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C.R. Blesius and four co-authors, An open source model for open access journal publication, AMIA Annual Symposium Proceedings, 2005. Only this abstract is free online, at least so far:
Abstract: We describe an electronic journal publication infrastructure that allows a flexible publication workflow, academic exchange around different forms of user submissions, and the exchange of articles between publishers and archives using a common XML based standard. This web-based application is implemented on a freely available open source software stack. This publication demonstrates the Dermatology Online Journal's use of the platform for non-biased independent open access publication.
Comment. The volume of proceedings is toll-access only and I don't have access. Does anyone know which web-based, open-source journal management package this article is talking about? If anyone can send me a URL for the software, I'll post it here.
Unfortunately, the Dermatology Journal Online web site doesn't say anything about the journal-management software it uses. It does, however, provide OA to its articles through eScholarship, the U of California institutional repository.
Larry Sanger, Textop as a potential archive of well-edited free texts, Larry Sanger's blog, June 17, 2006. Sanger is the Director of the Text Outline project. (Disclosure: I'm on the Textop advisory board.) Excerpt:
If you remember (one, two, three), geospatial researchers have been working for years to modify the draft INSPIRE Directive on European Spatial Data Infrastructure because it would require cost-recovery rather than open access for public geospatial data. It appears that researchers have won the day. From a posting to the Geo-Discuss list by Rufus Pollock (June 15):
A quick look through [the latest draft] seems to indicate the text was amended as the ENVI committee had recommended and that most of the really bad stuff from the Council version was taken out (see examples below) so three cheers for the Parliament (and the Commission!)....
PS: Congratulations to Public Geo Data for this significant victory.
Eric K. Neumann, Freeing Data, Keeping Structure, BioIT, June 14, 2006. Excerpt:
If you haven't yet sent in a comment on the EC report and its OA recommendations, it's not too late. The deadline has passed, but the sponsors will still accept comments.
In the 108 page report, Study on the Economic and Technical Evolution of the Scientific Publication Markets in Europe, the recommendations are on pp. 11-13. For a summary, 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.
Send your comment to firstname.lastname@example.org. Even a short comment in support of recommendation A1 would be better than no comment at all. The door may not be open much longer.
The presentations from the EC meeting, European Infrastructure for Repositories of Scientific Information (Brussels, June 8-9, 2006), are now online.
Update. Also see John Martin's report, Conclusions of the Workshop. (Thanks to Richard Hardwick.) Key excerpt: "Recommendations for FP7:...Open access publication mandated for publicly funded research."
A. Persson, S. Hober, and M. Uhlen, A human protein atlas based on antibody proteomics, Current Opinion in Molecular Therapeutics, June 2006 (accessible only to subscribers).
Abstract: The Human Protein Atlas is a comprehensive database that provides the protein expression profiles for a large number of human proteins, presented as immunohistological images from most human tissues. This review provides an overview of the contents of the atlas, discusses the project strategy and highlights the importance of open access for data validation and quality. Essential procedures that are implemented during antibody production and image generation, such as the use of protein epitope signature tags (PrEST) antigens, monospecific antibodies, tissue microarrays and thorough quality validation, are also discussed. The Human Protein Atlas is related to four other expression atlas initiatives, including, in particular, an upcoming protein atlas developed by the Sanger Institute.
Carol Hopkins Sibley and Pascal Ringwald, A database of antimalarial drug resistance, Malaria Journal, June 15, 2006.
Abstract (provisional): A large investment is required to develop, license and deploy a new antimalarial drug. Too often, that investment has been rapidly devalued by the selection of parasite populations resistant to the drug action. To understand the mechanisms of selection, we need detailed information on the patterns of drug use in a variety of environments, and the geographic and temporal patterns of resistance that result. Currently, there is no publically accessible central database that contains information on the levels of resistance to antimalaria drugs. This paper outlines the resources that are available, and the steps that might be taken to create a dynamic, open access database that would include current and historical data on clinical efficacy, in vitro responses and molecular markers related to drug resistance in P. falciparum and P. vivax. The goal is to include historical and current data on resistance to commonly used drugs like chloroquine and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, and on the many combinations that are now being tested in different settings. The database will be accessible to all on the Web. The information in such a database will inform optimal utilization of current drugs and sustain the longest possible therapeutic life of newly introduced drugs and combinations. The database will protect the valuable investment represented by the development and deployment of novel therapies for malaria.
