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Plant Physiology, published by the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB), is experiencing a rapidly expanding backfile at PubMed Central (PMC). ASPB is a DC Principles signatory organization and a participant in AGORA, which provides free or low-cost access to 400+ major scientific journals in agriculture and related biological, environmental and social sciences to public institutions in developing countries. Plant Physiology - Fulltext v1-26 (1926-1951), v35-36 (1960-1961), v44-52 (1969-1973), v65-69 (1980-June 1982), v101+ (1993+) 1 year moving wall; ISSN: 0032-0889 The backfile growth at PMC is part of the collaboration between NLM and a large number of journal publishers to provide complete retrospective conversion and free distribution of the archives of many of the most significant scientific journals.
The Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) has written a Brief to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, June 29, 2004. The brief recommends ways in which Canada's Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) might transform itself, especially to promote new and more effective forms of scholarly communication. It recommends (p. 4) that the SSHRC sign the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI), "work actively" toward the BOAI's goals, allocate a percentage of each SSHRC research grant to OA journal publication fees, consider requiring SSHRC grant recipients to deposit their work in OA archives, and work with other Granting Councils to develop a Canadian national policy for open access to taxpayer-funded research. (Thanks to Colin Steele.)
Martin C. Raff et al, Changing Scientific Publishing, Science 305(5686), 945-946 (13 August 2004). (Access restricted to subscribers.) In a reply to a letter by Wang et al (see OAN posting from 3/26/04) which argued for making the web the primary means of publication and dissemination of scientific literature and suggested that this might be enhanced by the inclusion of reviewer's comments and other editorial matter, Raff and colleagues point out that in the latter case such a service exists in the Faculty of 1000, which highlights and provides commentary on recent papers of interest in a variety of biomedical topics. (It is a subscription-based service, all the same.) As for web-focused publishing, they point to BioMedCentral and urge Wang and others to work to enhance already existing tools.
Perhaps I've been dozing during the dog days of summer (admitted Northern Hemisphere bias), but I just noticed that Springer Verlag has added links to the EMANI-affiliated backfiles of several math journals. EMANI is the Electronic Mathematical Archiving Network Initiative. The backfiles are hosted by the Goettinger Digitalisierungs-Zentrum (GDZ). Other participants in EMANI include Cornell University Library, MATHDOC, and Tsinghua University Library. Aequationes Mathematicae - Fulltext v55+ (1998+) | Fulltext v1-54 (1968-April 1997); Print ISSN: 0001-9054 | Online ISSN: 1420-8903. Commentarii Mathematici Helvetici - Fulltext v72-79 (1997-2004) | Fulltext v1-71 (1929-1996); Print ISSN: 0010-2571 | Online ISSN: 1420-8946. [CMH will be published by the European Mathematical Society Publishing House beginning in 2005.] Geometric & Functional Analysis - Fulltext v7+ (1997+) | Fulltext v1-6 (1991-1996); Print ISSN: 1016-443X | Online ISSN: 1420-8970. Inventiones Mathematicae - Fulltext v123(2)+ (February 1996+) | Fulltext v1-123 (1966-April 1996); Print ISSN: 0020-9910 | Online ISSN: 1432-1297. Mathematische Annalen - Fulltext v306(4)+ (November 1996+) | Fulltext v1-306 (1869-1996); Print ISSN: 0025-5831 | Online ISSN: 1432-1807. Mathematische Zeitschrift - Fulltext v224+ (1997+) | Fulltext v1-223 (1918-1996); Print ISSN: 0025-5874 | Online ISSN: 1432-1823. Metrika - Fulltext v48+ (September 1998+) | Fulltext v1-47 (1958-June 1998); Print ISSN: 0026-1335 | Online ISSN: 1435-926X. The cooperation between Springer Verlag, a commercial publisher, and the libraries and mathematics research community to digitize and distribute these backfiles is to be applauded. Too often, in my experience, publishers view the back catalog of journals as a potential cash cow or a millstone. With few exceptions, wholesale digitization of journal backfiles are not likely to generate windfall income. On the other hand, with a spirit of cooperation, the publisher need not look at digitization of the backfile as a monumental monetary sink.
Dee Ann Divis, Journals torque library budgets, United Press International, August 11, 2004. Excerpt: "Prices for scientific journals have continued to climb, with package deals by the biggest firms forcing smaller publications off the shelves. Libraries, facing budget cuts and angry over ever increasing prices, are organizing buying consortia, sharing pricing information and even using cancellations to strike back directly at publishers they consider abusive....From the libraries' perspective, it does not matter if the cost is justified or not. The accumulation of prices increases and continuing budget cuts has made the current pricing models unsustainable. They are revolting against prices in general and against new bundled contracts in particular....Publishers are seeing the handwriting, too, and are considering new business models, 'We are doing our own experiments,' said Eric Merkel-Sobotta, director of corporate relations at Elsevier, the largest of the commercial publishers. 'We recognize that the system is in transition,' he told UPI."
The presentations from the INDEST-NCSI Workshop on Institutional Repositories (Bangalore, India, July 27-29, 2004), are now online.
David Stern, Open Access Journals: revenue beyond author charges. Stern offers a detailed review of OA pricing models and discusses alternatives to author payment models. "The major concern of the community should be maintaining a revenue stream to support the peer review process," he argues. (Source:the (sci-tech) Library Question)
The August 2 issue of Open Access Now is now online. This issue features an interview with Ian Gibson, the MP who convened the recent UK inquiry, an editorial on OA progress over the past year, a news story on Oxford's conversion of Nucleic Acids Research to open access, a news story on Springer's Open Choice program, and a profile of the q-bio archive.
