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The UK All Party Parliamentary Internet Group (APIG) has released a Report on DRM (dated June 2006). It's surprisingly friendly to user interests, as seen in the recommendation that will most affect researchers:
...that the Government consider granting a much wider-ranging exemption to the anti-circumvention measures in the 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act for genuine academic research.
(Thanks to Indicare.)
Nancy Gohring, Microsoft takes on Google in book search, InfoWorld, June 9, 2006. Excerpt:
Microsoft is expanding its book search service, an offering that will compete with a similar service from Google, it announced Friday. Microsoft will add digitized versions of some books from the University of California Library and the University of Toronto Library to Windows Live Book Search. The program, derived from the MSN Book Search project that was launched late last year, allows users to access and search through the books online. The Open Content Alliance (OCA) will scan, digitize and index out-of-copyright books from the libraries for Microsoft. OCA, an organization supported by technology companies and libraries.
Comment. The article title points to a real corporate rivalry but at the same time may overstate it. Let's remember one thing: book-based search engines may be competitors but book-scanning programs are complementary, at least for users. Even if the companies can't say, the more, the merrier, we can.
Oleg Evnin has put a Creative Commons license on his new Caltech PhD dissertation, On quantum interacting embedded geometrical objects of various dimensions. (Thanks to Open Access Authoring @ Caltech.)
Comment. Thank goodness OA to electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs) is on the rise. What's new here is the CC license. Caltech requires all doctoral dissertations to be submitted in electronic form, and encourages OA to them through the Caltech ETD repository, but says nothing about using CC licenses for those that are OA.
Congratulations to Evnin on the successful defense of his thesis (May 26, 2006), for choosing Caltech's OA option, and for taking the extra step of using a CC license.
Open Business has a short interview with Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia. Excerpt:
[Open Business:] I just spoke to publishers and authors - they are afraid of new ideas such as Wikipedia and GooglePrint. Its a real question: what happens if we move further into a world of free content - how do these people get paid? Any ideas?
Heather Morrison, Evidence Based Librarianship and Open Access, Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, 1, 2 (2006).
Abstract: Evidence based practice, whether in librarianship or any other profession, depends on access to the evidence, and access to opportunities to share one’s own evidence. Open access (OA) is the perfect complement to evidence based librarianship. OA provides the optimum access to the evidence for librarians everwhere, and the optimum means of dissemination. This article compares examines access to the LIS literature in the print and electronic media, and the impact of open access.
The digitization blog is blogging the ETD 2006 conference in Quebec City. The first post contains a good summary of my keynote address on OA for ETDs (electronic theses and dissertations). The second post contains a good summary of Art Rhyno's presentation on open source.
PS: I thank the anonymous blogger who wrote this summary. (I'd be glad to thank you directly if I knew who you were.) My slides will be online at the conference site shortly.
Yudhijit Bhattacharjee, Florida Law Bans Academics From Doing Research in Cuba, Science Magazine, June 9, 2006. Excerpt:
Comment. Rivera made a mistake to supplement his national security rationale with a supposed scientific rationale (there's nothing to study in Cuba that can't be studied in the Dominican Republic). That opens his argument to rebuttal by people who actually know what they're talking about. When will politicians learn that the threat of terrorism can justify any new prohibition all on its own?
Update (June 12, 2006). The Florida Sun-Sentinel has published a sensible op-ed against this inane idea.
Patently Transparent, Nature Biotechnology, May 2006. An editorial. Excerpt:
With the proliferation of gene patents and the increasing profusion of biotech patents and licenses with overlapping and competing rights, the ability to interpret and filter intellectual property (IP) has never been more important. Last month’s announcement by Australian startup CAMBIA, and its initiative BIOS (Biological Innovation for Open Society), of the creation of an open-access patent database collating IP data from several national patent offices promises to radically improve that process....
Ray Corrigan has posted a draft book chapter to his blog and seeks comments from readers. This excerpt begins after he finishes telling the very interesting story of Colmcille, a sixth-century Irish monk devoted to multiplying hand-transcribed copies of the Bible, frustrated by pre-copyright permission barriers to his work, and subject of one of the first legal decisions on access barriers to public-domain literature.
The Colmcille story is about a struggle over access to information. Access to information underpins the themes of this book which is about decision making related to and involving important socio-technological information systems....[I]n a knowledge society the default rules of the road are the laws governing the flow of information and the restrictions built into the architecture of technology. These laws and technologies are shaping up to be a bottleneck, particularly for decision making and education. It might be reasonable to stick a digital lock on an electronic version of some educational material and make it a crime to bypass the lock, but people need to be aware of this....
