Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, May 28, 2005

More on ACS v. PubChem

Bernadette Toner, Parties on Both Sides of CAS/PubChem Dispute Take to the Web --and the Hill, Bio1nf0rm, May 30, 2005. Not even an abstract is free online. Excerpt: 'The next chapter in the disagreement between the American Chemical Society and the National Institutes of Health regarding NCBI's PubChem small-molecule database may come via the US Federal Government's FY 2006 appropriations bill, which is currently in the hands of the House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies....Now, BioInform has learned, Ohio Congressman Ralph Regula, chairman of the House subcommittee, is considering adding language to the appropriations bill that would address ACS' concerns, although the specifics of what that language would be --and whether it would limit PubChem's scope or funding-- are still unclear. Craig Higgins, subcommittee clerk, confirmed that PubChem's funding is "an issue of discussion," but said that the outcome of that discussion would not be publicly available until June 9, when the subcommittee is scheduled for "markup," which is when the subcommittee proposes changes to the bill. A member of Regula's staff said that the congressman is currently in discussions with officials from ACS and NIH regarding the issue.' Toner also summarizes the ACS public statement and the SPARC-OAWG public response.

Hacking Google Print to read full-text books

Gary Price, Can Full Book Preview Prevention Be Hacked? SearchDay, May 27, 2005. Excerpt: 'Nathan at InsideGoogle shows how he was able to read the first 20 pages of a book by generating various queries. Combined with screenshots (you can make these of Google Print material), technically, you could print out a book. However, there's a chance that the book publisher in this case (O'Reilly, Amazon Hack is the book) may be allowing so many pages to be read. Typically, when you hit a book result, you are allowed to go a few pages before and after the page you read. But that doesn't mean that's all you can read from the book. Publishers can set a percentage of total pages they'll allow to be browsed. The real test is if someone can get to see all the page from a book that is known to have less than a 100 percent allowance. Nevertheless, showing the first 20 pages will no doubt be worrisome, and it will be interesting to see if Google Print will manage to escape full-blown hacks. Part of the prevention measure is forcing people to log-in to read some material, as the Google Print FAQ explains. That may be in response to a hack from earlier this year that looked to prevent cookies from working as a means to block full-book browsing. Amazon also requires users to log-in to use its Search Inside The Book feature. Postscript: After viewing about 50 pages from the book, "The Function of Newspapers in Society: A Global Perspective" this is what appeared on my screen: "You have reached your viewing limit for this book. You may continue browsing to view unrestricted or already viewed pages (view an unrestricted page), or visit the Table of Contents or About this Book pages."'

More on the AAUP complaint against Google Library

Susan Kuchinskas, Google Print Goes Live, InternetNews, May 27, 2005. Excerpt: 'Google opened the door to its online library late Thursday with the launch of a book-specific search page. Print.Google.Com makes official the search goliath's project to digitize the world's books. But the launch drew backlash from the Association of American University Presses, in the form of an open letter focusing on Google Library, a service that went live in has learned that it took two years for Google to come to agreement with these libraries, and the talks were kept secret even from the universities' publishing units....As previously reported, one of Google's many patent applications describes a protocol that would request authorization from a publisher before retrieving a digital version of a book, permitting "subscription-like access." AAUP spokeswoman Brenna McLaughlin said her organization had no response yet from the Googleplex. "The point of the letter is there are so many questions out there about what exactly this entails," she said. "The letter was intended to start a dialog and elicit some answers to those questions." Google executives weren't available for comment. But Philip Pachoda, director of the University of Minnesota Press, called the letter "singularly ill-advised." He said the AAUP didn't contact him or his counterpart at Stanford University Press before publishing the letter. "By the tone of the letter, and by releasing it to the press prior even to reception by Google had the effect -- and possibly even the intention -- of cutting off discussion with Google, rather than encouraging it," Pachoda said. "The AAUP is not wrong in taking this seriously and examining it closely for intellectual and even economic damage to the press, but I don't think the letter shows sufficient appreciation for the complexity of the issues. This issue of copyright and fair use is one on which reasonable people can disagree," Pachoda said. "Some very savvy lawyers both here at Michigan and at the other institutions have concluded that this falls on the appropriate side of copyright case law."'

More on CC licenses in Africa

Emrakeb Assefa, An African Guide to Creative Commons,, May 27, 2005. Excerpt: 'The "Digital Information Commons: An African Participant's Guide" was launched yesterday at LINKS Centre here in Johannesburg in a bid to popularise the Creative Common (cc) movement on the African continent....The final version is expected to be published at the end of June 2005. The Guide is a collaboratively-authored document developed to stimulate inputs and during and after the "Commons-sense: Towards and African Digital Information Commons" set up as a living document....The basic conditions for "Digital information commons" include: the notion that it should be 'free' in so far as you don't have to be rich to have access to it; it is built and maintained by the community acting for the benefit of all, i.e. not for the private interests'. Moreover, it needs to be of significant depth, breadth and variety if it is to have any value for the community as a whole; that it needs to be accessible - people need to know where to find it - in order for it to be constructive. It should also allow reuse and adaptation either commercially or non-commercially in order to advance the flow of knowledge and information.'

More on CC licenses in Africa

Wairagala Wakabi, e-Learning Initiatives Stand to Gain From CCs,, May 27, 2005. Excerpt: 'African educationists have showcased some of the leading e-learning and curriculum sharing initiatives on the continent - making a case for the adoption of cc licences to increase the range of resources at their disposal. Most of the initiatives already operate on an open content model that gives users a wide range of rights to use and adapt materials. "There is an interesting opportunity for collaboration across the continent," said Derek Keats of the University of the Western Cape, adding that African education institutions needed to use existing talent to grow more talent. Keats introduced delegates to the African Virtual Open Initiatives and Resources (AVOIR) project. The program involves the collaborative development of free software and other learning resources in African universities....Speaking on the same panel, Alan Amory of the Open Learning System of the University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN) said he regretted that the "neo-commodification" of research and learning materials threatened academic access to knowledge. Keats says information which was previously free has now been packaged in a restrictive way. The academic said they are looking to use cc licences to support tools that help cognitive and content development, as well as visualisation, research and publishing....Neil Butcher of the South African Education Portal (Thutong)...said: "cc gives us the power to protect the intellectual property of those taking part but also helps us to bring information out there into the public domain." '

