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Scott Smith, The Emerging Free Geodata Movement, Smartspa, March 17, 2006. Excerpt:
Dean Giustini, Open access (OA) medical podcasting, OA Librarian, March 17, 2006. Excerpt:
Over at UBC Google scholar blog this week, I blogged the top five (5) podcasting websites which were selected (unscientifically) as a librarian might select books - based on knowledge of what was available, credibility and/or reputation of any authors and publishers as well as evaluation of the quality/presentation of the information itself. Not surprisingly, whether or not the podcast was openly accessible was also important. In the final analysis, a number of excellent podcasts were ruled out as they were inaccessible, subscription-based or limited in terms of how the information was delivered (iPod only, for example). What's my point here? In the post-textual web, the principles of open access will have to extend to audio and video formats, the web's new wave. Thus, the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA’s new audio commentary and the open-access Arizona Heart Institute CVMD.org all get top honours. The AHI's multimedia podcasts on cardiovascular topics are free to all patients, and clinicians, and serve as a model in healthcare education. In medicine at least, the principles of open access should be extended to pod and vodcasting; these new types of sources should be made available to all care-givers and patients to improve the quality of patient care.
Steve Oberg, Elsevier’s response to depositing articles in E-LIS, Family Man Librarian, March 17, 2006. Excerpt:
Comment. I'll elaborate. An OAI-compliant institutional repository has exactly the same reach and discoverability as an OAI-compliant disciplinary repository. Since nearly all institutional and disciplinary repositories are OAI-compliant, it's arbitrary to permit deposit in one kind and not the other kind. However, the two possibilities are not at all equivalent in cases like Steve's in which the author does not have deposit privileges at an institutional repository. Publishers that insist on this distinction either do not grasp the implications of OAI interoperability or want to place special burdens on authors without IRs or without institutional affiliations. One response, which unfortunately will not help Steve Oberg, is for more institutions to launch their own IRs. Another is for authors like Steve to post their work to a personal web site, but that is not as durable as putting the work in a repository.
Timmo Hannay has blogged some notes on David Lipman's recent talk at Nature HQ in London. Lipman is the Director of the US National Center for Biotechnology Information, which includes PubMed Central. Excerpt:
PubMed/Medline records have grown linearly since the late 1960s. But GenBank and other databases show closer to exponential growth. NCBI serves up to 1.4m users a day and these users are downloading ~2.25 Terabytes each day. Generally speaking, growth in usage parallels closely the growth in the amount of data in the database. NCBI spends 90% of its budget on people. 20% is for basic research with the other 80% involved in 'production'. 75% or more or the production side is involved with sequence data....
If you're curious how difficult it is for the University of Michigan to determine the copyright status of the books Google is digitizing from its library, see John Wilkin's slide presentation at the Reading 2.0 conference yesterday. Or see William Walsh's useful digest of the presentation, excerpting the key points from the most relevant slides.
Stevan Harnad, Maximizing Research Impact Through Institutional and National Open-Access Self-Archiving Mandates. In Keith Jeffrey (ed.), Proceedings of CRIS2006. Current Research Information Systems: Open Access Institutional Repositories (in press), 2006.
Abstract: No research institution can afford all the journals its researchers may need, so all articles are losing research impact (usage and citations). Articles made “Open Access,” (OA) by self-archiving them on the web are cited twice as much, but only 15% of articles are being spontaneously self-archived. The only institutions approaching 100% self-archiving are those that mandate it. Surveys show that 95% of authors will comply with a self-archiving mandate; the actual expe-rience of institutions with mandates has confirmed this. What institutions and funders need to mandate is that (1) immediately upon acceptance for publication, (2) the author’s final draft must be (3) deposited into the Institutional Repository. Only the depositing needs to be mandated; set-ting access privileges to the full-text as either OA or Restricted Access (RA) can be left up to the author. For articles published in the 93% of journals that have already endorsed self-archiving, access can be set as OA immediately; for the remaining 7%, authors can email the eprint in re-sponse to individual email requests automatically forwarded by the Repository.
Scholarly Exchange, the free ejournal platform, has launched a web forum for editors of journals, especially SE-based OA journals. From today's announcement:
Scholarly Exchange, the free-and-sustainable e-journal platform, has started an open web forum for editors of scholarly journals....[T]he Editors' Forum offers practical discussions and information about ways to start and run an electronic journal. It serves as a gathering point for editors to ask questions about strategies, management, and technology and to share their practical experience. Focusing on issues related primarily to electronic journals but applicable to scholarly publishing in general, the forum is open to all editors and journal managers. Distinguished e-journal and open-access experts have agreed to join the discussions, as guest commentators. The Editors' Forum is designed to help with:  Basic issues: building communities of interest, recruiting editors, generating submissions,  Developing recognition: ISSN, indexing services, DOIs,  Archiving options: journal archiving options, sharing journal archives (OAI Harvester and LOCKSS), least-cost XML conversion resources,  Printing options: single-copy or short-run editions, best sources and prices,  Sustainability: making freely accessible journals feasible, revenue sources, subscriptions, submission or publication fees.
