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Paola De Castro and Sandra Salinetti, Quality of Grey Literature in the Open Access Era: Privilege and Responsibility, Publishing Research Quality, Spring 2004. Not even an abstract is free online to non-subscribers, at least so far. The rest of the Spring 2004 issue is dedicated to grey literature. (Thanks to Charles W. Bailey, Jr.) (PS: Although I've used deep links to the article and issue, they probably won't work for you. You'll have to register at the site and then hunt for the article and issue all over again. Transaction Publishers isn't trying to make it easy.)
Norm Medeiros, A repository of our own: the E-LIS e-prints archive, OCLC Systems & Services, 20, 2 (2004) pp. 58-60. Only this abstract is free online: "This article reviews the E-Prints in Library and Information Science (E-LIS) open access archive. E-LIS is part of the Research in Computing, Library and Information Science (RCLIS) project, an international effort to organize and disseminate scholarly papers in librarianship and related fields. E-LIS uses open source applications, and joins a growing number of OAI-compliant services dedicated to providing free access to scholarly information." (Thanks to Charles W. Bailey, Jr.) (PS: E-LIS is one of the two OA archives for library science that has agreed in advance to provide OA to articles about OA. The other is dLIST.)
Update. There's now an OA edition of the article on deposit at E-LIS.
The new issue of Interlending & Document Supply (vol. 32, no. 2) is now online. Here are the OA-related articles. Only the the TOC and some abstracts are accessible to non-subscribers.
Update. Soon after I first posted this note, saying that I wanted to see the text of the last item, several readers sent me copies. Thanks to all. It's an abridgement of my article from SOAN for 2/2/04.
Paula Park, PhRMA urges more disclosure, The Scientist, July 9, 2004. Excerpt: "A new set of guidelines issued by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) calling for the release of more data from clinical trials is being met with guarded skepticism by advocates who have been clamoring for increased transparency....An American Medical Association (AMA) trustee welcomed the PhRMA guidelines, but questioned their potential effectiveness and said they do not go far enough. All clinical trials—not just those for marketed drugs—should be added to a public registry, said trustee Joseph Heyman, and institutional review boards should require registration as a condition of allowing the study to continue. Even trials on therapies that are later discarded provide significant information to scientists, Heyman added. For marketed drugs, it's important to release information on all studies, even the most exploratory ones."
On July 5, Laura Gurak and a handful of colleagues from the University of Minnesota launched Into the Blogosphere, a peer-reviewed, open-access collection of articles on the "discursive, visual, social, and other communicative features of weblogs". ITB is not itself a blog but is built on the UM Libraries' blogging service UThink. (Thanks to Wendy Pradt Lougee.) (PS: The editors don't call ITB a "journal", apparently because it's closed to new contributions, though open to reader comments. They analogize it to a book anthology.)
The July 8 issue of Library Journal Academic Newswire covers Springer's Open Choice program and Oxford's launch of the OA Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (eCAM). LJ Academic Newswire is not OA, but free excerpts from the July 8 issue have been posted to various lists. On the Springer program, Newswire quotes BMC publisher Jan Velterop: "True open access, Velterop says, implies by definition 'that all use is fair use as long as the author and article are properly cited.' Springer's program breaks from that definition is some key ways. First, a strict copyright policy remains in effect for Open Choice authors. While Springer will make those articles available to users for free, the company continues to require 'standard consent-to-publish and transfer-of-copyright agreements' from authors, which it says is necessary to protect authors' rights. It also forbids 'copying, reproducing, distributing, or posting of the publisher's version of the article on a third party server.' Velterop also points out that Open Choice articles have made no commitment to be archived in an open access repository, such as PubMed Central. That, he notes, makes guaranteeing open access in perpetuity 'virtually impossible.' "
On Tuesday, July 20, the UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee will issue its report, Scientific Publications: Free for all? Those who gave written or oral testimony may request embargoed copies of the report one day in advance (July 19). At 10:00 am London time the committee will hold a press conference at the British Library. (Thanks to David Prosser.)
