Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Forthcoming OA titles at BioMed Central

BioMed Central (BMC) publishes a substantial number of journals, primarily entitled BMC "science". In addition, BMC provides a hosting service for independent, Open Access journals, with 74 titles currently in production and eight in development: Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry; ISSN: 1860-5397 | Biological Knowledge; ISSN: 1745-4743 | Diagnostic Pathology; ISSN: 1746-1596 | Head & Face Medicine; ISSN: 1746-160X | Immunome Research; ISSN: 1745-7580 | International Breastfeeding Journal; ISSN: 1746-4358 | Journal of Biomedical Discovery and Collaboration; ISSN: 1747-5333 | Philosophy, Ethics, & Humanities in Medicine; ISSN: 1747-5341.

Plant Methods -- new OA jnl

Plant Methods published its first articles on 18 August. It is the latest independent, Open Access journal, now 74 in total, to be hosted by BioMed Central. Succinctly, this is a methodology journal for the post-genomics era of research in the plant science. From the journal's About page:
Technological innovation is probably the most important catalyst for progress in any scientific discipline. Yet to date there has been no plant journal specialising on the development and application of new techniques. The result is that technical creativity has not being given the high-profile platform it needs and deserves. Plant Methods aims to redress the balance by promoting and rapidly disseminating technological advances in plant biology. The goals of the journal will be to stimulate the development and adoption of new and improved techniques and research tools and, where appropriate, to promote consistency of methodologies for better integration of data from different laboratories.

Plant Methods - Fulltext v1+ (2005+); ISSN: 1746-4811.

Blackwell CEO objects

Rene Olivieri, Making a pig's ear of an unscientific free-for-all, Times Higher-Education Supplement, August 19, 2005 (accessible only to subscribers). Olivieri is the CEO of Blackwell Publishing. Excerpt:
A movement that aligns itself under the banner of Open Access (OA) has launched a campaign of liberation from the capitalists. Its arguments and rhetoric are often simplistic and inflammatory....First, one wing of the OA evangelists asserts that placing copies of articles in freely accessible databases will not harm existing journals. This is self-evidently nonsense. We know that libraries do not have enough money to buy everything their users require. If all (or most) of the content of journals were to be freely available and easily retrievable, why wouldn't they save money by cancelling subscriptions? Publishers are already finding that this is what happens. Second, another OA faction claims that author-pays publishing will cost less. The Wellcome Trust report on OA calls itself an "economic analysis of scientific research publishing" but the economics it employs is more in the Marx and Lenin mould than in the neoclassical tradition recognised by most economists today....The one detailed bit of real analysis done so far...indicates that most top US research institutions would pay more under an author-pays version of OA than they do in subscriptions.

Comment. There are too many simplistic and inflammatory assertions here to rebut in a blog posting. But here's a quick start: (1) There are in fact many reasons to think that OA archiving will not undercut subscriptions, including empirical evidence from fields like physics where OA archiving is most extensive. (2) OA archiving is desirable even if it does undercut subscriptions. Showing harm to non-OA journals would not derail the OA argument. (3) If Olivieri knew of errors in the Wellcome Trust study, then I assume he would point them out rather than rely on abusive name-calling. (4) The calculation purporting to show that universities would pay more for OA journals than they pay now for non-OA journals is deeply flawed. It assumed an average journal fee much higher than the actual average; it assumed that all OA journals charge fees when fewer than half actually do; and it assumed that for those that do charge fees, only universities would pay them. (5) OA is entirely compatible with capitalism and everyone who is paying attention understands this. More than one OA publisher is for-profit. Other for-profit publishers are experimenting with OA. The NIH was instructed to adopt its public-access policy by a Republican Congress. Even capitalists want to spread the benefits of science, take advantage of new technologies, and give taxpayers access to the research for which they have paid.

OA as an issue of international concern for health libraries

Bruce Madge and T. Scott Plutchak, The increasing globalization of health librarianship: a brief survey of international trends and activities, Health Information and Libraries Journal, September 2005. Only this abstract is free online, at least so far:
Background and purpose: Throughout his career, Leslie Morton was interested in international developments in health librarianship. In memory of the work he did in this field, the authors examine current developments in international health librarianship and describe some current themes. Procedures: The authors draw from their combined experience in international activities and the published information available from selected library associations and related organizations. Findings: Although many of the major health library associations around the world are tackling agendas specific to their own country, issues of international concern are emerging in common. These are grouped around globalization, partnerships and co-operation, electronic access, especially open access, and working with the developing world in a number of different ways. Of course, the basis of all of these initiatives is to improve the health of the population by providing the best possible access to materials. Conclusions: Professional associations can provide a useful institutional infrastructure for addressing issues of international interest. Librarians should encourage their associations to develop these international initiatives and to seek out new and innovative ways to work together across international boundaries.

A TA study in OA publishing

Graham Walton, Negotiation in health libraries: a case study of Health Information and Libraries Journal and open access publishing, Health Information and Libraries Journal, September 2005. Not even an abstract is free online, at least so far.

Medline in the UK

Steve J. Pritchard and Alison L. Weightman, MEDLINE in the UK: pioneering the past, present and future, Health Information and Libraries Journal, September 2005. Only an abstract is free online for non-subscribers, and at the moment the link for the abstract (above) doesn't even work. Here's the abstract at PubMed:
This article provides a brief history of the development of the medline database and its huge impact within the UK, from its inception to the present time. The origins of medline can be traced back to a collection of books in the US Surgeon General's Office during the American Civil War and John Shaw Billings' decision, during 1867, to make this Library as complete as possible. From these beginnings, Index Medicus was developed in the early years of the 20th century, and electronic versions of the database began with the computerized on-demand search service MEDLARS in 1964 and then via CD-ROM and Internet Grateful Med to the web-based and free-to-all service, PubMed, in 1997. The response to PubMed was immediate and startling with usage increasing from 7 million searches per annum in 1996 to 400 million searches per annum in 2001 and the service continues to improve. medline providers are now offering mapping of natural language queries to the sophisticated indexing vocabulary (Medical Subject Headings, MeSH) and the provision of specific filters for different types of publication to improve searching efficiency, as well as links to full-text versions of the papers where available. The next steps are likely to involve an increased blurring of database and full-text boundaries, incorporating seamless access to the best available evidence within medline and a wide range of other information resources within a single search and to an increasing amount of full-text via various open-archive initiatives. As ever, the US National Library of Medicine is in the vanguard of research and further applications of its medline database for users within the UK will be awaited with great interest.

OA textbook at U Texas

The University of Texas is switching from a priced, printed textbook to an open-access textbook for a state-mandated government course. For details, see the UT press release or the Laura Heinauer story in the Austin American-Statesman.

(PS: Unlike other e-textbooks in the news recently, this one is free of charge, free of DRM, and it does not expire.)

OA initiatives, esp, in India

Harish Chandra, Open Access to Knowledge Resources in Science and Technology: The Role of Digital Reference Service to Facilitate Accessing Scholarly Information, in Sashikala C. Rao (ed.), Proceedings 23rd Annual Convention and Conference (SIS2005) Delivery of Information Services Through Distributed Digital Environment, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh (India), pp. 593-602. (Thanks to ResourceShelf.)
Abstract: The present paper discusses the importance, objectives and major developments in open access initiatives. It further examines the specific use of digital information services including the digital reference service. The paper also highlights the various steps taken in this direction at the Central Library of IIT Madras.

