Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, August 21, 2004

PRISM 1.2 available for public comment

PRISM 1.2 is now available for a 45-day period of public comment. PRISM stands for "Publishing Requirements for Industry Standard Metadata". From yesterday's press release: "PRISM defines a set of XML metadata vocabularies that assist in automating repetitive tasks that are used in accessing, managing, tracking and repurposing content. The PRISM Specification and the PRISM Aggregator DTD, which is an application of the PRISM Specification, provide tools for interoperability so that organizations can easily and automatically syndicate, acquire, exchange and find magazine and mainstream journal articles, catalogs, images, and other types of content across multiple repositories....In addition to posting PRISM 1.2 for comment, the PRISM Working Group is posting two related specifications in the 'Contributed Resources' area of the PRISM website. These resources, an RSS (RDF Site Summary) 1.0 module for PRISM 1.2 and an RDF schema for PRISM 1.2 were developed by Nature Publishing Group, a leading science publisher, but they are of general utility and can be used by all publishing domains, scientific, educational, trade, or otherwise." The PRISM standard was developed by the non-profit IDEAlliance.

More on the Cell Press back run

Bobby Pickering, Cell Press gets the open access notion, Information World Review, August 21, 2004. Excerpt: "Another part of the Reed Elsevier empire has made a move to defend itself against the onslaught of the open access movement. Cell Press, the Elsevier imprint that publishes journals Cell, Neuron, Immunity and many others, says it will make its recent online archives freely available from January 2005. All contents of its journals more than 12 months old, and dating back to 1995, will then be available to any reader, and each month the year-old issue of each journal will be added to the archive. While acknowledging that Cell Press was attempting to meet the needs of its author and reader communities, CEO Lynne Herndon did caution against author-pays publishing. 'This opportunity also allows us to incorporate the notion of an open archive without adopting the pay-for-publication model that we believe is untested from both an editorial and financial perspective.' "

Friday, August 20, 2004

PNAS and OA fees

While some speculate that few will be willing to pay, as authors, to provide Open Access to articles, the evidence to the contrary is growing. In May, PNAS instituted a $1000/article fee for authors to purchase Open Access upon publication, rather than waiting through the 6 month embargo period. I stumbled across a forthcoming article where the authors chose to exercise this option. Katharine Hayhoe et al. Emissions pathways, climate change, and impacts on California. PNAS 101(34):12422-12427 24 August 2004 I guess the jury is still out on the value authors attach to making their research immediately available to the widest possible audience, but the evidence from PNAS, the Entomological Society of America, PLoS Biology, and the many BioMed Central journals seems to indicate that there is a real market for Open Access. David Prosser reviewed the last four issues (in reverse chronological order from the most current issue - 17 August) the percentage of open access articles has been (roughly) 9, 13, 10, 12%. So currently PNAS is a 10% open access journal. It will be interesting to see if the Open Access papers appear with greater regularity in the PNAS 'most frequently read' list.

Plant Pathology - free backfiles

Plant Pathology, published by the British Society for Plant Pathology (BSPP), is available in fulltext from Blackwell Synergy following a 3 year embargo period. For the first 3 years following online posting, the fulltext is restricted to current, licensed subscribers. Plant Pathology - Fulltext v45+ (1996+) 3 year moving wall; Print ISSN: 0032-0862 | Online ISSN: 1365-3059. Interestingly, though, a significant portion of the journal is devoted to communicating new and significant plant disease situations twice a year. New Disease Reports - Fulltext v1+ (2000+). No ISSN. New Disease Reports is an online global reporting service for rapid and free publication of new and significant plant disease situations. Papers are published rapidly on the BSPP web site and biannually in June and December in Plant Pathology. While the Plant Pathology version is restricted for 3 years, New Disease Reports remains open and available.

More on the draft Scottish Declaration

Richard Wray, Commercial publishers face Scottish open access challenge, The Guardian, August 20, 2004. Excerpt: "Scottish librarians are considering making it compulsory for academic research generated in Scotland to be made freely available to all over the internet in the latest move towards the open access model that presents a challenge to traditional commercial publishers such as Reed Elsevier....In its draft declaration, the group says the traditional way of disseminating research through subscription-based journals 'severely restricts access to leading edge research'. In contrast, open access publishing 'provides a more cost-efficient means of disseminating the outputs of research funded from the public purse'."

