, all new grant recipients will be required to deposit in PMC, or a UK equivalent, any papers arising from Trust-funded research. This condition will be extended to all existing grant holders from October 2006. All papers deposited with PMC will be made freely available to the public, via the Web, within 6 months of the official date of final publication. Further details about this change to our grant conditions can be found [online]....Ultimately, for the benefits of open access to be fully realised, we need to win over the hearts and minds of those who actually do the research and write the papers – the scientists and researchers. For this group, the key drive behind publishing is a desire for their research to be read and cited. To misquote President Clinton ‘it’s about impact, stupid’. Fortunately for advocates of open access, research1 is starting to show that open-access articles were cited between 50–300% more often than non-open access articles from the same journal and year....The developments announced by the Wellcome Trust over the past couple of months – coupled with the public access initiatives at the US National Institutes of Health and the recent announcement from Research Councils UK (RCUK) in support of open access – all suggest that we are witnessing a sea-change in the way research findings will be disseminated and made accessible in the future.

Friday, August 12, 2005

More on the changes to Google Print

Jeffrey Young, Google Answers Complaints About Project to Scan Millions of Books, but Publishers Are Not Won Over, Chronicle of Higher Education, August 12, 2005 (accessible only to subscribers). Excerpt:
Responding to concerns from several academic and commercial publishers, Google has made minor adjustments to its vast project to scan library books, and Google officials say they will not scan any copyrighted books until November, while publishers consider the new policies. Google officials say they will make sure they do not scan any book held by a library if the book's publisher asks that the book not be scanned. In the past, Google has said that it would scan entire library collections and remove book scans after the fact only if a publisher sought the removal of a book from Google's online index.

OA metadata and OA full-text

Brian Surratt, Take my metadata, please! Texadata, July 22, 2005. Excerpt:
1) Metadata that is "Open Access" gets proliferated throughout the web in a very efficient manner. The collections I'm speaking of are our ETD repository and the Journal of Digital Information. Over the past few months, our metadata for these collections has been proliferating over the web through various means. First of all, they are both harvested automatically by the major search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and MSN. Second of all, they are harvested by specialty search engines focused on scholarly resources. They are being harvested by Google Scholar, Elsevier's Scirus, and Thompson-ISI's Current Web Contents and this is just what I know for sure. So the information that WE host is now included in these search engines, from the broadest web search to sites that are focused on serving the needs of scholars. This wouldn't have come about except for the fact that our content is available Open Access. Not just the full-text of the documents themselves, but our metadata as well! I think this is great. Since we are Open Access anyway, we don't measure success by profits, we measure it by use. We want to be used, hit, and downloaded as much as possible. We want our content to be cited and have scholarly impact....

2) A lot of metadata in library systems is not "Open Access." This makes it much harder, less efficient, and expensive to manage....

3) What is significant about these observations? In the future, I think metadata is going to become free-er, while the full-text content will be more controlled. I suspect that it will become beneficial for all parties involved to have "free" metadata, but enhance access controls to the content itself. It is the content that is so valuable, not the metadata. I also think that the control of access to content will be determined less by publishers and more by content creators. Some publishers (specifically Open Access publishers) will start providing more levels of access to content, and in this competitive environment, content creators will have a lot of options....Furthermore, if it turns out to be true that "Open Access" correlates to higher impact [PS: it is true], decisions on access levels will be influenced more by "impact" than commercial considerations. The power will be in the hands of the content creators.

(PS: Even non-OA publishers should provide OA to their metadata. It functions as free advertising that intermediaries, like search engines, are scrambling to pick up and publicize. It doesn't follow that full-text "will be" more controlled. But it may be. They are independent decisions. The usual reasons for providing OA to full-text continue to apply and we can hope that they will continue to have an effect.)

New OA journal on RNA

The Journal of RNAi and Gene Splicing is a new peer-reviewed, open-access journal from Library Publishing Media (LPM). The inaugural issue appeared earlier today. (Thanks to Muhammad Sohail.) From Bruce Patterson's opening editorial:
[W]e are on the threshold of a new era in molecular biology that has the potential to redefine gene regulation and the research approaches used in medical therapeutics and health research. The rapid increase in the number of publications in the RNA silencing field will be greatly served by a specialty journal dedicated to the field and we are please to announce the planned publication of just such a new journal dedicated to this purpose: The Journal of RNAi and Gene Silencing. It will serve as a new venue for the rapid publication of articles covering all aspects of the RNA universe and we welcome your contributions.

Also see the LPM statement on Open Access Publishing and the details on its publishing model.

Another TA article about OA

Laurie N. Gottlieb, Open Access: A Hot Topic in the Publishing World, The Canadian journal of nursing research, June 2005. Not even an abstract is free online, at least so far.

Another journal converts to OA

J.P. Drenth, A watershed for the Netherlands Journal of Medicine: open internet access, The Netherlands Journal of Medicine, July 2005.
Abstract: As of now, the Netherlands Journal of Medicine will become freely accessible online. This represents a turning point for the Journal as open access publishing provides instant and universal availability of published work to any potential reader, worldwide, completely free of subscriptions, passwords and charges. This assures the widest possible dissemination of scientific knowledge from the Journal without boundaries of limited circulation or local availability of a hardcopy. We believe that by opening up we are making research available to a much wider range of readers than our print and subscription model would have been able to achieve.

(PS: NJM was published by Elsevier at least until December 2001 and is now published by Van Zuiden Communications. I'm trying to find out whether its new OA status is the result of a declaration of independence. Thanks to Klaus Graf for NJM's current web site.)

Correcting the false Wikipedia story

You've probably heard the buzz that Wikipedia was tightening its editorial rules and might even freeze some articles to prevent vandalism. It's untrue. The story started when Wikipedia president Jimmy Wales gave an English-language interview to German reporters after the Frankfurt Wikimania conference last week. His comments were translated into German for the German press and translated back into English by Reuters. It looks like the double translation introduced the false elements to the story. Wales clarified the situation to Steve Outing of PoynterOnline:
The interesting thing is that the media simply made up the story about us permanently locking some pages. It's just not true....There is absolutely no truth at all to the story. None, zero. It is a complete and total fabrication from start to finish....The story seems to have legs, even though we've contacted Reuters and every other outlet to try to get a correction, no one seems to care at all....No response. We're important enough to write about, but not important enough for them to listen to at all.