The International AIDS Society has launched a new peer-reviewed, open-access journal, the eJournal of the International AIDS Society. The journal is co-sponsored by Medscape/WebMD and the launch is supported by the Secure the Future program of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation. For more details, see the journal site or Catherine Brahic, New journal for Southern AIDS research, SciDev.Net, July 9, 2004.
Andrew Herxheimer, in this week's British Medical Journal: Open access to industry's clinically relevant data. Repeats the case for open access to clinical data, and highlights the fact that many trial reports (in closed and open access journals) do not follow the CONSORT guidelines.
Bernard Perbal, APC: the toll road to continued high quality communication, Cell Communication and Signalling 2, 7 (2004). Perbal offers a justification of BioMed Central's decision to impose article processing charges (APCs) for their journals, telling readers: "Contributing to the cost of publishing by paying APCs is comparable to paying a toll for driving safely and more repaildy on good quality highways. Multiple clean, fast and safe lanes kept in good condition, with the same services provided to all customers."
Donna Wentworth, Fair Use It or Lose It, Copyfight, July 7, 2004. Reviewing a book reading featuring both Siva Vaidhyanathan and Lawrence Lessig, Wentworth remarks on their relative perceptions of fair use, particularly Lessig's dour view of its prospects. A tale from Vaidhyanathan illustrating his view that people should stand up for their fair use rights is recounted. Wentworth offers four suggestions towards strengthening fair use. (Source: Furdlog)
Susan Ashworth, Morag Mackie, and William Nixon, The DAEDALUS project, developing institutional repositories at Glasgow University: the story so far, Library Review, 53, 5 (2004) pp. 259-264. Only this abstract is free online for non-subscribers: "The DAEDALUS project is funded under the Joint Information Systems Committee, Focus on Access to Institutional Resources Programme for three years until June 2005. The project is based at the University of Glasgow and is developing online institutional repositories for the university, while at the same time encouraging debate and discussion about scholarly communications issues and is made up of two complementary strands: advocacy and service development. This paper sets out the achievements of the project to date and details some of the advocacy strategies that have been used to engage academic staff and researchers with the aims and objectives of the project. Also discussed are some of the barriers which have been faced in obtaining content for the repositories." (Thanks to Charles W. Bailey, Jr.)
Péter Jacsó, Linking on Steroids, Information Today, July 8, 2004. Excerpt: "The greatest advancements in linking have been the links to cited and citing references, the technical counterparts of the intellectual acts of referring to other works, with possibly instant delivery of a full bibliographic record, the abstract of the cited record, or its full text. The last option depends on the subscription status of the users (typically their libraries) to the cited/citing source....Among the inter-host links, one of the most powerful combinations is when a publisher links to citing and cited references as well as to related articles (which share one or more cited references with the article being consulted) in the gargantuan ISI Web of Science databases. Typically, these links are only offered if the user subscribes to the databases of both the linking and linked partners. However, Annual Reviews, Inc. offers these links (up to 10 citing and related articles in Web of Science) to anyone, even without registering with the Annual Reviews site. Believe me, the Annual Reviews are top-ranked publications in many disciplines."
Joan B. Schlimgen and Michael R. Kronenfeld, Update on inflation of journal prices: Brandon/Hill list journals and the scientific, technical, and medical publishing market, Journal of the Medical Library Association, July 2004. From the abstract: "The average journal price continues to rise significantly and is independent of the CPI. The study found that prices have jumped 51.9% from 1996 to 1999 and 32% from 1999 to 2002, which is consistent with nearly every recent journal price study. The unprecedented rise in journal prices negatively affects the purchasing power of medical libraries. This paper examines the economic and technological pressures on the science, technology, and medical journals market that contribute to high prices and identifies a number of initiatives in the biological and health sciences that utilize alternative models for disseminating scientific research."
