Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, October 30, 2004

More on PLoS Medicine

P.V Ramachandran, PLoS Medicine follows PLoS Biology, October 30, 2004. A blog posting reviewing the history of PLoS and welcoming PLoS Medicine.

Science communication in Peru

Luisa Massarani, Science communication 'is a priority in Peru', SciDev.Net, October 29, 2004. Excerpt: "The president of Peru's main science funding agency, the National Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (CONCYTEC), has called for improved communication to inform people about science and technology and to let them evaluate its relevance to their lives. Benjamín Marticorena made his comments at the 1st Meeting of Science Journalists and Science Communicators in Peru, held on 25 October....Marticorena says science communication in Peru should use as many different tools as possible, including newspapers, radio and television, museums, lectures and conferences." (PS: Open access to Peruvian research should be part of the overall strategy.)

More on James Butcher's return to The Lancet

Richard Wray, Open-access editor defects back to Lancet, The Guardian, October 30, 2004. Longer story than yesterday's press release, but still no explanation.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Symposium on electronic theses and dissertations

Fannie M. Cox and Mary Barbosa-Jerez, Gleanings from the 7th International Symposium on Electronic Theses and Dissertations, Library Hi Tech News, 21, 8 (2004) pp. 10-12. Only this abstract is free online, at least so far: "A report on the 7th International Symposium on Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETD) and some of the sessions presented at the 2004 conference, which had the theme of 'Distributing Knowledge Worldwide Through Better Scholarly Communication.' "

Subito on OA

In its continuing defense against a lawsuit from publishers, Subito, the publicly-funded German document delivery service, has filed a lengthy response (PDF) in which it describes the rise of open-access alternatives to priced research literature. I don't have the time or the German skills to read the full document, but it seems to make the point that if priced journals are experiencing cancellations, Subito should not be singled out as the culprit. Moreover, it doesn't compete directly with journals because it doesn't provide abstracts or full-text searching. (Thanks to Klaus Graf.)

JISC to fund enhancement of institutional repository software

JISC has announced that about one third of the funds from its Digital Preservation and Assets Management program will go toward developing preservation functions for open-source software for institutional repositories. Excerpt: "There have [been?] few UK implementations of the OAIS Reference Model. Funded projects will explore implementations of the OAIS as well as the METS metadata standard in the context of the OAIS Information Model. Most currently available open source repository software applications do not have long term digital preservation as a key goal of their design. In order to facilitate the incorporation of preservation planning and management into repositorydevelopment, some projects are exploring integrating a preservation functionality to current open source repository software."

OA to sheet music

Marilyn Lutz, The Maine music box: a pilot project to create a digital music library, Library Hi Tech, 22, 3 (2004) pp. 283-94. Abstract: "The Maine Music Box is an interactive, multimedia digital music library that enables users to view images of sheet music, scores and cover art, play back audio and video renditions, and manipulate the arrangement of selected pieces by changing the key and instrumentation. In this pilot project the partners are exploring the feasibility and obstacles of combining collections, digital library infrastructure, and technical and pedagogical expertise from different institutions to implement a digital music library and integrate it into Maine's classrooms. This paper describes the methodology for digitizing, processing and providing access to electronic resources owned by two libraries and hosted by another, and the use of those collections to develop an instructional tool keyed to the digital library."

Chilean thesis and dissertation repository

Cybertesis is a new, open-access, OAI-compliant repository of theses and dissertations hosted by the University of Chile Information Services & Library System. For details, see the web site or the launch announcement (October 15, 2004) from Gabriela Ortuzar. (Thanks to Klaus Graf.)

More on PLoS Medicine

Scientists Publish Medical Journal Online At No Charge, iHealth Beat, October 28, 2004. A brief, unsigned news story.

More on PLoS Medicine

Lynn Eaton, Public Library of Science launches "author pays" model, BMJ, October 30, 2004. Excerpt: "Dr Ian Gibson, chairman of the UK parliamentary select committee on science and technology, which recently carried out an investigation into the funding of science publishing, welcomed the initiative. 'This is an important test case, setting the pace,' he told the audience at the journal's launch at the Wellcome Foundation, London, last week. 'It's going to be a real example to people out there.'...Dr Richard Smith, former editor of the BMJ and now on the board of directors at PLoS, also welcomed the venture, recalling how when he first suggested this funding model to a group of science editors 'they looked at me as if I was a complete lunatic.' But some traditional, print based journals were sometimes taking two years to publish a paper, he said. 'That's completely insane in the internet age.' He added that the journal, which gives easily understood summaries aimed at patients at the end of each piece of research, would have a 'great influence' on patients."