Kim Thomas, Wellcome Trust digitisation hits million page mark, Information World Review, June 16, 2006. Excerpt:
The Wellcome Trust has completed the first million pages of its project to digitise nearly 200 years’ worth of medical journals. The project, which started in 2004, is creating a digital archive that will offer free access to medical journals via PubMed Central, the online medical service from the US National Institutes of Health. The earliest archived journal dates from 1809, but the archive will also encompass current and future journals.
Jocelyn Kaiser, NIH gets off to a slow start, Science Magazine, June 16, 2006 (accessible only to subscribers). Most of the article is about the NIH's flat budget for the next year and the title reflects that emphasis. But this excerpt focuses on the call for an OA mandate:
A House spending panel last week endorsed a flat budget for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) --but told the agency...to make mandatory a voluntary program in which grantees submit their accepted manuscripts to a free online archive....
Terry Anderson, Open Access in Action! International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, June 2006. An editorial. Excerpt:
Mark Chillingworth, Wiley's financial strength shows industry health, Information World Review blog, June 16, 2006. Excerpt:
At times the online information and publishing industry sounds beset with woe as it faces an ever increasing number of challenges. But the latest financial results from scientific heavyweight John Wiley & Sons refute this. Wiley has broken the $1bn ceiling for revenue in the last financial year; this is an increase of eight per cent over the previous year. Wiley reports that all of its businesses added to this figure. $1bn attracts headlines, and will no doubt add fuel to the open access fire. William Pesce, president and CEO of Wiley puts the figure down to highly regarded brands, "must have content", and the ability to adept to customer's needs. The fact that users around the world have purchased this "must have content" shows there is still a strong demand for high quality information that has been through the respected channels of peer-review and publishing. When all around predict demise for the industry in the face of Wikipedia and other free resources, the bare facts of this financial statement show that a very sizeable number of important people in science, technology and business are prepared to pay for content.
Comment. The idea that these results challenge OA shows several misunderstandings of OA.
Jan Velterop, On donation and midwives, The Parachute, June 16, 2006. Excerpt:
Comments. Four quick thoughts.
Kim Hart, Google to Launch Government Search Site, Washington Post, June 15, 2006. Excerpt:
Comment. Check it out. It covers PubMed Central but is not as up to date as PMC's own search engine. I searched for an author manuscript deposited in February as part of the NIH policy, and Government-Google found it. (BTW, vanilla Google found it too.) But when I searched for the most recently deposited article, Government-Google came up dry. (Vanilla Google found the journal copy but not the PMC copy.) Note the time stamp on this blog posting; if you repeat these searches at a later time, your results likely to be better than mine.
Here's a boolean search for "open access" OR "public access".
Nature has an article and editorial on a new Korean policy to pay Korean researchers every time they publish an article in an elite journal. If (like me) you don't have access, here's a summary from SciDev.net:
Starting later this month, South Korean researchers will receive three million won (US$3,000) if they are leading authors of papers published in key journals. The relevant journals will be chosen by a ten-member committee of government officials and researchers, and will probably include Nature, Science and Cell. Researchers will be rewarded if they are first or corresponding authors of a paper.
Comment. Two quick responses.
Meera Nair, Fair Dealing – Passage to the Common Within, Forum on Privatization and the Public Domain, June 15, 2006.
Abstract: On 20 June 2005 the Federal Government of Canada unveiled Bill C-60, An Act to Amend the Copyright Act, ostensibly necessary to modernize copyright for the digital age. The discourse that preceded the tabling of this bill showed a clear bias to extend the depth and breadth of copyright, at the expense of the public’s right to access creative endeavour. In this paper I examine the issue of educational licensing of the Internet. A contentious matter, it was removed from Bill C-60 but appears poised* to return. As Canada sits at the policy crossroads, it would be prudent to draw attention to the environment of the proposal at its inception, rather than be critical after implementation.
Thomas Koop and Ulrich Pöschl, Systems: An open, two-stage peer-review journal, Nature, June 15, 2006. Another contribution to the Nature debate on peer review. The editors of an OA journal, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, explain its mixed open and closed method of peer review, which it pioneered in 2001 and which is gaining new prominence e.g. from PLoS ONE.
Australia's Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST) has issued a new report, Knowledge Transfer and Australian Universities And Publicly Funded Research Agencies (dated March 2006 but apparently not released until June). Excerpt:
Yesterday Marko Seppänen launched ebounce.info, a website containing free online tools he has been developing "for purposes related to gathering, sorting, presenting and digesting of information, mostly related to health and science."
