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On September 26, 2006, the American Philological Association (APA) and the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) issued a joint statement on electronic publishing. (Thanks to Ross Scaife for alerts to this and the documents below.)
The statement didn't mention OA, but the draft Issues and Recommendations for Discussion (October 20, 2006) discussed the problem of OA in the humanities in good detail --but for the false assumption that "most" OA journals charge author-side fees (in fact, most charge no fees). It recommend a study of the extent to which American classicists lack access to American classics journals. It also recommended OA archiving and the launch of new OA archives. The two organizations called for a period of public comments, which ended on December 20.
John Blossom, Second Nature: PLoS One Picks Up Where Nature Left Off, Content Blogger, December 22, 2006. Excerpt:
Alf Eaton has launched PLoS Too, a mirror of PLoS ONE that he'll use as a "testing ground for trying out article display formats" --taking advantage of the fact that all PLoS ONE articles are free to manipulate under CC licenses and published in XML under the NLM DTD. If you know Alf's earlier work, this experiment will be worth watching.
Mia Garlick, “Returning Author’s Rights: Termination of Transfer” Beta Tool Launched, Creative Commons blog, December 21, 2006. Excerpt:
Comment. I've never heard of a researcher using this provision to reclaim rights to a published journal article. If any one knows a past case, please drop me a line. I'd also like to hear about any researcher who uses the provision in the future to reclaim key rights, especially for the purpose of providing OA to the peer-reviewed full-text.
Update. Read Lawrence Lessig's blog post on the right of termination and transfer. The right doesn't kick in until an agreement is 35 years old, which makes it moot for most journal articles. Journals that don't provide OA to 35 year old articles, and don't let authors do it themselves, are an endangered species.
Spotlight on HSRC Press, SA BookNews Online, December 15, 2006. Excerpt:
Thanks to Eve Gray for the alert, as well as for this comment:
Gracian Chimwaza and Vimbai M. Hungwe, AGORA/HINARI Training of Trainer workshops: imparting hands-on skills on the use of e-resources in agriculture and health in Sub-Saharan Africa, INASP Newsletter, December 2006. Excerpt:
SPARC has released its December 20 comment on the draft OA mandate from the Australian Government Productivity Commission. The public comment period ended on December 21. (For background on this proposal, see my blog post from November 13, 2006.) Excerpt:
PS: In October 2006, the Productivity Commission recommended OA mandates for the Australian Research Council (ARC) and National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), and since then both agencies have adopted strong OA policies. See the ARC policy (c. December 3, 2006) and the NHMRC policy (c. December 8, 2006).
Update (12/25/06). See comments by Stevan Harnad and Arthur Sale on the SPARC letter.
James Doran, Founder of Wikipedia plans search engine to rival Google, Times Online, December 23, 2006. Excerpt:
Enrico Alleva and Igor Branchi, Making available scientific information in the third millennium: perspectives for the neuroscientific community, a presentation delivered at Institutional archives for research : experiences and projects in Open Access (Rome, November 30 - December 1, 2006).
Abstract: The rules governing the globalised process of sharing scientific information in the research community are rapidly changing. From the 1950s, commercial publishers started owning a large number of scientific journals and consequently the marketable value of a submitted manuscript has become an increasingly important factor in publishing decisions. Recently some publishers have developed the Open Access (OA), a business scheme which may help stopping such tendency. Indeed, in the case of an open-access publication, the marketable value of a manuscript may be not the primary consideration, since access to the research is not being sold. This may push scientists to re-consider the purpose of peer reviewing. However, costs remain a key point in managing scientific journals because OA method does not eliminate peer review process. Thus, OA may not solve the problem of the market pressures on publishing strategies. Furthermore, the OA has another strong point: everyone can read OA papers, including scientist living in poor countries. But, will OA method create new discriminations on who can publish on OA journals? Will it be possible to really exclude or strongly limit the influences of the market from scientific publishing? The example of the non-profit e-print arXiv, a fully automated electronic archive and distribution server for research papers with no peer review will be discussed. For neuroscientists, the possibility to make available scientific data, even in the case of negative results (usually, very difficult to publish) is an important step to avoid purposeless repetition of costly experiments involving animal subjects. The possibility to arrange internationally or locally peer reviewed papers in institutional repositories (IR) is a necessity. However, access to IR should be regulated, e.g. banning or limiting profit organizations and exploiting internet systems, professional organizations or network groups.
