Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Ejournals in Latin America

Shoshannah Holdom, E-Journal Proliferation in Emerging Economies: The Case of Latin America, Literary and Linguistic Computing, July 29, 2005. Only this abstract is free online, at least so far: 'In recent years, Latin America has been one of the world's fastest growing areas for Internet connectivity. While numerous studies have examined the factors contributing to this communications explosion, this article concentrates upon one of its effects--the proliferation of freely available, scholarly, peer-reviewed electronic journals in the fields of literary, cultural and area studies. This article argues that in the field of Latin American studies, the majority of e-journals are being produced in Latin American countries, rather than in the US or the UK for example. It is Latin American academics, rather than their US and UK counterparts, who are embracing new technologies and the opportunities facilitated for effective dissemination of research. In order to understand this marked move towards electronic scholarly journals, this article outlines the state of Internet connectivity in the region, the financial and material constraints and other restrictions placed upon academic publication, and the lack of international visibility of Latin American scholarly print journals. While questions need to be addressed as to the future sustainability and preservation of these free journals, many of them managed by individual academics and funded by their universities, this article argues that electronic publishing offers Latin American academics an unprecedented opportunity to disseminate their research. Furthermore, this model gives international academics immediate, free access to important research that is emerging from the continent, which is the subject of study. Such access has the potential to revolutionize the way that international academics approach Latin American studies and to encourage a greater degree of international academic debate.' (Thanks to Charles W. Bailey, Jr.)

OA in the fight against malaria

Art Chimes recently interviewed Phil Rosenthal about malaria treatments for the Our World program on the Voice of America. Rosenthal is a malaria expert at the University of California, San Francisco. Excerpt from the transcript:
Findings of the study on malaria treatments in Uganda, which was led by Phil Rosenthal's colleague Grant Dorsey, are published in the open access journal PLoS Medicine. Open access means the articles are free to read. The high cost of subscriptions to some biomedical journals has become an issue, and in an e-mail from Uganda, Dr. Dorsey wrote, "it is frustrating that people from resource poor settings may not have access to up-to-date medical literature without paying expensive subscription fees." And he says he is "frequently approached by African scientists trying to gain access to full text articles," but they can't read about the latest research unless they pay for it.

Two new Jacsó reviews

In his Digital Reference Shelf for August, Péter Jacsó reviews these two resources:
  • Journal Citation Reports: The new content enhancements of the Web version of Journal Citation Reports and its informative charts provide further help in selecting the most influential journals in subject categories. They provide category-wide median and aggregate impact factors, an aggregate immediacy index and cited half-life scores, in addition to the journal-level performance indicators.
  • The London Review of Books: A small but worthy open-access subset of the thousands of substantial reviews and commentaries of "Europe's most-read literary magazine" with good browsing and searching capabilities. The topical coverage is pleasantly eclectic and the geographic coverage is cosmopolitan.

Friday, July 29, 2005

The evolution of scholarly communication up to OA archiving

Ana Maria Ramalho Correia and José Carlos Teixeira, Reforming scholarly publishing and knowledge communication: From the advent of the scholarly journal to the challenges of Open Access, Information Services and Use, 25, 1 (2005). Only this abstract is free online, at least so far:
This paper provides an overview of the continuing evolution of scholarly publishing, leveraged in the last decades by the tremendous potential of Internet technology. It introduces "self-archiving", the broad term often applied to the electronic publishing of author-supplied documents on the World Wide Web without commercial publisher mediation, and examines its impact on scholarly communication along with the Open Access Movement. The intensity of self-archiving and its pivotal role in scholarly communication is put into perspective through reference to some self-archiving initiatives set in motion in several countries. Finally, the paper concludes by outlining the challenges for information managers in developing the full potential of Open Access.

Knowledge Exchange adds DFG as fourth member

The Knowledge Exchange network has announced the addition of a fourth member. From the July 18 press release:
The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) is the fourth partner in the Knowledge Exchange network, a joint initiative between the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany, which aims to promote the use of information and communication technology (ICT) within research and higher education. The initiative's focus is on the development of joint strategies and the identification of common or compatible best practices, with the aim of providing scientists and students with user-friendly systems that cross national boundaries and give them access to all scientifically relevant information. The use of ICT in research and higher education is gaining growing importance due to the increasing formation of international networks within science. Knowledge Exchange therefore aims to replace the noncommittal international cooperation that has existed to date in terms of the information infrastructure with firm structures. The partners in the network – the JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) in the United Kingdom, SURF (SURF Foundation) in the Netherlands, and the DEF (Denmark's Electronic Research Library) in Denmark, in addition to the DFG – aim to develop a common information infrastructure and services based on common standards. This involves redesigning both the technological backbone as well as the services provided to researchers. In addition to improving the sharing of information and knowledge transfer, the closer cooperation is also intended to create and secure a joint structure for digital learning, teaching and research.

