Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, July 13, 2002

Adam Bostock, Avoiding Information Overload: Knowledge Management on the Internet. On how XML and metadata can already help, and how they will help more as the semantic web evolves. Published by JISC.

Graham Coult, Copyright: The Librarian's Perspective. Transcript of a talk to the staff of Managing Information.

Thought this letter is worth forwarding in full: Dear CogPrints Authors and Users: One way to help hasten the filling of open-access archives is to offer services that demonstrate to authors and their institutions the increased visibility and impact that self-archiving their published articles brings them, over and above journal publication itself. There has already been mention in the American Scientist Forum from time to time of Citebase, a citation-ranked search service developed at Southampton, covering some of the largest OAI archives (mainly physics). Citebase is not yet widely known because we wanted to avoid publicizing the service widely during its development while we were still fixing bugs. We will soon begin raising awareness of Citebase in the wider academic community, but first we are anxious to ensure that it will be useful and usable. So I am hereby inviting those of you with the interest and time to test Citebase now and give us feedback on it. A Web form takes you through a short exercise highlighting its principal features at: The subject matter is still mainly physics, but the general utility of citation-ranked navigation will be, we hope, transparent. (Citebase is produced as part of the Open Citation project, funded by the Joint NSF - JISC International Digital Libraries Research Programme.) Many thanks, Stevan Harnad Principal Investigator Garfield, E., (1955) Citation Indexes for Science: A New Dimension in Documentation through Association of Ideas. Science 122: 108-111 Harnad, S. (2001) Research Access, Impact and Assessment. Times Higher Education Supplement 1487: p. 16. Harnad, S. & Carr, L. (2000) Integrating, Navigating and Analyzing Eprint Archives Through Open Citation Linking (the OpCit Project). Current Science 79(5): 629-638. Lawrence, S. (2001a) Online or Invisible? Nature 411 (6837): 521. Lawrence, S. (2001b) Free online availability substantially increases a paper's impact. Nature Web Debates. Odlyzko, A.M. (2002) The rapid evolution of scholarly communication. Learned Publishing 15: 7-19. (Another copy.)

Friday, July 12, 2002

Declan McCullagh, Copyright bill may severely limit rights, ZDNet News, July 11. On the Berman-Coble bill and the ways in which it would restrict fair-use rights. McCullagh is undoubtedly right that one of its purposes is to derail Rick Boucher's bill, which would restore fair-use rights already revoked by the DMCA. Oddly, all the co-sponsors of the new bill have issued disclaimers that they don't necessarily endorse it. In Howard Berman's case, the reason is that he's even more radically opposed to fair-use rights than his bill. For example, the bill allows webcasters to make temporary cached or buffered copies, which are necessary parts of the content streaming process. Berman opposes the exemption for buffered copies.

There's an interesting article on "open-source biology", entitled May the Source Be With You, by Nicholas Thompson, in The Washington Monthly, July/August 2002. In the article, a linkage is made between open-source biology and PubMed Central, the NIH-sponsored digital archive of peer-reviewed primary research reports in the life sciences.

To read about the 6-7 million year old "Toumai" skull recently discovered in Chad, Nature is offering free online access to two new articles, three news items, and 10 classic papers on related subjects.

I've added an alert service to the page of FOS conferences. Now you can sign up to receive email notification whenever the page is updated.

Thursday, July 11, 2002

The July 11 Shelflife is now online.

Art Jahnke, Librarians at the Gate, Darwin, June 26. On the division between publishers and libraries created by ebooks and especially the issue of lending the same ebook to more than one patron simultaneously. (Thanks to Shelflife.)

Gabriel (Gateway and Bridge to Europe's National Libraries) has just redesigned its web site. The portal gives access to 41 European national libraries.

If you participated in the text-e online seminar last year (October 2001 - March 2002) on the impact of the web on reading, writing, and the diffusion of knowledge, then take a moment to fill out its online survey.

Peter Scott hosts a discussion board on "e-journal access issues, particularly those cases where access is NOT by IP address i.e. must have a username/password; single-machine access; the "5 IP-only"; restricted to Thursdays; etc. Post the titles causing you grief, the publishers causing you to age prematurely, and so on...."

James Sweetland, Electronic Text: How Do We Manage? Library Collection Development & Management, July 2002. On how libraries pay for electronic journals. "At this point we lack both information and consensus." (Thanks to the Library Link Newsletter.)

The Internet Library of Early Journals. A free online archive of 18th and 19th century British journals sponsored by eLib and the Universities of Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, and Oxford. The collection includes the Philosophical Transations of the Royal Society as well as five less scholarly journals. For each included journal, the archive contains at least 20 years of the public domain back run. Journal pages are images OCR'd for searching. I can't tell from the site whether ILEJ will eventually add other journals to the collection. (Thanks to ResearchBuzz.)

More on the problem of excessive accessibility....Michael Geist is predicting more lawsuits against search engines for making information easy to find that someone believes is harmful and ought to be hard to find. The worrisome precedent is the Deutsche Bahn attempt to get Google and Alta Vista to drop links to a website on railroad sabotage. (See FOSN for 4/22/02.)

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

The ERIL (Electronic Resources in Libraries) email list contains a good discussion thread on Sage's decision to remove all its full text journals from EBSCO. EBSCO's response has been to look for non-profit journals to replace the Sage content, which is helpful. EBSCO can be forgiven for trying to minimize the damage to its journal aggregate caused by Sage's decision, but it minimizes the damage so much that it treats scholarly journals as if they were fungible and starts to sound like a late-night TV commercial for sofa-sized paintings. Are journals with equivalent embargo periods or back runs really equivalent? If scholarly journals really were fungible, then the serials pricing crisis would disappear and the FOS movement would triumph overnight —libraries would only have to replace expensive journals with "equivalent" free journals.

Salon is hyping a program at the San Francisco Public Library to loan ebooks in conjunction with NetLibrary. Yes, the books are free and digital. But borrowers cannot print or copy them, and must get a library card in person at one of the San Francisco branch libraries. Individual ebooks cannot be used by more than one patron simultaneously, and most of the titles are in the public domain and available elsewhere online with fewer restrictions. (Thanks to LIS News.)

I just updated the page of FOS-related conferences.

Tuesday, July 09, 2002

Another advantage of online scholarship. A Dutch library patron was fined 160 for taking off his shoes in the Delft library after repeatedly being told not to do so. A journalist who interviewed him reported that his feet smelled like "a bag of rotten potatoes that had been kept in a cupboard for two weeks."

A Danish court has ordered an internet news service to stop deep linking to individual stories in a Danish newspaper. While this ruling is harmful to the web at large, and should be reversed, its effect on scholarship will be limited. The court's rationale is that deep linking undermined the value of the newspaper's advertising. While online scholarship depends on deep linking, links to individual journal articles will rarely undermine anyone's ads. On the other hand, scholarship in history and the social sciences often depends on information in ad-supported media like newspapers, and search engines that index them.