Rachel Stevenson gives today's market report: "Reed Elsevier, the publisher, also saw its shares slip 5.5p to 504p, after news that it will come under pressure to allow the authors of its scientific journals to make their work freely available."
The Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) has launched the CARL Institutional Repositories Pilot Project Harvester. From the web site: "This Harvester is the search service for the CARL Institutional Repositories Pilot Project and aggregates material from each of the participating Canadian institutions, allowing users to seamlessly search all of the repositories at once, using one common point of access." The harvester was developed at the University of British Columbia's Public Knowledge Project. Also see the harvester search box and CARL press release.
Mark Chillingworth, Springer embraces Open Access and choice, Information World Review, July 8, 2004. Excerpt: "The world's second largest scientific publisher Springer is adopting Open Access (OA) publishing....Authors will be able to choose either OA or traditional publishing for their work at a cost of $3000 per article." (PS: This is a widening of access, but it's not OA. Springer will retain copyright and limit the freedom of users to make and distribute copies. Springer was careful not to use the term "open access" for its policy, and I wish the press would be as careful.)
Nature is providing six months of free online access to a collection of articles on microscopy. The costs will be covered by Richardson Technologies, which manufactures microscopes. (PS: This is a funding model for OA that more journals should consider. Call it sponsored OA. Nature used it in December 2003 when it got Qiagen to sponsor six months of free online access to a collection of articles on RNA interference. If you're wondering, as I did back in December, why Nature doesn't make the articles freely available forever, using the sponsor's subsidy to cover just the critical first six months, then note that the RNA articles are still freely available today. The Qiagen-sponsored free period expired last month.)
Sometimes researchers need high bandwidth for the same reasons they need open access. "[Tom] Goodale, a research associate at Louisiana State University's Center for Computation & Technology, uses supercomputers to simulate phenomena in astrophysics and relativity, such as collisions between neutron stars. But the data produced by the simulations are so massive -- exceeding a terabyte, or the equivalent of 15,000 music CD's -- that often it is not feasible for Mr. Goodale to retrieve results over existing computer networks. Instead, he and colleagues resort to copying data from the supercomputer onto tapes or computer hard disks, which are shipped to the researcher. 'Quite often, the most efficient way to get data from one point to another is by FedEx,' says Mr. Goodale. This puts a brake on research because scholars can't take a look at the results and quickly tweak the simulation for another try, says Gabrielle Allen, an associate professor of computer science at Louisiana State." More in Vincent Kiernan, The Next Information Superhighway, Chronicle of Higher Education, July 9, 2004 (accessible only to subscribers).
Bas Savenije, The SPARC initiative: a catalyst for change, a presentation at the TICER workshop, The Digital Library and e-Publishing for Science, Technology, and Medicine (Geneva, June 13-18, 2004). From the abstract: "SPARC was started in 1997 by a number of large research libraries in the US. Its main goal was restore a competitive balance of the STM journals publishing market....Since two years SPARC puts a special emphasis on Open Access, including institutional repositories. The paper gives an overview of the activities of SPARC and its partners in these areas. The results are evaluated and compared with the measures defined in 1997. Finally, the paper describes the possibilities for libraries to contribute to the realization of SPARC's goals." (PS: SPARC's work is so extensive that any review of it will overlap significantly with a review of the recent progress, and future prospects, of OA more widely. Savenije's review does just this. Full disclosure: SPARC publishes my newsletter.)
The June issue of the INASP Newsletter is now online. As usual, it's full of news about OA initiatives in developing countries, in this case including India's UGC-Infonet E-journals consortium, the global review of access to health information, the University of Namibia's new institutional repository, an update on African Journals Online, and an article by Helen Doyle and Melissa Hagemann on the fee-waiver policies at PLoS and BMC.
