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The proceedings from the conference, Open Access and the Public Domain in Digital Data and Information for Science (Paris, March 10-12, 2003) have now been published as an OA book from the National Academies Press. There are 35 important articles on OA in this OA book. (Thanks to Gary Price.)
The Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Forschung des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen has launched Digital Peer Publishing NRW, which will soon publish eight peer-reviewed, open-access journals. (Thanks to Klaus Graf.)
The July issue of Walt Crawford's Cites & Insights is now online. Walt asked his CITES Alerts readers for library tech trends worth noting. OA appeared twice on the resulting list: "'Blogging is catching on' --including multicontributor topical blogs such as STLQ and Open Access News....Open Access publishing and other change in scholarly communication, including online repositories, LOCKSS, etc. [are catching on]. The window may be open for a massive shift."
There continue to be signs of change in the wake of the mass resignation of the highly respected editorial board of Journal of Algorithms and their subsequent decision to found a competing, low-cost alternative journal, ACM Transactions on Algorithms (TALG). As noted previously, CV updating is an activity loathed by the vast majority. Donald Knuth, Helmut Prodinger, and Kurt Mehlhorn have overcome inertia to proclaim their new allegiance/editorial duties with TALG.
IMS Bulletin, the bimonthly newsletter of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, is freely available online. IMS Bulletin - Fulltext v27+ (1998+); Print ISSN: 1544-1881 Two IMS affiliated ejournals are Open Access: Electronic Journal of Probability - Fulltext v1+ (1996+); ISSN: 1083-6489. Electronic Communications in Probability - Fulltext v1+ (1996+); ISSN: 1083-589X. Both are mirrored by EMIS. IMS, in partnership with the Bernoulli Society, has announced the creation of a new Open Access review journal, Probability Surveys, which will be hosted by Project Euclid. Terry Speed. President's Column: Internationalism in a Cold Climate. IMS Bulletin 33(3):4 May/June 2004 In the same issue, Nicole Lazar tries to understand how the DC Principles
The announcement that this journal was in the works caused a bit of a stir on CHMINF-L several weeks ago. The first issue is now online and folks can make their own determinations, especially since the content is Open Access. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine - Fulltext v1+ (2004+); Print ISSN: 1741-427X; Online ISSN: 1741-4288
Biology of Reproduction is published by the Society for the Study of Reproduction, a signatory of the DC Principles. In keeping with the DC Principles, SSR has released almost ten and a half years worth of content for free access. Biology of Reproduction - Fulltext v48+ (1993+) 1 year moving wall; Print ISSN: 0006-3363; Online ISSN: 1529-7268 Biology of Reproduction is just one of the dozens of sources of free content available through HighWire Press' recently redesigned Free Online Full-text Articles collection.
Richard Wray, EC inquiry puts pressure on Reed, The Guardian, June 18, 2004. Excerpt: "The European commission is to investigate the scientific publishing industry, increasing pressure on Reed Elsevier, the world's largest publisher of scientific journals. Europe generates more than 40% of scientific periodicals but the commission estimates that the price of these magazines and papers has increased 10% each year over the last 10 years - well above inflation. It will look at the trend towards open access publishing where academics pay to publish articles which are freely available on the internet....The commission's move was welcomed by Jan Velterop, director of BioMed Central which produces 110 open access journals in the fields of biology and medicine. 'Calls are increasing from the scientific community for greatly improved access to scientific literature, which the internet now makes possible. Depriving science and society of the full potential of research literature is holding back the speed and effectiveness of scientific and medical research.' "
Roger Schonfeld, Donald King, Ann Okerson, and Eileen Gifford Fenton, The Nonsubscription Side of Periodicals: Changes in Library Operations and Costs between Print and Electronic Formats, CLIR, June 2004. Excerpt: "In the past 10 years, projections about the cost impact of a shift to the electronic format have led to hard-nosed considerations of business models and prices. With the advent of journal package deals, consortial negotiations, and alternative proposals such as open access, libraries' subscription and license costs, as well as collection sizes and profiles, are changing. As significant as these changes are, they do not capture all of the important shifts in operations and costs that have taken place....In addition to staff time, nonsubscription costs include computer workstations, binding costs, and capital and maintenance expenditures for space, among others. Some have believed that these costs would be lower, perhaps much lower, in the electronic format than they have been in print....There has, however, been little formal consideration of how library operations and nonsubscription costs may vary with the transition to electronic format. Yet these costs are not trivial...." (Thanks to Gary Price.)