Jemima Kiss, Open access is on the way, dotJournalism, August 12, 2004. Excerpt: "Open access publishing will become the most predominant model for scientific research within the next five years, according to Jan Velterop, publisher and director of open access site BioMed Central....[Elsevier] has been criticised for the significant wealth created by its journals, which account for around 35 per cent of the company's profits. Critics claim that academic journals cost higher education in the UK around £76 million every year, and that these subscriptions create barriers for the spread of information and research which is often publicly funded. Speaking to dotJournalism, Mr Velterop said that traditional publishers do not react quickly enough to developments in the publishing industry. 'Life has been too cosy for too long for these traditional publishers,' he said. 'There is no reason why publishers should be guardians of this knowledge, especially when it is funded by public money.' "
Genes to Cells, from the Molecular Biology Society of Japan, is now online via Blackwell Synergy and the nascent Blackwell presence at HighWire Press (currently 3 titles). Genes to Cells - Fulltext v1+ (1996+) 6 month moving wall via Blackwell Synergy | Highwire; Print ISSN: 1356-9597 | Online ISSN: 1365-2443.
Journal of Epilepsy & Clinical Neurophysiology, the official scientific review journal of the Epilepsy League of Brazil, and Epilepsy Currents, the latest addition to PubMed Central, are both freely available online. Journal of Epilepsy & Clinical Neurophysiology - Fulltext v7(4)+ (December 2001+); ISSN: 1676-2649. Epilepsy Currents - Fulltext v1+ (2001+); Print ISSN: 1535-7597 | Online ISSN: 1535-7511. Thanks to Brooke Dine and the PMC-News mailing list for the latter contribution.
The presentations from the JISC/CNI meeting, The future of scholarship in the digital age (Brighton, July 8-9, 2004), are now online. Many are directly concerned with OA.
Mark Chillingworth, BioMed Central seeks Open Access advice, August 9, 2004. Excerpt: "Open Access publisher BioMed Central is seeking librarians advice on the future payment methods for Open Access (OA). A special meeting is being held in London, results from the meeting will be published in September....Amongst the institutions being represented at the meeting will be Havard, Yale, Cambridge and Loughborough universities as well as Wellcome Trust, the Council for Central Laboratory of the Research Councils UK, and the Research Council."
Peter Monaghan, Presses Seek Fiscal Relief in Subsidies for Authors, Chronicle of Higher Education, August 13, 2004 (accessible only to subscribers). Excerpt: "One proposed solution now gaining ground is that universities and other institutions that support academic research create a pool of money to provide subsidies for authors to help offset the costs of publishing. Under this plan, all institutions would contribute to the pool, and give authors $5,000 to $10,000 in what are called 'subventions' that they could take to an academic press interested in publishing their book. Universities and colleges that require books and journal articles for tenure and promotion but do not maintain their own presses might be asked to contribute more than those that do....Some leaders within the Modern Language Association and the American Council of Learned Societies, as well as the Association of American University Presses, have endorsed the idea."
(PS: Nobody interviewed for the article raised OA issues, so I will. Are we talking about subventions that cover all the costs of publication or only some? If all, then why not issue the book in both an OA edition and a priced-print edition? If only some, then could the increased print sales that OA editions seem to stimulate cover the gap?)
The Nature Publishing Group now offers free RSS feeds for all its life-science journals and will soon expand the program to its other titles. From the press release: "[T]he listing of newsfeeds is accessible as an OPML file to facilitate the ready import of NPG newsfeeds into RSS newsreaders. A master RSS newsfeed of all NPG newsfeeds is also available for alerting subscribers to new NPG newsfeeds. These newsfeeds are all based on the RSS 1.0 format which builds on the W3C Resource Description Framework and allows rich metadata to be included at both the channel and item level....We have also developed a jobs metadata term set (including such terms as 'offeredBy', 'city', 'country', 'postedOn, 'expiresOn', etc) and make use of these terms in the jobs newsfeeds. We would like to work with other partners to define a new RSS module aimed at providing a fuller description of jobs information. Linking to the article full text is effected using industry-standard mechanisms for persistent linking: DOI and CrossRef."
Eugenio Pelizzari, Academic Authors and Open Archives: A Survey in the Social Science Field, Libri, June 2004. No Libri content is free online for non-subscribers, not even the TOC and abstracts. This abstract was distributed by email: "The paper reports on a survey of the academic staff of the Faculties of Economics and Law of the University of Brescia, Italy. The survey sought to determine knowledge and use of Open-Access archives, and to verify the conditions stated by the staff for their participation in an Institutional Open-Access initiative. The response to the questionnaire was 57.9% (62 authors). Results show that 44% (25/57) of the authors knew about the existence of Open-Access initiatives and archives. Of the persons who are aware of the existence of Open-Access archives, only 4% (1/25) affirmed they had already used them to deposit papers, while 33% (16/48), among those who declared to use materials free available on the web, affirmed to have used an Open-Access disciplinary archive. Sixty-one percent (41/62) of the respondents answered they were prepared to archive personally their own scientific or educational material on an institutional repository, once the conditions that they request have been fulfilled. The study illustrates the crucial role that authors play in the process of diffusion of Open-Access initiatives." (Thanks to Gary Price.)