Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Friday, December 24, 2004

More on the ACS trademark on "Scholar"

Doug Payne, ACS sues Google over Scholar, The Scientist, December 15, 2004. Excerpt: 'The American Chemical Society (ACS) says Google's new academic and scientific search engine --Google Scholar-- is infringing on its established search product, Scifinder Scholar. The ACS has filed a statement of claim in US District Court in the District of Columbia, part of which seeks a permanent injunction against Google from using the word 'Scholar' for its beta search product. Google launched Google Scholar on November 18. The ACS action, filed on December 9, claims the society holds a common law trademark on the word 'Scholar' because its search engine is often shortened to that one word....Steve Langton, a spokesman for Google, told The Scientist: "We are confident in our use of the name Google Scholar. This lawsuit is without merit."'

More on the UK government response to the OA report

Stevan Harnad, Debate Over Open Access in the U.K., Science Magazine, 306 (2004) p. 2187. A letter to the editor (accessible only to subscribers). Excerpt: 'Daniel Clery's article about open access in the United Kingdom ("Mixed week for open access in the U.K.," News of the Week, 12 Nov., p. 1115) seems to be carrying on a tradition on this topic of drubbing Peter to pox Paul! Clery reports that the U.K. government rejected recommendations on open access from the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee. The only major recommendation of the committee was to mandate open access self-archiving (i.e., that U.K. researchers must make their published journal articles publicly accessible to all would-be users on their institution's Web sites). Yet no one--members of Parliament, press, publishers, or librarians--seems to be able to stop going on and on about open access publishing (where the author-institution pays for publication per outgoing article instead of the reader-institution paying for subscription per incoming journal), which was not what the committee recommended mandating....Let the next parliamentary recommendation be shorter and clearer and make no mention whatsoever of Paul (open access publishing), and then maybe Peter will stand a fair chance!'

OA publishing in Germany

Rafael Ball, Open Access – die Revolution im wissenschaftlichen Publizieren? In Bernard Bekavac et al. (eds.), Informationen zwischen Kultur und Marktwirtschaft: Proceedings des 9. Internationalen Symposiums fur Informationswissenschaft (October 6-8, 2004), Konstanz: UVK Verlagsgesellschaft mbH, 2004, pp. 413 – 432. In German but with this English-language abstract: 'The increase in the number of scientific disciplines, the continuing significant rise in the production of literature and the journal crisis at libraries has led the actors to seek new models for the publication of scientific results. The concept of Open Access comprises a whole number of different models. The spectrum ranges from simple institutional document servers to fully edited e-journals, from low-budget versions to commercial Open Access products. As a synthesis, the lecture presents the Open Access model of the Central Library at Research Centre Jülich [Forschungszentrum Jülich], which does not ignore successful publication systems, but which nevertheless puts into practice the idea of open access to information.'

Access to information is good for your health

Álvaro Franco and two co-authors, Effect of democracy on health: ecological study, BMJ, December 18, 2004. In a survey of 170 countries, the authors find a correlation between political freedom and public health. In trying to account for it, one variable they propose is "better access to information".

More on the IA Open-Access Text Archives

Internet Archive, Libraries Collaborate on Open-Access Text Archives, Library Journal, December 27, 2004. An unsigned news story. Excerpt: 'Google can certainly steal the media thunder, but it isn't the only game in town. Earlier this month, the San Francisco-based Internet Archive announced partnerships with a number of international libraries, including the Library of Congress, the University of Toronto, and Carnegie Mellon University, as well as the Bibliotheca Alexandria in Egypt, Zhejiang University in China, and the Netherlands-based European Archive--all part of an ongoing effort launched in 2003 to scan books. The goal of the Internet Archive text project is to put digitized books into "open-access archives," ensuring easy --and continuous-- access for the public....IA officials say they hope to have over as 70,000 books up by spring. Currently, over one million public domain or "appropriately licensed" books have been committed to the archive, and over 27,000 are already available.' (PS: See the IA's December 15 press release.)

The UK Freedom of Information Act

The UK Freedom of Information Act takes effect on January 1, 2005. JISC's Steve Bailey explains what universities should do to prepare for it in a short article, Providing information according to the law, in the December issue of Skills and Education. (PS: If the Act has implications for access to research, Bailey does not mention them. A House of Commons research paper on implementing the new Act makes clear that the Act does not apply to "information accessible by other means", which probably rules out access to eprints of published articles. But what about unpublished data underlying published articles? If any OAN readers think the Act may have implications for research, please post your thoughts to our forum or drop me a line.)

