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The presentations from the International Conference on Policies and Strategies for Open Access to Scientific Information (Beijing, June 22-24, 2005) are now online. (Thanks to D.K. Sahu.)
Update. If you can't open the PDF files at the meeting site, then try the files at mirror site created by Les Carr.
Round-Table Discussion on Free Access to Information, a press release (July 2) apparently from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). Excerpt: 'The OSCE Mission to Serbia and Montenegro, the office of the National Commissioner for Freedom to Access Information, the Coalition for Free Access to Information and the Toplica Centre for Democracy and Human Rights, organized a round-table discussion on "Free Access to Information – Rights and Responsibilities", in the Municipal Building in Prokuplje. At the discussion, the representatives of institutions, media and NGOs from Prokuplje, Blace, Kursumlija and Brus, got introduced to the “Guidebook to the Law on Free Access to Information”, published by the Open Society Institute Serbia with the goal to promote the Law to the general public. The publication was supported by OSCE Mission to SCG....The participants agreed that the right to free access to information is required for the efficient observance of the other rights and freedoms. It is also an indispensable control instrument in the supervision of the work of state bodies and efficient instrument in the fight against corruption.' (PS: The Prokuplje meeting was one of six in a series on the same subject held at different cities in Serbia and Montenegro.)
William Bug, The Impact of the NIH Public Access Policy on Literature Informatics: What Role Can the Neuroinformaticists Play? Neuroinformatics, Summer 2005. Only this abstract is free online for non-subscribers, at least so far: 'The recent furor over the NIH Public Access Policy (NPAP) to create an "open" life science research literature archive to be activated as of May 2005 has brought to the fore opinions from a variety of interested parties (Ascoli, 2005; Merkel-Sobotta, 2005; Velterop, 2005). Researchers as authors and readers, science-technical-medical (STM) for-profit and society-based publishers, government agencies involved in the effective administration of research support, patient-advocacy groups seeking free access to publicly funded medical research, and legal experts concerned with the evolving concept of copyright in a digital age have all weighed in on this topic. The one voice noticeably absent from this public arena has been that of the informaticist. In this commentary I will explore informatics issues associated with this new policy. I begin with an historical synopsis of literature informatics to help place issues in proper context. I follow this with a review of pragmatic approaches our young field of neuroinformatics may apply to the growing literature base.'
Graham Taylor, Don't tell us where to publish, The Guardian, July 1, 2005. Excerpt: 'The RCUK policy assumes that someone else is handling publication [and peer review] in a sustainable way so that outputs can be lodged with repositories. But deposit on publication can only cannibalise the very system that makes mandating deposit viable in the first place. And then there are the costs. Is the current system failing? If access is a problem, where is the evidence?...Publishers will support their authors in making their material available through repositories, provided they are not set up to undermine peer-reviewed journals. We say to RCUK, by all means encourage experiments, but don't mandate. Don't force transition to an unproven solution. Whatever you do, make the true costs transparent. The paper backing up the policy makes little or no acknowledgement of what the learned societies and publishers have achieved over the last 10 years. This is not to say that the current system is perfect - it's not, but it's getting better fast as societies and publishers innovate and experiment with the technology that enables access. Evolution is inevitable, but we should allow time for the evidence to make the case, rather than standing on principle - the very basis, in fact, of most of the research outputs that this debate is all about.' Taylor is the director of educational, academic and professional publishing at The Publishers Association.
Elizabeth Tolchin, NIH's New Screening Network Takes Shape, BioScience Technology, July 1, 2005. Excerpt: 'As part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Roadmap initiative the agency is awarding grants to nine institutions to establish a Molecular Libraries Screening Centers Network that will use high-throughput screening techniques to identify small molecules that can be used to further disease research. The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine is one of the nine institutes selected and received $9 million from the NIH to establish the University of Pittsburgh Molecular Libraries Screening Center (UP-MLSC). John Lazo, PhD, professor of pharmacology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, is principal investigator of the UP-MLSC....Lazo expects that there will be future discussions about whether there should be standardization among the different centers on a single common platform. "We do know that all information generated is to be deposited into PubChem." '
George Lundberg, Open Access Medical Publishing Is Finally Coming Alive, MedGenMed eJournal, July 2005. An audio-visual editorial. Here's the only text: 'Taxpayers pay for most medical research and clinical medicine in the United States and most developed countries. Then who owns the results of that research? The taxpayers, obviously. And yet, forever it seems, the researchers and authors have published their results, as if they owned them, in whatever primary-source medical and science journals they wished and have transferred their copyright ownership to that publisher. The publishers of the journals then solicit advertising, receive membership dues, and sell paid subscriptions for access to the information back to the taxpayer, so taxpayer doctors can treat taxpayer patients. Wait a minute! Am I saying that the owners of the results have to pay for it again in order to use it medically? Yuck. But now, we have open access publishing, first made possible by the Internet, with full-text published articles available free of charge to all. Does this threaten medical publishers? Oh, yeah. Many of the biggest ones still refuse to participate. Fortunately for doctors and patients, this is changing. Medscape, PubMed Central, FreeMedicalJournals, BioMed Central, the Public Library of Science/Medicine, and others all provide full-text, primary-source articles free to the doctor and patient user. And the National Institutes of Health finally is exerting some real leadership with the research community to make this a much larger movement. It's about time. That's my opinion. I'm Dr. George Lundberg, Editor of MedGenMed.'