More on permission barriers

Carole George, Testing the barriers to digital libraries: A study seeking copyright permission to digitize published works, New Library World, 106, 7/8 (2005). Only this abstract is free online:
Purpose - The aim was to explore the issues related to acquiring copyright permission with the goal of determining effectiveness and efficiency using the least complex process. Design/methodology/approach - A random sample of books was chosen, relevant information was recorded, request letters were sent and tracked, and results (permission received or denied) were analyzed with respect to publisher, publication data, time required, and issues related to the process. Findings - About 52 percent responded with a yes or no with 24 percent yes responses. Nearly 25 percent never responded, addresses were not found for about 16 percent, approximately 7 percent were too complicated to pursue and response time averaged about three months. Research limitations/implications - Results were affected by the limited staff time available to work on the project, the many changes in staff, and the sometimes lengthy time between follow-ups. Practical implications - The low rate of positive responses indicates the need to focus on publications and publishers most likely to provide permission: older and out-of-print materials, non-commercial publishers, special collections, while using designated staff and personal contact to improve effectiveness. Originality/value - Few previous studies exist in this area. This study might benefit other libraries with respect to planning, defining procedures, and improving results.

Repositories project seeking director

More on Scirus and IRs

Bobby Pickering, Scirus expands coverage with IR strategy, Information World Review, July 28, 2005. Excerpt:
The free science-specific search engine from Elsevier, Scirus, has launched a new initiative to support a select group of institutional repositories. The company has announced that the University of Toronto, a major contributor to the development of its abstracting & indexing service Scopus, will be the first named collaborator in the scheme....Scirus product and marketing manager, Sharon Mombru, told IWR that many academic institutions were focusing on the digitisation and archiving aspects of creating repositories, rather than the discovery side of what's available. "Either through lack of resources, or different priorities, many institutes are looking for a search mechanism to make their content available and searchable to their target audiences," she said. "Deals like this help us get the Scirus brand out to academic users, and offer the institutions wider dissemination of the work they do." Mombru said the company was at an advanced stage of developing similar partnerships with "half a dozen other academic institutions", but none of these have been made public. "Our aim is to sign up the top 10 repositories in terms of content and volume". Since its launch four years ago, Scirus has had to fend off criticisms that it is just a marketing tool to direct online users towards ScienceDirect articles and the use of other Elsevier commercial properties, such as Scopus. Since the announcement of Google Scholar, it is also facing fierce future competition in the free scientific search arena. But Mombru insisted that Scirus was not an "Elsevier-biased tool". "That is something we want to avoid. Our aim is create the best search mechanism that recognises scientifically valid sites and content. It is important to vet what content is indexed, or else the search process can be worthless."

(PS: Institutions with OA repositories are focusing on archiving "rather than" discovery? This is caused by "lack of resources"? Scirus is doing the right thing to crawl these repositories, but still doesn't get it.)

OA to public-policy lectures

Jeffrey Young, Princeton U. Creates a Web Service to Distribute Recordings of Public-Policy Lectures, Chronicle of Higher Education, July 28, 2005 (accessible only to subscribers). Excerpt:
Prominent scholars regularly make public-policy speeches on campuses, expounding on timely topics or sharing their latest research findings. But usually the only way to catch the talks is to be in the right room at the appointed hour. Now a new Web service run by Princeton University is offering lectures from several universities free online, via streaming video or as audio podcasts. The service, called the University Channel, is also working with cable-television companies to distribute some of the lectures over cable systems. So far the site offers recordings of nearly 30 speeches or events, including talks on "The End of the Cold War" and "The Future of Social Security."

ICSU strategic review calls for universal access to scientific knowledge

Science and Society: Rights and Responsibilities, an ICSU Strategic Review, July 2005. Excerpt:
There is a growing need to ensure global equity in knowledge production and knowledge sharing, including the identification of best practices in contested areas and the development of consensus principles for data access and sharing....Universal and equitable access to scientific knowledge is crucial in bridging the socio-economic divide between the North and the South....The development of the Internet and growth of cyberspace have increased the potential for access to and free flow of information but have also raised new concerns about information quality, privacy and encryption. On the side of greater openness is the emergence of an open source movement providing access to source code for software. There are various initiatives to provide ‘open access’ to the scientific literature and some commercial publishers are taking steps to improve access to information in poorer countries. On the side of constraints on information flow are uncertain legal rules and inconsistent national standards that affect both the quality and accessibility of science communicated on the Internet.

Ifremer commits to OA archiving

The French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea (Institut français de recherche pour l'exploitation de la mer, or Ifremer) has signed the Registry of Institutional OA Self-Archiving Policies. See these details on its self-archiving policy.

Alexandria presentations

The presentations from the Defense Research and Engineeering conference, Turning Data into Knowledge (Alexandria, April 4-6, 2005), are now online. Note especially Prue Adler's presentation, Open Access to Federally-Funded STI Publications.

Free daily newsletter on STM publishing

Scope e-Knowledge has launched KnowledgeSpeak, a free, daily newsletter on STM publishing.

(PS: This could be very useful. Unfortunately, most of the articles to which it alerts readers are more than a year old. In fact, most are more than two years old.)