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Probability Abstract Service

Probability Abstract Service is an archive of research article abstracts distributed as a bi-monthly newsletter. PAS is based at the Department of Economics, Business and Statistics of the University of Milan, Italy. Since 1991, PAS has posted 83 digests with more than 2900 abstracts. The service is free to authors and readers.

Probability Surveys -- new Open Access journal

Probability Surveys is the second new journal to debut on Project Euclid this month. It is also only the second title to be distributed on Project Euclid as an Open Access journal, the first being Annals of Mathematics. Probability Surveys is a joint effort of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics and the Bernoulli Society. The journal is operating with Open Journal Systems software from the Public Knowledge Project. Probability Surveys - Fulltext v1+ (2004+) from Project Euclid | from VTeX; ISSN: 1549-5787.

19th century French math -- Journal de Mathématiques Pures et Appliquées

Almost a century of French math is now freely available from Journal de Mathématiques Pures et Appliquées. The digitization behind the scenes is from Gallica, the digitization project of Bibliothèque Nationale de France. For background on the origins of the journal, I offer this excerpt from a biographical sketch of the journal's founder, Joseph Liouville:
In 1836 Liouville founded a mathematics journal Journal de Mathématiques Pures et Appliquées. This journal, sometimes known as Journal de Liouville, did much for mathematics in France throughout the 19th century.
Journal de Mathématiques Pures et Appliquées -- Fulltext Series 1 v1-20 (1836-1855); Fulltext Series 2 v1-19 (1856-1874); Fulltext Series 3 v1-10 (1875-1884); Fulltext Series 4 v1-10 (1885-1894); Fulltext Series 5 v1-10 (1895-1904); Fulltext Series 6 v1-10 (1905-1914); Fulltext Series 7 v1-3 (1915-1917); Fulltext Series 8 v1-4 (1918-1921); Fulltext Series 9 v1-11 (1922-1932) | ISSN : 0021-7824.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Pacific Journal of Mathematics --complete run now online

Pacific Journal of Mathematics (PJM) has debuted on Project Euclid. PJM at Project Euclid is an archive, v1-176 (1951-1996). The more recent years are hosted by the University at Albany, v177+ (1997+). Print volumes of the journal are available through the journal's website. Pacific Journal of Mathematics - Fulltext v1-176 (1951-1996) | Fulltext v177+ (1997+); ISSN: 0030-8730. It is not yet clear, to me anyway, where PJM will fall in the Euclid subscription hierarchy. Open Access is a recognized option. Project Euclid is recognized as a SPARC Scientific Community. Project Euclid complies with the International Mathematical Union's Committee for Electronic Information Communication (CEIC) Recommendations on Information and Communication: Best Current Practices for Publishers (revised April 2004). postscript: Terry Ehling (Project Euclid) contributed this postscript on PJM:
Current content for the Pacific Journal of Mathematics (PJM) will be available from Project Euclid within the next couple of weeks. The print-on-paper edition of PJM will be available from the new publisher, Mathematical Sciences Publishers in Berkeley, beginning in spring of 2005. The Pacific Journal of Mathematics participates in Project Euclid under the Euclid Direct plan. Access terms will be finalized by the PJM Board of Governors shortly.

Public-domain government information

Paul Uhlir, Policy Guidelines for the Development and Promotion of Governmental Public Domain Information, UNESCO, November 2004. An update to the original March 2003 report. From the UNESCO page on the report: 'The present final version of the document, whose title has been modified by addition of the word "Governmental" to reflect an increased emphasis on the responsibilities of governments to make public sector information available to citizens, is intended as a practical guide to assist in implementation of the relevant provisions of the Recommendation on Promotion and Use of Multilingualism and Universal Access to Cyberspace, adopted by the UNESCO General Conference in November 2003. It also represents a contribution to the implementation of the Plan of Action of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), whose first session was held in Geneva on 10-12 December 2003, which specified (under paragraph 10.a. of Action Line C3) the need to "Develop policy guidelines for the development and promotion of public domain information as an important international instrument promoting public access to information."'