Glyn Moody, The Power of Open Genomics, Open..., March 16, 2006. Excerpt:
The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has announced the latest round of mega genome sequencing projects - effectively the follow-ons to the Human Genome Project. These are designed to provide a sense of genomic context, and to allow all the interesting hidden structures within the human genome to be teased out bioinformatically by comparing them with other genomes that diverged from our ancestors at various distant times. Three more primates are getting the NHGRI treatment: the rhesus macacque, the marmoset and the orangutan. But alongside these fairly obvious choices, eight more mammals will be sequenced too....If you are not quite sure whom to vote for, you might want to peruse a great page listing all the genomes currently being sequenced for the NHGRI, which provides links to a document...explaining why each is important (there are pix, too). More seriously, it is worth noting that this growing list makes ever more plain the power of open genomics. Since all of the genomes will be available in public databases as soon as they are completed (and often before), this means that bioinformaticians can start crunching away with them, comparing species with species in various ways. Already, people have done the obvious things like comparing humans with chimpanzees, or mice with rats, but the possibilities are rapidly becoming extremely intriguing....And beyond the simple pairing of genomes, which yields a standard square-law richness, there are even more inventive combinations involving the comparison of multiple genomes that may reveal particular aspects of the Great Digital Tree of Life, since everything may be compared with everything, without restriction. Now imagine trying to do this if genomes had been patented, and groups of them belonged to different companies, all squabbling over their "IP". The case for open genomics is proved, I think.
The British Pharmacological Society is adopting the author-choice OA hybrid model. (Thanks to medinfo.) From its press release (March 15):
The British Pharmacological Society (BPS) is pleased to announce that the British Journal of Pharmacology (BJP) will accept open access articles, subject to payment of a publication fee. The journal is moving to a mixed revenue model of subscription charges and publication fees. The open access option will be available to all authors submitting on or after 1 April 2006. For the remainder of 2006, the publication fee will be $2,500, €1850 or £1250 + VAT (where applicable). Articles published with a publication fee will be clearly identified in the online and print editions of the journal with a ‘BJP Open’ logo (BJPOpen). Editors will be blind to the author’s choice, avoiding any possibility of a conflict of interest during through peer review and acceptance. Authors paying the publication fee will be entitled to self-archive the published version immediately on publication, in the repositories of their choice, and in any format. Other articles will continue to be published under Nature Publishing Group’s (NPG) exclusive License-to-Publish, where NPG’s usual self-archiving policy will apply. Print subscription prices will be unaffected. This change follows the introduction of ‘Online Open’ on the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, published by BPS and Blackwell Publishing. BPS is committed to providing authors with all the relevant publishing options in this period of technology change, while protecting the financial foundations of its publications which support its charitable activities for the advancement of pharmacology. BJP is published by NPG on behalf of BPS.
Tales from the Public Domain: BOUND BY LAW? is a multiformat (html, Flash, PDF (hi-res, low-res), print) comic book from the Duke Law School's Center for the Study of the Public Domain. The book is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.
A documentary is being filmed. A cell phone rings, playing the "Rocky" theme song. The filmmaker is told she must pay $10,000 to clear the rights to the song. Can this be true? "Eyes on the Prize", the great civil rights documentary, was pulled from circulation because the filmmaker's rights to music and footage had expired. What's going on here? It's the collision of documentary filmmaking and intellectual property law, and it's the inspiration for this new comic book. Follow its heroine Akiko as she films her documentary, and navigates the twists and turns of intellectual property. Why do we have copyrights? What's "fair use"? Bound By Law reaches beyond documentary film to provide a commentary on the most pressing issues facing law, art, property and an increasingly digital world of remixed culture. This book is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license. This comic book was made possible by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. It is a project of Duke's Center for the Study of the Public Domain, which focuses on the delicate balance between intellectual property and the public domain - the realm of material that is free to use without permission or payment.[Thanks to Paula Kaufman's Issues in Scholarly Communication blog.]
Bruce Cole, Uncharted Territory: A Conversation with Vinton Cerf, Humanities Magazine, March/April 2006. Cole is the Chairman of the US National Endowment for the Humanities. Excerpt (quoting Cerf):
There is a kind of disdain for anything that is published online even though, oddly enough, the same quality of filtering, evaluation, review, and the like can be applied to a paper that is published online as can be applied to one which is printed on paper. It seems to me that the Endowment could foster the creation of online journals with the same quality of review and therefore the same authority that the printed journals have. I'm sure that will cause some dislocations here and there, but I've become increasingly unhappy about the cost of the physical journals and the practice which, at least in my disciplines, have the authors paying page charges to get their papers published and then having libraries paying incredibly high fees for access to the printed journals, thereby limiting access by the researchers to this material, which is, in a sense, impeding research progress. We see pre-prepublication distribution online as an alternative and a faster alternative than waiting for the printed journals. The problem is that when tenure decisions come up, it seems the referencing of the printed journal is a necessity. I would love to see a change in attitude about that.
