Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, December 18, 2004

SHERPA Digital Preservation Project

SHERPA has announced the JISC-funded SHERPA Digital Preservation Project. From the project web site: 'This project will create a collaborative, shared preservation environment for the SHERPA institutional repositories project framed around the Open Archiving Information Systems (OAIS) Reference Model. The project will bring together the SHERPA institutional repository systems with the preservation repository established by the Arts and Humanities Data Service to create an environment that fully addresses all the requirements of the different phases within the life cycle of digital information.' The project will launch on January 1, 2005, and run for one year.

FAQ on NIH policy updated

I've updated my FAQ on the NIH public-access policy to reflect the steps leading up to Congressional approval and some new questions about the policy's terms and consequences.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Outsell's predictions about OA

Last year (1/12/04) Outsell predicted that 'The open access movement in scholarly and scientific publications will gain legitimacy as it transforms from a loose collection of disjointed initiatives into a new model backed by major universities and institutions worldwide.' Here's how it assesses that prediction this year (12/17/04): 'This issue continued to gain steam in 2004, with new open access offerings from Public Library of Science leading the way and making headlines. More importantly, we see evidence that research-funding organizations are starting to put their muscle behind the cause: National Institutes of Health in the public sector and Novartis in the private sector are among those that have built requirements of open access to the published research into their funding models.'

Here are some excerpts from its predictions for next year: 'Google Scholar...will take a bite out of traditional aggregation models. It will also grease the skids for the open access movement in scholarly publishing....Experimentation will continue in open access, driven by funding shifts, new alliances, and technology innovation à la Google Scholar. The concept of open access has caught the attention of the mainstream press, but there are many flavors of open access, and many flavors of change, so this will continue to be an area to watch for dramatic experimentation and innovation. We caution, however, that some of the innovation and experimentation is substantive while some is just window dressing. For example, we believe the "author pays" model of open access will not carry the day. Look for three things in particular: [1] Research funding organizations will throw their weight around. The National Institutes of Health is rolling out new policies that require the research it funds to be freely available. [2] Funding organizations will align with scientific societies. Scientific societies want to support open access but risk losing essential subscription revenues if open access catches on. However, their mission is often directly aligned with some of the public and non-profit institutions that underwrite much of the research that is done. If these two blocks of players can align and scratch each other's backs, both will win. [3] Back in the game. In the face of pressures from multiple directions, the major commercial scientific publishers such as Elsevier and Springer are finally jumping into the fray with some reasonably serious experimentation of their own.' (PS: These excerpts are from an Outsell mailing not yet online at its web site. If it moves online in the future, I'll add a link.)

OSI announces grants to OA journals

The Open Society Institute has announced that it will fund 23 open-access journals to support the publication of work by authors from developing and transition countries. The funding program was originally budgeted at $50,000, but in the end OSI awarded $62,123 in grants.

Was OA an area to watch in 2004?

Last year (December 19, 2003) Science Magazine listed open access among the "breakthroughs of the year" and "areas to watch in 2004". The article is accessible only to subscribers but see this OA summary. This year (December 17, 2004), editor Donald Kennedy assessed the Science predictions from last year: "We like our call on soil microbiology, and biodefense research did well, as predicted. But the controversy over open-access publishing resisted a clear resolution; and science and security, far from progressing significantly, remains a mess." This year's article too is accessible only to subscribers. (PS: If a "clear resolution" requires the disappearance of critics, then it's true that we haven't gotten that far. But then neither has Darwinism. Yet clearly 2004 was a year of stunning progress for OA. I'll have more to say about this in the January issue of SOAN.)

ICSU report on scientific data

The ICSU has published Scientific Data and Information (December 2004), a report of its Committee on Scientific Planning and Review (CSPR). Excerpt: 'Taken together, these changes are providing scientists throughout the world with more and enhanced access to research data and information. The benefits of this include the growing involvement of scientists in international research projects and increased scientific and policy interest in global scale and comparative research activities. Meanwhile, the legal concept of intellectual property as applied to scientific data and information is also in a state of flux and there are still major obstacles to data access in many parts of the world....The ICSU Priority Area Assessment (PAA) Panel on Scientific Data and Information strongly recommends that ICSU assume an international leadership role in identifying and addressing critical policy and management issues related to scientific data and information....[T]he economic foundations of scientific journal publishing are threatened both because of the demand for free access to on-line publications and because library budgets have not been able to keep pace with rising journal prices and the growth of the literature....Journal publishers should encourage authors to make the data for their articles available in electronic repositories that are stable, widely accessible and professionally managed....Because of the importance of extending the benefits of digital publications to all scientists worldwide, ICSU should encourage its member organizations to work with the International Network on the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP) to build cost-efficient and sustainable publishing capacity and journal access in developing countries....ICSU should continue to actively promote the principle of full and open access to scientific data. With regard to scientific publishing, ICSU should ensure that the principle of universal and equitable access to scientific publications is upheld.' (PS: For the report's distinction between "open access" and "universal and equitable acess" see Box 3 in Section 4, on p. 24.)

Swiss consortium refuses to renew ScienceDirect

The Swiss Consortium of Higher Education Libraries (Konsortium der Schweizer Hochschulbibliotheken) has refused to renew ScienceDirect for 2005 because of Elsevier's high price and unacceptable conditions. This decision leaves the members of the consortium to negotiate individually with Elsevier for 2005. For details, see the consortium announcement, which so far has been issued only in German. (Thanks to Jean-Blaise Claivaz and Klaus Graf.)

Italian edition of CC coming

Creative Commons will soon launch an Italian edition. Yesterday it set the stage with a conference in Torino at which Christiane Asschenfeldt, Lawrence Lessig, and many Italian notables spoke. Neeru Paharia reports that 5,000 pages on will be re-released with CC licenses to mark the launch. (Thanks to Valentina Comba and the CC blog.)

JISC support for Southampton initiative

JISC has released a supportive statement on the University of Southampton commitment to open access. Excerpt: 'Public online access to research findings emanating from universities, enabled through funding the development of institutional repositories, is a JISC priority (The forthcoming edition of JISC Inform, available in January 2005, includes an overview of repositories). Southampton University has, through its JISC-funded TARDis project, examined how institutional repositories can be used by researchers to deposit their outputs, to provide a rich source of material to build the UK's research infrastructure. Southampton is now taking its TARDis 'experiment' institution wide, and has the full backing of its most senior staff.'

Critique of the Google library project

Rory Litwin, On Google's Monetization of Libraries, Library Juice 7:26 (December 17, 2004.) Excerpt: "what this development means is the commercialization of the greatest research libraries in the world with a handshake, suddenly and epochally (and not because of technological inevitability - there are other ways that the digitization of these collections could be handled). The commercialization of libraries has implications both for the institution's democratic character and for the quality of people's research."