Making a business plan for the intellectual commons

Andy Oram, The Commons Doesn't Have a Business Plan, O'Reilly OnLamp, July 28, 2005. Excerpt:
The "commons" is the part of the economy that doesn't have a business plan yet. Once somebody can figure out how to turn a social trend into a moneymaking operation, he or she can raise capital, get a product on the shelves, and collect revenue. A business plan certainly isn't child's play, but at least there's a process in place. It's during that breathless span of time before the business plan takes shape--a month, a year, a decade, that critical time when a notion is incubating in society and no one knows quite what to make of it--when we need the commons. Understanding the commons is more important than ever. Traditionally, a commons was a grassy area in the center of town where everyone could graze their animals. In modern times, people have applied the notion of a "commons" to anything that is available to all comers without restriction. In particular, sociologists consider ideas, cultural artifacts, and other intellectual contributions to have become part of our commons. Many people already appreciate the commons. But those who demand that ideas have business plans in order to be usable should ponder the first sentence of this article to see a hardheaded justification for the importance of the intellectual commons. This article explores how this concept fits in with free software, also known as open source software....The early radio broadcasters were nonprofits: in other words, radio started out as part of the commons. Under the pressures of corporations and the Federal Communications Commission, radio quickly developed a business plan. Interestingly enough, however, broadcasts remained free of charge. Advertising support replaced the pay-per-copy or pay-per-performance model.

Update. Here are some follow-up thoughts by Joe Brockmeier (8/3/05) that apply as much to open access as to open source. 'One of the questions that is being asked regularly is "what is the business plan for open source?" This has always struck me as odd, as it is akin to asking "what is the business plan for punk rock?" or "what is the business plan for modern art?" Open source projects may need business plans, companies that utilize open source certainly do — but the concept of open source itself does not. It's always seemed a bit silly to try to lump the entire open source development ecosystem in together in that way, because you simply can't apply the same approach to every project — even if you assume that every project is motivated by some kind of commercial success, which would be a mistake in and of itself....On the one hand, there's the desire to "monetize" everything under the sun. On the other, there's the need for a "commons" of intellectual property that is not owned by anyone, that can be used by anyone to create new works — possibly for commercial gain, or for the good of society, or just because it's fun. Right now, the public interest and preservation of the commons, is taking a backseat to monetization. This may be good news for a handful of companies and individuals, but it's bad news for the rest of us.'

Crispin Davis on Reed growth and OA

Cosima Marriner, Reed may be online-only in a decade, The Guardian, July 29, 2005. Excerpt:
Reed Elsevier could be an online-only publisher within a decade, the chief executive, Sir Crispin Davis, predicted yesterday, as heavy investment in web-based publishing fuels the company's growth....Sir Crispin said Reed's future growth would be driven by online publishing. Already 40% of subscriptions to its science and healthcare journals are online-only, while the internet accounts for a third of British business publishing revenues....Sir Crispin predicted online revenues could surpass print by 2008, delivering better margins and higher sales volumes. Within 10 years, he said: "You could see Reed almost as an entirely online business." Analysts said Reed was reaping the benefits of its heavy investment in online publishing. "They're delivering rates of growth now that big competitors are looking to do in a few years," Lorna Tilbian, a Numis Securities analyst, said. "The number one publisher is also the fastest growing."...Sir Crispin said the threat to Reed's Elsevier science and healthcare division from open-access journals had failed to materialise, with such journals accounting for less than 1% of publications in the sector.

Comment. "Had failed to materialize" is the wrong tense and wrong perspective. The Reed numbers are growing. The OA numbers are growing too. It's true that the OA numbers are currently small, but that is no sign of failure, no sign that the trajectory is down instead of up, and no sign that the opportunity for OA has somehow passed. Imagine a typewriter manufacturer in 1981 or 1982 saying, "Personal computers had failed to materialize." If Davis' theory is that the early small numbers will remain small, then it's wishful thinking. If he's too smart for that elementary mistake, then it's spin.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Looking for open-content projects

OpenFlows has launched a Global Scan on Open (Collaborative) Content Projects, a worldwide effort to build a database of open content projects. See what it has collected so far. The global scan is funded by the Open Society Institute's Information Program. To take part, just contact OpenFlows.

Oxford OA presentations

The four presentations from the Open Access Debate (Oxford, June 21, 2005), as well as a summary, are now online.

Academic citation as the inspiration for Google

John Battelle, The Birth of Google, Wired, August 2005. A selection from Battelle's forthcoming book, The Search, coming in September from Portfolio. Excerpt:
[Larry Page] thought it would be very useful to know who was linking to whom. Why? To fully understand the answer to that question, a minor detour into the world of academic publishing is in order. For professors - particularly those in the hard sciences like mathematics and chemistry - nothing is as important as getting published. Except, perhaps, being cited. Academics build their papers on a carefully constructed foundation of citation: Each paper reaches a conclusion by citing previously published papers as proof points that advance the author's argument. Papers are judged not only on their original thinking, but also on the number of papers they cite, the number of papers that subsequently cite them back, and the perceived importance of each citation. Citations are so important that there's even a branch of science devoted to their study: bibliometrics. Fair enough. So what's the point? Well, it was Tim Berners-Lee's desire to improve this system that led him to create the World Wide Web. And it was Larry Page and Sergey Brin's attempts to reverse engineer Berners-Lee's World Wide Web that led to Google. The needle that threads these efforts together is citation - the practice of pointing to other people's work in order to build up your own.