Detailed analysis of OA to public-sector information

Yvette Pluijmers and Peter Weiss, Borders in Cyberspace: Conflicting Government Information Policies and their Economic Impacts, a "discussion draft", April 28, 2005. A detailed (81 pp.) analysis of OA to public-sector information, including publicly-funded scientific data, covering the benefits of OA, the arguments for cost-recovery, the (now hot) issue of government competition with the private sector, and case studies from the Netherlands, the UK, Germany, and Finland. Excerpt from the section on conclusions and recommendations: 'Open access policies are beneficial in the short term as well as in the longer term for the general public, the private sector and also for government entities....Government entities that have already separated their commercial activities into a private entity have realized that an open access policy is necessary in order to make privatisation of the commercial arm a success. In Europe, recognition is slowly emerging that open access to government information is critical to the information society, environmental protection, and economic growth....Restrictive data policies can have "ripple" effects on firms who could otherwise benefit from specialized services....Can weather sensitive firms (e.g. energy related firms as well as certain retailers and manufacturers) in the U.S. be at an advantage viz. similarly situated EU competitors due to the wide availability of weather risk management instruments in the U.S.?...We believe that open and unrestricted access to government information will lead to a net boost in jobs, and additional business formation leading to increased overall tax revenue....Governments should support full, open and unrestricted international access to scientific data for public interest purposes -- particularly statistical, scientific, geographical, environmental, and meteorological information of great public benefit. Such efforts to improve the exploitation of public sector information contribute significantly to maximizing its commercial, scientific, research and environmental value. Governments should let the private sector lead in using public sector information to meet the diverse needs of citizens and users for such products and services. Meeting these needs demands entrepreneurial and publishing skills that are most evident in the private sector. Market needs are best served by open and unrestricted access to public sector information.' (Thanks to Mapping Hacks.)

More on OA to geographic data

The presentations from the Forum on Open Geo-Data (London, April 14, 2005) are now online. (Thanks to Mapping Hacks.)

AAUP members should rethink their business models

John Blossom, Contradictory Noises on Google's Library Efforts, Commentary (the Shore Communications blog), May 27, 2005. Excerpt: 'It's awesome! It's dangerous! Sounds like this could be the lead-in for the next summer blockbuster film, but the rash of contradictory noises are all pointing towards Google's online efforts to integrate scholarly content into its search engines....What's clear is that AAUP members have not been moving aggressively to address the use of their presses' output in digital form on many fronts. For example, reference desks at some universities are fairly liberal in managing access to digital works. At the same time other efforts at popularizing digital access to scholarly content are working successfully with Google to promote its use in a structured manner. This week Project Muse, a subscription-based service providing access to scholarly materials, has announced that it will be allowing Google access to its content for indexing. The AAUP move may have some sound points to clarify, but much of it seems to be a holding action to delay confronting the larger issue of how university presses can provide a transition for their revenue models to a new era in which electronic access via channels most convenient for their readers is a given and a necessary standard. It's not a bad idea to have Google clarify what they're doing with their business model in this area, but it's perhaps more important for AAUP members to spend less time rattling sabers and more to consider what they need to do with their own business models, which have their own lethargy as the primary threat.'

More on the Santorum bill

Kimberly Hefling, Santorum's Weather-Related Bill Criticized, Associated Press, May 27, 2005. Excerpt: 'Two days before Sen. Rick Santorum introduced a bill that critics say would restrict the National Weather Service, his political action committee received a $2,000 donation from the chief executive of AccuWeather Inc., a leading provider of weather data. The disclosure has renewed criticism of the measure, which Santorum, R-Pa., maintains would allow the weather service to better focus on its core mission of getting threatening weather info out in a "timely and speedy basis." Opponents say the bill would endanger the public by preventing the dissemination of certain weather data, and force taxpayers to pay for the data twice. The bill would prevent the weather service from competing for certain services offered by the private sector...."I think the timing of it is what makes it so suspect," said Melanie Sloan, executive director of the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Government, a Democratic-leaning watchdog group. "It's like here's the money and you're going to do what I want."...Combined, Joel Myers and his brother, Barry Myers, AccuWeather's executive vice president, have donated more than $11,000 to Santorum and the Republican Party since 2003, according to FEC filings compiled by PoliticalMoneyLine, a campaign finance tracking group....Dan McLaughlin, press secretary for Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida, which is home to the weather service's National Hurricane Center, said the April 12 donation is suspect. Nelson has written to President Bush in opposition to the bill. "It certainly raises questions about motivation as to why someone would push a policy that is so obviously crummy," McLaughlin said....When four hurricanes struck Florida last year, the weather service Web site received 9 billion hits, Nelson said. He urged Bush to "publicly oppose this legislative attempt to push the weather service back to a pre-Internet era and restrict the public's right to access government information."'

Yahoo makes it easier to search for CC content

Since March, Yahoo has had a search engine specifically for Creative Commons content. Now Yahoo has taken the sensible step of enhancing its general search engine with an optional CC filter. The option is available from the Yahoo advanced search page.

(PS: I repeat my comment from March: 'All search engines can offer this service and undoubtedly more and more of them will. As copyright locks down more content more tightly, searchers will want reuse rights almost as much as relevance. Search engines that find both will have an advantage. Conversely, authors and publishers who consent to grant more reuse rights than fair-use alone already provides should make their consent machine-readable for the next generation of search engines.')

FAQ on OA from four major UK organizations

Four important UK research organizations have produced a succinct FAQ on open access, Questions and answers about opening up access to research results. The four organizations are Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), Research Councils UK (RCUK), Council for the Central Laboratory for the Research Councils (CLRC), and the Research Libraries Network (RLN). Currently, 10 of the 12 questions are about OA archiving and two about OA journals. From the introduction: 'Our four organisations believe that, as a matter of principle, the outputs of publicly funded research should be made available as widely and rapidly as possible. Hence we are taking steps to encourage free on-line access to research results. This document briefly describes what is meant by Open Access and repositories and attempts to answer some common questions that researchers pose....The day is approaching when anybody, anywhere with a computer and internet connection will be able to access research data or scholarly journal articles, free of charge, as soon as they are placed on-line. In future, researchers whose institutions cannot afford journal subscriptions will nonetheless be able to access articles describing the results of publicly funded research....To stimulate these changes, we are encouraging researchers to place their papers in digital repositories. We are backing up our action with our own research and development programmes to address the key issues as they arise.'

(PS: This is a useful document --as important for its clear answers as for its institutional backers. It also gives an encouraging glimpse of the still-forthcoming RCUK policy on OA.)

More on the AAUP complaint against Google Library

University Publishers Question Google Print Library Project, an unsigned news brief from the ALA, May 27, 2005. Excerpt: 'Tom Turvey, Google strategic partner development manager, said in the May 24 industry e-mail newsletter Publishers Lunch that the company asserts no "tacit copyright ownership of books scanned at libraries or the files from those books." Business Week reported May 23 that in recent months publishers John Wiley and Sons and Random House have also sent letters to Google voicing a similar concern. Wiley released a statement that it is "exploring issues and opportunities with Google, including the potential impact of this program on our authors, our customers, and our business." Harvard Law Professor Jonathan Zittrain told Business Week that the problem lay in the ambiguity of the fair-use provision, but "Google's plan doesn't disrupt the market for purchasing the book, and in that sense it should heavily favor them."'