Nanoscale Research Letters is a new hybrid OA journal from Springer and the Nano Research Society. From yesterday's press release: Excerpt:
Springer and the Nano Research Society have announced a new partnership to publish Nanoscale Research Letters (NRL), which will be the first nanotechnology journal from a major commercial publisher to publish articles with open access. The new journal provides an interdisciplinary forum for the open communication of scientific and technological advances in the creation and use of objects at the nanometer scale. The first open access articles are scheduled to appear on Springer’s online platform, SpringerLink, in July 2006....
Santiago Chumbe and five co-authors, Overcoming the obstacles of harvesting and searching digital repositories from federated searching toolkits, and embedding them in VLEs, in Proceedings 2nd International Conference on Computer Science and Information Systems, Athens, 2006.
Abstract: This paper addresses two important needs. The first one is the need to alleviate the resource discovery task across digital repositories by subject, which includes the ability of searching heterogeneous sources that apply to a specific audience (e.g. engineering academics) or purpose (e.g. research, teaching) from one access point. The second need is to provide toolkits for federated searching which are able to be embedded in electronic learning environments used by lecturers, students and researchers. Most of these environments are institutional Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) and Portals. Our study will show that the satisfaction of both needs faces important obstacles. On one side, standard exchange formats such as Z39.50 or OAI, developed precisely to facilitate the transfer or sharing of data between computer systems, present obstacles that make the harvesting and searching of data from digital repositories a challenging process. On the other side, VLEs are often restricted in their ability to allow the sharing and re-use of external e-learning sources discovered by federated searching toolkits. A solution for these obstacles, based on a service-oriented architecture approach, is suggested and explored on a pilot system. The aim of our research is the realisation of the concept of flexible federated searching. The intention is that the VLE user should be able to use whatever search tool he/she likes for whatever repositories he/she needs to search, without concern for how the tool and the repositories manage to communicate, or how the tool makes search results available to other VLE components. The pilot system attempts to demonstrate that most of the flexible federated searching concept can be achieved by making proper use of current interoperability standards for digital repositories and e-learning systems.
Brock Read, A New Tagging System Could Help Computers Understand and Compare Research Results, Chronicle of Higher Education (accessible only to subscribers), June 9, 2006. Excerpt:
Comment. Just like text-mining software, article-reading and semantic-crunching software help OA by providing one more incentive for authors and publishers to make their work freely available on the open web for analysis and processing. I call this the software strategy for OA: build spectacular tools optimized for OA literature and add to the compelling incentives that already exist.
Philipp Kaldis and Michele Pagano, Cell Division, a new open access online forum for and from the cell cycle community, Cell Division, April 3, 2006. An editorial in a new journal from BioMed Central.
Abstract: Cell Division is a new, open access, peer-reviewed online journal that publishes cutting-edge articles, commentaries and reviews on all exciting aspects of cell cycle control in eukaryotes. A major goal of this new journal is to publish timely and significant studies on the aberrations of the cell cycle network that occur in cancer and other diseases.
Dan J. Stein and four co-authors, Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine: Expanding the open-access conversation on health care, Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine, March 17, 2006. An editorial in the inaugural issue of a new OA journal from BioMed Central.
Abstract: Natural philosophy once spanned the fields of philosophy, science, and medicine. Scientific disciplines and medical specialties have rapidly achieved independence, and the availability of the internet and open-access publishing promises a further expansion of knowledge. Nevertheless, a consideration of the grounding concepts and ethical principles that underlie health care remains paramount. It is timely, therefore, to contribute to the global conversation on health care with an open-access journal that focuses on addressing the conceptual basis of medicine and related disciplines, considering the ethical aspects of clinical practice, and exploring its intersection with the humanities (including history of medicine).
Pain Treatment Topix is a new OA web site on pain. From today's accouncement:
It provides evidence-based clinical news, information, research, and education on the causes and effective treatment of all pain conditions.
Mark Chillingworth, AAP science publishers club to fight US Fed Research Act, Information World Review, June 8, 2006. Excerpt:
STM publishers are coming together within the Association of American Publishers (AAP) to fight the proposed Federal Research Public Access Act 2006. The US Act aims to ensure that all research papers funded by the US government are made publicly available within six months.