Richard Poynder, Where is the Open Access Foundation? Open and Shut, March 16, 2006. My excerpt is long because Richard is making many important points. But the original is considerably longer and I encourage you to read it.
Comment. There's a lot here and I don't have time for a full response right now. I'm on the road, at a meeting. But I'll look for a way to say more later. (1) I agree that the differences among the public definitions of OA contain wiggle room, and I agree that this has let some publishers "overplay their OA credentials". I acknowledged and addressed this problem not only in the SOAN article from 2003 that Richard cites, but in another from 2004. (2) While this flexibility has the harmful consequences that Richard and I both deplore, it also has some beneficial consequences. It reduces internecine quarrels among OA activists about purity and makes the OA movement what Americans call a big tent. It also supports the kind of self-organization that helps recruit allies and adapt to different circumstances. Richard may agree. But if he's also saying that we need to take stock and balance the costs and benefits, I agree. (3) There's a difference between clarifying the definition of OA and launching a central OA organzation. I see advantages and disadvantages to a central OA organization that I'll try to spell out sometime. Richard has seen them privately. (4) Stevan Harnad's call to amend the BOAI public statement did not fall on deaf ears. He sent it to me privately and I replied privately. (I convened the drafting group that wrote the BOAI.) (5) It's true that the BOAI statement does not address the immediacy of access. This didn't occur to us when we were drafting it. However, when we realized that we should address the issue, soon after launch, we added this Q&A to the FAQ:
Is open access compatible with an embargo period?
Gordon Freedman, Scholarly Publishing in the Digital World, educate/innovate, March 15, 2006. An interview with Greg Tananbaum, President of the Berkeley Electronic Press (bepress). (Thanks to William Walsh.) Excerpt:
Evidence Based Library and Information Practice is a new peer-reviewed OA journal published by the University of Alberta Learning Services. The inagural issue is now online. (Thanks to the Creative Librarian.) From the site:
The purpose of the journal is to provide a forum for librarians and other information professionals to discover research that may contribute to decision making in professional practice. EBLIP publishes original research and commentary on the topic of evidence based library and information practice, as well as reviews of previously published research (evidence summaries) on a wide number of topics.
Elizabeth Longworth (ed.), Living Information: Information for All Programme Report 2004/2005, UNESCO, 2006. Excerpt:
Access to information and knowledge is a core need for human development and well-being, enabling individuals, communities and countries to achieve their full potential and to improve their quality of life....UNESCO, with its mandate to promote the free flow of ideas using words and images, and to maintain, increase, preserve and disseminate knowledge, has thus established the Information for All Programme – it seeks to narrow the gap between the information rich and the information poor and to contribute to building Knowledge Societies. Many of the actions of the Information for All Programme are designed to set standards, raise awareness and monitor progress so as to achieve universal access to information and knowledge....This report provides an overview of IFAP’s work within its current three priority areas – information literacy, infoethics, and the preservation of information – over the last two years....
Turid Hedlund and Annikki Roos, Open Access Publishing In Finland: Discipline-Specific Publishing Patterns In Biomedicine And Economics, a preprint forthcoming in the proceedings of the ElPub conference in Bansko, Bulgaria, June 14-16, 2005.
Abstract: Open access publishing strategies have traditionally been directed towards what has been regarded as a homogenous scientific community of universities, researchers and libraries. However, discipline specific practices in communication and publishing strategies are prevailing in different scientific areas. In this study we, argue that discipline specific publishing patterns may affect the ways that open access strategies can be adopted in different scientific areas. We characterise and identify incentives for publishing open access into factors depending mostly on the social environment and factors mostly depending on personal factors of the researcher. In the case study comparing the field of biomedicine and economics and business administration we were able to find out figures on the proportion, type and channel of open access publishing of scientific articles by Finnish researchers in economics and medicine.