Saeed Shah, Pressure mounts on Reed to open access to science work, Independent, July 7, 2004. Excerpt: "One of the biggest publishers of science journals, Springer, has given authors the option of making their work freely available to everyone. Springer's move to the 'open access' model will ratchet up the pressure on Reed Elsevier, the London-listed market leader, which is desperately clinging to the traditional style of science publishing, where companies charge hefty subscriptions to those who want to access journals."
The same issue of The Lancet (July 3, 2004) with the editorial on the new access policy contains two letters to the editor about OA. (1) Michael Held of the Rockefeller University Press clarifies that his earlier critical comments were directed at the Sabo bill, not at OA as such. "All of our content [at RUP] becomes free 6 months after the date of publication, and, for 142 countries, is free from the start. Additionally, we enthusiastically support open-access experiments, and will be watching their results carefully for signs of financial sustainability. We salute PLoS for their bold experiment, and wish them every success." (2) Helen Doyle and Andy Gass of PLoS explain that PLoS waives its processing fee for anyone who asks. "PLoS waives publication fees for...authors whether they come from New York or Nairobi. If the peer-review process judges that an article is worthy of publication in a PLoS journal, then the paper will be published irrespective of the author's ability to pay. To obtain a fee waiver, authors are asked simply to state the amount, if any, they can pay should their paper be accepted for publication in a PLoS journal; they are not required to justify this with any explanation about their funding, national origin, or institutional affiliation."
The Lancet 2004: design, contents, and access, The Lancet, July 3, 2004. An unsigned editorial introducing the journal's new look and new access policy. Because The Lancet is an Elsevier journal, it now permits postprint archiving. Excerpt: "The Lancet's editors now encourage authors to post electronic documents of their peer-reviewed and edited papers on personal websites and in institutional archive repositories. Authors do not need our permission to do so. All we ask is that they link their article to The Lancet, which will remain the secure site for the pdf version of their work. This change in policy has been described as a "breakthrough" by open-access advocates. While The Lancet remains a subscription (user-pays) journal, our enthusiastic support for institutional repositories, which can be linked and searched independently of the journal, means that in any ordinary meaning of the phrase, The Lancet's content is now openly and freely accessible. We hope authors will make use of this new facility for open access to their work." (Thanks to Matt Cockerill.)
PS: I've applauded the Elsevier postprint archiving policy and applaud it again as it applies to The Lancet. I've even called it a "breakthrough". However, this policy does not mean that Lancet articles are now OA. It means that Lancet articles can be OA if authors take advantage of this opportunity. Because authors didn't have advanced permission for postprint archiving before, this is a large step forward. But because authors have been slow to take advantage of existing archiving opportunities, and still need to be stirred to action, we still have a long way to go. Note to Lancet authors who want OA: The burden is now on you!)
Andrea Foster, Library Groups Join Effort to Ease Copyright Law's Restrictions on Digital Sharing, Chronicle of Higher Education, July 9, 2004 (accessible only to subscribers). Excerpt: "The Association of American Universities and five academic library groups have joined a coalition that seeks to make the digital distribution of copyrighted works easier in some circumstances. The coalition already includes consumer groups and telecommunications and electronics companies. Calling itself the Personal Technology Freedom Coalition, the group is backing legislation that would revamp the controversial section of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act known as the anti-circumvention provision....Rep. Rick Boucher, a Virginia Democrat, is championing the bill, called the Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act (HR 107)....John C. Vaughn, executive vice president of the Association of American Universities, said he would try to encourage other higher-education groups to endorse Mr. Boucher's legislation." (PS: If you're from the U.S., then consider using the Public Knowledge web form to send a fax to key members of Congress in support of H.R. 107.)