Friday, August 19, 2005

More on Google v. Publishers

Chris Nolan, Book Publishers Can't Buck the Web, eWeek, August 18, 2005. Excerpt:
Google Print may or may not be the answer, but resisting the Web on the grounds of copyright won't help the publishing industry thrive....Google is trying to get book publishers into seeing things its way: The Internet opens up their products to new markets and new customers because it frees them from the constraints of physically reproducing work. They should get there as soon as possible. If they don't, they'll be left behind in a world where we are all online....Now, no one in the book business argues --with a straight face, any way-- that the industry isn't in need of dire, substantive change and reform. So Google's approach --to create a situation where ideas and material not on the Web cease to exist-- may actually have the effect the company wants. Just as Napster spawned --indirectly-- iTunes, Google Print may start someone in the book business changing how books are reproduced and distributed, bringing in a Web-based element that's yet to be embraced. Because Google is right: It is inevitable that everything that can be on the Web will be on the Web.

Another editorial on Google v. Publishers

Coming to a computer near you, Washington Times, August 19, 2005. An unsigned editorial. Excerpt:
The publishers want to be paid royalties on the books that Google scans. That seems an overreaction by the publishers, since Google is providing users only with short excerpts of the books. While Google would benefit in terms of advertising dollars from the traffic generated by searches for books, it is footing the bill for the book-scanning itself and publishers get the proceeds of book purchases that would not be made without the Google platform. Google says that its databases are very secure....Still, Google should scan the books only if it is given permission by the owners of the content. The company has been imperious in declaring that it can scan any book in the libraries unless it is asked not to by the publishers. Rather, the onus is on Google to get permission before scanning, not on the publishers to opt out. If Google were to challenge the presses on that point, it would probably lose. Google is embarking on a project that could revolutionize the way information in books is accessed. It seems reasonable to conclude that it could be a boom to publishers. If both sides do not show the necessary flexibility, though, the project could be delayed by court challenges, at the expense of Google, publishers and surfers.

More on the Indian Knowledge Commission

Amrita Nandy-Joshi, 'Knowledge and more knowledge', says, telecom czar, Sam Pitroda, TerraGreen, August 15, 2005. Excerpt:
The Darbari Seth Memorial Lecture, an annual event organised by TERI in memory of the institute’s founder, Mr Darbari Seth, was delivered this year by Dr Sam Pitroda, the Chairperson of the National Knowledge Commission in New Delhi on 5th August, 2005....Dr Pitroda, who is also the Chairman of the WorldTel Limited, UK, spoke on the subject of ‘Knowledge opportunities’ and keenly expressed his desire that all Indians have access to path-breaking knowledge. Knowledge, he said, must become a kind of a movement in the country....Technology, he said, could build bridges between the masses and knowledge systems. Broadband, internet portals, satellites, and so on could help revamp education and thereby allow India to be truly a part of the globalisation sweepstake that was currently shaking the world. Recalling his childhood days in Orissa, he said that with the advent of internet and opportunities like open source, it was easier to bridge gaps now....Talking about his plans as Chairperson of the National Knowledge Commission, he said that the Commission shall try to tackle all five dimensions of knowledge, i.e., access to knowledge, concepts of knowledge, creation of knowledge, innovations, and application of knowledge. To move towards the knowledge society of the future, he emphasised the importance of increased access to various kinds of information.'

Improved self-archiving policy at UC Press

The University of California Press has improved its self-archiving policy. (Thanks to Issues in Scholarly Communication.) Excerpt from the August 17 press release:
University of California Press, a leading university publisher in the humanities and social sciences, today announced revisions to its core- and partner-journal author agreements that allow authors much greater freedom to archive their work. The new agreements are emblematic of UC Press’ commitment to support its authors and have resulted in a Green designation for UC Press in the SHERPA/RoMEO Publisher Copyright and Self-Archiving classification system. UC Press Journals Authors are now freely able to archive their pre-prints and post-prints in institutional and personal archives as well as in free discipline-specific repositories...."As new business models unsettle the foundations on which traditional scholarly publishing is based, it becomes that much more important for University of California Press not to lose sight of its mission--to disseminate scholarship to the largest possible audience and to work closely with the public university system that it serves," said Rebecca Simon, Associate Director for the Journals & Digital Publishing Division of University of California Press. "The revisions to our author agreements, enabling authors to self-archive their work in repositories such as the California Digital Library’s eScholarship, make this mission easier to accomplish."

Comment. Three things of importance have happened here. First, a major press has moved forwards rather than backwards on its self-archiving policy. Second, it justified the improvements by appeal to the mission of the press. Third, it is so proud of the improvements that it issued a press release. Did you ever suspect that some publishers permitted self-archiving from pressure and hoped that no one would notice? The UPC press release is evidence that we've come a long way.

More structures for PubChem

PubChem has added structures from the NIH Chemical Genomics Center (NCGC).

Another preview of PLoS Pathogens

PLoS has released a second sneak preview of PLoS Pathogens, the new OA journal that will officially launch on September 30. The first sneak preview was released on July 22.

JISC supports the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

JISC has helped fund the OA Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP). From today's press release:
A major new JISC agreement ensures that all staff, researchers and students in UK further and higher education institutions have completely free and open access to a dynamic online reference work, which is designed to be responsive to new research in philosophy – the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP). SEP is widely considered amongst the academic community as being an integral part of philosophy teaching and research in the UK. Institutions will have free online access to authoritative peer reviewed material to support those studying philosophy. JISC’s and the Stanford University’s commitment to open access principles means that the general public can also access these materials for free. JISC funding of membership dues on behalf of UK further and higher institutions contributes to the permanent operating fund securing the SEP’s future. This means that it can continue to be provided on an open access basis as well as being run for the benefit of the global academic community.
(PS: The SEP has been OA from birth and seeks funding to remain OA. The campaign for funds is temporary, not a campaign for subscriptions under another name. JISC has not funded a national license for a non-OA resource as much as a national membership to sustain an OA resource. I've often supported the SEP fund-raising campaign in the past and again urge libraries and universities to consider helping this good cause.)

Thursday, August 18, 2005

National positions on the A2K treaty

What do WIPO member states think of the Access to Knowledge (A2K) treaty? Thiru Balasubramaniam has collected many of their positions from the draft report on the third Session of the Intersessional Intergovernmental Meeting (IIM), July 20-22, 2005.