More deep misunderstandings of OA journals

Peter Gölitz, Open Access and Angewandte Chemie, Angewandte Chemie, December 15, 2004. An editorial. Excerpt: 'The German Chemical Society (Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker, GDCh), the owner of Angewandte Chemie, has recently discussed open access and issued an official statement... Isn't free access to food, medication, and public transport an even more justifiable goal?... Justifiably, many scientists and librarians feel frustrated with the high prices of some, but by no means all, journals, which sometimes are even of a poor quality....[T]here are obviously enough customers/libraries who are prepared to pay the price and so contribute to the "fat profits of the big publishers". Is such indignation not hypocritical when one lives in a profit-driven society?...Aren't there enough forums for scientific discourse or do the current journals somehow prevent this discourse? Is there insufficient information, or are we actually drowning in it? When the secondary literature or a reference leads one to an article that one wants to read, is it really that difficult to obtain, even when the local library does not have it? Please have your own answers to these questions....In the open access model the authors should pay for each published article, and amounts between €500 and €10000 per article were mentioned....It is clear that the open access model would result in more "information management", "cash-flow control", and blatantly "more bureaucracy"....If journal editors are to be paid directly by the authors for each accepted manuscript, then the "economization of the individual article" will be the order of the day. And it is naive to believe that the fact that editors are paid a determined amount of money by the author for each accepted article will not have an influence on the decision.'

Here are some English-language excerpts from the GDCh statement on OA, reprinted in the sidebar to Gölitz's editorial. The statement is skeptical but constructive and doesn't begin to justify Gölitz's deep misunderstandings of OA journals. 'Open access is an interesting and important topic in the discussions on the future of scientific publishing. However, at this point in time there are still risks, open questions, and challenges associated with this model. Further experience must be gained in open access, or indeed any other new models, before a balanced opinion can be made regarding the advantages of these approaches over the traditional processes. The Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker (German Chemical Society, GDCh) will monitor future developments closely and will be open to results from discussions on this issue. The GDCh will participate actively and constructively in such discussions to ensure that any transitions in scientific publishing are carried out fairly so that the needs of all those involved are met and that business models are adopted to reflect the new electronic publishing tools. Regardless of the open access debate, the GDCh appeals to all its members to avoid submission of their scientific papers to overpriced journals.'

More on the end on the trade embargo on editing

John Dudley Miller, OFAC reverses embargo ruling: Decision allows US publishers to edit manuscripts from Cuba, Iran, and Sudan, The Scientist, December 16, 2004. Excerpt: 'In a reversal of almost all of the controversial prohibitions enacted in September 2003 that led to a lawsuit against it by a coalition of US publishers 3 months ago, the Treasury Department reauthorized American authors and publishers to collaborate with and edit the scientific and other manuscripts of citizens in trade-embargoed countries yesterday (December 15)....But Edward Davis, one of the publishers' attorneys, said yesterday that the publishers are not yet ready to drop their lawsuit, filed September 27, because the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), by granting a general license, continues to assert that it can regulate informational materials. The plaintiffs argue that OFAC has no such authority....Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), the author of the 1988 congressional "Berman amendment" prohibiting the government from embargoing "any information or informational materials," including publishing, told The Scientist last night..."The OFAC interpretation of the Berman amendment was both stupid and obnoxious. This makes it a lot less stupid, but at least conceptually, there's something obnoxious about claiming that you have to be licensed."...The new ruling is not a complete reversal of OFAC's former policies. It bans Americans from developing and marketing software from embargoed countries, and it forbids Americans to collaborate on manuscripts with embargoed governments.'

December issue of Access

The December issue of Access is now online. This issue features the new ejournal publishing system from Cornell, the Australian digital theses program, the DOAJ, LOCKSS, Kovel's OA ebooks, Highwire in Chiina, Google Scholar, and more.

More on the Google library project

Here's what you will --and won't-- be able to see when searching for library books on Google, Detroit Free Press, December 15, 2004. An unsigned news story. Excerpt: 'A link to the book [matching your searchstring] will, for instance, likely turn up somewhere among the many items your search will generate. But it may not be listed among the top choices you're given, especially if your search terms are found in other Web material. As it stands right now, the links at the top of any Google search are those that are most popular with Google users. And even if a link to [a copyrighted book] did turn up in your search, you still wouldn't be able to read the whole thing in this case. That's because, under copyright laws, Google will only be able to provide snippets from many of the libraries' books -- sometimes only two or three sentences that contain the Web surfer's search terms....Michael Gorman, president-elect of the American Library Association, thinks the value of helping people from anywhere in the world view a library's special collections is "almost priceless." Still, he is "underwhelmed" with the idea of short excerpts of copyrighted books, which he says provide information that -- unless read as part of the whole book -- is limited and often useless....Other librarians agree that there are kinks that Google will need to work out. For instance, to make sure the library content isn't buried beneath traditional Web content, many think Google will need to create a separate area for searching books only.' (Thanks to LIS News.)

Boston College Libraries publish OA journals

The Boston College Libraries have started publishing open-access journals edited by BC faculty. From yesterday's press release: 'The Boston College Libraries have undertaken a program of open-access publishing, sponsoring the publication of peer-reviewed, freely available electronic journals in collaboration with university faculty. The eScholarship@BC initiative has accepted several titles for production during the pilot phase of the project in 2004-2005. The journals are published using EdiKit® and Digital Commons software, created by the Berkeley Electronic Press (bepress) and ProQuest.' The project currently publishes two OA journals, Teaching Exceptional Children Plus and the Journal of Technology, Learning and Assessment, and plans to add more titles in the coming months.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Astrophysics and Space Sciences Transactions -- new OA journal

Quoting from the website: Astrophysics and Space Sciences Transactions (ASTRA) is an international scientific journal dedicated to the publication and public discussion of high quality original research on all fields of Astrophysics and Space Sciences and related technology:
* Astrophysics * Cosmic Rays and Gamma Astronomy * Interstellar Matter * Heliospheric Physics * Solar and Stellar Physics * Planets, Comets, Asteroids and Dust * Extrasolar Planets * Magnetospheric Physics * Scientific Instrumentation
The URL will likely change in the not too distant future. Although the first article appears to have been published, I can access only the abstract. In addition, there is already a placeholder for the title in the European Geosciences Union's publication overview.

A new search engine for OA/OAI archives

A.R.D. Prasad has launched SDL, a search engine for open-access, OAI-compliant archives. Currently it indexes 2,600+ papers from six archives. As it grows, it will also index OA journals. Archive administrators who want SDL to index their content can sign up with a web form. Prasad welcomes feedback from users.

New editor for OA journal

Eberhard Bodenschatz will succeed Alex Bradshaw as the Editor-in-Chief of the New Journal of Physics. From the press release issued today by the Institute of Physics: 'Currently at Cornell University, New York, USA, Professor Bodenschatz will move in the summer of 2005 to the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, Göttingen, Germany, where he heads the Department of Hydrodynamics and Pattern Formation. Eberhard...will play a vital role in ensuring the continued editorial development of NJP, establishing it further as a premier, open-access research journal serving the entire physics community. During Alex's three and a half year term, NJP grew by more than 700% and the journal has now accumulated an excellent body of work extending across the whole of physics. With a readership extending to more than 150 countries each year, the journal has also proved able to provide the widest and most effective dissemination of its content. More than 350,000 articles have been downloaded since NJP's launch six years ago and its growing Impact Factor is currently 2.48. 'I am delighted to have been involved with what was, and still remains, a publishing initiative at the vanguard of the open-access movement within the physical sciences' said Professor Bradshaw....'For many years I have had a strong interest in open-access publishing' said Professor Bodenschatz. 'The more I was delighted when NJP was created by the DPG and IOP. In the short time of its existence and under the excellent leadership of Alex Bradshaw and the distinguished editorial board, NJP has established itself as a recognized, free-to-read journal of outstanding quality. I am a true fan of this publishing concept and will do whatever possible to decrease author costs and at the same time help to ensure the continued high quality. I see a bright future for NJP and very much looking forward to serving as Editor-in-Chief.'