New York Journal of Mathematics -- 11 years of Open Access math

New York Journal of Mathematics (NYJM) originated as an online, Open Access journal eleven years ago, long before Open Access became a catch phrase. NYJM has created a print edition for those libraries and/or mathematicians who must have print. The journal cooperates with the European Mathematical Information Service (EMIS), thereby providing mirror sites around the world. [An excellent example of the LOCKSS (Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe) concept implemented long before LOCKSS became a trademark.] New York Journal of Mathematics - Fulltext v1+ (1994+) Albany | EMIS; ISSN: 1076-9803.

JISC to fund four studies on OA and related topics

JISC has announced a program to fund four studies of scholarly communication:
  1. Terms of Reference: Guide on Scholarly Publishing Trends
  2. Terms of Reference: Learned Society Open Access Business Models
  3. Terms of Reference: Disciplinary Differences and Needs
  4. Terms of Reference: Open Access Citation Information

From the announcement: 'Up to £20,000 is available for the first study, and up to £30,000 for studies 2), 3) and 4). This funding includes any expenses and applicable VAT. The deadline for proposals is 13:00 hours on Tuesday 8th February 2005. Projects should begin by the beginning of April 2005 at the latest and complete by Monday 4th July 2005.' For more details, see the Invitation to Tender (a DOC file).

Lessons for publishers from the Google library project

John Blossom, Open Stacks: Pondering the Value of Copyrighted Content in a World of Online Archives, Commentary, December 20, 2004. Analysis aimed at publishers who want to sell their content. Excerpt: 'Google's scanning plan is a great development for libraries, which are now empowered more than ever to make their content available to the public in useful forms and is great for the reading public. For publishers it's neutral in the short run, since copyrighted materials are for the most part not fair game in this effort, only content that has always been in the public domain or has finally fallen in to it. In the long run, though, it's a huge warning sign to publishers and aggregators that have relied on the time-tested tool of copyright law as the basis for their profitability - not so much because of any direct threat to their domain but by highlighting the changing fortunes of a domain of content value whose time may have come and gone....Monetizing archives is more about enabling access than restricting access....This cooperative, enabling approach to content ecommerce is increasing in importance as more archives become more open to access, use and redistribution. Copyright can be the starting point of a dialogue rather than an impermeable barrier, a concept promoted by the Creative Commons approach to content licensing. When copyright becomes viewed as a right to discuss a relationship on one's own terms rather than a demand to avoid relationships, copyrighted content will find its way into more useful venues more quickly - with monetization to follow....Copyright is a tool born of the industrial age that is struggling to find its place in a post-industrial era. Copyrighting has allowed intellectual property to flourish for centuries, but as the factors supporting the flourishing of intellectual property shift so must our approach to copyright management. It's a useful tool that has not outgrown its usefulness, but one whose core value is shifting rapidly in an era of open access to content.'

Library help in using Google Scholarda

The Georgia State University Library has created a web page on how to use Google Scholar --and how to supplement it with the library's paid resources. (Thanks to ResearchBuzz.)

Update. Other libraries are starting to follow suit. See the library GS pages at Oberlin College and the University of Adelaide. I expect many more to follow, and can't promise to keep blogging them.

More on the Google library project

Carolyn Said, Revolutionary chapter: Google's ambitious book-scanning plan seen as key shift in paper-based culture, San Francisco Chronicle, December 20, 2004. The best account I've seen of the labor and logistics involved. Excerpt: 'The logistics involved are staggering. Stanford has 8 million volumes, Michigan 7 million....The effort is expected to take years. Although Google declined to discuss the cost, press reports have pegged it at about $10 per book. Anyone who has stood at a photocopier laboriously turning pages of a book to be copied can understand the Sisyphean nature of the task. Although sophisticated book-scanning technology exists that can turn pages via robotics -- Stanford owns one such machine, which cost in the six figures -- for now, at least, Google is taking a more low-tech approach. "It's human-operated," said John Wilkin, associate university librarian at the University of Michigan, where Google employees have set up shop since late summer to begin digitizing the collection. "It's interesting to see the people turn the pages; they can do it very quickly. It is essentially light industrial work."...At Michigan, Wilkin said he has been impressed by Google's approach. "The technology they have handles the books very carefully, it doesn't require them to be open much, it is fast in the way it captures and transfers information, it gives a high-quality image," he said. So far, at least, it doesn't sound particularly speedy. Wilkin said he believes an operator gets through about 50 books in a workday. At that rate, with, say, 20 people working every single day of the year, digitizing the library's 7 million volumes would take 19 years....For the universities, safeguarding the digital files for posterity is vital. "As long as we have the digital source files, we can preserve them for centuries," said Stanford's Herkovic. "We can't presume that Google is thinking about preservation for the centuries. Stockholders don't care about that, but Stanford does." Similarly, Michigan's Wilkin said, "We have a responsibility to this collection in perpetuity. It's a scary thing for people to hear 'forever,' but that's what our commitment is. I hope Google has a long, healthy life, but not many companies last as long as a university does." '