Using OAI to expose deep web content to search engines

Tony Boston, Exposing the deep web to increase access to library collections, a presentation at AusWeb 2005. Abstract: 'The National Library of Australia is making digital copies of special collection materials available over the Internet. About 100,000 collection items including pictures, maps, sheet music, manuscripts, and some books and serials have been made available online. This content is delivered dynamically from a database developed to manage the Library’s digital collections. Since 2002 the Library has been exposing this content to Internet search engines to increase access to the material and provide multiple discovery pathways for Library users. This paper documents lessons learned in exposing the deep web and presents statistics on increased web usage focussing particularly on the Library’s Pictures Collection. Application of technologies which can be used to share deep web content such as the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting are also explored.' (Thanks to ResearchBuzz.)

Critic of A2K makes exception for OA

In today's Business Day, John Kilama criticizes the IP-focused parts of the WIPO Development Agenda (and its A2K treaty) but concedes the strength of the OA-related parts. Excerpt: 'The World Intellectual Property Organisation is meeting this week for a final discussion of a so-called “development agenda”, which has been largely predicated on the dubious proposition that intellectual property is to blame for many of the ills in the world. Implementing such an agenda would likely be counterproductive. Far from improving access to medicine, “reforming” the rules would likely undermine the very foundations of economic growth, while doing nothing to promote long-term access to drugs. Among the better models for innovation suggested by opponents of the current system are open-access publishing, open-source software development and increased government funding for research and development.'

New NIH presentation on the public-access policy

The NIH has released a new (July 27) slide presentation (PPT or PDF) on the public-access policy.

New JISC funding for institutional repositories

The JISC budget for funding OA repositories and related initiatives has just been enlarged. From today's press release: 'It was announced today that JISC has received an extra £15m to invest in IT initiatives to support learning, teaching and research. The money, awarded by HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England) through its Strategic Development Fund (SDF), is in addition to £25m from the Spending Review agreed earlier this year. The funds, totalling £40m, will be used for a range of activities and represents a significant investment to support and enhance further the UK's digital infrastructure, access to online content and the development of digital repositories....The funding, which covers the years 2006 – 2008, will be invested in the following areas of activity: ...[2] further digitisation of major scholarly collections;...[5] development of a shared infrastructure to support the growing use of institutional repositories.'

Milan presentations online

The presentations from the conference, Open Culture: Accessing and Sharing Knowledge (Milan, June 27-29, 2005), are now online.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Defending Creative Commons

Mia Garlick, Creative Humbug? Bah the humbug, let's get creative! INDICARE, July 27, 2005.
Creative Commons has been criticized recently, in particular by legal counsel for the Hungarian collecting society ARTISJUS in a recent article in INDICARE, for being unforthcoming about its purpose and misrepresenting both its mission and licenses. Creative Commons welcomes the debate about copyright issues and Creative Commons' role in working to facilitate the interests of creators and users of copyrighted works. This article seeks to clarify some misunderstandings and misrepresentations about what Creative Commons is about and about the Creative Commons' licenses.

Compact OAI harvester from OCLC

How short can an OAI-compliant metadata harvester be? For the apparent record-holder, see OCLC's 2PageOAI. From the site:
"Amazing! Simply, bloody amazing!!" –Art Rhyno, University of Windsor.

These Python scripts are a demonstration of how short a compliant OAI-PMH (Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting) can be. The following files are available: [1] The harvester is a one-page OAI client that can download metadata from an OAI repository and put it into a file suitable for the repository. [2] The repository is a two-page OAI server that can read in an XML file, such as that written by the harvester above, and make them harvestable in turn. [3] There is a short readme file explaining how to use the harvester and respository programs. These programs have been tested with Python 2.2.2 and 2.2.3, but should work with any 2.2 or later Python. They are completely self-contained, using standard Python XML and HTTP libraries. No additional libraries beyond those included in the standard Python distribution are needed. The Web server used by the repsository is 'built-in'.

Executable code-text-data clusters

Robert Gentleman, Reproducible Research: A Bioinformatics Case Study, Statistical Applications in Genetics and Molecular Biology, January 11, 2005. Only this abstract is free online:
While scientific research and the methodologies involved have gone through substantial technological evolution the technology involved in the publication of the results of these endeavors has remained relatively stagnant. Publication is largely done in the same manner today as it was fifty years ago. Many journals have adopted electronic formats, however, their orientation and style is little different from a printed document. The documents tend to be static and take little advantage of computational resources that might be available. Recent work, Gentleman and Temple Lang (2003), suggests a methodology and basic infrastructure that can be used to publish documents in a substantially different way. Their approach is suitable for the publication of papers whose message relies on computation. Stated quite simply, Gentleman and Temple Lang (2003) propose a paradigm where documents are mixtures of code and text. Such documents may be self-contained or they may be a component of a compendium which provides the infrastructure needed to provide access to data and supporting software. These documents, or compendiums, can be processed in a number of different ways. One transformation will be to replace the code with its output -- thereby providing the familiar, but limited, static document. In this paper we apply these concepts to a seminal paper in bioinformatics, namely The Molecular Classification of Cancer, Golub et al (1999). The authors of that paper have generously provided data and other information that have allowed us to largely reproduce their results. Rather than reproduce this paper exactly we demonstrate that such a reproduction is possible and instead concentrate on demonstrating the usefulness of the compendium concept itself.
(Thanks to STLQ.)

