Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, June 08, 2002

Nila A. Sathe, Jenifer L. Grady, and Nunzia B. Giuse, Print Versus Electronic Journals: A Preliminary Investigation into the Effect of Journal Format on Research Processes, Journal of the Medical Library Association, April 2002. (Thanks to ResourceShelf.) "[C]urrent electronic formats do not facilitate all types of uses and thus may be changing learning patterns as well." Useful bibliography.

The ALA has compiled an annotated list of links on deep linking. (Thanks to ResourceShelf.)

COUNTER (Counting Online Usage of NeTworked Electronic Resources) launched in March. Its mission is to develop a Code of Practice for the collection and exchange of data on the usage of electronic journals and other e-resources. It aims to have a draft code by the end of this year. COUNTER has the support of many important library and publishing groups, such as ARL, ALPSP, ARL, JISC, NISO, PA, and UKSG. (Thanks to Charles Bailey's Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog.)

The April-May SPARC E-News is now online.

David Cohen, New Zealand University Opens E-Text Center in Partnership With U. of Virginia, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 5.

The June 5 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association is devoted to medical journals. It has sections on Authorship and Contributorship, Editorial Peer Review, Quality of the Medical Literature, Bias, Ethical and Legal Issues, Postpublication Issues, Communicating to Readers, e-Journals and Online Information, Open Peer Review, and Journals and Research Quality. This special issue is edited by Drummond Rennie and Annette Flanagin. Only abstracts are free online for non-subscribers. (Thanks to Red Rock Eater.)

Sam Vaknin has published Part 2 of his report on global differential pricing. (Yesterday, I posted a note about Part 1.) This installment doesn't say more about the case of scientific journals, already covered in the first, but it includes some very interesting analysis from Hal Varian of the economics of tiered pricing.

Friday, June 07, 2002

Six scientific publishers have launched the Scientific and Technical Information Exchange (STIX) to produce royalty-free fonts for nearly 8,000 special characters and glyphs used in mathematics and STM publishing. The fonts, available in the Fall of 2003, will be usable both for print and online publication. (If you've ever tried to post web pages with special mathematical characters, you know that these fonts are badly needed.)

Xiaoming Liu, Tim Brody, Stevan Harnad, Les Carr, Kurt Maly, Mohammad Zubair, and Michael L. Nelson, A Scalable Architecture for Harvest-Based Digital Libraries - The ODU/Southampton Experiments. A new preprint at arXiv points to the next stage in the evolution of the Open Archives Initiative. The abstract:
This paper discusses the requirements of current and emerging applications based on the Open Archives Initiative (OAI) and emphasizes the need for a common infrastructure to support them. Inspired by HTTP proxy, cache, gateway and web service concepts, a design for a scalable and reliable infrastructure that aims at satisfying these requirements is presented. Moreover it is shown how various applications can exploit the services included in the proposed infrastructure. The paper concludes by discussing the current status of several prototype implementations.

Mike Kerr has a new method for copyright holders to protect their online content: Don't block access to it, just make it impossible to copy or print. He specifically recommends the technology, Copyseal, for publishers willing to allow free online previews or reading but unwilling to allow further distribution. (This is roughly the model already used by ebrary, though ebrary implements it through a browser plug-in and Copyseal through the publisher's server.) Copyseal will launch when Kerr finishes the pricing model.

On May 10, the IMLS issued the 2002 edition of its report, Status of Technology and Digitization In the Nation's Museums and Libraries.

The European Commission has proposed a new directive on the re-use of public sector information throughout Europe. The proposal would remove some legal and technical obstacles to the publication of value-added editions of this free information. (Thanks to QuickLinks.)

The Gateway Service Center of Chinese Academic Journal Publications will deliver digital full-text articles from Chinese academic journals to any researcher in the U.S., free of charge. The service is made possible by a grant from the IMLS. (Thanks to ILL Web.)

BioMedCentral will reduce the processing fee for accepted papers formatted with EndNote from ISI ResearchSoft. (Thanks to Serials eNews.)

The only man who knew the passwords to the archives at Norway's National Center of Language and Culture died without telling them to anyone or writing them down. The Center's director has gone on national radio calling for hackers to help break in to the archives. Michelle Delio tells the story in Wired News.

Sam Vaknin, Global Differential Pricing, UPI, June 6. The World Health Organization, World Trade Organization, Norwegian Foreign Ministry, and the U.S.-based Global Health Council met in April to find ways to make "essential drugs" free or affordable to developing nations. Vaknin reports on their progress and draws an analogy to HINARI and other programs to make scientific journals free or affordable to developing nations.

PS: See Ann Okerson's list of initiatives to make scientific journals freely available in the developing world.

In the June 6 SearchDay, Chris Sherman reviews Wondir, an open source, non-profit synthesis of meta-searching, deep internet searching, and live human Q&A. Quoting the Wondir about page: "Wondir will unite Search and Community -- two pillars of the Internet that have not yet lived up to their potential -- by making human help accessible and as simple as asking a question of a search engine." Wondir will launch a beta later this summer, and be ready for prime time by fall. Wondir is looking for programmers, question-answerers, and donors.

Thursday, June 06, 2002

I just created a web page listing all the FOS-related conferences I know about. In the newsletter, I could only list the next 1-3 months' worth. I'd be glad to hear about additions or corrections.