Scirus toolbar update

Scirus has updated its toolbar. From yesterday's press release: 'Elsevier announced today that its free science-specific search engine, Scirus, has introduced a new version of its downloadable toolbar. The toolbar includes indispensable new functionalities for finding scientific information on the Web, and enables users to search directly on Scirus or through Scirus Web Sources and/or Journal Sources, from anywhere on the Internet. Scirus' new functionalities include: ...[4] Submit Web Site: Allows users to inform the Scirus Team if they have found interesting Web sites to add to the index. [5] Word Finder: Indicates the words searched on a page and makes it easier for the user to find the specific terms.' (PS: Scirus provides free full-text searching for much non-OA literature, such as the Elsevier corpus, but also for much OA literature, such as the content of Medline, BioMed Central, and arXiv.)

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

OA to GPS data

President Bush has signed a new Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) policy for the United States. Excerpt from the December 15 press release of the U.S. GPS Industry Council: 'The policy sets forth a forward- looking framework for the management of GPS and its augmentations. As the second Presidential statement in less than a decade, the PNT policy demonstrates U.S. foresight in shaping the global environment to meet the dynamic needs of GPS users worldwide. The new policy updates the foundation laid by the 1996 Presidential Decision Directive (PDD) on GPS. It maintains an unambiguous U.S. commitment to the essential principles of open access, free of direct user fees, for civilian users worldwide.' (PS: OA for GPS data for civilian uses, and interoperability with other countries' PNT services, are the good news. For a more critical review of the new policy, focusing on the failure to reform funding and management of the GPS system, see Dee Ann Divis, Little change in GPS on horizon, United Press International, December 20, 2004.)

Free online back issues for print subscribers

From a Steve Yelvington posting to PoynterOnline yesterday: 'Prediction: More publications, including newspapers, will offer print subscribers free access to archives as an inducement to reduce churn and losses in the circulation base. This is particularly attractive to local newspapers because they can continue to sell archival content through national search engines such as Lexis-Nexis and Newsbank. Local archival revenues are relatively small, and trading them for some degree of print stability makes sense.' (PS: Yelvington is talking about news media. But do his reasons carry over to scholarly journals?)

TA editorial on OA

Anthony N. DeMaria, Open access, open archives, and enhanced public access to National Institutes of Health Research, Journal of the American College of Cardiology, December 21, 2004. An editorial. Not even an abstract is free online.

New OA journal

In the first quarter of 2005, the Geological Society of America will launch Geosphere, a new peer-reviewed, open-access journal. From today's press release: '"The primary goal of GEOSPHERE is to meet growing needs for timely publication of scientific results and data in ways that cannot be addressed by traditional print formats," said G. Randy Keller, University of Texas at El Paso, science editor of GEOSPHERE. A member of GSA since 1972, Keller served as an associate editor of GSA Bulletin from 1983 to 1989 and helped edit several other journals and special volumes. Like other GSA publications, GEOSPHERE will publish high-quality papers from a broad spectrum of geoscience disciplines and locales, and the peer review process will be rigorous. What sets the journal apart is enormous flexibility with regard to color and the types of media used to communicate ideas. "Today's geoscientist has many options for illustrating research findings, their context, and significance," said Keller. "With an electronic format we can encourage extensive use of color, animations, and interactivity. We can also easily accommodate oversized figures such as maps, cross-sections, and seismic sections." Another major advantage of the electronic format is the ability to link to data archives. According to Keller, a secondary goal of GEOSPHERE is to build interfaces with other efforts that seek to preserve and improve access to published research data and resources such as GIS databases and modeling tools.' (PS: At the moment I post this note, the GSA links are not working. But I'm assuming the problem is temporary.)