Maria Rosaria Bacchini, fedOA, Open access archives a "Federico II" University of Naples, a presentation delivered at Institutional archives for research : experiences and projects in Open Access (Rome, November 30 - December 1, 2006). In Italian but with this English-language abstract:
Franco Toni, Statistics of Open Access Journals, a presentation delivered at Institutional archives for research : experiences and projects in Open Access (Rome, November 30 - December 1, 2006).
Dan Hunter, Open Access to Infinite Content (or 'In Praise of Law Reviews'), Lewis & Clark Law Review, 10, 4 (2006). Self-archived December 20, 2006.
Abstract: This Article is about legal scholarly publication in a time of plenitude. It is an attempt to explain why the most pressing questions in legal scholarly publishing are about how we ensure access to an infinity of content. It explains why standard assumptions about resource scarcity in publication are wrong in general, and how the changes in the modality of publication affect legal scholarship. It talks about the economics of open access to legal material, and how this connects to a future where there is infinite content. And because student-edited law reviews fit this future better than their commercially-produced, peer-refereed cousins, this Article is, in part, a defense of the crazy-beautiful institution that is the American law review.
Dean Giustini, How Web 2.0 is changing medicine: Is a medical wikipedia the next step? BMJ, December 232, 2006. An editorial. Excerpt:
From the conclusion:
Antonella De Robbio, Open access e copyright, a presentation delivered at Institutional archives for research : experiences and projects in Open Access (Rome, November 30 - December 1, 2006). In Italian but with this English-language abstract:
Michael Cross, Commercial case for free data rises overseas, The Guardian, December 21, 2006. Excerpt:
PS: For background, see my post from December 8, 2006.
Jim Stemper and Karen Williams, Scholarly communication: Turning crisis into opportunity, C&RL News, December 2006. (Thanks to ResourceShelf.) Excerpt:
Chris Leonard, Details about PhysMath Central, Egg, December 21, 2006. Excerpt:
Ronald Milne, The Google mass digitisation project at Oxford, Liber Quarterly, 16, 3/4 (2006). Only this abstract is free online:
Update (1/10/07). The source I quoted above has added the following correction: "Thanks to the enquiries of Nick Holmes it has been confirmed that the original copyright notice was a mistake and the database will be fully open, available for anyone to use and reuse under the standard terms of the PSI click-use license. Hurrah!"
Jean-Pierre Lardy, Le modèle de publication hybride: lecteur payant/auteur payant, DADI, October 2006. (Thanks to Actu-enstblog.) An overview of the many hybrid journal programs and their different policies on key questions. (In French.)
Mark Chillingworth, Expert edition, Information World Review, November 27, 2006. Excerpt:
Tamina Vahidy, A New Digital Library, Line 56, December 21, 2006. Excerpt:
Nicholas Zamiska, Nature Cancels Public Reviews Of Scientific Papers, Wall Street Journal, December 21, 2006. (Thanks to TechDirt and Glyn Moody, who both have interesting comments.) Excerpt:
Update. The most detailed account I've seen of the experiment, outside Nature itself, is Christen Brownlee, Peer Review Under the Microscope, Science News, December 16, 2006. Unfortunately, it's only accessible to subscribers.
The presentations from the meeting, Open Educational Resources: Institutional Challenges (Barcelona, November 22-24, 2006), are now online.
So are the presentations and videos from Univers Lliure (Barcelona, November 29, 2006), on free and open projects at Catalonian universities.
Thanks for both tips to Ignasi Labastida i Juan.
PS: Congratulations to PLoS and bon voyage.
Abstract: Mass digitization of the bound volumes that we generally call “books” has begun, and, thanks to the interest in Google and all that it does, it is getting widespread media attention. The Open Content Alliance (OCA), a library initiative formed after Google announced its library book digitization project, has brought library digitization projects into the public eye, even though libraries were experimenting with digitization for at least a decade. What is different today from some earlier digitization of books is not just the scale of these new initiatives, but the quality of “mass.”