More on Yahoo Subscriptions mixing free and priced content

Michael Pastore, For Paid Content, the Times They Are a Changin', Intranet Journal, July 22, 2005. Excerpt:
The "deep Web" — online content that sits behind subscriptions and members-only barriers — and the not-so-deep Web (free Web content) collided with the launch of the Yahoo Subscriptions beta last month. The Yahoo service, which added LexisNexis and Factiva to its list of content aggregators and publishers this week, lets users search both the open Web and the deep Web in one search. And if you already have a subscription to Yahoo Subscription's publishing partners, you get to use the Yahoo search technology to search multiple publishers and aggregators as well as the open Web. The approach isn't entirely new; Northern Light gave it a try until 2002. But it's an approach that Internet users should probably get used to. When International Data Group (IDG) CEO Pat Kenealy told Wired this week he thought the Internet of 2005 reminded him of television in 1955, when the content was all free, it was a comment that got your attention. Kenealy's company, after all, publishes some 300 Web sites and magazines in the technology space. On Wall Street, newspaper stocks are performing poorly. The latest numbers from Dow Jones and The New York Times Co. were less than stellar, with the exception of their online ventures. The Wall Street Journal Web site had an 8.8 percent increase in the number of subscribers in the second quarter of this year; and remember, you pay for the Journal online. Neither paid content or free content is going away anytime soon. The deep Web and the open Web will have to find a way to co-exist. That is, essentially, what the Yahoo Subscriptions beta is all about — finding a way to bring the paid and free content together for people searching the Internet. Is this what we should come to expect in the future?

IoP releases OA titles for LOCKSS

Institute of Physics Publishing and LOCKSS (Lots Of Copies Keep Stuff Safe) have released the two Open Access titles published by IoP for distributed, long term digital preservation.

New Journal of Physics - Fulltext v1+ (1998+); ISSN: 1367-2630

Journal of Physics: Conference Series - Fulltext v1+ (2004+); Print ISSN: 1742-6588 | Online ISSN: 1742-6596

Report on Cologne OA Summit

Bruno Bauer, Zur aktuellen Situation von Open Access: Cologne Summit on Open Access Publishing 2004, Bibliotheksdienst, vol. 2, 2005. A report on the Cologne Summit on Open Access Publishing, December 7-8, 2004. (Thanks to medinfo.)

Funding for interoperability projects

Publisher and Library/Learning Solutions (PALS) is funding projects "to develop interoperability between publishers and aggregators and the the JISC Information Environmnet (IE)." From the solicitation: 'Aversion to such standards as OAI may derive from a mistaken, but understandable, assumption that the metadata harvesting protocol is intended for freely available archives. The PALS Interoperability and Metadata Working Group was set up in November 2002 to address this issue. Membership is drawn from both the publishing and the library communities. The initial objective of the group is to analyse the barriers to publishers' use of metadata, and identify possible solutions and one round of projects has already been completed....The group are currently inviting proposals to undertake a second round of projects that help to develop interoperability between publishers and aggregators and the the JISC Information Environmnet (IE). The deadline for tenders is 6th September 2005. The aim of these projects is to highlight and explore the issues surrounding the development of interoperable, metadata-based services offered by publishers based on their electronic publications. The projects are expected to be of a three to ten months timescale and to start no later than October 2005.'

ARL comment on the NGA withdrawal of geospatial information

The ARL has released Prue Adler's excellent letter (June 28, 2005) to the US National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) on the NGA's proposal to remove some geospatial information from public distribution. Excerpt:
Third, the concern expressed by NGA that there is a need to avoid competition with the private sector is unfounded. It is clearly in the public interest to have this geospatial data broadly available to many constituencies for research and commercial use. It is not the role of NGA to promote competition or avoid competition in the marketplace. In addition, if this information is only available via selected commercial entities, this will limit access only to those who can afford the information thus hampering research in new and innovative directions. In fact, this may have the opposite effect of limiting competition by placing smaller firms at a disadvantage as they may not be able to not afford the cost of the data and the development of new value-added services. Moreover, removal of this geospatial information will thwart cooperative efforts among government, the commercial sector and those in not-for-profit settings including research and education.
The NGA comment period ended on June 30 and the agency is now reviewing the comments.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Forthcoming multidisciplinary OA journal

Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine will encompass all aspects of the philosophy of medicine and biology, and the ethical aspects of clinical practice and research. It will also consider papers at the intersection of medicine and humanities, including the history of medicine, that are relevant to contemporary philosophy of medicine and bioethics.

Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine -- Forthcoming fulltext; ISSN: 1747-5341.