Eric K. Neumann, RDF — The Web’s Missing Link, Bio IT World, March 14, 2006. Excerpt:
You’d be hard-pressed to carry out any research project today without using the Web’s linked nature. The Web satisfies two large needs of science: as a resource to large and diverse data sets and as the primary communication system for scientific publishing and searching research discoveries. However, along with its increasing importance in R&D, its simplicity as linked pages based on HTML has also constrained its ability to more intelligently assist scientists in searching, sharing, and annotating data. Using HTML, data can certainly be pointed to via a URL, but its structure depends on externally defined formats. Even the use of XML doesn’t remedy this problem, as witnessed in the long process of defining document type definitions (DTDs): Without developing a parser for a predefined DTD or XML schema, no applications will be able to understand how you represent your data. Counter to the nature of the Web is the practice of defining data in one monolithic structure. Where does the data about a given gene end, and where does the pathway it is involved in begin? At the splice variant form, the modified protein level, or the complex it’s part of? The goal to connect complex information is not being advanced by quibbling over the boundary positions between biological, chemical, and medical object. Must the parsers be updated each time there is a new innovation in the science? How should we “link in” new data, annotations, and external references?...RDF is a W3C specification that provides the missing link required to do for data what HTML did for pages. RDF is central to the Semantic Web and is about linking data. It allows people to treat each data element more like a linkable document, which can be linked to any other data element.
DPubS: preserving the past, creating the future for scholarly publications, Education Commons, March 5, 2006. An unsigned news story. Excerpt:
Cornell University has something exciting in the works for readers and small publishers of academic journals, conference proceedings, and other scholarly works. To help institutions organize and publish material inexpensively - and therefore to maximize access - a team at the University Library is developing DPubS, an open-source electronic publishing platform. "Libraries have to buy scholarship from publishers," says David Ruddy, Head of Systems Development and Production at Cornell University Library's Center for Innovative Publishing. "Prices keep rising, and library budgets can't match the increase" - a predicament known to librarians as "the serials crisis." Not that DPubS is intended to put commercial publishers out of business. According to Tom Hickerson, Associate University Librarian at Cornell, "Our goal is not to compete directly with commercial academic publishers, but to provide alternatives. We want to give lower-cost journals access to cutting-edge functionality, while maintaining lower prices and open access distribution."
Marilu Goodyear and Richard Fyffe, Institutional Repositories: An Opportunity for CIO Campus Impact, Educause Review, March/April 2006. Excerpt:
As is often the case in situations in which there is no clear road back and no obvious path forward, leaders must be optimistic that the way will reveal itself once they take action. We believe that the institutional repository movement may offer an opportunity for CIOs to begin to address the needs of digital asset management and preservation on their campuses. Institutional repositories (IRs) are infrastructure and services that organize and make accessible the intellectual digital output of a single institution. Typically, IRs are used as tools for sharing and disseminating the scholarly knowledge created by faculty, researchers, or students to audiences outside the institution, for enabling this audience to find work by faculty and students more easily, for making the work more visible to colleagues, funders, and employers, and for helping to demonstrate the significance and relevance of the institution’s research activities. IRs are also often seen as tools for preservation.
Kenneth Neil Cukier, Navigating the future(s) of biotech intellectual property, Nature Biotechnology, March 8, 2006. Excerpt:
Support for open-source practices comes amid a deeper shift in how innovation happens. Although the private-sector is now shouldering more basic research, there is a growing preference among venture capitalists and acquisitive pharmaceutical firms for biotech companies with products that have some clinical validation, as a safeguard that they're picking a winner. The implication is that biotech companies won't be given the capital or time to do early-stage or risky research. And that, ironically, leaves a big opening that academia can fill because it can rely on the public purse, follow blue-sky inclinations and enjoy longer time-horizons. The risk to the biotech industry that will arise, if academia does move aggressively to fill this gap, is that the public and nonprofit sector will put greater pressure for bigger changes in the patent system. It is unclear whether academe has the political clout to change much, but the biotech industry ignores their gripes at its own risk.
Rachel Capp, Open Access: What Does It Mean for the Future of Academic Publishing? Duquesne University Times, March 15, 2006. Excerpt:
Over the past 10 years, libraries across the country --including Duquesne’s own Gumberg Library-- have faced increasing challenges in providing a breadth of quality, scholarly publications to their patrons. Currently, many national peer-reviewed scholarly journals are controlled by large publishers that charge exorbitant subscription fees to libraries. These fees are increasing at an alarming rate. Electronic resource subscriptions alone cost the Gumberg Library $1 million per year, meaning that other areas of the budget, such as book purchases, have to be scaled back. Under the current publishing system, faculty members do the research, write the papers and, in some cases, even pay a “page fee” to have their work published, yet the journal publisher owns the copyright and charges others to access the information. An exciting new revolution in scholarly publishing known as “open access” offers hope for the future. Open access seeks to make scholarly journals and full-text articles freely available via the Internet....While open access offers a promising solution, it does face some challenges. At the forefront of these challenges is a veritable Catch 22: in order to be successful, open access journals must develop reputations that can compete with those of traditional journals. However, many researchers are reluctant to publish in open access journals because they do not have the time-tested reputation of the traditional journals. Through education of university faculty and researchers, pro-open access organizations such as ARL hope to convince more scholars to use open access publications, thus bolstering their reputations to a level competitive with the traditional journals. Open access also raises questions about copyright enforcement, academic integrity and archiving information for the future.