PLoS Medicine editor returns to The Lancet

James Butcher, who moved from The Lancet to PLoS Medicine, has decided to move back to The Lancet. Today's press release from The Lancet gives no explanation.

More on the Novartis funding for OA research

Jonathan Knight, Novartis goes public with DNA data in bid to tackle diabetes, Nature, October 28, 2004 (accessible only to subscribers). Excerpt: "It is rare for a private company to pay for a large public database. 'To make it public is a good move for science, but it is unusual,' says Sheldon Krimsky, a science-policy researcher at Tufts University in Medford,Massachusetts. Companies usually require a much more direct commercial benefit from such a partnership, he says. The project is likely to generate far more data than the company can use, says Tom Hughes, head of diabetes research at Novartis Institutes. Releasing it will help the field as a whole,which in turn could lead to other commercial opportunities, he suggests. 'We don't have to hold it all to ourselves to advance as a company.' "

The China Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations

Yi Jin, The development of the China Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations, Online Information Review, 28, 5 (2004) pp. 367-370. Only this abstract is free online, at least so far: "The importance of electronic theses and dissertations and the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations has been widely realized by Chinese academic libraries in recent years. This paper introduces the China Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations project initiated by the China Academic Library and Information System and current research into related technologies, including metadata standards, OAI metadata harvesting protocol, standard document format and intellectual property protection. Research work on multilingual and cross-lingual searching, personalization and knowledge organization is also described. The goals of the China Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations are to establish electronic theses and dissertations collections for Chinese academic universities, to provide services to access them efficiently, and to ensure the seamless organization of distributed electronic theses and dissertations collections."

More on the NIH OA plan

Bernard Wysocki, Jr., Publishers Oppose Plan For Free Access To Scientific Research, Wall Street Journal, October 28, 2004 (accessible only to subscribers). Excerpt: "A fight is brewing in the scientific world over whether articles published in expensive scholarly journals ought to be widely available for free on the Internet. The National Institutes for Health has proposed that any scientist whose work is funded by NIH research-grant money and later published should make it available on a public NIH-sponsored Internet site....Today, several publishers are scheduled to meet privately with NIH Director Elias Zerhouni to urge him to proceed slowly on the proposal. 'Feelings are running very high about this,' says John Regazzi, an executive of the Elsevier unit of Reed Elsevier Group PLC, the Anglo-Dutch publishing giant and the biggest player in the field with about 20% of the market. 'The notion that publicly funded research should be publicly available is a good one. But is this really the right solution?' In today's meeting, Dr. Zerhouni plans to defend the proposal for public access to articles after the six-month delay. He says it's rare for a journal to have more than 30% to 40% of its content generated by NIH-sponsored work, so that only a portion of a publication's articles might be expected to be available for free. Dr. Zerhouni says he has already softened his stance a bit by 'requesting' rather than 'requiring' authors and publishers to comply. The NIH can issue an order putting the plan into effect, although it could be blocked if opponents muster enough support within Congress against the measure. 'It's my hope that people will really cool down' about the issue, Dr. Zerhouni says....The publishers also fear that if the plan goes into effect, other federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation will require sponsored scientists to put their work online for free. As global businesses, they see movements toward open access publishing gathering steam overseas, especially in the United Kingdom."

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Pluralism and uniformity

Walt Crawford, The Dangers of Uniformity, American Libraries, October 2004. Excerpt: "Similarly, single solutions may be tempting answers to problems, but they’re usually dangerous and unrealistic answers. A monolithic solution is likely to cause more problems than it solves --and it's not likely to replace the current situation. The main danger with most monolithic futures and single solutions is that people put too much faith in the power of a single future. When you stop buying print journals because the future is all-digital, the next step may be for your university president to decide that all of the future is digital, so who needs a library? If a library chose to stop acquiring print books because e-books are the future, it would be out of business long before e-books became a significant part of the overall book market (which they probably will, at least within niches). Many of us want to see open access cause serious changes in scientific, technical, and medical article publishing—but insisting on or assuming a future in which all sci-tech publishing is open access is both improbable and problematic....Avoid the dangers of uniformity. Look for multiplicity whenever it’s possible. It works for your collections; it should also work for technological and media futures."

Novartis funds OA research on diabetes

Jeffrey Krasner, Novartis to share diabetes research, Boston Globe, October 28, 2004. Excerpt: "Swiss drug giant Novartis SA said yesterday it is spending $4 million to fund scientists performing diabetes research at Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Broad Institute, and will make the findings public for other scientists to use. The effort, Novartis's first major initiative since moving its research arm to Cambridge last year, builds on work underway by some of the same scientists that explores the underlying genetic causes of Type 2, or adult-onset, diabetes....For Novartis, which has one drug to treat diabetes and is working to expand its franchise in the fast-growing disease, the high-profile research effort is a way of forging close ties with some of its most important new academic neighbors and an attempt to try a new way of collaborating that could become a model for others in the biopharmaceutical industry. 'This is a very progressive step on the part of a private, for-profit biotechnology company,' said Sheldon Krimsky, a science policy specialist at Tufts University and a director of the Council for Responsible Genetics, a public interest advocacy group. 'It's a recognition that you can still use this research to make profitable products but the knowledge of the genes should be open and available to all users. It's very unusual.' Alan D. Cherrington, president of the American Diabetes Association, said he was unaware of any other industry-sponsored diabetes research effort in which results would be made public....'If you hide the data, you have to put up artificial barriers and your scientists have to be more cautious,' said Fishman, president of the Novartis Institutes. 'I view this as the kind of work that nobody benefits from keeping secret.' " Also see the Novartis press release. (Thanks to Faster Cures' SmartBrief.)

(PS: This is a very welcome first. Novartis is gambling that this will help Novartis; we already know it will help others. Let's hope that Novartis is right --or that this kind of OA is a win-win rather than one-sided charity. If Novartis proves that giving away the research it funds is a greater net gain than locking it up, then other companies will start to follow suit. That could open another front in the funding of OA.)

Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO)

Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) is a high-throughput gene expression/molecular abundance data repository, as well as a curated, online resource for gene expression data browsing, query and retrieval. GEO became operational in July 2000. GEO serves as a public repository for a wide range of high-throughput experimental data. These data include single and dual channel microarray-based experiments measuring mRNA, genomic DNA, and protein abundance, as well as non-array techniques such as serial analysis of gene expression (SAGE), and mass spectrometry proteomic data. Platform records describe the elements on the array (e.g., cDNAs, ORFs, antibodies, oligonucleotide probe sets) or the list of elements that may be detected and quantified in that experiment (e.g., SAGE tags, peptides). Sample records describe the conditions under which an individual sample was handled, the manipulations it underwent, and the abundance measurement of each element derived from it. Series records define a set of related samples considered to be part of a group, how the samples are related, and if and how they are ordered. A series provides a focal point and description of the experiment as a whole. Series records may also contain tables describing extracted data, summary conclusions, or analyses.
GPL Platforms 881
GSM Samples 25413
GSE Series 1306
Total 27600
(PS: Bob Michaelson, Northwestern University, provided this OCLC Accession No; OCLC: 47996134, to facilitate the addition of this database to library catalogs.)

AIRI endorses NIH plan

The Association of Independent Research Institutes (AIRI) has endorsed the NIH open-access plan. Here is the statement AIRI released today, in its entirety. It's not yet on the AIRI web site but will be shortly.

The Association of Independent Research Institutes (AIRI) is an association of independent, not-for-profit biomedical and behavioral research institutes conducting federally funded research. Its mission is to enhance the ability of its members to improve human health and advance knowledge. AIRI endorses the NIH proposal for increased public access to NIH-funded research results.

Scientists and the general public will greatly benefit from free access to a comprehensive, centrally located base of medical knowledge. Making research results freely available through NIH's PubMed Central (PMC), six months after the study's publication, necessarily enhances the efficiency and effectiveness of the biomedical research enterprise and provides the public with access to credible and timely information.