More on the Google library project

Stephanie Kirchgaessner and Chris Nuttall, Google writes its place in the world's history books, Financial Times, December 16, 2004. Excerpt: 'At the Bodleian, home to 8m books dating back 500 years, its inclusion in the Google Print project provoked comparisons with Gutenberg. "This could be almost as significant as the invention of the printing press in the sense that a great mass of information is going to be made available much more readily to people all over the world," said Ronald Milne of Oxford University's library services....It seemed to be a genuine meeting of minds, old and new - the analogue organisers of the world's information handing it on to a digital successor responsible for organising 8bn web pages according to random search requests. While no one doubts the nerdy librarian credentials of Google's chiefs, nor their altruism, there is also some smart business thinking behind the move. "Books are structured information that might inform [online] services yet to be created, such as question-answering," says John Battelle, author of a Web blog on the search industry....The project can be viewed as Google making its first serious move as a content provider, bringing struc tured information assets into its database....Much of Google Print's scanned output is likely to be books that are out of copyright. But Mr Battelle argues that Google can still make money from obscure titles; one request for a copy of an out-of-print book at $10-$15 a time would cover its scanning costs. "Media companies have always focused on the head - the big hits and bestseller lists - but digital music has shown there's a lot of power in the [back-catalogue] tail. There's a ludicrously large backlist in books and this could mean a massive new revenue stream." The networking power of the internet should also mean unlikely titles being discovered and creating their own buzz. "You are going to see some interesting new hits that haven't sold a copy since 1782," says Mr Battelle. "This really does fulfil a model of enlightened capitalism and it's going to do a lot of good." ' (PS: On the final point, or on the financial potential of a huge inventory of low-demand works, see Chris Anderson, The Long Tail, Wired, October 2004.)

Trade embargo lawsuit plaintiffs praise new policy

The publisher and author groups that sued the U.S. Treasury Department last September for applying trade embargoes to book and journal editing issued a press release yesterday praising the Department's new policy. However, they did not say that they were dropping their suit. Excerpt: 'In response to the suits, OFAC issued new regulations today which explicitly permit Americans to engage in "all transactions necessary and ordinarily incident to the publishing and marketing of manuscripts, books, journals, and newspapers in paper or electronic format." This includes substantive editing and marketing of written materials, collaborations between authors, and the payment of advances and royalties. The revised regulations are "clearly a step in the right direction, permitting the broad range of publishing activities American publishers and authors must be free to pursue," according to Edward J. Davis and Linda Steinman of Davis Wright Tremaine, counsel to the Association of American University Presses (AAUP), the Association of American Publishers Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division (AAP/PSP), PEN American Center (PEN), and Arcade Publishing, the plaintiffs in the case. "We will continue to examine the regulations in detail, but it is plain that significant obstacles have been removed for American publishers and authors who want to work with authors in Cuba, Iran and Sudan. Works of critical importance to the advancement of science and our understanding of international affairs can now be published without threat of civil and criminal sanctions. Even works written by Iranian and Cuban dissidents could not be published in the United States under the prior regulations." The new regulations can be located at'

Conference presentations

Abstracts of the presentations from the American Chemical Society National Meeting (Philadelphia, August 22-26, 2004) are now online. The site also links to PPT slides for many of the presentations, including most of the presentations about open access. (Thanks to STLQ.)

More on the Google library project

Tara Calishain, author of ResearchBuzz, has written a column for Search Engine Journal on the Google library project. Excerpt: 'I am really of two minds about this entire process. The first mind says that any digitization of public domain works is a good idea, and it's nice to see a private enterprise tackling such a hugely ambitious project. The second mind says sod that. The second mind says what about the already huge numbers of digitized books that exist? The second mind asks who is going to organize those and make them available? The second mind says if this is going to take six years (mentioned at the U of M site) then why not do something with existing already digitized materials?'

Trade embargo on editing lifted

Lila Guterman, Treasury Department Removes Restrictions on U.S. Publications by Authors in Embargoed Countries, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 16, 2004 (accessible only to subscribers). Excerpt: 'The U.S. Treasury Department ruled on Wednesday that trade embargoes do not restrict publishing, so American publishers, including scholarly journals and university presses, do not have to apply for a license if they wish to edit or publish works by authors in Cuba, Iran, or Sudan. The ruling, which did not mention any other embargoed countries, came two years after the department was first asked to clarify whether trade embargoes apply to publishing, and seemingly contradicts several interim decisions. Publishers considered the decision a major victory. The ruling, by the department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, known as OFAC, allows such activities as substantive editing, payment of royalties, adding photographs, and collaborating with authors in embargoed countries -- "all the things they said before were not allowed," said Marc H. Brodsky, who is executive director of the American Institute of Physics, which publishes 11 journals, and chairman of the Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division of the Association of American Publishers....Although the ruling continues to prohibit transactions with the governments of Cuba, Iran, and Sudan, it specifies that the restrictions do not apply to the countries' "academic and research institutions and their personnel." Mr. Brodsky said it was unclear how the regulation would affect a research branch of one of the countries' governments, such as an equivalent of the National Institutes of Health.'

Digitization priorities in the UK

JISC and CURL have announced a joint study on digitizing research materials. From yesterday's announcement: 'The study aims to: [1] Produce a high level survey of digitised material, both already available and in the process of being created, held in UK research collections across all disciplines, [2] Survey demand for digitised material and identify gaps in existing provision, [3] Develop a mechanism for identifying future digitisation priorities, [4] Review funding structures and opportunities and assess possible ways of funding priority areas, [5] Recommend standards and formats for future digitisation projects, [6] Provide an outline action plan for a national digitisation strategy for the UK research community.' UK academics who wish to share their views should fill out an online questionnaire.

German OA initiative officially launches

Germany's Digital Peer Publishing (DIPP) initiative officially launched on Monday, December 13. DIPP will publish eight OA journals. (PS: For more information, see our past postings on DIPP.)

FinnOA developments in English

The Finnish Open Access working group now has an English-language page of news and documenets. (Thanks to Kimmo Kuusela.)

On OAI and Google Scholar

Nick Luft, The Open Archive Initiative (OAI) and Google Scholar, FreePint Newsletter 173. Luft explores various vendor's and content manager's interest in OAI and is surprised to find Google taking notice.

German ministry wants OA and copyright reform to support research

Bundesforschungsministerium kritisiert Urheberrechtsnovelle, Heise Online, December 15, 2004. An unsigned news story. Wolf-Michael Catenhusen, undersecretary of the German Ministry of Education and Research, has endorsed open access for German science, and wants to support it with publicly-funded grants. However, he does not want the government to play the role of Central Digital Library. Catenhusen also criticized proposals for German copyright reform on the ground that they did not recognize the special needs of education, research, and science. (Thanks to MedInfo via Oliver Obst.)

NPR on Google library project

Wednesday's broadcast of NPR's Talk of the Nation focused on the Google library plan and featured guests Michael Keller, head librarian at Stanford, and Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive. The webcast is online.