Comment. It's true that OA journals face this Catch-22. But not all OA is delivered through OA journals. OA archives or repositories do not face this Catch-22 at all. I discuss some solutions to the Catch-22 for OA journals in this 2004 article (Section 4, esp. pp. 13ff).
SPARC, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition issued a press release about its new partnership with Theoretical Economics. The first issue of the Open Access journal, published by the Society for Economic Theory, was released in early March.
The new, peer-reviewed outlet for high-quality research in economic theory provides an alternative to the Journal of Economic Theory and Games and Economic Behavior, both published by Elsevier.
Submission fee: $75/paper; Society members 1 free submission/year (noncumulative); $35/paper, if all authors are from lower-income countries. Editors are not apprised of the size of the submission fee paid for a manuscript. Submission fees are not refundable, regardless of the disposition of the manuscript.
Publication fee: manuscript in LaTeX, in compliance with guidelines, no charge; papers in TeX or LaTeX not in compliance with guidelines, $5/journal page; papers not in TeX or LaTeX, $10/journal page.
The Amedeo Challenge, which pays physicians to write OA textbooks, is now accepting small donations as well as large. (For the background, see my 3/3/06 posting.) Excerpt from Vaughan Bell on MindHacks:
Amedeo Challenge, the site aiming to fund the creation of high-quality open-access medical textbooks, is now taking small and private donations. On the donations page you can give towards a 'bounty' for the completion of a textbook on a number of different topics. Medical professionals and researchers can work towards creating books to claim the bounty. So far, online books on HIV and influenza have already been published and bounties are available for books on tuberculosis and viral hepatitis. Of interest to readers here might be proposed books on Alzheimer's disease, neurology and Parkinson's disease (I've just donated 50 euros towards the creation of an open-access textbook on neurology and can't wait to see it online). When completed the books will be freely available for online viewing, to print, and will not have restrictions to prevent them from being translated into other languages....Spread the word!
Tracey Caldwell, Stargate opens up OAI access to all, Information World Review, March 15,, 2006. Excerpt:
Small publishers will be able to publish papers for open access following the University of Strathclyde’s Stargate (Static Repository Gateway and Toolkit) project. Funded by JISC, Stargate is exploring the use of simpler static repositories as a means of exposing publisher metadata to OAI-based disclosure, discovery and alerting services like Humbul within JISC’s Information Environment and on the internet. Static repositories allow smaller publishers to participate in Open Archives Initiative (OAI) services without setting up a full repository. John Robertson, Stargate project officer, said the OAI approach had the benefit of associating the publisher with the papers it publishes. “We want to promote the use of the OAI protocol primarily because it is easy to find papers online from an institutional repository but you don’t find a link to the publishers. The identity of the publisher is lost as the paper is associated with the author rather than the journal or issue.” Although the project will initially focus on e-journals, static repositories lend themselves to other types of publishing, including e-books, elearning materials and other digital resources....The project ends in May, by which time it hopes to have produced tools and guidelines for smaller publishers wishing to use static repositories....[A "static repository" is] an alternative to fully OAI-compliant repositories. Static repositories are aimed at metadata collections of between 1 and 5,000 records that are not able to host OAI PMH-compliant software.
Stevan Harnad, OA Impact Advantage = EA + (AA) + (QB) + QA + (CA) + UA, a preprint, self-archived March 14, 2006.
Abstract: The OA impact advantage arises from at least the following 6 component factors, three of them (2,3,5) temporary, three of them permanent (1,4,6):
The more we can automate the annotation of data files with metadata, the more we can save time and effort in depositing eprints in OA repositories. Even though the manual process is not very time-consuming or difficult, it's still a workflow bottleneck that slows our advance toward 100% OA. So I follow progress toward metadata automation.
Here's a nifty breakthrough that applies to photos, not eprints. Digital cameras already do a great job of adding metadata about the time, date, and camera settings to each image. Now Zonetag allows digital cameras built into cell phones to annotate each photo with its location, based on the location of the nearest cell tower. (Thanks to Richard Akerman.)
I can imagine applications down the road in which this technology would be useful for research, say, in geology or urban planning, especially after it (or more precise GPS technology) is built into high-end digital cameras. But even if it won't affect digital scholarship --much, yet--, I hope it stimulates creative thinking about metadata annotation for run-of-the-mill text files.
Glyn Moody, Will Data Hoarding Cost 150 Million Lives? Open..., March 14, 2006. Excerpt:
The only thing separating mankind from a pandemic that could kill 150 million people are a few changes in the RNA of the H5N1 avian 'flu virus. Those changes would make it easier for the virus to infect and pass between humans, rather than birds....The good news is that with modern sequencing technologies it is possible to track those changes as they happen, and to use this information to start preparing vaccines that are most likely to be effective against any eventual pandemic virus....The bad news is that most of those vital sequences are being kept hidden away by the various national laboratories that produce them. As a result, thousands of scientists outside those organisations do not have the full picture of how the H5N1 virus is evolving, medical communities cannot plan properly for a pandemic, and drug companies are hamstrung in their efforts to develop effective vaccines. The apparent reason for the hoarding - because some scientists want to be able to publish their results in slow-moving printed journals first so as to be sure that they are accorded full credit by their peers - beggars belief against a background of growing pandemic peril. Open access to data never looked more imperative.
