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The Earlham College server, which hosts this blog, will be down for maintenance tomorrow, Saturday, June 12, from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm Eastern Standard Time. I'm sorry for the interruption of service.
Beyond capitalism? An unsigned editorial in The Economist, June 10, 2004 (accessible only to subscribers). On the application of the open-source model to "goods other than software". Excerpt: "Even where the open-source model is not adopted, however, it can still have beneficial effects. The very existence of open-source alternatives often acts as a force for greater openness and transparency. Microsoft, despite its hatred of open-source, now allows certain large customers to inspect its source code, though not to share or modify it. A similar 'open-sourcesque' concession was recently made by Reed Elsevier, a publisher of scientific journals. Stung by comparisons with the openness of internet-based journals, it will now allow academics to post papers that have been accepted for publication in its journals on their own websites too." (Thanks to Darius Cuplinskas.)
On June 4 CENDI and ICSTI updated their report, Digital Preservation and Permanent Access to Scientific Information: The State of the Practice (originally February 2004). Section 4.4.1 is devoted to Open Access, and 4.4.2 to Institutional Repositories.
Neil McLean and Clifford Lynch, Interoperability between Library Information Services and Learning Environments - Bridging the Gaps, IMS Global Learning Consortium and the Coalition for Networked Information, June 10, 2004. The final version of the white paper (previous versions blogged here on 7/2/03 and 5/24/04). Excerpt: "The primary purpose of this paper is to explore potential interactions between information environments and learning environments, with emphasis on work that needs to be done involving standards, architectural modelling or interfaces (as opposed to cultural, organizational or practice questions) in order to permit these two worlds to co-exist and co-evolve more productively....Finally, it is important to recognize that while we have stressed architectural and standards efforts in this paper, those are only a means to an end. As they move forward, they must be complemented by experimental implementations, test beds, and other deployment efforts to validate and refine the standards and architecture work. And it is essential that we bring all of the real users and stakeholders – teachers, students, teaching assistants, librarians, records managers, graduates (former students), instructional technologists, course authors, and others – into the design, use and evaluation of these testbeds. We hope that this White Paper will also help to lead to the formulation of collaborations to advance such prototype deployment efforts."
Alan Schroeder, Jr., The Legend of Lost Links, Darwin, June 2004. Excerpt: "To most of us, inactive or incorrect URLs are nothing new, as are typographical errors within print footnotes and missing electronic documents. However, increasingly for undergraduates and professional researchers like Robert Dellavalle [who has studied this problem], websites are primary resources. For institutions receiving billions in government contracts and grants based on past research, success is a vested interest in maintaining integrity....Expect URLs to continue to disappear with no explanation. And expect to see a lot of conflicting and duplicative research."
The presentations from the meeting, Technical and Economic Challenges of Scientific Information: STM Content Access, Linking and Archiving, the public portion of the otherwise private ICSTI 2004 General Assembly (London, May 17, 2004), are now online in the June 2004 issue of the ICSTI Forum. Many of them are strongly OA-related. (PS: I especially recommend Jan Velterop's presentation, Taking a Leaf out of Houdini's Book.)
Stephen Downes, RSS: Grassroots Support Leads to Mass Appeal, Leaning Circuits, June 2004. Downes gives an overview of RSS and then points out the similarities to the Open Archives Initiative (OAI) which uses Dublin Core rather than RSS. Excerpt:
The OAI initiative has been widely embraced by the academic community and has supported several spin-offs, the most notable being MIT’s DSpace open archiving service. The Institutional Archives Registry now lists about 180 feeds containing many thousands of academic articles. Another aggregation service, OAIster reports as of this writing to have collected 3,063,884 records from 277 institutions.(Source: beSpacific)
BioMed Central released a new Open Access journal today. From the journal's About page:
The journal invites submissions on research in reproductive health, including social and gender issues, sexual health, country and population specific issues, assessment of service provision, education and training. We specifically invite colleagues from low- and middle-income countries to submit their research findings for publication, sharing their results with others in the field by using the Open Access model.Reproductive Health Fulltext v1+ (2004+) Online ISSN: 1742-4755
The University of Connecticut libraries have posted a guide, "Basic Open Access Web Sites." It includes links to overviews, policies, journal information, preprint servers and respositories, and a list for further reading. (Source: SLA conference session on Open Access Publishing)
Peter Suber, The primacy of authors in achieving open access, Nature, June 10, 2004. This is an abridged and slightly revised version of the article I wrote for SOAN for 6/2/04. Excerpt: "Of all the groups that want OA to scientific and scholarly research literature, only one is in a position to deliver it: authors. It is authors who decide whether to submit their work to OA journals, to deposit their work in OA archives, or to transfer copyright. If you support OA, then the good news is that authors do not need anyone else's permission or cooperation to provide OA to their own work. But the downside is that researchers are notoriously individualistic and as authors do not act as a bloc. If you oppose OA, then simply switch the good news and the bad." (PS: I'm not happy with the editing and recommend the "Director's cut" in SOAN.)
