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The March issue of the MIT OpenCourseWare Update is now online. This issue contains updates on OCW projects at ParisTech, JohnsHopkins, Tufts, and Utah State Universities, as well as projects in China, Japan, and Vietnam.
Heather Morrison, The Dramatic Growth of Open Access: March 31, 2006 Update, Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics, March 31, 2006. Excerpt:
In the last quarter, over 780,000 records have been added to OAIster, suggesting that those open access archives are beginning to fill! There are 170 more titles in DOAJ, likely an understated increase due to a weeding project. 78 titles have been added to DOAJ in the past 30 days, a growth rate of more than 2 new titles per day. Disciplinary archives are showing remarkable growth. E-LIS has been increasing at the equivalent of 56% annually. Differences in growth rates suggest the possibility of a life-cycle factor in open access archives growth, perhaps initial slow growth, followed by very rapid growth, then a more steady growth as the archive matures....The most notable increase is the addition of over 780,000 records to OAIster, the equivalent of a 50% annual increase. This rate of increase doubles that of 2005 (25%). This evidence suggests that those open access institutional archives are beginning to fill! Among the disciplinary archives examined, the highest growth rate was shown at E-LIS, with an equivalent of a 56% annual increase. The longer-established disciplinary archives showed impressive but slower growth rates: RePEC, 25%, and arXiv, 12%. One possible explanation could be a life-cycle factor for successful disciplinary archives, with a relatively high percentage growth rate at an early stage, followed by slower percentage growth at a more mature phase. This will reflect, in part, the larger size of the repository. It takes more records to create a 12% increase in a large repository than a 50% increase in a small one. Data from the Canadian Metadata Harvester may indicate another potential life-cycle effect. That is, the Canadian repositories showed a growth rate equivalent to less than 12% per year. The difference between the Canadian open access archives data increase and the OAIster increase (50%) may reflect the relative newness of many of the Canadian repositories. While delayed free access is not true open access, the 200,000 articles added to the Highwire Free program - an equivalent of a 72% annual increase - does represent a dramatic increase in free access. DOAJ includes 170 more titles now than on Dec. 31, 2006, an equivalent annual growth rate of 34%. This percentage is likely an understatement, as DOAJ has been undertaking a weeding project to remove titles no longer meeting DOAJ criteria....
Carolyn O'Hara and Travis Daub, Google's hidden payroll, USA Today, March 28, 2006 (reprinted from the Christian Science Monitor). Excerpt:
Jayant Kumar Gandhi, a former software engineer in New Delhi, is one of hundreds of thousands around the world on Google's shadow payroll. In his spare time, Mr. Gandhi runs a free computer help website and recently began running ads by Google on his homepage as part of Google Adsense, a program that pays website publishers for advertising space. When visitors click on the ads on Gandhi's site, Google makes a small profit from the advertiser, and in turn, pays a percentage of that profit to Gandhi. Such clicks can translate into pennies — or dollars — a day for a Web publisher. "I had no intentions of using it for more than a week," Gandhi says. "I didn't believe the stories that Adsense paid decent money. I ignored them as a marketing gimmick." But Gandhi's Adsense profits have exceeded his wildest dreams. He now earns about $1,000 a month from the program, the same salary he previously earned as a software engineer. His new income has allowed him to leave his job and return to school. "Today I am able to sponsor my higher studies because of Adsense," he says....Dr. Rodolfo Rafael, who owns a small medical clinic in San Fabian, Philippines, says the Adsense earnings from his medical website allow him to "dream big" and reinvest in his medical practice. Their experiences are shared across the developing world. In Cairo, Mohamed Sallam was grounded for health reasons from his job as an airline steward, and he now spends time maintaining a Web forum devoted to discussions of Islam. He earns most of his income, about $500 a month, from Adsense....Deepesh Agarwal, who runs a small cybercafe in Rajasthan state, India, draws about 90% of his income, or $1,500 a month, from his Adsense earnings. It is a princely sum in a state where the average income is just $300 a year. "Adsense has changed my life," Mr. Agarwal says. "I can afford things that I was not able to before. I am planning to buy a new car. I can save for my future."...The program is a big revenue generator for Google, too. The company earned some $2.7 billion in Adsense revenues last year. Google refuses to disclose the exact percentage it pays out to Adsense member sites, but recent news reports have put that figure as high as 78.5 cents on the dollar. "We do not disclose [the revenue share] for different reasons," says Brian Axe, an Adsense group product manager at Google. "But it is more than fair. [These success stories] bring a smile to our faces."...Thanks to Adsense, a blogger in New Delhi can earn the same 5 cents for an ad-click as a blogger in Detroit. For many Adsense users in the developing world, that opportunity has become perhaps the most unintentional — and most successful — development program to spring from the online revolution.
