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The Medical Library Association has publicly released its February 11 letter to Elias Zerhouni on the NIH public-access policy. Excerpt: 'We were disappointed that the six-month release was not maintained and that submission of the author's version is not a requirement. While we understand your initial reasoning for both policies, we hope that you will re-evaluate this in the future and move to a required six-month release.' (Thanks to Leah Krevit.) (PS: This hits the nail on the head.)
There's a sponsored news item in BreastCancer.Net which announces that The Lancet Oncology has issued a call for papers. Beginning in May 2005, the journal will begin publishing original research in any areas of clinical or translational oncology that have the potential to substantially improve clinical practice. Articles judged eligible will be peer reviewed within 72 hours and, if accepted, published in 4-8 weeks. All accepted papers will be published online before appearing in the print journal. The Info for Authors includes, at the bottom of the page, a section on "Open access": "The Lancet Oncology is committed to support authors in making their research publicly and freely available. The editors encourage authors to post a Word-processed document of their peer-reviewed, accepted, and edited article on their personal or institutional websites anytime after publication in print or online. Your document should indicate the article's citation and a link to The Lancet Oncology's homepage. Posting a PDF copy of the published version of an article can only be done with prior written permission from Elsevier Ltd".
Andrew Jack, WHO members urged to sign Kyoto-style medical treaty, Financial Times, February 25, 2005. Excerpt: 'Countries around the world should sign up to a Kyoto-style treaty designed to boost medical innovation and affordable treatment, according to a petition submitted yesterday to the World Health Organisation by non-governmental organisations, academics and politicians. Member states should pledge to invest a percentage of their gross domestic product in medical innovation, and would be allowed to trade "credits" with others through a mechanism similar to that in the Kyoto protocol designed to reduce environmental emissions. They should also consider redirecting funding away from a traditional model based on intellectual property protection, and encourage the use of open sourcing to stimulate the sharing of information among medical researchers....The treaty is supported by organisations including the International Red Cross, Oxfam and Médecins sans Frontières, as well as leading medical researchers and intellectual property specialists....Jamie Love, head of the Consumer Project on Technology in Washington, DC, one of the originators of the idea, said the current emphasis placed on intellectual property protection of drug patents by the World Trade Organisation did little directly to find new cures. "The aim of this treaty is to refocus the debate away from drug prices and patents, and towards innovation and access," he said. "We want to shift more attention to the priority-setting process." '
Yesterday a group of public-interest organizations submitted a draft Medical Research and Development Treaty (MRDT) to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Excerpt from the letter to WHO accompanying the draft treaty: 'A trade framework that only relies upon high prices to bolster medical R&D investments anticipates and accepts the rationing of new medical innovations, does nothing to address the global need for public sector R&D investments, is ineffective at driving investments into important priority research projects, and when taken to extremes, is subject to a number of well-known anticompetitive practices and abuses. Policy makers need a new framework that has the flexibility to promote both innovation and access, and which is consistent with efforts to protect consumers and control costs. To this end, a number of experts and stakeholders have proposed a new global treaty to support medical R&D....The current draft R&D treaty seeks to stimulate discussion, noting of course that the development of a treaty is a democratic process involving negotiations between member states with input from civil society. The draft treaty text is a work in progress, representing a collaborative effort with contributions from many persons over the past two years....The draft treaty proposes adoption of a best practices model for the support of open access biomedical research, and obligations that research supported by public funds enter open access archives.'
Excerpt from the draft treaty:
(Disclosure: I participated in drafting the OA-related parts of the draft treaty and signed the letter to the WHO.) For more details, see the CPTech page on the treaty.
Many of the presentations from the symposium, Antitrust Issues in Scholarly and Legal Publishing (Washington, D.C., February 11, 2005), are now online.
James Boyle, Public information wants to be free, Financial Times, February 24, 2005. Excerpt: 'Take publicly generated data, the huge and hugely important flow of information produced by government-funded activities - from ordnance survey maps and weather data, to state-produced texts, traffic studies and scientific information. How is this flow of information distributed? The norm turns out to be very different in the US and in Europe. On one side of the Atlantic, state produced data flows are frequently viewed as potential revenue sources. They are copyrighted or protected by database rights. The departments which produce the data often attempt to make a profit from user-fees, or at least recover their entire operating costs. It is heresy to suggest that the taxpayer has already paid for the production of this data and should not have to do so again. The other side of the Atlantic practices a benign form of information socialism. By law, any text produced by the central government is free from copyright and passes immediately into the public domain. Unoriginal compilations of fact - public or private - may not be owned. As for government data, the basic norm is that it should be available at the cost of reproduction alone. It is easy to guess which is which. Surely, the United States is the profit and property-obsessed realm, Europe the place where the state takes pride in providing data as a public service? No, actually it is the other way around....The European attitude may be changing. Competition policy has already been a powerful force pushing countries to rethink their attitudes to government data. The European Directive on the re-use of public sector information takes strides in the right direction, as do several national initiatives. Unfortunately, though, most of these follow a disappointing pattern. An initially strong draft is watered down and the utterly crucial question of whether data must be provided at the marginal cost of reproduction is fudged or avoided.'