In the process of formulating the best plan for implementing open access, AIRI urges NIH to make a priority the preservation of information quality through peer-review. In addition, AIRI encourages NIH to establish a process to ensure that there is no confusion surrounding an author's final version-of-record of a submitted publication. Finally, in undertaking this enormous data load, AIRI hopes that NIH is prepared to maintain PMC archives in perpetuity.

AIRI realizes that many actors and interested parties in the science and publishing communities will be affected by a new NIH open access policy. As such, AIRI applauds NIH efforts to include all of the relevant stakeholders in the planning process, and hopes that dialogue will remain open throughout the course of implementation.

Genetic Alliance launches sample and data repository

Genetic Alliance has launched BioBank, a repository of biological samples and OA research data. From the press release (on the BioBank front page): "Seven genetic advocacy organizations established the Genetic Alliance BioBank™, a repository for the standardized collection, storage and distribution of biological samples and clinical data for research purposes. This novel, advocacy-owned and -managed repository focuses and accelerates research, providing infrastructure for many advocacy groups to build a valuable resource....Researchers who wish to receive samples submit an application to the disease-specific advocacy organization. These organizations release coded samples to the researcher and hold the key that connects specific samples to individuals, offering a unique opportunity to enable follow-up studies while protecting participant confidentiality."

Another editorial in a new OA journal

Richard D. Feinman and M. Mahmood Hussain, What is Nutrition & Metabolism? Nutrition & Metabolism, August 17, 2004. An editorial in the inaugural issue of a new OA journal from BMC. Excerpt: "[I]t is precisely because publications in nutritional biochemistry are spread over such a large number of existing journals, few libraries and almost no individual can subscribe to all. It is in areas like this that free, open access becomes important. There is a large published debate on open access....Most recently, the UK House of commons issued a report encouraging open access publishing of government-funded research...and similar motions exist in the US congress. The editors of N&M feel that, at this point, the burden of proof is on proponents of perpetuating the current system. We are, however, not doctrinaire on this point and believe one should pay for a service if it is valuable."

Another editorial in a new OA journal

Robert F. Garry, Virology on the Internet: the time is right for a new journal, Virology Journal, August 26, 2004. An editorial in the inaugural issue of a new OA journal from BMC. Excerpt: "Virology Journal's Open Access policy changes the way in which articles in virology can be published. First, all articles are freely and universally accessible online as soon as they are published, so an author's work can be read by anyone at no cost. Second, the authors hold copyright for their work and grant anyone the right to reproduce and disseminate the article, provided that it is correctly cited and no errors are introduced. Third, a copy of the full text of each Open Access article is permanently archived in an online repository separate from the journal. Virology Journal's articles are archived in PubMed Central...and also in repositories at the University of Potsdam in Germany, at INIST in France and in e-Depot, the National Library of the Netherlands' digital archive of all electronic publications....Critics of Open Access often suggest that Editors have a financial incentive to accept articles as more articles means more revenue. However, BioMed Central insists that decisions about a manuscript must be based on the quality of the work, not on whether the article-processing charge can be paid. This policy will certainly apply for Virology Journal whose authors and readers will benefit from learning about viruses in regions of the world with limited financial resources. No member of the editorial or advisory boards of Virology Journal or their Institutions will receive any portion of the article-processing charge."

Editorial in new OA journal

E. Scott Sills, Robert M. Winston, and Gianpiero D. Palermo, Shaping the future of research and practice in reproductive endocrinology/infertility, Journal of Experimental & Clinical Assisted Reproduction, September 2, 2004. An editorial in the inaugural issue of a new OA journal from BMC. Excerpt: "Journal of Experimental and Clinical Assisted Reproduction is fully committed to the philosophy of Open Access....While the availability of published articles on the journal's homepage provides high and unrestricted visibility for accepted articles, contents of [JECAR] are also accessioned in PubMed Central....Accordingly, all journal publications are available free and without password requirements to anyone with internet access....We do not require authors to assign their copyright claim to the publisher as a condition of publishing any article....With the beginning of a new century of medical research, library privileges and institutional journal holdings will continue to be eclipsed by electronic publishing and unrestricted access to the internet. The publishing revolution made possible by such technology presages a bright future for continued interdisciplinary collaboration among researchers. Against this background, [JECAR] exists for the scientific community to facilitate this scholarly dialogue."

More on the embargo lawsuit

From an AAP/PSP press release, issued yesterday: "Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian human rights activist who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003, has filed suit against the U.S. Treasury Department in federal court in New York because regulations of the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) prohibit the publication of a book she wants to write about her life and her work for readers in the United States. Ms. Ebadi and The Strothman Agency, LLC, a literary agency that wants to work with her, filed the suit which will be joined to a legal challenge mounted by publishers and authors last month. Ms. Ebadi's predicament provides a perfect illustration of the harm the OFAC regulations cause. Ms. Ebadi has been imprisoned for her human rights work in Iran. She could not publish the book she wants to write in Iran, but the OFAC regulations also prevent anyone from publishing it in the United States. As long as the regulations stand, the book will not come into being. The regulations were first challenged in a lawsuit filed on September 27, 2004, by the Association of American Publishers Professional and Scholarly Publishing division (AAP/PSP), the Association of American University Presses (AAUP), PEN American Center (PEN), and Arcade Publishing."

More on mandatory drug trial registration in an OA registry

Robert Steinbrook, Registration of Clinical Trials — Voluntary or Mandatory? New England Journal of Medicine, October 28, 2004. Reviewing the calls for mandatory drug trial registration in an OA registry from professional groups such as the AMA and the ICMJE, as well as from legislators in the proposed Fair Access to Clinical Trials Act of 2004. Steinbrook assesses the prospects without taking a position on the question. Excerpt: "Despite the support for public registration of clinical trials, the prospects for mandatory registration are uncertain. Individual institutional review boards could decide on their own initiative that registration is ethically required as a condition of their approval of trials, but they are unlikely to do so without national guidance. The [Department of Health and Human Services], whose agencies include the [Food and Drug Administration] and the NIH, has not taken a position on mandatory registration, nor have other governments. The effective dates of the ICMJE proposal are months away. Although the Fair Access to Clinical Trials Act would mandate registration, it has no Republican cosponsors in either the House or the Senate, and it was introduced as Congress was about to adjourn. The legislative outcome in the United States may depend on the results of next week's elections."

German story on OA journals

Manfred Lindinger, Freies Wissen für jedermann, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, October 27, 2004. A supportive overview of OA, especially OA journals. (Thanks to the GAP Bibliographie.)

More on the presidential candidates

The ALA Washington Office has put together a table comparing the policy proposals and track records of the two candidates on library issues, including the PATRIOT Act. (PS: It contains nothing directly related to OA. Is that noteworthy but unsurprising, or just unsurprising?)

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Cost/benefit analysis of library journal site licenses

Bergstrom and Bergstrom provide significant insight into the scholarly communication marketplace working from microeconomics and statistical theory. Thanks to attributes which the authors ascribe to professional societies and university presses, the article is freely available from both PNAS on HighWire Press and through the PNAS mirror on PubMed Central. Carl T. Bergstrom and Theodore C. Bergstrom. "The costs and benefits of library site licenses to academic journals." Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 January 20; 101(3): 897-902. doi:10.1073/pnas.0305628101. article from PNAS via HighWire | article from PNAS via PubMed Central. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America - PMC Fulltext v44(1-5) (January-May 1958), v45+ (1959+) 6 month moving wall | HighWire Fulltext v87+ (1990+) 6 month moving wall; Print ISSN: 0027-8424 | Online ISSN: 1091-6490. In addition to the PNAS policy of free access following a six month embargo, an optional "author pays" model was introduced earlier this year, whereby authors may opt to contribute $1000 to provide immediate Open Access on an article-by-article basis. This kind of opt-in policy is sometimes referred to as the Walker-Prosser model.

BMC provides MARC records

BioMed Central provides MARC records to facilitate the cataloging of their large collection of Open Access journals. A delimited spreadsheet containing titles, URLs, ISSNs, journal abbreviation and date of initial publication is also available. Very few publishers have proven so supportive of the library community. BioOne, a SPARC Scientific Community, is deserving of special mention in this regard for being a pioneer in providing application-neutral spreadsheets to facilitate cataloging.