PS: Also see my February article on Google AdSense ads for open-access journals.
Kate Corby, Review of "The Access Principle", Education Review, March 29, 2006. A review of Willinsky's book (MIT Press, 2005). Excerpt:
I know John Willinsky to be an energetic and engaging speaker, so I couldn’t resist dipping into his new book, The Access Principle, for what I hoped would be a good read. I was not disappointed. Willinsky takes up the complex issue of open access publishing and does a terrific job of explaining why this issue is becoming increasingly important for academics in any discipline. It is unfortunate that many academics feel that assuring access to research is not central to their work. They are engaged in attracting funding, completing research and publishing the results. Finding their publications to build further research proposals is the problem of subsequent researchers. Most researchers want to publish their findings in the highest prestige journal possible essentially, as Willinsky shows, making a leap of faith that their contributions will reach a large audience and make a favorable impression on those holding the purse stings at institutions and grant making organizations....One thing that delays progress is the complexity of the issue....One of the ways Willinsky brings clarity to the situation is by consistently insisting that academic researchers are in the business of growing the world’s knowledge base....Willinsky makes a strong case for the contention that the aggressively competitive role commercial publishers play in academic publishing has had a negative impact on access for everyone, not just smaller schools and poorer countries....
The March issue of CERN's High Energy Physics Libraries Webzine is now online. Here are the OA-related articles.
Jeffrey Hawkins, Fired CMAJ editors speak out Lecture stresses value of editorial autonomy, Globe and Mail, March 31, 2006. Excerpt:
For the first time since they were fired from the Canadian Medical Association Journal in late February, John Hoey and Anne Marie Todkill spoke yesterday about what they believe editorial independence means in medical-journal publishing and what is needed to safeguard it. The former editors gave a lecture called "Entitlement and independence in medical discourse" to about 150 faculty members and students at McMaster University in Hamilton, in which they stressed the importance of editorial autonomy....In his opening remarks, [Dr. Hoey] said "a journal belongs to readers, editors and editorial boards -- not professional associations. "The owners get to pick the editor, but after that they should leave the editor alone." For the most part, Dr. Hoey addressed where he thinks medical journals are heading, with a strong emphasis on open-source on-line publications, such as the San Francisco-based journal Public Library of Science. "They have the advantage of not being dependent on advertising dollars," he said.
Science Commons has signed the Berlin Declaration. Director John Wilbanks explains why:
Tony Fitzpatrick, Collaboration, computers changing the nature of modern mathematical proofs, Krantz says, Washington University Record, March 31, 2006. Excerpt:
A proof is a finalized set of statements claiming to solve a problem. Today, many mathematical papers claiming proof of a solved problem often are posted on a non-peer-reviewed, preprint server called "arXiv," located at Cornell University and approved by the American Mathematical Association. "I think that arXiv is a great device for dissemination of mathematical work," said [Steven Krantz, professor of mathematics]. "But it is not good for archiving and validation. The reason that arXiv works so well is that there is no refereeing. You just post your work and that is it. "Furthermore, those interested in certain subject areas are automatically notified of new postings. The work gets out there quickly, and it's free. Everybody has access to arXiv. But there is no peer review. "Publishing is a process that involves vetting, editing and several other important steps. We must keep that issue separate from dissemination. And dissemination is important in its own right. But it's a separate issue."..."People have been discussing [Grisha Perelman's proof of the Poincare conjecture, posted to arXiv] now for more than two years, and many believe it to be correct. The ICTP News has in fact announced in its June 20, 2005, newsletter, that the Poincare conjecture is now proved. Period." But Krantz went on to note that Perelman has given a series of public lectures on the proof, but that he has not submitted the papers on arXiv for publication anywhere, even after Krantz, editor of The Journal of Geometric Analysis, has offered to publish anything that Perelman would like to say. But Perelman has not responded to the offer. Krantz said that the task of validating the proof is so daunting that no single mathematician would be able to verify it because it demands the knowledge of difficult low-dimensional topology, Alexandrov theory — not well-understood in the West — differential geometry and partial differential equations.PS: Washington University told the same story in a press release in February. See my 2/19/06 blog posting for a comment.