Friday, May 27, 2005

NISO initiative on digital rights expression

The presentations from the NISO Pre-Standards Workshop on Digital Rights Expression (Denver, May 18-19, 2005) are now online. Also see the Workshop background paper and the page on the NISO Initiative on Digital Rights Expression. (Thanks to Gary Price.)

OA architecture for biodiversity content

C.S. Parr and four co-authors, Building a biodiversity content management system for science, education, and outreach, Data Science Journal, April 28, 2005. Abstract: 'We describe the system architecture and data template design for the [open-access] Animal Diversity Web, an online natural history resource serving three audiences: 1) the scientific community, 2) educators and learners, and 3) the general public. Our architecture supports highly scalable, flexible resource building by combining relational and object-oriented databases. Content resources are managed separately from identifiers that relate and display them. Websites targeting different audiences from the same database handle large volumes of traffic. Content contribution and legacy data are robust to changes in data models. XML and OWL versions of our data template set the stage for making ADW data accessible to other systems.'

DOIs for data

N. Paskin, Digital Object Identifiers for scientific data, Data Science Journal, April 28, 2005. Abstract: 'The Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is a system for identifying content objects in the digital environment. DOIs are names assigned to any entity for use on Internet digital networks. Scientific data sets may be identified by DOIs, and several efforts are now underway in this area. This paper outlines the underlying architecture of the DOI system, and two such efforts which are applying DOIs to content objects of scientific data.'

DLF Aquifer business plan approved

The Digital Library Federation (DLF) board approved the DLF Aquifer Business Plan on May 20. For background, see Katherine Kott's profile of DLF Aquifer in the May/June CLIR Issues. Excerpt from Kott: 'The idea of a distributed, open digital library reemerged at the DLF Fall Forum in 2003. By the time that the 2004 DLF Spring Forum was convened, the temporary acronym DODL had been replaced by the new name, "Aquifer."...DLF Aquifer will enable a variety of digital library components to interoperate smoothly by [1] providing access, in context, to objects in repositories that preserve; [2] knowing about the data in a variety of content-management and e-learning systems; [3] interacting with repositories and personal content-management systems that store modified digital objects; and [4] making sense of the output from mass-digitization projects such as Google’s recently announced partnership with libraries.' Also see the DLF Aquifer chronology and background.

More on DL-Harvest

Charles W. Bailey, Jr., Will You Only Harvest Some? DigitalKoans, May 26, 2005. Excerpt: 'The Digital Library for Information Science and Technology [DLIST] has announced DL-Harvest, an OAI-PMH service provider that harvests and makes searchable metadata about information science materials from [11] archives and repositories....DL-Harvest is a much needed, innovative discipline-based search service. Big kudos to all involved....Discipline-focused metadata can be relatively easily harvested from OAI-PHM-compliant systems that are organized along disciplinary lines (e.g., the entire archive/repository is discipline-based or an organized subset is discipline-based)....[B]ut how about the smaller veins and nuggets that are hard to identify and harvest because they are in systems or subsets that focus on another discipline? Here's an example....'

More on OA to books

Eve Gray gave a presentation on OA to books at the recent conference, Commons Sense (Johannesburg, May 25-27, 2005) --the conference at which Creative Commons South Africa was launched. Gray was a consultant for South Africa's Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and persuaded it to offer OA editions alongside the priced, printed editions of its research monographs. Her presentation is not online, but see this blog summary, a previous presentation on the same subject, or the HSRC press release on its OA publishing program. (Thanks to Matthias Spielkamp via Stevan Harnad.)

Excerpt from the press release: 'Most importantly, because the Press is partially funded by a Parliamentary grant, it seeks to establish itself as a resource for the public benefit. In practical terms, this means making HSRC publications as broadly accessible as possible within the public domain. In terms of the HSRC Press dual publishing philosophy, valuable academic research material can be accessed both in print and online. Printed copies of HSRC publications are available in bookstores, libraries and via online bookshops, while online versions can be downloaded (either as specific chapters or as entire publications) at no cost via the HSRC Press website. is the first fully-functional Open Access publishing website in southern Africa. "Printed journals and books have long been the traditional means of disseminating material. But modern technology offers even more in terms of distribution of knowledge," says Garry Rosenberg, Publishing Director for the HSRC Press. "Electronic publishing establishes the possibility of sharing information faster, and even for free. At a time when the privatisation of academic publishing is growing on the one hand, and economics are limiting independent publication on the other, it is important to create something that is owned and held collectively with no restriction on access."'

Also see this posting from Lawrence Lessig's blog this morning: 'One of the most interesting presentations at this fantastic conference was given by Eve Gray, of Eve Gray & Associates. Gray was asked to study the publishing strategy of the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) in South Africa. This research institution had a traditional strategy of publishing lots of research books, and selling them. Gray convinced them to change their strategy -- to give away all their research books for free online, and offer a high quality print-on-demand service for anyone who wants the paper version. The result: "the sales turnover of the publishing department has risen by 300%." As she concluded her presentation, "giving away books and lead to an increase in our book sales."'

Thursday, May 26, 2005

IR presentations

Janice Schuster has written summaries of the four presentations at the symposium, Institutional Repositories: Capturing and Preserving Digital Collections (University of Massachusetts, February 4, 2005).

If Google Library infringes, so do search engines

Danny Sullivan, Forget Google Print Copyright Infringement; Search Engines Already Infringe, SearchEngineWatch, May 25, 2005. If the AAUP complaint against the Google book digitization project is upheld in court, then search engines are in trouble. Excerpt: 'Let me zero in on a key part of the complaint: "Google's claim that it is fair use to make copies of every copyrighted work in even one major library, let alone three of them, is completely unprecedented in scale; it is tantamount to saying that Google can make copies of every copyrighted work ever published, period." It is not unprecedented at all. It is exactly what search engines have been doing over the past ten years, since they started crawling the web. They are making copies of copyrighted works all the time, billions and billions of them....When search engines index content, they do not formally request permission to do such copying. They just do it. Don't want to be copied? Then you have to stick up a robots.txt file or use the meta robots tag to opt-out. If you don't opt-out, is that tantamount to granting permission? We don't know. The Bidder's Edge case didn't really answer it. Rather than copyright being the issue, it was found to be one of trespass.'