Laurent Romary and Christine Aubry et Joanna Janik, Les archives ouvertes : enjeux et pratiques, Revue Documentaliste, April 2005. In French.
Most of the presentations from the SPARC-ACRL session at the ALA conference, Three Big Ideas Transforming Scholarly Communication [The Commons, Taxpayer Access, and Googlization] (Chicago, June 25, 2005), are now online.
I just mailed the July issue of the SPARC Open Access Newsletter. This issue takes a close look at the draft open-access policy from the RCUK and ways to make open-access literature more visible than it already is. It also updates last month's report on journal policies toward NIH-funded authors. The Top Stories section takes a brief look at the new Swan-Brown study of self-archiving, the OA Law Program from Science Commons, the rising impact factors at BMC and PLoS, a raft of new resolutions endorsing OA, and the House of Representatives support for PubChem against the lobbying of the American Chemical Society.
Greg Notess Scholarly Web Searching: Google Scholar and Scirus, Online, July/August 2005. Excerpt: 'A quick comparison with a search for the terms protonation alkylation finds a claim of 2,068 journal article hits and another 1,524 Web results at Scirus. The same search at Google Scholar reports "about 1,820" records of all types. Given Google’s usual difficulty in accurately counting results, that number is probably within about 500 records or so of the actual amount. On other searches Scholar finds more, but since each covers unique content, neither is comprehensive. The same search in the native interface American Chemical Society (ACS) publications database finds 21,685 articles. The ACS journals are included in neither Scholar nor Scirus....Both Scholar and Scirus search through the full text of an article, but this is inconsistent. Searching phrases found toward the end of an article may fail to retrieve the article. For those online journal packages that include full-text searching capabilities, using the native search interface will be more comprehensive....For fielded searching using authors, date, subject terms, or article type, the commercial databases and native search interfaces have many more choices....The freshness of these databases is a significant issue. As Joann Wleklinski noted in her May/June 2005 ONLINE article...the database used by Google Scholar is static at this point --it's not adding newer documents. Scholar definitely needs to be updated more frequently. In fact, at this point, the main Google Web search is a much better tool for finding recent scholarly documents than Google Scholar....Strangely enough, both of these tools may work better, or at least appear to work better, for the affiliated scholar. With all the subscriptions available on campus based on IP access authentication, the campus-based researcher finds that the links in Google Scholar and Scirus work seamlessly, providing direct access to the full-text articles. Both would work better if the Open-URL resolver could be added automatically, based on IP address, since many institutions have multiple access points, or like us, have our Elsevier subscriptions on a non-ScienceDirect platform.'
The folks at OpenMED@NIC, the OA repository for medical literature at India's National Informatics Centre, have written an OpenMED Self-Help Tutorial to help authors understand the submission process. It could help authors submitting work to any OA repository. However it consists of PPT slides without much connective tissue between bullet points. It would probably work better to support an oral presentation than as written instructions for newcomers.