Here's how Wales corrected the story on Slashdot: "I spoke to one journalist about our longstanding discussions of how to create a "stable version" or "Wikipedia 1.0". This would not involve substantial changes to how we do our usual work, but rather a new process for identifying our best work."

(PS: It's obvious but I'll say it anyway. An error like this would not have lasted 10 minutes on Wikipedia.)

Impact through archiving

Heather Morrison, The Institutional Repository, the Author & the Academy, The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics, August 11, 2005. Excerpt:
As an author, I just love my institutional repository!...A few weeks ago, I placed a peer-reviewed preprint in SFU's D-Space called The Dramatic Growth of Open Access: Implications and Opportunities for Resource Sharing and sent a note about the article to a few of the listservs I participate in. Within a couple of days, there were references to my article on a couple of blogs (at least one with very high traffic). Several people wrote to thank me for the article. One person specifically thanked me for self-archiving the article, because their library cannot afford to purchase journals in library and information science. Someone else mentioned that they would be putting some of the resources mentioned on their web site as a result of reading my article. At least two people are using ideas from this article in conference planning....

Two new features for Google Print

Google has announced two new features to the Google Print Publisher and Google Print Library programs. From the announcement (August 11):
As with many ambitious ideas, Google Print has sparked a healthy amount of discussion. And we've been listening....Today I’d like to mention two new features that reflect these discussions and which we feel will considerably improve both programs. If you’re in the Publisher Program (or you decide to join it), you can now give us a list of the books that, if we scan them at a library, you’d like to have added immediately to your account. This way you can have your books in Google Print, which will put them into search results, direct potential buyers to your website, provide ongoing reports about user interest in your books, and your books will also earn revenue from contextual advertising – even if they are out of print. We think most publishers and authors will choose to participate in the publisher program in order introduce their work to countless readers around the world. But we know that not everyone agrees, and we want to do our best to respect their views too. So now, any and all copyright holders – both Google Print partners and non-partners – can tell us which books they’d prefer that we not scan if we find them in a library. To allow plenty of time to review these new options, we won’t scan any in-copyright books from now until this November.

Analysis of Google Scholar

Philipp Mayr, Google Scholar - How deep does this search engine dig? in Proceedings 10th International Conference of the International Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics, Stockholm, 2005. (Thanks to DigLit.)
Abstract: The poster shows first results from the Google Scholar search engine. The empirical study analyses different journal lists (STM journals, Open Access journals and German social sciences journals). We analysed the coverage and actuality of this new scientific Google service and found gaps in Google Scholars’ journal coverage and actuality. We also can present the most important/frequent webservers where Google Scholar documents are deposited.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Lessig on the sharing economy

Lawrence Lessig, Do you Floss? London Review of Books, August 18, 2005 (full-text accessible only to subscribers). Reflections on free and open-source software, many of which apply to open-access literature. Excerpt:
We’ve been driven to recognise one kind of economy: the quid pro quo (‘qpq’) economy, in which wages are exchanged for work, or CDs for $20 bills. But examples such as [USENET support groups] suggest we should consider a different model as well: what the internet visionary and Japanese venture capitalist Joi Ito calls the ‘sharing economy’, in which unrelated individuals, often in remote parts of the world, ‘work’ together to produce private and collective goods. The sharing economy is no less an economy for that....[I]t, too, produces significant wealth. But the way this wealth is created is different from the ways of the quid pro quo economy....[Why not demand compensation?] The answer has something to do with the individuals concerned, and something to do with the nature of software. It’s ordinarily hard to understand why anyone would give away something of value, but that’s because usually, giving it away means having less yourself. But software in particular, and knowledge in general, is not like food: when I reveal to you how best to install Word on your computer, I don’t lose that ability myself. As Thomas Jefferson put it nearly two hundred years ago, ‘he who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me.’ Software, like ideas, is ‘non-rival’. Your using it doesn’t harm me....[C]onsider a more pedestrian example: the English language, say. Language is an anti-rival good: not only does your speaking English not restrict me, your speaking it benefits me. The more people who speak a language, the more useful that language is, at least to those who speak it. We therefore don’t tax foreigners who learn our language; we encourage them, since we benefit from their use of it just as they do. Language in this sense is a commons – everyone has free access to it – but this commons not only doesn’t produce a ‘tragedy of the commons’; it results, as the Yale law professor Carol Rose puts it, in a ‘comedy of the commons’....The clearest example is academic publication, where ‘free revealing’ (publishing in open access journals) increases the number of citations the academic receives.

(Thanks to Matt Cockerill.)

More on OA to drug trial data

B. Gitanjali, ICMJE statement on compulsory clinical trial registration: Should Indian journals follow suit? Indian Journal of Pharmacology, 37, 4 (2005). An editorial. (Thanks to D.K. Sahu.) Excerpt:
In May 2005, the International Council for Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE)...released a joint editorial statement on registration of clinical trials. ICMJE journals will consider manuscripts reporting clinical trials only if the trial was registered in a public registry before patient recruitment started....The ICMJE seeks to create an accessible and searchable public record of all clinical trials, containing all the relevant information clinicians need to make informed decisions regarding a particular treatment option, not just what "the researchers wanted to report and the editors chose to publish"....India is currently touted as a haven for clinical trials; it is projected that by 2010 clinical trials, to the tune of $250-300 million annually will be performed in India. In the absence of a national registry of clinical trials, Indian researchers and the public may not know what studies are being conducted on Indian soil, by whom and where. This results in duplication of work and wastage of resources. It exposes research participants to unnecessary risks. National funding agencies may sanction money for similar studies, unaware that such work is underway or has already been done, since adverse or negative results may not get published at all. Finally, it permits human research to be done without public scrutiny....In fact the ICMJE statement could be accepted not just by [Indian] editors but also as a prerequisite for funding by national agencies, award of degrees (if the trial formed part of a thesis) and even presentation at conferences. A public repository could be maintained of the kind being promoted in the US supported by all major funding bodies. All trials funded by national agencies should be registered here. Public funds are used for clinical trials on Indian systems of medicine and the public have a right to know about them.

