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Peter Murray-Rust, The Blue Obelisk, A Scientist and the Web, September 8, 2006. Excerpt:
Stevan Harnad, 115 US university presidents and provosts endorse FRPAA self-archiving mandate proposal, Open Access Archivangelism, September 8, 2006. Excerpt:
On September 7, the participants in the Second Gulf-Maghreb Scientific Congress (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, February 25-26, 2006) issued the Declaration of Riyadh for Free Access to Scientific and Technical Information. So far the text is available in Arabic and French. Here's Google's English translation of the French edition (FWIW). (Thanks to the INIST Libre Accès blog.)
PS: This is the first Arabic declaration in support of OA and I'd love to know more about it. I don't trust my English versions of the conference name or declaration title. I've found an article that may --or may not-- be about the same event. Using the French text and the English article as clues, I still can't find a link to the conference web site (if it has a web site). If any readers can help with these, with a good English translation of the declaration, or with background on the sponsoring organizations, I'd appreciate it. Thanks. --More later, I hope.
Paul Mercieca, “Integration and collaboration” within recently established Australian scholarly publishing initiatives, OCLC Systems & Services, 22, 3 (2006) pp. 149-154. Only the abstract is free online, at least so far. Excerpt:
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to highlight how application integration and project collaboration is being used to support the development of newly established university electronic presses and institutional repositories.
Henk F. Moed, New developments in citation analysis and research evaluation, Information Services and Use 26, 2 (2006) pp. 135-137. (Thanks to Wouter Gerritsma.)
The Council of Science Editors has endorsed the principles on clinical drug trial data promulgated by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). Unfortunately, the article saying so, in the July/Augusgt issue of Science Editor, is only accessible to subscribers, at least so far.
The ICMJE principles essentially say that journal editors should refuse to publish articles on new drugs unless the underlying clinical trial data are on deposit in an OA database independent of the drug manufacturer.
Shawn Mathur and four co-authors, Open access and beyond, Molecular Cancer, September 6, 2006. Excerpt:
Abstract: Uncensored exchange of scientific results hastens progress. Open Access does not stop at the removal of price and permission barriers; still, censorship and reading disabilities, to name a few, hamper access to information. Here, we invite the scientific community and the public to discuss new methods to distribute, store and manage literature in order to achieve unfettered access to literature.
John Willinsky, Why Open Access to Research and Scholarship? Journal of Neuroscience, September 6, 2006. Not even an abstract is free online, at least so far.
Update. This article is now OA (at the same URL). Apparently it should have been OA from the start but was mistakenly left behind the password wall. Excerpt:
Also see Gary Westbrook's editorial in the same issue, introducing the journal's series of OA articles on OA, of which Willinsky's is the first. Excerpt:
Certainly there are legitimate reasons why government-funded research should be available to those who paid for it, but the reality, at least for the Journal of Neuroscience is that 96% of the articles published since 1981 are already freely available to anyone with Internet access. Only the 600 papers published in the last 6 months are under access control, and those are freely available to each of the >35,000 members of the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) as a benefit of membership, as well as at more than 1000 libraries across the world. A recent survey of the membership indicated strong support for the concept of open access, but an unwillingness to pay the ~$3000 cost of each article published in the Journal, perhaps not a surprise in this year of uncertain grant funding.
Donald R. Ort, RT-Plant Physiology: Full Open Access Publishing at No Charge to ASPB Members, Plant Physiology, September 2006. Excerpt:
Comments. Kudos to Plant Physiology (PP) and the APSB for this innovation.
Thomas Kaplan, Selected lectures go online, Yale Daily News, September 8, 2006. Excerpt:
Richard Akerman is trying to track down some of the earliest discussions of open science. He has about a dozen so far and welcomes other references.