Archival browsing to increase serendipity

Anne Eisenberg, How can a Web browser become more like a bookshelf browser? International Herald Tribune, August 19, 2004. Excerpt: "At the Berkeley campus of the University of California, a professor and her students have created a search program called Flamenco that lets users browse a digitized collection in ways that are similar to a stroll among the shelves of a library. 'It's for when you are not quite sure what you want,' said Marti Hearst, an associate professor at the School of Information Management and Systems, who led the research. 'It's meant to help people find things, in part, by serendipity.' To create Flamenco, Hearst started with one archived collection of art at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, 35,000 images that were identified by written descriptions. She used the descriptions to classify the items in a variety of ways, including the medium, the date, the artist and the content of the image. The categories were cross-linked so that when people clicked on one, they saw not only the images within it - say, of landscapes - but those in related categories, like other artists working on landscapes at the same time. The effect, Hearst said, is like walking down a library aisle and finding related books on a subject."

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Another book author choosing OA

"Commons-based" approaches to science

Yochai Benkler, Commons-Based Strategies and the Problems of Patents, Science Magazine, August 20, 2004 (accessible only to subscribers). Despite the title, this article is not limited to patent issues. The general topic is "commons-based" approaches to scientific research, from well-known OA initiatives like arXiv and PLoS to less familiar ones like Folding@home and PIPRA. Excerpt: "Property, contract, and managerial commands are the basic tools of managing mainstream production. By contrast, production is 'commons-based' when no one uses exclusive rights to organize effort or capture its value, and when cooperation is achieved through social mechanisms other than price signals or managerial directions. Large-scale instances of such cooperation are 'peer production'....As distributed computing has shown, seemingly insurmountable equipment costs may sometimes be resolvable by reorganizing a process. Ultimately the problem of high-cost bottlenecks may limit the extent to which some processes can be made amenable to peer production. If small enough, however, residual costs may be covered by philanthropic and government funding. Scientists can learn from peer production how to organize their research projects to modularize research tasks and to integrate contributions from many low-intensity collaborators. This will increase their ability to pursue science that affects millions of lives, but cannot pay its way under the present system."

OA to much of the back run of Cell Press journals

Starting in January 2005, Cell Press will provide free online access to the archive of Cell Press journals back to 1995, with a 12-month moving wall to exclude recent issues. From the press release: "Today's announcement by Cell Press represents an important change that will make a large part of the Cell Press journal archive freely accessible to the worldwide biomedical research community. Cell Press President and CEO Lynne Herndon commented, 'Our main goal is the dissemination of information and the active support of scientific exchange. In recognition of the opportunities afforded by electronic publishing, Cell Press is taking this decision in order to better meet the needs of our unique author and reader communities. This opportunity also allows us to incorporate the notion of an open archive without adopting the pay-for-publication model that we believe is untested from both an editorial and financial perspective.' " Cell Press is an imprint of Elsevier that publishes nine highly regarded journals.

Profile of Brewster Kahle

Matt Marshall, Digitize and conquer, The Mercury News, August 19, 2004 (free but annoyingly extensive registration required). Excerpt: "Brewster Kahle, founder of San Francisco's Internet Archive, burns with a mission. He wants to ensure universal access to all human knowledge. And now he thinks that goal is within our grasp. The emergence of cheap data storage technology has made what once seemed a pipe dream distinctly possible -- digitizing and storing the entire Web, the world's 100 million books, 2 or 3 million audio recordings and millions more software programs, TV shows and videos. 'Storing this is a no-brainer,' Kahle said. He's making what has been digitalized so far freely accessible at Library of Congress houses about 28 million books, and he estimates he can scan and digitize each book for $10 a piece. That would cost about $280 million, or the equivalent of half the Library's annual budget....Sure, getting copyrighted material has its challenges, especially music and videos. But he's chipping away where he can. Driving Kahle is the conviction that the world's information is a common good. In that spirit, he also has asked Google to furnish him with a copy of its database, say with a six-month delay so Google's competitiveness doesn't suffer. Google has yet to grant his request."