In the Appropriations Bill for fiscal 2007, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee is directing the NIH to convert its OA request to an OA requirement. Finally. The bill isn't online yet but here's how the Alliance for Taxpayer Access described the news in its press release tonight:
The Alliance for Taxpayer Access (ATA) strongly supports the U.S. House Appropriations Committee’s provision directing the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to require its research grantees to submit an electronic version of their final, peer-reviewed manuscript to the National Library of Medicine’s PubMed Central online archive upon acceptance for publication in a journal.
Comment. This is big. The House is telling the NIH to adopt an OA mandate, even if it isn't telling it to shorten the permissible delay. The Senate hasn't weighed in yet, but there's only one more hurdle to clear. Effort will now focus on getting the Senate Appropriations Committee to support the OA mandate and shorten the permissible delay. If the House is willing to demand an OA mandate at the NIH, then it may also be willing to adopt the CURES Act and FRPAA, two bills introduced in the Senate that would mandate OA to publicly-funded research within and beyond the NIH. More later.
Starting next month, PLoS will raise its article processing fees for the first time. From the announcement:
Also see these new questions from the PLoS FAQ:
Partnership: the Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research is a new peer-reviewed OA journal published by "the partnership" --a network of provincial and territorial library associations across Canada. The journal web site doesn't mention OA, but yesterday's call for papers does:
This Journal is fully open access, completely available to anyone, anywhere, as soon as it is published, and in perpetuity. Creative Commons License: read Creative Commons Canada.
Update. I just heard from Jennifer Richard at Acadia University who tells me that the journal will use Open Journal Systems software and be hosted at Guelph University. "Our plans are to be a truly open access journal with no embargos, subscriptions or costs to publish." (Thanks, Jennifer.)
Congratulations to the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand, whose New Zealand Open Source Virtual Learning Environment (NZOSVLE) has been nominated for a Computerworld Excellence award in the category of Tertiary and Commercial Education. NZOSVLE is an OA repository and e-learning environment based on Eprints. For more details, see Ulrika Hedquist's story in today's issue of Computerworld.
Michael Cross, Time to adopt the American model, The Guardian, June 15, 2006. Excerpt:
Comment. Cross is referring to OMB Circular A-130, adopted in 1996. If A-130 were proposed today, would it be trashed as socialist? And why has it been so hard to extend its principles from publicly-funded data to publicly-funded research?
Miguel Guhlin, Open Access Publications and Peer-Reviewed Journals/Publications, a podcast conversation, deposited in the Internet Archive June 14, 2006. From the description:
"Open source teaching provides new strategies and opportunities for individuals to engage in the shared investigation of common challenges," shares a Wikipedia entry. For me, this is at the heart of "open source publication," or open access publications. I see blogs and podcasts--and using those to make the writing process more transparent, with writers no longer clutching their manuscripts to their chest for fear others might steal their ideas--as the quickest way to share information with the people who need it the most.
The Journal of the Canadian Health Libraries Association has converted to open access, starting with the Spring 2006 issue. (Thanks to Paola Durando.) From the announcement by editor Sandra Halliday:
Great news! Beginning with this issue, the Journal of the Canadian Health Libraries Association (JCHLA) is being published as an open access journal. Furthermore, the back files of JCHLA online from Vol. 25(1), 2004 to Vol. 27(1), 2006 will be accessible without a password. As librarians we strive to remove the barriers and provide access to information. Using the open access publishing model, JCHLA will be available to a larger audience, and authors can expect their published work to have a greater impact.
PS: Kudos to the JCHLA for this welcome step. I'm probably not the only one wondering what business model it will use to support the new OA policy. The announcement says nothing about article processing fees, for example, and the page of instructions to authors hasn't been updated for more than a year.
While I've often argued that achieving OA and reforming peer review are independent projects, and that OA is compatible with every kind of review (from the most conservative to the most innovative), I've also added that OA and open review have certain synergies that are worth exploring. In the Nature debate on peer review, Chris Anderson articulates one of these potential synergies:
Closed peer review works best in scarce environments, where many papers fight for a few coveted journal slots. Open peer review works best in an abundant environment of online journals with unlimited space or the post-publication marketplace of opinion across all work.
Anderson makes this point about "online journals", but seems to mean OA journals. His point doesn't apply to subscription-based online journals, which depend on artificial scarcity to keep their revenue coming in.