Yesterday the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) launched the NIH Chemical Genomics Center (no URL yet), the first in a series of institutions that will form a network of biomedical research and drug development. For the OA connection, see the June 9 press release: "To support the network, NIH plans to establish a repository to acquire, maintain and distribute a collection of up to 1 million chemical compounds. As was the case for the Human Genome Project, data generated by the chemical genomics network will be deposited in a central database, called PubChem, which will be managed by the National Center for Biotechnology Information at the National Library of Medicine and will be freely available to the entire scientific community."
ACM Transactions on Algorithms (TALG) now has its own website and began accepting submissions this month. TALG is the result of the mass resignation of the editorial board of the Journal of Algorithms, instigated by Donald Knuth's analysis of the journal's pricing history. Knuth noted a troubling pricing trend, repeated attempts to redress the pricing, and the publisher's prolonged intransigence on the topic. A sociological postscript: considering the glacial rate at which CVs are ordinarily updated, except when applying for new positions, the JoA/TALG situation appears to be far from ordinary. Bernard Chazelle (Princeton) wasted no time in adding his TALG editorial board appointment to his CV. Alejandro López-Ortiz (University of Waterloo), likewise, has quickly added his duties as guest co-editor of a forthcoming TALG issue to his CV.
At the Special Libraries Association Conference in Nashville on June 8, 2004, there was a forum, Open Access Publishing. Carolyn Mills, a librarian at University of Connecticut served as moderator. Three librarians gave presentations; another presenter, Julie Blixrud of SPARC, was unable to atttend due to illness. Bentham Science Publishers sponsored the program which was organized by the SLA Biomedical & Life Sciences Division.
David Stern of Yale University led off with his talk "Open Archive Initiatives: underlying issues and long-term implications." His focus, he said, was "free and immediate access for readers," and that he did not consider the author payment model to be full open access. Stern named some factors affecting the open access issue, including copyright and intellectual property, security, archiving and migration and peer review, pointing out in particular that it is "hard to subsidize a peer reviewed archive," alluding to real costs. In lieu of measures such as author page charges he suggested OA journals might offer "enhanced services," like "threaded discussions and virtual reviews." Stern then surveyed the interests of various stakeholders in OA. While readers want "immediate" and "seamless" access to reliable and accurate content, and authors share such interests as well as peer review and "the least publishable unit," editors seek efficiency in the review process, and publishers are concerned with offering access and services but also maintaining a viable revenue model. The speaker also asked the audience to consider the costs of archiving and how these might be borne in OA (e.g. government funding, publishers offering fee-based services such as navigation and reviews,) and whether costs and content might be shared. Finally, Stern alluded to librarians' responsibility to participate in the debate and that it required "collaboration with all stakeholders."
Chuck Hamaker of University of North Carolina-Charlotte followed with an overview of major recent events in the development of OA, including the BOAI, Bethesda and DC principles. He noted confusions that arise between journals that are "free and free at some time," such as many on the Highwire platform, noting that readers "just want the article." In particular he cited the Wellcome Trust's report's noting of OA that papers would be judged by the "intrinsic merit of the work and not the journal title." Hamaker also remarked on several author payment initiatives, including the Entomological Society of America journals, where evidently more than 62% of authors pay to enable open access to their articles. Finally, Hamaker reviewed major OA-related tools such as OAISter and ePrints and acknowledged that OA is a work in progress; "it's coming, it's certainly not here yet."