Update. Tuesday's broadcast of NPR's All Things Considered included a Michele Norris interview with Carol Brey-Casiano, president of the American Library Association, on the Google library project.

British Library thinks about OA

Ken Young, Reading between the lines, The Guardian, December 16, 2004. Excerpt: 'The British Library is working fast to upgrade its research services in the midst of a worldwide debate over open source publishing....But the British Library has to perform a fine balancing act. It has the UK's largest collection of journals and periodicals, yet has to observe strict rules of copyright that define the way it allows the public, educational institutions and private firms to access that resource. And, like the BBC, it has to balance its public remit with the need to generate revenue. In particular, that relates to revenue from its document supply service, which is used predominantly by academics and corporates....Furthermore, the library is in the middle of the debate about making science publications free - the open source model applied to academic work. On the one hand, it relies on good relationships with publishers to ensure its work as a public repository continues; on the other, its commercial aspirations are restrained by the need to observe copyright law...."The move towards open source will make a difference," says Heggie. "Services such as Seds [Secure Electronic Delivery Service] are expensive and we have problems with copyright. Patients give their data free to researchers but at the end patients and researchers have to pay to see the research. I am in favour of open access." Naturally, the library is seeking to protect an important revenue source, and the recent House of Commons scientific committee report, Scientific Publications - free for all?, recommended the government protect the library's document delivery service.'

Southampton commits to OA

The University of Southampton has committed itself to providing open access to the research output of the university. From yesterday's press release: 'The University of Southampton is to make all its academic and scientific research output freely available. A decision by the University to provide core funding for its Institutional Repository establishes it as a central part of its research infrastructure, marking a new era for Open Access to academic research in the UK. Until now, the databases used by universities to collect and disseminate their research output have been funded on an experimental basis by JISC (the Joint Information Systems Committee). The University of Southampton is the first in the UK to announce that it is transitioning its repository from the status of an experiment to an integral part of the research infrastructure of the institution. 'This decision by the University marks a real milestone in the Open Access initiative,' says Dr Leslie Carr. 'At Southampton we have a significant headstart since we created the EPrints software that is used by many UK universities, but we expect and indeed hope that others will soon give similar status to their own archives.' Dr Carr is Technical Director of the open source software, which is now used by around 150 repositories worldwide.'

(PS: This is significant for several reasons. First, Southampton has absorbed the costs of its repository into its own budget and will no longer rely on external funding. That is a key step in recognizing that sharing university research is part of the mission of a university. Second, the Southampton repository is now a commitment, not just an experiment, and a university-wide project, not just the project of a few individuals or departments. Finally, Southampton has set an example for other institutions. Installing a repository is not enough. An institution must make a commitment to fill it. Only then is the respository useful to the institution and to researchers worldwide. Kudos to Southampton and all who helped develop the new policy.)

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

More on the Google library project

Peter Grier and Amanda Paulson, Google plans giant online library stack, Christian Science Monitor, December 15, 2004. Excerpt: '[T]he new agreement marries some of the biggest research libraries in the world with a cutting-edge corporation. Experts say Google has two things most academic institutions lack: money and computer technology. Lots and lots of technology. "Personally, I think this could be a really amazing partnership," says Matthew Gibson, head of the Electronic Text Center at the University of Virginia....Not all these institutions are participating in the same manner. The New York Public Library is letting Google scan only material that is in the public domain - that is, whose copyright has expired. Harvard is submitting a relatively small sample of 40,000 books so it can see how Google's technology works. Only Michigan and Stanford have agreed to allow computerization of all their holdings....At Michigan, for example, the library stacks contain about some 132 miles of books. Google hopes to get the digitization job at UM done in six years, according to John Wilkin, Michigan associate university librarian. "We feel this is part of the mission of a great public university - reaching out to the public with the resources that we have," he says.' (Thanks to the Jill O'Neill on the NFAIS Information Community News.)

More on the Google library project

Jill O'Neill has collected the press releases from the five libraries participating in the new Google library project:Thanks, Jill!

Administrative guide to DSpace and TAPIR

Richard Jones has written an adminstrative guide to Theses Alive, the University of Edinburgh e-thesis repository. In a message to the DSpace-General list, he notes that it might be helpful to other users of DSpace and its TAPIR (Theses Alive Plug-in for Institutional Repositories) plug-in.

More on the NBC news story on the NIH plan

Tom Costello's NBC News story on the NIH plan (aired November 28, 2004) now has a stable home online where you can read the transcript and replay the video. Excerpt from the transcript: 'While the government spends $28 billion dollars of taxpayer money each year for research into everything from cancer to diabetes to Alzheimer's disease, the findings are usually published in for-profit journals and subscription fees have been skyrocketing. Critics say taxpayers are being fleeced....That's why NIH Director Elias Zerhouni is moving to put all NIH-fundedresearch online --for free. "I have a duty to the public," says Zerhouni. "And if you look at the number of papers published at NIH --50 to 60,000 papers a year-- the cost of that is supported by the public."' (Thanks to Linda Watson.)

December issue of D-Lib Magazine

The December issue of D-Lib Magazine is now online. Here are the OA-related articles.

Editorial in new OA journal

Charles J. Greenberg, True Good, Biomedical Digital Libraries, September 20, 2004. The editorial in the inaugural issue of a new OA journal from BMC. Excerpt: 'BMC provides biomedical researchers with peer review, retention of copyright, permanent redundant digital archiving in repositories such as PubMed Central (PMC), and rapid global distribution of their ideas. Harnessing the innovations of the web, BMC also provides online submission, article history, and support for multiple languages. To sustain and expand an open access business model and maintain timely equitable global access, BMC publishing income derives from a combination of author fees, institutional memberships, and advertising....Biomedical Digital Libraries provides a legitimate alternative to traditional specialty journals in the field, which have subscription fees and assumption of copyright by the publisher....Beyond our immediate narrow spheres of digital library practice and service, the community of open knowledge has the immediate and timely potential to inspire, inform, and create value on a global scale through permanent, uninhibited access.'

Misunderstanding Creative Commons licenses

André Beemsterboer, If you can't beat them, join them - DRM as the future for collecting societies, INDICARE, December 14, 2004. Excerpt: 'Authors should be aware of the fact that if they step out and manage their rights individually this can have advantages, but it can be also dangerous for them....I think that CC is very good as a principle. I do not think that CC is an important instrument for usage on a large scale. One of my points of criticism is that CC creates the feeling that no authorisation is needed at all. And I don't agree with that. Also with CC, you still need authorisation from the owner, because also with CC, the author still wants to maintain a certain degree of control over how his work is distributed, and that his name is mentioned. This means that there are certain licensing conditions in the CC that need to be maintained and monitored. To put it very bluntly, the only difference between a collecting society and the collective use of CCs is money. With one, you get money, with the other not. CC lacks a monitoring mechanism. Who is going to check whether the licensing conditions are met, and who is going to pay for the costs of monitoring? The author?'