Here are the major blog postings I made by email to SOAF while OAN was down last week. June 30, 2005:
Here are the major blog postings I made by email to SOAF while OAN was down last week. June 29, 2005:
Here are the major blog postings I made by email to SOAF while OAN was down last week. June 28, 2005:
Here are the major blog postings I made by email to SOAF while OAN was down last week. June 27, 2005:
Here are the major blog postings I made by email to SOAF while OAN was down last week. June 26, 2005:
Here are the major blog postings I made by email to SOAF while OAN was down last week. June 25, 2005:
Here are the major blog postings I made by email to SOAF while OAN was down last week. June 24, 2005:
Google Print for Libraries: the Bold and the Cautious, Library Journal, June 30, 2005. An unsigned news story on a panel at the recent ALA conference in Chicago. Excerpt: ' "This is not an exclusive arrangement," declared Catherine Tierney, Stanford's associate university librarian for technical services. "They're not going to digitize all. They're going to digitize what we give them. This does not preclude deals with others." As for Harvard, "it's a very conservative organization," said Dale Flecker, associate director for systems and planning at the university library. The pilot project will allow the library to look at a range of issues regarding digitization. Flecker said the Google project "is not planned as a preservation project," but Michigan associate university librarian John Price Wilkin said the opposite: "We do think of it as a preservation project. The Google staff are more tentative in handling materials than our preservation and conservation staff." Michigan's staff will digitize materials Google feels are too fragile to scan. Panelists even differed on the ultimate meaning of the project. Said Flecker, "We're not trying to build a digital library. We're trying to add digital stuff to our library." But Wilkin dreams bigger: "I think this will subsume all other efforts [to build a digital library]. It will be the foundation point--we'll use the same infrastructure and build out." '
Brian Hamilton, U.S. publishers put pressure on Google, MLive Business Review, June 30, 2005. Excerpt: 'Michigan and Stanford University are the only two universities in the project that have agreed to let Google scan books still in copyright....Publishers are asking whether Google has any right to scan copyrighted works without the consent of the publisher. Google will make two digital copies of each work at Michigan, one for Google and the other for U-M....The privacy-interest group, Google-Watch.org filed a Michigan Freedom of Information Act request to obtain Google's contract with the university, which was posted on the U-M library Web site June 17. Google-Watch, in a posting on its Web site entitled "Google-eyed U. Michigan gives away its library," excoriates U-M for, among other things, not taking advantage of its strong bargaining position because it's easier for Google to scan out of print books that get access to them. "Big libraries are holding a winning hand here," said the writer, Daniel Brandt. U-M Assistant General Counsel Jack Bernard told Business Review that it was never U-M's intention to benefit financially from the arrangement. "We think there's value in being able to search the corpus of human knowledge," Bernard said....Bernard said people shouldn't make assumptions about who will eventually have access to U-M's digital archive. "We haven't decided how to treat the archive," he said.'
Carolyn Sosnowski has included Open Access News in her list of Web sites worth a click (Information Outlook, May 2005). Excerpt: 'In just one part of a large site that covers open access issues, editor Peter Suber and many other contributors aim to educate and disseminate news and information about the open access movement. Posts are frequent, lengthy (in a good way), and include links to source documents such as press releases, articles, and a variety of scholarly publications. The blog and archives are searchable, a great feature if you want to trace a particular development or find out more about an OA proponent.' (Thanks Carolyn!)
Gunther Eysenbach and Per Egil Kummervold, "Is Cybermedicine Killing You?" - The Story of a Cochrane Disaster, Journal of Medical Internet Research, 7, 2 (2005). Abstract: 'This editorial briefly reviews the series of unfortunate events that led to the publication, dissemination, and eventual retraction of a flawed Cochrane systematic review on interactive health communication applications (IHCAs), which was widely reported in the media with headlines such as "Internet Makes Us Sick," "Knowledge May Be Hazardous to Web Consumers' Health," "Too Much Advice Can Be Bad for Your Health," "Click to Get Sick?," and even "Is Cybermedicine Killing You?". While the media attention helped to speed up the identification of errors, leading to a retraction of the review after only 13 days, a paper published in this issue of JMIR by Rada shows that the retraction, in contrast to the original review, remained largely unnoticed by the public. We discuss the three flaws of the review, which include (1) data extraction and coding errors, (2) the pooling of heterogeneous studies, and (3) a problematic and ambiguous scope and, possibly, some overlooked studies. We then discuss "retraction ethics" for researchers, editors/publishers, and journalists. Researchers and editors should, in the case of retractions, match the aggressiveness of the original dissemination campaign if errors are detected. It is argued that researchers and their organizations may have an ethical obligation to track down journalists who reported stories on the basis of a flawed study and to specifically ask them to publish an article indicating the error. Journalists should respond to errors or retractions with reports that have the same prominence as the original story. Finally, we look at some of the lessons for the Cochrane Collaboration, which include (1) improving the peer-review system by routinely sending out pre-prints to authors of the original studies, (2) avoiding downplay of the magnitude of errors if they occur, (3) addressing the usability issues of RevMan, and (4) making critical articles such as retraction notices open access.'