Barry Meier, Medical Journals Weigh Plan for Full Drug-Trial Disclosure, New York Times, June 15, 2004 (free registration required). A good overview of a large, emerging story. In short: there is a growing call for drug companies to deposit data from their drug trials in a central public registry. No one is calling the registry "open access", but that seems to be presupposed. The purpose is to give researchers, doctors, and patients access to negative results, which are often suppressed, in order to fill out the picture and qualify positive results, which are often trumpeted one-sidedly both in company advertising and in peer-reviewed journals. The penalty for not registering a drug trial would be that a group of prominent medical journals would agree not to publish any results from the trial. Another penalty proposed by the AMA is that hospitals and universites would agree not to host experiments with unregistered drugs.
The registry proposal was endorsed today by the American Medical Association (AMA). It is now under consideration by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which represents journals like The Journal of the American Medical Association, The New England Journal of Medicine, and The Lancet. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) initially opposed the proposal but now says it "might reconsider" its position. More coverage.
(PS: If the registry would be OA, this is an excellent idea. If it wouldn't be OA, then those who need these data will face the same access barriers that we now see for those who need access to research literature. It won't be enough to give access to university-affiliated researchers and practicing physicians. Patients who take medicine and those who act for them will also need access. The AMA and the ICMJE also need to consider that if public health requires public access to medical information, then the same principle entails open access to peer-reviewed research literature.)
James Farmer, Higher Education Online Education Journals - Scholarly & Free, Incorporated Subversion, June 7, 2004. Farmer compiles a hyperlinked list of OA journals in higher education and calls for additional references. (Source: Edu RSS)
BioMed Central, bacause of its Open Access nature, is a prime candidate for fulltext data mining experiments. As noted, the data mining is producing not just research results, but is already incorporated into prior art searches by the European Patent Office.
Since its launch last year, BioMed Central's Open Access XML full text corpus has more than doubled in size, and now comprises more than 5000 articles. It is being used by data-mining researchers all over the world, and is also being put to many other uses. For example, the European Patent Office receives a feed of BioMed Central's XML data and uses it as part of its process of scanning for prior articles relating to patent applications. In another new development, BioMed Central has just released an XSLT preview stylesheet, which can be used to convert the BioMed Central article XML format into HTML for display purposes. The stylesheet is covered by a Creative Commons license, which allows it to be freely reused, adapted, and redistributed.from the latest BioMed Central Update
The webpage of journal of the American Society of Hematology (ASH), Blood, includes a letter entitled: An Open Letter to the Members of ASH: Your Membership Dues, Blood, and Open Access to the Scientific Literature. This rather lengthy defense of the journal's current policies (such as free access after 12 months to PDFs, beginning in the 1990s) ends with a link to the Washington DC Principles for Free Access to Science.
Vanessa Spedding, Will Learned Societies Signal the Change? Research Information, May/June 2004. On the competing pressures faced by society publishers when contemplating open access. Excerpt: "The debate has been advanced recently by a number of reports and high-profile initiatives (see box: 'Open access initiatives and investigations' below). Also fuelling the fire is a boat-rocking position statement from the Wellcome Trust - strongly in favour of open access - following its publication of a comprehensive (but not unanimously embraced) report on science publishing in October last year (see box: 'The Wellcome Trust's position' below). As it is the world's largest charity dedicated to funding scientific research, the Wellcome Trust's views on such matters are taken seriously. On the broader scale, what's coming to light from these exchanges is that the implications of a shift in publishing model are significant, not just for their impact on commercial publishers, or on the means of publication, but on fundamental aspects of scientific culture."