Update. See Richard Epstein's response to Boyle's article. Excerpt: 'James Boyle’s informative column on databases is right to point out the advantages of the free flow of basic information collected by government sources. But it is also critical to understand that the implicit trade-offs behind this calculation apply not only to data but to all forms of intellectual property, which can be either privately owned or placed in the public domain....It is, also, I think important to remember that a regime of public domain information is not a form of "socialism", benign or otherwise. Socialism champions the collective ownership of the means of production, which might describe the European control over its data. The public domain connotes no collective control over information or anything else. Each person can use what he or she will, no questions asked....[T]he case for putting information in the public domain seems a lot stronger [than the analogous case for patentable inventions]. Data is of great value is in the use of other commercial endeavours. Open access allows individual firms to collate the data in ways that might command a premium, while leaving others access to the raw materials. That's the approach taken with the human genome, and it seems to work here. It is nice to know that the United States has done something right. Let's hope that the European Union sees the light on this one.'
Today the President of India, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, will address the Indian Parliament. Here's an excerpt from his text: 'The Government has already announced its intent to set up a National Knowledge Commission to give India the knowledge edge in the 21st Century. This Knowledge Commission would have five prongs: increasing access to knowledge for public benefit, nurturing knowledge concepts in Universities, knowledge creation in S&T laboratories, promoting application of knowledge in our business and industry and using knowledge to improve service delivery in Government.'
Gerd Hansen, Archiviere dich selbst: Der Zugang zu Wissen muss kostenlos sein, sagt die Open Access Bewegung. Aber wie soll das gehen? Der Tagesspiegel, February 24, 2005. Summarizing some of the discussion at the Cologne Summit on Open Access Publishing (Cologne, December 7-8, 2004). Generally a good introduction to OA archiving and OA jounals --with the exception that it uncritically raises the old objection that OA journals might compromise on peer review and seems unaware that the objection has been answered. (Thanks to Klaus Graf.)
William New, Experts Debate Access to Knowledge, Intellectual Property Watch, February 15, 2005. Excerpt: 'Intellectual property experts from a wide range of backgrounds are finding common ground in informal proposals to ensure the right of individuals to access knowledge, including possibly through a negotiated treaty at the U.N. The issue has come of age in the digital era, as intellectual property owners have sought to protect their rights in an era when the Internet has opened new pathways to knowledge....The informal proposals were the subject of a Feb. 3-4 meeting in Geneva entitled, "The WIPO Development Agenda and a Treaty on Access to Knowledge." At the meeting, 60 academics, researchers, public interest groups and diplomats presented and discussed more than two dozen proposals on aspects of such a treaty, organizers said. The off-the-record meeting was organized by the Consumer Project on Technology (CPTech), the International Federation of Library Associations and the Third World Network....CP Tech director James Love said afterward that there appears to be non-governmental support for elements of an access to knowledge treaty. Support gelled around limitations and exceptions to patents, copyrights and other intellectual property laws; mechanisms to address abuses of rights, such as the control of anti-competitive practices; and opportunities to support new modes of production of knowledge goods, such as free and open source software, open access research archives, or public domain scientific databases, he said. "Some proposals were new, such as the patent and procurement mechanisms to protect open standards," Love said. "Others, like those concerning open access archives for publicly funded research, are already part of the policy landscape in some countries, including the US, but are not part of any multilateral instrument to promote access to knowledge." He added, "This was a very good start, but there is much work ahead." ' (PS: Here's my contribution to the drafting discussion.)