Long Island University's David Goodman gave a speculative presentation, "Alternative Fates for the Journal System." He diagrammed the financial path for conventional journals, OA, and repositories, pointing out where the money comes from, explaining the advantages and disadvantages of the latter two models, and remarking that repositories would always play a role, particularly because of preprints. Goodman then suggested four possible outcomes, plotted on charts reflecting relative use and subscription year. First, he suggested that if OA journals grow and succeed, the conventional journal system would shrink to less than half its size by 2008, while repositories continue steady growth. In the second scenario, repositories develop before OA and OA journals follow as an overlay to repositories while the conventional journal systems withers, again predicted for 2008. Goodman's third possibility reflected the failure of both conventional and OA journals, due to unsustainable costs for libraries, and the growth of repositories "by default." The last scenario, titled "Publishers act rationally in self-preservation," showed a decline in the number of conventional journals and growth in OA journals and then a levelling off, somewhere around 2009. This "rational alternative" would involve commercial publishers making the system "affordable." Finally, Goodman noted the gap in perceptions of journal necessity among publishers, librarians, physicists and biologists, and concluded with a slide of a tombstone suggesting the imminent demise of the more than three centuries of traditional scholarly journal publishing.
Katie Mantell, Finding open access articles becomes easier, SciDev.Net, June 10, 2004. Excerpt: "Researchers can now search online for more than 46,000 articles published in open access scientific journals, thanks to the launch of the second phase of the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). The new version of the directory, announced last week, allows users to search by article and not simply to browse journals. It now gives access to more than 1,100 open access journals, 270 of which are searchable by article."
Adam Hodgkin, After the tipping point: what next? An archived copy of an article first published in Information World Review, May 14, 2004. Hodgkin focuses on how the major commercial publishers will adjust once we approach, and then pass, the tipping point in favor of OA (written before the recent Elsevier policy-change in favor of postprint archiving). Excerpt: "First, if the open access business model looks as though it could become prevalent there will be advantages in being in the field early. BMC and PLoS are first, but if a major STM publisher makes the switch they will also have an advantage of momentum and established reputation in attracting papers and soliciting institutional support....Second, if open access becomes the dominant mode for primary research publishing and commercial publishers/aggregators are at all involved, there will be considerable economies of scale for any players with the right infrastructure and the ability to attract a lot of throughput." Hodgkin is the President and co-founder of xrefer.
A discussion of open access has emerged on Slashdot, triggered by the Nature OA debate. The good news is that there are a lot of postings pro and con, and the pro postings show a lot of enthusiasm. The bad news is that many of the postings are by people new to the concept who are repeating old misunderstandings. No one will have time to correct them all, so I settled for a few links for those willing to read further. If you can, please help out by correcting some mistaken ideas, answering some objections, or pointing to some good information.
Oxford University Press has launched Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (eCAM), a new peer-reviewed, open-access journal. Quoting the press release: "The 'open access' (OA) publishing model for eCAM will be the third OA initiative from OUP Journals Division, all designed to gain a better understanding of how different open access models could work in different markets and academic disciplines. Nucleic Acids Research is exploring a mandatory author-pays model, whilst Journal of Experimental Botany has implemented an optional author-pays model." eCAM will apparently charge no processing fees at all, thanks to sponsorship by the Ishikawa Natural Products Research Center. eCAM's OA articles will be deposited in PubMed Central and crawled by Google.
Frank Havemann, Eprints in der wissenschaftlichen Kommunikation, text of a June 1 lecture at Humboldt University's Institut für Bibliothekswissenschaft. Havemann argues that eprints and eprint archiving can accelerate progress toward OA. (Thanks to Klaus Graf.)