PS: I responded to the AAP arguments back on May 10.
Microsoft to Collaborate With University of California and University of Toronto Libraries for Windows Live Book Search, a press release from Microsoft, June 9, 2006. Excerpt:
Susan Mayor, Search engines increase online journal use more than open access, BMJ, June 10, 2006 (accessible only to subscribers). Excerpt:
The ability of internet search engines to find journal articles has considerably increased the readership of academic journals, a detailed analysis of the internet use of one particular research journal has found. Introducing open access publishing achieved a smaller additional increase in journal use, the analysis showed.
Comment. Without a subscription, I can't read the whole article. But it appears that the authors conclude that search introduces a bigger jump in discoverability than OA. What's key is that OA was introduced second. So the real conclusion appears to be that OA boosts discoverability even for a journal that's already searchable.
First comprehensive literature-derived database of yeast interactions, a press release from BioMed Central, June 8, 2006. Excerpt:
Researchers have built the first comprehensive manually-generated, literature-based, database of genetic and protein interactions. The database, which doubles the amount of information available on interaction networks in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, will be a useful resource for both the yeast and the systems biology community. In a study published today in the open access journal Journal of Biology, researchers manually curated the entire literature for genetic and physical protein interactions in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, an important model system for human cells. The database enabled better predictions of gene functions and protein interactions than all previous data collections combined....
Matt Krupnick, Academic journals' futures up in air, ContraCostaTimes, June 7, 2006. Excerpt:
The US Department of Energy has released a new report, DOE Science Accelerator: Advancing Science by Accelerating Science Access, June 2006. Excerpt:
To accelerate discovery, it is essential to accelerate the diffusion of science knowledge. This calls for a new era in the sophistication and breadth of the tools to access and use scientific knowledge. Herein, the Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI), an organization of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science, proposes the “DOE Science Accelerator.”
Comment. Under Director Walter Warnick, OSTI has built up a superb track record in federated searching and open access. OSTI is the only player on the scene willing to take on this ambitious project and it's in a good position to pull it off.
Update. For some reason, the document I excerpt above has been taken offline. But here's an older one, by Walter Warnick, on some of the same material, Enabling Scientific Discovery through a Science Information Infrastructure, March 18, 2002. (Thanks to Bob Calder.)
Update. The original document is still online but has been moved to a new location. (Thanks to Cathey Daniels.)
PLoS has issued a press release on PLoS ONE (June 7, 2006). Excerpt:
The Internet-fueled reinvention of the scientific journal took an important step forward with the announcement of PLoS ONE, a pioneering system for the publication and creative use of scientific and medical knowledge. PLoS ONE is the latest innovation from the Public Library of Science, a non-profit organization making the world's research literature a freely available public resource. PLoS ONE will return control over scholarly publishing to the research community by bringing together research from all areas of biology and medicine, offering authors an efficient and highly effective means to communicate their results and ideas, and providing the community with powerful new tools for navigating and adding value to the published research literature. "Scientists are eager to apply the awesome power of the Internet revolution to scientific communication, but have been stymied by the conservative nature of scientific publishing," said Michael B. Eisen, co-founder of PLoS and an assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley. "PLoS ONE redefines what a scientific journal should be – eliminating needless barriers between authors and their audience and transforming the published literature from a static series of articles into a dynamic, interconnected, and constantly evolving resource for scientists and the public." ...
Mark Chillingworth, Open Access publisher BioMed upbeat despite content overlap concerns, Informatin World Review, June 9, 2006. Excerpt:
Concerned voices of dissent from the editors of BioMed Central journals are merely part of the process of creating a new publishing business model, publisher Matthew Cockerill has told IWR....Three areas of worry have been highlighted [by BMC editors]: increases in the article processing charge (APC); a new code of conduct; and increasing overlap between existing and new journals from the stable....
Danny Sullivan, French Lawsuit Over Google Book Search, Search Engine Watch, June 6, 2006. Excerpt:
French publisher sues Google for piracy from AFP and French book publisher sues Google from the BBC cover how a French publishing group becomes the third to sue Google over its book scanning program. La Martiniere alleges the indexing project violates copyright. Association of American Publishers Sues Google over Library Digitization Plan and
Lawrence Lessig and Robert W. McChesney, No Tolls on The Internet, Washington Post, June 8, 2006. An op-ed defending net neutrality. (Thanks to SaveTheInternet.) Excerpt:
Congress is about to cast a historic vote on the future of the Internet. It will decide whether the Internet remains a free and open technology fostering innovation, economic growth and democratic communication, or instead becomes the property of cable and phone companies that can put toll booths at every on-ramp and exit on the information superhighway.