Barbara Quint, Yahoo! Search Joins OCLC Open WorldCat Project, Information Today, July 6, 2004. Excerpt: "OCLC has expanded its online library locator service for books to Yahoo! Search. Last October, I reported on a new pilot project between OCLC and Google that opened library holdings information for just under 2 million items in the WorldCat union catalog (extracted from the 55 million items with over 900 million holdings recorded. In January 2004, Yahoo! approached OCLC to arrange access to Open WorldCat records under Yahoo!'s new Content Acquisition Program....While Google took months to spider all the OCLC data, Yahoo! moved very quickly. The agreement was signed May 21; content first appeared on Yahoo! Search May 28; and full crawling and loading of the 1,993,073 set was completed June 6....By OCLC standards, usage statistics have been good during the Google phase, but the addition of Yahoo! has made them a lot better."
"Robert Hoffmann and Alfonso Valencia of the Spanish National Center of Biotechnology (CNB/CSIC) in Madrid have developed a new web-based tool called iHOP (Information Hyperlinked over Proteins) to help researchers explore scientific literature....Reporting in the Nature Genetics journal (Nature Genetics 36, 664, 01 Jul 2004), the two scientists describe how iHOP...converts the 14 million abstracts in the PubMed (National Library of Medicine) bibliographic database into a network of interlinked references to genes, proteins, mutations, diseases and (bio)chemical compounds. By using genes and proteins as hyperlinks between sentences and articles, iHOP makes the information stored in PubMed accessible as one navigable resource." More details in today's press release from EMBO. (PS: iHOP is another good example of how free online literature is free online data for sophisticated software that facilitates research.)
Mark Chillingworth, OUP joins the Open Access bandwagon, Information World Review, July 6, 2004. Excerpt: "A flagship Oxford University Press (OUP) journal is to go open access from January 2005, and it could soon be followed by others. Nucleic Acids Research (NAR) may well be the first of a series of OUP titles to adopt OA, which the publisher is now making strategic moves to explore. 'We believe that OA represents the best way to meet the changing needs of authors and readers,' said Martin Richardson, managing director of Oxford Journals."
Kurt Paulus, Conference feature: Institutional repositories and their impact on publishing, JISC, July 5, 2004. A report on last month's PALS conference, Institutional Repositories and Their Impact on Scholarly Publishing (London, June 24, 2004). Excerpt: "Most of the repositories are small, with the number of records in the hundreds only....These figures suggest that one of the main early issues is to persuade academics to deposit their outputs in the repositories, through advocacy and training. One or two institutions take a somewhat more coercive line, but none of the speakers recommended this as a sensible route. With the current slow rate of progress, there is little evidence yet that repositories are focusing on reforming scholarly publishing....In principle, well based and stocked institutional repositories could have a significant impact on scholarly publishing, but Mark Ware's survey of publishers suggested that they are not yet quaking in their boots. Less than half those surveyed thought repositories would impact significantly on traditional publishing within five years. Nearly three quarters considered that the commercial impact would be zero or neutral. Their permissions policies reflect this fairly relaxed view and they are split between waiting, and doing some experimentation to explore the many publishing issues surrounding repositories."
Update. A version of this report was also published in the July 2004 issue of Ariadne.
Shankar Vedantam, Drug Makers Prefer Silence On Test Data, Washington Post, July 6, 2004. Excerpt: "The pharmaceutical industry has repeatedly violated federal law by failing to disclose the existence of large numbers of its clinical trials to a government database, according to the Food and Drug Administration....The 1997 law is so little known that scientific journal editors and professional medical associations have recently debated whether to create a system of private incentives for disclosure of trials. When she was told the law already requires companies to register trials, Catherine DeAngelis, editor in chief of the Journal of the American Medical Association, said, 'That's a surprise to me. Tell me why it's not enforced.'...[Quoting Drummond Rennie, a professor at the University of California in San Francisco and editor at JAMA:] 'We give pharmaceutical companies a lot of tax advantages and a whole lot of support in the Congress and a good business environment and patent protection....They owe us more information.' "
Australia's National Scholarly Communications Forum (NSCF) and Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST) will work together to widen access to scholarly communication in three ways:
For details, see Malcolm Gillies and Colin Steele, Outcomes of the Round Table on Changing Research Practices in the Digital Information and Communication Environment, NSCF, June 1, 2004, a report of the outcomes of the conference, Changing Research Practices in the Digital Information and Communication Environment (Canberra, June 1, 2004).