More on Free Culture

Michael Gaworecki, From the Campus to the Commons, AlterNet, December 20, 2004. Excerpt: 'The national, student-based Free Culture movement is built around protecting the "digital commons," or the potentially vast world of art and culture that belongs to everyone and can be owned by no one. Never heard of it? That's exactly what they're trying to change....[Bryn Mawr student Rebekah Baglini] wrote by e-mail..."The free culture movement is about taking advantage of the unprecedented opportunities we have today to learn, create, share, communicate, and progress culturally and intellectually. Technology offers us these opportunities, but we're finding that the law limits technology, sometimes in very negative ways."...Thanks to their primarily Internet-based organizing, Free Culture boasts chapters on 14 campuses, including Yale, Columbia, NYU and the University of Michigan.' (PS: If there's a Free Culture chapter on your campus, make sure that open access to research literature has its place on the agenda along side open-source software, copyright reform, file-sharing, and other free culture issues.)

Google's library project and serious research

Michael Gorman, Google and God's Mind, Los Angeles Times, December 17, 2004 (free registration required). Excerpt: 'If you are taken in by all the fanfare and hoopla that have attended [the Google] project to digitize all the books in a number of major libraries (including the University of Michigan and New York Public), you would think they are well on their way to godliness. I do not share that opinion. The books in great libraries are much more than the sum of their parts....The nub of the matter lies in the distinction between information (data, facts, images, quotes and brief texts that can be used out of context) and recorded knowledge (the cumulative exposition found in scholarly and literary texts and in popular nonfiction). When it comes to information, a snippet from Page 142 might be useful. When it comes to recorded knowledge, a snippet from Page 142 must be understood in the light of pages 1 through 141 or the text was not worth writing and publishing in the first place. I am all in favor of digitizing books that concentrate on delivering information, such as dictionaries, encyclopedias and gazetteers, as opposed to knowledge. I also favor digitizing such library holdings as unique manuscript collections, or photographs, when seeing the object itself is the point....I believe, however, that massive databases of digitized whole books, especially scholarly books, are expensive exercises in futility based on the staggering notion that, for the first time in history, one form of communication (electronic) will supplant and obliterate all previous forms.' Gorman is dean of library services at Cal State Fresno and president-elect of the American Library Association.

Reply: Kevin Drum, Google and the Human Spirit, Washington Monthly, December 17, 2004. 'Gorman starts with a reasonable, if pedestrian, observation: information is not knowledge....Which is all fine. It's slightly nannyish advice, to be sure....Unfortunately, Gorman then proceeds to drive straight over a cliff and explode in a cataclysmic fireball of ignorance and contempt: "I am all in favor of digitizing books that concentrate on delivering information, such as dictionaries, encyclopedias and gazetteers, as opposed to knowledge....I believe, however, that massive databases of digitized whole books, especially scholarly books, are expensive exercises in futility based on the staggering notion that, for the first time in history, one form of communication (electronic) will supplant and obliterate all previous forms."...How can a scholar possibly have such a narrow mind --and a scholar of books, no less? Suggesting that Google should limit itself to reference books and leave everything else alone bespeaks a paucity of both spirit and vision that's staggering. I have no idea whether Google's initiative will eventually be successful. But I do know that digitizing and indexing vast stores of knowledge will be a boon to scholars on dozens of levels, as well as a source of knowledge and fascination to the rest of us. Will we all read entire books online? Or print them out? Probably not. But when I use a brick-and-mortar library I don't always do that either. I browse. I peek into books. I take notes from chapters here and there. A digitized library allows me to do the same thing, but with vastly greater scope and vastly greater focus. I wonder if there's still time for the ALA to un-elect Mr. Gorman as its upcoming president? He's an embarrassment to their profession.'