(PS: This is full of misunderstandings. CC licenses *give* authorization. When there are restrictions on the permission to use the content, CC licenses make them very clear, clearer than any standard licenses and certainly clearer than DRM. There's no reason why CC couldn't work on a "large scale". If the point is that not every rights holder wants a CC license, that's a given; but CC licenses can serve everyone who only wants some rights reserved. Money is not the difference; CC licenses are entirely compatible with earning money from content. It's true that CC licenses lack a monitoring mechanism, if this means an automated monitor. But CC authors turn to CC precisely to avoid the kind of automated monitors represented by DRM. Besides, the lack of a monitor does not harm most CC authors, who have decided --in Tim O'Reilly's words-- that invisibility is worse than infringement. A better title would be George Carlin's line: if you can't beat them, arrange to have them beaten.)

OA and working online

Mike Jackson, On-line Working and Open Access Publishing, Annals of Botany, February 2005. Not even an abstract is free online, at least so far.

Is Google alienating STM publishers?

Janice McCallum, Google Scholar Flunking Relationships 101?, Commentary (the Shore Communications blog), December 14, 2004. Excerpt: 'Many publishers were surprised by the recent soft launch of Google Scholar, since they were not consulted about their involvement in the program. Rather, in some cases, channel partners took it upon themselves to open this new point of entry without obtaining official permission from the original publishers....Given the reach of Google, most publishers could be convinced to work with the search engine giant on projects that would increase the discoverability of their for-fee or behing-the-firewall content, provided that the publishers maintain a good understanding of the new channel and receive sufficient information about the usage of the channel. In fact, Google has been collaborating with CrossRef on an initiative called CrossRef Search, which is done with the involvement of nine scholarly publishers and is running a pilot program in 2004. Apparently, the Google Scholar team didn't communicate its plans to the CrossRef Search group. It may have been easier for Google to side-step the process of contacting the original publishers in order to get the product out quickly in a "beta test" environment, but Google may have opened a can of worms by creating distrust among the STM publishing community regarding Google's intentions to respect content owners. Could it be this underlying distrust that is the real driver behind the recent ACS suit against Google?'

More on the Google library project

From a posting on yesterday's Outsell Now blog: 'There is no shortage of consortia and library groups that have been working on digitization issues in libraries for years. However, it took an outsider third party, Google, to pull this off. In part, that's because it is probably the only entity with the necessary financial resources to finance this huge undertaking, but it is also because Google is the only player with the audacity to act on the grand vision....This isn't a death knell for libraries; it's another shove to get librarians out from behind the stacks and harness their expertise, including subject-matter expertise, and to enhance users’ ability to find, use, and access information in any format....We're moving toward a world in which Google dominates the archival and out-of-copyright works, and Amazon masters the in-print book world. How long before they join forces, or one vanquishes the other in order to fully rule the book world? And in the end, the publishing and library worlds will wonder how this all happened – how did two companies that did not exist a decade ago come to so dominate the information environment?'

International project to provide OA to a million books

On December 13, the day before Google announced its library project, the Internet Archive announced an international project to digitize over a million books and provide open access to the resulting texts. Unfortunately this important news got buried in the coverage of the Google initiative. From the announcement: 'Today, a number of International libraries have committed to putting their digitized books in open-access archives, starting with one at the Internet Archive. This approach will ensure permanent and public access to our published heritage. Anyone with an Internet connection will have access to these collections and the growing set of tools to make use of them. In this way we are getting closer to the goal of Universal Access to All Knowledge....Over one million books have been committed to the Text Archive. Currently over twenty-seven thousand are available and an additional fifty thousand are expected in the first quarter of 2005....Researchers, scholars, and the general public will be able to leverage these collections in ways that have been familiar to library users for centuries-- unfettered searching through catalogs, reading and annotating the books, and sharing pieces with collegues. The public domain or appropriately licensed books will be viewed on-screen, searched, and printed for free using PDF and DJVU....Technology allows us to provide more enhanced access to these materials. First would be to offer similar access to's trademark Search Inside the Book system for public domain books. Therefore library users would be able to find books that mention relevant words and phrases without having to have the catalog reflect each topic.' The project currently lists 11 participating libraries from Canada, China, Egypt, India, the Netherlands, the United States, and it welcomes other libraries to join the coalition without charge. (Thanks to ResourceShelf.)

E-Thesis project announced

SHERPA has announced a new open-access JISC-funded e-thesis project, EThOS. EThOS does not yet have a web site. From the announcement: 'The purpose of EThOS is to deliver, over a period of 18 months, a fully operational, easily scaleable and financially viable prototype UK e-theses online service. This service will enable end-users to access the full text of electronically stored theses from a UK Database of Theses (UKDoT) via one single web interface. This will enable Higher Education institutions, in partnership with the British Library, to ensure a much higher level of national and international visibility for the UK postgraduate research output, as well as its preservation in perpetuity.'

Summary of public comments on the NIH plan

The NIH has posted some PPT slides briefly summarizing the public comments on its public-access plan.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

New version of Bailey bibliography

Charles W. Bailey Jr. has released version 56 of his monumental Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography. The new version cites over 2,275 print and online articles, books, and other sources on scholarly electronic publishing.

More on the NIH plan

Amanda Schaffer, Open Access: Should scientific articles be available online and free to the public? Slate, December 14, 2004. Excerpt: 'Increased access is a worthwhile enterprise. Highly accessible, electronic archives are simply too valuable to scientists --and, by extension, to the public who may eventually benefit from their work-- not to establish and support as a matter of public policy. Scientists at large research universities have access to many journals, but increasingly there are gaps in library collections, and not all publications are easily searchable. The problem is of course even worse outside of major institutions and in countries other than the United States. A more robust public database would go a long way toward speeding and enhancing scientific work. There is, in fact, precedent for this approach to biological data. For over a decade now, NIH grantees generating DNA sequence have been expected to make their findings available in GenBank, an online government archive. Thus, there is now an extensive, easily searchable archive of sequences that has greatly facilitated research in many areas of biology and medicine. PLoS's Eisen suggests that GenBank provides a model for how biological work in general should be treated. If more full-text articles were similarly available through PubMed Central, he argues, the benefits to research would likely be vast.'

More on the Google library project

Mike Wendland, U-M's entire library to be put on Google, Detroit Free Press, December 14, 2004. On the Google deal with the University of Michigan. Excerpt: 'The massive project means that within a few years, people doing research about practically anything -- whether for a scholarly paper, a high school project or a family tree -- will be able to consult U-M's collections online almost as easily as they could if they were sitting in the landmark library building on the university's central campus...."This project signals an era when the printed record of civilization is accessible to every person in the world with Internet access," said U-M President Mary Sue Coleman. "It is an initiative with tremendous impact today and endless future possibilities."...The size of the U-M undertaking is staggering. It involves the use of new technology developed by Google that greatly speeds the digitizing process. Without that technology -- which Google won't discuss in detail -- the task would be impossible, says John Wilkin, the U-M associate librarian who is heading the project. "Going as fast as we can with the traditional means of doing this, it would take us about 1,600 years to do all 7 million volumes," he said. "Google will do it in six years."..."If we were to do this job ourselves, it would probably cost us $600 million," Wilkin said. "That's just the human cost of preparing the material for scanning, packing it up and sending it out to vendors and then quality-control checking of the results. This is easily a billion-dollar effort."'