PubMed Central has launched PMC International. From the site:
PMC International (PMCI) is a collaborative effort between NLM [the National Library of Medicine], the publishers whose journal content makes up the PMC archive, and organizations in other countries that share NLM's interest in archiving life sciences literature. The long term goal of PMCI is to create a network of digital archives that can share some or all of their respective locally deposited content with others in the network. There are several reasons for doing this:
BioMed Central as announced the BioMed Central Research Awards 2006.
Richard Poynder, Open Access: Stage Two, Open and Shut, June 15, 2006. An interview with Chris Surridge, who moved from Nature to take the job of managing editor at PLoS ONE. Excerpt:
Scott Jaschik, In Whose Interest? Inside Higher Ed, June 15, 2006. Excerpt:
BioMed Central integrates with CiteULike, BMC Update, June 13, 2006.
Hemai Parthasarathy, Instituting Change, PLoS Biology, June 2006. An editorial.
I've learned --and Jan Velterop has confirmed-- that Springer has sent a letter to Sen. Susan Collins, chair of the Senate committee considering FRPAA, raising an unusual objection to the six-month embargo allowed by the bill. The letter argues that six months is too short to satisfy publishers and too long to satisfy researchers. In its place, Springer proposes a policy that would require full-text open access immediately upon publication --provided that the policy makes clear that publishing in peer-reviewed journals is an inseparable part of research and therefore that the funds for doing so (article processing fees) will be available to researchers as a special overhead on their publicly-funded research grants. The letter proposes that the new policy might be phased in after a short grace period to give publishers a chance to modify their business models.
Comments on the EC report and its OA recommendations were originally due on June 1. But the deadline was extended until tomorrow, June 15.
In the 108 page report, Study on the Economic and Technical Evolution of the Scientific Publication Markets in Europe, the recommendations are on pp. 11-13. For a summary, 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 email@example.com, today if you can, tomorrow at the latest. 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, whether or not you live in a European country.
The June issue of First Monday is now online. This issue contains selected papers from FM's conference, Openness: Code, science and content (Chicago, May 15-17, 2006). All pertain to openness, of course, and half a dozen are explicitly about open access. The ones not selected for this issue of the journal are available from the conference web site.
At the Oxford Open Access Workshop (London, June 5, 2006), Oxford University Press shared the results of its many experiments in open access. From today's announcement:
Here's how OUP describes the "three key experiments" whose results were reported at the workshop:
Oxford currently has three separate open access models: one full open access journal, Nucleic Acids Research (NAR), optional open access for 49 journals in the Oxford Open initiative, and sponsored open access for Journal of Experimental Botany (JXB), and Evidence based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (eCAM).
Members of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) are protesting its decision to oppose open access and FRPAA. Here are a few recent posts, alphabetical by blogger.
For the AAA's opposition to FRPAA, see my blog post from yesterday.
Comment. If you belong to a scholarly society, check to see whether it has signed the AAP's public letter (44 societies) or the DC Principles Coalition public letter (36 societies) opposing FRPAA. If so, let your society know internally and online that it is not speaking for its members and that it's putting its interests as a publisher ahead of its interests as a scholarly society. At the same time, send copies of your message to Senators Cornyn, Lieberman, and Collins, the recipients of the letters from the publishers. (Cornyn and Lieberman introduced FRPAA in the Senate, and Collins chairs the committee considering it.) Snail-mail addresses for the Senators are in the public letters themselves, and their email addresses and fax numbers are available here. Organize other members of your society to deliver the same message --to the society itself, to the Senators, and publicly online-- and to elect leadership that will speak for interests of researchers.
Tracey Caldwell, Report vindicates JISC’s Open Access funding, Information World Review, June 13, 2006. Excerpt:
Funding for publishers willing to trial open access (OA) publishing has allayed concerns about the OA business model, according to JISC. Its three-year project to fund and endorse publishers introducing the OA model has acted as a catalyst to publishers’development of open access, according to a report by Key Perspectives.
Jennifer A. De Beer, Open Access in South Africa: progress report, a presentation at Berlin 4 Open Access (Potsdam-Golm, Germany, March 29-31, 2006). Self-archived June 12, 2006.
Abstract: As scientific actor on the African continent, South Africa has a role to play in promoting and facilitating the roll-out of Open Access (OA) scholarly communication practices, in southern Africa, in sub-Saharan Africa, and across the continent. A 2004 study revealed the progress made in the Open Access arena in South Africa, and the present talk, taking the 2004 study as its base, provides an update on and overview of the more recent South African OA initiatives.