More on the draft Scottish Declaration on OA

Mark Chillingworth, Scots declare support for open access, Information World Review, August 19, 2004. Excerpt: "Scotland's academic library community has declared its support for Open Access (OA) journal publishing. The Scottish Confederation of University and Research Libraries (SCURL), has released a draft declaration describing the current subscription model as unsustainable. 'We believe that the interests of Scotland will be best served by the rapid adoption of open access,' SCURL states in its declaration. Chris Bailey, vice-chair of SCURL said: 'Research is funded by public money, the output of this research is given to the public sector freely who then charge for it, commercial suppliers are unreasonable.'...The draft declaration indicates that research grants should only be given on the caveat that findings are published in an open access journal or a repository. SCURL wants to promote authors to publish their findings in open access journals, and to help institutions set up self-archiving repositories."

Another book author choosing OA

Janko Roettgers, Kopiert mein Buch! Freitag 33, August 6, 2004. Roettgers explains (in German) why he posted the full-text of his non-fiction book to the internet with a Creative Commons license. The book is Mix, Burn & R.I.P.: Das Ende der Musikindustrie, an analysis of file-sharing in the music industry.

Oberlin group libraries join BMC

Twenty-three members of the Oberlin Group of liberal arts college libraries have become institutional members of BioMed Central. (PS: On March 15, 2004, another set of Oberlin Group libraries joined the Public Library of Science.)

OA images and videos for classicists

The Stoa Consortium, an OA portal for the field of classics, has launched the Stoa Image Gallery, a collection of OA images and videos related to classics, classical archaeology, and the classical tradition. The organizers urge submitters to distributed their images and videos under Creative Commons licenses.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Highwire to host Oxford journals

Starting in January 2005, Highwire Press will host the entire line of Oxford journals. This will not affect the access policies of the journals. For details see today's press release.

Respiratory journal cluster

Here are a handful of fulltext online respiratory journals. The first three titles are hosted by HighWire Press. The American Thoracic Society provides embargoed (or delayed) access to the fulltext of their primary research journals, following a one year period reserved exclusively for paid subscribers and society members. American Journal of Respiratory & Critical Care Medicine - Fulltext v156+ (July 1997+) 1 year moving wall; Print ISSN: 1073-449X | Online ISSN: 1535-4970. American Journal of Respiratory Cell & Molecular Biology - Fulltext v17+ (July 1997+) 1 year moving wall; Print ISSN: 1044-1549 | Online ISSN: 1535-4989. European Respiratory Journal (ERJ) is the official journal of the European Respiratory Society. ERJ recently became available at HighWire Press, hence the free access to the complete journal through the end of the month. After the introductory trial period, an 18 month embargo will be imposed. European Respiratory Journal - Fulltext v8+ (1995+) [Fulltext free through 1 September 2004; afterwards 18 month moving wall]; Print ISSN: 0903-1936 | Online ISSN: 1399-3003. Primary Care Respiratory Journal was an Open Access journal through 2003, produced by GPIAG. The General Practice Airways Group (GPIAG) is a group of nearly 1000 general practitioners and more than 200 nurses in the United Kingdom with an interest in respiratory diseases which are common in primary care. Beginning in 2004, GPIAG contracted the publication of the journal to Elsevier/Saunders. Primary Care Respiratory Journal - Fulltext v5-12 (1997-2003); ISSN: 1475-1534. Respiratory Research is an Open Access journal, hosted by BioMed Central and mirrored by PubMed Central. Respiratory Research, with an ISI 2003 Impact Factor of 5.53, ranks second in the respiratory field. Respiratory Research - Fulltext v1+ (2000+) BioMed Central | PubMed Central; Print ISSN: 1465-9921 | Online ISSN: 1465-993X. SciELO is a major source of Open Access journals from Central and South America, as well as Spain. Revista Chilena de Enfermedades Respiratorias - Fulltext v18+ (2002+); Print ISSN: 0717-5698 | Online ISSN: 0717-7348.