More on the Google library project

The Electronic Library, an unsigned editorial in the New York Times, December 21, 2004. Excerpt: 'The idea of making books available online is not new, but this plan represents an enormous shift in scale, so enormous that if it is carried out successfully, it may redefine the nature of the Internet and the university. The library is the heart of every university, and one of the basic tasks a university performs is to preserve books and control access to them. No matter how liberally a university chooses to define "access," its books are restricted by geography at the very least. Google wants to make the books it scans [PS: just the public-domain books] freely available in searchable, full-text forms to anyone, anywhere, with an Internet connection. It will also provide information for finding the nearest copy of the real physical book. The prospect is inherently enticing, especially to anyone who has ever worked in a major research library....A participating library will get a free digital copy of every book scanned in its collection. In other words, each library will essentially get a digital backup of a significant portion of its holdings, but it will be critical to remember that printed books are a stable medium, one that has persisted for hundreds of years. Digital technology is only a few years old, and even in that brief time, the digital world has produced dozens of incompatible, and often unreadable, media formats. The Google project will enhance the usefulness of the books it encompasses, but it in no way will render them obsolete.'

CC launches in Belgium

Creative Commons has launched a Belgian edition. That makes 11 countries with CC licenses based on national copyright laws.

The Internet Archive OA alternative to Google

Mark Chillingworth, Internet Archive to build alternative to Google, Information World Review, December 21, 2004. Excerpt: 'Ten major international libraries have agreed to combine their digitised book collections into a free text-based archive hosted online by the not-for-profit Internet Archive. All content digitised and held in the text archive will be freely available to online users. Two major US libraries have agreed to join the scheme: Carnegie Mellon University library and The Library of Congress have committed their Million Book Project and American Memory Projects, respectively, to the text archive. The projects both provide access to digitised collections. The Canadian universities of Toronto, Ottawa and McMaster have agreed to add their collections, as have China's Zhejiang University, the Indian Institute of Science, the European Archives and Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt. In a statement, the Internet Archive describes the Text Archive as an Open Access archive that will "ensure permanent and public access to our published heritage". Over a million books have been committed to the Text Archive by the member institutes, with 50,000 available in the first quarter of 2005....Announced 24 hours after Google's tie-up with the university libraries of Oxford, Stanford, Michigan and Harvard, and the New York Public Library, the Internet Archive project is likely to be seen as the first of many alternatives to the Google Print library. Internet Archive said: "Commercial companies are currently working with libraries to digitise materials as well. We are encouraging these efforts and hope most of these materials will also be available through Text Archives."'

Monday, December 20, 2004

More on the Google library project

Barbara Quint, Google and Research Libraries Launch Massive Digitization Project, Information Today, December 20, 2004. Excerpt: 'Although some library participants apparently were worried that publishers might object to the program on the grounds of copyright violation, Patricia Schroeder, executive director of the Association of American Publishers (AAP), assured me that they have no immediate plans to try to deter the program, such as through legal action....[Schroeder] admitted that publishers reissuing public domain works in print might take a hit, but she then pointed to the advantage to publishers, particularly small ones, of having their backlists digitized and promoted for free....Clicking in the Google Print box will retrieve the full-image of public domain works and up to three snippets of text and bibliographic citations for copyrighted material. In situations where Google Print has a working relationship directly with publishers, publishers will allow fuller descriptions and a full-text percentage available to users each month. Public domain works are not downloadable. Readers will have the option to browse and read the image texts online while connected to Google. When I asked Smith whether Google was prepared to have thousands of readers connected to its system reading full-length books, he replied, "Absolutely."...[B]oth Harvard and the University of Michigan used the term "revolutionary" in referring to the program’s possible impact. John Wilkin, associate director for digital library services at the University of Michigan, said: "This is the day the world changed. It will be disruptive because some people will worry that this is the beginning of the end of libraries. But this is something we have to do to revitalize the profession and make it more meaningful."...[Stanford's Michael Keller] assured the interviewer that the university would be happy to work with other leading search engines. However, due to the agreement with Google and the huge investment Google was making, the university could not take Google's product and give it away. On the other hand, the NYPL's press release announcing the program stated that it planned to make the electronic copies of public domain books supplied to it by Google available on its own Web site.'

OA pro and con on BBC Radio 4 tomorrow

Tomorrow BBC Radio 4 will broadcast Publish or Be Damned from 20:00 until 20:40. From the BBC web page: 'Scientific publishing is undergoing a revolution, with scientists and policy makers fed up that valuable research is being locked away in expensive subscription only journals. Now, writers of the material are launching their own competing journals and giving away the results for free. But not everyone is happy. In Publish or be Dammed, Richard Black examines each side of the debate and assesses the likely consequences for science.' If you miss it, you'll be able to hear a webcast later.

Update. The BBC now has a permanent page on the program, with a summary and a link to the audio.