Eric Lease Morgan wrote detailed notes on the University of Michigan symposium, Scholarship and Libraries in Transition: A Dialogue about the Impacts of Mass Digitization Projects (Ann Arbor, March 10-11, 2006).
Simon Chester blogged some notes yesterday on a public talk by Michael Geist. Unfortunately, we don't know the occasion or event. According to Chester, Geist argued that "Government funding should require research to be open access." I'll blog Geist's words if I can find the text online.
Update. Geist was delivering the 2006 Hart House lecture at the University of Toronto, "Who owns creativity? What is wrong with copyright?"
Update. Joe Clark has blogged more detailed notes on Geist's talk, though he's equally brief on the call for a Canadian OA policy: "Choose research: Open-access scientific publication, especially for federally-funded research (including some of his, he told us)."
Stevan Harnad, Formaldehyde and Function, Open Access Archivangelism, March 30, 2006. Excerpt:
On Thu, 30 Mar 2006, Helen Hockx-Yu wrote in JISC-REPOSITORIES:"I should be grateful if anyone can provide me some evidence to back the following statement:'Concern of longevity has contributed to the lack of active engagement from many researchers [with institutional repositories]. Guarantee of long-term preservation helps enhance a repository's trustworthiness by giving authors confidence in the future accessibility and more incentives to deposit content'"I guess longevity here also applies to the financial sustainability of the repository itself as a business operation, in addition to its content."
Stevan Harnad and Chawki Hajjem, Manual Evaluation of Robot Performance in Identifying Open Access Articles, Open Access Archivangelism, March 30, 2006. Excerpt:
In an unpublished study, Antelman et al. (2005) hand-tested the accuracy of the algorithm that Hajjem et al.'s (2005) software robot used to identify Open Access (OA) and Non-Open-Access (NOA) articles in the ISI database. Antelman et al. found much lower accuracy (d' 0.98, bias 0.78, true OA 77%, false OA 41%), with their larger sample of nearly 600 (half OA, half NOA) in Biology (and even lower, near-chance performance in Sociology, sample size 600, d' 0.11, bias 0.99, true OA 53% false OA 49%) compared to Hajjem et al., who had with their smaller Biology sample of 200, found: d' 2.45, beta 0.52, true OA 93%, false OA 16%.
Eugene Russo, Open Access Not Yet a Major Cause of Journal Subscription Cancellations - Library Survey, March 30, 2006 (accessible only to subscribers). Excerpt:
The proliferation of open access content is not a big contributor to the cancellation of journal subscription, according to a survey of librarians undertaken by the U.K.-based Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP). The survey of 340 librarians, mostly based at academic institutions in the U.K. and the U.S., found that the availability of content via open access archives ranked far behind other factors in determining cancellations. The most important factor was...faculty no longer requiring the journal; declining usage and prohibitive price were the next most popular reasons for cancellation. However, a significant percentage (54) of respondents said that availability of open access archives is an important or a very important factor in determining cancellations now. Also, 81% think it will become important or very important in the next five years, according to the survey.
Dorothea Salo, Rolling with the punches, Caveat Lector, March 27, 2006. More on Phil Davis' study concluding that the correlation between OA and citation impact is not due to OA itself but to authors selecting their best work for OA archiving. Dorothea doesn't argue that Davis is right, but does argue that his conclusion can support effective new strategies for filling institutional repositories. If Davis is right, then we argue that researchers are making their best work OA. If not, then we argue that OA increases citation impact. Excerpt:
I hope I’m not the only repository-rat in existence to see an obvious and compelling new story to tell. “The best researchers are going OA —so you should too!” I like this story. It should play well. Researchers always have their eyes on their field’s hotshots.