A publisher attests to the economics of OA publishing

Paul Peters, Open Access: An Economic Perspective, SPARC e-News, June-July 2005. (Scroll to the fifth story.) Excerpt:
While advocates of Open Access publishing have tended to focus on the social benefits of this new publishing model, there are a number of economic advantages inherent in open access publishing that are equally compelling. I am the Senior Publishing Developer for the Hindawi Publishing Corporation, and speaking as a commercial publisher who has recently embraced open access, I can honestly say that it is the most promising business model available to small and mid-sized publishers today. In the current academic publishing market there are a number of factors that make it very difficult for smaller publishers to compete with the major publishing houses like the Springer Group and Elsevier. First, the market is highly insulated from economic competition due to the way that the subscription system is structured. Second, as libraries are forced to cut their serials spending, smaller publishers who are not protected by "Big Deal" schemes are the first to suffer. Finally, it is very difficult for smaller publishers to successfully launch new journals, since the barrier to entry in the toll-access system is so high....Over the past few years, even the wealthiest libraries have been forced to cancel subscriptions due to a widening gap between library budgets and journal prices. While "Big Deal" packages protect the major publishing houses from these cancellations, small and mid-sized publishers have been struggling to maintain subscriptions....Launching new journals can easily become a vicious circle for smaller publishers: nobody wants to publish their best work in a journal without many subscribers, but nobody wants to subscribe to a journal that doesn't receive high-quality submissions. Since open access journals do not limit their readership to a small group of subscribers, they can attract both authors and readers immediately....At the moment, Open Access may not be economically viable in every discipline, but in many well-funded fields it can be a very successful publishing model. The accomplishments of the Public Library of Science and BioMed Central have shown that open access can work in the life sciences, but I believe that this is only the beginning. By the end of 2005, we at Hindawi Publishing expect to have launched open access journals in numerous fields including electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, materials science, biotechnology, and the geosciences.

RAE will deemphasize prestige journals

Anthea Lipsett and Anna Fazackerley, RAE shifts focus from prestige journals, Times Higher Education Supplement, July 22, 2005. (Thanks to Matt Cockerill.) Excerpt:
Senior academics overseeing the 2008 research assessment exercise [RAE] have urged universities to abandon their obsession with big-name journals such as Nature and Science. If successful, the move could signal a major culture shift in universities where academics are pressured to publish "career grade" papers in top-ranking general journals to gain appointments and promotions....Sir John Beringer, chair of Panel D, which covers the biological sciences, said: "The jolt will come for those (academics) who take the mindless approach - 'I have so many publications in journals X and Y, therefore I am excellent'. It is terribly important to break the link that publishing in a journal such as Nature is necessarily a measure of excellence." Rama Thirunamachandran, director of research at the Higher Education Funding Council for England, said: "It is not all about publishing in high-impact journals. It is about ensuring that high-quality research is disseminated by whatever means. In some cases that might be a patent application, in others conference proceedings."

Comment. Although OA journals with impact factors have respectable ones (evidence here, here, and here), most OA journals are too new to have impact factors at all. The new RAE policy will remove disincentives that have kept UK authors from submitting work to OA journals. If carried out properly it could also encourage OA archiving as a sign that researchers are taking steps to make their work, no matter where it was published, as visible and useful as possible.

SOAN in Spanish

I'm very happy to announce that Marco Marandola has translated the July issue of the SPARC Open Access Newsletter into Spanish --and that he plans to translate future issues into Spanish as they appear. (Many thanks, Marco!)

More on OA to books

Russell Smith, FreeBooks4Doctors: Open Access Transcends Periodical Literature, Journal of Electronic Resources in Medical Libraries, 2, 4, (2005), pre-publication. Only this abstract is free online, at least so far: ' is a Web site that offers over 600 links to a variety of resources. From its top level page, it states that it is dedicated to the promotion of free access to medical books over the Internet. The short URL for this Web site is . The resources that this Web site points to are multilingual, with English being the primary language. French and Spanish are also represented, but other languages, such as German, Norwegian, and Russian, are included as well. This Web site is a promising resource, especially from a global perspective. The purpose of this review is to evaluate FreeBooks4Doctors from the perspective of a medical librarian and its viability as a resource for medical librarians.'

China's research output is growing rapidly

Andreas von Bubnoff, Asia squeezes Europe's lead in science, Nature, July 2005. (Thanks to SciDev.Net.)
Asian nations are catching up with Europe and the United States in terms of scientific output, says a US report. If current trends continue, publications from the Asia–Pacific region may outstrip those from the United States within six or seven years. In 2004, the report shows, countries from the Asia–Pacific region, including China, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore and India, produced 25% of the world’s research papers. In 1990, Asia's share of the scientific output was just 16%....One reason for the higher Asian publication share is strong economic growth and the resulting increase in research funding, says Mu-Ming Poo, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Berkeley, who spends part of every year as director of the Institute of Neuroscience in Shanghai. What's more, Poo says, research performance in Asia is now increasingly evaluated in terms of the publications in journals that are indexed by Thomson Scientific. In China, some institutions even pay researchers extra for publications in indexed journals, especially ones that carry widely cited articles.