Update (June 9). Net neutrality suffered a serious setback in Congress today. Follow the details and help the continuing fight at SaveTheInternet.
Heather Brooke, Make it work for us, Ms Tullo, The Guardian, June 8, 2006. Another article in The Guardian's excellent series on the Free Our Data campaign. Excerpt:
It may be a modern version of squaring the circle. According to the director of the Office of Public Sector Information (Opsi), Carol Tullo, it is feasible to open up the government's stores of data, uphold copyright and charge the public for official information. Speaking recently at a conference of freedom of information officers from government, she said: "Why should we be gatekeepers? We have enough to do in our day jobs than to worry about what the local economy may find interesting." The default position of government should be to trade in information, Tullo said, adding that transparency and openness benefits government in many ways....
Kristin R. Eschenfelder, An Assessment of Access and Use Rights for Licensed Scholarly Digital Resources, a poster for presentation at JCDL 2006. Self-archived June 7, 2006.
Abstract: This is a poster in a VERY large powerpoint slide. To view it, you should choose a 33% view option. To print it on one page, you need to choose a "scale to fit paper" option in print options. The poster contains more data than the accompanying document from the proceedings which is also available in dLIST. The poster reports the initial results of a study investigating how technological protection measures (TPM), or digital rights management systems, are used on licensed full-text digital scholarly resources from history, health sciences and engineering. The study results describe the range and variation in access and rights restrictions experienced by a typical user of assessed resources. Results also summarize librarian perceptions of the interactions between the restrictions and learning, teaching, scholarship and library management. Methodological lessons learned are also described.
The DC Principles Coalition has released its June 7 letter to to Senators Cornyn and Lieberman, opposing the FRPAA. The society publishers in the coalition oppose the OA mandate, want to lengthen the six month embargo, assert that the bill will harm them, and nevertheless assert that it duplicates much of what they already do.
Comments. Three quick comments:
The posts to follow will be unusually short. I'm still on the road and should finish catching up over the weekend.
Heather Morrison, Open Access: the Membership Fee Subsidy Model, Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics, June 7, 2006. Excerpt:
The majority of open access journals do not charge processing fees. Such journals operate on a variety of models and combinations of approaches. This blogpost looks at the simple membership-fee-subsidy model. For a very large society, a small subsidy from membership fees could create a very substantial pool of money for open access publishing. For example, if the world's largest scientific society, the American Chemical Society, were to set aside $10 from the fees of each of its 158,000 members, this would create an annual fund of $1.5 million to subsidize open access publishing. For an organization of this size, it is not out of the question to find such money by shifting internal priorities, without raising membership fees by so much as a penny.
My blogging and emailing may be a little slow and late for the next few days. I'll be on the road at a conference.
Rudy Baum, Take A Stand, Chemical & Engineering News, June 5, 2006. Excerpt:
Comment. Since the ACS is urging its members to write to Sen. Collins in opposition to FRPAA, it's more important than ever to write to her and your Senators to support it. The ATA has a template for contacting your Senators and asking them to co-sponsor the bill.
I really thought that not even the most raging and riled opponents of FRPAA would call John Cornyn a socialist.
Ted Agre, Panel faults U.S. science policy, The Scientist, June 6, 2006. Excerpt:
Here's the key passage from the NSB letter to Sen. McCain (May 10, 2006):
Overall conclusion. Upon review as per your request, the Board finds that there exists no consistent Federal policy regarding the dissemination of research results by Federal employees. An overarching set of principles for the communication of scientific information by Government scientists, policy makers, and managers should be developed and issued by the Administration to serve as the umbrella under which each agency would develop its specific policies and procedures. The Board believes a need exists for all Federal agencies that conduct research to establish policies and procedures to encourage open exchange of data and results of research conducted by agency scientists, while preventing the intentional or unintentional suppression or distortion of research findings and accommodating appropriate agency review. A clear distinction should be made between communicating professional research results and data versus the interpretation of data and results in a context that seeks to influence, through the injection of personal viewpoints, public opinion or the formulation of public policy. Delay in taking these actions may contribute to a potential loss of confidence by the American public and broader research community regarding the quality and credibility of Government sponsored scientific research results.