Vinod B. Shidham, Lynn Sandweiss, Barbara F. Atkinson, First CytoJournal Peer-Reviewer's Retreat in 2006 - Open access, peer-review, and impact factor, Cytojournal, March 27, 2006. An editorial.
Abstract (provisional): CytoJournal organized its first Peer-Reviewer's Retreat of 2006 during the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology Annual Meeting at Atlanta on Feb 12, 2006. The major topics discussed were open access, peer review, and impact factors. Representative participants volunteered to join the task force to prepare an instructional guide for peer-reviewing cytopathology manuscripts. Concern about CytoJournal's Impact factor was discussed. A feedback to its reader and authors was recommended. Impact factor needs at least three years of journal statistics. It is only possible after two years from the time a journal is first accepted by Thomson-ISI for citation tracking. CytoJournal is still too new for an impact factor to be calculated. However, general progress of CytoJournal suggests an encouraging pattern for high impact factor.
Excerpt from the body of the paper:
We all sweat as academician[s] to create wonderful sculptures in the form of published research in the hope of sharing it with all our colleagues and the general public. With the traditional model for publishing scholarly work, we have to lose the copyright (and in reality the only right with reference to that work) and turn it to a close custody with restricted access. Open access is now a reality and is widely appreciated. It does not need hightech deduction to understand the benefits and philosophical principles of open access. However, we as authors and the general public have to be more proactive and imaginative to create a more robust sustainable model for generations to come. Traditional methods of publishing have done an excellent job with the resources and technology available at the time. Today with all the advances in communications technology, digitization, internet, archiving, memory cost, and so on, it is a high time to think and revolutionize our attitude towards the way we publish our work....In [the traditional subscription] model, only those of our colleagues who are lucky to pay for the journal access can read your publication. Is this restricted access what we want as a researcher? And if not, why should we follow such a flawed unfavorable model? In the past the answer was simple - we did not have any alternative!...But any new model, however powerful and beneficial it may be, has to evolve on all fronts including financial. Success of any enterprise depends on its financial viability. Open access is showing tremendous success even on that front....[A]ll professional socities, associations, and funding agencies strongly consider supporting open access and extend opportunity to their constituents to publish their work in open access to further their ultimate mission of disseminating scientific information to fulfill their public responsibility....What can we do as individual academician? The first step would be to question current publication model and insist on the open access model to our respective societies, including free publication in society journals for all their members. It could be argued that those members who are not interested in publishing may discontinue their membership. However, a few studies presented at the International Congress on Peer Review and Biomedical Publication at Chicago in September 16, 2005 showed that membership is not affected by choosing open access option. Table of contents comparable to a hard copy of the journal could be e-mailed periodically to all members saving significant resources and costs spent on journal printing and mailing....It would be unusual to find a research generated by publisher’s funds for publishing in their journals after paying due honororium to the researcher. Thus vast funding is spent at present on the research, but most of such funded research is lost ultimately to non-open access model of publication. If only a tiny fraction of this enormous fund is invested with sincere commitment, most of such research could be rightfully salvaged to be channeled to open access mode for general public good in future.
Stephen Pincock, UK knowledge transfer found lacking, TheScientist, March 29, 2006. Excerpt:
Britain's Research Councils lack the internal skills base to do an efficient job of knowledge transfer, the authors of an internal report on the subject told the House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology today (March 29). Richard Brook, director of the Leverhulme Trust, John Murphy from aerospace firm BAE Systems and Barbara Doig from the Scottish Executive, were commissioned by the Research Councils to conduct an "external challenge," and examine how well the eight government-funded councils transfer knowledge to and from business and the wider community.
The University of British Columbia Library hosts two new OA journals. (Thanks to Dean Giustini.) Excerpt:
Amy E.C. Koehler, Some Thoughts on the Meaning of Open Access for University Library Technical Services, Serials Review, February 20, 2006.
Abstract: Many studies of the Open Access (OA) movement analyze the problems of cost, author, and publisher reactions to OA, or the fluidity of the movement. Very few, however, investigate how library technical services have already been impacted by OA. How do collection development librarians identify and select material in these models? How do acquisitions librarians license or otherwise gain access to the materials? How are these materials to be maintained and preserved? The author surveys how OA in its various forms impacts the primary functions of technical services in academic libraries.