New EU study probes the scientific publishing world, an unsigned news story from the European Commission, July 6, 2004. Excerpt: "Fundamental changes in the way research is published stand to benefit both the scientific community and society at large, raising awareness of European excellence in science and technology. An EU study will look into the implications of 'open access' publishing, and the economic and technical changes in the scientific publications market....This free flow of knowledge is also at the heart of the Berlin Declaration, which was adopted in October 2003 by well over 100 science professionals from leading organisations, such as the Max Planck Society, the National Science Foundation and Science magazine, to name a few. The Declaration says, 'New possibilities of knowledge dissemination, not only through the classical form but also… increasingly through the open access paradigm, via the internet, have to be supported. We define open access as a comprehensive source of human knowledge and cultural heritage that has been approved by the scientific community.'...Today, with an explosion in the number of journals available, rising subscription fees and diminishing library budgets, good research may not be reaching wide enough audiences."
Paul Blowers and Barbara Williams, Have we Changed the Way we do Research in Response to the Availability of Online Information? A PPT presentation from the conference of the American Society for Engineering Education Engineering Libraries Division (Salt Lake City, June 21, 2004). Blowers and Williams produce data showing (1) that journals are cited more often after they move online than before, (2) that print-only journals are cited less often after competitors appear online than before, and (3) that "prohibitively expensive" journals, even when online, are cited less often than more affordable journals.
On July 1, the International Federation for Computational Logic launched a peer-reviewed, open-access journal, Logical Methods in Computer Science (LMCS), which will be edited by Jirí Adámek, Gordon D. Plotkin, Dana S. Scott, and Moshe Y. Vardi. LMCS is accepting submissions now and will publish its first issue in September. It charges no processing fees and deposits accepted articles in the ACM's Computing Research Repository. The LMCS web site has a nice addendum, The Landscape of Open Access Publishing (as I see it) by editor Jirí Adámek. (Thanks to Jim Rogers.)
The presentations from the conference, Changing Research Practices in the Digital Information and Communication Environment (Canberra, June 1, 2004), are now online.
If you subscribe to the Open Access News blog postings by email, through Bloglet, then you'll notice that the service is up again after a long downtime. You can read the postings you missed in the blog archive online.
Bloglet is unreliable and beyond my control. It's often down without explanation. When it's up, it often sends out corrupted emails that garble the text. When it's working as advertised, it still deletes the titles, bylines, and direct links to individual blog postings.
For the future, if it's not convenient to read the blog on the web, then I recommend reading its RSS feed through a news aggregator. If you don't have a news aggregator, I can recommend Bloglines (free and web-based) or FeedDemon (affordable, desktop-based, and full-featured). Once you set up an aggregator, reading an RSS feed is as convenient as reading email. Moreover, you'll be in a position to subscribe to other feeds from other sources. And the quality is much better than Bloglet.
Austria's FWF [Science Fund] is willing to let researchers use FWF research grants to pay the costs of OA publication. It is also willing to join universities and government ministries in funding a "countrywide solution" for promoting OA in Austria. It spells out the details (briefly, in English) on a web page, Open Access Activities by the Austrian Science Fund. (Thanks to Petra Turnovsky.)
The proceedings from the conference, Digitale Publikationen an österreichischen Universitäten und Fachhochschulen: Zugänglichkeit und langfristige Archivierung - eine gemeinsame Herausforderung [Digital publications at Austrian universities and professional schools: Accesibility and long-term archiving - a common challenge] (Vienna, June 15, 2004), are now online. (Thanks to Petra Turnovsky.)