Towards a free curriculum

Rob Reynolds, Manifesto for a Free Curriculum, Xplanazine, August 10, 2005. Excerpt:
I would like to propose the beginnings of a Manifesto for a Free Curriculum. I am offering up this initial version as a very rough list. It is my hope that others will respond and add to it....Learning occurs in open environments that foster organic growth....Learners must have open access to the Learning Curriculum at all times and be allowed to work through as much of the Curriculum as possible.... Access to the Learning Curriculum is a fundamental human right. Therefore, the Learning Curriculum must be free.

Good advice for authors

Rachel Singer Gordon, Publish, Don't Perish! Library Literature and the Gift Economy, Library Link, July 2005. Reasons for librarians to publish, especially in some OA form. Gordon's arguments apply to scholarly authors of all kinds, not just librarians. Excerpt:
You will note also that most of these opportunities [for name recognition, building your resume and reputation, and advancing the literature] are maximized when access to your work is also maximized. I’ve talked before about the advantages of publishing online, especially in free, open-access venues. (See February and March 2005.) The library literature of course contains a healthy mix of publication outlets, both free and fee - but take accessibility into account, along with other considerations, when choosing an outlet for your work.

More journals indexed in ERIC

Kate Corby has found 93 journals indexed in ERIC but not included on previous lists.

Permissions for OA archiving from LIS journals

Anita Coleman and three co-authors, Copyright Transfer Agreements in an Interdisciplinary Repository, a conference presentation, n.d. but archived on August 10, 2005.
Abstract: Copyright Transfer Agreements (CTA) are a rich source of rights information related to self-archiving. According to the Eprints Self-Archiving FAQ, "To self-archive is to deposit a digital document in a publicly accessible website, preferably an OAI-compliant Eprint Archive." This poster describes a study undertaken by DLIST whereby the CTAs of selected LIS journals were analyzed for publisher statements on the rights of authors related to self-archiving. The study differs from efforts such as the SHERPA/RoMEO database that resulted from the large open access studies of Project RoMEO. The main differences are: 1) our focus on LIS journals and 2) focus on journals rather than publishers, since publishers appear to have different policies and CTAs for each of their journals. RoMEO/SHERPA focus on publishers in all disciplines and as such LIS is not fully/adequately represented. DLIST, Digital Library of Information Science and Technology is an Open Access Archive (OAA) for Library and Information Science and Technology based on E-prints; a cross-institutional disciplinary repository for the Information Sciences that focus on cultural heritage institutions such as Archives, Libraries, and Museums using interdisciplinary perspectives. To some researchers cultural heritage institutions and formal educational organizations are the critical information infrastructures for building the knowledge society.

New OA journal on technology and the liberal arts

Academic Commons is a new peer-reviewed, OA journal on the uses of technology in liberal arts education. The inaugural issue is now online. From the web site: 'Sponsored by the Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts at Wabash College, Academic Commons publishes essays, reviews, interviews, showcases of innovative uses of technology, and vignettes that critically examine technology uses in the classroom. Academic Commons aims to share knowledge, develop collaborations, and evaluate and disseminate digital tools and innovative practices for teaching and learning with technology. We want this site to advance opportunities for collaborative design, open development, and rigorous peer critique of such resources. Academic Commons also provides a forum for academic technology projects and groups (the Developer's Kit) and a link to a new learning object referatory (LoLa). Our library archives all materials we have published and also provides links to allied organizations, mailing lists, blogs, and journals through a Professional Development Center.' (PS: Disclosure: I'm on the AC advisory board.)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Bielefeld's new academic search engine

The Bielefeld University Library has launched BASE (Bielefeld Academic Search Engine). From the August 2 press release:
BASE in its updated version discloses now more than 2,3 Mio. documents of 130 online - resources, incl. many scholarly full text archives, accessible through the international protocol of the Open Archives Initiative (OAI). Documents are mainly freely available and can be searched by bibliographic data or full text. BASE offers new features within the search refinement ('restrict results to data source'), various result sorting options and a search history....BASE is the multi-disciplinary search engine at Bielefeld University to scholarly internet resources, developed by Bielefeld University Library based on the technology of the Norwegian company FAST Search & Transfer. BASE complements the current metasearch system for catalogues and databases of the Bielefeld Digital Library by disclosing many scholarly full text archives, digital repositories and preprint servers of the internet. BASE is a strategic project of Bielefeld University Library and will be further developed with the perspective of replacing the current metasearch. In the meantime BASE has registered as OAI service provider.

(PS: I believe this is the first OAI service provider based on FAST, the same search technology underlying Elsevier's Scirus.)

Essential links to OA resources

Adrian K. Ho and Charles W. Bailey Jr., Open access webliography, Reference Services Review, 33, 3 (2005). The journal only provides free online access to an abstract, but the authors have created their own OA edition of the full text.
Abstract: Purpose - The paper aims to present a wide range of useful freely available internet resources (e.g. directories, e-journals, FAQs, mailing lists, and weblogs) that allow the reader to investigate the major aspects of the important open access (OA) movement. Design/methodology/approach - The internet resources included in this webliography were identified during the course of one of the authors writing the Open Access Bibliography: Liberating Scholarly Literature with E-prints and Open Access Journals. The authors evaluated, selected, categorized, and annotated these resources to construct this webliography, which complements the bibliography. Findings - The most useful resources have been annotated and organized into webliography sections. For example, the "Starting Points", "Debates", and "General Information" sections list resources that orient the reader to OA and the issues involved. The different "Directories (and Guides)" sections alert the reader to useful finding aids on relevant subjects. Originality/value - This webliography provides easy access to the most relevant internet resources for understanding and practicing OA. It affirms the significance of OA in scholarly communication, and it identifies the key parties involved in and/or contributing to the OA movement.