Today's Library Journal briefly summarizes the recent OA initiatives from the RUP: "The Rockefeller University Press (RUP), a not-for-profit scientific publisher, announced that it has completed digitizing the entire backfiles for its three research publications, and will make them freely available to all. RUP, based in New York, publishes The Journal of Cell Biology (JCB), The Journal of Experimental Medicine (JEM), and The Journal of General Physiology (JGP). RUP's Bruce Lyons said the archives will feature full-text, searchable PDF versions of all articles dating back to volume 1, issue 1 (1955 for the JCB; 1896 for the JEM; and 1918 for the JGP). No subscription fees or surcharges are required to access the files."
A-E-C Automation Newsletter is converting to open access. Apparently it will charge no upfront processing fees and rely entirely on advertising. It describes itself as "the oldest technology newsletter covering architecture, engineering, and construction." The news is announced in a June 16 Letter to the Readers.
Daniel Kane, Kennedy sees rising challenges for science journals, AAAS News, May 26, 2004. Kane summarizes a speech by Donald Kennedy, editor of Science, on a variety of topics from the global character of scientific research to scientific fraud. On OA: "Science and its publisher, AAAS, have been tracking early open-access efforts to determine the viability of this business model. They also are seeking to make peer-reviewed scientific information as broadly accessible as possible, by providing free access to scientists in the world's poorest countries through the Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative (HINARI) and Access to Global Online Research in Agriculture (AGORA), for example, and through such public resources as the EurekAlert! Web site and the Association's freely available Healthy People booklets." (Thanks to Debra Lappin.)
Participants in the Second International Symposium on Digital Libraries (Campinas, Brazil, May 17-21, 2004) and the leadership of Brasileiro de Informação em Ciência e Tecnologia (IBICT) and Ibero-American Science & Technology Education Consortium (ISTEC) announced on May 21, 2004 their strong support for the Berlin Declaration on Open Access. From the press release:
The public statements from the conference will soon be online at the ISTEC Digital Library Linkages portal.
Erika Jonietz, Web Inventor Rewarded At Last, Technology Review Weblog, 6/14/04. Joneitz reports that Tim Berners-Lee received the Millennium Technology Prize for his work inventing the web. Excerpt: "Rather than patenting his idea for the World Wide Web, Berners-Lee and colleague Robert Cailliau, working at CERN (the European Particle Physics Laboratory in Geneva), insisted on a license-free technology. If they hadn’t, Berners-Lee says, the Web wouldn’t be the interoperable linkup that it is. 'There would have been a CERN Web, a Microsoft one, there would have been a Digital one, Apple’s HyperCard would have started reaching out Internet roots,“ he said. 'And all of these things would have been incompatible.'" (Source: Brad Delong via Michael Neilsen
Lance Fortnow, Special Issues, My Computational Complexity Web Log, June 15, 2004. Fortnow, reporting from the ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing (STOC), tells us that the symposium is considering switching the publication of its conference papers from the Elsevier-owned Journal of Computer and System Sciences to SIAM Journal on Computing (SICOMP). Many involved with the symposium see the change as a panacea, but Fortnow writes: "My concern, which I expressed at the meeting, is that we already have a culture where too many papers never appear in a journal, i.e., never get written with full proofs and go through a rigorous refereeing process. The more negative press we give towards journals the more likely authors will take the easy solution of no journal."
Update (6/21/04): Fortnow links to a page affirming the group's decision to move the special issue to SICOMP.
On June 9, the US Interagency Committee on Government Information (ICGI) publicly released its Recommended Policies and Guidelines for Federal Public Websites and submitted them to the OMB for approval. The ICGI does not recommend open access where it is not already required by law. But it does recommend (pp. 35-36) that government web sites "comply with necessary policies and standards to implement the E-Government Act of 2002, Section 207(e), Public Access to Electronic Information, which will be issued by December 2005." (PS: The E-Government Act of 2002 does require open access in many areas where it was not previously required. One front to watch is the development of regulations to implement the act. Another is the appropriation of funds to implement it.)