OA overview in Der Spiegel

Thorsten Dambeck, Aufstand gegen die Hüter des Wissens, Der Spiegel, August 18, 2004. A good overview of the open-access movement for the mainstream reader, from high journal prices to the DOAJ, the Berlin Declaration, and the UK report. (Thanks to Stefan Busch.)

OA to European economics research

Vanessa Proudman, Your master key to economics research, IFLA Newsletter for Social Science Libraries, 1 (2004) pp. 3-4. A profile of Nereus, the open-access repository and portal of European economics research.

More on the ERIC reorganization

ERIC, the OA pioneer in the field of education, has taken another step in its reorganization by appointing its steering committee and content experts. The new ERIC site should launch by September 1.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

More on public access to drug trial data

Faye Flam, Researchers working for full disclosure of clinical trials, Philadelphia Inquirer, August 17, 2004. Excerpt: "In criminal proceedings in the United States, the prosecution is legally required to provide the defense with any information that might be beneficial to the defendant - even if it may hurt the prosecution's case. Scientists are bound to a similar type of disclosure through an unwritten code of ethics. It's part of what separates real science from pseudo-science or folk wisdom....In many cases, it's not that the journals refuse to publish negative results, [Kay] Dickerson [professor at Brown University] said, but that researchers never write them up or send them to the journals. Sometimes, when researchers try to publish their results, the companies that sponsor them try to intervene....Critics such as [Drummond] Rennie [a deputy editor at JAMA] argue that...voluntary measures won't go far enough. Companies retain the power to stop posting all results once the current controversy dies down."

Access to botany journals

Kathy Fescemeyer, Access to International Plant Sciences Journals - An Endangered Species?, Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship, Summer 2004. Abstract: "Access to international resources is always challenging. This project measures the availability of international journals in the plant sciences in libraries in the United States. The availability of 189 journals was evaluated by searching WorldCat. The analysis showed that 55% of the titles were held in 20 or fewer libraries throughout the United States. A subset of 16 titles searched in 30 libraries showed that only 57% of the libraries maintained current subscriptions to the journals. Implications to the lack of accessibility to these materials by North American researchers are discussed with suggestions of how availability might be improved."

Access patterns in chemistry and geoscience

Julie Hallmark, Access and Retrieval of Recent Journal Articles: A Comparative Study of Chemists and Geoscientists, Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship, Summer 2004. Abstract: "This study describes the methods of access and retrieval of recent journal articles cited by geoscientists and chemists who work in academia, government, and industry. Citations, originally published during 2002, were selected from the references in current articles in 20 journal titles in the geosciences and 14 in chemistry. Each author received a personalized letter and brief questionnaire that addressed the methods of access and retrieval of one of those citations. Not surprisingly, a majority of respondents in both disciplines reported using the Internet for both access and retrieval, and many added insightful, substantive remarks that added depth and detail to the data analysis. The return rates of 75% in geoscience and 57% in chemistry suggest a high level of concern among these scientists for their journal literature. A comparison of the present results with similar unpublished data from a 1998 study illustrates the rapid evolution and acceptance of electronic journals; five years ago a majority of scientists in both disciplines used traditional (non-electronic) methods for access and retrieval of recent citations. Analysis of the information-seeking behavior of chemists and geologists as represented by citation patterns offers a unique view of the scientific endeavor."

Nutrition and Metabolism - new journal from BMC

Nutrition & Metabolism is the latest independent, Open Access journal hosted by BioMed Central (BMC). Nutrition & Metabolism - Fulltext v1+ (2004+); ISSN: 1743-7075. Quoting from the journal's About page:
Nutrition & Metabolism is an open access, peer-reviewed, online journal focused on the integration of nutrition, exercise physiology, clinical investigations, and molecular and cellular biochemistry of metabolism. The areas of interest of Nutrition & Metabolism encompass studies in obesity, diabetes, lipidemias, metabolic syndrome and exercise physiology that have an underlying basis in metabolism. Likewise, we seek submission of manuscripts on the biochemistry of metabolism, cell signaling, molecular and cellular biology of nutrients, nutrient gene interactions and other areas that have implications for human nutrition and medicine. Current, but not exclusive, interests are metabolic effects of diet composition, interactions of macronutrients, effect of nutrients on gene expression, metabolic control and compartment models, nutritional effect of hormones, and genomic analysis of dietary phenomena.