Steve Outing, Libraries Threaten Paid Online News Archives, Editor & Publisher, June 6, 2002. Public libraries provide free online access to back issues of newspapers while newspaper sites charge for the same access. How should newspapers respond? Outing recommends that they follow suit. (Thanks to Shelflife.)

PS: Public libraries use tax dollars to subscribe to newspaper and other periodical databases, and then make their contents freely available to local patrons, even to dial-in users at home. If you live in a city large enough for the public library to subscribe to scientific and scholarly databases, then get a library card and password and explore what scholarly resources are available to you. Does anyone know of universities cancelling subscriptions and recommending that students and faculty log on to the public library?

Wednesday, June 05, 2002

Diane Ravitch has an excellent op-ed in today's New York Times on the censorship of textbooks by state education departments and textbook commissions frightened of offending zealots.

Bruce Morton, Is the Journal as We Know It an Article of Faith? An Open Letter to the Faculty. A 1997 defense of open-access journals that I hadn't seen before. (Thanks to LIS News.)

The editors of Nature describe their participation in HINARI in the May 23 issue (accessible only to subscribers). HINARI is a WHO-organized initiative to provide full-text science journals at tiered prices to developing countries, free for the poorest tier.

The June issue of the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) Research Library Newsletter is now online.

The June issue of First Monday is now online. Here are the articles of FOS interest.
  • Howard Besser, The Next Stage: Moving from Isolated Digital Collections to Interoperable Digital Libraries
  • George Kerscher and Jim Fruchterman, The Soundproof Book: Exploration of Rights Conflict and Access to Commercial EBooks for People with Disabilities
  • Felix Stalder and Jesse Hirsh, Open Source Intelligence
  • Kemal Altintas, Tolga Aydin, and Varol Akman, Censoring the Internet: The Situation in Turkey
  • Charles Curran, The Medical Journal Meets the Internet

  • Tuesday, June 04, 2002

    Jeffrey Young, Technology Gap Among Colleges Perpetuates 'Digital Divide' in Society, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 4, 2002. There is a serious digital divide even among universities in an affluent country like the U.S., and it aggravates the digital divide in the non-academic society at large, according to Larry Irving, former U.S. assistant secretary of commerce. Quoting Irving: "You have major universities that are getting involved in the next-generation Internet, while you have tribal colleges, minority-serving institutions, [and] poor rural colleges that really aren't online."

    Monday, June 03, 2002

    In its May issue, Scientific American posts the second annual Sci-Tech Web Awards. These go to 50 web sites in the natural sciences, mathematics, engineering, and technology. A sign of progress: all 50 are free, though SciAm takes this for granted and doesn't even mention it.

    Rebecca Fairley Raney covers the Data Quality Act in today's New York Times. This seems to be the beginning of mainstream press coverage for DQA, but it won't be the end. The DQA allows the public to challenge inaccurate science on government web sites, or used in administrative rule-making, and have it corrected or removed. If we're lucky, that's the only way it will be used. But the same mechanism also allows corporations to undermine regulations they dislike by challenging the science underlying them, e.g. about carcinogens, car safety, or greenhouse gases. (See FOSN for 4/1/02.)

    More on the ruling against CIPA.
  • Robert O'Harrow, Jr.'s story in the Washington Post
  • John Schwartz's story in the New York Times
  • Eugene Volokh's analysis in his blog

  • Sunday, June 02, 2002

    Jill E. Grogg, Debra K. Andreadis, and Rachel A. Kirk, Full-text Linking: Affiliated versus Nonaffiliated Access in a Free Database, College and Research Libraries, May 2002. Affiliated users of PubScience have access to more full-text articles than unaffiliated users. Savvy users of both types can improve their access to full-texts with various searching methods. (Only an abstract is free online.)

    Yesterday a three-judge federal court unanimously ruled that the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) violated the First Amendment. CIPA was about web filters in public libraries. It would not have punished libraries for refusing to use filters; it would merely have denied them federal funds. But even this milder approach violated the free speech rights of patrons, the court ruled. The freedom of speech includes a freedom to read, and web filters are crude devices that inevitably block constitutionally protected content (see FOSN for 3/25/02). The government's purpose to prevent dissemination of obscenity, especially to minors, is legitimate but must be served through a method that is "narrowly tailored" to achieve that purpose. The librarian plaintiffs were represented by the ACLU and the ALA.
  • ACLU press release
  • ACLU page on CIPA
  • ALA page on CIPA
  • The court's decision
  • Shannon Duffey's story in
  • Declan McCullagh's story in Wired News
  • Lisa Bowman's story in C|Net News
  • Kendra Mayfield has an article in Wired News on open-access scientific journals. She focuses on the launch (in about a week) of BioMed Central's Journal of Biology (see FOSN for 5/23/02). She spends the rest of the article on the Public Library of Science. Quoting Mike Eisen, one of the founders of PLoS: "I believe that the Journal of Biology (and other journals like it) will be able to compete with [Science, Nature, and Cell] because scientists recognize that open access is not just an esoteric matter of fairness, it is about maximizing the impact of their research." Quoting Theo Bloom, editor of JBiol (formerly at Nature): JBiol "sets out to prove that high-level science has a place in open access journals." Quoting Jan Velterop, publisher of BMC: "The stranglehold of conventional publishers on the scientific community is still quite strong." Mike Eisen again: "The fact that the results of publicly funded research are owned by publishers, and not the public, is a scandal waiting to be given attention."