Jennifer A. De Beer, 'Mandate' is Not a Four-letter Word: Taking Open Access Scholarly Communication Forward, a presentation at Strategies for Permanent Access to Scientific Information in Southern Africa, (Pretoria, July 29-30, 2004). Self-archived June 12, 2006.
Abstract: With increased awareness of, and in many cases, investment in, forms of Open Access scholarly communication, those within the scholarly arena cast about for the best way forward. Of the routes currently suggested, an Open Access mandate is mentioned as one way forward. Yet scholars frequently seem to bristle at the term 'mandate', seemingly opposed to such institutional or governmental intervention in their scholarly affairs. This paper argues, however, that mandating Open Access should not be the bugbear it is perceived to be, and that it is in fact a viable way forward in fomenting greater access to research output.
Stevan Harnad, "CURES" trump publisher revenue risks: Public READS do not, Open Access Archivangelism, June 13, 2006. Excerpt:
The publisher lobby can defeat the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA) (to mandate self-archiving of all federally funded research so as to make it freely accessible online) if FRPAA is promoted...mainly as a means of providing public (student, practitioner, patient, general public) access to publicly funded research. Publishers...will argue...that the public does not really want or need access to most of this specialized peer-reviewed journal literature, across all fields...written by and for specialized researchers, and that it is hence not justified to put publishers' subscription revenues at potential risk by mandating that it must be made freely accessible online. Instead, publishers will propose special arrangements in which they themselves would make the tiny fraction of what they publish that is of potential public interest freely accessible online. The right response to this by FRPAA proponents is to make it very explicit that the primary purpose of the bill is not public READS, but "CURES" -- i.e., the public benefits that come from applying and building upon research findings in further research and practical applications, for the sake of which the research was publicly funded in the first place. And CURES come from researcher access and usage -- researchers applying and building upon current research in further research and applications -- not from public access and usage. Because no researcher can currently afford access to anywhere near all the research they might need to read and use, researcher self-archiving substantially accelerates and increases research usage and impact, which is the measure of speed and progress toward CURES. And substantially accelerating and increasing progress toward CURES -- unlike providing public READS -- does outweigh any hypothetical risk to publisher revenues (although there is as yet absolutely no evidence that self-archiving reduces subscription revenues.) Moreover, with free online access (Open Access) to self-archived research, the public (students, practitioners, patients, tax-payers) get full access too, as a secondary benefit, but not because that is the primary benefit from or justification for mandating Open Access self-archiving....
Also see his long, related post from earlier today, Student/Practitioner/Patient/Public... Access Comes With the OA Territory.
Comment. Note that Stevan is here using "CURES" as shorthand for all the benefits of OA research, in medicine as well as in other fields. Don't confuse it with the CURES Act, a bill before Congress that would mandate OA to publicly-funded medical research.
Don Hawkins, Institutional Repositories: Make or Buy? ITI Blogs SLA, June 12, 2006. On a session at SLA 2006 (Baltimore, June 11-14, 2006). Excerpt:
Institutional repositories --collections of documents produced by members of an academic institution-- are one of the newest genres of information, and a number of platforms for creating and managing repositories are now available. Two alternate possibilities are buying a software package and hosting the repository in-house (the “make” path) or using a Web-based platform, with the data hosted remotely (the “buy” path). This panel described their experiences using the two paths....
Comment. While there are several priced IR packages and services for universities that want to outsource the job, the leading IR packages are open-source: Eprints, DSpace, Fedora, and almost a dozen more. This is just to say that the "make" path does not require "buying a software package...."
The Impact Factor Game: It is time to find a better way to assess the scientific literature, PLoS Medicine, June 6, 2006. An editorial. Excerpt:
We would be lying if we said that our journal's impending first impact factor is not of interest to us....However, for a number that is so widely used and abused, it is surprising how few people understand how a journal's impact factor is calculated, and, more importantly, just how limited it is a means of assessing the true impact of an individual publication in that journal....Because a journal's impact factor is derived from citations to all articles in a journal, this number cannot tell us anything about the quality of any specific research article in that journal, nor of the quality of the work of any specific author....Moreover, a journal's impact factor says nothing at all about how well read and discussed the journal is outside the core scientific community or whether it influences health policy. For a journal such as PLoS Medicine, which strives to make our open-access content reach the widest possible audience --such as patients, health policy makers, non-governmental organizations, and school teachers-- impact factor is a poor measure of overall impact....