Search engine for full-text German books

Craig Morris, German book industry plans its own full-text search online for books in German, Heise Online, May 26, 2005. Excerpt: 'The Börsenverein of the German book industry, representing some 6,500 publishers, bookstores, second-hand book sellers, wholesalers, and publishing agents, is getting ready to set up its own platform for a full-text search in the Internet. As a reaction to such current offers as Google Print, Amazon's "Look Inside the Book", and the digitalization and networking efforts of European libraries, the new industry platform called "Volltextsuche online" is to provide central access to digital files containing the complete text of books in German.'

OA to geographic data

The GeoServer Project calls itself "the open Internet gateway for geographic data". It also calls itself "a full transactional Java (J2EE) implementation of the OpenGIS Consortium's Web Feature Server specification, with an integrated WMS. It is free software, available under the GPL 2.0 license." Here's more detail from the FAQ:
High quality information about public spaces is just as much a public good as the public spaces themselves. Quality of life in public places - both built and natural - is largely determined by how well we, as a society, process and interpret the signals that this information sends us. By definition, data about human interaction with the environment has a geographic component; for this reason, at the GeoServer project, we are particularly interested in effectively sharing geographic data. In general, this public geographic data is now stored and maintained in such a way that it is available to the public only at a relatively high cost of acquisition and integration. Perhaps even worse, this is also true for inter- and intra-agency data sharing. Anyone who has ever had the need to use public geographic data is well aware that this is a non-trivial process. Furthermore, the public sector has yet to embrace a concept of a distributed and consistent stewardship of public geographic data....Here at the GeoServer project, we don't believe in simply harassing the public sector to provide more open and seamless access to public information; overworked public servants get griped at enough from the public as it is. Instead, we offer the GeoServer project as a solution to them and others who would like to open access to geographic data resources of all kinds. It is our hope that this free, standards compliant server will allow for a better flow of geographic information by lowering the barriers to data providers who might not otherwise be inclined to serve their data.
(Thanks to Context Weblog.)

More on the AAUP complaint against Google Library

Google and Libraries: The Passive-Aggressive Approach to Copyright? Outsell Now, May 25, 2005. A blog posting. Excerpt: 'We see a bit of gamesmanship here, and we think it's important to consider who the players are. To get this project underway, Google had to sign agreements with all of the major libraries involved – Harvard, Stanford, Michigan, Oxford, and the New York Public Library. The leaders of those organizations are hardly what you’d call copyright-naive. They went into the deal with eyes wide open and likely had no illusions about the concern the project would cause publishers. It is doubtful that they did not think through the copyright issues before partnering with Google. From the folks at Google, the response to publishers' concerns is a gentle "trust us." They reassure publishers that they have an open dialogue with everyone involved, that they are working to resolve the dispute to everyone's satisfaction, that ultimately the project will be a huge benefit to everyone, etc., etc. They do everything except respond publicly to the specific copyright issues raised. Google and the libraries involved in the project are all but saying "so sue us." Both Google and the libraries have at their core a mission and philosophy of open access to information, even if their economic and organizational missions are very different. This conflict can be seen as a conscious attempt to push the boundaries of copyright law outward, by organizations that are well-informed about the legal issues but determined to build a more open information model. In other parts of the information industry, everyday practice is stretching the law, not the other way around. Look at the music industry, where legitimate business models are rushing in to fill the space created by millions of music users stretching and breaking through copyright barriers with their daily practices. In Outsell's opinion, Google and the libraries are betting that the vision of the future lies more in everyday practices than in the publishers' current interpretations of copyright law, however correct that interpretation may be as a matter of law.'

More on the AAUP complaint against Google Library

The AAUP letter to Google about copyright infringement has triggered a Slashdot discussion.

Copyright reform and OA in Indonesia

Mohamad Mova Al 'Afghani, Indonesian copyright law not copyleft-friendly, The Jakarta Post, May 26, 2005. Excerpt: 'Because of the Internet, exchange of information and ideas has occurred at the speed of light, irrespective of location. Unfortunately, the law does not stand behind this information revolution. Instead of supporting the transfer and creation of knowledge for the benefit of mankind, the existing laws on intellectual property purports to hamper and limit creativity by restricting the movement of ideas....There are also people who are afraid to publish their articles online for free and just decide to keep their ideas offline. Nevertheless, a research project by Steve Lawrence, which appeared in Nature, Volume 411, 2001 indicated that articles available online, for free, are more highly cited. Between the years 1990 and 2000, his research found that online articles were cited 4.5 times more often than offline articles. I am convinced that this year, the number could be tripled....The modern technology for scientific publishing is the World Wide Web. The rule that is best to ensure the maximum dissemination of scientific articles, and knowledge, on the web is a free distribution of articles in non-proprietary formats, with open access for all.'

Goettingen presentations

Many of the presentations from the DINI-SPARC conference, Wissenschaftliches Publizieren der Zukunft - Open Access (Göttingen, May 23-24, 2005), are now online. (PS: Many are not, but I assume that they are being put up as they arrive. Check the site periodically for more.)

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Defending the public domain in Canada

Michael Geist, The Upcoming Copyright Clash, Literary Review of Canada, June 2005. An excellent overview of copyright reform in Canada. Excerpt: 'Canada is reportedly considering launching a consultation on whether to extend copyright term from the current international standard of the author's life plus 50 years to the author's life plus 70 years. This is despite the fact that there is no evidence the change would generate any further cultural products; instead, it would limit access to Canadian works and cut off the lifeblood of many creators. Some of Canada's best-known writers have stressed the importance of the public domain and the ability to build upon prior work....A robust public domain does more than just provide creators with source material for future work --it also has the potential to support Canada's commercial publishing interests....The public domain also plays a crucial role in historical research....Although the U.S. and European Union have extended their copyright terms by an additional 20 years, the vast majority of the world's population lives in countries that have not. They have all recognized that an extension is unsupportable from a policy perspective. It will not foster further creative activity, it is not required under international intellectual property law, and it effectively constitutes a massive transfer of wealth from the public to a select group of copyright holders such as Disney, which actively lobbied for the U.S. term extension to keep Mickey Mouse out of the public domain. Given the economic and cultural dangers of copyright term extension, even moving forward with a consultation constitutes an embarrassing case of putting the interests of a select few ahead of the public's.'

PMC pumps out 3 more backfiles

PubMed Central's ongoing backfile digitization program continues to pay dividends for libraries and researchers. Completed backfiles have been released for three more journals. Journal of Clinical Investigation and Medical History are both Open Access titles. Plant Physiology imposes a one year embargo on the fulltext availability.

Journal of Clinical Investigation - Fulltext v1+ (1924+); ISSN: 0021-9738.

Medical History - Fulltext v1+ (1957+); ISSN: 0025-7273.

Plant Physiology - Fulltext v1+ (1926+) 1 year moving wall; Print ISSN: 0032-0889 | Online ISSN: 1532-2548.

