Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, September 13, 2003

The September/October issue of Educause Review is now online, and contains two articles on knowledge sharing.Neither article mentions open access.

Alex Byrne, Digital libraries: barriers or gateways to scholarly information?, The Electronic Library, 21, 5 (2003) pp. 141-421. Only this abstract is free online: "Unprecedented desktop access to scholarly information has been made possible by the introduction of digital libraries. The powerful combination of digital publications, specialist and generalist databases, sophisticated search systems and portals enables scholars and students to rapidly examine a great variety of the literature in their own disciplines and those new to them. Access is available globally 24 hours a day without geographical limitation. But that access is not without limitations. It is limited by the availability of reliable and affordable information and communication technologies. It is limited to those scholars and students who are affiliated with organisations which have the money and skills to provide access. It is limited to those who are literate, information-literate and have a command of the major languages of commerce and scholarship (English in particular). In addition, contractual and other bounds imposed by vendors exclude many potential users. In combination, these limitations inhibit many scholars and students from using digital scholarly information and can increase the marginalisation of the already marginalised including, especially, indigenous peoples. This contradiction between access for some and marginalisation for many poses many challenges for libraries."

The October issue of Walt Crawford's Cites & Insights is now online. In this issue, Walt has a section on CIPA and the following speculation: "If all current journal literature was replaced by open access 'author-fee' literature at $X per article, would that be an overall savings? I rarely see [this] question discussed. I suspect that the answer to [this] question is that if X is 500, there might be an overall saving --and if X is 1500, the total cost of scholarly article access would be higher. Given that $500 and $1,500 are the price points for today’s most prominent experiments in up-front financing, that’s significant."

Harvard Law School is trying to raise $7 million to finish its Nuremberg Trials Project, a free online archive of documents from the Nuremberg trials. It has already prepared and posted 7,000 pages, but this amounts to only 1/3 of the documents from one trial, and there were 13 trials. (Thanks to LIS News.)

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Another declaration of independence....The entire editorial board of Labor History (published by Taylor & Francis) resigned in protest over the journal's high subscription price and lack of editorial independence. The same editors then launched Labor with non-profit Duke University Press, which will publish its first issue in February 2004. Labor is a partner of SPARC, which assisted in the transition and launch. For more details, see the SPARC press release.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

More on creeping anti-terrorism....When is selling a book about hockey an act of terrorism? The National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, and the National Football League are joining forces to argue before the Supreme Court that a lower court ruling that permits the selling of books outside sports stadiums must be overturned on the ground that it would permit terrorists to disguise themselves as booksellers and get dangerously close to the stadium. Behind this fracas is a book by hockey fan Mark Weinberg critical of Bill Wirtz, owner of the Chicago Blackhawks. Weinberg likes to sell his book outside the Blackhawks' stadium, and Wirtz wants this to stop. (Thanks to LIS News.) (PS: What if terrorists disguised themselves as men in suits?)

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

More on the database bill....Four major library groups have sent an open letter opposing the bill to James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary, and Billy Tauzin (R-LA), Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. In addition to specific objections to the bill, the open letter contains this paragraph: "Finally, as described in the enclosed article and editorial from the Washington Post and the New York Times, the scientific and research communities are moving in a very new and exciting direction to spur the advancement of knowledge. The new approach, 'open access,' encourages and supports the greater sharing of data and information across and between disciplines to promote the advancement of science and innovation. Many in the scientific community are embracing this new dissemination model for several reasons: restrictive licensing terms and conditions, the high cost of journals, and the opportunity to better realize the benefits of the information technologies utilized in support of research. Thus the approach taken in the draft database bill is strikingly at odds with how the research and education communities are increasingly engaging in scientific and research discovery."

The September 8 issue of Open Access Now is now online. This issue features a news story about Oxford University Press' experiments with open access, an article by BMC Technical Director Matthew Cockerill on Data Mining Open Access Research, and a short profile of the Budapest Open Access Initiative. Starting with this issue, readers can sign up to receive tables of contents by email. Look for the sign-up box at the bottom of the left column.

The September 9 issue of Biz Ink profiles some companies using Oracle's new grid computing technology. One is BioMed Central. "BioMed Central is using Oracle Database 10g to make it easier for scientists to manage the publishing process. BioMed Central is also using Oracle Database 10g to offer its customers -- 300-plus institutions, such as Harvard University, National Institutes of Health (NIH), World Health Organization (WHO), Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Columbia University and the University of California -- low publication costs combined with open access to the research once it has been published. The end result is a hundred-fold reduction in 'cost-per-article-access' compared to conventional publishing."

More on the WIPO meeting....The EFF has taken up the cause and created an online form to let users send a letter to James Rogan, Director of the USPTO, and his boss, Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans, asking them to withdraw US opposition and support the meeting. Please consider making your voice heard through the EFF site.

A Dutch court has ruled that it is lawful to link to copyrighted content online without the copyright holder's consent. The Church of Scientology was the losing plaintiff. (PS: This is one of those completely obvious decisions that is only important because it could, in fact, have gone the other way.)

Monday, September 08, 2003

Barbara Quint describes the new search engine at the Internet Archive in the September 8 issue of Information Today.

Andrea Foster reports in the September 12 Chronicle of Higher Education that Questia is laying off workers, closing offices, and cancelling its marketing campaign. (The article is only accessible to subscribers.) Questia is a priced online digital library whose business model was to sell expensive subscriptions ($19.95 per month) to high school and college students. It's still in business but much less successful than its founder hoped. (PS: Open access provides the convenience of free online access, and we believe this is as good as it gets. But if you ever wondered whether the runner-up --for students-- was highly priced online access or free access through a school library, the Questia experience suggests the latter.)

Sunday, September 07, 2003

François Schiettecatte has added an RSS interface to my.OAI. (PS: I believe this is the first OAI-compliant data service offering RSS. Kudos, François.)

On August 23 the Public Knowledge Project released version 1.1.5 of Open Journal Systems, its open-source software for journal management. This upgrade lets editors choose among different management models and gives them more control over the Research Support Tool, which accompanies each published article. For more details, see the web site or press release.