P. Chen and three co-authors, Finding Scientific Gems with Google, a preprint. Self-archived April 18, 2006. (Thanks to the PLoS blog.)
Abstract: We apply the Google PageRank algorithm to assess the relative importance of all publications in the Physical Review family of journals from 1893--2003. While the Google number and the number of citations for each publication are positively correlated, outliers from this linear relation identify some exceptional papers or "gems" that are universally familiar to physicists.
From the body of the paper:
We believe that protocols based on the Google PageRank algorithm hold a great promise for quantify- ing the impact of scientific publications. They provide a meaningful extension to traditionally-used importance measures, such as the number of citation of individual ar- ticles and the impact factor for journals as a whole. The PageRank algorithm implements, in an extremely simple way, the reasonable notion that citations from more im- portant publications should contribute more to the rank of the cited paper than those from less important ones. Other ways of attributing a quality for a citation would require much more detailed contextual information about the citation itself....One meaningful difference between the WWW and citation networks is that citation links cannot be updated after publication, while WWW hyperlinks keep evolving together with the webpage containing them. Thus scientific papers and their citations tend to age much more rapidly than active webpages. These differences could be tak[en] into account by explicitly incorporating the effects of aging into the Page Rank algorithm.
Academic Commons is looking for essays, news, or ideas on OA (among other topics) to publish on its site. From its CFP:
Summer is nearly is upon us. Before we all head for the beach (or into the morass of some interminable system "upgrade"), this is a perfect time to reflect on the past academic year. We suspect that somewhere on your campus, someone did something interesting with technology in the service of liberal education. We want to uncover those stories of innovation, and to share reflections on how these innovations worked (...or didn't). We are also interested in more theoretical thought pieces that tackle some of the larger, important issues that surround our domain.
(Disclosure: I'm on the AC advisory board.)
The Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (at the U of Helsinki) has launched COLLeGIUM, a multidisciplinary series of OA books in the humanities and social sciences. The first volume appeared this month, The Travelling Concept of Narrative. For more details, see the web site or today's announcement.
IRN Research has released a new report, The European Online Information Market 2006. It's not free or even cheap (£600/€874/$1,130). From the announcement:
The latest annual survey of the European market for online information, published by leading information consultancy IRN Research, values the market at €3,513m in 2005, increasing by 14% at current prices compared to 2004. Switching of spending from traditional hard copy sources to online services is the main factor behind this growth, especially in legal, tax and regulatory (LTR) and scientific, technical and medical (STM) information markets.
PLoS has launched a blog to coincide with the public preview of PLoS ONE. The first post (by Liz Allen) introduces both. Excerpt:
IFLA has provided OA to its book-length report, Networking for Digital Preservation: Current Practice in 15 National Libraries.
Pippa Smart, Not such an open or shut case? The Lancet, June 3, 2006 (accessible only to subscribers). A review of John Willinsky, The Access Principle (MIT Press 2005). Excerpt:
In his erudite discussion, Willinsky avoids vilifying publishers, and instead concerns himself with the principles at stake. However, he is in the fortunate position of debating the topic from the confines of academia, without the need to manage the business and operational changes that he proposes. Few would disagree with the principle of open access, but the more tricky question is how we get from here (subscription/controlled access) to there (free access)....
Leslie Chan, Centering the Knowledge Periphery through Open Access, a presentation at the ARL meeting on International Dimensions of Digital Science and Scholarship (Ottawa, May 17-19, 2006). An excellent introduction to what OA can do to help developed and developing countries share knowledge, with special attention to Bioline.
Last week, John Udell wrote about open source education in his InfoWorld column. This week he asks "whether academia itself continues to uphold the tradition from which open source draws its inspiration." Excerpt:
Ned Potter, Speed-Reading Robots Hit the Books, ABC News, June 11, 2006. Excerpt:
Stanford's librarian, Michael Keller, says the [Google book-scanning] robot has a giant reading list. "My personal goal," he said, "is to see how much of these 8 million volumes that we have gathered here — how much of that can we make accessible and more available because they've been digitized?"...