Mark Chillingworth, CSA embraces green open access policy, Information World Review, June 16, 2004. Excerpt: "Cambridge Scientific Abstracts (CSA) is to embrace a form of open access publishing, following an agreement with the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII), a department of the US Department of the Interior. In November, CSA will launch Sustainability Science: Practice & Policy, a peer-reviewed e-journal aimed at users researching sustainable environmental policies. 'In this instance, [launching an OA journal] is the easiest way to start publishing in a new area,' said Mark Furneaux, managing director of CSA Europe. He added that there are no plans to adopt open access publishing on a wider basis, but said CSA would consider it for other government partnerships. 'Historically, a mixed economy has typically been the result. Print and CD exist side by side and I expect open access to develop alongside traditional models,' said Furneaux." The new journal will charge no processing fees.
Katie Dean, BBC to Open Content Floodgates, Wired News, June 16, 2004. Excerpt: "The British Broadcasting Corporation's Creative Archive, one of the most ambitious free digital content projects to date, is set to launch this fall with thousands of three-minute clips of nature programming. The effort could goad other organizations to share their professionally produced content with Web users....The BBC archive would only be available to British citizens who pay the yearly TV license fee. Anyone who tries to visit the site through a foreign IP address won't be allowed to log on." (PS: This won't be true OA because it won't be open to everyone with an internet connection. However, it will live up to the principle that taxpayers should have free access to taxpayer-funded content. Kudos to the BBC for making this decision. It's not clear that the government would ever have done so. Now it's time to implement the same policy for taxpayer-funded research.)
EU investigates open access scientific publication, an unsigned news story in the June 15 News-Medical.Net. Excerpt: "The EU Commission has launched a study on the economic and technical evolution of the scientific publication markets in Europe, the results of which will be available in 2005. The objective is to determine the conditions required for optimum operation of the sector and to assess the extent to which the Commission can help to meet those conditions. The study will deal with the main topics of the current public debate, such as the future of printed scientific reviews, the risks associated with increases in the price of publications in terms of access to information for researchers, open access to research findings for all and the need to reconcile authors' rights and the economic interests of publishers....The Commission has therefore decided to launch this study in order to answer the following questions:  What are the main changes in Europe?  What and who is driving change and why? If there is any resistance to positive change, what/who is blocking it?  What are the consequences for users (authors, readers, libraries)?"
Professor Michael Lesk of Rutgers has designed a search interface for "the U. S. copyright renewal records. Any book published during the years 1923-1963 which is found in this file is still under copyright, as are all books published after 1964 (although until 1989 they still had to have proper notice and registration). Books published before 1923, or before Jan. 1, 1964 and not renewed, are out of copyright. This file does not contain listings for music, movies, or periodicals." (Source: LibraryLawBlog)
Seung Yoin Rhee, Carpe Diem. Retooling the "Publish or Perish" Model into the "Share and Survive" Model, Plant Physiology 134, 543-547 (2004). Rhee discusses the growth of biological data repositories and their role in the dissemination and preservation of scientific knowledge. "What is needed" he writes "is a seamless connection of community databases, public repositories and journals. This should facilitate free access to raw data (public repositories), aggregations of interconnected and annotated information (community databases), and thorough analyses and interpretation of experimental data (journal articles). Rhee focuses particularly on community databases, arguing that contributions to such projects "should have at least as much impact toward advancing science as publishing in journals," and should hold as much weight in academia. Rhee goes on to discuss how databases function for specific scientific communities, the technical standards and protocols needed to support them, the need for funding and international agreements to share data freely, and the importance of cooperation between researchers, institutions, publishers, associations and funding agencies.
Johns Hopkins University Press is revising its copyright policy to allow postprint archiving, with some confusing, arbitrary, and onerous restrictions. Clause 3 of the new policy gives permission in advance "to include the Article in your own personal or departmental database or on-line site". However, Clause 4 says that you may "include the Article in your institutional database provided the database does not directly compete with either the Johns Hopkins University Press or Project Muse, is non-commercial, is institution specific and not a repository that is disciplined based and/or accepts contributions from outside the institution" --and provided that you request permission in advance. (PS: Distinguishing a faculty member's web site on the institutional server from the faculty member's section within the institutional repository on the same server is already a tenuous and arbitrary distinction. This policy goes further and distinguishes the departmental repository from the overal institutional repository. Moreover, how will JH determine whether a given institutional repository "competes" with JHUP or Project Muse?)