(PS: This is the single most useful list of essential links to OA resources that I've seen. I'll soon be linking to it from many of my own pages. If the current OA edition has to match the journal edition, then I hope that Ho and Bailey will launch another OA version and keep it up to date.)

Nurses need better access to medical research

The Royal College of Nursing has released the results of a survey showing that nurses need better access to research in order to give better care. From the press release (July 22, 2005):
Patients may not be getting the best care possible because nurses have limited access to the latest research and information in their workplaces, according to research from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN). The survey of nurses’ information needs showed that nurses who have the time and easy access to health information at work are more likely to use their research to improve the care they give to patients. Over 1700 nurses responded to the RCN survey, making it one of the largest reviews of nurses’ information needs undertaken in the UK. Over one third of the respondents had limited access to the Internet for research whilst at work, and almost one in five said they never had access to the Internet at work when they needed it. In the independent sector this rose to nearly half who never had access to the Internet for research in the workplace when they needed it, with 38% saying they had no computer access at work at all. Due to workload and time constraints getting to a local health library for research during work time was difficult for two out of ten of nurses in NHS hospitals, increasing to 7 out of ten in the independent sector. Within the NHS community setting one third of respondents had difficulty getting to a local health library....When asked about improvements they would like to see in the information services they used, nine out of ten said they would like to get more access to a wider range of full text articles in journals.

Interview with Arnoud de Kemp on DRM and OA

Arnoud de Kemp, Science can’t accept technical barriers of content use! INDICARE, August 9, 2005. An interview with Arnoud de Kemp, former director of marketing and sales at Springer Verlag, former member of the Springer board, and former member of the board of International Association of Scientific, Technical, and Medical Publishers (STM). He is currently building up digilibri, his new company. Excerpt:

INDICARE: Where do you see the difference between the entertainment industry which has strongly pushed the debate on DRM and the scientific publishing domain?

A. de Kemp: There is a whole series of differences. The most important is that in science there is a long tradition of free exchange of research results....For journal articles, there are no royalties involved. [...]

INDICARE: What is actually happening at publishers with respect to the introduction of DRM in the stricter sense?

A. de Kemp: Next to nothing is happening, as in the world of publishing, people feel that everything is already taken care of. Through the consortium licenses and copyright laws, there is the possibility for unlimited use of scientific literature. Students can log in from home and access literature from the databases that are licensed by the university libraries. In this way, scientific literature for the end-user is in most cases in principle freely accessible. There is little inclination to copy and disseminate scientific articles as an alternative. [...]

INDICARE: What would be the alternative [to DRM]?

A. de Kemp: The open route using contracts. We will conclude framework contracts with editors, image agencies, designers etc. and give them open access to our material in a special catalogue, controlled by their IP address, user name and password. [...]

INDICARE: How do you view the relationship of scientific publishers to the open access movement?

A. de Kemp: As I have said before. "Open Access" wishes to make all published material free of charge. In their view, libraries and scientists stand on one side and the publishers and their helpers on the other. In principle however, the publishers should not be against "Open Access". If the money that the libraries currently pay to publishers for the use of the publications is re-allocated by the funding agencies and similar organisations, to finance the publishing process and dissemination of electronic publications, we as publishers should be happy as life will be easier. Springer very quickly presented "Open Choice" with good arguments: we don't care who pays, but whoever pays, can determine the rules of use. The "Open Access" movement is a real anti-DRM movement. The danger of "Open Access" is that relevant scientific literature becomes grey literature and there are big issues like originality, exploitation of the results described all the way up to patent application, that are not addressed at all.

Comment. Three quick replies: (1) Literature licensed by libraries is not freely available, in principle or in practice. It's very expensive for the library and only accessible to users affiliated with the institution. There's still a huge incentive for alternatives like open access. (2) Access "controlled by...IP address, user name and password" is not open access. (3) "Grey literature" has two common meanings: not priced and not peer-reviewed. In the first sense, it's no objection to call OA literature grey. In the second sense, it would certainly be an objection, but de Kemp gives no reason to think that peer-reviewed OA literature will cease to be peer-reviewed. The other "big issues" he mentions are vague and undeveloped in this interview. I'd be glad to respond if I knew more about the objection.

Is Google caving to publishers?

Quoting Tom Breen in the August 8 Journal Inquirer (Manchester, Connecticut):
The Web search engine Google recently announced ambitious plans to create a free digital library. As a first step, the company entered into a partnership with top research libraries, including those of Harvard and Oxford universities, to digitize their entire collections. However, a storm of controversy soon followed over concerns about copyright violation, and Google is now planning to offer only material already in the public domain, according to a company spokesman.

(PS: I haven't seen the claim in the last sentence confirmed anywhere else. Since Breen doesn't name or quote his source, and since other media are not telling the same story, for now I'm assuming that Breen made a mistake.)