[Thanks to Carol Myers, PMC News.]

More on publishers v. Google Library

Stefanie Olsen, Publishers lay into Google Print, ZDNet, May 25, 2005. Excerpt: 'Despite initial awe for Google's project to digitise and make library books searchable online, some publishers are now criticizing the plan, calling it a "broad-sweeping violation of the [American] Copyright Act." The Association of American University Presses, a 125-member non-profit organisation consisting of academic publishers, made public this week a six-page letter sent to Google...."The fact is Google Print for Libraries appears to be built on a gigantic fair use claim, which we think is questionable at best," said Peter Givler, executive director of the Association of American University Presses. "If the fair use is not valid, it could be a gigantic copyright violation. There are fundamental questions about copyright that need to be answered." Google representative Eileen Rodriguez said Tuesday that the company respects the rights of copyright holders and that Google Print "incorporates several ways to view books to protect copyright"...."Although we believe there are many business advantages for publishers to participate in Google Print, they may opt out, and their books scanned in libraries will not be displayed to Google users," she said.'

More on publishers v. Google Library

John Oates, Google Books under fire, The Register, May 25, 2005. Excerpt: 'Google’s plan to digitise thousands of out-of-copywright text books came under fire yesterday from a group of leading US publishers. The Association of American University Presses wrote to the search behemoth on Friday outlining its concerns. The letter, signed by Peter Givler, executive director of AAUP, asks Google a series of questions regarding its claim to "fair use" in making library books available online. Givler wants more information on Google's claim that once digitised then the copyright of the work rests with Google. He also wants to know how long a "snippet" is and how Google intends to protect copies against misuse.'

More on electronic reserves

Raizel Liebler, End of Fair Use E-reserves? Library Law Blog, May 24, 2005. A good summay of the case for e-reserves and the recent threats to them. Excerpt: 'It would be a shame if using this technological option would preclude applying fair use analysis to e-reserves in the future. For many on-campus students, using e-reserves is a convenience -- but for online students, such as the LEEP library school program at the University of Illinois, they are often a necessity to receive required reading materials. As professors and librarians have worked together to make e-reserves available to students, hopefully these two powerful groups can continue to ensure students are able to use e-reserves. Strong educational fair use arguments can be made, particularly when e-reserves are used by professors to offer spontaneous, current reading and when the copies are behind firewalls with password-only use.'

More on electronic reserves

Anick Jesdanun, A different sort of campus copyright fight, MSNBC, May 21, 2005. Excerpt: 'There's been a change in Ellen Lichtenstein's study patterns. For half her classes this past year, she no longer had to visit a library to get the reading materials professors had placed on reserve. Instead, she only needed Internet access and a password. "It's as simple as logging into my e-mail account, clicking on a few links and printing it," said Lichtenstein, 21, a New York University communications senior from Birmingham, Ala. "There's no going to the library, waiting on line, waiting to Xerox it, there's none of that." And publishing companies are worried precisely because of that ease and convenience _ it's another way for publishers to lose sales. The Association of American Publishers already has contacted one school, the University of California, San Diego, claiming "blatantly infringing use is being made of numerous books, journals and other copyrighted works."...U.S. copyright law offers greater leeway for noncommercial uses like education, but such "fair use" exemptions are not automatic. Rather, courts ultimately must apply a four-part test that balances, among other things, the amount copied and its effect on potential sales. A password can help but does not guarantee an exemption....Many librarians and professors see electronic postings as akin to library reserves, but publishers see them more as course packs subject to permission and royalty....For a summer class on copyright, New York University professor Siva Vaidhyanathan plans to post all of his law review assignments online, figuring that it's legal as long as it's limited to enrolled students. "We feel pretty confident what we are doing is OK, although I know enough about the unpredictability of fair use to know a case might not go our way," said Vaidhyanathan, who has written books critical of modern copyright laws. "I could get sued this summer for doing this."'

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

RAE survey on OA

In preparation for next year's Research Assessment Exercise, UK researchers were asked to take a survey on open access. (Thanks to Jonathan Cave.)

Open Access Working Group supports PubChem against ACS

The Open Access Working Group (OAWG) has publicly released its letter to Rep. Ralph Regula (R-OH) in defense of PubChem. Excerpt: 'It is our understanding from press reports that the American Chemical Society (ACS) has called for NIH to unreasonably restrict PubChem, claiming it threatens the financial viability of ACS's Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS). We believe that their concern is unfounded and that the American public is well served by continued development and maintenance of PubChem. Moreover, we feel it is not right for ACS/CAS --a tax-exempt organization that received funding from the National Science Foundation to create their chemical registry system-- to now be lobbying against taxpayers' interests in this matter....We reject the ACS contention that PubChem will compete with the giant CAS. Not only is it implausible that NIH's modestly funded program would be a substitute for the wide range of resources integrated by CAS, but there appears to be remarkably little overlap in either content or likely users of PubChem and CAS. The taxpayer benefits of PubChem far outweigh any advantage in acceding to the ACS call to be protected. The prohibitively high price of CAS services limits their availability. For example, only about 1,000 universities have access to the CAS SciFinder Scholar service. That is a fraction of the thousands of institutions worldwide that support users who would benefit from access to PubChem.'

More on the Goettingen meeting

Matthias Spielkamp has blogged summaries of the presentations at the DINI-SPARC meeting, Wissenschaftliches Publizieren der Zukunft - Open Access (Göttingen, May 23-24, 2005). See Spielkamp's German or Google's English. (Thanks to Klaus Graf.)

Access barriers in anthropology

Christopher Kelty, Recursive Public Irony, Savage Minds, May 24, 2005. On the obstacles to accessing one of his articles published in Cultural Anthropology and available through AnthroSource. Excerpt: 'Unfortunately, without a membership in the American Anthropological Association, the article costs $12. Not a bad price really, except that the research was funded in part by the National Science Foundation, and any self-respecting American Taxpayer should balk at paying a second time for research they have already funded....This semester I have affiliations at three separate universities --Rice University, MIT, and Harvard. It turns out all of these institutions have subscriptions to JSTOR --which contains copies of the journal up to 1997 --but none of them have subscriptions to AnthroSource, which contains the last six years of the journal --so even having standing at three very rich institutions does not guarantee access. Fine --I'm a member of the AAA in good standing, I think, I'll just access AnthroSource and download a copy of my own article. No go. The system doesn't recognize any permutation of any of my email addresses from any of the 8 years of meetings I have been to....Rub 1: I can’t even get a copy of my own article....[His request to use a Creative Commons license was turned down.] [The AAA] seemed to misunderstand the fact that what I wanted to encourage was for people to read my article, not the destruction of the AAA....[T]he goal of the society should be to promote and distribute our research, not restrict it....The cry always comes up: "but the AAA depends on subscription revenue, without it we will go bankrupt!" To this there are two answers: 1) if the only solution to this problem of revenue means sacrificing the goal of distributing our research or making it publicly available, then fine, adieu! But, more charitably 2) there should in fact be much more discussion about how to increase the revenue for the AAA --through means other than the restriction of research --especially publicly funded research. There are ways to do this and a very lively ongoing discussion in "Open Access" such as the work Peter Suber and Public Knowledge have done --why not engage it more?'