Blackwell Publishing has announced that it is adopting the author's choice model of open access (which I've often called the Walker-Prosser model) for many of its journals. From today's press release: 'Blackwell Publishing today announced the launch of a new service which will benefit the authors and readers of many of its journals. Online Open offers authors the opportunity to make their articles freely available to all users of the internet in perpetuity on payment of a publication fee....The new Online Open service will be on trial through to the end of 2006. During this period, authors of accepted articles will have the option to pay a fee of US$2500 or £1250 (plus VAT where applicable) which will ensure that their article is made freely accessible to all via our online journals platform Blackwell Synergy. Online Open articles will be published to exactly the same high standards as subscription-based articles, following the full peer-review process and benefiting from the same production procedures and online features. Online Open articles will also appear in the print edition of journals with an indicator pointing to the free access online....The subscription prices for journals participating in the Online Open trial will be adjusted according to the number of author-pays articles that each journal expects to publish in the following year....Blackwell Publishing is consulting with the societies for whom it publishes on whether they wish to be included in the trial of Online Open. The company will issue an initial list of those journals participating within the next two months and will add any other journals as societies choose to join. Blackwell expects that most of the initial journals in the trial will be in biology or medicine, subjects where there is likely to be funding for the author-pays model.' For more details, see Blackwell's Online Open site or its position on open access.
(PS: Congratulations to Blackwell for undertaking this helpful experiment. Springer deserves credit for being the first TA publisher to adopt this model across the board (July 2004). See Springer's Open Choice program. But Blackwell deserves credit for charging a lower processing fee and spreading the model to society journals.)
Yochai Benkler, Sharing Nicely: On Shareable Goods and the Emergence of Sharing as a Modality of Economic Production, Yale Law Journal, October 2004. Excerpt: 'The world's fastest supercomputer and the second-largest commuter transportation system in the United States function on a resource management model that is not well specified in contemporary economics. Both SETI@home, a distributed computing platform involving the computers of over four million volunteers, and carpooling, which accounts for roughly one-sixth of commuting trips in the United States, rely on social relations and an ethic of sharing, rather than on a price system, to mobilize and allocate resources. Yet they coexist with, and outperform, price-based and government-funded systems that offer substitutable functionality.' (PS: Benkler does not specifically discuss OA to literature or data, but produces a general theory that subsumes them. For summaries of Benkler's thesis, see David Bollier's posting to his On the Commons blog or the unsigned story the February 3 issue of The Economist.)
Herbert Van de Sompel and four co-authors, aDORe: a modular, standards-based Digital Object Repository, a preprint. Abstract: 'This paper describes the aDORe repository architecture, designed and implemented for ingesting, storing, and accessing a vast collection of Digital Objects at the Research Library of the Los Alamos National Laboratory. The aDORe architecture is highly modular and standards-based. In the architecture, the MPEG-21 Digital Item Declaration Language is used as the XML-based format to represent Digital Objects that can consist of multiple datastreams as Open Archival Information System Archival Information Packages (OAIS AIPs). Through an ingestion process, these OAIS AIPs are stored in a multitude of autonomous repositories. A Repository Index keeps track of the creation and location of all the autonomous repositories, whereas an Identifier Locator registers in which autonomous repository a given Digital Object or OAIS AIP resides. A front-end to the complete environment – the OAI-PMH Federator – is introduced for requesting OAIS Dissmination Information Packages (OAIS DIPs). These OAIS DIPs can be the stored OAIS AIPs themselves, or transformations thereof. This front-end allows OAI-PMH harvesters to recurrently and selectively collect batches of OAIS DIPs from aDORe, and hence to create multiple, parallel services using the collected objects. Another front-end – the OpenURL Resolver – is introduced for requesting OAIS Result Sets. An OAIS Result Set is a dissemination of an individual Digital Object or of its constituent datastreams. Both front-ends make use of an MPEG-21 Digital Item Processing Engine to apply services to OAIS AIPs, Digital Objects, or constituent datastreams that were specified in a dissemination request.'
The University of California has announced a new postprint archiving service for eScholarship Repository, the system-wide, open-access institutional repository. From yesterday's announcement: 'The University of California Office of Scholarly Communication today (Wednesday) announced the public launch of its new eScholarship postprints service. Scholars have been increasingly seeking new ways to distribute the results of their research, and postprints — peer-reviewed articles that have been previously published in academic journals — have recently been at the center of this movement to reshape scholarly publishing. The new eScholarship postprints service provides scholars with another option for regaining control of their scholarship and maximizing its availability and influence....Added to the existing array of eScholarship Repository publishing services, which include working paper series and online journals, the postprints feature allows UC faculty who have retained the appropriate copyrights or who obtain permission from their publishers to easily deposit previously published articles into a publicly accessible online repository. The postprints are fully searchable, available free of charge, and are persistently maintained in a centrally managed database....Increasingly, universities are establishing institutional repositories such as the eScholarship Repository to disseminate research results. In a parallel development, both public and private funders are requesting or requiring public access to the results of research that they fund. Congress has recognized the importance of open-access to taxpayer-funded published research by instructing the National Institutes of Health to encourage grant recipients to deposit published articles into another open-access database, PubMed Central. "The eScholarship postprint service gives UC faculty an important new opportunity to manage their peer-reviewed research publications so they can be accessed worldwide by anyone with an Internet connection," said George Blumenthal, chair of UC's Universitywide Academic Senate and a professor of astronomy and astrophysics. "This kind of broad access is vital to scholarly communication and to the formation and support of global research and learning communities." '
IFLA has released a statement, Promoting the global information commons (February 24), in preparation for the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society. Excerpt: 'IFLA advocates a global information commons through which all people will be enabled to seek and impart information. Its realisation requires, at a minimum, ubiquitous access to sufficient affordable bandwidth, up to date and affordable ICTs, unrestricted multilingual access to information and skills development programs to enable all to both access information and disseminate their own while respecting the fundamental right of human beings to both access and express information without restriction. This requires investment by governments, international agencies and business entities through the harnessing of all available infrastructure and resources in partnership with civil society.'