Here's the key passage of McCain's amendment to the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act of 2006 (S 2802):
[Section 104.a] Within 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, in consultation with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, shall develop and issue an overarching set of principles for the communication of scientific information by government scientists, policy makers, and managers to the public. The principles shall encourage the open exchange of data and results of research by Federal agency scientists....[Section 104.b] The Director shall ensure that all civilian Federal agencies that conduct scientific research develop specific policies and procedures regarding the public release of scientific information consistent with the principles established under subsection (a) within 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act. These agency-specific policies shall be uniformly applied across the agency, widely communicated, and readily accessible to all employees and the public. They shall specifically address what is and what is not permitted or recommended.
Comment. The openness at issue here is not open access. It's the freedom of government-employed scientists to report the results of their research without interference from uneducated political appointees with a contrary religious or political agenda. But open access could be part of the solution sought by the NSB and Sen. McCain. The FRPAA would make an excellent foundation for a "consistent Federal policy regarding the dissemination of research results by Federal employees."
Update. Also see Andrew Revkin's story on this in the June 8 New York Times.
Gavin Baker, Research will suffer if UF cuts journals, Alligator Online (student paper at the U of Florida), June 6, 2006. Excerpt:
If you're like most students, you'll write a research paper during your time at UF. More than likely, you'll need to access articles published in academic journals, which you'll do thanks to a subscription by the UF libraries. But what do you do when the library doesn't have a subscription?
Colin Steele, Research with purpose, The Australian, June 7, 2006. Excerpt:
John Blossom, Impact Factors: Scientific Publishers Face Uncomfortable Truths About Citation Policies, Shore Communications ContentBlogger, June 6, 2006. Excerpt:
The Wall Street Journal (subscription) reports on the troubling revelation that impact factors, the calculations used to calculate the value of a scientific journal based on the frequency of citations to its content, may have been manipulated by some publishers by their pressuring of article authors to increase their citations of a particular publication....[The problems] presented are part of a broader picture of established publishers trying to shore up their value in an era in which competitive outlets challenge their supremacy....
PS: See my comments on the same WSJ story earlier today.
Microsoft has announced the 12 winners of its funding competition, Accelerating Search in Academic Research. (Thanks to ResourceShelf.) From the June 2 announcement:
Researchers from 36 countries submitted proposals for research to advance the field of search. The 12 winners will receive grant money from Microsoft Live Labs and access to a set of MSN Search query logs in order to push forward our understanding of the Internet, search, and online social behaviors.
PS: Congratulations to the 12 winners and kudos to Microsoft for its commitment to provide to open access to the research results.
Richard Poynder has posted his interview with Harold Varmus, Nobel laureate, former director of the NIH, and co-founder of PLoS. This is the latest installment of The Basement Interviews, Poynder's blog-based OA book of interviews with leaders of many related openness initiatives. Read the whole interview for more on the origin of E-Biomed, PubMed Central, and PLoS, and Varmus' views on the Bethesda statement, the prospect of TA journal conversions to OA, the moral arguments for OA, and the pace of progress. Excerpt:
Comment. With respect, Varmus is wrong to say that self-archiving is not OA. OA is a kind of access, not a kind of venue, and "OA repositories" deliver this kind of access as well as "OA journals", and distributed repositories deliver it as well as central repositories. Repositories certainly count as "searchable databases". If he wants to say that PMC searching is better than OAI searching, or that gold OA is more urgent than green OA, that's quite different. We should be discussing those propositions, but they have no bearing on the definition of OA.
Herbert Van de Sompel, Certification in a digital era, Nature, June 2006. A contribution to the Nature debate on peer review. An updated look at what are sometimes called overlay journals, which apply peer review to articles already on deposit in OA repositories. Excerpt:
A core inspiration [of his Digital Library Research and Prototyping Team at LANL] is that the digital environment allows for (indeed, requires) systemic changes in scholarly communication procedures. This potential for fundamental change is related to two properties of the digital environment that were unavailable in the paper world. First, the core functions of our scholarly communication system can be separated (at least theoretically) in the digital environment1. Second, we will be able to record in a machine-readable form, then aggregate, and later data-mine the collection of events of this system.
Nature has launched a debate on peer review just like its two earlier debates on open access (October 2001 and March 2004). At the same time, it is conducting an experiment in open review.