Comment. China's rapid growth in scientific research gives it a chance to become a world leader in OA. It could leapfrog over the university policies and publishing models that evolved in the era of print. Moreover, the high percentage of publicly-funded research in China is a natural for OA dissemination. On the other hand, China's conservative method for spurring productivity is to encourage conventional publication. While this fails to seize the opportunity to nurture OA journals, it is entirely compatible with OA archiving. To maximize the benefits of their growing output, for themselves and for others, the Chinese must see the connection between OA and impact. If they provide OA to their research output as it grows, then they will not only maximize its impact, they will minimize the difficulties of the transition.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Saline Systems -- new OA journal

Saline Systems is a new independent Open Access journal hosted by BioMed Central. The journal is intended to provide a rapid dissemination outlet for "... basic and applied research on coastal and inland saline environments and their flora and fauna. The journal covers research at all levels, from individual genes to whole genomes and entire ecosystems."

Saline Systems - Fulltext v1+ (2005+); ISSN: 1746-1448.

New on PMC -- Clinical Practice and Epidemiology in Mental Health

Clinical Practice and Epidemiology in Mental Health, an independent Open Access journal hosted by BioMed Central, began publishing in late April 2005. Mirroring of the journal's content at PubMed Central was initiated in early July.

Clinical Practice and Epidemiology in Mental Health - Fulltext v1+ (2005+) from BioMed Central | from PubMed Central; ISSN: 1745-0179.

European Journal of Psychiatry introduces OA

The European Journal of Psychiatry, based at Spain's Universidad de Zaragoza, has established an Open Access edition on the SciELO platform.

European Journal of Psychiatry - Fulltext v19+ (2005+); Print ISSN: 0213-6163.

More on the green and gold roads to OA

Stevan Harnad, The Green and Gold Roads to Maximizing Journal Article Access, Usage and Impact, Haworth Press, July 1, 2005. The second of Stevan's occasional columns for Haworth. Excerpt:
[In all the talk about OA journals or the gold road] we have forgotten about green! The motivation for an author to publish in a gold journal rather than a non-gold one is that it will maximize access and impact. But self-archiving one's own article will have the same effect!...Moreover, the benefits of institutional self-archiving trump merely publishing in a gold journal, because the institutional archive also enhances the visibility and impact of the researcher's institution, it is a means of record-keeping for the institution's own assets, and it is a means of monitoring, evaluating and rewarding institutional research performance. So chances are that even articles published in golden journals will need to be self-archived in the author's institutional archive. An institutional policy of requiring researchers to self-archive all their journal article output - with which 81% of researchers worldwide have now said they would comply willingly, and which has been recommended for adoption by the UK Select Committee, the US Congress and the Berlin Declaration - looks as if it will soon be adopted by all the research funding councils in the UK (RCUK) and has already been adopted by the CERN megalab (improving on an earlier, weaker policy adopted by the Wellcome Trust, which allowed a 6-month delay, and a still weaker policy adopted by the National Institutes of Health, requesting instead of requiring, and allowing a 12-month delay). So whereas the golden road of OA publishing may prove to be the road of the future for journal publishing, the road to maximizing journal article access, usage and impact right now is the green road of OA self-archiving.

Quasi-open access from Bepress

Bepress has a new name for one of its access models: quasi-open access. From the site: 'The Berkeley Electronic Press has pioneered a new form of access for its journals, which we call "quasi-open" access. Quasi-open access is an attempt to balance the need for cost recovery against authors' and editors' desire for maximum readership and distribution. Those without subscriptions can access any article by filling out a short form that allows us to inform their library of their interest in reading our journals. When libraries are convinced of sufficient interest in the journal, they subscribe. Afterwards access for all faculty, staff, and students at that institution is immediate and there are no more forms to fill out. The system depends upon the good faith of librarians. Putting our own faith in the good faith of librarians has been a favorable gamble for us. We have worked this way for 5 years with positive results.' (Thanks to Matt Cockerill.)

German OA FAQ

Klaus Graf has written a short Open Access FAQ primarily but not exclusively for his field of Witchcraft Research (in German).

Call for an OA revolution in Australia

Leslie Cannold, To publish - or to e-publish? The Age, July 25, 2005. Excerpt:
In the electronic age, the academic's need for commercial publishers is becoming obsolete. For academics, the ongoing debate about the impact of the internet on scholarly communication couldn't be more important. This is because whatever evolves or is decided on will critically affect the way academics do business: how they use and create knowledge and obtain reward for being recognised by their peers. To arrive at the best model for scholarly communication we must look past the enthusiastic championing of an open-access future, and publishing houses trumpeting new and viable business models, and return to first principles. Ignoring how we've always done it and why, we need to ask: what is it that academics need from and are trying to achieve with scholarly journal publication? The answer is threefold. Academics want their own journal articles published quickly and disseminated widely, and to be credited in ways that enable them to maintain their job or even climb the ladder. They also need convenient access to the most up-to-date journal publications in their discipline's archives: access that has been curtailed in recent years because of the profiteering of large academic publishers determined to exploit their control over research findings, and the inability of most university library budgets to keep up. The truth is that academics and universities hold most of the cards in the scholarly publishing game. This is not just because they do the research, write the papers and do the unpaid work required to provide quality assurance by reviewing the work of their peers. It is also because their primary objective is not to profit from the distribution of their work, but to have it read and cited by others....So in the new world of electronic communication, academics don't need commercial journal publishers. What we need is a revolution. Such a revolution may include a wholesale adoption of the open-access principle: the publication of all scholarly research under the "public funding, public knowledge, public access" banner....[E]very university should have its own serial e-press that would be the first place of publication for first-rate work. Perhaps this press would develop into a number of disciplinary-specific, peer-refereed electronic journals that would, to quote Professor Colin Steele, "serve as tangible indicators of a university's quality", and thus increase "the university's visibility, status and public value".