The American Anthropological Association (AAA) signed the AAP's May 23 letter to Sen. Susan Collins opposing the FRPAA. (Blogged here May 25.) In a recent note on its web site, it explains why. Excerpt:
The letter, initiated by the Association of American Publishers (AAP), communicated three principal concerns about the proposed legislation: 1) it would undermine the value-added investments made by publishers in the peer review process; 2) it would duplicate existing mechanisms that enable the public to access scientific journals by requiring the government to establish and maintain costly digital repositories; and 3) it would position the government as a competitor to independent publishers, posing a disincentive for them to sustain investment and innovation in disseminating authoritative research. The net result, opponents argue, is that the overall quality of research competitiveness would be lowered.
PS: See my 10-point rebuttal to the AAP arguments against FRPAA.
Stevan Harnad, How to Counter All Opposition to the FRPAA Self-Archiving Mandate, Open Access Archivangelism, June 11, 2006. Excerpt:
Heather Morrison, Self-archiving for librarians: the options are multiplying! OA Librarian, June 11, 2006. Excerpt:
Not very long ago at all, librarians had few or no options for self-archiving. This is changing dramatically. In the near future, for example, a university librarian in British Columbia may have six or more open access respositories to choose from: a university IR, the COPPUL ANTS repository, BCcampus SOL*R, E-LIS, DLIST, and other LIS repositories, as well as conference options for conference papers. There are advantages to having all these options. A little friendly rivalry can only help to sharpen the repository software. Some repositories can accomodate formats, such as audiovisual, that others cannot. The challenge for all of us involved in open access repositories will be to figure out how to work together, so that we are all promoting self-archiving first, as well as our own options. We also need to keep the user in mind, and find search options that make it easy for the user to find what they are looking for, regardless of which archive houses the item.
Richard Monastersky and Lila Guterman, Critics Worry About a Proliferation of Nanoscience Journals; 'Nature' Tries a New Form of Peer Review, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 16, 2006. Excerpt:
Nature Publishing Group's entry into the nanoscience landscape is attracting particular attention from critics who worry about the proliferation of science journals. In the past 10 years, the company has started 23 journals, seven of them since the beginning of 2005.... "The benefit is a visibility of us within different markets," says [Jason N. Wilde, publisher for physical sciences at NPG]. "The goal of NPG is to be the world's premier scientific publisher." Others say it's a matter of corporate greed. "Nature has simply gone too far," wrote Robert C. Michaelson on an e-mail list for physics librarians. In an interview, Mr. Michaelson, head of the science-and-engineering library at Northwestern University, says he had subscribed to every new Nature journal as it appeared, but that he drew a line last year with Nature Physics. Nature Publishing Group is expanding "purely to increase their bottom line," he says, "and it's doing it on the backs of the scholarly community," which is facing higher publication costs that are outstripping library budgets....On the e-mail list, he called on colleagues to band together against NPG, "to do everything possible to prevent them from exploiting 'market power' to coerce subscriptions."
The DEMRI (Development Establishment Maintenance and Refinement Institute) is launching a collection of OA documents and OS tools for the worldwide African diaspora. From today's press release:
The goal is to support the growth, development, and advancement of people of African descent through the provision of knowledge, information and open access to Information and Communications Technology (ICT) resources....The DEMRI site is a user-driven, international community where Collaboration and Open Knowledge Sharing are core concepts....The organization is striving to offer thousands of online documents to its users. The DEMRI will maintain an ever-growing collection of summarized, and full-text, online documents selected from more than 2,200 different publishers. All documents will be available free of charge....
Kate Wittenberg, Beyond Google: What Next for Publishing? Chronicle of Higher Education, June 16, 2006 (accessible only to subscribers). Wittenberg is director of EPIC, the Electronic Publishing Initiative at Columbia University. Excerpt:
While we [publishers] have been busy attending conferences, workshops, and seminars on every possible aspect of scholarly communication, information technology, digital libraries, and e-publishing, students have been quietly revolutionizing the discovery and use of information....If "digital natives" are the next audience for our scholarly resources, shouldn't we be thinking about new ways to organize, store, and deliver our content?...As publishers, we are going to have to adapt quickly and creatively if we wish to remain true to our missions as information professionals and yet be relevant to users. Are we ready? Until now we have not only controlled the development of content, but also its discovery and delivery. We can call copyright foul when the books or articles or teaching tools we publish are used in ways we haven't anticipated, and continue business as usual....Or we can think creatively about what comes next for publishing. Until now we have spent most of our energies in rear-guard actions: fighting Google over copyright infringement in its plans to digitize library books, for example. It's time to think "beyond Google."
Comment. Wittenberg set up the problem nicely, and she's right to include collaboration and interactivity as parts of the solution. But she doesn't even mention open access, which is an essential part of the solution. The best way to attract researchers to serious digital scholarship is to offer deep utility and easy access.
