Open Access News

News from the open access movement


Saturday, December 28, 2002

Looking for a review of the major events of FOS interest from 2002? Me too. While I won't have time to write one this year, I've listed what I regard as the landmark events of 2002 in the FOS Timeline. Before your memory fades, have a look and let me know if you have any additions or corrections.

Friday, December 27, 2002

Steve Hitchcock, Arouna Woukeu, Tim Brody, Les Carr, Wendy Hall and Stevan Harnad, Evaluating Citebase, an open access Web-based citation-ranked search and impact discovery service. A preprint released this month.

Abstract: "Google, the most popular search engine among Web users, has built its success on a tool borrowed from the scholarly community: citation analysis. Google treats links as citations, and ranks search results on the basis of the number of links to Web pages. Citebase is a new citation-ranked search and impact discovery service that returns Web-based citation analysis to its roots by measuring citations of scholarly research papers. Citebase can be used to rank papers by impact, and like Google it does this for pages that are openly available on the Web, that is, papers that are freely accessible and assessable continuously online by anyone who is interested, any time. Other services, such as ResearchIndex, have emerged to offer citation indexing of Web research papers. In the first detailed investigation of the impact of an open access Web citation indexing service with users, Citebase has been evaluated by nearly 200 users from different backgrounds. This report analyses and discusses the results of this study, which took place between June and October 2002. It was found that within the scope of its primary components, the search interface and services available from its rich bibliographic records, Citebase can be used simply and reliably for the purpose intended, and that it compares favourably with other bibliographic services. Coverage is seen as a limiting factor, and better explanations and guidance are required for first-time users."

Creative Commons has launched a weblog.

Thursday, December 26, 2002

More on the Eldred case....Lawrence Lessig restates the argument against copyright extension in the December 12 CIO Insight. Excerpt: "This additional 20 years of protection means 20 more years of licensing before content can be easily used on the Internet. And while lawyers donít often recognize the burden the law imposes on business, businesses can easily recognize the burden of 20 more years of licensing. Imagine a world where used bookstores would have to pay royalties each time a used book was sold: Would there be any used bookstores? Or imagine a world where you had to sign a contract before you were allowed to link to another site on the World Wide Web. Would there be a World Wide Web? And if you think thatís bad, imagine having to deal with copyright term extensions for works created in 1923. Youíd need to get the permission of unknown and effectively untraceable owners before you could put content on the Web. That is our future if copyright terms continue to grow."

How would you like to browse Amazon.com until you find an interesting book, and then click on a link (bookmarklet) to see whether that book is available at your local library? Jon Udell describes the general technique in InfoWorld and elaborates on his blog. The method works for any online bookstore using ISBNs in its URLs for individual books and any library whose online public-access catalog (OPAC) does the same. This is a previously unnoticed freebie arising from the acceptance of the ISBN standard. Andy Powell has adapted the technique to support OpenURLs.

The other day I asked for help in locating the editorial in The Lancet on Ronald LaPorte's argument for replacing scientific journal articles with free online powerpoint presentations. See David Sharp, Two P's Better Than One? Ronald LaPorte is at it again, The Lancet, 360, 9350 (December 21, 2002). Unfortunately, not even an abstract is free online. (Thanks to David Mackinder.)

Monday, December 23, 2002

I won't be posting much for the next few days, and I hope you won't be reading much. Enjoy your holidays.

The January 2003 issue of Walt Crawford's Cites & Insights is now online. The FOS-related parts of this issue include Walt's remarks on the Elcomsoft case, the CIPA case, and copyright news, esp. the launch of the Creative Commons. Finally, he includes a section on The Access Puzzle, which covers the death of PubSCIENCE, the two new PLoS journals, LOCKSS, a plug for FOS News, a pointer to my two pieces on measuring FOS progress (in FOSN for 9/15/02), and some general reflections on FOS triggered by my interview in The Technology Source. Walt is worried that FOS will kill human indexing and that automated indexing will not suffice. He also worried that FOS will kill print journals and (apparently) that digital preservation and superior retrieval tools will not make back issues available in the helpful way that back runs of print journals are available to new scholars learning the ropes in a field. He has other worries but you should read them in his own words.

More on Total Information Awareness....The government doesn't want a centralized database subsuming all the other public and private databases in the nation. Instead it wants tools for reading what it needs to read, wherever it may happen to reside and in whatever form it may happen to be coded. In short, it needs tools for access and interoperability --uncannily like what scientists and scholars have been building for years, in part for use in the FOS movement. Two tools that have already been mentioned are P2P (in the form of Ray Ozzie's Groove), and XML. P2P lets agencies share what they know without storing it in a central location. XML is the lingua franca for making structured information universally readable.

(PS: We know access and interoperability. We can do access and interoperability. Do we want to do TIA? Do we want to tweak these tools for use in government surveillance? Do we want TIA research grants? The government has already shown its willingness to consider tools built on open standards, but what about tools that provide access and interoperability openly? Is this is a case of a near overlap of interest that that makes each side look at the other more closely --and then walk away?)

Last night was the deadline for EU member states to adopt the EU's new, restrictive Copright Directive. Only Greece and Denmark adopted the Directive by the deadline. The UK will adopt it by March 31. The other member states did not miss the deadline because they were dilatory. They were unpersuaded that strong legal protection for DRM was feasible or necessary, and were persuaded by ISPs that the Directive would injure consumer rights. This is a major defeat for the content industry, which lobbied for the new law. It may be at least a year until a new Directive can be adopted across Europe, and that version may contain significant revisions favoring consumers.

ALPSP has just released its guidelines for smoothing the transition when a society journal moves to a new publisher. Most of the guidelines will also apply to non-society journals. They were prepared in consultation with many ALPSP members, but especially Blackwell Publishing, Oxford University Press, and the Royal Society of Chemistry.

The new issue of Henry Gladney's Digital Document Quarterly is now online. Like earlier issues, it focuses on issues and developments in the long-term preservation of digital information.

Amy Friedlander and Rändi S. Bessette, Scholars Debate the Implications of Information Technology for Scientific Journal Publishing, InfoBrief, December 2002. Summarizing a forthcoming literature review of the same title from the Division of Science Resources Statistics of the National Science Foundation. The literature review will cover 380 articles, reports, papers, and studies.