Jan Velterop and Peter Banks debate OA

STM open access: Point-counterpoint, DCL News, October 2004. Interviews with Jan Velterop, publisher of BioMed Central, making the case for OA, and Peter Banks, director of publishing at the American Diabetes Association, making the case against.

Excerpt from the Jan Velterop interview: "In science there is also a very practical reason [for OA]: a shift towards data intensive papers that cannot really be read in the same way as they were in the past. And in many cases they shouldn't be. They are records of what the researcher has been doing. But the record is not read in a linear fashion; it is referred to and is mixed with a big chain of other papers. As more analysis gets done, the data is rehashed and reinterpreted in different ways. To bring this ever growing body of research together by hand is an enormous amount of work. But this can be reduced to a fraction if the material is made available electronically - which means text and data can be mined. The preparatory work for further analysis can be done automatically. But for that to work properly you need to have the full-text available without barriers....Some say governments are deciding how publishing should take place. But that is not the case. Governments are simply saying that, where it is they who fund the research, they want to see it openly available. We mustn't forget that it is tax payers' money that is being invested, which means it should be freely available to the public."

Excerpt from the Peter Banks interview: "To have governments create repositories of primary biomedical literature would create major problems as far as the integrity of the literature is concerned. Under the National Institute of Health (NIH) proposal a parallel universe of publications would be created. The publishers would have the final version of a publication, while the NIH would get the early version. So before we launch this program we'd better figure out how to reconcile these various versions....Non-profit and learned society publishers make a tremendous amount of information available already. In my case, two of our American Diabetes Association journals are freely available. In two other peer-reviewed journals, content is available after six months, and the most clinically relevant material is available immediately. We aren't unique in this. The non-profit publishing community puts a lot of effort into making content available for free....I think [governments considering OA policies] been sold a false bill of goods. They've been sold the idea that you can increase the reward from your investment and research by just having open access. They think there is some magical way of extracting more value from the research dollars they're spend now. The open access model they are advocating would do a disservice to the public they pretend to serve."

(PS: Thanks to David Skurnik on the SSP list.)

Open archives data providers in the social sciences and humanities

Gerry McKiernan, Open Archives Data Providers: Part III. Social Sciences and Humanities, Library Hi-Tech News, September/October 2004. In this installment, Gerry reviews the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection, Documenting the American South, Ethnologue, and the Perseus Digital Library.

More on PLoS Medicine

Kata Kertesz, Medical research articles soon to be available free to the public, San Diego Union-Tribune (Associated Press), October 27, 2004. Excerpt: "The Public Library of Science Medicine (PLoS Medicine) was launched earlier this month and will be available to physicians, patients, scientists and anyone with Internet access. The journal provides 'health care personnel, their patients, and the citizens who have paid for much of the research with new findings from credible, peer-reviewed sources,' said Nobel Prize winner Harold Varmus, a former director of the National Institutes of Health and chairman of PLoS' 11-member board of directors. Readers will be able to copy and distribute the articles for teaching or personal purposes and thereby further expand the reach of the research. The directors hope that people in poor countries or scientists at small research colleges will be able to benefit from medical research that otherwise would be unavailable without an expensive subscription....PLoS Executive Director Vivian Siegel said that the journal will be self-supporting within five years."

OA journal supplement from the Royal Society of Chemisty

The Royal Society of Chemistry has introduced Chemical Technology, a monthly, open-access supplement to its journals. From the web site: "Chemical Technology will draw together coverage from RSC publications and provide succinct accounts of the latest applications and technological aspects of research across the broad range of the chemical sciences. Published monthly, Chemical Technology is freely available online and as a free supplement in the print issues of selected RSC journals. A separately issued print subscription is also available."

New version of Bailey bibliography

Charles W. Bailey Jr. has released version 55 of his monumental Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography. The new version cites over 2,225 print and online articles, books, and other sources on scholarly electronic publishing.

More on PLoS Medicine

Florian Rötzer, Medizinische Fachzeitschrift nach dem Open Access-Modell gestartet, Telepolis, October 25, 2004. A general story on the launch, based on the PLoS press release. (Thanks to Der Schockwellenreiter.)