ChemRefer is a new search engine for OA literature in chemistry. From the site:
ChemRefer is a search engine that is designed to allow students, academics, chemical and pharmaceutical companies quick access to chemistry literature which is available on the internet. There is plenty of such literature around, but it is all located on different websites. Most such websites contain a mixture of accessible and restricted literature and it is frustrating to locate an article, only to find it restricted to subscribers. ChemRefer only finds literature that is full text and freely available (from many different sources).
Philip M. Davis, Michael J. Fromerth, Does the arXiv lead to higher citations and reduced publisher downloads for mathematics articles? A preprint, self-archived March 14, 2006.
An analysis of 2,765 articles published in four math journals from 1997-2005 indicated that articles deposited in the arXiv received 35% more citations on average than non-deposited articles (an advantage of about 1.1 citations per article), and this difference was most pronounced for highly-cited articles. The most plausible explanation was not the Open Access or Early View postulates, but Self-Selection, which has led to higher quality articles being deposited in the arXiv. Yet in spite of their citation advantage, arXiv-deposited articles received 23% fewer downloads from the publisher's website (about 10 fewer downloads per article) in all but the most recent two years after publication. The data suggest that arXiv and the publisher's website may be fulfilling distinct functional needs of the reader.
Update. This article has now been published in Scientometrics.
Nigel Stanger and Graham McGregor, Hitting the ground running: building New Zealand’s first publicly available institutional repository. Discussion Paper 2006/07, Department of Information Science, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. Self-archived March 9, 2006.
Abstract: A fully functional and publicly available, digital institutional repository (IR) in the space of just ten days? The technology was available, the time was right, the team was right and technical assistance from colleagues in Australia was on hand a mere cyber call away. This paper reports on how we were able to “hit the ground running” in building an open access IR in such a short space of time. What has taken our breath away is not so much the speed of the process, but the scale of responsiveness from the Internet community. Consequently, we also consider the research impact of more than 18,000 downloads from eighty countries, less than three months into the project!
UNESCO has launched an online platform to assist communication and collaboration among those working toward the goals of the Geneva WSIS Plan of Action --which endorsed OA. (Thanks to Francis Andre.) Excerpt:
The participants of the Consultation meeting of action lines moderators/facilitators on 24 February 2006 in Geneva decided that, in order to launch activities under each Action Line and facilitate the initial contacts among facilitators and participants,...UNESCO should be provisionally appointed as the interim focal point for action lines falling in its areas of competence. Through this platform, UNESCO seeks to gather the opinion of those interested in these action lines on all aspects related to multi stakeholder implementation.
For example, click on Access to information and knowledge to post messages for others around the world working toward this goal of the WSIS Plan of Action.
Ben Lund, Tagging and Bookmarking In Institutional Repositories, Nascent, March 13, 2006. A description of the new Connotea tool for tagging eprints in Eprint repositories, by the developer. Excerpt:
JISC is funding a study of the adequacy of EThOS for long-term OA to UK doctoral theses. Excerpt:
The JISC invites tender proposals to consult with stakeholders within Higher Education on the acceptability of the EThOS model for a sustainable, national service to ensure long term open access to electronic PhD theses. The consultation study should assess this in the context of other potential models. The output of the consultation will be a clear set of recommendations that will enable JISC and other stakeholders to set up a service that is acceptable to the Higher Education community. Funding of up to £20,000 including VAT is available for this study. The deadline for submission of proposals is 18th April 2006. It is envisaged that the evaluation will commence by 8th May 2006 and be completed by 30th June 2006. Further information including the full Invitation To Tender is available [here].
SocioFakt, the Serbian Social Sciences Citation Index, has an offline edition, an online priced edition, and now an experimental OA edition, SocioFakt open access. From the site:
SocioFakt online is an abbreviated, web version of [the offline edition of] SocioFakt, indexing the same journals, but starting from 2000 on....SocioFakt open access is a trial, improved version of SocioFakt online. In SocioFakt open access, not only metadata (titles, abstracts, cited references, etc.), but also full texts of articles are entirely searchable. Metadata for some journals indexed in SocioFakt open access are prepared in Dublin Core Standard for bibliographic metadata exchange, to be accessible by international services and databases, such as Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), extending visibility of articles contained in the database.