The March issue of Walt Crawford's Cites & Insights is now online. This issue features a long section on Library Access to Scholarship and other sections on RSS and ebooks. The Access section covers the NIH public-access policy and the public response as well as a few of my own writings. Walt is very good at skewering incoherent publisher objections. One quick example: Pat Schroeder and the AAP criticized Congress and the NIH for failing to conduct extensive hearings like the UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee. "To put it another way, using reality-based thinking: The findings of the committee that carried out the 'deliberate, participatory process' Schroeder calls for were summarily dismissed by the UK government."
I thank Walt for this endorsement of my newsletter, though with regret if it means that he'll be writing less about OA in the future: "I’m probably not the first to suggest that SOAN is effectively the medium of record for OA, but it's true --and in my experience, Peter Suber's clear advocacy does not cause him to cover OA-related issues in a prejudicial or biased manner. If you care about Open Access, you should be reading SOAN. If you’re reading SOAN, you don’t need a redundant summary from Cites & Insights."
Donat Agosti, Is Copyright Undermining Biodiversity Research and Conservation? A preprint from Biodiversite: Science et Gouvernance, L'Institut International du Développment Durable. Excerpt: 'Powerful PCs, the Internet, data exchange protocols, and more recently a cultural change among biodiversity scientists are rapidly developing into a huge international framework of biodiversity data. For example, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) is now providing access to well over 45 million specimen records based at over 100 institutions world wide....At the same time, an increasing number of scientific journals are being disseminated both in paper as well as in electronic form over the Internet. However, there is one serious problem: copyright....Information on ants might serve as a good example. They are one of still few groups of organisms for which a complete, continually updated list of all the currently known 11826 species exists, a fast increasing access to high resolution type and other specimen imagery (e.g. antweb.org), and for which almost all the non-copyrighted articles, including the descriptions of new species, are online accessible, linked to by either the citations in the database, or the entire publications....The problem of providing access though is not the cost, but the copyright, which is strictly enforced by modern publishers (Figure 1), notably the most important ones, such as Elsevier, Harvard University Press, Blackwell, Australia's CSIRO, some of the scientific associations, and luckily only few scientists themselves. Generally, all the copyright advocates are in the developed world. Loss of revenue is given as the main reason by the copyright advocates to enforce it. But how is it that others such as California University Press, Springer Publishers, or the American Entomological Society allow their ant-related publications to be freely available online?...If we are serious about halting species loss, we have to know, what's out there. We can do this only if we pool openly all our information over the Internet. We can’t let this effort be undermined by economic self- interests.'
From an EU press release (February 14): 'New rules giving the European public better access to environmental information become binding for all European Union Member States today. The new directive strengthens the existing EU rules in this area, aligning them with the environmental information requirements of the 1998 Aarhus Convention....The new directive on public access to environmental information (Directive 2003/4/EC) replaces an earlier directive dating from 1990 (Directive 90/313/EEC). It provides that every natural or legal person, regardless of citizenship, nationality or residence, has a right of access to environmental information held or produced by public authorities. Examples of such information are data on emissions into the environment, their impact on public health and the results of environmental impact assessments.' (Thanks to QuickLinks.)
"Archives ouvertes et publication scientifique: Comment mettre en place l'accès libre aux résultats de la recherche ?" is a recently published book in French (Éditions l'Harmattan) on open access and the renewal of scientific publishing models. The author is a professor of Computer Science at université de Franche-Comté. (via Michel Dumais)
JISC has announced a new funding program for Projects in Digital Repositories. Excerpt: 'The scope of the programme includes consideration of repositories being set up within institutions, and the interaction of repositories within the national and international context. The programme is concerned with the range of repository content that can support learning and research: ePrints of journal articles, learning objects, technical reports, multimedia, research datasets etc. The programme will also include an investigation of more informal repository issues such as personal repositories. Funding is available for projects of up to two years duration. A total of £3,500,000 - £4,000,000 is available over two years to support this programme. As a general guideline it is anticipated that most projects will be awarded funding of between £25,000 and £200,000. The deadline for receipt of proposals is 13:00 hours on Thursday 7th April 2005. Projects should commence in June 2005.'