Peter Murray-Rust, Open Source, Open Data and the science commons, A Scientist and the Web, September 7, 2006. Excerpt:
David Bollier, French Chefs and the Power of Social Norms, On the commons, September 7, 2006. Excerpt:
A French chef whose restaurant is given an extra “star” in the famed Michelin Guide (on a scale of 1 to 5) can expect a flurry of new patrons, prestige and profits in the coming year. Similarly, restaurants that “lose” a star can see sales drop as much as 50%. Since there is so much money riding on the quality of food served in top French restaurants, why aren’t the recipes and food preparation techniques used by great French chefs protected by copyrights, patents or trade secret law? The answer, as explored in a fascinating paper by Emmanuelle Fauchart and Eric von Hippel, is that the social norms of the culinary professionals are a more effective tool for protecting the “proprietary” interests of top-flight chefs....Any chef who violates these norms is stigmatized or even ostracized by the community....
Comment. What's the OA connection? There are several but let me pick out just one. The French chef solution is remarkably similar to the one that has evolved in the world of scholarship. In principle, many kinds of plagiarism could be pursued as copyright infringement. In practice, however, we punish them as violations of academic norms, not as violations of law. This is reflected in a little-known sentence of the Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing:
OA is compatible with copyright as long as the copyright-holder consents to OA. But publishers who claim they need to hold copyrights in order to prevent or punish plagiarism are blowing smoke. In the rare case when a copyright is needed to pursue a plagiarist, it doesn't matter whether the author or the publisher is the copyright-holder. And in the vast majority of cases, no copyright will be needed. We act like French chefs, not like lawyers.
Access for Members of the Public to Digital Content held in University and College Libraries, Research Information Network, August 2006. A "Report on Current Practice and Recommendations for the Future" by "Members of the Expert Group on Public Access to Digital Content in Academic Libraries". Excerpt:
Comment. All seven recommendations will increase access to TA research for walk-in patrons, online patrons, lay readers, and independent scholars. But one recommendation is missing: provide open access to a larger portion of the research literature. The UK is already working toward OA on many fronts, of course. But every new argument, ally, and connection helps the cause, just as every failure to recognize how OA can solve a problem is a setback for OA and for the prospects of solving the problem. We can talk at length about negotiating permissions to share keys for locked doors, but at some point we should also talk about leaving the doors open.
Jennifer De Beer sends this email report from the ASC-CODESRIA conference, Bridging the North-South Divide in Scholarly Communication on Africa. Threats and Opportunities in the Digital era (Leiden, September 6-8, 2006):
Klaus Graf has pointed out that Google Book Search and the University of Michigan's MBooks (based on Google scans) both block access to users outside the US.
His test case is Emanuel Geibel's Gedichte, published in Stuttgart in 1873. (Geibel died in 1884.) As Klaus observes, the book is in the public domain in every country on Earth and US users have free online access to the full text.
Comment. When Klaus told me this by email a few days ago, I asked some friends outside the US to click on the link and tell me whether they got a book or an error message. So far, they report no access from Australia, Canada, England, Finland, France, India, Nigeria, and Paraguay. How many report access? None. (Thanks to many friends in many places for rapid turn-around on this informal survey.)
When denying access to non-US users, Google gives this error message:
Page images and the full text of this item are *not available* at this time due to *copyright restrictions*. (Why?) However, you may search within the text of this item to determine the frequency and location of specific words and phrases.
I join Klaus in calling on Google and Michigan either to restore access to non-US users or to explain what copyright problems bar access to this public-domain book.
Update (9/11/06). The book is not accessible in Nepal or South Africa either.
Gavin Yamey, What did you do in the war against poverty, granddad? PLoS Medicine blog, September 6, 2006. Excerpt:
Mary Beth Schell, The use of free resources in a subscription-based digital library: a case study of the North Carolina AHEC Digital Library, Biomedical Digital Libraries, September 6, 2006. From the provisional abstract:
IU Digital Library Program leads projects to expand access to Indiana history, September 7, 2006. An announcement from IU. Excerpt:
The Indiana University Digital Library Program will advance two projects to make the state's history broadly available to Hoosiers, thanks to grants recently announced by the Indiana State Library. The projects — one to digitize a 100-year run of a popular history journal, and the other to digitize historic correspondence from the utopian community of New Harmony — leverage IU's strengths to benefit the state.
The International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning is a new peer-reviewed OA journal published by Georgia Southern University. The first issue will appear in January 2007.
Peter Murray-Rust, Open Data, Open Science, Closed Data, A Scientist and the Web, September 7, 2006. Excerpt:
The other 10 provisions cover redistribution, reuse, technological restrictions, attribution, integrity, discrimination, and some specific licensing issues.
Oliver Obst has blogged some notes (in German) on two presentations on open access given on Wednesday at InetBib 2006 (Münster, September 6-8, 2006).
David Wiley, Open access threatens national security, Iterating Toward Openness, September 6, 2006. Excerpt:
Comments. When I blogged Adler's quote yesterday, I was inclined to let its absurdity speak for itself. But I think David is right to take the time to show how dishonest it really is. I'd add the following to what he has already said.
An announcement from the Google Book Search blog:
Dorothea Salo, Libraries and Open Access, Caveat Lector, September 7, 2006. Excerpt:
Comment. I've always thought of librarians as strong allies of OA. But I realize that this could be a sampling error: the ones I know best are strong allies and I know many of them for precisely that reason. We all have skewed samples of other groups, but for what it's worth here are two rough inductions from the samples I have: the average librarian knows more about OA than the average researcher, but the average researcher is easier to excite about the idea in a five minute conversation.
Jan Velterop, the Open Access Director at Springer, has sent me the Springer Open Choice answers to my nine questions for hybrid journal programs.
Thanks, Jan. If other publishers of hybrid journals would like to publicize their answers to these nine questions, I can offer this forum. If the answers are short, like Springer's, then I can blog them here. If they are long, I can post them to SOAF and blog an excerpt and link here.
Dion Hoe-Lian Goh and five co-authors, A checklist for evaluating open source digital library software, Online Information Review, 30, 4 (2006), pp. 360-379. Accessible only to subscribers, at least so far. Abstract:
Comment. There's something odd about the packages the authors chose to compare. Eprints is not general-purpose digital library software. It's more specialized for OA repositories. But if the authors thought it fit the category anyway, then why not also DSpace?
Steve Hitchcock, Filling a repository: Caltech's low-hanging fruit, Eprints Insiders, September 6, 2006. Excerpt:
The Society of Nuclear Medicine has decided to provide free online access to year-old back issues of its two leading journals, the Journal of Nuclear Medicine and the Journal of Nuclear Medicine Technology. From yesterday's press release:
SNM announced today that its flagship Journal of Nuclear Medicine and the Journal of Nuclear Medicine Technology have moved to an open access publishing model, providing free, full-text online articles 12 months after publication.
Comment. Full OA journals provide free online access immediately upon publication.
Mark Jordan, Putting Content Online: A practical guide for libraries, Chandos Publishing, September 2006. A new book on digitization. It doesn't discuss OA but will be relevant to many OA projects. Two of the chapters are OA from the author's site: Chapter 6 on Search and Display and Chapter 8 on Project Management.
Charles W. Bailey, Jr., Digital University/Library Presses, Part 9: University of Cincinnati Digital Press, DigitalKoans, September 6, 2006. Excerpt:
Established in 1995, the University of Cincinnati Digital Press is a service of the Digital Projects Department of the University of Cincinnati Libraries....
Do you remember the software from George Mason University with the working name Firefox Scholar? It's been renamed Zotero and the public beta is expected to be released this fall. From the site: Zotero...
Comment. Zotero's ability to extract citation information from a web page could automate the collection of metadata and lower the already-low hurdle to self-archiving. It will be very useful to have this power built in to a tool that scholars might already have running on their desktops, embedded in their browser --and even more useful to have it in an open-source tool that could be optimized for self-archiving and integrated with the open-source archiving packages like Eprints and DSpace.
Stevan Harnad, The Geeks and the Irrational, Open Access Archivangelism, September 3, 2006. Excerpt:
Three more provosts have added their signatures to the SPARC list of U.S. university presidents and provosts endorsing open access to publicly-funded research and the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006 (FRPAA).
Scott Jaschik, Momentum for Open Access Research, Inside Higher Ed, September 6, 2006. Excerpt:
PS: Read the whole article. To focus on the college presidents' letter, I had to cut some good background on new ACS AuthorChoice program, announced yesterday, and some new and desperately bad arguments from the AAP against FRPAA. (Allan Adler of the AAP "rejected the idea that taxpayer financed research should be open to the public, saying that it was in the national interest for it to be restricted to those who could pay subscription fees. 'Remember — you’re talking about free online access to the world,' he said. 'You are talking about making our competitive research available to foreign governments and corporations.'")
The Oberlin Group has released an Open letter in support of FRPAA signed by the presidents of 53 liberal arts colleges. Excerpt:
The letter is signed by the presidents of Albion College, Amherst College, Augustana College (IL), Austin College , Barnard College, Bates College, Bowdoin College, Bryn Mawr College, Bucknell University, Carleton College, Clark University, Coe College, Colby College, Colgate University, The College of Wooster, Colorado College, Connecticut College, Davidson College, Denison University, DePauw University, Dickinson College, Earlham College, Eckerd College, Franklin & Marshall College, Gettysburg College, Gustavus Adolphus College, Haverford College, Kalamazoo College, Lafayette College, Lake Forest College, Lawrence University, Macalester College, Middlebury College, Mount Holyoke College, Oberlin College, Occidental College, Ohio Wesleyan University, Reed College, Rhodes College, Rollins College, Skidmore College, St. Olaf College, St. Lawrence University, Smith College, Swarthmore College, Trinity University (TX), Vassar College, Wabash College, Washington and Lee University, Wellesley College, Wheaton College (MA), Whitman College, and Willamette University.
Comment. These liberal arts college presidents are an important addition to the research university provosts who have already endorsed FRPAA. Liberal arts colleges deserve access to publicly-funded research as much as more research-intensive insitutions and have less access to it through subscriptions. Their support will matter to members of Congress representing the states where these colleges are located. I'm very proud to say that Earlham College, my own school, is on the list.
Barbara Quint, Google Opens Public Domain Books for Downloading, Michigan Launches MBooks, Information Today Newsbreaks, September 5, 2006. Excerpt:
Google has changed its policy and will now allow users to download full-image files of public domain books in its Google Book Search collection. Until now, Google had insisted that readers remain connected to Google while they read any public domain books online. Why the change in policy? According to Adam M. Smith, product manager for Google Book Search, “It stemmed from listening to users and our library partners.” Competition may have had some influence, however, both from the downloading policies of the Open Content Alliance and, now, from Google’s own library partners. For example, the University of Michigan—one of Google Book Search’s most generous and activist library partners—has begun releasing MBooks to the open Web, as well as to its campus users. The MBooks collection currently includes hundreds of thousands of books Google has digitized from the University of Michigan’s library collection. The MBooks offer different features than the versions Google Book Search supplies directly. It also includes in-copyright books, though only to produce individual book indexing....
Richard Charkin, Of this and that, Charkin blog, September 4, 2006. Charkin is the CEO of Macmillan, the parent company of Nature. Excerpt:
Comment. Charkin implies that when asking about the value of OA, the question is whether OA improves the quality of the literature. It isn't. The question is whether it improves access to the literature, hence the usefulness of the literature, hence the productivity of researchers and the pace of research. Using a legible font doesn't improve the quality of the literature, but it's an obvious way to make literature more useful regardless of its quality. That's what OA does.
There are subtle ways in which OA can improve the quality of literature, e.g. by removing incentives to compromise on peer review. But we don't have to reach those in order to understand how OA makes every kind of literature more useful. When Nature authors self-archive their articles (which Nature permits), the articles are more useful than they were before, even though they have not changed in quality.
Rufus Pollock, Open APIs Don’t Equal Open Knowledge, Open Knowledge Foundation Weblog, September 4, 2006. Excerpt:
Sophie Rovner, ACS Offers Open-Access Option To Authors, Chemical & Engineering News, September 4, 2006. Excerpt:
Also see the ACS press release (dated August 14, 2006).
Charles Bailey has enlarged Lesley Perkins' composite of six OA-related blogs, making a new composite of 12. He's also created a useful Open Access Update page listing the latest 30 posts from the composite blog (also available by RSS) as well as links to key OA resources.