On BMJ and OA

Colin Meek, BMJ's legendary leader moves on, Canadian Medical Association Journal, August 17, 2004. On Richard Smith's departure from BMJ for a European branch of United Healthcare Group. Excerpt: "The movement to make original research freely available online is progressing rapidly with the launch of the Public Library of Science's PLoS Biology and later this year, PLoS Medicine. The latter will compete with general medical journals, such as BMJ. BMJ itself will bring in some user charges for next year, although the original research will remain free. Smith says the move to restrict access was inevitable." (PS: This is confusing. If charging for access to *some* content was inevitable, then why put this sentence right after one about PLoS, which charges for *no* content? Could Meek have meant that *lifting* access restrictions was inevitable? Thanks to Charles W. Bailey, Jr. for the link.)

Quantitative Biology archive profiled

q-bio, the quantitative biology eprint repository at (formerly, is profiled in the latest issue of Open Access Now. As I noted in January, this development is especially noteworthy in that biology, as a discipline, has not had the same preprint sociology which nurtured the development of for the mathematics and physics communities. q-bio is now approaching its first anniversary of operation with almost 500 papers directly submitted and another 560+ cross-listings.

PNAS outlines noncommercial use policy

Nicholas R. Cozzarelli et al, Liberalization of PNAS copyright policy: Noncommercial use freely allowed, PNAS Early Edition, August 17, 2004. (Access restricted to subscribers.) An editorial describes the rights of PNAS authors (posting .pdf articles, reuse of work in other compilations, etc.,) while justifying PNAS' insistence on copyright transfer, which, Cozzarelli and colleagues argue, enable the publisher to transfer journal material to new and evolving storage formats, "remove the administrative burden of rights and permissions management from authors; and to provide protection from copyright abuse." Interestingly, PNAS initiated this policy in 1993, and when they wanted to include material prior to this date in PubMedCentral, they would have needed to get permission from the authors of the original articles.
In the end we proceeded without explicit permission from the original authors or their heirs. We accept the risk in doing so because we believe it is clearly in everyone's best interest. If a copyright holder objects, however, we will immediately remove the article from our online collection.

On the influence of RePEc, an OA pioneer

Sergey Parinov and Thomas Krichel, RePEc and Socionet as partners in a changing digital library environment, 1997 to 2004 and beyond, Proceedings Russian Conference on Digital Libraries, 2004 (the link is to the postprint archived at E-LIS). Abstract: "This paper examines the theoretical foundation and practical development of the the RePEc and digital libraries. RePEc is a UK-founded but internationally operating digital library for the economics discipline. Socionet is a Russia-based, but multi-disciplinary digital library for the wider social sciences. In 1997, Socionet copied the business model of RePEc and much of its technical infrastructure. As the Socionet library has matured, it has diverged from the RePEc model. Currently it emerges as a model and platform to build the Russian national level scientific and educational digital information space." (Thanks to ResourceShelf.)

Monday, August 16, 2004

Academia's information sharing future

Grant Buckler, Open access: Academia's information sharing future, Information Highways, July/August 2004. A very good survey. Excerpt: "From the writer's viewpoint, though, academic publishing is quite different. Where journalists and novelists are paid for writing and many live on this income, academic journals pay neither the authors of the papers they publish nor their peers who review them....Meanwhile, the Internet removes the printing and distribution costs from the equation....The benefit to researchers is wider readership and more citations, which enhances their reputations. 'People go for what is easily available,' says Andrew Odlyzko, director of the Digital Technology Center at the University of Minnesota, 'and we now have evidence from various studies that papers which are readily available on the net tend to have wider readership.' "