Kristiina Hormia-Poutanen and four co-authors, Consortia in Europe: Describing the Various Solutions Through Four Country Examples, Red Orbit, March 2, 2006.
Abstract: This article describes and discusses consortia models in Europe. Emphasis is given to those consortia that support content provision and access to electronic information resources in society. Four country cases [Finland, Greece, Russia, UK] are introduced as examples of the heterogeneous solutions chosen by the consortia. The main results and impact of the consortia are discussed. International cooperation has played an important role in the development of consortia in Europe. Regional and global collaboration initiatives are also discussed.
Richard Sietmann, Informationsversorgung an den Hochschulen immer schwieriger zu erfüllen, Heise Online, March 29, 2005. A report on Day 1 of the Berlin 4 meeting, now in progress.
The Max Planck Society has agreed to pay the article processing fees for its faculty when they publish in the OA New Journal of Physics. From yesterday's announcement:
In a move to open-up access to scientific research, an initiative announced today will enable German scientists to publish their research free of charge in New Journal of Physics (NJP), the online open-access journal jointly owned by the Institute of Physics (IOP) and the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft. The Max Planck Society (MPG), a leading German research organisation, will pay the NJP article publication charge centrally for all of its scientists who submit work to the journal before the end of 2008. NJP was one of the first open-access, electronic-only journals, publishing original research articles across the whole of physics. Permanently free to read, NJP is funded solely by article publication charges. The journal has grown by more than 900% since 2001 and over 40,000 NJP articles are now downloaded each month. NJP’s official impact factor has risen from 2.480 in 2003 and is currently 3.095. Ken Lillywhite, journals business director at Institute of Physics Publishing said, “We are delighted to maximize the opportunity for researchers at Max-Planck institutes to benefit from publishing with the journal. This will help NJP establish itself yet further as a premier research journal serving the whole physics community. Receiving the endorsement of a research organisation with the international stature of the Max Planck Society is a key development for the journal’s open-access publishing model.” Kurt Mehlhorn, vice president of the Max Planck Society said, “According to the Berlin Declaration the MPG advocates the publication of scientific works in journals which are dedicated to open-access. The MPG aims to find solutions that support further development of the existing financial framework of scientific publishing. I am strongly convinced that offering our scientists the opportunity to make their papers open-access will be a success because it provides authors with extra choice and will improve access to published articles....”
ProjectRepository from Johns Hopkins University has released some interim or preliminary findings. Excerpt:
With funding from the Mellon Foundation, the Sheridan Libraries at Johns Hopkins University has conducted an analysis of repositories and services based on a methodology for connecting user requirements with repository programmatic features. The Sheridan Libraries considered a diverse range of content types and end user services by developing and gathering numerous scenarios from multiple institutions, and collaborating particularly with MIT, UVA, and ProQuest to evaluate DSpace 1.3.2, Fedora 2.0, and Digital Commons. In all cases, we worked with the “out of the box” system and documented APIs.
The International Journal of Internet Science is a new peer-reviewed, open-access journal published by the Saarland University and State Library. (Thanks to Working Notes.) The inaugural issue is now online. From the site:
The International Journal of Internet Science is an interdisciplinary, peer reviewed journal for the publication of research articles about empirical findings, methodology, and theory in the field of Internet Science. It provides an outlet for articles on the Internet as a medium of research and its implications for individuals, social groups, organizations, and society....This journal combines Internet Science with Open Access. Conduct your research on the Internet, study the Internet, and make the papers with your results freely available on the Internet via this journal.
The University of Chicago Library has a web-form suggestion box whose ideas appear on a public blog. (Good idea.) Here's an unsigned suggestion from yesterday:
David Bollier, Four Great Websites on the Knowledge Commons, On the Commons, March 27, 2006. Excerpt:
In my constant effort to winnow timely and wise insight from the gushing cataract known as the Internet, I occasionally come across real gems. I thought it might be useful to showcase some of the commons-related sites that I have come to appreciate.(PS: Thanks, David!)