Launch of PLoS Genetics

Today marks the official launch of PLoS Genetics. From Wayne Frankel's editorial in the inaugural issue:
On behalf of our editorial team, it is my pleasure to welcome you to PLoS Genetics, a new open-access journal from the Public Library of Science (PLoS). Led by an internationally recognized editorial board with broad knowledge and expertise, PLoS Genetics is a journal that celebrates the research of the greater genetics and genomics community. As you see in this first issue, PLoS Genetics is unique --publishing outstanding articles that reflect the full breadth and interdisciplinary nature of this research, all free to read and to use in your own research and teaching....In 2004, when PLoS asked several of us in the genetics community about a need and desire for an open-access genetics/genomics journal, I replied with a resounding "yes!" And I was not alone --others had the same reaction that the time was right for a new genetics journal of high quality. Certainly the open-access element was key --following in the public-domain spirit of genetics and genomics data release, for example, by the Human Genome Project. And creating such a journal --building on the strong experience and reputation of PLoS Biology-- seemed an opportunity not to miss.

Update. Also see the PLoS press release.

Information exchange for ERIC users

Kate Corby has launched the ERIC Users Information Exchange: "tips, techniques and current information about the ERIC index." (Thanks to ResourceShelf.)

Florida Electronic Library

The State of Florida is providing free online access for every citizen in the state to the Florida Electronic Library, a collection of OA and licensed resources. For details, see the special report in yesterday's Sun-Herald. (Thanks to LIS News.)

(PS: I'd like to think that Florida policy-makers adopted this good idea because it was a good idea. But the front page of the Florida Electronic Library features photographs of the governor and secretary of state, suggesting that part of the idea was to advertise themselves to a captive audience.)

More on using orphan works in scholarship

Scott Carlson, Whose Work Is It, Anyway? Chronicle of Higher Education, July 29, 2005 (accessible only to subscribers). Excerpt:
Like many other scholars across the country, Joseph Siry might have broken the law to illustrate an article he wrote for an academic journal -- by including an illustration without obtaining permission to do so from its copyright holder....With no apparent owner to approve its publication, the image was stuck in copyright limbo, a prime example of what legal experts call an "orphan work." Mr. Siry made a difficult decision: He cited the little information he had about the design and used it in his article anyway, despite the risk of being sued....This week, at the urging of prominent legal scholars, academic-library organizations, technology companies such as Google and Microsoft, and many other interested parties, the U.S. Copyright Office is holding a series of hearings to determine whether copyright law should change to allow for more liberal use of orphan works. Scholars and others weighed in earlier this year, filing comments on the issue with the copyright office in anticipation of the hearings. The American Historical Association, for example, noted that orphan works had become a problem for scholars, "hampering the historian's ability to work with the raw materials of history." The comments reveal that even frequent adversaries on copyright issues agree that changes are needed in how the law governs orphan works. But few people agree on what those changes should be....In response to the U.S. Copyright Office's request for comments, Cornell University librarians added up the money and time spent clearing copyright on 343 monographs for a digital archive of literature on agriculture. Although the library has spent $50,000 and months of staff time calling publishers, authors, and authors' heirs, it has not been able to identify the owners of 58 percent of the monographs. "In 47 cases we were denied permission, and this was primarily because the people we contacted were unsure whether they could authorize the reproduction or not," says Peter B. Hirtle, who monitors intellectual-property issues for Cornell's libraries. "Copyright is supposed to advance the sciences and arts, and this is copyright becoming an impediment to the sciences and arts."

Outgoing IFLA secretary on OA

Frances Groen, Some Thoughts on IFLA and the Section on University and Other Research Libraries from Your Outgoing Secretary, Newsletter of the IFLA University Libraries & Other General Research Libraries Section, July 2005. Scroll to pp. 5-7. Excerpt:
I was particularly pleased when IFLA provided a statement on Open Access, although somewhat disappointed that it chose not to endorse the Budapest Open Access Initiative. The issue of Open Access is one that continues to gain momentum and has particular significance in relation to the needs of the developing world. At the IFLA meeting in Glasgow the Section sponsored a pre-conference workshop on Open Access. This year the Section on Medical and Biological Sciences Libraries is sponsoring a workshop on this topic, further indication, if any is needed, of the convergences of interests amongst IFLA members. I plan to attend this Workshop on Saturday August 13.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

More on Google steering users toward Google Scholar

This puzzle remains unsolved, but some interesting observations can be made about which keyword combinations trigger Google Scholar, and which don't. Examples: dna crick: (yes); DNA crick: (no); dna watson: (no); dna structure: (yes); dna consciousness: (yes); dna open access: (yes). Comment: A personal favorite is: hematopoietic stem cell mcculloch. Should there be a prize for solving this puzzle?