Thomas Stöber, Das Internet als Medium geistes- und kulturwissenschaftlicher Publikation. Pragmatische und epistemologische Fragestellungen, Philologie im Netz, 2 (2004). Stöber provides the title and abstract in English: "The Internet as a Medium of Publishing in the Humanities – Pragmatic and Epistemological Perspectives. The article starts with pointing out both the fundamental advantages and the actual problems created by electronic publishing in the humanities while detailing recent approaches which aim at solving these problems. In addition to this pragmatic perspective which illustrates how electronic publishing might optimize communication within the humanities, the article focuses furthermore on an epistemological perspective considering the way in which the hypertextuality of digital media could influence scientific discourse and contribute to new ways of knowledge representation." (Thanks to Klaus Graf.)
Sandy Serva, Free For All? The Science of Publishing Research Online, EContent, June 11, 2004. Quoting Martin Frank, spokesman for the DC Principles and executive director of the American Physiological Society: "The question we are dealing with in this environment [society publishing] is whether publications should be free to the public immediately or free after a transition interval."
Bo-Christer Bjork and Turid Hedlund, A formalised model of the scientific publication process, Online Information Review 28, 8-21 (2004). An open access postprint is available. Abstract:
The scientific publishing process has during the past few years undergone considerable changes. The socio-economic structures have, however, not changed much, and many academics and librarians view the current situation as highly unsatisfactory. This has triggered a number of initiatives to set up e-print repositories and electronic peer reviewed journals, which usually offer the full text for free on the Web. Serious in-depth research studying the way the scholarly communication system is affected by the Internet is needed. In this article a formal process model of the scientific publishing process is presented (the Scientific Publication Life-Cycle Model). The model has been developed in particular to provide a basis for studying the cost implications of different business models. It describes the life-cycle of the single publication, in particular the refereed journal article, from the research leading to it and writing it, to being read by other researchers years later or used as a catalyst for practical implementation. Conclusions are drawn about the usefulness of the modelling methodology for this particular purpose as well as of future uses of the model itself. In addition to providing a basis for cost studies the model could function as a road map for different types of open access initiatives.
Sometimes a blast from the past is required to shake things up. I've gotten into a bit of a rut highlighting free and/or Open Access ejournals in the sciences. Here is a gem from the humanities which has been doing fine for a few years now. Philosophers' Imprint - Fulltext v1+ (2001+); ISSN: 1533-628X I would be remiss if I gave the impression that humanists were newly arrived on the Open Access front. Postmodern Culture has been blazing a trail in online only publishing seemingly forever, now past the mid-point of its second decade. Postmodern Culture - Fulltext v1+ (1990+); ISSN: 1053-1920
David Bollier, Why We Must Talk About the Information Commons, Law Library Journal 96, 267-282 (Spring 2004) . Excerpt:
At stake are the abilities of libraries to offer universal access to information;consumers to have competitive access to diverse sources of content, including noncommercial content; citizens to have free or cheap access to the government information that their tax dollars have financed; and students to perform research and collaborate online with each other. At stake are the ability of musicians and other artists to pioneer new forms of online creativity; creators in all media to freely quote and use a robust public domain of prior works; computer users to benefit from the innovations of competitive markets; and individuals to control how intimate personal information will be used.Note: Bollier has an extensive listing of publications, many on the information commons and relevant to OA, and many of which have been cited on this blog. (Source: Library Juice)
Project DARE has announced five projects that it will fund in 2004. Twelve others will be announced in mid-July. The current five "are projects forming part of the DARE (Digital Academic Repositories) programme for 2003 – 2006, the object of which is to improve the availability of and access scholarly information using a network of repositories. They will focus on specific areas of research, thereby making use of news facilities, community websites, subject-specific repositories and knowledge centres. The object is to provide a positive boost to stocking repositories. They will also work on bringing about the intelligent searchable portable for research information in the Netherlands."