Jan Velterop, Of value and money, The Parachute, March 27, 2006. Excerpt:
Comment. The NIH does allow grantees to use grant funds to pay processing fees at OA journals that charge fees. It did so before it adopted its public access policy, which is why it isn't mentioned in the public-access policy.
John Holbo, Electra Press - Will Work For Whuffie, part II, The Valve, March 26, 2006. Thoughts on Electra Press, an emerging OA press for the humanities. Excerpt:
Steven Bell has blogged some notes about Ray English's Friday presentation on the crisis in scholarly publishing. (Bell doesn't say where the presentation was given.) Excerpt:
You must know Ray – he’s the latest winner of the ACRL Academic/Research Librarian of the Year award. But he’s also well known for his advocacy work in the area of the scholarly publishing crisis. As a small university library director I think less about the scholarly publishing crisis and the open access alternatives than I should. English’s presentation was the excellent overview of the issues that I needed. He covered the latest developments, the changes needed, the positive trends, and most of all, what librarians can do to create change. Here are some of the highlights:
The UK is scrapping its old-style Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) for a metrics-based method of assessing research excellence and awarding funds. The new RAE should boost the fortunes of OA repositories in the UK and perhaps even the draft RUCK policy. Here's how Stevan Harnad connects the dots:
RAE outcome is most closely correlated (r = 0.98) with the metric of prior RCUK research funding (Figure 4.1) (this is no doubt in part a "Matthew Effect"), but research citation impact is another metric highly correlated with the RAE outcome, even though it is not explicitly counted. Now it can be explicitly counted (along with other powerful new performance metrics) and all the rest of the ritualistic time-wasting can be abandoned, without further ceremony.
Japan's National Institute of Informatics has announced plans to launch OA institutional repositories at 19 Japanese Universities. Of the 19, six are already operational. (Thanks to Shinji Mine.)
Heather Morrison, Open Access: Transformative Change, Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics, March 25, 2006. Excerpt:
Paul Webster, Prescription for Canada: an unfettered medical journal, Globe and Mail, March 25, 2006. Excerpt:
It has been a month since the Canadian Medical Association, which represents 62,000 doctors, decided to freshen up its esteemed journal by firing the editor-in-chief, John Hoey, and his deputy, Anne Marie Todkill. Dr. Hoey and Ms. Todkill spent a decade transforming the bimonthly Canadian Medical Association Journal into one of the world's more respected scientific publications. On Thursday, a story they supervised was nominated for the coveted Michener Award for meritorious public service. Since their departure, the CMAJ has imploded. Citing confusion within the doctors' association over editorial independence -- something Dr. Hoey and Ms. Todkill recently accused it of violating -- eight senior and intermediate editors have resigned, along with 15 of the journal's 19 editorial board members. Many Canadian scientists who have published pioneering studies in the CMAJ on such issues as SARS and other infectious disease outbreaks are starting to wonder if it's healthy for the country's only major medical-science publication to belong to an association aimed at promoting special interests, however enlightened. The time has come, many researchers say, to rethink how to disseminate Canadian medical research. Support is growing for a fully independent, not-for-profit journal, free from owners with vested interests, and not reliant on advertising income. One of the ideas researchers are discussing is modelled on a series of journals published by Public Library of Science (PLoS), a San Francisco-based non-profit publisher launched in 2000 with support from almost 34,000 scientists and start-up financing from private foundations. PloS Biology, the most successful of the six Public Library of Science journals, already boasts having achieved more than twice as much measurable impact among scientists as the CMAJ does....Although CMAJ contents are free on-line, the journal is packed with pharmaceutical advertising, and is published by a holding company headed by a business executive. Many traditional journals now require that readers pay for on-line access, a development Dr. Hoey and Ms. Todkill pledged to resist before they were forced out....Alan Bernstein, a CMAJ board member who serves as president of the Canadian Institute for Health Research -- Ottawa's $800-million medical research agency -- has consulted PLoS president Harold Varmus on ways to increase access to publicly supported Canadian research....
Comment. CMAJ is already OA, so the move to PLoS would not be a conversion. It would only change the business model from reliance on advertising to reliance on processing fees paid, on the whole, by authors' research grants. The story is important for at least two reasons. It shows that the processing fee model can enhance editorial independence, not undermine it as some TA publishers have charged in the past. And the mainstream press is covering it.