The Student Senate at the University of Florida has adopted a Resolution in Support of the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006. Excerpt:
...THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the students of the University of Florida urge the Administration to publicly support the Federal Research Public Access Act and access to academic research; and
Comment. The resolution is due to the UF chapter of Free Culture and the hard work of UF Student Senator Gavin Baker. It's an excellent example of what motivated students can do to educate their universities about an issue that affects everyone who uses or produces research.
Michael H. Goldhaber, The Value of Openness in an Attention Economy, a presentation at First Monday's Openness: Code, science and content (Chicago, May 15-17, 2006). Excerpt:
["Content provider"] is a bad misnomer, getting things basically backwards. What these publishers are doing is more accurately seen as offering limited and potential access to attention....
D.K. Sahu and Ramesh Parmar, The position around the world: Open Access in India, in Neil Jacobs (ed.), Open Access: Key Strategic, Technical and Economic Aspects, Chandos Publishing, forthcoming 2006.
D.K. Sahu, Open access publishing in the developing world: economics and impact, a presentation at Asia Commons: Asian Conference on the Digital Commons (Bangkok, June 6-8, 2006). Self-archived June 10, 2006.
Abstract: Journals from the developing world, especially the smaller ones published by scholarly / non-profit associations or academic institutions suffer from the problem of limited accessibility and visibility. With the limited reach the journal fails to attract good authors and remains unrecognized at the international academic level. Electronic publication, especially open access offers the right medium for these journals to showcase the research from the developing world. Medknow Publications offers services for journals with the objective to improve the accessibility and visibility. Medknow offers an online manuscript submission and peer-review system which helps the journal offices to saves time and resources and improves on the turnaround time for manuscript review process. The journals published by Medknow offer immediate free access which helps to increase visibility and attract authors and citations. The cost for publishing is shared by subscriptions to the print journals, advertisements in print and online media, association membership fee and author reprints. The open publishing model adopted by Medknow for over 4 years now is unique where the author or authors’ institutions do not pay a fee for submission, processing or publication of the articles – ‘Fee-less-Free’. Nine journals which are providing free access for last 3 years have reported no loss of subscriptions to the print version and in fact, have gained from the increasing subscriptions. Many journals which were running into losses are now self-sufficient to run the shown. It could be concluded that open access helps to improve the accessibility of the journals.
Adrienne Muir, Preservation, Access and Intellectual Property Rights Challenges for Libraries in the Digital Environment, Institute for Public Policy Research, June 5, 2006. (Thanks to ResourceShelf.)
Abstract: Digitisation of collections provides great opportunities for widening access to collections and especially to unique, rare and fragile material. It also enables preservation by creating a surrogate and thus reducing handling of originals. However, the legal status of such activity is unclear. This paper points the way towards a common set of rights or principles to equip libraries with the tools they require to operate effectively and legally in digital environments.
Stevan Harnad, Critique of American Association of Publishers' Critique of FRPAA Self-Archiving Mandate, Open Access Archivangelism, June 10, 2006. Excerpt:
The latest AAP/PSP critique of the latest US Public Access Bill (FRPAA) makes the same points (already rebutted two years ago) that they made in their prior critique of the NIH Public Access Proposal.
Comment. The AAP is scatter-shooting bogus arguments. As Stevan and I have both demonstrated, it takes some time to show that none of them hits the target. If you're in doubt, work through the AAP critique again and one or both of our responses. If you're convinced (and if you're a US citizen or organization), please write to your Senators and ask them to support or even co-sponsor the FRPAA. They're being lobbied hard by the AAP, using just these bogus arguments. The Alliance for Taxpayer Access has some template letters that you can revise and adapt before sending.
Amber Maitland, DRM causing difficulties for libraries, PocketLint, June 7, 2006. (Thanks to LIS News.) Excerpt:
The British Library's Chief Executive, Lynne Brindley, is warning that DRM systems are creating unintended consequences that affect how digital material can be stored and disseminated by libraries, which have traditionally been protected by special exceptions under IP law.
Comment. Long-term preservation requires permission to make copies and migrate content to new formats and media as technology changes. This is an argument for open access, especially for the removal of permission barriers, and an argument against DRM.
The presentations from the OECD's Workshop on Access to Public Sector Information and Content (May 31, 2006), are now online. (Thanks to Free Our Data.)