The February issue of the European Journal of Higher Arts Education is devoted to Economies of Knowledge: Production and Distribution of Knowledge in the Network Society. From Joasia Krysa's editorial introducing the issue: 'The first section 'Economising Knowledge' provides critical responses to the process of the economisation of knowledge in relation to recent neo-liberal policies, often described in this context under the term 'cognitive capitalism'; it discusses the apparent 'dilemma of knowledge-based economy' - knowledge as common property versus copyrighting and monopolisation of knowledge (Marion von Osten); privatisation and standardisation of education (Nick Dyer-Witheford, William Bowles); and contests its corporatisation, the so-called enterprise agendas and third leg funding (Marion von Osten, Lucy Kimbell). Contributions to 'Information Commons' section discuss issues around the economisation and copyrighting of information and its resistance; the monopolisation and tightening of Intellectual Property copyrighting in relation to State and corporate control of access on the one hand (Alan Toner, Jamie King, WIPO, WSIS) and ideas around the Free Information Movement, Free Networks, Information as Common Property and democracy based on free exchange on the other hand (Armin Medosch, Brian Holmes, C.U.K.T). The third section 'Knowledge Transfer' considers mechanisms of knowledge transfer in cognitive capitalism and presents new models that resist economisation and monopolisation of knowledge and information in general. This is best exemplified by the recent appearance of self-instituted educational projects such as kuda.org or University of Openness; emergence of open source and free software based tools for knowledge gathering and dissemination (semantic web, wikipedia and distributed library project); and finally experimental ideas in teaching at mainstream educational institutions that incorporate the latest digital technologies (Mark Amerika, Julian Malins & Ian Pirie, Gianni Corino et al).' (Thanks to Zapopan Martin Muela-Meza.)
Macedonia is debating a National Strategy on Information Society. From the press release (February 22) put out by Foundation Metamorphosis, which has prepared a report on the national debate: 'Jovan Petrov, drafter of the e-Citizens pillar...stressed that [the] negative side of the ICT situation in Macedonia is lack of infrastructure for public keys, as well as disharmony of Macedonian legislation with EU legislation. Yet, there is something positive, such [as] the preparation of the Law on free access to information....'
Dan Hunter has launched a blog devoted to Open Access Law Reviews. Dan is a leader in the campaign for OA to legal scholarship. For example, see his forthcoming article, Walled Gardens, on the case for OA law reviews, and his successful past effort to persuade the California Law Review to stop asking its authors to remove their preprints from the open-access SSRN repository.
Michèle Battisti, À propos du libre accès aux publications scientifiques : une précision, Revue Documentaliste - Sciences de l'information, December 2004. Only this one-sentence summary is free online, at least so far: 'Une mise au point à propos de la politique d'Elsevier vis-à-vis de ses auteurs.'
The University of California's eScholarship Repository, the system-wide IR built by Bepress, has logged its millionth download. From the Bepress press release (February 14): 'The Berkeley Electronic Press today announced that the eScholarship Repository, a University of California's digital collection powered by Berkeley Electronic Press technology, has reached a major milestone. The Repository, which houses a variety of scholarly materials produced under the auspices of University of California research units, centers, and departments, has logged its 1,000,000th full-text download. It is believed to be the first institutional repository to have reached this threshold...."Reaching the one million full-text download mark is a remarkable achievement," states Greg Tananbaum, President of The Berkeley Electronic Press. "It demonstrates that institutional repositories are providing valuable and desirable information both to scholars within academia and to the public at large. The fact that 98% of readership comes from outside of the University of California clearly demonstrates how institutional repositories can connect scholarship with scholars in amazing ways." '
The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) has adopted a Resolution Opposing GPO's Plan To Eliminate Important Titles In Print Prior To Establishing A Reliable Electronic System (February 16).
Virginia A. Lingle, Judith C. Wilkerson, eJOURNALS FORUM: Oklahoma Libraries Promote Open Access as a Publishing Model for Authors at Health Science Centers with a Multi-Site Symposium, Journal of Electronic Resources in Medical Libraries, 2, 1 (2005). Only this abstract is free online, at least so far: 'In the spring of 2004, a videoconference was held at the University of Oklahoma to discuss various issues related to open-access publishing. Invited participants included librarians, researchers who have published in open-access journals, several open-access publishers, and the editor of an open-access journal. A summary of the discussions is presented that outlines some of the key issues related to open-access publishing from various viewpoints.'