Update. If you're like me and don't have access to the full text, Klaus Graf has blogged an excerpt. Here's an excerpt from his excerpt:
Google has clearly stated that their book project is solely aimed at providing a searchable index to the books on library shelves. They are quite careful not to promise an online reading experience, which would increase the quality control effort of their project and possibly make rapid digitization of the libraries impossible. Library leaders are enticed by the speed of mass digitization, but seem unable to give up their desire to provide online access to the content of the books themselves. If mass digitization is the best way to bring all of the world's knowledge together in a single format, we are going to have to make some reconciliation between the economy of “mass” and the satisfaction of the needs of library users.
Most are OA-related but see especially Astrid Wissenburg's lecture, Scholarly communications and the role of researcher funders, from April 26, 2006. Wissenburg is the Director of Communications at the UK's Economic & Social Research Council, which adopted an OA policy about two months after this lecture. Unfortunately her lecture is one of the only ones in the series to have slides only and no podcast.
Daniel Griffin, Workshop pieces together European Library digitisation project, Information World Review, December 19, 2006. Excerpt:
Update. Also see the EDLProject's own press release on the meeting.
PS: Congratulations to Brewster Kahle, the IA, and the OCA. This is much-needed support for a very important project.
Our Cultural Commonwealth, the final version of the report by the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Commission on Cyberinfrastructure for the Humanities & Social Sciences, released December 13, 2006. (Thanks to if:book.) From the Executive Summary:
From the body of the report:
Comment. This is a superb report making exactly the right recommendations: mandate OA, especially for publicly-funded research, lobby for it, support it within universities, support FRPAA, and join the OCA. Universities that agree needn't wait for funding agencies or governments to act; they can mandate OA to their own research output right now. Spread the word.
For background, see my blog posts on earlier drafts of the ACLS report.
Ray English and Molly Raphael, The Next Big Library Legislative Issue, American Libraries, September 2006. Excerpt:
Liz Allen, The wait is nearly over! PLoS Publishing Blog, December 20, 2006. Excerpt:
Travis Metcalfe, The Citation Impact of Digital Preprint Archives for Solar Physics Papers, Solar Physics, Volume 239, Issue 1-2 (December 2006) pp. 549-553. (Thanks to Michael Kurtz via Stevan Harnad.)
Abstract: Papers that are posted to a digital preprint archive are typically cited twice as often as papers that are not posted. This has been demonstrated for papers published in a wide variety of journals, and in many different subfields of astronomy. Most astronomers now use the arXiv.org server (astro-ph) to distribute preprints, but the solar physics community has an independent archive hosted at Montana State University. For several samples of solar physics papers published in 2003, I quantify the boost in citation rates for preprints posted to each of these servers. I show that papers on the MSU archive typically have citation rates 1.7 times higher than the average of similar papers that are not posted as preprints, while those posted to astro-ph get 2.6 times the average. A comparable boost is found for papers published in conference proceedings, suggesting that the higher citation rates are not the result of self-selection of above-average papers.
From the conclusion:
Bill Hooker, Where are the data? Can I have them? What can I do with them? Open Reading Frame, December 17, 2006. This is a short excerpt from a long lost. For critical detail, you should read the whole thing.
I just found a few nice surprises at the English-language home page of the Karlsruhe University Press:
When you really want to reach a wide audience, OA is the solution. But when an OA article in a journal or repository isn't enough, how about an OA video on YouTube?
When Evangelical preacher James Dobson used the scholarship of NYU psychologist Carol Gilligan to argue that same-sex couples should not raise children, Gilligan made a YouTube video to assert that Dobson had distorted and misrepresented her research.
For background, see Paul Thacker, Fighting a Distortion of Research, Inside Higher Ed, December 19, 2006. Don't miss the comments at the end of the article.
Matt Pasiewicz has recorded podcast interviews with a range of people from CNI's 2006 Fall Task Force Meeting. See esp. those with Herbert Van De Sompel (on IRs), MacKenzie Smith (on DSpace), David Rosenthal (on LOCKSS), Bill Arms (on digital libraries), Chris Greer (on cyberinfrastructure) and Cliff Lynch (on cyberinfrastructure).