Comment. The aggregate feed is supposed to include Open Access News but so far doesn't do so. I haven't checked to see whether this problem extends to any of the other 11 blogs. When this kind of problem is fixed, the feed should be very useful.
David Glenn, Yale U. Press Places Book Online in Hopes of Increasing Print Sales, Chronicle of Higher Education, September 8, 2006 (accessible only to subscribers). Excerpt:
The Columbia University Teachers College has created PocketKnowledge, a new package of archiving software that it's using to archive just about anything --documents, music, photos, video-- created by its faculty and students. (Thanks to Jonah Bossewitch.)
As far as I can tell, PocketKnowledge is not open source or OAI-compliant, but it allows depositers to set access levels (private, university-only, everyone) and allows users to tag and comment on any accessible item. Any item may be cross-listed in any number of sections or pockets. Users can browse the contents by pocket, tag, author, or uploader. Tag searching allows boolean combinations on all fields so that you find, e.g. all work by students on sexual discrimination. The software is available to other institutions. For more details, see the FAQ.
Patrick L. Carr, The Other Serials News: The E-Journal Stampede, NASIG Newsletter, September 3, 2006. Excerpt:
New Zealand's national librarian, Penny Carnaby, has been elected Chair of the international Conference of Directors of National Libraries (CDNL). From her acceptance speech:
There is no doubt in my mind that the lead role the New Zealand Government played in shaping the open access to information agenda at the World Summit on the Information Society in Tunis last year led National Library Directors to support my nomination....
Richard Poynder, P2P: A blueprint for the future? Open and Shut, September 3, 2006. Excerpt:
One of the abiding debates about the Internet is the extent to which it represents a step change in the way that societies — and economies — will function in the future. What is undeniable is that the Web has sparked a growing number of "free" and "open" movements that challenge current economic models — including the Free and Open Source Software movements, the Open Access Movement, Open Source Journalism, and Creative Commons. Many also believe that the peer-to-peer (P2P) phenomenon has significant implications for the traditional top-down model on which modern societies are based.
Update. Part 2 of this interview is now online (9/7/06). One Bauwens insight:
[C]urrently we live in a society that treats scarce and rival resources (i.e. nature and the biosphere), as if they were infinite, and artificially renders scarce what is infinite [information, especially digital information], since it can be reproduced for free. This is an illogical state of affairs that both destroys the biosphere and impedes the growth of social productivity. And that illogicality is what we want to reverse.
Frederick Noronha, India At The Forefront Of Knowledge Commons Debate, Intellectual Property Watch, September 3, 2006. Excerpt:
From today's announcement by Openflows.org:
Openflows.org releases today a survey of open content projects in five non-western regions: Arab countries, Sub-Saharan Africa, India, Brazil and South East and Eastern Europe. The aim of the study is to assess the potential of the open content production process for areas and fields which are under served by the commercial players. While we cannot claim completeness, we believe that the range of projects allows insight into the complex ways in which these projects interact with their particular contexts and the vast differences this creates.
Stevan Harnad, No OA Yet? Don't Blame Elsevier! Open Access Archivangelism, September 2, 2006. Excerpt:
The Institute of Physics has launched EprintWeb.org, a new mirror, front end, and enhancement to arXiv. (Thanks to George Porter.) From the site:
EprintWeb is an e-print service in the fields of physics, mathematics, non-linear science, computer science, and quantitative biology, and consists of e-print records which can be browsed and searched. The contents of EprintWeb are provided by arXiv, which is operated and funded by Cornell University Library....
Comment. IOP has long been rumored to be launching a mirror of arXiv. This looks like it, though EprintWeb is much more than a mirror. IOP already allows direct submission from arXiv to its 73 physics journals, and told Alma Swan in 2005 that it "could not identify any losses of subscriptions" due to arXiv and does not "view arXiv as a threat to [its] business" (Swan's summary).
Physics is the field in which OA archiving has been taking place for the longest time (since 1991) and at the highest levels (approaching 100% in some branches). The launch of EprintWeb should leave no doubt that this physics publisher finds its interest more in supporting OA archiving than in deterring it. Publishers who fear the rise of OA archiving should study this example of a publisher with more experience coexisting with it.