Study group on digital copying by libraries and archives

The Library of Congress has launched the Section 108 Study Group. The name refers to Section 108 of the US Copyright Act. From the study group web site:
The purpose of the Section 108 Study Group is to conduct a reexamination of the exceptions and limitations applicable to libraries and archives under the Copyright Act, specifically in light of the changes wrought by digital media. The group will study how Section 108 of the Copyright Act may need to be amended to address the relevant issues and concerns of libraries and archives, as well as creators and other copyright holders. The group will provide findings and recommendations on how to revise the copyright law in order to ensure an appropriate balance among the interests of creators and other copyright holders, libraries and archives in a manner that best serves the national interest. The findings and recommendations will be submitted by mid-2006 to the Librarian of Congress....Section 108 of the Copyright Act permits libraries and archives to make certain uses of copyrighted materials in order to serve the public and ensure the availability of works over time. Among other things, Section 108 provides limited exceptions for libraries and archives to make copies in specified instances for preservation, replacement and patron access. Section 108 was enacted as part of the Copyright Act of 1976, then amended in 1998 by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the Copyright Term Extension Act, and in 2005 by the Preservation of Orphan Works Act.

For more details, see yesterday's press release. (Thanks to Gary Price.)

Michigan FAQ on Google Library project

The University of Michigan has created an FAQ on its book-scanning partnership with Google. Excerpt:

Q. 18: Is scanning a violation of copyright law?

A: No. The use Google makes is fully consistent with both the history of fair use under copyright law and all of the principles underlying copyright law itself. Copyright law strikes a balance between rewarding creators of intellectual property for their creations and facilitating public access to these works in ways that do not create a business harm. For books, this balance means the law needs to ensure authors write books, publishers sell them, libraries lend them, and people get to read them, either by purchasing them or borrowing them. The project is working to ensure that people can find books so that they can read them. By making books more discoverable, Google is enhancing the ability of authors and publishers to sell books to a global audience, well beyond the relatively small world of the traditional book market. [...]

Q. 22: How and where will the digitized books be available?

A: As always, we want to emphasize that we will only make materials available within the bounds of copyright law. Initially, the books will be accessible through Google by entering a normal Google search. Specifics on how the Library makes is own copy available are being developed, but we do know that the Library will make its own copy available in a variety of ways. [...]

Q. 27: Will the Library put the digitized materials online also?

A: Yes, we are planning for that eventuality.

New OA journal on cancer informatics

Cancer Informatics is a new peer-reviewed, open-access journal from Libertas Academica.

From James Lyons-Weiler's editorial in the inaugural issue: 'In these pages, we hope to facilitate a global comprehension of advances in bioinformatics, computational biology, statistics, pathology informatics, and software design and engineering in support of cancer research and clinical practice....In a nutshell, Cancer Informatics will publish papers that describe improvements in methods of computing that promote or facilitate excellence in cancer research and clinical practice.'

From the Libertas Academica site: 'Libertas Academica was established in 2004 to promote and expand Open Access to scientific, technical and medical information. Our mission is to implement Open Access journals whilst still preserving the very high editorial standard that have characterized conventional subscription-based publishing in the past. Our initial publications are quarterly journals. However we seek actively to expand the OpenAccess model to include text books. The support of our authors, editors, editorial board members and reviewers is important to us. We will not ask you to give up your copyright.'

Google-Publisher relationship could be win-win

Cocky with copyright, Financial Times, August 17, 2005. An unsigned editorial. Excerpt:
Google wrong to assume that it can push ahead with its project as a matter of right. The company has been criticised for this approach in the past, notably with respect to its Google Video and Google News services. This time around, it should aim to proceed by agreement. At the same time, publishers must recognise that seeking permission book-by-book, or negotiating tailor-made contracts with each publisher would vastly delay an inherently laborious project. They should treat Google's digital library plans as a promotional opportunity rather than a threat, and be prepared to work with simple, standardised agreements. This would reflect the project's potential to boost sales of previously published titles that would otherwise languish in a warehouse. This rationale lies behind the existing Google Print programme, and a similar venture by Amazon, to which at least a dozen major publishers have signed up. Given the library project's win-win potential, a prolonged stand-off or court case jeopardising the entire venture would be inexcusable.

Reader comments on OA

George Lundberg's July article Open Access Medical Publishing Is Finally Coming Alive (blogged here July 2) has attracted some reader comments. Excerpts:

From Theresa M. Matuza: 'I have hepatitis C....I was unable to sustain a response [to medication], and my viral load mushroomed 3 months after completion of the course of treatment. So, once again, I begin my search for new treatment options. Thanks to the full-text articles available on the Internet, I was able to choose a well-informed doctor.... I do not always understand all of what I read, but then, I don't need to. My doctor explains what I don't understand, discusses the options intelligently with me, gives me his professional opinion, and then the choice is mine....If I am responsible for my own healthcare, and my money is funding the research I need to peruse in order to make an informed decision, why should I pay, yet again, to get it? As a taxpayer in the United States, of all countries, I feel that the information should be at my disposal. Information on research and clinical trials is invaluable to me; unfortunately, it is also unaffordable. I rely on what I consider "public access medicine." I don't want the opinions of a commentator; I don't want to learn about advances in sound bites on the 6-o'clock news. I want to learn about them from the doctors who developed them. I paid them to do it, and I feel that it is my right to employ the fruits of their efforts.'

From Karen Shashok: 'Inevitably, publishers, repackagers, and other content providers will have to face reality and find some other way to make their bundle. It was just a historical accident that they got to clean up for about 50 years anyway. Now the times are changing. Access to knowledge and information is a human right, and as researchers and research evaluation agencies realize this, they will be increasing favor for open access publications, I hope. No need to feel sorry for publishers! They'll think up some other way to keep on making tons of money from science -- that's what their directors are for.'

Updates to PubChem

PubChem has added structures from ChemBridge and updated its structures from ChemIDplus and NIAID.

Free OpenURL resolver from CrossRef

CrossRef has released a free OpenURL resolver. For details, see the August 16 press release.

Fair use inches forward in the UK

Excerpt from a Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) press release (August 16):
The following statement was issued today by The Copyright Licensing Agency Ltd (CLA) and Universities UK (UUK) and the Standing Conference of Principals (SCOP). CLA and Universities UK / SCOP are pleased to announce agreement on a trial licence that allows member universities and colleges of Higher Education (HE) to photocopy and scan extracts from books, journals and magazines, should they wish to participate in the trial. The trial licence represents a significant step in the collective licensing of rights within HE: for the first time institutions can scan under a licence on terms similar to those that currently apply to making photocopies. The new scanning rights will help HE institutions to meet the demand for electronic based learning and teaching material. The rights incorporated in the trial licence will allow designated individuals to create and distribute to students scanned copies of extracts from UK-published books, journals and magazines.

(PS: This may be a "significant step forward" compared to the earlier state of UK law. But it's a small step compared to the use rights needed by scholars, students, and other non-commercial users. Fair-use copying for research and education should not require a license, should not be limited to small excerpts, and should unambiguously extend to digital copies of digital texts.)

Next generation access tools

JISC is funding both the technology and the associated "cultural change" for making full use of the next generation of access tools. From the call for proposals:
In December 2004, JISC issued a funding call inviting UK Further and Higher Education Institutions to become early adopters of the next generation of tools to manage access to online resources. Due to ongoing expressions of interest, further funding for this area has been made available and JISC would now like to invite new proposals from institutions to participate in this programme....Proposed activity will include the implementation of new technologies within participating institutions, and work on the necessary cultural change and administrative issues that accompany such a move. Details of the projects funded under the first call can be found [here].