Maija Palmer, Publishers' soul searching over Google plan, Financial Times, March 13, 2006. Excerpt:
Publishers have been left divided over Google's plan to scan books digitally and make them searchable on-line. Opponents are concerned at potential violation of copyright and remain suspicious of how Google may seek to use scanned digital copies of books. Nigel Newton, chief executive of Bloomsbury, publisher of the Harry Potter saga, caused a stir at last week's London Book Fair when he called on internet users to boycott Google in protest over the book search project. He warned publishers of the danger of handing over their content to a third-party internet company. Academic publishers, however, support the Google project, which they see as opening up new audiences and marketing opportunities for their scholarly works. Ben Stebbing, head of sales and marketing at Manchester University Press, said: "The books we publish are typically very specialist - monographs of a professor's life work on say Ottoman artefacts - and would normally sell just 500 copies at most. Through Google book search we've got a free marketing tool reaching audiences we'd have no hope of reaching otherwise." Manchester University Press used to send out catalogues a few times a year to 10,000 academic institutions, libraries and booksellers across Europe, and another 40,000 in the US. After listing many titles on Google's book search, it has received more than 50,000 hits a week, resulting in what Mr Stebbing estimates to be "several thousand" additional sales....Mark le Fanu, general secretary of the Society of Authors, said: "There is no consensus among authors. Academic writers see Google as a new and exciting way to help market books that have otherwise found it hard to secure space in bookstores, but more commercial writers are concerned that Google is building up this vast and profitable catalogue on top of copyrights for which they have not paid.
Stevan Harnad, Generic Rationale And Model For University Open Access Self-Archiving Mandate, Open Access Archivangelism, March 13, 2006. For universities considering an OA policy, model policy terms and supporting arguments. Excerpt:
Universities are invited to use this document to help encourage the adoption of an Open Access Self-Archiving Mandate at their institution....
Update. Also see the self-archived copy of these recommendations.
Fiona Bradley, Enabling the information commons, in Proceedings ALIA 2004 Biennial Conference, Queensland, Australia, 2004. Self-archived, March 12, 2006.
Abstract: As more libraries embrace the term 'information commons' to name services and symbolise their mission, this paper explores the meaning of the concept in Australia and the US. The public library as we know it was founded on principles of providing free access to all. This is now threatened by the growth of information as commodity, and has led many to question the controls and costs of information in society. This paper examines threats that emerge from commercialisation, legislation, funding, and the changing role of libraries. The responses to these threats by libraries, individuals and organisations are detailed. Projects and alternative models that aim to protect the information commons are discussed. This paper asks if libraries should be political about this issue, and what the consequences of such action may be on funding, intellectual freedom, trust and communities. What steps can librarians take to ensure access to information for all individuals in the future? Do the information commons represent a new direction for librarianship, or a renewed emphasis on traditional values?
Helen Branswell, Labs shouldn't hoard flu data: Researcher, Toronto Star, March 12, 2006. Excerpt:
A leading scientist in the field of genetic sequencing is calling on publicly funded U.S. researchers and research organizations to throw open their collections of H5N1 avian flu viruses to allow others to work toward lessening the pandemic threat the virus poses. Steven Salzberg wants the U.S. Centers for Disease Control as well as researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health to place their virus sequence data in open-access databanks on an as-processed basis. He hopes such a move would entice scientists elsewhere, as well as governments in H5N1-afflicted countries, to end a pattern of virus hoarding many believe is undermining the world's ability to battle H5N1. "I think what ought to happen is that the U.S., starting with people funded by NIH and the CDC itself ought to start releasing all of their data and all of their samples — and lead by example," says Salzberg, director of the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology at the University of Maryland. "Because one complaint I've heard from other scientists in other countries is: 'Hey, the CDC in the U.S. doesn't release all their data. So why should we?' And that's a very legitimate complaint."...Salzberg was involved in the historic human genome sequencing effort as well as the teams which sequenced the first plant genome, Arabidopsis (mustard weed) and the parasite that causes malaria. Most recently, he has been working on an NIH-funded project that is sequencing vast numbers of human flu viruses.
We need your help to make sure scientists in the US and abroad working on this issue have access to all the data they need. The next effective vaccine may require sequences from Indonesia, China, or who knows where....The US should be leading the way in transparency and open access. Don't let politics get in the way of science. Support Dr. Capua and the other renowned scientists here and abroad in liberating the H5N1 sequences and let them be deposited in GenBank and the other Open Access repositories.
Recombinomics fully supports the appeal by Dr. Llaria Capua of the OIE/FAO Reference Laboratory for Avian Influenza at the Istituto Zooprofilattica Sperimentale delle Venezie in Padova, Italy to allow influenza researchers worldwide open access to H5N1 sequences collected by the WHO. Currently, most of the recently collected H5N1 gene sequences are sequestered in a private, WHO controlled database, which can only be accessed by 15 laboratories. These sequences should be made available immediately to the general scientific community. The sequences are essential in pandemic vaccine development and should be accessible to all. This week the United States government announced a new pandemic vaccine target, the H5N1 sequence from a patient in Indonesia. Although available sequences indicate several pandemic vaccine targets would be desirable, the utility of the chosen sequence cannot be independently evaluated because none of the H5N1 sequences from human patients in Indonesia are publicly available.