Lisa A. Atkinson, The Rejection of D-Space : Selecting Theses Database Software at the University of Calgary Archives, a presentation delivered at the 9th International Symposium on Electronic Theses and Dissertations (Quebec City, June 7-10, 2006). (Thanks to the Richard Jones.)
S. Dalhoumi, J-P. Lardy, and O. Larouk, Open access at the University of Lyon: a comparative and disciplinary approach. This undated report is based on a survey from February-March 2006. Excerpt:
Paul Miller, 'Open Data is not the point'? Oh yes it is, Panlibus, December 19, 2006. Excerpt:
Heather Morrison, Transitioning to open access: beyond fear of change, Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics, December 18, 2006. Excerpt:
Lisa Williams, Newspaper Chain Goes Creative Commons: GateHouse Media Rolls CC Over 96 Newspaper Sites, PressThink, December 19, 2006. (Thanks to Richard Baer.) Excerpt:
Heather Morrison, BCLA response to draft CIHR policy, OA Librarian, December 18, 2006. Excerpt:
Larry Carver, National Geospatial Digital Archive: A Partnership Network, a 52 minute webcast of a talk at the Library of Congress, December 6, 2006. (Thanks to ResourceShelf.) From the LOC description:
David Shiga, Google and NASA pair up for virtual space exploration, New Scientist, December 18, 2006. Excerpt:
Brian Kelly, Accessibility and Institutional Repositories, UK Web Focus, December 12, 2006. Excerpt:
Hindawi now publishes more than 50 OA journals. From today's announcement:
PS: And by the way, the Hindawi OA journal program is profitable. Kudos to Hindawi on this year-end news.
Charles W. Bailey Jr. has released version 66 of his monumental Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography. (Note the new URL.) The new version cites and organizes over 2,830 print and online articles, books, and other sources on scholarly electronic publishing.
The Fifth Annual UK Journal Publishers’ Forum has picked the theme for its February 2007 meeting:
Julie Bishop, Australia's Minister for Education, Science and Training, has allocated $25.5 million to build OA repositories at Australian universities as part of the country's new Research Quality Framework (RQF). Here's the key part of today's press release:
(Thanks to Colin Steele.)
Michael Geist, The Letters of the Law: The Year in Canadian Tech Law, Toronto Star, December 18, 2006. Excerpt:
Will Scholarpedia Pass or Fail? Linux Insider, December 17, 2006. Excerpt:
Comment. Two quick ones: (1) Scholarpedia launched before Citizendium, by eight months, not after. (2) If Scholarpedia is superior to Wikipedia, then let's find a way to praise it, even as "an answer to freely available scholarship online", without leaving the false impression that the large and growing body of peer-reviewed OA literature suffers from the same problems as Wikipedia.
Ethan Zuckerman, Charles Nesson’s lunch at Berkman: what does it mean for a university to be “open”? My heart's in accra, December 12, 2006. Excerpt:
PS: This is an excellent set of questions. Every university should be discussing them.
Update. A podcast of Nesson's talk is now online.
Antonio Lafuente, Ciencia 2.0, Madri+d, undated but apparently December 2006. On the rise of open access, open data, and open science (in Spanish).
The presentations from the First EDLproject Workshop on developing the European Digital Library (Vienna, November 27-28, 2006) are now online.
Carol A. Parker, Institutional Repositories and the Principle of Open Access: Changing the Way We Think About Legal Scholarship, a preprint forthcoming from the New Mexico Law Review, Vol. 37, No. 2, Summer 2007. (Thanks to Law Librarian.)