Proposals are due by September 19, 2005.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Searchable version of Ho-Bailey OA webliography

Jim Pitman has produced a searchable version of Adrian Ho and Charles Bailey's Open Access Webliography. The search engine supports field searching and four ways to view the results. (Thanks to DigitalKoans.)

Editors revolt completed -- ACM TALG launched in competition to JoA

ACM Transactions on Algorithms (TALG) is the long-awaited result of a mass resignation by the editorial board of Journal of Algorithms (JoA) over a long running pricing dispute with their publisher. [For additional background on the JoA->TALG story, read the STLQ posts Commentary: The Crisis In Scholarly Communication, by George Porter and Journal of Algorithms Fallout Getting Noticed, Stanford U Takes Stand Against "Pricey Journals".] TALG is the culmination of a long brewing dispute between the (now former) editorial board of Journal of Algorithms (JoA) and their commercial publisher. Donald Knuth's analysis of the pricing trend for JoA provided the final impetus for the break. Now, thanks to the assistance of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), this editorial board revolt has concluded in the launch of a new, competitively priced journal. In addition, the editorial board's decision to break away from a commercial publisher inspired not one, but two, independent Open Access journals to begin working in the same field, Theory of Computing and Logical Methods in Computer Science.

ACM Transactions on Algorithms (TALG) - Fulltext v1+ (2005+); Print ISSN: 1549-6333 | Online ISSN: 1549-6325.

Theory of Computing - Fulltext v1+ (2005+); ISSN: ??

Logical Methods in Computer Science - Fulltext v1+ (2005+); ISSN: 1860-5974.

More against the big deal

David Ball, Signing Away Our Freedom: The Implications of Electronic Resource Licences, The Acquisitions Librarian, vol. 18, no. 35/36 ("Cover Date: 2006, Publication Date: 2005, Copyright Date: 2004"). Only this abstract is free online:
At first sight, the “big deal” seems an excellent value for academic libraries. A more thorough-going evaluation, however, exposes dangers. This paper examines the roles and strengths of the players in the information supply chain: creators, publishers, intermediaries, libraries. Traditional hard-copy procurement is analysed in terms of these roles and the concepts of authority, branding, and monopoly, and contrasted with the procurement of electronic resources. The advantages and dangers of the big deal are discussed. The latter arise mainly from the publishers' position as monopolists. Means of minimising these dangers --consortia, alternative publishing methods, new economic models to promote competition-- are examined.

More on integrating articles and data

Gary Wills and six co-authors, The Dynamic Review Journal: a scholarly archive, New Review of Hypermedia and Multimedia, 11, 1 (2005) pp. 69-89.
Abstract: A digital archive, together with its users and its contents, does not exist in isolation - there is a cycle of activity which provides the context for the archive's existence, and which the archive supports through its various roles of information access, discovery, storage, dissemination and preservation. This paper describes an extended digital library environment that we have developed for orthopaedic surgeons which assists in collating and analysing patient data, organising internal project discussions, and producing articles. By bridging the gap between the undertaking of experimental work (surgical trials) and the dissemination of its results through electronic publication, this work addresses the cycle of activity in which a digital archive rests.

More on Velterop's move to Springer

Mark Chillingworth, Velterop in surprise move to Springer, Information World Review, August 17, 2005. Excerpt:
Open access champion Jan Velterop is joining scientific, technical and medical publisher Springer, despite announcing in May that he was leaving BioMed Central to become an "independent" advocate of open access publishing. Springer has created a new position Director of Open Access for Velterop. "The appointment of Jan Velterop creates an internal champion for this second component of our publishing policy, making sure Open Access gets the required attention both internally and externally," said Derk Haank, Springer CEO. Velterop left open access (OA) publisher BioMed Central in May 2005 after four years as a publisher, he told IWR that he wanted greater independence because he was frustrated with the slow pace of OA adoption. As an independent consultant Velterop said he was planning on targeting funding bodies as well as commercial and society publishers as potential adopters of OA. He told IWR that the Open Choice OA scheme launched by Springer in July 2004 was a good model, but criticised the low awareness of the scheme. Although Velterop's role will be to champion open access within Springer and to Springer authors, the German publisher is adamant that the traditional reader pays model is still a stalwart of its business. "Open Choice is an additional publishing model," a spokesperson said. Authors can pay Springer $3,000 to make their research articles freely available on the internet.

Review of Bailey's OA bibliography

Ann Jensen, Open Access Bibliography: Liberating Scholarly Literature with E-Prints and Open Access Journals, Issues in Science & Technology Librarianship, Summer 2005. A review or Charles Bailey's Open Access Bibliography. Excerpt:
This bibliography includes over 1,300 English language documents related to open access to scholarly information. The resource is valuable for its organization and front matter in addition to its bibliographic entries....The bibliography is a comprehensive organization of the issues relevant to open access....Traditional bibliographies by definition look backward as they compile what has come before. This bibliography is unique as a dynamic open access document - 78% of its entries are links to open access documents, and the bibliography in its entirety has been self-archived by the author at his home institution's server....The volume is licensed using the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial License. It is also a real-time example of the promise and perils of open access documents, showing the variability of their citation formats, and with time, their rate of URL decay. A random checking of these sites found URLs intact and available, which speaks to the care taken in transcribing the complex URLs, and the strength of the open access commitment by those publishers. This is an excellent resource for its extensive background documentation of the open access arguments and issues.

Another OA webliography

Hanna Kwasik and Pauline O. Fulda, Open Access and Scholarly Communication -- A Selection of Key Web Sites, Issues in Science & Technology Librarianship, Summer 2005. Excerpt:
There is extensive coverage and ongoing discussion in scientific communities, literature, and on the Internet regarding open access and scholarly communication. The open access movement is supported and advanced by a spectrum of interest groups and activities such as national and international organizations, publishers, individuals, and many special events....The purpose of the webliography is to present an overview of the open access movement through a compilation of key web sites. This synthesis will provide the user with the major components of the movement and a basic background on the topic. Through a literature review process the authors identified relevant works on the open access movement. Major bibliographic databases for library and information sciences, as well as other appropriate databases and web sites had been searched and reviewed. This guide presents a selected list of sites arranged chronologically in each section. Annotations have been taken directly from web sites. The sites highlight national and international milestones, current status, regulations, and the individuals who have influenced the movement.

How UC librarians use Google Scholar

E. Meltzer, UC Libraries Use of Google Scholar, a report for the California Digital Library (CDL), August 2005. (Thanks to T.J. Sondermann.) Excerpt:
On June 22, 2005, the CDL requested information from the campuses about librarian and library staff use of Google Scholar in their own work and at public service desks. Eight of ten campuses responded with a wealth of information about the creative ways in which the libraries use Google Scholar, as well as with their objections to its use....The replies indicate a core of respondents do not use Google Scholar at all. Others use it rarely, instead strongly preferring licensed article databases purchased by the libraries for use in specific disciplines. Some are reluctant to use it because they are unsure of what it actually covers. Among those who do use Google Scholar, they value it as a way of getting at older, more obscure, interdisciplinary, and difficult to locate materials quickly and simply. It is open access and sometimes easier to use than traditional resources. It provides another point of entry to the world of scholarship. At public service desks, it is used as an entrée into the use of OpenURL or licensed resources, and as an option for non-UC affiliated users. Some campuses are beginning to adopt Google Scholar in their teaching. Whether one is “for” or “against” Google Scholar, it is clearly a topic of lively and passionate dialogue within the University of California libraries.