Colleen Cuddy, High Wire Press and Its Journey to Become the World's Largest Full-Text STM Online Journal Collection, Journal of Electronic Resources in Medical Libraries, 2, 1 (2005). Only this abstract is free online, at least so far: 'It has been nearly ten years since Stanford University founded HighWire Press, a producer of online journals in science, technology, and medicine (STM). This article examines the phenomenon of HighWire Press and discusses its history and its future as a premier host of online scholarly journals in science and medicine. HighWire Press is examined from the publisher's, institutional subscriber's, and individual user's experience. Key initiatives in e-journal publishing that were developed at HighWire Press are reviewed. '
Michael Woods, Access to latest research opened to consumers, Toledo Blade, February 21, 2005. Excerpt: 'The time-honored system for spreading information about new ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases is undergoing a major change. Information is power, as the saying goes, and a new Federal Government policy on public access to research findings will give consumers more power to make decisions about their own health. The policy eliminates a barrier that hindered access to the latest medical research reports....Just get on the Internet and search PubMed (www.nih.gov), the treasure-trove of medical research reports at the National Library of Medicine (NLM). Keyboard a topic into the search page (weight-loss diets, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, arthritis, lung cancer, or any other medical term), and the system produces summaries of major research done on that topic. Click for the full report, however, and you usually get the web site of the journal publisher, which charges a fee to view the complete text. Consumers and medical people do have alternatives. They can go to a medical library, request the journal, and make a photocopy. They also can subscribe to the journal, for sticker shock fee that often is hundreds of dollars a year. The system wasn't fair. Consumers' Federal income taxes pay for the research. Why should they have to pay again to see the results? That's the rational[e] behind the new policy, announced in February....NIH should take a lesson from [PLoS], and ask scientists to include a nonprofessional's summary of the research findings. That would further increase access to research for which the public pays so dearly.'
David Worthington, Google Book Effort Draws French Ire, BetaNews, February 21, 2005. Excerpt: 'The National Library of France is not happy with Google's effort to scan and integrate millions of books into its Web search. Jean-Noel Jeanneney, President of the library, wrote in an editorial [French, English] that he is concerned Google's initiative to digitalize volumes at five leading libraries will reflect a unipolar worldview dominated by the English language and American culture. Jeanneney has designed a parallel program as a counterweight against the perceived political and cultural significance of Google's project. However his words may appear, Jeanneney insists that his remarks were not intended to be anti-American, and went out of his way to commend the short-term effects of Google's work as a "Messianic dream" that would "profit" under-privileged populations. In the long run, the librarian-in-chief cautioned against the domination of America for generations to come and its potential to skew thought without reflecting the diversity of civilizations....Google said it was surprised by Jeanneney's remarks. "For our perspective he (Jeanneney) had concern about Google Print because we partnered with Anglo Saxons. This is a first step for us; we can't do everything at once," a Google spokesperson told BetaNews. "It is our intention to be as inclusive as possible, respect the diversity of cultures and we will work with any library and are interested in talking to institutions with great works like BNF (Bibliotheque nationale de France)," the spokesperson added. "However, we cannot guarantee that it will spread to France." ' (PS: Also see the good discussion thread on the DigLib list about Jeanneney's editorial.)
Richard Stallman, Free Community Science and the Free Development of Science, PLoS Medicine, February 2005. A letter to the editor. Excerpt: 'In free community science, where large numbers of scientists participate as volunteers in a single project, the ideal of scientific cooperation finds a new expression. Free community science was inspired by the free software movement....The ideal of scientific cooperation goes beyond the conduct of individual projects. Scientific cooperation is also being reinvigorated today through the open-access movement, which promotes the public's freedom to redistribute scientific and scholarly articles. In the age of the computer networks, the best way to disseminate scientific writing is by making it freely accessible to all and letting everyone redistribute it. I give a vote of thanks to the Public Library of Science for leading the campaign that is now gaining momentum. When research funding agencies pressure journals to allow free redistribution of new articles they fund, they should apply this demand to the old articles "owned" by the same publishers --not just to papers published starting today....The free software movement, the free redistribution policy of this journal, and the practice of free community science for developing diagnostic disease classifications are all based on the same fundamental principle: knowledge contributes to society when it can be shared and developed by communities. All three face opposition from those who would like to privatize knowledge and charge tolls for its use. In the free software movement we have 20 years' experience in resisting this opposition, and we have built up considerable strength and momentum. We can give the other two movements a boost, so they can advance more quickly.'
Nicoletta Dentico and Nathan Ford, The Courage to Change the Rules: A Proposal for an Essential Health R&D Treaty, PLoS Medicine, February 2005. Excerpt: 'In recent years, some important steps have been taken to improve access to existing treatments in the developing world by increasing generic competition. Yet there continues to be a tension between promoting access to lifesaving medicines as a human right and maintaining a global trade regime that seeks to finance health R&D by allowing monopolies to charge high prices. There is a growing demand from many quarters for a new international policy framework. A new international treaty on essential health R&D could provide a binding framework to redirect today's knowledge and scientific expertise to priority health needs. The treaty could help to cement new political commitments and coordinate complementary partnerships aimed at generating and rewarding health innovation as a global public good....Key Concepts of an R&D Treaty:...Open access: governments should require access to the compounds and tools that result from public research in order to stimulate follow-on innovation elsewhere....The idea is to shift the discourse from trade to health. The treaty --focussed directly on R&D rather than patent rights or drug prices-- would address the global management of publicly funded health R&D.'
The Australian Research Information Infrastructure Committee (ARIIC) has issued an Open Access Statement (undated but apparently February 2005). Excerpt:
Bo-Christer Björk, Scientific communication life-cycle model, version 3.0, February 10, 2005. A preprint. Excerpt: 'The scope of the model is the whole communication value chain, from initial research to the assimilation of research results in every-day practice. The model treats both informal and formal communication, as well as the publishing of data, but the major focus is on modelling the publishing and indexing of traditional peer reviewed journal articles, as well as the activities of readers to find out about them and access them. The new business models and parallel functions enabled by the Internet, such as open access journals and e-print repositories, are also in focus. The model consists of 26 diagrams, with 80 different activities and over 200 different inputs, outputs, controls and mechanisms....It is hoped that the model could prove useful in providing a roadmap showing the place of a number of different initiatives for increasing access to scientific publications, within the overall system of scholarly communication.'
Valentina Comba, Italian Universities for Open Access: Towards Open Access for Scholarly Literature: Report of the Messina Workshop, Library Hi Tech News, 22, 1 (2005). Only the abstract is free online, at least so far: 'Purpose - To report on the Open Access workshop held in Messina, Italy, November 2004 [which resulted in the Messina Declaration]. Design/methodology/approach - A summary of the main points of the workshop. Findings - There is recognition of a growing awareness about e-publishing changes and the new economic models which may provide more impact for research papers, providing a viable (and less expensive) solution for the information provision to authors and readers. Originality/value - A useful summary of a workshop of interest to those concerned with information management.'
Kay Ann Cassell, Charleston Conference 2004, Library Hi Tech News, 22, 1 (2005). Only the abstract is free online, at least so far: 'Purpose - To provide a report of the Charleston Conference, held in November 2004. Design/methodology/approach - Gives a brief review of the main features of the conference. Findings - The conference highlighted themes and issues related to electronic publishing and access for different kinds of products, and how libraries are coping with the changes in product line to improve methods of access and develop new services. Originality/value - A useful summary for information management professionals.'
The January-February issue of Science Editor is now online. Here are the OA-related articles. Only the TOC is free to non-subscribers, at least so far.
Vaughn, How to open the brain to everyone, Mind Hacks blog, February 21, 2005. Excerpt: 'The following suggests some ways in which you can support open access journals to boost their value in the science community, prevent career dilemmas, and help open up scientific research for the benefit of all.... Cite open access papers where relevant. Individual papers are often rated on how many times they are cited by other papers, so by referencing a paper, you are increasing its visibility to other researchers.... If you are a qualified scientist or academic, think about volunteering for the board of editors of an open access or free online journal. Journals are often judged on the quality of their editorial board, so the better editorial board they have, the more respected the journal will be. This will also look great on your CV.... If you have to publish in closed access journals, put a pre-print version of the paper on the web. It doesn't have to be fancy (the word processor document would do), but it's often useful to include the full reference to the published version for those who do have access.' (PS: This is a good list. More on #7: Also deposit your postprint in an OA repository. About 80% of surveyed TA journals allow it, and many of the rest will allow it if asked. Also see my own list of OA advice for authors.)
