Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, August 23, 2003

The project DARE, in which Dutch Universities cooperate to set up a national infrastructure for electronic publishing, has released a report entitled Specifications for a Networked Repository for Dutch Universities.

A functional model for an IR is presented. [ ..... ] Given the fact that the result of DARE will be a network of repositories, the largest part of the report is focused on the interoperability section of the model, including the requirement specifications for the interoperability, the international standards to which DARE partners have agreed to apply are mentioned, with special attention to metadata.

Friday, August 22, 2003

Catherine Zandonella, Economics of open access, TheScientist, August 22, 2003. The good news: she covers the controversy in detail, moving well past the cliches and misunderstandings common just a few months ago. The bad news: except for one line on PubMed Central, she ignores the economics of open-access archives. (PS: For the record, she also misquotes me. I said that even if an open-access journal publisher went out of business or were bought by a commercial publisher, the back runs of its open access journals would remain openly accessible, not that they would remain in the "public domain".)

Update. TheScientist has just published my letter to the editor, at the end of Zandonella's article. I thank the journal for this courtesy.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

The presentations from the conference, "Emerging Visions for Access in the Twenty-first Century Library" (April 2003), are now online. Unfortunately, all the presentations are merged into a single PDF file without internal anchors. Be sure to scroll to Mike Eisen's contribution, "The Open Access Movement in Scholarly Communication", at pp. 56-65. (Thanks to ResourceShelf.)

The presentations from the 3rd Open Archives Forum Workshop (Berlin, March 27-29, 2003) are now online.

More on the WIPO meeting....Jonathan Krim reports the story in today's Washington Post. Remember as you read that while Krim focuses on open-source software, the WIPO meeting was to have covered open access to science and other related issues as well.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Brian Dougherty, Scientific Publishing System in the Spotlight, Capitol Connection (published by the American Chemical Society), August, 2003. An overview of PLoS and the Sabo bill. (Thanks to Jill Oneill.)

Today's issue of Technology Daily PM Edition has two articles by William New on the US objections to a WIPO meeting on open source software and open access to science. Among the US arguments that WIPO should not hold the meeting: WIPO's mission is to protect intellectual property, not to consider whether it might be overprotecting it.

Carrie Russell, Fair Use Under Fire, Library Journal, August 15, 2003. Excerpt: "If you accept that the future is digital, then you must also accept that the work of librarians, whose very enterprise is dependent upon fair use, is threatened by the current DRM agenda."

The University of Virginia Library has released Fedora v. 1.1, and the source code is now available for downloading. "Fedora" is an acronym for Flexible Extensible Digital Object and Repository Architecture. For more information about v. 1.1, see the press release.

The Public Library of Science has an online preview of its first issue of PLoS Biology (due in October). It has also started letting readers sign up for email alerts when new issues of PLoS Biology appear.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Today's NewScientist reports on the Public Library of Science, its open-access business model, its eminent editorial board, the important papers it is attracting, and some of the controversy surrounding it.

The Internet Archive's Bookmobile will visit the Seybold Conference next month. The bookmobile is a rolling demonstration of the value of the public domain. Using portable print-on-demand technology and a satellite dish connected to the internet, the bookmobile takes a user's request for any of over 100,000 public domain books. Bookmobilist and driver Ashley Rindsberg then downloads the text, prints it, binds it, and hands it over, no charge. The Bookmobile's expenses are paid by the Internet Archive, a non-profit organization. (Thanks to ResourceShelf.)

Edwin Sequeira, PubMed Central--Three Years Old and Growing Stronger, ARL Bimonthly Report, no. 228 (June 2003) pp. 5-9. Excerpt: "PubMed Central (PMC) is the National Library of Medicine's (NLM) digital archive of medical and life sciences journal articles. It was conceived in the spring of 1999 when Harold Varmus, then director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) of which NLM is a part, proposed that NIH create and manage an open archive of research papers in the life sciences. Many of the early exchanges about the proposal within the publishing community made it sound as if revolution was in the air. The reality, however, is that PubMed Central represents evolution not revolution. PMC is here to stay, but it does not spell disaster for academic societies and other publishers." (Thanks to ResourceShelf.)

Today's Sacramento Bee is running an editorial endorsing open access, PLoS, and the Sabo bill. After quoting Elsevier's Pieter Bolman asserting that research articles are "very esoteric" and "not written for the public", the editorial replies: "Such thinking seems more self-serving than public minded. Patients with serious health conditions don't find studies about potential new treatments esoteric in the least. Neither do scientists who can't afford to subscribe to every journal with relevant material....Here's hoping that PloS succeeds and that Congress approves current efforts to improve public access to public research. If that happens, the public will win, too."

From the August 18 issue of BioMed Central Update: "BioLINK has recently announced a textmining competition. One of the tasks assigned to competitors involves automatically sifting through BioMed Central's corpus of open access articles to find information on protein function."

Monday, August 18, 2003

The September issue of Walt Crawford's Cites & Insights is now online. This issue contains a major section on Scholarly Article Access. It covers the Sabo bill (good survey of opinion pro and con), my own newsletter (a favorable review), Open Access Now, the Bethesda statement, and a handful of articles on open access. (PS: I swear that Walt is warming up to open access. This is both his longest examination of open access in one issue and his friendliest. He's skeptical about some approaches and some arguments, but if he's still skeptical of open access itself, he doesn't say so this time.)

I've written a short article, Open Access to Science and Scholarship, for the InfoPaper to be distributed at the December 2003 meeting of the World Summit on the Information Society in Geneva. If you need a 1,000 word intro to open access, have a look.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is exposing its free onlinle abstracts to the Google crawler for indexing. This will include abstracts from the 120 IEEE journals, 300 annual conferences, and 900 technical standards. Full-text is still pay-per-view.

Have you ever been hampered in useful work by overly restrictive intellectual property laws? If so, then Public Knowledge, Creative Commons, and The Center for the Study of the Public Domain want to hear your story. The three groups have launched a campaign to collect horror stories to educate policymakers about the lopsided state of IP law. "Please email your story to with 'Public Domain Stories' in the header. We'll present your stories to legislators, press and the general public through a website, video and other media. Please provide your name and a phone number where we can reach you during the day and tell us if you would prefer to remain anonymous when we publish your story."

Global Access to UK Research: Removing the barriers: "The JISC wishes to invite individuals in the further and higher education sectors who are interested in the dissemination of the results of UK research to attend a one-day seminar at Universities UK, Woburn Place, London on Thursday 20 November. The distinguished guest speakers - who include Mark Walport of the Wellcome Trust and Jean-Claude Guedon of the University of Montreal - will describe current initiatives to remove the barriers to research publications. The barriers of price and licensing restrictions are hindering access to the results of academic research world-wide, and the seminar will place UK initiatives in the context of international moves to create open access to published research."

Sunday, August 17, 2003

Today's Boston Globe has an unsigned editorial expressing doubt about the merits and feasibility of open access. Despite the Globe's fairly balanced article last Thursday, this editorial is based on many misunderstandings --for example, that journal availability in libraries that have paid for access diminishes the need for open access, that free access after an embargo period diminishes the need for open access, that free access in developing world diminshes the need for open access, that upfront funding of OA journals makes authors pay, and that article fees paid after acceptance could skew peer review decisions by unpaid referees.