E-Research and cyberinfrastructure

Diane Goldenberg-Hart, Libraries and Changing Research Practices: A Report of the ARL/CNI Forum on E-Research and Cyberinfrastructure, ARL Bimonthly Report 237, December 2004. A report on the conference, E-Research and Supporting Cyberinfrastructure: A Forum to Consider the Implications for Research Libraries & Research Institutions (Washington, D.C., October 15, 2004). Excerpt: '[Clifford Lynch] emphasized the massive changes occurring in the practices of scholarship—changes that are occurring across all disciplines. He argued that new practices, products, and modes of documenting and communicating research will have far-reaching implications for all organizations involved in managing the scholarly record and supporting the ongoing enterprise of scholarship, and that libraries in particular are in a central role due to their perspectives of managing the record across time and across disciplines. These changes in scholarly practice will create profound changes throughout the entire system of scholarly communication, and a failure to put into place effective new support structures in response to these changes would pose tremendous risk to the enterprise of research and scholarship. "This is what is at stake when we consider how to lead our institutions in addressing these new needs," Lynch said. The role of libraries, he argued, will shift from primarily acquiring published scholarship to a broader role of managing scholarship in collaboration with the researchers that develop and draw upon it.'

More on the Google library project

The Harvard University Library has created an FAQ about its participation in the Google project. Excerpt:

Why is Harvard considering doing the larger project with Google? [PS: Harvard is currently letting Google digitize 40,000 volumes in pilot project. The larger project could encompass Harvard's 15 million volumes.]

The larger project has the promise of enormous benefit to the Harvard community, the larger scholarly community, and the general public. For users outside of Harvard, the larger project would make accessible the full text of a large number of public-domain books. It would also make the copyrighted portion of the Harvard collection searchable. Including works from the vast Harvard library collection in an information location tool available on the Internet would greatly expand the scope and quality of information available to a worldwide audience of knowledge-seekers.

(Thanks to Jon Ippolito.)

More on CABI

Siân Harris, Data Plays A Growing Role, Research Information, November/December 2004. Harris interviews Andrea Powell and Carol McNamara about CABI. Excerpt:

What are the main challenges for CABI in the future?

AP: Technology will continue to push us forward. The ongoing migration from print to electronic will continue to be a challenge and we have to manage that process. Customers will not pay twice for the same material. Because of changes in scholarly communication, a huge challenge is finding the information and giving access to it. The open-access model presents new challenges because we usually have to go out and search for new open-access publications. Today we find out about new journals by regularly looking at the Directory of Open Access Journals website. Open-access publishers should not just assume that because their information is out there it will be found. We try to educate publishers as well as end-users. And we cannot ignore the Google factor. It is not going away. We would rather work with them than compete.

Celebrating high prices and margins

David Mort, STM Publshing Provides A Safe Haven in Choppy Waters, Research Information, November/December 2004. Excerpt: 'Scientific publishers and vendors continue to post double-digit profit margins, even though the industry as a whole is only experiencing low single-digit margins overall. STM information sales are also healthy and employment levels are high in contrast to the wider information industry, which is seeing falling sales and shedding employees....While users may view these high profits with some concern, given the tight budgets in many sectors and price rises for STM information, the good news is that many companies are utilising these healthy profits to invest in new product developments and new technologies.' (PS: This is as close as Mort comes to mentioning the harm caused by high and rising journal prices. His rosy forecast does not mention open access, scientists, or libraries.)

OA to UK heritage materials

English Heritage has joined the Common Information Environment. Excerpt from the JISC press release: 'The vision of an online environment in which all citizens of the UK can access high-quality information freely and easily was given a considerable boost today. English Heritage signed up to the principles of the Common Information Environment Group, a group of key public sector organisations providing online content across a variety of sectors. A key aim of this group is to ensure that the investment of some £2bn worth of online content estimated to have been created out of public funds is repaid by making as much of it as possible accessible by all citizens of the UK. As the government's lead advisory body on the protection and promotion of all aspects of the historic environment, English Heritage generates a wealth of information and knowledge and is increasingly doing so online through high-profile public offerings.'

OA/OAI archives in language and linguistics

Jung-ran Park, Language-Related Open Archives: Impact on Scholarly Communities and Academic Librarianship, Electronic Journal of Academic and Special Librarianship, Summer/Fall 2004. Abstract: 'The evolution of new forms of scholarly communication since the advent of Web technology has brought unprecedented opportunities for potential global connection among the rapidly growing number of electronic repositories among scholarly communities. Under the open archive infrastructures, scholarly resources that had been invisible to Web search engines and thus afforded limited dissemination and access are now becoming increasingly visible with speedy and wide distribution. This paper addresses the emergent issues and challenges faced by academic librarians: participation in archiving, organization, and preservation of open repositories; integration of Web-based repositories into traditional collections; and mediation and direction of academic users into this new realm of rich resources.'

EC to coordinate European biomed funding agencies

As the result of a conference yesterday in Brussels, the European Commission will create a forum to coordinate the activities of the major European funders of biomedical research. The primary purposes are to fund critical areas, reduce redundancy, help researchers share tools and tissue samples, and generally help funders maximize their return on investment. (PS: The new forum would be the perfect fulcrum for demanding open access to the results of publicly funded research. If any OAN readers have a connection to the forum, I hope you will explore this possibility. I would be happy to advise and consult based on my experience with the NIH plan.)

GPO strategic vision

The U.S. Government Printing Office has released A Strategic Vision for the 21st Century, December 1, 2004. Excerpt: '[Part of the GPO mission is] To provide, in partnership with Federal Depository libraries, for nationwide community facilities for the perpetual, free and ready public access to the printed and electronic documents, and other information products, of the Federal government....[One of its goals is] To have a responsible digital repository for all Federal documents – past, present and future – that are within the scope of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) of permanent preservation for public access....While the FDLP will continue to offer free public access to all Government information available through the Internet, GPO will focus on developing unique collections of digital information, which will be "pushed" over the Internet to primarily business customers on a subscription basis.'

Non-OA ejournal access and demand for document delivery

Barbara Spina and four co-authors, The impact of e-journal access on DocDel Service activities, Proceedings of the 9th European Conference of Medical and Health Libraries, Santander (Spain), 2004. From the abstract: 'In the summer 2003, an agreement with CILEA has provided the Biblioteca Centrale dell'Area Biomedica of Cagliari with access to a wide range of journals in electronic format through Elsevier ScienceDirect....The "potential users" of Elsevier ScienceDirect consisted of people relatively familiar with using online version of scientific journals and retrieving articles. They were researchers belonging to the fields of biological sciences, medicine and other research fields related to life sciences. Library management decided to conduct a six months survey (July/December 2003) to assess the extent of e-journals use and in particular to determine their effects on DocDel Service activities. Aim of the study was also to consider the cost–benefit aspects of the direct access to biomedical literature by library patrons. Our expectation was that we would have a decrease in user requests for journals articles via our DocDel Service....Comparing data concerning DocDel Service (July/December 2003) with statistical findings of a corresponding period in the year 2002, we experienced a decrease by 27,98% in the number of requested and supplied documents. The requests were mainly restricted to older materials.' (Thanks to ResourceShelf.)