BMC response to Wellcome Trust OA policy

BioMed Central has issued a press release on the new Wellcome Trust policy to mandate OA to Wellcome-funded research. Excerpt: 'Publisher BioMed Central today congratulated the Wellcome Trust on its move to require researchers receiving Wellcome funding to deposit copies of resulting research articles in an Open Access archive...."For too long, funders have stood by as the results of scientific and medical research have been handed over to traditional publishers, who have then put those research articles behind subscription barriers," said Matthew Cockerill, Director of Operations at BioMed Central. "Subscription-only access to research does not meet the needs of researchers, funders, or the general public, all of whom benefit from the widest possible access to research findings, which is what Open Access delivers. Following on from the National Institutes of Health's similar initiative in the USA, Wellcome's move shows that the funders who spend hundreds of millions of pounds to carry out the research in the first place are no longer prepared to see their research results remain inaccessible."...Wellcome's policy specifies that articles must be made freely available within, at most, six months of initial publication, but BioMed Central called on researchers to go further and to make their research accessible immediately on publication, by choosing an Open Access journal. "Six months is a long time in science ­ with the rapid pace of research, quick access to the latest results is vital. So, the best way for researchers to meet the spirit of the Wellcome policy is to publish in fully Open Access journals, such as those published by BioMed Central."'

New issue of JAL

The May issue of The Journal of Academic Librarianship. Here are the two OA-related articles. Only the TOC and some abstracts are free online, at least so far.
  • David Nicholas and Ian Rowlands, Open Access Publishing: The Evidence from the Authors. No abstract. Here's an excerpt from the conclusion (thanks to Charles Bailey): 'Perhaps the biggest finding to emerge from the study is the general ignorance of open access publishing on the part of relatively senior scholarly authors, those appearing as leading author in an article published in ISI ranked journal. Currently it would not appear that authors are in a position to influence a debate at which they are at the heart of. We shall be watching to see with interest whether our new survey --due to be reported on in April 2005, will show whether things have changed over the past year. The second most interesting finding was the diversity of opinion and practice amongst authors, with real differences emerging between authors of different disciplines, countries and ages, and the dangers of generalizing the data.'
  • Mia Liza Lustria and Donald Case, The SPARC Initiative: A Survey of Participants and Features Analysis of Their Journals. Abstract: 'The Scholarly Publishing and Resources Coalition (SPARC) endorses a number of electronic journals in several disciplines. This web-based survey of SPARC partners, combined with a features analysis of their journals, describes the participants, their journals, motives for joining SPARC, perceived benefits of electronic journals, and other data. Recent literature on electronic publication is also reviewed.'

New blog on OA and openness in science

Juliette Savin and Jan Velterop have launched The Parachute, a new blog on openness in science. Subtitle: It only works when it is open. From the inaugural post: 'The Parachute aims to provide a forum for those who have thoughts and ideas about how and why openness is good for science and scholarship. The Parachute is not limited to open access to scholarly literature, but explores all areas where openness contributes to better research with more results that benefit society. Contributions are welcome at All contributions will be moderated. Short contributions will be posted in the blog itself. For longer ones, an abstract or excerpt should be provided with a link to a site where the full contribution resides. Comments to any contributions are encouraged.'

OA in education

Richard Baraniuk, Open-Access Publishing in Education - Building Communities and Sharing Knowledge, a presentation at the Ocotillo Retreat 2005 (Phoenix, May 17, 2005). Abstract: 'A grassroots movement is on the verge of sweeping through the academic world. The "open access movement" is based on a set of intuitions that are shared by a remarkably wide range of academics: that knowledge should be free and open to use and re-use; that collaboration should be easier, not harder; that people should receive credit and kudos for contributing to education and research; and that concepts and ideas are linked in unusual and surprising ways and not the simple linear forms that textbooks present. Open access draws inspiration from the open-source software movement (Linux, for example) and is enabled by recent developments in information technology, in particular the Internet and World Wide Web. This talk will overview open access, its promise, and its current and future challenges. As a case study, I will relate a number of lessons learned over the last five years directing the Connexions Project. Translating the open-access consensus into real software and real legal assemblages has been anything but intuitive.'

More on Gutteridge's award for GNU Eprints

Lucy Sherriff, Boffin wins prize for EPrints project, The Register, May 23, 2005. Excerpt: 'The UK's Unix and Open Systems User Group (UKUUG) has named Christopher Gutteridge the winner of its 2005 award for his work on the University of Southampton's EPrints project. EPrints was established as a project in 2002 to explore issues around Open Access publishing. It is now used by over 150 other research institutions "to make the full text of the peer-reviewed research output of scholars/scientists and their institutions visible, accessible, harvestable, searchable and useable by any potential user with access to the Internet", according to the University's own description of the software. Gutteridge expands: "EPrints is both a practical tool and the crystallization of a philosophy. It enables research to be accessible to all, and provides the foundation for all academic institutions to create their own research repositories." In January this year, the university announced that it would make all of its research freely available on the web, and that it would host workshops for other academic institutions considering making a similar move.'

More on OA to drug trial data

The editors of 11 eminent medical journals have written a joint editorial for the May 23 issue of JAMA, Is This Clinical Trial Fully Registered? A Statement From the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. Excerpt: 'In September 2004, the members of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) published a joint editorial aimed at promoting registration of all clinical trials. We stated that we will consider a trial for publication only if it has been registered before the enrollment of the first patient. This policy applies to trials that start recruiting on or after July 1, 2005. Because many ongoing trials were not registered at inception, we will consider for publication ongoing trials that are registered before September 13, 2005....We recognize that requiring public registration of trials whose prespecified goal is to investigate the biology of disease or to direct further research might slow the forces that drive innovation. Therefore, each journal editor will decide on a case-by-case basis about reviewing unregistered trials in this category. Authors whose trial is unregistered will have to convince the editor that they had a sound rationale when they decided not to register their trial. The ICMJE will maintain this policy for the next 2 years. We will then review our experience. Our September 2004 editorial specified the information that we would require for trial registration. Attendees at a recent meeting of the WHO registration advisory group identified a minimal registration data set of 20 items (Table). The WHO-mandated items collectively address every key requirement that we established in our September 2004 editorial. The ICMJE supports the WHO minimal data set and has adopted it as the ICMJE's requirement: we will consider a trial for publication if the authors register it at inception by completing all 20 fields in the WHO minimal data set....We stated our requirements for an acceptable trial registry in the September 2004 editorial,1 and they remain the same. The registry must be electronically searchable and accessible to the public at no charge. It must be open to all registrants and not for profit. It must have a mechanism to ensure the validity of the registration data. The purpose of a clinical trials registry is to promote the public good by ensuring that everyone can find key information about every clinical trial whose principal aim is to shape medical decision making.'