In late 2003, OCLC produced Environmental Scan: Pattern Recognition, "a high-level view of the information landscape, intended both to inform and stimulate discussion about future strategic directions." It included a section on institutional repositories, scholarly communication, and open access, and we blogged it on January 19, 2004. Yesterday the site won the Presidential Citation from the Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS). ALCTS President Brian Schottlaender described Pattern Recognition as "far more than the 'typical' environmental scan...[it] is destined to become a classic in the field. I join my ALCTS colleagues in extending our congratulations to Lorcan and his OCLC colleagues [Cathy De Rosa and Alane Wilson] on a most excellent piece of work!"
The June 7 issue of Open Access Now is now online. This issue features an interview with Francis Muguet on the WSIS, a news story on CERN's decision to sign the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge, a news story on the Wellcome Trust report supporting the economics of OA journals, and a profile of the Creative Commons.
The mid-June issue of Walt Crawford's Cites & Insights is devoted to Catching Up with Copyright. The copyright issues are indirectly related to OA, as usual. But two parts are more directly OA-related: (1) a section on Saving the Public Domain, on Eldred v. Ashcroft and Kahle v. Ashcroft, and (2) a critique of Jason Griffey's master's thesis, which argued that the ALA should live up to its public statements and provide OA to its publications. Excerpt: "Should the refereed articles [in ALA publications] also be posted online and freely available? Yes, I believe they should --and I believe divisions would welcome that discussion. But that's a different discussion, one that has little to do with 'the perils of strong copyright.' Griffey is to be congratulated for a thoughtprovoking paper and for pushing the suggestion that ALA and its divisions work on putting proclaimed beliefs more thoroughly into practice. There are flaws in the paper, but he raises useful points."
Nancy Kranich, The Information Commons: A Public Policy Report, The Free Expression Policy Project, June 8, 2004. From the executive summary: "Libraries, civic organizations, and scholars have begun to turn the idea of the commons into practice, with a wide variety of open democratic information resources now operating or in the planning stages. These include software commons, licensing commons, open access scholarly journals, digital repositories, institutional commons, and subject matter commons in areas ranging from knitting to music, agriculture to Supreme Court arguments. These many examples of information sharing have certain basic characteristics in common. They are collaborative and interactive. They take advantage of the networked environment to build information communities. They benefit from network externalities, meaning that the greater the participation, the more valuable the resource. Many are free or low cost. Their governance is shared, with rules and norms that are defined and accepted by their constituents. They encourage and advance free expression." Kranich, a past president of the American Library Association, has entire sections on open access and digital repositories.
Mark Chillingworth, Elsevier allows article publishing on personal and institutional sites, Information World Review, June 8, 2004. Excerpt: "Scientific journal giant Elsevier is allowing its authors to publish their works on personal or institutional websites....Access to the papers will be via ScienceDirect or if researchers have a strong knowledge of an academic's or institutional website." (PS: I've heard the latter claim before, but it's mistaken. If the eprint is on the author's personal web site, then Google and other search engines will index it. If it's in the author's institutional respository, then it will be part of an interoperable network and can be discovered by researchers who didn't even know that the repository existed. In addition, Yahoo and Google are starting to index institutional repositories.)
The presentations from the conference, Changing Research Practices in the Digital Information and Communication Environment (Canberra, June 1, 2004) are now online. Quoting from the June 5 press release on the conference: "The Government believes that it has a major policy interest in improving the accessibility of research. It is therefore decided to pursue the agendas of making research quality more apparent, and research results more accessible, in parallel....In terms of accessibility of research the NSCF [National Scholarly Communications Forum] constituents will work with international partners on a number of fronts especially to develop the concept of 'public funding, public knowledge, public access'."
Rockefeller University Press (RUP), working with HighWire Press, has completed the backfile conversion and release of all 3 of RUP's journals. The latest increment is an 80 year expansion of the free backfiles of Journal of Experimental Medicine. Journal of Experimental Medicine, Fulltext v1+ (1896+) 6 month moving wall; Print ISSN: 0022-1007; Online ISSN: 1540-9538 Journal of Cell Biology, Fulltext v1+ (1955+) 6 month moving wall; Print ISSN: 0022-1007; Online ISSN: 1540-9538 Journal of General Physiology, Fulltext v1+ (1918+) 6 month moving wall; Print ISSN: 0022-1295; Online ISSN: 1540-7748
Stephen Pincock, Tool allows open-access search, The Scientist, June 7, 2004. Excerpt: "Sweden's Lund University said on Thursday (June 3) that it had launched a new online facility that allows users to search for and retrieve articles from open-access (OA) journals. The development is an extension of the university's Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), which aims to promote the use and impact of journals that do not charge users to access articles. At present, 276 of the 1100 journals listed on the directory are searchable by article. About 80 of those are in the medicine, biology, and life sciences categories....Lotte Jorgensen, project coordinator for the DOAJ, said the new article level search functionality creates an incentive for owners of OA journals to submit article level data to the DOAJ in order to further increase the visibility, reputation and impact of their journals."
Update. If you found one of my statements in Pincock's article inflammatory, then see my elaboration.
Computerworld has named MIT and Sapient Corp. two of the finalists for the 2004 Computerworld 21St Century Achievement Award in the category of Education and Academia. (There are four other finalists in the category.) MIT and Sapient are being honored for their work on MIT's OpenCourseWare Project, which provides open access to MIT course content for users around the world. MIT and Sapient were nominated for the award by Bill Gates.
Last November, Dan Hunter of the Wharton School wrote an open letter to the California Law Review (CLR) asking it to reconsider its OA archiving policy. As a result, CLR did reconsider its policy and then, in late March, changed it. Here's an excerpt from the new policy, which is a one-year experiment for next year's issues: "CLR's contract will still require authors to remove working drafts from SSRN upon publication in the California Law Review. However, upon publication, CLR will also provide authors with .pdfs of their articles in their final worded forms and give authors the right to post these .pdfs on SSRN. The .pdfs may remain up indefinitely, so long as they and SSRN's search engines remain free and accessible to the general public." SSRN is the Social Science Research Network, the OA repository of choice for law professors. Thanks to Dan for his good work and kudos to CLR for adopting this helpful policy. (PS: CLR now offers its authors an opportunity that most other law reviews do not. That's a good reason for CLR authors to take advantage of it and for other law reviews to follow suit.)
Donna Hughes is a University of Rhode Island (URI) expert on international sex trafficking in women and children. URI recently removed two of her articles on this subject from the URI web server when a London law firm threatened to sue her for defaming an unnamed UK man and unnamed UK woman whom Hughes had described as traffickers. The articles are still available through the journals that originally published them, National Review Online (Fall 2002) and Vital Speeches of the Day (January 2003). For more details, see Robin Wilson, Professor Says U. of Rhode Island Wants to Censor Her Research Instead of Defending It in Court, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 7, 2004 (accessible only to subscribers).
Excerpt: Frank Annunziato, Executive Director of the URI chapter of the American Association of University Professors, "said the case should be a wake-up call to academics who post articles online. With journals printed in the United States, he said, authors are protected by the First Amendment. But that may not be the case for articles published online and downloaded in other countries, where judges have allowed foreigners to pursue lawsuits against American citizens and institutions in courts where the First Amendment does not apply. 'Professors think that we have the First Amendment here and that that's a defense against defamation,' he said. 'But in the Internet world, that may not count.' " (PS: Annunziato is right. In the US, because authors are protected by the First Amendment, defamation plaintiffs must prove that defamatory statements are false. In the UK, in part because there is no First Amendment, defamatory statements are presumed false and the burden is on the defendant to prove them true.)
(PS: Offline publications also reach other jurisdictions with lower protections for freedom of speech, so this is not a problem that only affects online publications. But it does affect online publications and the problem won't go away until the rules about national jurisdiction over online speech (especially defamation and hate speech) are not only settled, but settled in a way that doesn't permit cross-border censorship and reduce the worldwide standard to the standard of the least-free countries.)