OA to past and future medical journals

JISC interviewed Robert Kiley yesterday about the Medical Journals Backfiles Digitisation Project. Kiley is Head of Systems Strategy at the Wellcome [Trust] Library and the manager of the digitization project. Excerpt (from Kiley): "The aim of the project is to identify around 15 journals - which we consider historically significant - and digitise them in their entirety and make them freely available through PubMed Central. It isn’t just the archive, however, that we intend to make freely available – but also current and future issues published by participating publishers. In essence, Wellcome and JISC agree to fund the backfile conversion and in return the publishers (as a condition of participation) have to deposit their current issues into the PubMed Central archive. Research articles deposited within PubMed Central must be made freely within 12 months of publication, whilst all other content, such as editorials, letters, or reviews, must be made available within 3 years....The Wellcome trust has published two reports related to the Open Access debate....Trust-funded researchers are encouraged to publish in open access journals. Additional funding is made available to cover the author costs associated with this new business model. Hopefully, over the next few months, the Wellcome will further develop its OA policy. Encouraging researchers to move to the OA model is one thing, but I suspect that we need to be more pro-active. We are the UK's biggest funder of medical research [and] can help to influence change. It is interesting to note that the National Institutes of Health have drafted a consultation paper, which, if implemented, would require NIH grantees to deposit their research papers in PubMed Central. Such papers would then be freely available, within six months."

What's in the public domain?

The Australian copyright on Gone With The Wind has expired, but the U.S. copyright has not (thanks to Bono copyright extension). Project Gutenberg of Australia has understandably decided that the book is in the public domain under Australian law and is disseminating an open-access edition from its web site. The heirs of author Margaret Mitchell are demanding a halt to the dissemination and threatening to sue the US-based Project Gutenberg for copyright infringement. David Rothman has a very good summary of the details on Teleread. (Thanks to LIS News.)

(PS: One the one hand, it's true that users from the U.S. or any other country can download the book from the Australian site. On the other hand, if that were a reason for the Australian site to take down the book, then suddenly all countries in the world would have a term of copyright effectively equal to the longest term in force anywhere. Conversely, of course, if it were not, then all countries in the world would have a term of copyright effectively equal to the shortest in force anywhere. Since either resolution is likely to equalize copyright terms around the world, de facto if not de jure, this issue is much too important to depend on a lawyer's cease-and-desist letter to a cash-strapped non-profit. Project Gutenberg of Australia needs some serious legal and financial help.)

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

The candidates on tech/info policy

CompTIA asked George W. Bush and John Kerry a dozen broad questions about technology and information policy. None of the questions directly touched on OA issues (such as the NIH OA plan), but this one came the closest.

[CompTIA] What should federal policy be toward protecting intellectual property on the Internet --recognizing the harmless role played by mere conduits-- and facilitating the free flow of ideas based on those creations?

[Bush] I strongly support efforts to protect intellectual property and will continue to work with Congress to ensure all intellectual property is properly protected. Technology is a critical conduit of information and sometimes can be misused for illegal copyright infringement. Blaming the technology does not address the issue. We must vigorously enforce intellectual property protections and prosecute the violations, not the technology. My Administration has launched the Strategy Targeting Organized Piracy (STOP) initiative to do just that. I have also worked to obtain China's support for stricter enforcement and more severe penalties for piracy and counterfeiting of American ideas and innovations.

[Kerry] I do not condone the illegal sharing of copyrighted material. We must ensure that our laws protect the creations of individuals and companies while not unreasonably stifling technological innovation. I am open to examining whether legislative action is necessary to ensure that a person who lawfully obtains or receives a transmission of a digital work may back up a copy of it for archival purposes or transfer it to a digital media device for the purpose of non public performance or display.

OA-related initiatives on shortlist for Int'l Info Industry Awards

Bobby Pickering, Information Industry Awards shortlist announced, Information World Review, October 26, 2004. Excerpt: "VNU Exhibitions, organisers of the Online Information 2004 show and the annual International Information Industry Awards, has announced the shortlist for the 2004 awards. The awards ceremony takes place at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London on Wednesday 1 December." Here's the shortlist for Best STM information product: ACS Journal Access, ALPSP Learned Journals Collection, Faculty of 1000 Biology from BioMed Central, Inspec Archive, Medicines Complete from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, PLoS Biology, and Springer Open Choice.