Tom Zeller, Jr., Permissions on Digital Media Drive Scholars to Lawbooks, New York Times, June 14, 2004 (free registration required). On the insufficiency of "fair use" for art and scholarship, with a glimpse forward to the conference this Friday in Philadelphia, Knowledge Held Hostage: Scholarly versus Corporate Rights In The Digital Age. Quoting Zeller: "Edward W. Felten, a professor of computer science at Princeton University, was at the center of a legal battle in 2001, when representatives of the recording industry threatened to sue him and the university over the publication of a paper analyzing a set of digital watermarking technologies designed to secure music files. The recording industry based its claim on the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which makes it a crime to circumvent antipiracy measures built into digital media. 'After a long legal fight involving withdrawal and later resubmission of our paper, and our filing of a lawsuit against the parties who tried to suppress our work,' Professor Felten wrote in response to a call from conference moderators for tales of copyright woe, 'we won the right to publish our paper. Attempts to create a research exemption to the D.M.C.A. have failed thus far.' "
Update. For more coverage, see Corey Murray, Copyright: Can it hold knowledge hostage? eSchool News, August 1, 2004.
I used to think that OA had a lot to gain from the rising generation, which is growing up with the internet, knows its benefits well, and takes them for granted. But a new study from the University of London's Institute of Education shows that frightened parents are teaching their children to fear the internet. Quoting David Batty's story in the June 7 Guardian: "Children are confused about the dangers posed by using the internet with some believing it puts them at risk of catching HIV or being abducted by aliens, according to research published today. Schools should do more to address such false and exaggerated fears about the internet, which may prevent some children from exploiting its benefits...." (Thanks to QuickLinks.)
Lynne Horwood and three co-authors, OAI compliant institutional repositories and the role of library staff, Library Management, 25, 4 (2004) pp. 170-176. Only this abstract is free online, at least so far: "The role of librarians in the development and promotion of institutional repositories is discussed. It is presented as a continuation of their existing functions of acquiring, organising and making readily available the resources needed by academic staff and students. Library staff are collaborating with IT staff and academics to disseminate scholarly material and learning objects emanating from their institutions. The Open Archives Initiative and its Protocol for Metadata Harvesting, which provide the technical structure to support the repositories and enable their interoperability for searching purposes, are discussed. The benefits to institutions and their staffs are also reported. The skills needed by library staff are outlined, as well as the pitfalls and problems they may face in persuading academic staff of the virtues of institutional repositories." (Thanks to Charles W. Bailey, Jr.)
Update. The authors have now deposited an OA version of the article in the University of Melbourne Eprints Repository.
Bryon Anderson, Open Access Journals, Behavioral & Social Sciences Librarian, May 3, 2004. Only this abstract is free online, at least so far: "Open access journals may play an important part in the development of peer-reviewed publishing. This column describes two recent initiatives in open access scholarly publishing: the Public Library of Science and the Budapest Open Access Initiative." (Thanks to Charles W. Bailey, Jr.)
Abstracts for most of the presentations at the Wizards of OS conference (Berlin, June 10-12, 2004) are now online. See especially the two panels, Free Science I: Publishing (Stefan Gradmann, Jean Claude Guédon, Stevan Harnad, and Shu-Kun Lin) and Free Science II: Funding and Activism (Stefan Gradmann, Tim Hubbard, James Love, and Benny Haerlin).
Ethan Zukerman has blogged a longer version of Jean Claude Guédon's presentation. I expect that longer versions of the other presentations will soon be online, either at the conference site or elsewhere.
The UK Department of Constitutional Affairs is planning an open-access database of UK legislation. Quoting Tony Hopkins, head of the Statutory Publications Office at the DCA: "Giving the public access to consolidated legislation is also a prime business objective, and it is planned to make an Internet-based service available during spring of next year....I see it as a research tool for anyone who needs access to primary and secondary legislation."
Elsevier CEO Crispin Davis was knighted yesterday by Queen Elizabeth for his "services to the information industry". News coverage.
David Goodman, Alternative Fates for the STM Journal System, a PPT presentation at the panel on Open Access Publishing at the Special Libraries Association Conference (Nashville, June 8, 2004). Goodman sketches several scenarios for the future of OA and TA journals and discusses the variables that will determine which future we will inhabit.