More on the Google library project

Gary Price, Google Partners with Oxford, Harvard & Others to Digitize Libraries, SearchDay, December 14, 2004. Excerpt (focusing on aspects omitted from other accounts): 'Google has no plans to introduce a Google Print "only" search interface. Google Print results appear in the "OneBox" area at the top of Google search result pages, in much the same way that news headlines or products from Froogle appear in response to relevant queries. However, tools have been created to help isolate Google Print material. Books that are scanned from either library's collection will also have a direct link to find the book in a local library (along with links to purchase the book) using OCLC Open Worldcat data. Other books (materials not scanned from the library collections) will not have the "Find it in A Library" link available. Searching by subject (using a controlled vocabulary) is not available, at least at launch....[Adam] Smith [Google Product Manager] told us that out-of copyright material will be available in full text, though printing will be disabled when viewing this content.'

More on the Google Library Project

Stephen M. Marks, Google To Scan Library Books, Harvard Crimson, December 14, 2004. Excerpt: "Harvard will make the books available and Google will scan the books and bear all costs, according to Pforzheimer University Professor Sid Verba ’53, who is director of the Harvard University Library (HUL). Verba said that making Harvard’s books available digitally has long been a priority but until now has been infeasible."

More on the Google Library Project

Google checks out library books, Harvard University Gazette, December 14, 2004. Excerpt: "'Even before we started Google, we dreamed of making the incredible breadth of information that librarians so lovingly organize to be searchable online. Today we're pleased to announce this program with these prestigious libraries to digitize their collections so that every Google user can search them instantly,' said Larry Page, Google co-founder and president of products."

More on the Google library project

Google Print has added a new question to its FAQ:

I'm a librarian. How can I get Google to come and scan my library?

Sorry, but we're not expanding our relationships with libraries at this time. However, we may expand to add additional libraries in the future. If you're interested in letting us know about your library's special collection, please email us at and include the size of your collection, any specialization or special content, how much of your content is already digital, and what languages you cover.

More on the Google library project

Scott Carlson and Jeffrey Young, Google Will Digitize and Search Millions of Books From 5 Leading Research Libraries, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 14, 2004 (accessible only to subscribers). Excerpt: 'Five of the world's largest libraries have joined Google in a Herculean effort to digitize millions of books and make every sentence searchable. The project, which Google officials plan to announce today, involves libraries at Harvard and Stanford Universities, the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and the University of Oxford, as well as the New York Public Library. It could soon turn Google into the single largest holder of digitized published material, while also providing researchers and students with an unprecedented tool for finding information. The trickiest issue is copyright. The company will begin by scanning works that are in the public domain, and the full contents of those books will accessible online through the popular Google search engine. But the company also plans to scan copyrighted books in some of the libraries. The search engine will not return the full texts of those volumes, but will instead provide up to three short excerpts....The number of volumes that could be scanned is astounding: Harvard holds some 15 million volumes; the New York Public Library has 20 million; Stanford has more than 7.6 million; and the University of Michigan has 7.8 million. Oxford's main library alone has more than 6.5 million books. Harvard, Stanford, and the New York Public Library have agreed only to pilot projects with the company. Google will initially scan subsets of their collections, and decisions about whether to proceed with the rest will come later. Oxford will allow Google to scan only books published before 1900...Officials at the University of Michigan, however, have agreed to allow all of their books to be scanned, and the effort has been quietly under way for months....So far, Google Print is separate from the company's Google Scholar search engine, which lets users search academic materials. "But the products may be potentially integrated in a variety of interesting ways," said Ms. [Susan] Wojcicki [director of product management for Google]....Michigan will store a copy of the digitized collection -- which takes up "hundreds of terabytes," Mr. Wilkin said -- for its own uses. Paul N. Courant, the university's provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, said the digital collection would be used "to the maximum extent permitted by law." He envisions students and researchers getting access to works in the public domain from their home computers. He also sees the university library setting up a catalog in which the entire collection is searchable down to the level of individual words and phrases. He said a project like this was worth "hundreds of millions" of dollars to the university. "This is an important moment in the history of libraries," he said, "and an important moment in the history of scholarship." '

Google scanning, indexing library books

John Markoff and Edward Wyatt, Google Is Adding Major Libraries to Its Database, New York Times, December 14, 2004. Excerpt: 'Google, the operator of the world's most popular Internet search service, plans to announce an agreement today with some of the nation's leading research libraries and Oxford University to begin converting their holdings into digital files that would be freely searchable over the Web....Google - newly wealthy from its stock offering last summer - has agreed to underwrite the projects being announced today while also adding its own technical abilities to the task of scanning and digitizing tens of thousands of pages a day at each library....Within two decades, most of the world's knowledge will be digitized and available, one hopes for free reading on the Internet, just as there is free reading in libraries today," said Michael A. Keller, Stanford University's head librarian....Last night the Library of Congress and a group of international libraries from the United States, Canada, Egypt, China and the Netherlands announced a plan to create a publicly available digital archive of one million books on the Internet. The group said it planned to have 70,000 volumes online by next April. "Having the great libraries at your fingertips allows us to build on and create great works based on the work of others," said Brewster Kahle, founder and president of the Internet Archive, a San Francisco-based digital library that is also trying to digitize existing print information. The agreements to be announced today will allow Google to publish the full text of only those library books old enough to no longer be under copyright. For copyrighted works, Google would scan in the entire text, but make only short excerpts available online. Each agreement with a library is slightly different. Google plans to digitize nearly all the eight million books in Stanford's collection and the seven million at Michigan. The Harvard project will initially be limited to only about 40,000 volumes. The scanning at Bodleian Library at Oxford will be limited to an unspecified number of books published before 1900, while the New York Public Library project will involve fragile material not under copyright that library officials said would be of interest primarily to scholars.'

Monday, December 13, 2004

Interview with Jean-Pierre Gattuso on OA

The INIST-CNRS web site devoted to Libre Accès à l'information scientifique & technique is launching a series of monthly interviews on the topic of open access. The first one appeared today, with Jean-Pierre Gattuso, director of research at the CNRS oceanography lab at Villefranche-sur-mer and chairman of the biogeosciences division the European Geosciences Union (EGU). See La visibilité des revues en libre accès n'est qu'un problème temporaire, December 13, 2004. (Thanks to Eric Goettmann.)

Journal of Genetics

Journal of Genetics is a long running research journal. Since 1985 it has been published under the auspices of the Indian Academy of Sciences. Usage proviso:
The pdf files are made available for downloading only for academic purposes.
Journal of Genetics - Fulltext v78+ (1999+); ISSN: 0022-1333.

Healthcare Review Online

Healthcare Review Online changed titles in 2003 to become Health Care & Informatics Review Online. No ISSN change has been recorded. The complete run of both titles, focused on clinical informatics, are available online. Healthcare Review Online - Fulltext v1-6 (1996-2002). Continued by Health Care & Informatics Review Online. ISSN: 1173-7956. Health Care & Informatics Review Online - Fulltext v7+ (2003+). Continues Healthcare Review Online. ISSN: 1173-7956.

Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Bulletin of the World Health Organization is the long running research journal of WHO. The Bulletin's mission statement is succinct:
To publish and disseminate scientifically rigorous public health information of international significance that enables policy-makers, researchers and practitioners to be more effective and improves health, particularly among disadvantaged populations.
Bulletin of the World Health Organization - Fulltext v1+ (1947+); ISSN: 0042-9686. It is worth noting that although the WHO site provides the complete run of the journal (PDF only), they point to SciELO version for keyword and author searching, HTML formatted articles, and to provide cross-linking of references into PubMed. Bulletin of the World Health Organization - Fulltext 78(12+) (December 2000+); ISSN: 0042-9686.