OA pro and con

The current issue of the Zeitschrift für Rechtspolitik contains a debate, Freier Zugriff auf wissenschaftliche Beiträge? Unfortunately, it's only accessible to subscribers, at least so far. (Thanks to the Creative Commons blog.)

OA in science and business

Janice McCallum, Open for Business: Why Open Access is Good for Business and Science Publications, Commentary (the Shore Communications blog), October 25, 2004. Comparing OA for STM journals, like PLoS Medicine, with OA to business-to-business (B2B) publications, like the Wall Street Journal. Excerpt: "Even though the pricing, distribution methods and content funding mechanisms for the B2B and STM segments have differed significantly at times, the lessons being learned in the B2B segment are highly applicable to the STM segment. In an open access environment, STM publishers need to move beyond controlling access to text as the primary revenue driver and to differentiate their value to their reading communities and publishing partners via new premium products, services, and events that take their technology-enabled empowerment into full account. Being open to new revenue models is the true lesson of open access, a lesson that should have a positive impact on all publishing businesses that are willing to explore those models aggressively and effectively."

New FAQ on the NIH OA plan

Prue Adler of ARL has written an FAQ on the NIH OA plan. (PS: So have I, but the two FAQ's focus on different issues. Read both and pass on to colleagues or constituents the one that best addresses their concerns. Every attempt to spread clarity and knowledge on this plan helps the cause.)

Monday, October 25, 2004

Six BioMed Central journals premiere on PubMed Central

BioMed Central, a commercial, for-profit Open Access publisher and journal hosting service ensures permanent Open Access for the journals by depositing them in independent archives, the LOCKSS (Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe) concept. The primary depository in the United States is PubMed Central. Other repositories include the University of Potsdam in Germany, at INIST in France and in e-Depot, the National Library of the Netherlands' digital archive. CytoJournal - Fulltext v1+ (2004+) BioMed Central | PubMed Central; ISSN: 1742-6413; OCLC: 56123679. Nutrition & Metabolism - Fulltext v1+ (2004+) BioMed Central | PubMed Central; ISSN: 1743-7075; OCLC: 56349665. Virology Journal - Fulltext v1+ (2004+) BioMed Central | PubMed Central; ISSN: 1743-422X; OCLC: 56433791. Journal of Experimental & Clinical Assisted Reproduction - Fulltext v1+ (2004+) BioMed Central | PubMed Central; ISSN: 1743-1050; OCLC: 56496891. Epidemiologic Perspectives & Innovations - Fulltext v1+ (2004+) BioMed Central | PubMed Central; ISSN: 1742-5573; OCLC: 56546741. Biomedical Digital Libraries - Fulltext v1+ (2004+) BioMed Central | PubMed Central; ISSN: 1742-5581; OCLC: 56624538.

IFIP seeking nominations for Namur Award

The International Federation for Information Processing is soliciting nominations for the 2006 Namur Award. From the web site: "The Namur Award is a biennial award to be accorded for an outstanding contribution with international impact to the awareness of social implications of information technology. The purpose is to draw attention to the need for an holistic approach in the use of information technology in which the social implications have been taken into account. The Namur Award consists of a commemorative plate and a certificate." Nominations will be accepted until December 10, 2004.

Making good medical research more prominent online

Peter Levine, What Should be the Role of Government-Supported Medical websites? Libres, September 2004. Abstract: "The National Library of Medicine produces websites for the general public that are supposed to meet official standards of scientific rigor. These sites exist in the context of the World Wide Web, where anyone is able to make claims about medical science and recommend treatment. Medical sites that are sponsored or endorsed by the government are not especially prominent online. For those who trust the medical profession, the failure of the official sites to draw the lion's share of public attention is a problem, and government medical sites should be more aggressively promoted. However, the official sites have provoked controversy and criticism. Those who are skeptical of the 'medical establishment' may welcome the pluralism and diversity of views available on the Internet; they may oppose efforts to channel viewers to official sites. This paper argues in favor of the government-sponsored sites, but with some caveats." (PS: Open access to NIH-funded research will definitely make this high-quality body of literature more visible and easier for researchers and lay readers alike to find, retrieve, and read.)