(PS: Kudos to the ICMJE journals for reaffirming the open-access condition on their willingness to publish the results of drug trials. This is a good time to consider that the rationale for this policy --"to promote the public good by ensuring that everyone can find key information...whose principal aim is to shape medical decision making"-- also applies to peer-reviewed research literature.)

Update. Today's statement differs from last September's primarily by adding the requirement that drug companies provide 20 specific pieces of information for each drug trial. For a good sense of the reasons why, see Theresa Agovino's story in yesterday's Boston Globe, Editor: Drug firms don't disclose enough. Excerpt: 'The editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine accused three of the largest drug companies of "making a mockery" of efforts to create transparency in clinical trials, adding that could lead some important medical publications to avoid publishing their studies. Dr. Jeffrey M. Drazen, the editor, said that Pfizer Inc., GlaxoSmithKline PLC and Merck & Co. are not providing enough useful information on clinical trials they register with the government...."They (the three companies) are giving nonsense details," Drazen said in an interview on Monday. "They are written in a way that they are trying to hide what they are doing."'

More on the AAUP complaint against Google Library

The Associated Press, Google library criticized, The Olympian, May 24, 2005. Excerpt: 'A group of academic publishers called Google Inc.'s plan to scan millions of library books into its Internet search engine index a troubling financial threat to its membership. The Association of American University Presses said in a letter that was to be sent to Google on Monday that the online search engine's library project "appears to involve systematic infringement of copyright on a massive scale." The association, which represents 125 nonprofit publishers of academic journals and scholarly books, asked Google to respond to a list of 16 questions seeking more information about how the company plans to protect copyrights. Two unidentified publishers already asked Google to withhold its copyrighted material from the scanners, but the company hasn't complied with the requests, Peter Givler, the executive director for the New York-based trade group, wrote in the letter. Google, based in Mountain View, Calif., said it offers protections to copyright holders. For example, the company said that for books still in copyright, users will only see bibliographic information and a few sentences of text.'

New issue of JLIS

The March issue of the Journal of Librarianship and Information Science is now online. Here are the OA-related articles. Only abstracts are free online, at least so far. (Thanks to Charles W. Bailey, Jr.)
  • Charles Oppenheim, Editorial: Open Access and the UK Science and Technology Select Committee Report Free for All? Abstract: 'This guest editorial considers the arguments for and against open access publishing, based around the UK House of Commons Select Committee for Science and Technology's recent report Free for All? and the UK Government's response to the Report. The advantages of open access and the two different types of open access (open access journals and repositories) are described. Some of the potential problems with open access, such as the lack of a clear business model for open access journals, are also outlined. The author concludes that whilst open access is not a panacea and will not replace traditional scholarly publishing business models, it is here to stay and that authors, publishers readers and librarians will have to get used to the concept.'
  • Alexandros Koulouris and Sarantos Kapidakis, Access and reproduction policies of university digital collections. Abstract: 'The access and reproduction policies of the digital collections of 10 leading university digital libraries worldwide are classified according to factors such as the creation type of the material, acquisition method, copyright ownership etc. The relationship of these factors is analysed, showing how acquisition methods and copyright ownership affect the access and reproduction policies of digital collections. The article concludes with rules about which factors lead to specific policies. For example, when the library has the copyright of the material, reproduction for private use is usually provided free with a credit to the source or otherwise mostly under fair use provisions, but commercial reproduction needs written permission and fees are charged. Finally, common practice on access and reproduction policies are extracted and conventional policies are mapped onto digital policies.'

More on the ACS/CAS v. PubChem

The American Chemical Society has updated its position statement and FAQ on PubChem. The previous version was dated May 18 (blogged here on May 19). The new version is dated May 23. The changes are not immediately evident and the ACS doesn't label them. But I believe that one addition responds to the objection that the ACS received public funding to launch CAS. The new document admits this. "The fact that NSF turned to CAS decades ago to create the Registry in no way justifies NIH in replicating it today."

(PS: The NIH says it is complementing, not replicating, the CAS, although I'd argue that NIH would be justified in replicating it, especially if it consisted of factual data assembled by publicly-funded researchers. The question is whether a private-sector organization is justified in shutting down a useful public service and demanding a monopoly on factual data partially subsidized by taxpayers. By offering open access and integration with other NIH databases, PubChem fills a vital research need.)

Spreading the word about OA

Richard Seitmann, "Open access" is practically unknown among scientists as an alternative for publications, Heise Online, May 24, 2005. Excerpt: 'The secretary-general of the conference of deans of higher education (HRK), Christiane Ebel-Gabriel, explained today at the opening of the symposium with the title " The Future of Scientific Communication -- Open Access", which will be taking place today and tomorrow in Göttingen, that directors of institutions of higher education will have to "see ensuring access to scientific publications and research results as a strategic task much more than they currently do." Two years ago, the HRK called for a refocus of scientific publications and information exchanges in light of the crisis among journals at the time because skyrocketing subscription prices both for conventional and electronic scientific journals had been leading people to cancel their subscriptions, paradoxically making access to published research results even harder despite the Internet. "The financial pressure on the field of science continues to grow," Ebel-Gabriel explained. She regretted that the current alternatives for publication in "open access" journals and on institute servers have not been used to the full. The secretary-general quoted figures from a still unpublished study (PowerPoint file) by the German Research Society, which found that three of four scientists surveyed and more than 85% of social scientists and professors of the humanities are not aware that open access is one possibility for publication.'

Monday, May 23, 2005

Increasing visibility of the Institut Jean Nicod repository

Dario Taraborelli, Rapport sur l'impact du site sur la visibilité du laboratoire (2001-2005), Institut Jean Nicod, May 17, 2005. In French. Stevan Harnad has translated the public announcement into English: 'This is a report on the enhanced visibility of the Institut Jean Nicod (IJN) provided by its Web site (and especially its Institutional Repository of self-archived articles) during its first 4 years online. The goal is to present a short history and statistics (in appendices) allowing an estimate of how important initiatives like Open Access are for the visibility of a research institute. It should also be noted that the IJN was the first French laboratory in Social and Human Sciences to adopt an institutional policy of providing free online access to its scientific output.'