Green and Gold OA for LIS literature

Anita Coleman and Cheryl Knott Malone, “Green” and “Gold” Approaches to Open Access for LIS, A DLIST Study, 2005.
Abstract: These are the preliminary results about the greening of LIS reported at the World Library and Information Congress (WLIC) 2005, Oslo, Norway, Aug. 14-18, 2005, in the poster sessions (Tues. and Wed. August 16 and 17). Materials presented at the poster session correspond to call-outs in flowchart and include the following. 1) “Green” and “Gold” Approaches to Open Access for LIS (A DLIST Study) – 1-page narrative of research study (analysis of LIS CTAs) 2) Self-Archiving in DLIST - 32” x 52” poster, the flowchart showing the two steps scholars take to self-archive (and some choices they have) 3) About DLIST 4) Copyright Research & Deposit Services 5) Permission to deposit in DLIST 6) Is Self-Archiving legal – a 1-page flyer excerpted from the Eprints Self-archiving FAQ. However, only the first two of these are deposited as part of this document as the others are available separately (see urls below).

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

More on Jan Velterop's move to Springer

Richard Wray, Springer hires open access pioneer, The Guardian, August 17, 2005. Excerpt:
One of the leading lights of the open access movement - dedicated to making academic research freely available to everyone over the internet - has joined the ranks of the traditional publishing world. Jan Velterop, publishing director of pioneering open access publisher BioMed Central is joining Germany's Springer, the world's second largest producer of scientific journals, as director of open access, heading up its fledgling open access publishing arm. "I'm not going to the dark side," he said yesterday. "Parts of the dark side, including Springer, are seeing the light." The move of such a high profile figure from the open access movement marks an endorsement of Springer's foray into open access and could present a challenge to the market leader in scientific journals, Reed Elsevier.

More on the OA experiment at Elsevier's Information and Computation

The terms of the OA experiment at Elsevier's Information and Computation have changed slightly since the experiment was first announced on August 12. At that time, the key section said this:
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.

On August 15, however, the same section was slightly altered:

The Editorial Board and Publisher of Information and Computation are pleased to announce that for one year, effective immediately, electronic access to all journal issues back to 1995 will be available without charge. This includes downloading of all articles in pdf format for individual use.

I&C changed "unrestrictive downloading" to "downloading...for individual use".

(PS: I don't know the explanation but I have a guess. The Elsevier self-archiving policy allows the archiving of the author's manuscript but not the publisher's PDF. The original statement of the I&C experiment might have been read to allow archiving of the PDF. I'm interviewing the principals for the September issue of SOAN and may have better information by then.)

Integrating online papers with their underlying data

Esther Rousay and three co-authors, Grid-based dynamic electronic publication: A case study using combined experiment and simulation studies of crown ethers at the air/water interface, Philosophical Transactions of Royal Society, August 15, 2005. Only an abstract is free online at the journal site, although the authors have provided an OA edition. (Thanks to Frank Norman.)
Conventional paper based scientific publications are limited in the amount of data and interaction they can provide. Simply placing an electronic copy of such a publication on the web makes for easier distribution, but more can be achieved by making use of the technology to navigate through the paper, to show the links between calculated parameters and the data and provide access to the chain of calculated results all the way back to the raw data and ultimately the laboratory notebook. While the paper version of the publication is in a relatively conventional form, the online version demonstrates the concepts of publication@source, whereby all the figures and data presented in the paper are linked back to the original raw data together with a description of the processes by which the raw data was analysed. This level of interactivity is achieved using semantic technologies, which have the additional advantage of making the final document subsequently available and navigable by automated techniques.

In this manner, we present the combined information from experimental studies of surface tension and second harmonic generation (SHG) on the behaviour of benzo-15-crown-5 at the solution/air interface, together with a molecular dynamics computer simulation, to demonstrate how the simulation aids the interpretation of the SHG experiment. The adsorption isotherm was determined using SHG and fitted to a Langmuir form giving
Δ adsG0 = 26 kJ mol-1

(PS: This is a good example of how to take advantage of the internet --including archiving for OA. My only complaint is that the archived edition doesn't tell readers where the paper was published.)

Reflections on OA, esp. OA journals

Bo-Christer Björk, Open Access - Some reflections from a Northern perspective, a slide presentation from the JISC International Colloquium, June 21-22, 2005. It includes a detailed proposal for funding OA journals.

Slide 15 quotes Finland's Premier Matti Vanhanen, who has to be the world's most enlightened head of state on OA issues:

One important recommendation concerns the advancement of open access scientific publishing. The goal is that scientific publications will be freely available on the net for citizens and scholars. At the moment the usage and availability of the scientific publications is curtailed by the high subscription fees of printed journals and electronic scientific publications, and also by publishing agreements in which the scholars surrender some of their rights to the publishers. In the name of the progress of science and for the benefit of research it is necessary that the results of the scientific inquiry reach both the academic community and the general public as soon and as easily as possible. I regard this issue especially important also from the point of view of the Information Society Programme of the government.

Jan Velterop becomes Springer's Director of Open Access

Springer is enhancing its commitment to free online access, and has given the job to someone with well-earned OA credibility. From today's press release:
Springer has strengthened its commitment to innovation and customer choice by appointing Jan Velterop to the newly created position of Director of Open Access. In July 2004 Springer launched Springer Open Choice a pioneering project which provides an additional publication option to the traditional subscription model. Authors can choose to make their articles freely available worldwide on the Internet, for a fee of 3,000 US dollars....Velterop is one of the most prominent figures of the Open Access movement. He will be joining the company from BioMedCentral, an established Open Access biomedical research publisher, where he was Publishing Director. Derk Haank, Springer’s CEO, comments: “Springer Open Choice has attracted constant attention within the publishing world since its launch. Springer is the first major commercial publisher to provide an Open Access model, making it a pioneer in the industry. We are now taking a further step forward. The appointment of Jan Velterop creates an internal champion for this second component of our publishing policy, making sure Open Access gets the required attention both internally and externally”. “I am firmly convinced that Open Access publishing represents a powerful way to meet the needs of many authors and readers. It therefore fits in ideally with Springer’s growth strategy”, adds Jan Velterop.

Social software for OA content

From the OLS web site: 'Open Learning Support (OLS) is [open-source] social software designed to integrate with collections of open access educational materials. OLS provides learners with a mechanism for finding other people in order to ask questions, give answers, and exchange ideas.' (Thanks to Blended Edu.)