Update. In the July 1 Chronicle, Isolde Raferty reports that Hughes has been allowed to repost her articles to the URI web site. "In May, after the American Association of University Professors and the Rhode Island branch of the American Civil Liberties Union pressured the university to allow Ms. Hughes to repost her articles, the university released guidelines laying out what material was appropriate for its Web sites run by faculty members. Ms. Hughes, arguing that her articles fell within the guidelines, asked the university again to make a decision about her material. She said she intended to repost the articles on the Web site....In a letter on Monday to...Hughes, the university's president, Robert L. Carothers, wrote that the articles were 'protected by the university's firm commitment to academic freedom.' "
Barbara Quint, Ingenta Beta Tests New Interface, Information Today, June 7, 2004. Ingenta's new interface, IngentaConnect, will offer more reference linking from indexed articles to full-text articles inside and outside the Ingenta collection. When Quint asked Geoffrey Bilder, Ingenta's CTO, whether Ingenta would offer links to OA articles, Bilder answered yes, "if they came from other major aggregators or sources, such as PubMed or BioMed Central." Bilder also said that Ingenta is willing to offer data conversion, secure hosting, or other services to OA journals and repositories. (PS: This confirms and updates what I heard from Ingenta CEO Mark Rowse when I interviewed him in August 2002.)
As we know, Google is now indexing Ingenta ejournals. Since February, the experiment has grown from indexing metadata to indexing full-text, and from a small number of journals to all but those that "choose to opt out". Have any Ingenta journals chosen to opt out? Just the eight journals from E. Schweizerbart Science Publishers. (PS: Can anyone explain why Schweizerbart decided to opt out? Google only provides free searching and therefore enhanced visibility. Searchers can only click through to full-text if they are subscribers or pay a pay-per-view fee.)
At the SLA Annual Conference in Nashville, the Physics, Astronomy,and Math Division co-sponsored a session, Publisher/Libarian Archiving Initiatives on June 6. Vicky Reich of Stanford and director of the LOCKSS (Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe) project, explained the background and progress of their work which has created software and protocols to enable libraries to cache digital journal content. The project, Reich explained, was motivating by the fleeting nature of that content and in particular restrictive license agreements that do not guarantee subscribers perpetual access and prevent libraries from fulfilling their "memory organization role." She described how the LOCKSS software and protocols work in conjunction with a system of redundant PCs at participating institutions. More than 50 publishers and 100 libraries are participating in the project. The decreasing costs of data storage works in the participants' favor, Reich pointed out. While the emphasis is on libaries' licensed and freely-available journal content, LOCKSS is extending into other realms, namely, a project collaborating with federal depository libraries called LOCKSS Docs and a project to preserve state newspapers in California.
Terry Hulbert of the Institute of Physics (IoP,) a participating publisher in LOCKSS, described his Institute's "experiment" with the program. So far IoP has opened one publication, Journal of Turbulence, which is an all-electronic journal dating from 2000. Currently, IoP is licensing its archives (dating from 1874) to subscribers either annually or in perpetuity. Their main concerns with LOCKSS consist of uncertainty about maintaining revenues from their archival subscription model and wanting assurance that unauthorized users will not access the LOCKSS cache, Hulbert explained.
The librarian's view was presented by David Stern of Yale University. While Stern maintained that LOCKSS works and tthat the "right players," "logical partners" (including Yale) are involved, he questioned if there are enough institutions participating yet and if the model can work for all parties. He alerted the audience to issues of administrative costs, migration to new technologies, potential conflicts with copyright, among other questions. Should the model expand to include grey literature, local institutional materials, course materials, Stern asked. Should institutions become full financial participants or should there be a scale for limited participation and support? The "real costs of archiving" need to be addressed, Stern noted, remarking that "self-archiving is not reliable archiving," limiting one's ability for search and retrieval. Finally, LOCKSS points to "more than storage and delivery," and includes issues of "navigation and filtering," and must include a collaboration between commercial and non-profit organizations, Stern asserted.
Robin Peek, Elsevier Allows Open Access Self-Archiving, Information Today, June 7, 2004. Excerpt: "In a move that has stunned both the publishing community and the academic world, major journal publisher Elsevier is going to permit Open Access self-archiving for almost all of its journal titles. Under the new policy it will permit authors to self-archive their materials. This move will not change Elsevier's subscription model for funding." Peek quotes several OA proponents (Stevan Harnad, Deborah Cockerill, me), showing that there is some disagreement about whether this is a large or small step toward OA.