Comment. First I'll make my usual point that achieving OA and reforming peer review are independent projects. OA is compatible with every kind of peer review, from the most conservative to the most innovative. Tying OA to just one model of peer review doubles the difficulty of persuading institutions to adopt or endorse OA. There's no need to agree on the best model of peer review --ever, let alone before we take a step achieve OA. If we had to do so, we wouldn't be able to take a single step.
But having made that point, let me add that there are a lot of exciting synergies to explore between OA and different models of peer review, and the Nature debate is one good forum in which to explore them. For one example, see Herbert Van de Sompel's contribution to the debate, Technical solutions: Certification in a digital era. (I'm blogging an excerpt immediately after this post.)
Sharon Begley, Science Journals Artfully Try To Boost Their Rankings, Wall Street Journal, June 5, 2006. (Thanks to ARCLog.) Excerpt:
Comment. What's the OA connection? A journal isn't even eligible for an impact factor until it's two years old, and even then Thomson Scientific is very selective about the journals it selects for tracking. Because most OA journals are new, most don't have impact factors --though the ones that do have them are very competitive as Thomson itself has shown in two studies (one, two). The culture of chasing the impact factor therefore deters authors from publishing in most OA journals. Note that it also deters authors from publishing in any new journals, whether they are new because they're trying a new business model or new because they're exploring a new methodology or topic. For the same reason, it deters the launch of new journals. The impact factor does much more to entrench existing journals than to support much-needed change.
If the impact factor were an accurate measure of quality, then we might have to live with this problem. But in fact, it's a measure of impact (or more precisely, a mixture of real and illusory impact) that is systematically misused as a measure of quality. If this isn't already clear, I can add two problems to the good list Begley provided in her article. (1) When an article is cited to criticize it for error or fraud, the citation still boosts the journal's impact factor. (2) Impact factors measure the average citation impact of a whole journal but are often used to judge the impact (or worse, the quality) of an individual article or author when we have no idea whether they brought the average up rather than down.
One of the most effective steps we could take to help the cause of OA (and the cause of good science) is to get promotion and tenure committees to look for signs of true quality rather than settle for this crude surrogate.
The Information Access Alliance has publicly released its May 23 Comments to the European Commission on "Study on the Economic and Technical Evolution of the Scientific Publication Markets in Europe. Excerpt:
Since the IAA exists to advocate for change in antitrust enforcement, our comments are focused on those analyses and recommendations relating most directly to antitrust issues....We particularly want to express our agreement with the study’s findings regarding “the broad facts about the market for journal publications” (Section Two). The IAA was organized in recognition of these facts to work within the United States to seek adoption of a new standard of antitrust review by state and federal antitrust enforcement agencies. One of the IAA members, SPARC, was created in 1997 specifically to be a constructive response to market dysfunctions in the scholarly communication system. The members of the IAA share the concern expressed in the Study’s analysis that the market for scholarly journals, particularly as regards STM publishing, is increasingly dysfunctional....Therefore, we enthusiastically support Recommendation B2 to reconsider historic approaches to merger review and increase scrutiny of future mergers. We too believe that evidence suggests that past mergers have substantially increased journal prices and that further mergers of large publishers will have similar effects.
The Public Library of Science (PLoS) has released a prototype of PLoS ONE, its big new project to launch later this year. PLoS ONE will offer multidisciplinary scope, rapid turn-around, open review, and powerful personalization and discussion tools. Here are some details from the site:
Science Commons has launched a major new project called Scholar's Copyright. It consists of three short amendments or Author Addenda that researchers may attach to their copyright transfer agreements with publishers. The addenda let authors retain the rights they need for OA. Like Creative Commons licenses, each of these will come in lawyer-readable, layperson-readable, and machine-readable forms. So far, only the lawyer-readable forms are available.
Here's a rundown on the three, from the new site:
For a good discussion of why they're needed, how they differ from previous author addenda, and why we need three rather than just one, the background briefing paper is very helpful. Excerpt:
For more, see the Scholar's Copyright FAQ.
The Consumer Project on Technology (CPTech) has joined the Alliance for Taxpayer Access.
PS: This is a good time for other US-based non-profits to join the ATA, which works for open access to publicly-funded research in the US. The ATA is one of the most effective voices in Congress for the CURES Act and FRPAA, and its effectiveness grows when it can speak for a wider range of membership organizations. Joining the ATA costs nothing.