Previewing the Paris e-Science conference

Paul A. David and Paul F. Uhlir, The Information Commons for e-Science, CODATA Newsletter 91, July 2005. Excerpt:
The international scope of digital networks and research collaborations make it both necessary and desirable to seek institutional policies and guidelines for action that will contribute to creating the "information commons" for global e-Science. The workshop [Creating the Information Commons for e-Science, Paris, September 1-2, 2005] aims to promote greater understanding of the variety of successful mechanisms that enhance the availability of public information resources for modern scientific research collaborations....The Information Commons workshop will build on the body of practical experience and the empirical studies carried out by the participating organizations and other research and information policy institutions. Moreover, collaboration in this initiative by the major international science policy and scientific information policy organizations-CODATA, ICSTI, INASP, ICSU, UNESCO, TWAS, the OECD and the U.S. National Academies -- has provided an unprecedented opportunity to work towards the formulation of a common, international set of principles and guidelines for public access to scientific data and information. From a scientific perspective, access to data and information has never been as important as it is now....e-Science has been at the forefront of many new paradigms of digitally networked information creation and dissemination activities. Scientific research communities have led efforts to develop open-source software, public-domain data archives and federated data networks, open access journals, community-based open peer review, collaborative research Web sites, collaboratories for virtual experiments, virtual observatories, and Grid-based computing, among other tools for the conduct of distributed research collaborations. These initiatives have given rise to unprecedented opportunities for accelerating the progress of science and innovation and creating wealth based on the more efficient exploitation of data and information produced through public investments in research. Taken together, they are part of the emerging broader movement in support of both formal and informal peer production and dissemination of information in a globally distributed, volunteer, and open networked environment. Such activities are based on principles that reflect the cooperative ethos that traditionally has imbued much of academic and government (civilian) research agencies; their norms and governance mechanisms may be characterized as those of "public scientific information commons," rather than of a market system based upon proprietary data and information....The adoption of many promising new open access initiatives from the bottom up, coupled with the recent introduction of some new top-down legislative proposals, makes it a particularly appropriate time for a comprehensive review and stock-taking as what has been learned....The workshop will examine the issues in the context of research in the OECD countries and in the developing world. A draft set of principles and guidelines developed in advance of the workshop will be discussed at the workshop, using successful models as exemplars.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

More on OA in Australia

Colin Steele, Push to open up access to research, The Australian, August 10, 2005. Excerpt:
Although the open access movement is not intended to combat the continually rising profits of multinational publishers such as Elsevier, Springer, Thomson, Kluwer and Taylor and Francis, it does highlight the fact the university community gives away its research to multinational publishers and that universities then have to buy that information back at ever increasing prices....Research Councils UK recently issued a position paper proposing that recipients of RCUK research grants be required to archive a copy of their published research in an institutional or other archive as soon as possible, but in accordance with whatever agreement they have signed with their publisher. RCUK will also ensure that applicants for grants are allowed to include in the costing of their research proposals the predicted costs of any publications in open access journals. It will be interesting to see the reaction of the Australian Research Council in this context. In Australia, the Australian Research Information Infrastructure Committee, funded by DEST, has been leading the open access debate. Two of its main initiatives to date are the Australian Partnership for Sustainable Repositories and Australian Research Repositories Online to the World, while a second round of grants is expected to be announced shortly by federal Education Minister Brendan Nelson. Two forthcoming Australian seminars will provide opportunities to overview global developments and provide frameworks for Australian debate and initiatives in this area....

Citebase improvements

Tim Brody has added many new features and interface improvements to Citebase. From the site:
[1] Linked PDF - Citebase now annotates PDFs with reference links to the cited free-access e-print (where available), journal copy or - if configured by the user - OpenURL resolver. Example. [2] Support for COinS - using an OpenURL plug-in links are automatically added to references to the cited full-text (subscription permitting). [3] In addition to finding co-cited articles, users can now retrieve co-cites with articles (commonly called related articles). Co-citing articles share common references with the current article. Example. [4] Authors and users can create personalised bibliographies using the login feature. This allows authors to embed a bibliography of articles indexed in Citebase in their own Web site, along with citation and download metrics. Example. [5] - Citebase is now accessible from an easy to remember domain name. [6] Redesigned interface using Web standards (CSS and XHTML). This should provide greater accessibility, faster downloads (e.g. citations page size reduced by 10kb) and improve cross-browser compatibility....[9] Authors' names are now linked in all listings.

Expiring ebooks in the classroom

Andrea Foster, Digital-Textbook Pilot Project Begins This Month in 10 College Bookstores, Chronicle of Higher Education, August 9, 2005 (accessible only to subscribers). Excerpt:
Bookstores at 10 colleges across the country will begin selling access to digital textbooks this month in what promoters say is the first large-scale effort to make electronic textbooks available through campus bookstores. The 10 bookstores, which will continue to market traditional hard-copy books, are taking part in a pilot program coordinated with five academic publishers and a wholesale distributor of textbooks [MBS Textbook Exchange Inc. of Columbia, Missouri]. If it is successful, the two- to three-week pilot program will be gradually expanded to all college bookstores, beginning in the middle of September....Until now, students and professors who have wanted electronic textbooks have usually had to buy them from individual publishers or online booksellers....All 10 of the bookstores will sell electronic textbooks for 33 percent less than hard-copy versions, said Jeffrey S. Cohen, the advertising and promotions manager at MBS. A student can print [parts of] the e-book, highlight passages, mark the book with notes, search for keywords, and listen to an audio version of the book. But the textbooks will have features that some students may dislike. Each book will be locked into the computer it is downloaded with, to prevent the student from copying and distributing it. The entire textbook cannot be printed at one time. After a student downloads a copy of a book, he or she will have access to it for only five months. And unlike a hard-copy textbook, the e-textbook cannot be returned or resold.

Comment. Why would teachers or students put up with a non-returnable, non-migratable ebook that expires in five months? Why would teachers or students acquiesce in the impossibility of using course books for lifelong learning? I'd be ashamed to assign such a book and furious to be assigned one. The question is not whether the 33% price discount really compensates users for an inferior product. The question is why universities would accept a system in which less affluent students were steered toward an inferior product.

Update (August 10). There is now a Slashdot thread on these expiring ebooks.

A library catalog that includes OA repositories

The Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Bremen (State and University Library Bremen) has enhanced its electronic catalog, SuUB Bremen, to include selected open-access, OAI-compliant repositories such as arXiv and the institutional repositories of several German universities. The only English-language details I can find are on the page of OAI service providers (scroll to the bottom).

(PS: I believe this is a first. Many libraries have added OA journals to their catalogs, but I am not aware of another library that has added OA, OAI-compliant repositories to its catalog.)

Update. The Bremen library has now added a OAI filter to the extended search page of the catalog. Thanks to Klaus Graf for making the request and thanks to Elmar Haake at Bremen for satisfying it.