New search tools for new needs

Stefanie Olsen, Academia's quest for the ultimate search tool,, August 15, 2005. Excerpt:
The University of California at Berkeley is creating an interdisciplinary center for advanced search technologies and is in talks with search giants including Google to join the project....The project is one of many efforts at U.S. universities designed to address the explosive growth of Internet search and the complex issues that have arisen in the field. U.C. Berkeley, birthplace of early search highflier Inktomi and the school where Google CEO Eric Schmidt got his computer science doctoral degree, is bringing together roughly 20 faculty members from various departments to cross-pollinate work on search technology, said Robert Wilensky, the center's director. The principal areas of focus: privacy, fraud, multimedia search and personalization....The search problems of today are different from those of five years ago. With books, scholarly papers and television programs being digitized and put online, the technology necessary to search through the material needs to be that much better. People need a way to trust the information they find and to ask more-complex questions with search tools so they can extract knowledge or ideas.

Folksonomy for OAI-compliant repositories

colLib is a wiki-based folksonomy for OA articles on LIS-related topics on deposit in OAI-compliant repositories. Users may add new articles and add or revise the tags associated with existing articles. colLib also adds articles on its own by harvesting several LIS-related repositories. See for example its collection of articles on OA itself. (Thanks to DigLit.)

More on the A2K treaty

Are the UN's richest members committed to access to knowledge for all? A joint press release (August 16) from IFLA and eIFL on breaking the deadlock in discussions for the WIPO Development Agenda. Excerpt:
IFLA and eIFL welcome the broad agreement on the need for a 'Development Agenda' for WIPO following the third session of the specially convened Inter-Sessional Intergovernmental Meeting (IIM) in Geneva, July 20-22, 2005. IFLA and eIFL welcome the broad agreement on the need for a 'Development Agenda' for WIPO following the third session of the specially convened Inter-Sessional Intergovernmental Meeting (IIM) in Geneva, July 20-22, 2005...."We are deeply disappointed, however, that after nine days of discussion not only did the delegates fail to agree on any of the substantive issues, but due to resistance from the US and Japan a consensus on how to handle the discussions in the future was rendered impossible," says Mr. Winston Tabb, Chair of IFLA CLM....A key component of the Development Agenda proposals is a call for a Treaty on Access to Knowledge. An 'A2K' treaty is important for libraries since our business is to enable people to find and use knowledge and information. This ability is essential to development and relies on exceptions and limitations to copyright. In the last decade international treaties, supranational directives from the European Union, national legislation and the terms of some Free Trade Agreements have created a trend towards the monopolisation and privatisation of information by eroding the exceptions and limitations to copyright, especially in the digital environment. Fair access to information for all is essential to nurture education and stimulate innovation. A treaty is necessary to redress the balance and establish an international framework setting out the norms by which copyright protects user rights while maintaining adequate protection for rightsholders. "This is not an issue just for developing countries, but one also for developed countries since knowledge is a universal right, and equal access is an indispensable underpinning for an inclusive, democratic society," said Winston Tabb and [ Director] Rima Kupryte today in a joint statement.

Monday, August 15, 2005

More on expiring e-textbooks

John Borland, Publishers loosen rules on e-textbooks,, August 12, 2005. Excerpt:
A group of major textbook publishers has agreed to loosen restrictions in an electronic-textbook experiment beginning this month at Princeton University and other schools, following some criticism of expiration dates. The pilot project, which will see textbooks sold in downloadable form at 10 university bookstores this fall, went into operation earlier this week. Under the initial version of the program, the downloads were to be sold for 33 percent off the cost of a new, printed copy, but would only be usable for about five months. On Friday, MBS Textbook Exchange--the textbook wholesaler that is organizing the program--said publishers had agreed to extend the expiration dates for the digital textbooks. The downloads will now last from 12 months to an unlimited time, depending on the publisher.

Comment. For background, see my blog posting from August 9. If the idea is to save students money, or their backs, then students, teachers, and university administrators should know that there are several full-blown open-access textbook initiatives, such as California Open Source Textbook Project, CommonText, Libertas Academica, the Open Textbook Project, and Wikibooks. There are also hybrid initiatives like BookPower, whose ebooks are only free to developing countries.

Implementing an institutional repository

Emily Dill and Kristi Palmer, What's the Big IDeA? Considerations for Implementing an Institutional Repository, Library Hi Tech News, 22, 6 (2005) pp. 11-14. (Thanks to Charles W. Bailey, Jr.) Only this abstract is free online, at least so far:
Purpose - The purpose of this article is to offer some considerations for the implementation of an institutional repository. Design/methodology/approach - While the article outlines the process IUPUI followed to create its own IR, the piece is universalized to address the concerns of any new IR implementer. Findings - Continually increasing journal costs have pushed libraries and research institutions to consider alternative forms of scholarly publication. One such form is that of the institutional digital repository (IR). Orginality/value - As an early implementer of DSpace, an open-source institutional digital repository software product, IUPUI offers those just beginning to think about IRs an overview of issues such as: choosing a repository platform, staffing and technology needs, metadata and controlled vocabulary concerns, promotion, and time challenges.

Large survey of author attitudes toward OA

David Nicholas, Paul Huntington, and Ian Rowlands, Open access journal publishing: the views of some of the world's senior authors, Journal of Documentation, 61, 4 (2005) pp. 497-519. (Thanks to Charles W. Bailey, Jr.) Only this abstract is free online, at least so far:
Purpose - The main aims of the survey were to determine: the volume of open access (OA) publishing; what the attitudes of authors to publishing in OA journals were; and what authors felt were the implications of OA publishing. Design/methodology/approach - The questionnaire survey was administered on behalf of Ciber by NOP and the sample derived from mailing lists supplied by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI?). Nearly, 4,000 authors responded. Findings - The detailed results of a major survey of the views and experiences of nearly 4,000 senior authors in regard to OA publishing. A number of statistical analyses were employed to drill down into the data to obtain an understanding of the figures. Views were divided sharply along subject and geographical lines, demonstrating the need to survey large and robust samples of authors. Research limitations/implications - A snapshot study which while providing robust data requires a follow-up study to monitor opinion shifts in this fast-changing area. Practical implications - Highlights the knowledge gap that exists between authors and publishers. Originality/value - One of the biggest, if not the biggest, author survey conducted into scholarly publishing and OA publishing.

(PS: I hope that the authors will self-archive this article soon or at least an executive summary of the results.)

Ambiguity of "public domain"

Terrence Maxwell, Parsing the public domain, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, July 12, 2005. (Thanks to Charles W. Bailey, Jr.) Only this abstract is free online, at least so far:
This article explores the use of the term public domain in the American context and finds that the symbol is subject to multiple meanings. Using historical and content analysis, the analysis explores the various uses of the term and provides a preliminary taxonomy for subsequent analysis and theory building. In conclusion, it suggests that more coherent information policies regarding national and international information access, creativity, governance, and private property rights will require a better understanding and delineation of the use of public domain in legislative and common practice.
(PS: Good point. One of my pet peeves is the sloppy use of the phrase "public domain", leaving readers confused about whether the author meant (1) the set of things not hidden or private or (2) the set of things not under copyright.)