Bill Thompson, The copyright 'copyfight' is on, BBC News, February 18, 2005. Excerpt: 'This week the Institute for Public Policy Research, the UK think tank, held a meeting on copyright as part of its digital manifesto project, and I went along to listen. It was a fascinating discussion, not so much for what was said but because it revealed the depth of misunderstanding and lack of common ground between the different groups. It also exposed a fundamental philosophical difference that I do not think can ever be resolved. In legal terms, the basic argument is between those who see creative works as just another type of property, with what are increasingly presented as inalienable property rights, and those who see copyright as a deal struck with creative people by the state, one which is intended to benefit both sides. Copyright history supports the second view, but since the mid-1970's there has been increasing legal support for the first. We saw this clearly when a lawyer in the audience expressed his concern about proposed changes to copyright law that would allow blind people to break copy protection and use screen readers on books. He called it "expropriation" - a term used to describe the process of taking people's stuff away from them - and demanded some compensation for rights holders if it were allowed.'
Charles W. Bailey Jr. has released version 57 of his monumental Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography. The new version cites over 2,300 print and online articles, books, and other sources on scholarly electronic publishing.
The British Library and CURL have announced a new project to create an OA repository of UK theses and dissertations. From the announcement in the February 17 issue of the BL Research and Innovation Newsletter: 'In partnership with CURL (Consortium of Research Libraries), we are pleased to have secured funding for an 18-month project to create the first stage of an online resource allowing full access to UK PhD theses. Our British Thesis Service currently gives access to more than 170,000 doctoral theses, but they are only collected 'on demand' and researchers have to know that the thesis actually exists before they can order it. Within this project, the British Library has responsibility to provide the technical infrastructure for the service, including a central electronic store and the means for students and researchers to search for and access full text of their selected thesis. Jan Wilkinson, Head of Higher Education, says "Doctoral degrees present the latest thinking supported by detailed data. It's hard though, for researchers to find exactly what they want from theses as there is no central source of information. This new service will give a much higher level of national and international visibility for UK post-graduate research and also ensure its long-term preservation." ' (Thanks to ResourceShelf.)
Sir Crispin Davis, Science books are vanishing from reach, Guardian, February 19, 2005. Excerpt: 'The last quarter century has seen exponential growth in academic productivity, especially in the sciences, and this has been accompanied by increases in the number and size of scientific, technical and medical journals, such as those published by Reed Elsevier. But with reduced funding for university libraries, their purchasing power has fallen in relative and absolute terms. Although university budgets have kept in step with inflation since the 1970s, and in many cases outpaced it, the proportion of the budgets allocated to libraries has fallen by about a quarter, from 4% to 3% of total spend....Access to scientific, technical and medical material has improved hugely with the advent of electronic publishing, distribution and archiving. At Elsevier, for instance, we have invested more than $400m (£212m) in our Science Direct subscription database, which holds some 6m articles and 80m abstracts from 1,800 journals, making them available to more than 17m researchers. Put another way, that is to more than 90% of all the world's scientific research community. The increasing volume and availability of peer-reviewed literature means that scientists are more widely read than ever....Furthermore, despite advances in the quantity, breadth and accessibility of scientific literature, university libraries increasingly struggle to cover their costs....It could be that the government needs to lay down guidelines on the proportion of university funds that should be set aside for the acquisition of books and journals, or even increase funding to ensure that universities can buy all the material they need. After all, books and journals are the lifeblood of academic research....But if the shortfall in funding is not addressed soon, access to the scientific literature is likely to begin rapidly to shrink.'
(PS: Some quick replies. (1) Where access to priced literature has increased, it is due to bundling, not to lowered prices. (2) The access crisis is due to high prices, not to inadequate library budgets. Even if library budgets kept pace with inflation, journal prices have risen four times faster than inflation for more than two decades. (3) OA is the only scalable way to increase access. As the volume of published knowledge continues its explosive growth, even low-priced journals would inevitably put the sum-total of knowledge beyond the reach of the wealthiest institutions. (4) Elsevier has lobbied fiercely against mandated OA to publicly-funded research, but it would like to see a government mandate on how much universities should spend on Elsevier's product. Which is the better role for government: to share publicly-funded knowledge with the public or to raise taxes and coerce universities to enrich companies that sell publicly-funded knowledge back to the public?)
M.L. Baker, Panel: Cultural Shift Needed to Make Health Data Valuable, eWeek, February 19, 2005. Excerpt: 'Health researchers are rewarded for hoarding data as opposed to sharing it, concluded experts on a panel on intellectual property and information access in the genetic age. The panel was part of the American Association for the Advancement of Science's larger conference, which explores how scientific issues impact society, here [Washington] this week. Alan Herbert, a geneticist at Boston University, said that the natural tendency of companies and universities is to lock up data contained in electronic medical records or banked tissue samples. The databases become a unique resource that can be curated to generate revenue, so there is a huge disincentive to release data, even though such access would improve the quality of everyone's research.'