More on OA to drug trial data

Anna Ripple, Tony Tse, and Deborah Zarin, Scope Expanded, NLM Technical Bulletin, August 8, 2005. Excerpt: is the National Library of Medicine (NLM)-developed registry for linking patients, clinicians, and researchers to information about clinical trials of drugs, devices, and other interventions. The registry was established under section 113 of the Food and Drug Administration Modernization Act to provide information to the public about drug effectiveness trials for serious or life-threatening diseases. This article describes the recent expansion of to accommodate the policy of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) on clinical trial registration as a requirement for publication.

Another journal policy on NIH-funded authors

Charles H. Halsted and Ronenn Roubenoff, Response of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition to the National Institutes of Health Public Access Policy, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, August 2005. An editorial. Excerpt:
[The NIH] policy may be both redundant and in conflict with the publishing procedures and policies of most independent scientific journals. For example, the electronic version of each American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) issue is immediately available at no cost to institutions in developing countries designated as low income by the World Bank, and the public can obtain at no cost all editorials and review articles immediately and all other content 12 mo after publication. [PS: Where's the conflict?] At the same time, and to ensure scientific integrity, AJCN policies include ownership of copyright to all accepted material....[T]he NIH does not allow publishers to link the final published version of articles to PubMed Central. [PS: Untrue.] Furthermore, the NIH policy contains no safeguard against the possibility that the initially accepted manuscript that is submitted by the PI to PubMed Central contains factual errors that are only caught later and corrected during the Journal’s copyediting process. [PS: Untrue; publishers may deposit the copy-edited version, which would supersede any earlier version, or they may limit deposit to the copy-edited version.]...[T]he AJCN takes the position that the PI is ultimately responsible for any conflicts that may arise from compliance with the NIH policy, ie, from the premature submission of accepted manuscripts. According to the copyright agreement that all authors sign when submitting a manuscript to the Journal, the AJCN owns the copyright to all material destined for publication. To facilitate compliance with the NIH policy, the AJCN will grant the PI permission to deposit an accepted manuscript in PubMed Central with the stipulation that the PI accepts any liability that may arise from the release of the manuscript in its unpublished form. To avoid this potential liability, the AJCN recommends that the PI delay submission of the manuscript to PubMed Central until after the copyediting process is complete. At that point, the PI will be provided with a PDF of the final version of the article that is to be published in the AJCN. Provision of this final version of the article to PubMed Central will avoid any ambiguity that could otherwise result from the existence of one uncopyedited and another copyedited version of the same article. If the PI decides to submit the uncopyedited version of the manuscript to the NIH, a further stipulation of our permission is that the manuscript must contain [a disclaimer] at the top of the title page....

Comment. After many needless threats and misunderstandings, this is a good policy. It's much better for the author, the journal, and readers for PMC to host the copy-edited version than an earlier version. I especially commend AJCN for allowing deposit of the published version with no embargo. For other journal policies on NIH-funded authors, see my June and July newsletters.

August issue of First Monday

The August issue of First Monday is now online. Here are the OA-related articles.
  • Roger Clark, A proposal for an open content license for research paper (Pr)ePrints. Abstract: 'Many academic papers that are to be submitted to refereed conferences and journals have been previously exposed to the author’s colleagues. The term ‘preprints’ has long been used to describe such documents. ‘Departmental Working Paper’ series were for many years a conventional vehicle for their publication. In the modern world, preprints are frequently transmitted electronically, variously as e–mail attachments and as files available for download via FTP or HTTP. When a preprint is made available electronically, it is likely that the author provides the recipient not only with a copy, but also with a copyright licence. In most cases, however, the licence is only implicit, and the terms of the licence are unclear. This creates the potential for considerable uncertainties, and those uncertainties are of serious concern in the context of tension between for–profit publishers of refereed articles and the research communities that referee and edit them gratis, and depend on them for early access to information. This paper briefly reviews the open content and ePrints movements, considers the interests of the various stakeholders, proposes a set of licence terms intended to satisfy the needs of all parties, and concludes that a particular Creative Commons licence type should be applied to all electronic preprints.'

  • John Willinsky, The unacknowledged convergence of open source, open access, and open science. Abstract: 'A number of open initiatives are actively resisting the extension of intellectual property rights. Among these developments, three prominent instances — open source software, open access to research and scholarship, and open science — share not only a commitment to the unrestricted exchange of information and ideas, but economic principles based on (1) the efficacy of free software and research; (2) the reputation–building afforded by public access and patronage; and, (3) the emergence of a free–or–subscribe access model. Still, with this much in common, the strong sense of convergence among these open initiatives has yet to be fully realized, to the detriment of the larger, common issue. By drawing on David’s (2004; 2003; 2000; 1998) economic work on open science and Weber’s (2004) analysis of open source, this paper seeks to make that convergence all the more apparent, as well as worth pursuing, by those interested in furthering this alternative approach, which would treat intellectual properties as public goods.'

Monday, August 08, 2005

Drug contracts limit physician criticism

Sarah Rubenstein, How Lilly Influences What Prescribers Learn About Cymbalta, August 5, 2005. The article is accessible only to subscribers. But here's an OA copy, thanks to Stay Free.