OA comments inspired by Andrew Grove

Gary Levin, Health Informatics 411, Med Rounds, August 14, 2005. Excerpt:
Health Informatics may be the new “basic science” course that will be a prerequisite for an M.D....[Andrew] Grove Ph.D. (former head of Intel) in a recent “Commentary” in the JAMA makes note of several things about medicine and digital tools. “There are signs that individual consumers may be taking matters into their own hands. The proliferation of companies providing personal health record services is an indication of such a movement. This phenomenon has all the makings of becoming a disruptive technology.”...Amongst these “disruptive technologies” are the movements toward “Open Access” publishing [and] the demand for immediate publishing of negative results from clinical trials....Undoubtedly this will decrease the “signal to noise ratio” and perhaps the evolution will be much like the “yellow pages” of our telephone book, where you no longer can find what you are looking for. Search engine algorithms will become critical in cataloging and organizing relevant materials....On the other hand interconnectivity and open access to many old and new journals enhances the synergism between science disciplines as well as basic and applied science. It will speed the translation of scientific discovery into relevant clinical applications, and perhaps quicken the selection of the “fittest” tools for cure disease and optimize health and treatment.

Guide to open licenses

Kimberlee Weatherall, Alternative Freedoms: Open Access, Open Source and Open Content Licensing, a resource page for a course on Internet Law that Wetherall teaches at the University of Melbourne Law School. (Thanks to Technology and IP Business.)

PLoS OA journal publishing/archiving continues to expand

PLoS, the Public Library of Science, is continuing to expand its Open Access publishing program. Following on the tremendous success of the first two PLoS journals, PLoS Biology and PLoS Medicine, PLoS announced the launch of three more titles during 2005: PLoS Computational Biology, PLoS Genetics, and PLoS Pathogens. PLoS, although not a LOCKSS (Lots Of Copies Keep Stuff Safe) participant, deposits copies of all of the PLoS journals in PubMed Central helping to ensure the long term preservation and accessibility of the content.

PLoS Biology - Fulltext v1+ (2003+) PLoS | PubMed Central; Print ISSN: 1544-9173 | Online ISSN: 1545-7885.

PLoS Computational Biology - Fulltext v1+ (2005+) PLoS | PubMed Central; Print ISSN: 1553-734X | Online ISSN: 1553-7358.

PLoS Genetics - Fulltext v1+ (2005+) PLoS | PubMed Central; Print ISSN: 1553-7390 | Online ISSN: 1553-7404.

PLoS Medicine - Fulltext v1+ (2003+) PLoS | PubMed Central; Print ISSN: 1549-1277 | Online ISSN: 1549-1676.

PLoS Pathogens - Fulltext v1+ (2005+) [debut issue 30 September 2005] PLoS | Forthcoming @ PubMed Central; Print ISSN: 1553-7366 | Online ISSN: 1553-7374.

Testimonial to OAN

Blogshares is a simulated stock market in which investors use imaginary money to buy and sell imaginary shares in real blogs. The blogs gain value from incoming links, and give value through outgoing links. The results give one kind of perspective on the value of the blogs. In the libraries sector of the Blogshares market, Open Access News ranks fourth in value. (Thanks to The Industrial Librarian.)

Profile of the Internet Archive

Scott Kirsner, Saving the world as we know it, San Francisco Chronicle, August 15, 2005. Excerpt:
One of the great wonders of the modern world is being constructed here [in San Francisco], on a former military base called the Presidio....The Internet Archive has the ambitious goal of offering "universal access to human knowledge," and, in pursuit of that...the archivists are collecting every sort of digital file imaginable....Brewster Kahle is the MIT-educated former entrepreneur who began building the library in 1996, for the simple reason that "nobody else seemed to be doing it," he says. Now, he realizes that he has undertaken a task with no obvious stopping point....Each month, the Internet Archive collects the equivalent of one Library of Congress, says Kahle. The collection, available at, has already surpassed one petabyte. That's a million gigabytes....Kahle is starting an initiative to scan out-of-print books, and make them available online. Of course, many books that are out of print are still protected by copyright, so Kahle has also filed a lawsuit against the United States to free those works. (The suit is currently pending appeal.) Google's working on a similar book-scanning initiative in partnership with several large libraries, but Kahle says that Google seems more interested in making the text searchable, rather than offering the full text online as the Internet Archive hopes to do....The Internet Archive also sponsors a small fleet of Internet bookmobiles -- which operate in San Francisco, Egypt, India, and Uganda -- that allow people to find full-text books online and print out their own paperback copies. Kahle says the cost of lending a book out can approach $2 for some libraries; printing out a black-and-white copy on-demand can cost as little as 50 cents....When the organization runs up against technical barriers that seem insurmountable, it chisels away at them. It couldn't find a storage device on the market that was capable of holding a petabyte of data inexpensively, and consuming little power. So the Internet Archive simply built one on its own, called the petabox. (You can build your own in the basement, since they made the design available as an open-source document.)...''You have to think about getting it off its old media, and getting it to run," says Kahle. The Internet Archive already sought and won an exemption from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, which prevented the group from breaking the software's copy protection. It seemed, to Kahle, a problem worth solving.

David Magier on OA

In India's Frontline magazine for August 13, V. Sridhar interviews with David Magier, the Director of Area Studies at the Columbia University Libraries. The primary topic of the interview is the need for libraries in the age of the internet, even the age of OA. Here are some excerpts relevant to OA, quoting Magier:
[W]hat the Net made possible was, gradually, since the 1990s, the extension of the culture of cooperation among libraries in the U.S. to the international realm. It was no longer just Columbia talking to Harvard and Chicago; it became Columbia-Harvard-Chicago-Berkeley talking to libraries such as the RMRL, the Sundarayya Vignana Kendram (SVK) in Hyderabad and the Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya in Kathmandu....You know about the Urdu collection in the SVK. That is just one example. To purchase the collection, rescue it and save it for library use required lots of money....Where did that money come from? Libraries such as those in Chicago and Columbia each put in $10,000. The librarians who were in charge of South Asia [collections], like me and James Nye, had to take the money from our budgets which were normally used for buying books there and spend it here. But the collection did not come to the U.S. It stayed in India. How do I explain to my boss there that I do not have anything to show for having spent $10,000? What I can show is that users in my university can now access the material using the Net....Of course, even without the Net it would still be right to preserve, catalogue and microfilm the material. But having the Net has made it easier to justify the expenses because the benefits are now available to a much wider universe. [...]

[Open access] is a vast field. The open access movement has grown in the last few years, especially in the West. There is greater realisation that if we do not observe and react to the flow of information in terms of its ownership, there will be consolidation of ownership. Large corporations will control larger and larger quantities of content and knowledge. Owning information is not like owning a factory. When you own information and you restrict access for profit, it has negative consequences for society. Society has to find a way to deal with the problem. Open access is a way in which libraries and scholars try and gain some power in the equation with commercial interests so that we do not get into a situation of entirely monopolised content. It is not socialism, but it is simply a statement that there needs to be a balance for the sake of society. Otherwise, all the information will be only available to the very rich or to large institutions paying for super expensive journals. It would not be appropriate for the field of scholarly study; it is certainly not appropriate for the development of societies. [...]