Cure Autism Now (CAN) is "is an organization of parents, clinicians and scientists who believe in urgency, excellence in science, research, treatment, collaboration and open access to information." Tomorrow it's launching a fund-raiser with ONCOR Entertainment. See the details in today's press release.
Alma Swan and Chris Awre, Linking UK Repositories: Technical and organisational models to support user-oriented services across institutional and other digital repositories, a JISC Scoping Study Report (111 pp.), June 5, 2006. Excerpt:
The JISC commissioned the project partners to undertake a scoping study whose aim is to identify sustainable technical and organisational models to support user-oriented services across digital repositories. Open access repositories of interest to UK further and higher education communities were cited as having particular relevance. The study is intended to inform strategies to support access and use of repositories, with a view to the establishment of a national repository services infrastructure or framework....
Quality Matters: Open-Source Medical Journal Helps Physicians Translate Clinical Research into Practice, CMA Alert, April 13, 2006. CMA Alert is a publication of the California Medical Association. (Thanks to George Porter.) Excerpt:
Michael Schiltz, Gert Verschraegen, and Stefano Magnolo, Open Access to Knowledge in World Society? Soziale Systeme, 11 (2005) H2. I'm linking to a self-archived version. Despite the official date on the journal, the issue will appear later this month.
Abstract: This paper examines the societal significance of the Open Access movement and especially addresses its role in the public domain and in what’s commonly called ‘global civil society’. Taking advantage of the opportunity to study the emergence of a potentially transformative communicative technology in situ, we explore the social and evolutionary potential of Open Access, demonstrating how the global spread of technologies and associated semantics of ‘openness’ are giving new content to the concepts of the public sphere, civil society and social inclusion. In a first step, the paper argues that classical concept of civil society is less and less convincing and not adapted to the features of modern world society. In a second step the paper proposes different ways to rethink the notions of ‘civil society’ and the ‘public’ to fit the reality of a world society where knowledge is increasingly a resource for creating associations and networks. We argue that the Open Access and Creative Commons movement have contributed to the proliferation of non-localised, global ‘epistemic communities’ and have created new definitions of information and ownership. The paper also tackles misunderstandings of Open Access as a radical denial of copyright or revenue (and even profit), but demonstrates how Open Access is very well compatible with current economic realities and the emerging structure of world society.
Update (8/24/06). The published edition of this article is now OA at the journal site.
Comments on the EC report and its OA recommendations were originally due on June 1. But the deadline has been extended until June 15.
The original report is long. For a short summary of the OA highlights, see my SOAN story from May 2 or my blog posting from April 3. Note especially recommendation A1, which would mandate OA for publicly-funded research.
Please send a supportive comment to firstname.lastname@example.org before June 15. You can be sure that OA opponents are sending in their comments.
Even a short comment in support of recommendation A1 would be better than no comment at all. It doesn't matter whether you live in a European country.
Mark Chillingworth, Quosa’s sharing habit will be hard to resist, Information World Review, June 2, 2006. Excerpt:
Comment. Interesting product. There are three aspects of OA interest here.
Jean-Claude Bradley has been blogging raw experimental data since February 2006. Yesterday he blogged a few more notes on the project:
I think that the part [of OA] that we have yet to embrace is the posting of work fresh out of the test tube. As long as scientific research is published in an article format and its value is determined by a popularity contest of citations and peer-reviewed blessing, there will be little motivation to post work fresh out of the test tube. Especially when issues like competition and tenure are at stake.
The University of Liege will soon launch an OA repository for the scientific publications of its faculty and the doctoral theses of its graduate students. Read the announcement (June 3, 2006) from the "OA rector" Bernard Rentier in French or read Google's English.
Comment. This is very good news. Can Pr. Rentier tell us anything about the underlying policies? For example, will the university require or merely encourage OA to journal postprints and doctoral theses?
ChemBank is a new OA database from the Broad Institute's Chemical Biology Program (at Harvard University) and funded by the U.S. National Cancer Institute's Initiative for Chemical Genetics (ICG). (Thanks to ResourceShelf.) From the site:
Glyn Moody, Open Access: If Not Now, When? Open..., June 3, 2006. Excerpt:
Against a background of growing fears of an imminent pandemic triggered by avian 'flu, the announcement that a new journal, Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses, is being launched by Blackwell Publishing to serve precisely this area, is welcome news. As the press release notes, quoting the editor the new title:"There is considerable concern among experts working in the fields of influenza and respiratory medicine that there is an urgent need for international collaboration on research and development" says Alan Hampson....