No copyright or access fees for public records

Jason Geary, Court: No Royalties For Public Records, The Ledger (of Lakeland, Florida), December 12, 2004. Excerpt: 'A Lakeland appeals court has ruled that an online real estate company can continue to use property appraiser records for profit without paying royalties to the government that created them. Open government advocates are calling the decision a big win....MicroDecisions, an Orlandobased company, filed a lawsuit in 2002 against Collier County Property Appraiser Abe Skinner. MicroDecisions gathers real estate data for its Web site, where customers can purchase plats, maps and property value information. Skinner claimed records created in his office were copyrighted under federal law and would only allow MicroDecisions to use them for profit if they agreed to pay royalties to his office. "If the court had gone the other way, virtually any formerly public record could have been subject to copyright," said lawyer Jonathan D. Kaney Jr. of Daytona Beach, who represented MicroDecisions. Kaney, who also provides legal services to the First Amendment Foundation, said the case could have easily become "the death of public records as we know it." Law enforcement agencies and school districts could claim reports generated "with a smidge of creativity" were copyrighted and skirt Florida's open records laws, Kaney said.' (Thanks to BNA Internet Law News.)

More on open-source biology

Karen Lowry Miller, Juggling Two Worlds, Newsweek International, November 29, 2004. A profile of Richard Jefferson, founder of BIOS, the open-source biology project. Excerpt: 'Jefferson developed a method for inserting genes into plants that gets around a thicket of patents, and he plans to make it widely available through his most radical move yet. Last month he launched the BIOS initiative to set up a protected commons in which scientists all over the world can collaborate on new ideas --much like what is happening now with open-source software. The thinking is that scientists in developed countries may have solutions to the kind of problems their counterparts in poor countries want to solve. "The idea that we should feed the world is paternalistic, patronizing silliness," says Jefferson. "The world can feed itself if we can lower the cost of innovation."..."Agriculture R&D for the developing world could be lost without a concept like BIOS and open source," says Gary Toenniessen, director of Food Security for the Rockefeller Foundation, which has long backed CAMBIA and put up $1 million to get BIOS off the ground. "[Jefferson] is the closest thing to a genius I've run into." '

The OA Philological Museum

The University of Birmingham hosts The Philological Museum, an open-access archive of humanistic and neo-Latin texts edited by Dana Sutton and Martin Wiggins. Prof. Sutton tells me that the university has agreed by contract to maintain the collection in perpetuity and to ensure that it remains available to the public without charge.

Review of literature on document supply

Mike McGrath, Interlending and document supply: a review of the recent literature, Interlending & Document Supply, 32, 4 (2004) pp. 244-254. Only this abstract is free online, at least so far: 'Reviews 156 journals and some electronic lists and newsletters for issues relevant to interlending and document supply. The review deals with: scholarly communication, copyright, the British Library, e-books, remote document supply, site licensing, search engines, open access, e-journal usage and institutional repositories.'

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Brewster Kahle, "Universal Access to All Knowledge"

Tomorrow at 6:30 pm in the Mumford Room of the Library of Congress, Brewster Kahle, cofounder of the Internet Archive, will give a public lecture entitled "Universal Access to All Knowledge". The lecture will be carried live on C-SPAN.

More on the BBC Creative Archive Project

Alison Perrett, Bringing the past to life, Sp!ked, December 8, 2004. Excerpt: 'The BBC Creative Archive Project aims to give British internet users free access to the corporation's priceless back-catalogue of programmes and music recordings, providing it is for non-commercial use. Up until now, no broadcaster had sought to digitise an archive on this scale, let alone give its audience the tools and freedom to download and share the content....The vision for the Creative Archive flows from the highest echelons of the BBC. The idea of Creative Archive project was launched publicly at the 2003 Edinburgh TV Festival, by then BBC director-general Greg Dyke. The current director-general Mark Thompson has also fully embraced this vision and seeks to have the project endorsed within the BBC Royal Charter, due to be renewed in 2006. One BBC policy document that gives full support to digitisation initiatives, and specifically the Creative Archive, states: "Digital exclusion is a form of social waste. This is why the BBC will always be on the side of universal provision, open access and unencryption." '

Making access seamless

Jenny McDonald and Adrienne Kebbell, Access in an increasingly digital world, The Electronic Library, 22, 6 (2004) pp. 498-508. Only this abstract is free online, at least so far: 'This paper discusses the importance of providing coherent and "seamless" access to information resources in an increasingly digital environment, in ways that meet customer needs and expectations. It looks at how customer access needs can be identified, at the tools and skills needed to deliver such access, and at the importance of measuring the success of that delivery. A response by the National Library of New Zealand to improving access, by providing a single point of access to local and remote resources, is set in an international context.'

Are you confused?

The American Chemical Society is suing Google on the ground that the name "Google Scholar" violates the ACS trademark on "SciFinder Scholar". From the ACS public statement: '"The field of scientific research and related services is, of course, open to all," said Flint Lewis, ACS's secretary and general counsel...."But when someone uses a trademark similar to ours, we have no choice but to take action --to protect the goodwill that we have built over the years and to prevent the likelihood of confusion in the marketplace."' (Thanks to Gary Price.)

Update. Also see the Slashdot discussion. (Thanks to Matt Cockerill.)

Open knowledge

Yukika Awazu and Kevin C. Desouza, Open Knowledge Management: Lessons From the Open Source Revolution, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 55, 11 (2004) (the current issue). Only this abstract is free online, at least so far: 'Awazu and Desouza examine open source communities to derive insights on augmentation of knowledge management projects. Open source material is available to all, re-distributable, non-discriminatory, and modifiable. Knowledge, when viewed as an organizational resource, typically does not have these characteristics but is rather protected as a scarce commodity. Since 80% of knowledge is contributed by 20% of the employees there exists a large free rider problem which open source communities attack by giving high status to contributors. The open knowledge agenda modeled on open source communities has great potential.'

Data mining to discover OA scholarship

Scott Nicholson, Bibliomining for Automated Collection Development in a Digital Library Setting: Using Data Mining to Discover Web-Based Scholarly Research Works, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, July 7, 2003. While the article is not new, an OA edition was only yesterday deposited in DList. Abstract: 'This research creates an intelligent agent for automated collection development in a digital library setting. It uses a predictive model based on facets of each Web page to select scholarly works. The criteria came from the academic library selection literature, and a Delphi study was used to refine the list to 41 criteria. A Perl program was designed to analyze a Web page for each criterion and applied to a large collection of scholarly and non-scholarly Web pages. Bibliomining, or data mining for libraries, was then used to create different classification models. Four techniques were used: logistic regression, non-parametric discriminant analysis, classification trees, and neural networks. Accuracy and return were used to judge the effectiveness of each model on test datasets. In addition, a set of problematic pages that were difficult to classify because of their similarity to scholarly research was gathered and classified using the models. The resulting models could be used in the selection process to automatically create a digital library of Web-based scholarly research works. In addition, the technique can be extended to create a digital library of any type of structured electronic information.'