ISI includes 34 OA journals from Bioline International

ISI Current Web Content has included all 34 open-access, peer-reviewed journals distributed by Bioline International. From today's Bioline announcement: 'This is a very encouraging development for the participating journals, all of which are generated in developing and emerging countries. It indicates the high standards of the content as applied by ISI to the authority, accuracy, currency, scope and navigational quality of the journals. Bioline International is a not-for profit service, currently providing a distribution mechanism for 34 peer-reviewed journals from Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Cuba, India, Kenya, Malaysia, Nigeria, South Africa, Turkey, Uganda, Venezuela and Zimbabwe. All material from these journals is available both through the main BI web site and also through the Bioline eprints archive....The latter development...ensures the research from these journals is globally accessible free of charge on the same open access basis as all other material archived in interoperable institutional archives. The publishing partners of the academic journals fully accept and understand the advantages of open access for strengthening their own research base and that of other developing countries.'

AIDS Research and Therapy -- new OA journal

AIDS Research and Therapy is the latest addition to the growing family of independent, Open Access journals hosted by BioMed Central. By my count, it is the 23rd independent, Open Access journal hosted by BioMed Central to debut in 2004 and the third such title in December. AIDS Research and Therapy - Fulltext v1+ (2004+); ISSN: 1742-6405.

University of Minho mandates OA archiving by its faculty

The University of Minho in Portugal has adopted a policy mandating that its faculty deposit their research (with a few exceptions), and that grad students deposit their theses and dissertations, in the university's open-access repository. The university has also decided to sign the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge. The new policy was adopted on December 6, 2004, and will take effect on January 1, 2005. For more details, see the university press release (in Portuguese or in English).

(PS: This is the first university policy I know of with an explicit mandate for OA archiving by its faculty. The Queensland University of Technology was the pioneer on this trail, and had a similar policy in place more than a year ago. But QUT stopped one hair short of a mandate, and merely announced the expectation that faculty scholarship "is to be" on deposit in the university repository. The new Minho policy says that faculty "must" archive their publications. Kudos to the Minho rector and administration for their forthright and beneficial policy. Moreover, they adodpted it for the right reason. Quoting Eloy Rodrigues' English translation of the press release: 'It's in the best interest of University of maximise the visibility, usage and impact of the scientific output of its schools/departments and teachers/researchers.')

Canadian digitization projects

Guy Dixon, The Race to Digitize the Print Universe, Globe and Mail, December 15, 2004. On some Canadian initiatives crowded out of the spotlight by the Google library project. Excerpt: 'Many major libraries and national archives are digitizing parts of their collections, not as a way of replacing physical libraries, but as an extension of their reach. Libraries at the University of Toronto, for example, already offer recent articles from numerous academic journals on-line to students and faculty. Library and Archives Canada, which combines the former National Library of Canada and National Archives of Canada, has been especially active, scanning millions of pages of documents a year. It has now put all of the publications, including pamphlets and books, printed in Canada in the 18th and 19th century on-line for the public to access, said Ian Wilson, librarian and archivist of Canada. We're building this systematically and we're looking right now at the feasibility of other print material for the 20th century," he said. But even if the archive digitizes several million pages a year over 10 years, it will still have only less than half of 1 per cent of the national archives on-line, Wilson added.' (Thanks to Science Library Pad.)

New issue of Open Access Now

The December 20 issue of Open Access Now is now online. This issue features an interview with John Wilbanks, the new director of Science Commons, a news story on the new Wellcome Trust OA policy, a news story on the NIH public-access policy, a news story on Google Scholar, a news story on the OA declarations from Messina and St. Petersburg, a profile of INASP, and a comment on impact factors for OA journals.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Eprints 2.3.7 released

Eprints, the open-source software for open-access, OAI-compliant archives, has released version 2.3.7. The new version makes better use of style sheets (see the demo) and adds an XSLT style sheet to make the OAI interface human-readable through a browser (see the example). More from today's announcement: 'This release adds the option to make required file formats depend on the type of eprint, rather than have one setting for the entire archive. This means that in one archive an eprint about a book may not require any formats at all, one about a presentation may require powerpoint, and a normal article require PDF. Version 2.3.0 to 2.3.6 of EPrints required the "libapreq" library, this library proved difficult for some users to install, so in response to our users comments, from 2.3.7 is no longer used.'