While legislators and journal editors are pushing for OA to drug trial data, in order to balance positive published information about drugs with unpublished negative information, some drug companies are finding ominous and cynical new ways to suppress the negative. Excerpt from Rubenstein's article:

From TV commercials to pitches in doctors' offices, drug companies try to cast their products in the best possible light. Some use a far less visible approach: contractual restrictions on what insurers, hospitals and other health facilities can tell doctors about certain drugs. Drug makers commonly offer price breaks to insurers, hospitals and other medical facilities. In exchange, they often get favorable placement on drug formularies, the lists these entities use to encourage prescriptions of certain products. Some of the contracts go further, restricting insurers and medical organizations from making unflattering statements about the costs and risks of drugs when they communicate with health practitioners. A case in point is the discount contract Eli Lilly & Co. has offered health facilities in connection with Cymbalta, an antidepressant that the Food and Drug Administration approved last year and that faces competition in some cases from cheaper generics....The Cymbalta discount contract offers large purchasers of antidepressants a 5% discount, but specifies that they could lose most of that discount if they engage in, among other things, "negative D.U.R. correspondence to physicians." While not defined in the contract, D.U.R. is industry shorthand for "drug utilization review," a kind of analysis of prescription patterns that insurers often use to identify inappropriate or risky practices and often also to cut costs....One type of communication that might be disallowed under the contract would be a description of side effects for Cymbalta that didn't also describe its benefits, she says. Another possibility: a side-by-side price comparison between Cymbalta and a generic....Also restricted under the Cymbalta contract is "negative educational counterdetailing." Counterdetailing is the industry name for efforts, often made by insurers, to counterbalance drug makers' sales pitches (which are often referred to as "detailing"). Counterdetailing efforts commonly push patients toward generics or poke holes in drug makers' claims about their products.

Profile of Eliot Christian

Aliya Sternstein, Architect of information retrieval, Federal Computer Week, August 8, 2005. Excerpt:
It is impossible to categorize Eliot Christian. He is an advocate for search standards, a developer of a unified emergency warning system and ironically a man obsessed with cataloging the world's information. For 15 years, Christian, who manages of data and information systems at the U.S. Geological Survey, has prodded governments, industry and interest groups to create an electronic card catalog of human knowledge....In battling the digital chaos, Christian is an ardent promoter of the Global Information Locator Service (GILS), which is based on the International Organization for Standardization's specification for information search and retrieval. GILS, Christian's creation, responds to searches that reference information by title, subject, author, date and location. The original idea was to have employees assign those five labels to each piece of public government information, thereby systematically indexing and filing all public government data. But government officials dealt GILS a blow last month. National Institute of Standards and Technology officials proposed withdrawing it as a mandatory federal standard because modern search technology has eclipsed it....Besides dreaming of a more organized world of information, Christian has produced tangible results throughout his career. He has invented technologies and collaborated with lawmakers to improve access to government information. He has designed metadata maintenance code, client search software for Web browsers and Extensible Markup Language encoding rules....Christian is now detailed to the Federal Geographic Data Committee, an intergovernmental body created to make geospatial information accessible by anyone....Brewster Kahle, co-founder of the Internet Archive, said Christian is one of his heroes. Kahle said it is because of people like Christian that the Internet has expanded and done as well as it has.

Proposal for a new, collaborative OA Bible translation

Peter Kirby, Open Access Translation (The OAT Bible), Christian Origins, August 7, 2005. Excerpt:
TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) are popular for Bible translations, so I've come up with one. The "Open Access Translation" (OAT) Bible. It would be the first Bible to be translated with a Creative Commons license. The question is--which license? The question is whether we would want the translator to be able to add this to her CV, in which case we would have to go with a "No Derivatives-By Attribution" license, or whether we would want people to be able to modify the Bible for their own purposes. For the Open Scrolls Project, J. Davila suggested that I go with the "No Derivatives-By Attribution" license, and I agreed to this. This way, all the changes to be made to the Bible could be suggested on a single website, where they could be reviewed by the general editor(s) and the editor(s) for the particular biblical book. The main contributors to each book's translation would get credit and could know that their work would not be mangled. Nonetheless, the translation could be freely copied and printed at no charge if kept intact. In order to make such a translation, three things are necessary, or at least desirable --volunteer translators, open access translation software, and some funding (to pay the general editor? to pay a modicum to all active translators? to promote the project and the result? to legitimate the effort?). Active volunteer translators, and even moreso competent ones and excellent editors for quality control, will be the hardest to come by. Funding, therefore, could be a way to solve that problem. But who would do the funding? The easiest part would be open access translation software --because I would be happy to write it.

New OA journal on natural and social philosophy

Cosmos and History is a new open-access, peer-reviewed journal of natural and social philosophy. From the web site: 'It serves those who see philosophy’s vocation in questioning and challenging prevailing assumptions about ourselves and our place in the world, developing new ways of thinking about physical existence, life, humanity and society, so helping to create the future insofar as thought affects the issue....The journal encourages contributions from philosophically oriented thinkers from all disciplines....Cosmos and History provides open access to all of its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge. Such access is associated with increased readership and increased citation of an author's work.'

OA as first aid for access disasters

Heather Morrison, U. of Guyana Library Flood Relief / Open Access Analysis, The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics, August 7, 2005. When a library is devastated by flood or fire, you can help by donating print materials --and by providing OA to your own research.

Guide to creating institutional repositories

Mary R. Barton and Margaret W. Waters, Creating an Institutional Repository: LEADIRS Workbook, MIT Libraries, 2004-2005. A detailed (134 pp.) guide for institutions thinking about launching and maintaining a repository. From Leadirs (LEarning About Digital Institutional Repositories), the collaborative project between the Cambridge University libraries and MIT libraries. (Thanks to ResourceShelf.)

ALPSP response to the RCUK draft OA policy

The ALPSP has created a web page on the RCUK draft OA policy. The page links the the ALPSP's first response to the draft policy (April 19, 2005), and its second, formal response (August 5, 2005). The page also encourages ALPSP members to submit their own critical comments to the RCUK, using ALPSP bullet points.

Excerpt from the August 5 letter: 'We are convinced that RCUK’s proposed policy will inevitably lead to the destruction of journals. A policy of mandated self-archiving of research articles in freely accessible repositories, when combined with the ready retrievability of those articles through search engines (such as Google Scholar) and interoperability (facilitated by standards such as OAI-PMH), will accelerate the move to a disastrous scenario. Librarians will increasingly find that ‘good enough’ versions of a significant proportion of articles in journals are freely available; in a situation where they lack the funds to purchase all the content their users want, it is inconceivable that they would not seek to save money by cancelling subscriptions to those journals. As a result, those journals will die. The consequences of the destruction of journals’ viability are very serious. Not only will it become impossible to support the whole process of quality control, including (but not limited to) peer review, but in addition, the research community will lose all the other value and prestige which is added, for both author and reader, through inclusion in a highly rated journal with a clearly understood audience and rich online functionality. This in turn will deprive learned societies of an important income stream, without which many will be unable to support their other activities – such as meetings, bursaries, research funding, public education and patient information – which are of huge benefit both to their research communities and to the general public....We absolutely reject unsupported assertions that self-archiving in publicly accessible repositories does not and will not damage journals. Indeed, we are accumulating a growing body of evidence that the opposite is the case, even at this early stage.' The letter then lists five examples of harm allegedly caused by OA archiving.