Abstract: Open access to scholarship, that is, making scholarship freely available to the public via the Internet without subscription or access fees, is a natural fit for legal scholarship given our tradition of making government and legal information available to citizens, and the many benefits that flow from freely disseminating information for its own sake. Law schools, journals and scholars should espouse the principle of open access to legal scholarship, not only for the public good, but also for the enhanced visibility it provides journals and authors. Open access can be accomplished by archiving digital works in online institutional repositories. Legal scholars have enjoyed the benefits of open access to working paper repositories such as SSRN for more than ten years - even if they have not thought of this practice as 'open access.' It is a natural progression for legal scholars to now self-archive published works as well, and they are beginning to do so as awareness grows of the benefits of providing open access to published legal scholarship. Institutional repositories provide new ways to publish student scholarship, empirical data, teaching materials, and original historical documents uncovered during the research process. Author self-archiving does not threaten the existence of law school-subsidized journals, and institutional repositories generate new audiences for legal scholarship, including international and multidisciplinary audiences. Not insignificantly, repositories also help preserve digital work. Law schools are discovering that the publicity and download counts generated by repositories provide new ways to measure scholarly impact and reputation. Approximately 40% of U.S. law schools now have some form of institutional repository, all of which are indexed by Internet search engines. Law schools seeking to establish institutional repositories enjoy a variety of options to choose from, ranging from proprietary applications like Digital Commons, SSRN's Legal Scholarship Network, the Berkeley Electronic Press' Legal Repository, and NELLCO's Legal Scholarship Repository, to open source applications like EPrints and DSpace.
Dorothea Salo, Control your bits, Caveat Lector, December 17, 2006. Excerpt:
Comment. It may seem odd that I agree with nearly all of Dorothea's critique here and disagree only with her conclusion. Yes, it's better to control the bits than not (which I said in my last post); the journal scans should be higher in quality than the book scans; and preservation matters. We agree that the deal could be better than it is, even if we disagree about the amount. But the next question is whether it's better than nothing. I think it clearly is. For many journals, it's this deal and OA via Google or it's no digitization and no OA for the indefinite future.
In short, improving the deal would better than accepting it in its current form, but accepting it as is would be better than rejecting it.
Dorothea rightly distinguishes the appeal for OA advocates from the appeal for publishers, and I should be more precise. When I say the deal is better than nothing, I mean that it's better by a wide margin for OA and better by a somewhat smaller margin for publishers. But it's only worse than nothing for publishers who don't want OA for their back runs or who have a better way to get it.
Dorothea seems to admit that most publishers don't have a better way to get it. That is, we agree that most journals won't be able to take advantage of Google's non-exclusivity, since they won't be able to find another partner with the cash to pay for re-digitization. (I've made the same argument about the non-exclusivity of Google's book-digitization program.) But we have to see which way this consideration cuts. If publishers don't have a better way to digitize their back run for OA, and they want OA for their back run, then accepting this deal is better than rejecting it.
Conceivably Google's offer will elicit better offers from rivals. That's roughly what happened with the OCA, which not only gave its digitization partners better terms than Google but also pressured Google to liberalize its own terms (e.g. permitting printing and downloading for public-domain books when it previously barred them). That would be wonderful, and journals could help the cause by talking to the OCA. But it doesn't change the balance for the current deal considered on its own.
Update (December 19, 2006). See Dorothea's response to my comments, focusing on ways that publishers might get a better deal from Google or find other digitization partners.
Google is offering to digitize and provide OA to the back runs of scholarly journals. The terms of the offer are not online, as far as I can tell, but here's an excerpt from Google's Overview and FAQ.
Comments. I've been hoping to see this development ever since Google started digitizing books two years ago.
Bill Warters, Finding Hidden Gems in Online Databases & Repositories, a presentation in the Wayne State University series, Emerging Technology for Scholars. Also listen to the 52 minute podcast. (Undated but sometime in December 2006.)
On October 18, 2006 civil society organizations from 59 countries around the world unveiled the Open Budget Index. This is the first index to rate countries on how open their budget books are to their citizens. It is intended to provide citizens, legislators, and civil society advocates with the comprehensive and practical information needed to gauge a government’s commitment to budget transparency and accountability. Armed with this kind of information, lenders, development advocates, and aid organizations can identify meaningful budget reforms needed in specific countries to combat corruption and strengthen basic services to improve people's lives.
Jon Gresham, Social Software and Research Dissemination: E-Speed is Useful, Electronic Journal of Sociology, 2006.
PS: I don't want to speak for Gresham, but he might have meant to say that the aspect of traditional publication with an honored place, not likely to be displaced by wikis, is peer review, not print.