OA presentation

Gerry McKiernan, Open Access: An Idea Whose Time Has Come, a PPT presentation from the May 15 preconference of the IAALD Globalization of Information conference (Lexington, Kentucky, May 14-20, 2005).

OA story in the Wall Street Journal

Bernard Wysocki Jr., Scholarly Journals' Premier Status Is Diluted by Web, Wall Street Journal, May 23, 2005. Excerpt: 'From a stool at Yali's café, near the University of California campus, Michael Eisen is loudly trashing the big players in academic publishing. Hefty subscription fees for journals are blocking scientific progress, he says, and academics who think they have full access to timely literature are kidding themselves. "They're just wrong," Dr. Eisen says. He suggests scholarly journals be free and accessible to everyone on the Web....For decades, traditional scholarly journals have held an exalted and lucrative position as arbiters of academic excellence, controlling what's published and made available to the wider community. These days, research is increasingly available on free university Web sites and through start-up outfits. Scholarly journals are finding their privileged position under attack....Two UC [University of California] scientists organized a world-wide boycott against a unit of Reed Elsevier -- the Anglo-Dutch giant that publishes 1,800 periodicals -- protesting its fees. The UC administration itself has jumped into the fray. It's urging scholars to deposit working papers and monographs into a free database in addition to submitting them for publication elsewhere. It has also battled with publishers, including nonprofits, to lower prices. "We have to take back control from the publishers," says Daniel Greenstein, associate vice provost for the UC system, which spends $30 million a year on scholarly periodicals....Some scholars think publishing should operate like the Linux computer operating system, where programmers build on each other's work in an ongoing, collaborative project. In the scholarly realm, a database called arXiv -- pronounced "archive," as if the "x" were the Greek letter "chi" -- has become a repository of scholarship in the physics field. It's owned and operated by Cornell University and partially supported by the National Science Foundation. If the UC administration has its way, something like that would be the norm throughout academia....Currently, the open-access movement makes up between 1% and 2% of the market, experts say. While that number seems small, the concept is assuming an important role channeling academic discontent.' (Thanks to Charles W. Bailey, Jr.)

More on the Google Library Project

Burt Helm, A Google Project Pains Publishers, BusinessWeek, May 23, 2005. Reports on the Association of American University Presses and others' criticism of Google and suggestions of potential copyright infringement. (Source: Harvard in the News)

Update. Also see the full-text of the AAUP letter to Google.

More on copyright and the Google library project

Jeffrey Young, University-Press Group Raises Questions About Google's Library-Scanning Project, Chronicle of Higher Education, May 23, 2005 (accessible only to subscribers). Excerpt: 'Saying that Google's high-profile library project "appears to be built on a fundamental violation of the copyright act," the Association of American University Presses listed concerns and questions about the project on Friday in a six-page letter to Google's top lawyer. The complaint is one of a growing list of formal objections to Google's digital-library plans by publishing groups. The university-presses group, which represents 125 nonprofit scholarly publishers, posed 16 detailed questions about Google's project, which the company calls Google Print for Libraries....For copyrighted works, Google officials say that online search results will offer only short excerpts. But publishers say that even to scan those books could violate copyright. "Copyright means the right to make copies, period," said Peter Givler, the university-press group's executive director, in an interview. "Copyright law can seem pretty byzantine and technical and elaborate and complicated," said Mr. Givler, who wrote the letter, "but at its simplest, that's what it is. It's the right to make copies." The idea for Google's mammoth digital library "is enormously seductive," Mr. Givler says in the letter. But he complains that "Google asserts that it can make these copies without seeking permission as a fair use" under copyright. Such a "large-scale infringement," he writes, would have the potential of causing serious financial damage to the press group's members....Adam M. Smith, a senior business-product manager for Google who is working on the Google Print project, said the company is talking with as many publishers as it can...."I'm not a lawyer, so I can't speak to the specific legal issues," [Smith] said, when pressed on the legal questions raised by the university-press group. "We believe we're creating a product that is beneficial to publishers and to libraries -- that by allowing full-text search of the books that we would spur additional interest in books and in using books and in purchasing books in a way that will benefit all people that are interested in publishing generally."'

Sunday, May 22, 2005

June issue of Cites & Insights

The June issue of Walt Crawford's Cites & Insights is now online. This issue has a long section on Library Access to Scholarship in which Walt covers the NIH policy, the reaction pro and con, and recent contributions to the OA debate, including several pieces of mine. Excerpt: 'That [criticism of the NIH policy] is particularly interesting coming from the author of the DC Principles for Free Access. If those principles mean anything at all, one would think that a 12-month embargo would be well within their parameters. I suppose Frank has helped to clarify the meaning of the DC Principles --that is, apparently, pure hypocrisy....There might be some worthwhile points in [Rudy Baum's May] editorial (not new points, to be sure), but after Baum calls OA advocates socialists, it's hard to take anything in the editorial seriously. It is, in fact, crap like this that makes me nervous about being an OA independent: If the opponents consistently get it this wrong, should I just sign up with the most rigid adherents?...I was charmed by the title of a new OA journal from CSA and the National Biological Information Infrastructure: Sustainability: Science, Practice, & Policy. What better than a journal about sustainability helping to make scholarly access and libraries sustainable?...[Charles Bailey's] DigitalKoans in general is highly recommended....Finally, here’s one you really should download (and copy as needed): What you can do to promote open access...The document includes loads of good ideas; you don’t need to do all of them to help.'

CC in Australia

Creative Commons has launched in Australia. For details, see the press release.

Biological data and the semantic web

Johan Bostrom, Berners-Lee seeks killer app for Semantic Web, ComputerWorld, May 19, 2005. Excerpt: 'The Semantic Web could be the key to unlocking scientific data that's sequestered by disparate applications' formats and organizational limitations, World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee said Tuesday. The Semantic Web "will give scientists and other users unexpected help and serendipitous added value from others' data," Berners-Lee, director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), said at the Fourth Annual Bio-IT World Conference and Expo in Boston. The Semantic Web seeks to make it easier for data on the Web to be shared and reused by people and applications....The Web, for example, took off in high-energy physics. When we got six high-energy physics Web sites, then it got interesting for physicists to be onboard," he said. "Similarly, if we could get critical mass in life sciences, if we get a half a dozen or a dozen set of ontologies, the core ones for drug discovery out there, then suddenly the Semantic Web within life sciences would have a critical mass. It'll snowball much more rapidly and it will be copied. Other areas will realize, Oh it's worth investing in this." Life sciences are particularly suitable for pioneering the Semantic Web, Berners-Lee said. For example, within drug discovery, many databases and information systems used by drug researchers are already in, or are ready to be transformed to, machine-readable formats.' (Thanks to Katy Borner.)