Update. The ALPSP withdrew its August 5 letter behind a password shortly after it was put online. On September 8, however, after a detailed rebuttal appeared online, ALPSP decided to release its letter to the public. To see it, use the updated link.

Profs use internet for research, teaching, communication

Jeffrey Young, Professors Give Mixed Reviews of Internet's Educational Impact, Chronicle of Higher Education, August 12, 2005 (accessible only to subscribers). A May 2004 survey by Steve Jones and Camille Johnson shows that a majority of professors believe the internet has improved their research, improved their teaching, and improved their communication with students, but degraded student performance. The survey results have been presented at conferences but not yet published.

Excerpt: 'The survey shows that most professors log plenty of hours in cyberspace. Forty percent of participants said they spent 20 or more hours each week online, while 60 percent said they were online 4 to 19 hours per week. The survey was conducted online, however, which could have skewed it toward tech-savvy professors....Browsing library stacks could soon be seen as old-fashioned. Most of the professors surveyed, 83 percent, said they spent less time in the library now than they did before they had Internet access. But professors said that online journals, e-mail lists, and other Internet tools had become critical for keeping up with news and research in their disciplines. Ninety-four percent said they allowed their students to cite Internet sources in their papers.'

New OA journal on nanomaterials

The Journal of Nanomaterials is a new open-access, peer-reviewed journal from Hindawi Publishing.

From the journal site: 'The overall aim of the Journal of Nanomaterials is to bring science and applications together on nanoscale and nanostructured materials with emphasis on synthesis, processing, characterization, and applications of materials containing true nanosize dimensions or nanostructures that enable novel/enhanced properties or functions. It is directed at both academic researchers and practicing engineers.'

From the press release: 'The Journal of Nanomaterials (JNM) will be edited by Michael Hu of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory....JNM is open access with a business model based on article processing charges to be paid by the authors' institution or research grant. The journal shall have an online edition, which is free with no subscription or registration barriers, and a print edition which shall be priced at a level reasonable for covering the printing cost. All articles published in JNM shall be distributed under the "Creative Commons Attribution License," which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. JNM brings the number of open access journals published by Hindawi to eight. The first seven journals are in the areas of biomedicine, computer engineering, mechanical engineering and applied mathematics. Hindawi is planning to launch several more open access journals in the next few months.'

More on Harnad's keystroke solution

Stevan Harnad, A Keystroke Koan for our Open Access Times, a preprint archived at Southampton ECS on August 8, 2005. Abstract:
Why do researchers petition for Open Access (OA) yet fail to provide it for themselves, by self-archiving? An employer/funder self-archiving mandate is what is missing to resolve this koan. What needs to be mandated is only the keystrokes for depositing the final draft plus the OAI metadata of the article in the author's Institutional Repository (IR) immediately upon acceptance for publication, along with the strong encouragement to set access-privileges as OA. Access to over 90% of these articles can already be set as OA with the blessing of their publishers. The rest can be set to IR-internal access for the time being, but their metadata will still be as visible to all searchers and surfers webwide as those of the 90% that are already OA, allowing would-be users to email the author to request an eprint. Emailing eprints can bridge the gap until either the remaining 10% of journals give self-archiving their blessing or the author tires of doing the superfluous keystrokes to email the eprints and simply does the last keystroke to set access at OA. Either way, mediated OA will already be providing effective 100% OA as of the implementation of the keystroke-policy. Such an immediate-deposit ("keystroke") policy -- leaving no loopholes for any exceptions or delays -- is what Research Councils UK (RCUK) needs to mandate. The rest of the planet will follow suit. And Nature will take care of the rest.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

OA repository coming to UQAM

Daniel Lemire reports that the University of Quebec at Montreal is about to launch an Eprints-based OA repository.

OA projects in theology

Peter Kirby has posted a set of annotated links to open-access or open-source projects in theology. (Thanks to Sansblogue.)

Wikis for science and scholarship

Lambert Heller and others, Wikis for scientific publishing, part of the proceedings of Wikimania 2005 (Frankfurt, August 5-7, 2005). The paper has a section on OA but so far it's very brief and schematic. The primary topic overall is not OA but wiki-inflected authorship and peer review laid on top of OA. The paper is itself a wiki, subject to revision even by people who didn't attend the conference.

Clifford Lynch recognized, again

Clifford Lynch has received the Educause 2005 Leadership in Public Policy and Practice award. From the press release:
Lynch has provided stellar leadership to the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI), an organization dedicated to supporting the transformative promise of networked information technology for the advancement of scholarly communication and the enrichment of intellectual productivity, which is cosponsored by the Association of Research Libraries and EDUCAUSE. Lynch is a leading analyst of technology trends in education, libraries, publishing, and cultural arenas, and an advisor to organizations and leaders involved in those fields....A prolific writer and speaker, Lynch has worked with leading boards on digital preservation, national and international networking, and intellectual property issues. He is an adjunct professor at UC Berkeley’s School of Information Management and Systems, a past president of the American Society for Information Science, and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Information Standards Organization. He serves on the National Digital Preservation Strategy Advisory Board of the Library of Congress, and has been a member of U.S. National Research Council committees addressing copyright in the digital environment, broadband deployment, and most recently digital archiving at the National Archives and Records Administration.

(PS: ...And he's a tireless and effective advocate for institutional repositories. Congratulations, Cliff!)