PS: Does Recombinomics provide OA to its own flu virus sequence data? The press release doesn't say.
Draft presentations and podcasts of the actual presentations at the symposium, Open Access Publishing And The Future Of Legal Scholarship (Portland, Oregon, March 10, 2006), are now online.
Heather Morrison, ASIST 2005: Sparking Synergies: Bringing Research and Practice Together, OA Librarian, March 11, 2006. Excerpt:
Zhigang Suo, What if all papers become openly accessible? Applied Mechanics News, March 11, 2006. Excerpt:
Of all industries that the community of Applied Mechanics is deeply involved with, none is more in a state of flux than the Publishing Industry....It is conceivable that eventually anybody can publish anything in repositories like the arXiv. This scenario is not as radical or futuristic as it may sound; anybody can already post anything online, at almost no cost. Such repositories formalize this practice by providing two ingredients essential to scholarly publishing: trustworthy timestamps and permanent accessibility....Here I wish to...focus on a hypothetical question: What if all papers have already become openly accessible?...Authors own their papers, except they may not delete papers from repositories....Journals select papers and comment on them. [PS: Such journals are often called overlay journals.] When all papers are in open-access repositories, journals will still serve important functions. Once a journal selects a paper from the repositories, possibly peer-reviewed, the paper will automatically gain a special status of being associated with the journal. The same paper can be selected by multiple journals. All journals will rest on the same raw data: papers in the repositories. Journals that select lasting papers and host incisive discussions will be the winners....Since 1991, an author can post a paper in the arXiv, and then publish the same paper in journals like Physical Review Letters. The arXiv has not diminished the preeminence of such journals....Start pages– websites designed for reading news – will allow you to see new papers published in your favorite journals at a glance. You can also subscribe the results [of such a feed]....In effect, you have just created a journal on the subject of [your search terms]....Once all papers become openly accessible, you can...tag them with phrases like “biomechanics” or “nanotechnology.”...[W]hen you search for such a tag, you will see a list of items tagged by other users, and the number of users that have bookmarked each item. Therefore, [tagging tools like del.icio.us] make it easier to find the best, or at least the most popular, items for a search.
Olufunmilayo Arewa, Open Access in a Closed Universe: Lexis, Westlaw and the Law School, a paper presented at the symposium, Open Access Publishing And The Future Of Legal Scholarship (Portland, Oregon, March 10, 2006).
Abstract: This paper considers issues of open access from the context of the broader legal information industry as a whole. The structure and contours of the legal information industry have shaped the availability of online open access publishing of legal scholarship. The competitive duopoly of Lexis and Westlaw is a particularly important factor in considerations of open access. Also significant is the relationship between Lexis and Westlaw and law schools, which form an important market segment for both Lexis and Westlaw. This paper begins by considering the important role information plays in the law. It then notes the increasing industry concentration that has occurred over the last 10-15 years among legal and other publishers. This industry concentration is believed to have contributed to significant price increases for scholarly journals generally. This industry concentration has potentially significant implications for questions of access, particularly in the current environment of increasing electronic dissemination of legal information. In addition to examining characteristics of the legal information industry, this paper also looks at the role of dominant players such as Lexis and Westlaw and the ways in which information dissemination has changed with the advent of electronic legal information services. Consumers of legal information, including law firms, law school users and the general public are also considered, particularly with respect to the implications of legal information industry organization and operation for questions of access to legal information.
Stevan Harnad, Optimizing Open Access Guidelines of Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Open Access Archivangelism, March 12, 2006. Excerpt:
The Open Access (OA) guidelines of Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) are very, very welcome, but I hope that a few seemingly minor details (see below) can be revised to make them an effective model for others worldwide....The first problem concerns this clause:"recommended encouraging funded scientists to also digitally publish their results and make them available via open access"
Comment. Stevan makes five other recommendations and I support them all, especially the shift from a request to a requirement. See my 3/7/06 comment on the DFG policy.
International Breastfeeding Journalis the 87th independent, Open Access journal hosted by BioMed Central. This paragraph caught my attention in the journal's General policies:
International Breastfeeding Journal's articles are archived in PubMed Central, the US National Library of Medicine's full-text repository of life science literature, and also in repositories at the University of Potsdam in Germany, at INIST in France and in e-Depot, the National Library of the Netherlands' digital archive of all electronic publications. The journal is also participating in the British Library's e-journals pilot project, and plans to deposit copies of all articles with the British Library.International Breastfeeding Journal - Fulltext v1+ (2006+); ISSN: 1746-4358.