Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Friday, June 21, 2002

Scholarly Journals and Grand Solutions in Walt Crawford's Cites & Insights (Vol 2 No 9; July 2002) comments on three recent articles dealing with FOS issues.

In May, the NFAIS (National Federation of Abstracting and Information Services) released a white paper on Securing the Future of U.S. Intellectual Property and Scholarly Communication. The paper supports the DMCA anti-circumvention clause, and restrictive licenses, against the objections raised by librarians and scholars.

Charles W. Bailey Jr. has released Version 43 of his Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography. The new edition cites over 1,600 print and online sources.

Serial Killers, The Australian, May 29. A report on self-archiving initiatives in Australia, led by Colin Steele, Director of Scholarly Information Strategies at the Australian National University. Quoting Steele: "In five years' time there will probably be a small group of publishers who will charge very high prices for the top rank of scientific knowledge --the Elseviers of the world. Then, hopefully, there will be 80 per cent of scientific and social science material that will be available through eprint repositories where peer reviewing has been retained. The universities will be the winners because their research will be largely their own."

Issue 17 of Serials eNews is now online. (I link to a copy in the FOS forum, because the official link to the "current issue" defaults to Issue 1.)

More on CIPA....The Bush Justice Department filed notice today appealing the recent anti-filtering decision to the Supreme Court. Congress inserted a provision into CIPA requiring that any appeal from a District Court decision bypass the Circuit Court and go straight to the Supreme Court. Today's action puts the case on the Supreme Court's docket for next term.

The British Library has launched BLPCZ, a new layer of service to its free online catalogue. BLPCZ gives users Z39.50-compliant access to the catalogue and allows simultaneous searching of multiple internet resources. See the press release.

Thursday, June 20, 2002

The FleshandBones Readingroom provides unusually generous sample chapters from an assortment of medical texdtbooks. Easy to construct a complete medical library from these downloads! No need, of course, to mention the Merck Manuals - an unparalleled online library, unencumbered, in full text. Contributed by Sam Vaknin

The University of Alberta has launched getCITED, a "a free, online, member-controlled academic database, directory and discussion forum." Quoting the review by Serials eNews: "An example of an alternative / expanded format for scholarly communications. The web allows much more than the static one-way communication of research results which most e-journals merely replicate from their printed predecessors. This site shows how a research community can expand and develop their range of channels for idea exchange."

A directory of journals with free online archives. Includes dates of coverage, copyright notices, and background material about most of the publications. UPDATE: The archives have been removed until further notice. Contributed by Sam Vaknin

Nuala Moran, Campaign to make science reports freely available, Financial Times, June 19. A useful survey of FOS initiatives, including the Public Library of Science, the Budapest Open Access Initiative, HINARI, and BioMed Central. (Thanks to Rick Johnson.)

When good corporations go bad. Now even National Public Radio requires "prior written permission" for links to "any material" on its web site. NPR is worried that links from commercial sites will make the non-profit corporation look commercial, and links from advocacy groups will make the NPR journalists look biased. Of course this is nonsense. To keep the connection to scholarship clear: if a scientific article discusses contrary conclusions, and links to articles asserting those conclusions, then no sane person would believe that the links imply that the authors agree. BTW, I like Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Car Talk.

More on the Elcomsoft/Sklyarov case....Planet PDF has an extensive update and backgrounder on the case, including excerpts from Bruce Schneier supporting Elcomsoft and a new TIME Europe piece opposing it. (Thanks to C-FIT.)

More on the Eldred case....The Intellectual Property Section of the American Bar Association will debate ten IP policy resolutions at its June 27 meeting, and broadcast the debate in a live webcast. One resolution supports copyright extension. (Thanks to CNI-Copyright.) In April, the full ABA decided not to approve an anti-Eldred resolution (FOSN for 4/2/02).

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

I just posted my short essay, Open access to the scientific journal literature, to the FOS discussion forum. No registration is required to read this version. The essay appeared in the inaugural issue of BioMed Central's Journal of Biology.

More on CIPA....Mary Minnow has written an extensive and illuminating FAQ on the CIPA decision. (Thanks to LIS News.)

The second issue of Henry Gladney's Digital Document Quarterly is out. Like the first, it focuses on on developments in digital preservation and trustworthy information.

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

Sshhh, I'm Downloading "In a frank discussion, Howard Dess, Librarian at Rutgers University revealed how he was informed by the American Institute of Physics (AIP) that one of their workstations had been used to download an excessive quantity of material from online AIP journals." - Quoted from the member newsbulletin, Vol 5, Issue 24, 18 June 2002.

The article describes two science libraries which have been warned about excessive downloading of content in their buildings. While both libraries have taken steps to inhibit such activity, perfect control is not possible and repeated incidents could cost the library its access. I see the relevance to the FOS movement in that it points out one of the faults with the subscription model for distribution of scholarly research; a few abusers can cost thousands of people their access to that information. It is also possible that a researcher could need a certain large set of articles for their research (OK, maybe not 639 papers, as quoted here) and set them up to download together. is free, but requires registration.

BioMed Central published the inaugural issue of the Journal of Biology today. This is the premier journal with the distinguished editorial board that BMC expects will challenge Nature, Science, and Cell. (See FOSN for 5/23/02.) Like other BMC journals, it is open-access and authors retain copyrights to their articles.

PS. I have a piece in this issue on open access to the scientific journal literature. (Free registration is required for my piece, but no registration is required for research articles.)

More on CIPA....If compulsory web filtering for public library patrons is unconstitutional, what about involuntary filters for users outside public libraries? What about children? Bennett Haselton has stirred controversy by putting filter-bypassing tools on his website for anyone to download, including children. Any problem with that?

Anon., Privately Drafted Model Codes Are Not Copyrightable When Enacted Into Law, Patent, Trademark & Copyright Journal, June 14. The best summary and analysis I've seen of the recent Veeck decision.

The ARL launched its Scholars Portal in May. The June issue of the ARL Bimonthly Report contains the Final Report of the Scholars Portal Working Group.

Monday, June 17, 2002

Barbara Quint reports in today's Information Today on the Gale Group's ambitious program to digitize most of the English language books published in the 18th century --more than 150,000 books, more than 20 million pages. The digital editions will be released over a three year period starting in mid-2003. They will not be free; libraries will choose between annual subscription and outright purchase.

The British Library (BL) and Book Industry Communication (BIC) have produced SIMONE (the Simple ONIX Editing Tool), software to streamline the creation and exchange of booktrade metadata. Quoting Clive Field, the BL's Director of Scholarship and Collections: "The software will enhance the Library's ability to create a national digital archive, by simplifying the data input to its digital library systems. Contributing to the development of SIMONE also encourages the use of a common standard between users of metadata." See the press release.

David Kirkpatrick reports in today's New York Times that book publishers are distressed that public libraries provide free online access to books. Quoting Miriam Nisbet, legislative counsel for the American Library Association: "What we are really excited about is the potential of the technology to allow greater dissemination of information because getting information into the hands of everybody we can is what we are all about. What we are concerned about is the dark side, which is trying to lock everything up."

See the similar story in Editor & Publisher about public libraries providing free online access to journals and newspapers.

Seth Finkelstein interprets the ruling against CIPA as a handbook of answers to the arguments for censorware.

Two studies released by the ALA in April show that internet and library usage can grow together, not at the expense of one another. (Thanks to LIS News.)