LOCKSS appears at BioOne

The ongoing availability and stability of the intellectual archive skyrockets as a Library of Alexandria-type debacle is removed from the realm of possibility for the material contained in BioOne. The following text notice and a LOCKSS logo device appear at the journal archive and volume level throughout the website. LOCKSS system has permission to collect, preserve, and serve this Archival Unit LOCKSS (Lots of Copies Keeps Stuff Safe) is an attempt to preserve digital content against the vagaries of economic conditions, weather, and other hazards to access from a single site. Although LOCKSS does not currently document the BioOne participation, the status report demonstrates significant commitment from Project Muse, the cooperation of a half dozen Open Access journals, and tentative experimentation by HighWire Press and Berkeley Electronic Press.

Blackwell continues to yield additional free access

Blackwell Publishing would do well to take a page from HighWire Press and compile a comprehensive, easy to locate listing of free content. HighWire's Free Online Full-text Articles should be considered an industry standard, worthy of emulation. Since such a resource does not currently exist, I'll share the most recent results of my research at the Blackwell website. Tropical Medicine and International Health - Fulltext v1+ (1996+) 1 year moving wall; Print ISSN: 1360-2276 | Online ISSN: 1365-3156; ISI Journal Citation Reports Ranking: 2003: 1/12 (Tropical Medicine); 20/89 (Public, Environmental & Occupational Health) | Impact Factor: 2.156. Sociology of Health & Illness - Fulltext v1-18 (1979-1996); Print ISSN: 0141-9889 | Online ISSN: 1467-9566; ISI Journal Citation Reports Ranking: 2003: 8/56 (Public Health); 5/25 (Soc Sci, Biomed); 4/93 (Sociology) | Impact Factor: 0.761.

Keeping up with PubMed Central additions

There are several ways to stay abreast of content additions at PubMed Central (PMC). Some people tend to visit the website (almost) daily, poring over the Full List and New Journals to discern the very latest developments. Another approach is to stay tuned to STS-L, ERIL-L, the SPARC Open Access Forum or Open Access News, since notifications tend to flow pretty regularly. PMC-News provides ongoing notification directly from the source. Additionally, as noted by my Caltech colleagues Daniel Taylor and Dana Roth, the NLM Technical Bulletin brings PMC content additions together on a monthly basis. NLM Technical Bulletin - Fulltext no272+ (May/June 1993+); ISSN: 0146-3055.

Backfile growth at SciELO

One area where online journals vary tremendously from the print environment is the fluctuation of beginning and ending points. The folks at SciELO (Scientific Electronic Library Online) have added some additional backfiles to a couple of public health journals. Revista Costarricense de Salud Publica - Fulltext v6+ (1997+); ISSN: 1409-1429. Revista de Saude Publica - Fulltext v26+ (1992+); ISSN: 0034-8910.

Finnish science journals

The Finnish Zoological and Botanical Publishing Board provides free access to a portion of both of their major research journals. Annales Botanica Fennici - Fulltext v33-38 (1996-2001); ISSN: 0003-3847. Annales Zoologici Fennici - Fulltext v25-38 (1988-2001); ISSN: 0003-455X.

More on the NIH OA plan

I've written an FAQ on the NIH open-access plan, based on my article in SOAN for 8/2/04. It focuses on questions about what the report language would require and publisher objections to the plan. I'm trying to walk a fine line between answering questions that really arise and keeping the document short enough to read or hand out.

Draft Scottish Declaration of Open Access

The Scottish Science Information Strategy Working Group has written a draft Scottish Declaration of Open Access. The draft will be made final, signed, and probably released after an October 11 meeting at the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Excerpt from the draft Declaration: "There are two main routes to achieving open access, and we wish to register our support for both. A growing number of open access journals have been established, with some publishers offering all their journals on an open access basis, and others offering it only for selected titles, or to selected institutions....The second route is usually described as 'self-archiving', where authors deposit electronic versions of their articles in an institutional, or subject-based, repository: appropriate software adhering to open standards and encouraging interoperability allows these repositories to be searched jointly, and relevant articles retrieved from repositories located worldwide....There is growing evidence to suggest that open access increases the reach and impact of research....Open access publishing therefore provides a more cost-efficient means of disseminating the outputs of research funded from the public purse than does the current system....In the light of these developments, and recognising the huge potential gains to Scotland in terms of impact, comparative advantage, and return on public investment if open access to our research can be established quickly, we will use our best endeavours to ensure that research carried out in Scotland is published in an open access format, recognising that a transition phase may be necessary in some areas."

