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A review of PLOS Biology in the BMJ gives it a top rating.
An editorial in the BMJ predicts the rapid achievement of the dream of open access to scientific research. Rapid responses to the editorial include one from Richard Horton, editor of the Lancet, which is now fully digitized, though not open access.
Peter Jacsó's annual Cheers and Jeers column for Information Today, reviewing the information highlights of the previous year, is devoted this year to linking initiatives and disasters. He singles out PubMed, PubMed Central, and BioMed Central for praise, the latter two "for digitizing entire runs of much respected journals, making them freely accessible by anyone and easily linkable as you can see in the PDF and/or HTML archive of the Bulletin of the Medical Library Association (from 1911), or in the 1994-2000 issues of the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association...." (Thanks to ResourceShelf.)
Gary Price has compiled a list of what is happing to the clearinghouses since they lost federal funding.
Robin Peek, Open Access Expands Its Reach, Information Today, January 2, 2004. Reviews some recent grounds for optimism. Excerpt: "If I were Alice in Wonderland, I'd say that with each passing month the scholarly publishing landscape just keeps getting curiouser and curiouser. Indeed, those who hoped that open access was just another fantasy in Alice's vivid imagination had better rethink the story line. At no other time in history has academia seemed so poised to abandon the way it has been conducting scholarly publishing and jump down the rabbit hole to experience a new, perhaps more imaginative, reality of liberating publishing from its traditional confines."
Paul Hane, The Latest Developments in Open Access, E-Books, and More, Information Today, January 2, 2004. A round-up of 2003 news, including the Elsevier cancellations, BioMed Central advances, the ALA open forum on open access and related issues at the Midwinter Meeting, and the WSIS.
I just mailed the January issue of the SPARC Open Access Newsletter. In addition to the usual round-up of news and bibliography from the past month, it takes a close look at open access momentum during 2003, the "many-copy problem" and "many-copy solution", and the gap between the literature directly available through a university library and the literature that campus patrons need for their research.
The Wall Street Journal included open access among the top 10 health stories of 2003.
Why should Americans pay to see the results of research underwritten by their tax dollars, open-access proponents argue? Their aim instead is to make that information available free to everyone on the Internet. And in doing so, they threaten established journal publishers. Critical to making open access succeed is instilling it with the same kind of quality peer review found in hard-copy journals.See Mark Ingebretsen, The Daily Scan, Wall Street Journal, December 30, 2003 (online access only for subscribers). (Thanks to Debra Lappin.)
LIS News has compiled a list of the top 10 library news stories of 2003. "Open access publishing" is #3. "New efforts in noncommercial publishing, such as Public Library of Science Biology, allowed heavyweights like Cornell to hit Elsevier and other for-profit publishers where it hurts. The Open Source movement has also been focused on libraries."
Harry Goldstein, The Infinite Archive, IEEE Spectrum Online, January 1, 2004. A short piece highlighting "key projects" in the long-term preservation of digital content, including DSpace, the Library of Congress's National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP), and the Internet Archive.
Guy Berger, WSIS and the big picture, Mail & Guardian, December 30, 2003. Excerpt: "The document further includes a reference that 'a rich public domain is an essential element for the growth of the information society'. It adds elsewhere that 'many of the building blocks of the information society are the result of scientific and technological advances made possible by the sharing of research results'. Accordingly, the declaration says there should be open access initiatives for scientific publishing. But to the disappointment of civil society advocates, it stops there, and shies away from the same principle when it comes to support for open and free software....In a bid to highlight the importance of an 'information commons' in the information society, the civil society document notes: 'The increasing privatisation of knowledge production threatens to restrict the availability of research results.'"
Quoting Joel Hartman, CIO for the University of Central Florida, in an interview in the January issue of Syllabus: "To a great extent our reliance on the network is roughly comparable to our dependence on the power grid. The recent blackout in the northeast, I think, has pointed to how much life can change in the event of a power grid outage....[W]e're now looking very seriously at the kinds of risks, threats, and even routine planning and operations that deal with the reliability and security of those networks. Higher education, as you well know, has been an open environment for the creation and sharing of information, and our networks have been designed to facilitate open access to information. We are confronting the conflict between open, free access, and secure network environments. We are going to have to adjust to change and the new realities of what it takes to keep our networks operating, secure, and robust."
The presentations from the ICSTI, INIST, INSERM, and CODATA conference, Open Access to Scientific and Technical Information: State of the Art and Future Trends (Paris, January 23-24, 2003) have been published in Vol. 23, Nos. 2-3, of Information Systems & Use. Unfortunately, the journal edition only provides free online access to the table of contents and abstracts. See the conference web site for streaming audio/video of the presentations and, in some cases, the PPT slides.
The Calgary Herald and CanWest News Service are publishing a five-part series, Future Past, on how scholars are using the internet to study history. From Randy Boswell's review in yesterday's Calgary Herald: "Underlying the project is a new sensibility about how the Internet -- with its global reach, open access, powerful search engines and exhaustive data sets -- is reshaping scholarly research."
Barbara Quint, Elsevier to Close Three End-User Portals, Information Today, December 29, 2003. Mostly on non-OA issues but closing with this observation: "'Open access' issues continue to plague Reed Elsevier. In February and March 2004, the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee will hold an inquiry into scientific publishing. The inquiry is expected to cover high subscription prices, the backlash of academics, both faculty and librarians, and possible government support for open access. A Guardian article on the inquiry quoted the committee chair, Ian Gibson MP, as believing in the idea that 'public funded research should be freely available to everybody to see it.' This U.K. move would echo activities already underway in the U.S., from the Public Library of Science to the Sabo bill."