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Karrie Peterson, A Step Toward Tyranny, Los Angeles Times, September 15, 2002. On the Bush administration withdrawal of government publications from public accessibility.
"PubScience is a free online, searchable database that indexes and summarizes articles from more than 1,000 scientific journals that have agreed to participate. It has been helping students, researchers and ordinary citizens since October 1999. But the Department of Energy is poised to pull the plug on PubScience because the service competes with commercial products that are currently free. The operative word is "currently" because there is no guarantee that the no-cost commercial services will stay around or that they will be as comprehensive as PubScience. For years, the information industry has contended that the government should not compete with private business. If PubScience is terminated, it will no doubt demand that other government-sponsored indexes --medical, education, etc.-- be replaced by commercial ones. But let's be honest about the difference: How long will a commercial index be freely distributed to libraries and who will preserve it?"
In the October issue of Wired, Steven Levy profiles Lawrence Lessig.
The chief enforcer of the DMCA believes it is flawed for criminalizing circumvention without regard to infringement.
Remember the story of Jim Lindgren's article from the Yale Law Journal (print circulation 3,300) that was downloaded over 82,000 times when put free online? The experience has so impressed the journal that it will apparently offer open access to all its future articles. (PS: Can anyone confirm this?) (Thanks to Glenn Reynolds via Ben Finkelstein.)
According to the September 20, 2002 update from BioMed Central, a new open-access online journal has been launched, eHealth International. It "publishes papers on all aspects of using electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support long distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, public health and health administration".
The Sacramento Bee: Use of public libraries grows with Internet. "The University of Illinois survey, "Public Library Use and Economic Hard Times," found that since the economy tanked in March 2001 average monthly circulation has been up as much as 12 percent when compared to 2000. Interestingly, librarians say the Internet and related technological advances also seem to be fueling interest in public libraries and increasing and diversifying their workloads. Instead of making libraries irrelevant, the Web seems to be making them more valuable than ever." [via Jenny Levine]
Download free anthologies of essays about economics by Sam Vaknin - first published by United Press International (UPI).
Reminder: at 1:00 pm EST today, Kenneth Frazier will respond to online questions and comments about the impact of the "big deal" (bundling ejournal subscriptions) on academic libraries. The online forum is limited to subscribers to the Chronicle of Higher Education, but is based on this freely accessible article. Subscribers may start posting their questions and comments at any time.
In the October issue of the ACRL College & Research Libraries News, Rick Johnson describes the history of SPARC and ACRL collaboration to reform scholarly communication (e.g. the CreateChange web site), and sketches where SPARC plans to go in the future. Much of its future activity will be devoted to the "open access opportunity" laid out in the Budapest Open Access Initiative, which SPARC helped to draft and which the ARCL board endorsed at its June 2002 meeting. Johnson is the director of SPARC.
The October issue of Walt Crawford's Cites & Insights is now online. This issue contains Walt's latest reflections on open access ("The Access Puzzle"), which are generally skeptical or conflicted. He focuses his attention on SPARC's CreateChange site, the threat to PubSCIENCE, and the Budapest Open Access Initiative's FAQ. (PS: I plan to write a response, at least to Walt's concerns about the BOAI FAQ.)
The latest project of the Internet Archive is to bring public domain ebooks to the people --and to public consciousness. It has launched a bookmobile to drive across the country, starting in East Palo Alto on September 30. The bookmobile will arrive in Washington D.C. on October 8, the day before the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in Eldred v. Ashcroft, the case challenging the Bono Copyright Extension Act that steals from the public domain and gives to private individuals and corporations. Wherever the bookmobile stops, people can step inside, download any of 9,000 public domain books from the archive, print them out, and take them home, all free of charge. See Annalee Newitz's story in AlterNet. (Thanks to LIS News.)
The University of Pittsburgh has launched the Parallax Project, which offers free online access to 60 years' worth of astronomical observation data from the Allegheny Observatory. The data are hard to find in their paper format, and now searchable in ways that were impossible on paper. See Brock Read's story on the project in today's Chronicle of Higher Education.
Project Euclid "Cornell University Library, in partnership with SPARC, is proud to launch Project Euclid, an initiative to advance effective and affordable scholarly communication in theoretical and applied mathematics and statistics."
Oops! There's an error in my previous post. On September 16 2002, The Chemistry Preprint Server had archived a total of 532 preprints (not 32!).
On September 16 2002, the The Chemistry Preprint Server (CPS; free registration required) had archived a total of 32 preprints (not counting conference proceedings). Of these preprints, 236 (44%) were classified as Physical Chemistry. The next most frequent category was Organic Chemistry (55/532 = 10%). On July 23 2002 (when I previously checked CPS), the total number of archived preprints was 500, of which 224 (45%) were in Physical Chemistry. Of the 32 preprints archived in this (almost) 2-month interval, 12 (38%) were in Physical Chemistry. Physical chemists appear to share with physicists (see: arXiv) a greater willingness to post eprints to an electronic archive.
The September issue of D-Lib Magazine is now online.
FIGARO is a new, EU-funded initiative to improve the speed and efficiency, and reduce the cost, of electronic scholarly publishing. The name is an acronym (Federated Initiative of GAP and Roquade) based on the Dutch Roquade project and the German Academic Publishers (GAP), which combined to form the new initiative. FIGARO will offer tools and services for producing free and affordable scholarly journals. The best short introduction is today's press release, and the best longer one is Leo Waaijers' article on FIGARO's history and mission.
The Canadian Association of Research Libraries has posted the program and registration information for its November 21-22 conference, Research Innovation and Scholarship: The Role of Open Access Publishing.
Today the Pew Internet & American Life Project released its report, The Internet Goes to College. Among its findings: only 9% of U.S. college students use the library more than the internet for information searching.
In today's New York Times, Rebecca Fairley Raney reports that some states charge for information that other states put online free of charge.
An international panel of copyright and science experts recommends that developing countries (1) favor open source software, (2) not enact anti-circumvention rules, (3) declare shrinkwrap licenses null and void, (4) adopt explicit fair-use rules for "creating and distributing printed electronic copies in reasonable numbers for educational and research purposes and making reasonable excerpts in commentary and criticism", and (5) adopt a rule that "[i]f suppliers of digital information or software attempt to restrict fair use rights, either through contract provisions or by technological methods of protection, the contract provisions may be treated as void." (Read the ZDNet summary or the full report.)
The September 16 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education has four articles on how budget cuts and recession are eroding our "intellectual infrastructure" especially in libraries and university presses (1, 2, 3, 4, each accessible only to paying subscribers). The first of these quotes Willis Regier, director of the University of New Mexico Press: "Universities may find that a more honest way to track the cost of publications would be to fund them upfront, publish them electronically, and publish them free." (PS: Apart from Regier, no one interviewed for these stories suggested open access as a solution. If your campus is discussing this erosion, make sure that open access is not overlooked.)