The rise of OA journals

Julie Bell, Changes are being forced at costly journals, Baltimore Sun, August 16, 2004. (Free registration required; an abridged version appears in today's Boston Globe, with no registration requirement.) Excerpt: "For more than 100 hundred years, publication of major scientific and medical breakthroughs has been concentrated in a handful of prestigious journals. They have been the world's primary window into discoveries including the structure of DNA and the configuration of the human genome. But the reach and power of the Internet, rising subscription prices and pressure from patients are forcing changes in the world of scientific publishing. Those changes, advocates say, may end a publisher's paradise, in which knowledge of cutting-edge research is initially available to only those who can afford to subscribe....Patient advocates are also a powerful force in the Web publishing movement. They insist on easy, searchable access to the results of taxpayer-funded studies. "Some of that stuff could make the difference between whether someone lives or dies, or the quality of life," said Lynda Dee, president of AIDS Action Baltimore."

Sunday, August 15, 2004

September Cites & Insights

The September issue of Walt Crawford's Cites & Insights is now online. By far the largest section in this issue is "Library Access to Scholarship", which is itself mostly devoted to open access. Walt covers the UK and US plans for OA to taxpayer-funded research, the OA experiments at various journal publishers, and several recent articles about OA (including several of my own). Excerpt: "My primary interest in this section is freeing up library funds so academic libraries can maintain humanities subscriptions, buy monographs, other books, and media, provide access to gray literature, maintain technical services and reference librarianship, and in other ways preserve the record of the civilization and maintain themselves as libraries. OA journals can help --if they're represented in library catalogs and when they replace overpriced commercial journals or force those journal publishers to reduce prices. As for OA archives, as far as I can tell, these are likely to have either no effect on library costs or --when they have an effect-- a potentially disruptive effect on scholarly communication."

New OA journal

Vinod B Shidham, Anthony Cafaro, and Barbara F Atkinson, CytoJournal joins 'open access' philosophy, CytoJournal, July 29, 2004. The editorial in the inaugural issue of a new OA journal from BioMed Central. Excerpt: "One could argue whether we need more journals in cytopathology, but without shadow of doubt there is a global need for greater access to scientific information in this field. As an Open Access journal CytoJournal will meet this need, by removing subscription barriers. Communication in general has been revolutionized in the last decade. With the emergence of the internet, entire libraries of scientific information are potentially just a mouse click away. Open Access to quality controlled, scientific information to the general public and scientific community alike is extremely valuable for harvesting the fruits of hard work by academicians. However, to date little has been done to realize the potential of this technological revolution. It is now affordable to make our hard earned scientific information available to a much wider audience. Millions of students, teachers, physicians, scientists, general public, and other potential readers can have free access to the gold mine of this scientific information....Free flow of scientific information is crucial for advancements in diagnosis and management of diseases in both the developed and developing world. Simply providing a conduit of information is not enough." (Thanks to Charles W. Bailey, Jr.)

More on the UK report

Andrew Albanese, UK Report Calls for Publicly Available STM Research, Library Journal, August 15, 2004. Excerpt: "Open access supporters cheered. Jan Velterop, CEO of open access publisher BioMed Central, called the report the 'clearest political signal yet that open access to the research literature is to be regarded of great benefit to science and society.' For commercial publishers, there was less good news. The report criticized practices such as bundling and is unimpressed by the wave of statistics the industry has used to justify massive price increases. Arie Jongejan, chief executive of science and technology publishing at Elsevier, struggled to find a silver lining. Jongejan told London's Guardian that the company considers 'some of the concerns expressed in the report about government policy on scientific publishing to be overstated.' "