There are very intelligent things that people can do to counteract this. A corporation may own a journal and they may have a monopoly over it. They can charge what they want and we have to pay. But where did the articles in the journal come from? Who wrote them? Not the corporations. It is the scholars who wrote them. They are not getting any money. Their motivation to write is not from profit....So, what if they do not give their articles to the journals published by the corporations, and instead, give it to an open access journal? They can work with the universities and libraries to find ways to disseminate their articles in new ways [PS: such as OA repositories]....

(Thanks to Valisblog.)

Discussion paper on institutional repositories

Joost Kircz, Institutional Repositories, a new platform in Higher Education and Research, a discussion paper commissioned by SURF, July 7, 2005. Excerpt:
This discussion paper is commissioned by SURF, the Dutch higher education and research partnership organisation for network services and information and communications technology. It does not (necessarily) reflect the opinion of SURF regarding this issue. The sole aim of the author is to sharpen the arguments....The electronic era reshapes the whole academic landscape, research methods, information management and education alike....We have to avoid the standard mistake...of building clippers after its finally successful rival, the steamship, was engaging in transoceanic voyages. This short report aims to provide an analytical approach toward the issue of Institutional Repositories in order to clarify the multifaceted discussion and to serve as a kind of checklist in the process of decision making. The present discussion on Institutional Repositories is characterised by an unbalanced mixture of technology push, a discussion on the level of academic autarky and the debate on the role of (commercial) publishers. In this report, a more axiomatic approach is adopted in the hope that this will assist reaching a more transparent discussion of the aims and goals as well as the organisational and financial consequences....The Institutional Repository is more than a weapon in the battlefield of journal publishing....The essential discussion is to what extent the Institutional Repositories fulfills a service role in academic life. This role can only become successful if all academic stakeholders realise that a Repository is not a library in new cloth. The novel thing in the whole story is that a genuine academic Institutional Repository, which is transparently linked to others, creates a totally new platform for academic activities. By integrating all research and educational endeavours in one transparent digital infrastructure, the Institutional Repository becomes a research tool in itself....In academic life the Repository will soon play the role of the central metabolic organ for knowledge. In that sense it has to be rated on the same level as buildings, fresh air and water, all needed to sustain a healthy body.

BMC lays down Open Access Now

BioMed Central has ceased publishing Open Access Now, its very useful and well-produced newsletter on OA initiatives, people, news, and comment. It went through 23 issues. From the web site: 'Open Access Now was launched by BioMed Central in 2003 as a newsletter to raise awareness about open access. Since then, open access has truly come of age and has acquired unstoppable momentum. As a result of this success, Open Access Now is no longer being published but the archive remains available. For the latest news on the open access movement, we recommend Peter Suber's excellent Open Access blog. Also, don't forget to register to receive regular updates from BioMed Central.'

(PS: A personal note. I agree that OA has unstoppable momentum --I document it every day. Nevertheless, I will miss Open Access Now for more than one reason. It did wonderful interviews. It did very useful profiles of OA initiatives, one in each issue. It was professionally guided by editor Jonathan Weitzman. It benefited from BMC's publishing infrastructure and looked great online. It was friendly competition for my own blog and newsletter. Above all, OA is growing so rapidly that it needs more voices and perspectives, not fewer. Pulling together the many developments that make up the OA movement, analyzing them, and sharing the results free online for all who want to follow isn't just retrospective understanding. It's the ground and stimulus for future action.)

How high bandwidth will change access to science

Richard Katz, The Future of Networking in Higher Education, Educause Review, July/August, 2005. Excerpt:
The scale of computing, storage, and networking is changing profoundly. Two University of Houston engineering professors recently won a $1.1-million grant from the National Science Foundation to develop a storage device using nanotechnology. This technology could allow the complete contents of the Library of Congress to fit on a handheld computer. Doug Van Houweling describes the era of data-intensive scholarship in terms of "disruptive applications," which by themselves can take much of any shared bandwidth that is available. Such applications include [1] real-time access by physicists to particle collisions at CERN, FermiLab, and elsewhere that require 6- to 7-gigabit throughput; [2] access to pathology tissue banks for telemedicine, requiring gigabit speeds per simultaneous user; and [3] access to data from distributed radio telescopes, microscopes, and other high-performance instruments.

New OA journal on speech and audio processing

Speech and Audio Processing is a new peer-reviewed, open-access journal from Hindawi Publishing. From the web site: 'The aim of “Speech and Audio Processing” (SAP) is to bring together researchers and engineers working on the theory and applications of speech and audio processing. SAP will be an interdisciplinary journal for the dissemination of all basic and applied aspects of speech communication and audio processes.' From today's press release: 'SAP is open access with a business model based on article processing charges to be paid by the authors’ institution or research grant. All articles published in SAP 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.'

Update (11/28/05). This journal has changed its name to the EURASIP Journal on Audio, Speech, and Music Processing.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

"OA can reduce the time and costs of peer review"

Heather Morrison, Open Access and peer review: time and cost savings, Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics, August 13, 2005. Excerpt:
OA can reduce the time and costs of peer review. How? Peer-reviewers need to check the facts - the resources cited. As things stand now, the peer-reviewer generally has to look up each reference. At best (the item is immediately available), this is extra work for a peer-reviewer, taking away time from the peer-reviewer's own research. Often, the item is not available, so the peer-reviewer needs to obtain the item through interlibrary loan. This can increase the time required for peer review, stretching out the time from submission to publication - delaying impact. Interlibrary loans are not free - there are staffing costs, not trivial for universities, and often hard dollar costs to obtain items. Picture the OA-widely-practiced-scenario: all the articles cited are OA, and the author has provided a clickable link to each. This is a very efficient scenario indeed - no delay in access for the peer-reviewer, no delay in publication, no cost to the peer-reviewer's university. Perhaps one day soon publishers, and/or peer reviewers, will begin to ask for reference lists with those clickable links.

Another open-source package for OAI-compliant archives has released the StreetPrint Engine 3.0, open-source software for digital archives. Among the new features in 3.0 is an option for building OAI-compliant archives. is an arm of the CRCStudio ( = Canada Research Chair Humanities Computing Studio) at the University of Alberta.

Also see the Digitizationblog review of the new release.

10 articles on institutional repositories

The new issue of Reference Services Review (vol. 33, no. 2, 2005) is devoted to relationship between reference librarians and institutional repositories. In most cases, only abstracts are free online, at least so far. (Thanks to Charles W. Bailey, Jr.)

OA Document Type Definitions

Kay Ethier and Scott Abel, Freely available structures: XML Document Type Definitions you can use today, Free Software Magazine, July 2005. Excerpt:
Organizations of all sizes are beginning to realize how content and its reuse across the enterprise can improve productivity – and the bottom line. The need for change is driven by the desire to better manage information assets (documents, creative ideas, illustrations, charts, graphics, multimedia, etc.) and eliminate costly processes that fail to facilitate the effective and consistent re-use of content. At the heart of managing content for re-use however lies the job of exposing the underlying structure of that information. The most significant way that structured documents differ from unstructured ones is that structured documents include “rules.” These rules formalize the order in which text, graphics, and tables may be entered into a document by an author....The rules of these elements are often defined in a Document Type Definition (DTD).
The the article then describes and links to five OA DTD's. One that it doesn't mention is the NCBI Archiving and Interchange DTD.