Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, May 22, 2003

Monday, May 26, will be the first anniversary of FOS News. I thank all our contributors, sources, correspondents, and readers. Year Two will be even better and I can prove it. Stay tuned for an announcement explaining how and why. (PS: I mention the birthday in advance because I'll be out of town without connectivity from tomorrow until 5/27.)

The June issue of Walt Crawford's Cites & Insights is now online. The FOS-related content in this issue includes a section on the state DMCA's, a section Copyright Currents with a subsection on the Creative Commons, and a section on ebooks.

The Open eBook Forum has created a Library SIG to host "open dialog that may shape the future of electronic book use in academic, public and corporate libraries". The Library SIG has a mailing list for all who would like to join. (Thanks to ResourceShelf.)

After long, divisive debate, the W3C has finally agreed on a policy for web standards that depend on technologies for which the patent holders demand royalties. The policy is to eschew standards that depend on patents at all, but in very rare cases to permit them. The rare cases in which standards might require royalties would have to be approved by a special panel, and the licensing terms would have to be fully disclosed and subject to public review. Quoting Daniel Weitzner, chair of the W3C Patent Policy Working Group: "Anyone who thinks that's going to be an easy way to squeeze fees out of Web standards I think is mistaken."

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Bruce Schechter has a story in the May 20 New York Times on the open-access National Virtual Observatory and its successes in helping astronomers mine existing data and make new discoveries about the universe. (Free registration required.)

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Yesterday the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and CalTech launched the open-access Einstein Archives Online.

May 12 was the launch date for WebJunction, whose mission is "to build a portal for public libraries and other organizations that provide open access to information" and "to support anyone working to provide successful and sustainable public access to information and technology". OCLC will develop the project over three years with $9 million from the Gates Foundation. WebJunction hosts eight discussion forums, including one on Public Access Policies and Practices and one on Funding Public Access Computing. It also gives four annual Awards to libraries for exemplary achievement in providing public access to information. For more details, explore the extensive WebJunction web site or see Marylaine Block's article about it in the May 20 Information Today.

When is open access not open access? Wiley Interscience now offers pay-per-view to all its electronic journals and books. The press release boasts that the company is "opening up access" to its electronic content. (PS: Compared to subscription-only access, pay-per-view does open things up a bit. However, now that the term "open access" is a widely recognized term of art in the journal industry, Wiley's use of language to echo this term is misleading. Moving print journals from closed stacks to open stacks also opens up access a bit. So does unlocking the library and turning on the lights. But none of these is open access.)

The National Library of the Netherlands has agreed to archive journals from Kluwer Academic Publishers. The arrangement provides the benefit of library-directed long-term preservation for the journals, but not open access. However, the library has the right to offer open access to the journals if KAP should ever cease to offer commercial access to them. The library is seeking to make similar agreements with other academic publishers. For more details, see the press release.

Sunday, May 18, 2003

The journal Stem Cells, which currently is openly accessible online, will, effective July 1, 2003, only be openly accessible after one year. The reason given, on a page entitled Important Information for Stem Cells Online Users, is that "To add "Research Alerts / CiteTrack" and other features to Stem Cells Online requires that users and institutions be subscribers to Stem Cells".