Laura Gordon-Murnane, Creative Commons and Creative Commons Search Tools, The Searcher, July 1, 2005. Excerpt: 'Can you [librarians] help them find materials in the public domain that they can copy, re-mix, sample, share, display, and distribute in a final report, a presentation, a blog, a podcast, or a Web site posting? ...Existing copyright laws have made it more difficult to identify public domain content....The Creative Commons Web site provides several different ways to identify and find works that have a Creative Commons license....Creative Commons also offers a search engine (powered by Nutch an open source search engine) that lets searchers limit their search by type of format (audio, image, interactive, text, and video) and by different licensing options....To answer my original questions, librarians now have a useful tool they can use to help identify content that patrons might want to use in a podcast, a mash-up, a collage, a video contribution to a blog, a document, a presentation, or whatever. It's called Creative Commons and, with the vertical search opportunities provided by Yahoo! Search and Creative Commons' own Nutch-powered search engine, we can assist end users in finding new content that allows them copyright flexibility. Use it. Promote it. Share it. It's all good.' (PS: Gordon-Murnane's long article is also a good primer on the changes to US copyright law since the 1970's and the origin of Creative Commons.)
The Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) has issued a response to the RCUK draft OA policy. The document is dated Apil 19, 2005, but the ALPSP home page dates it June 30, 2005. Excerpt: 'ALPSP encourages the widest possible dissemination of research outputs; indeed, this furthers the mission of most learned societies to advance and disseminate their subject and to advance public education1. We understand the benefits to research of maximum access to prior work, although in the case of the general public we see little evidence of large-scale demand....However, ALPSP recognises that maximising access must be done in ways which do not undermine the viability either of the peer-reviewed journals in which the research is published, or of the societies and other publishers themselves, whose publishing surpluses may contribute substantially to the benefit of the discipline and its community in other ways....Publication in a journal adds not only the benefit of peer review (which is managed, though not conducted, by the publisher) but also editing and formatting for publication as well as important new functions such as the addition and verification of links to cited articles, data and other material....Understandably, therefore, they may not wish their 'value-added' version to be made freely available in repositories immediately on publication....Even if the freely available version lacks some or all of the value added by the publisher, it may be treated as an adequate substitute by uninformed readers (and, indeed, by cash-strapped libraries). And any new model which has the potential to 'siphon off' a significant percentage of otherwise paying customers will, understandably, undermine the financial viability of all these value-adding activities....The only way that repositories will help libraries with this problem is by enabling them to cease subscribing to some journals; if this happens, the journals will become unviable and will cease to exist. Alternative licensing and business models, which preserve the viability of the quality assurance and value-adding processes carried out by journals, are necessary if the system is not to be gravely damaged; these processes involve much more than the organisation and support of peer review, as outlined above....We therefore recommend that the Research Councils should respect the wish of some publishers to impose an embargo of up to a year (or, in exceptional cases, even longer) before self-archived papers should be made publicly accessible....It seems to us both inappropriate and unnecessarily wasteful of resources to create permanent archives of versions other than the definitive published versions of articles.'
British group takes step beyond NIH open access, Research Research, June 30, 2005. An unsigned news story. Excerpt: 'The main organization representing British public research institutions has drafted a more liberal policy towards open access research than that adopted by the US National Institutes of Health....The document states that "ideas and knowledge derived from publicly-funded research must be made available and accessible for public use, interrogation and scrutiny as widely, rapidly and effectively as practicable." The policy --set to become effective October 1-- goes well beyond that adopted by NIH, which urges its researchers to voluntarily deposit their peer-reviewed research articles in a publicly accessible online archive. The British policy gained support from US researchers concerned that the NIH approach leads to long delays before research becomes freely accessible to the public. "It's a marvelous policy and very strong in almost all the right ways," said Peter Suber, a professor of philosophy at Earlham College, in Indiana, and a leader in the open-access movement. "It’s a big step forward from the NIH policy, which merely requests, but does not mandate open access, and as a result is not likely to get full compliance," he added in a recent interview with The Chronicle of Higher Education.'
After a full week of involuntary downtime, Open Access News is back. It had been deleted from my Blogger account --cause unknown-- but it has now been restored. I thank the Blogger engineers for the fix and Sebastien Paquet for helpful mediation.
During the downtime, I sent "blog substitute" emails to SOAF. If I have time, I'll copy the most important items back to the blog, so that they enter the currents of the blogosphere. In the meantime, here's how to catch up: