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Amanda Andrews, Why Elsevier's strategy is improving with age, Times Online, April 14, 2006 --temporarily offline. (Thanks to William Walsh for both the alert and the excerpt.) Excerpt:
Erik Engstrom's job [as Elsevier CEO] is to soften Reed Elsevier's image problem. The electronic publishing giant is successful enough as a business, but it runs into controversy amid accusations that it operates a stranglehold on the scientific community. The fresh-faced Swede, who speaks with an American accent, runs the Elsevier division, the world's largest scientific and medical publisher, and his message is that once you stop worrying about prices, his business can help to change the world for the better. Engstrom joined Elsevier, home to the 183-year-old medical journal The Lancet, two years ago, at a crisis point. Libraries, the main customers, were complaining that the company planned to jack up subscriptions above the rate of inflation at a time when their budgets were squeezed. Political hostility and a House of Commons inquiry led to Ian Gibson, chairman of the science and technology committee, accusing publishers such as Reed of "ripping off the academic community". Two years on, the critics are muted. Engstrom has managed to take some of the heat out of the issue--and starts by offering sympathy: "We understand that libraries face significant budget challenges as research output has been rising faster than library budgets. In response to this, we have redoubled our efforts to work with libraries to develop flexible purchasing options." That kind of vague, well-intentioned talk won't, in isolation, convince anybody, but the company has realised that there is plenty of growth to be achieved by means other than price rises. And here, old age is critical. Elsevier's health sciences division, which accounts for 45 per cent, grew by 6 per cent last year, while the science arm--the balance of the business--improved by plus 5. "We are fundamentally in a growth market. The ageing population in the Western world is driving an increase in spend on tools to help professionals."...Engstrom's strategy appears to make sense and, once you get past the pricing argument, Elsevier is producing a valuable service to the world. It is, after all, questionable whether it is the group's job to worry about pricing when its main responsibility is to its investors.
Heather Morrison, Open Access and the Copyright Collective, Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics, April 14, 2006. Excerpt:
It is time to rethink the idea of the copyright collective, for a number of reasons. In Canada, the copyright collective is called Access Copyright. According to the Access Canada website, "The agency now represents a vast international repertoire along with more than 8,000 Canadian creators and publishers". With the world wide web, it is possible for virtually everyone to publish their own works, and a very great many of us do. What exactly is the point of a copyright collective representing only 8,000 Canadians? In a country with a population of 32 million, surely there are millions of creators, not thousands?
Matt Pasiewicz made several relevant podcast interviews at CNI's recent 2006 Spring Task Force Meeting (Arlington, Virginia, April 3-4, 2006).
Yochai Benkler, Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom, Yale University Press, 2006. Benkler has also provided an OA edition of the full text and a wiki to supplement it. (Thanks to the CC blog.) Excerpt:
At the same time, we are seeing an ever-more self-conscious adoption of commons-based practices as a modality of information production and exchange. Free software, Creative Commons, the Public Library of Science, the new guidelines of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on free publication of papers, new open archiving practices, librarian movements, and many other communities of practice are developing what was a contingent fact into a self-conscious social movement. As the domain of existing information and culture comes to be occupied by information and knowledge produced within these free sharing movements and licensed on the model of open-licensing techniques, the problem of the conflict with the proprietary domain will recede. Twentieth-century materials will continue to be a point of friction, but a sufficient quotient of twenty- first-century materials seem now to be increasingly available from sources that are happy to share them with future users and creators. If this socialcultural trend continues over time, access to content resources will present an ever-lower barrier to nonmarket production....
Update. Here's Lawrence Lessig's short, strong review: "Yochai Benkler’s book, The Weath of Networks, is out. This is - by far - the most important and powerful book written in the fields that matter most to me in the last ten years. If there is one book you read this year, it should be this. The book has a wiki; it can be downloaded as a pdf for free under a Creative Commons license; or it can be bought at places like Amazon. Read it. Understand it. You are not serious about these issues - on either side of these debates - unless you have read this book."
Susan R. Morrissey, NIH Panel Reaffirms Public-Access Policy, Chemical and Engineering News, April 14, 2006. Excerpt:
Janet Coleman, NIH Public Access Discussions with Publishers Proceeding, but Obstacles Remain, Research Policy Alert, April 13, 2006 (accessible only to subscribers). Excerpt:
NIH is in active discussions with Elsevier and a group of non-profit publishers over agreements that could ensure 100% particicpation in the National Library of Medicine's public access program for agency-funded research contained in those publishers' journals....[In the year since the policy took effect] many of the publishers that initially opposed the policy have moved to a more cooperative stance....Motivating the shift in attitude, in part, has been concern that if participation rates in the program do not improve, NIH will make the program mandatory or Congress will intervene with a push for more stringent rules....The currrent discussion focuses on the possibility of Elsevier making "bulk," or "batch," submissions to NLM....One of the central issues that remains to be worked is determining which version of articles would be submitted....The group of non-profit publishers that is negotiating with the agency consists of seven members [of the DC Principles Coalition]....Discussions with the seven non-profits are focusing on the possibility of the publishers submitting final articles to PMC....NLM would be able to access the articles immediately for its own portfolio management needs, and could post the full text on PMC as soon as the embargo date expired....Althoug Elsevier and many of the non-profits differ on their willingness to provide NLM with the final version of studies, both sides appear to be very troubled about the prospect of moving the embargo period to six months.
John E. Enderby, Considering multiple flavors, Science, April 14, 2006 (accessible only to subscribers). A review of John Willinsky's The Access Principle (MIT Press, 2005). Excerpt:
I must declare both a personal and professional interest. Until recently, I was vice president of the Royal Society and lead officer for its publishing activity, which depends for its income on the subscription model. I am also president of the Institute of Physics (IOP), which, as with many other learned societies, uses the profits from its publishing activities to promote and support its discipline, both within the United Kingdom and beyond. In addition, I am a paid adviser to the IOP’s publishing company and therefore have a strong interest in the sustainability of any new business model for scholarly journals. I inwardly groaned when I was asked to review John Willinsky’s The Access Principle....I suspected that here was another polemic pointing out the iniquities of publishers....In fact, my fears were unfounded. Willinsky, the director of the Public Knowledge Project at the University of British Columbia, offers a well-researched and scholarly account of the issues surrounding the publication of research. The book is both balanced and fair in its discussion of the various models and responses to concerns about the accessibility of publicly funded research. Perused in conjunction with the research report of the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) on open-access publishing, it makes important reading for publishers, research funders, politicians, and senior policy-makers....[O]nce it is recognized that access to reliable information will have a cost, the question arises as to who will pay for validation and dissemination. Willinsky does not duck this issue and points to the many different business models that he categorizes into “ten flavors of open access.” For example, the Health Inter-Network Access to Research Initiative and International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications projects deliver free or heavily discounted journals to developing countries. Some publishers make material available after a delay, typically six months or one year. The IOP puts all its journals on the Web free of charge for 30 days. Others charge the authors either at submission or at publication....I actually think that the growth of the open-access movement and the publishers’ response to it reflect the fact that market forces will, in the end, lead to a variety of models, each well suited to particular disciplines. I am therefore uneasy about the prospects of funding organizations imposing new rules on authors because these could lead to unforeseen distortions. I would much prefer to see encouragement to use the new freedoms generated by the Web and by the more relaxed view of copyright that many publishers are now adopting (as Willinsky explains in detail)....The irony is...[that Willinsky's book] is available to those who pay....I can see no moral argument for the cost [of science journals and his book] to fall on the producer rather than the consumer (and neither does Willinsky), but there may be powerful arguments involving public engagement and support of science that need to be considered.
Comment. (1) Why are skeptics so surprised to hear an OA advocate admit that peer review and publishing have costs? What have they been reading? Does this unfamiliarity with the literatuare explain some of their skepticism? (2) Enderby's thoughts on what funding agencies should do are welcome, but in a short review like this one they take space from his evaluation of what Willinsky recommends. (3) While The Access Principle was originally available only in a priced/printed edition, MIT has since released an OA edition.
Lee Whitmore, Robert W. Janes, and B. A. Wallace, Protein circular dichroism data bank (PCDDB): Data bank and website design, Chirality, April 2006. Only this abstract is free online for non-subscribers:
Abstract: The Protein Circular Dichroism Data Bank (PCDDB) is a new deposition data bank for validated circular dichroism spectra of biomacromolecules. Its aim is to be a resource for the structural biology and bioinformatics communities, providing open access and archiving facilities for circular dichroism and synchrotron radiation circular dichroism spectra. It is named in parallel with the Protein Data Bank (PDB), a long-existing valuable reference data bank for protein crystal and NMR structures. In this article, we discuss the design of the data bank structure and the deposition website. Our aim is to produce a flexible and comprehensive archive, which enables user-friendly spectral deposition and searching. In the case of a protein whose crystal structure and sequence are known, the PCDDB entry will be linked to the appropriate PDB and sequence data bank files, respectively. It is anticipated that the PCDDB will provide a readily accessible biophysical catalogue of information on folded proteins that may be of value in structural genomics programs, for quality control and archiving in industrial and academic labs, as a resource for programs developing spectroscopic structural analysis methods, and in bioinformatics studies. Chirality, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Dorothea Salo, Open access for teachers, a presentation at HigherEdBlogCon, April 13, 2006. Also available as a podcast.
Abstract: The movement for open access to the scholarly and research literature emerged as a response to the enormous, unsustainable increases in the price of journals and journal bundles for academic libraries. When the internet made possible the dissemination of information for near-zero marginal cost (over the cost to package the information in the first place), both researchers and librarians began questioning the necessity of cost barriers to access. Educators who are not themselves researchers or librarians have not been active in the open-access movement or the debates surrounding it as yet. Third-world access to research, higher impact factors, faster research dissemination, relieving overstrained library budgets while restoring selection decisions to librarians --all these concern researchers and the research libraries they use. Institutions whose primary focus is teaching can expect little change one way or the other. Or can they?
John Blossom, Microsoft's Windows Live Academic Joins Search for Scholarly Publishing Content, Shore ContentBlogger, April 14, 2006. Excerpt:
There is wide coverage of Microsoft's launch of the Beta for Windows Live Academic Search (WLAS), the new search portal that includes content from many major scholarly publishers....Free and premium scholarly content is served up via the OpenURL and DOI link resolvers of partners, providing consistent references for researchers requiring stable citation information. The interface is quite nice, if a little quirky. Glide your cursor over a given search result and an article abstract pops up in the left-hand portion of the display, as well as BibTex and EndNote data tabs, further facilitating citation for researchers. The abstract panel can disappear easily if necessary. The search results themselves scroll in a sub-window of the page rather slowly, which is a little annoying if you're trying to find a result that's not near the top of the stack. My assumption is that this "user friendly" feature is probably a way to provide an interface that will work consistently on both PCs and mobile devices.
Lee Van Orsdel and Kathleen Born, Journals in the Time of Google, Library Journal, April 15, 2006. Accessible only to subscribers until Saturday. (Thanks to William Walsh both for the alert and, since I lack access, for the following excerpt.) Excerpt:
It was a year of competing realities: the buying and selling of electronic journals continued apace, while the posting and crawling of every kind of free content on the web captured the imagination of the scholarly world. The former was overshadowed by the latter, and no wonder. Rival projects to digitize entire libraries full of books dominated headlines and spun off copyright arguments worldwide. Robust growth of open access repositories and the drift toward author self-archiving combined to populate the web with a surprising amount of free content that was initially available only through subscription...The Open Access (OA) movement again occupied center stage in the journals marketplace in 2005, eclipsing issues of price, publisher mergers, and big deals. Public policy measures involving open access were taken up in venues all over the globe. Debate was vigorous and contentious in the United States and Britain, where sweeping initiatives were proposed. Even the Vatican weighed in, though on the side of restricting access, declaring that all Papal writings, old and new, were copyright protected and would no longer be openly accessible. It went so far as to send a bill for $18,500 in copyright fees to an Italian publisher that printed portions of Pope Benedict's writings. Negative responses to the loss of access resonate with the language of OA, albeit with an evangelical twist. Journal publishers responded to mounting interest in open access in a variety of ways-some friendly, some not. The American Chemical Society tried to persuade Congress to defund PubChem, an open access database established by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), claiming that free government information constitutes unfair competition; Congress denied the request. A number of STM (scientific, technical, and medical) publishers initiated author-select models of OA, and experimentation continued with delayed OA, advertising, sponsorships, and other methods of expanding access to scientific output without jeopardizing the financial stability of publishers...The academy is slowly embracing open access, both in principle and in practice. A Center for Information Behaviour and the Evaluation of Research (CIBER) study released in October showed a significant increase in the number of scholars who know about OA. The study found that 29% of researchers surveyed had published in an open access journal, a jump of 18% over the year before. In a separate report from Key Perspectives in May, Alma Swan and Sheridan Brown indicated that 81% of authors surveyed would willingly archive their research in an OA repository if their funding agency or university mandated it. Only five research institutions currently mandate faculty to provide open access to their published scholarly output-none are in the United States.
Charles W. Bailey, Jr., A Simple Search Hit Comparison for Google Scholar, OAIster, and Windows Live Academic Search, Digital Koans, April 13, 2006. Excerpt:
Transit is a new peer-reviewed OA journal published by the UC Berkeley Department of German. Its inagural issue is now online. (Thanks to the Chronicle of Higher Education.) From the site:
TRANSIT...is the first online, interdisciplinary journal dedicated to critical inquiry of travel, migration, and multiculturalism in the German-speaking world. TRANSIT is a web-based, multimedia production that pushes boundaries: both of traditional scholarship and of print publication. TRANSIT publishes one issue over the course of a year with a specific thematic focus-- for 2006: Translation and Mobility. The issue appears in three rounds allowing for new submissions to it during the year. Each issue also contains an open forum for experimental work and review essays on relevant books. This issue format utilizes the features of electronic publishing to rapidly increase the ability of scholars to respond to one another's work....TRANSIT unites the academic rigor of the traditional scholarly review process with the benefits of open-access publication. Timely publication and distribution are ensured by the University of California’s eScholarship Digital Information Repository.
The EFF has update its DMCA report, Unintended Consequences: Seven Years under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, April 2006. Excerpt:
Since they were enacted in 1998, the “anticircumvention” provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”), codified in section 1201 of the Copyright Act, have not been used as Congress envisioned. Congress meant to stop copyright infringers from defeating anti-piracy protections added to copyrighted works and to ban the “black box” devices intended for that purpose. In practice, the anti-circumvention provisions have been used to stifle a wide array of legitimate activities, rather than to stop copyright infringement. As a result, the DMCA has developed into a serious threat to several important public policy priorities:
Key Advisory Group Reaffirms That Nih Public Access Policy Should Be 6 Months And Mandatory, a press release from the Alliance for Taxpayer Access (ATA), April 13, 2006. Excerpt:
A key advisory panel to the National Institutes of Heath (NIH) has reaffirmed its continued support for reforms to the NIH Public Access Policy. At its meeting on April 10, the Public Access Working Group (PAWG) – a balanced panel of stakeholders appointed by NIH Director Elias Zerhouni to provide guidance on implementing a successful public access policy – reaffirmed its November 2005 recommendation that the policy be made mandatory and that all NIH-funded works must be made publicly available in PubMed Central within six months of publication. The PAWG’s original recommendation was ratified in January by the National Library of Medicine's Board of Regents, which said in a letter to Dr. Zerhouni, "the NIH policy cannot achieve its stated goals unless deposit of manuscripts becomes mandatory."
When the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) announced on April 3 that it was developing an OA policy for CIHR-funded research, it called for public comments. But it didn't say when the comments were due. Now it has made clear that comments are due by May 15, 2006. It has also posted an online survey to gather stakeholder opinions.
Windows Academic Search has a blog written by the developers. So far the only entry is from the day of launch (April 11), but it should be worth monitoring. Bloggers Thiru Anandanpillai (MAS Product Planning) and Mike Buschman (MAS Program Management) "intend for this blog to be a communication/collaboration channel with people interested in the academic search space."
Mark Chillingworth, Campaign demands end to public information rip-off, Information World Review, April 13, 2006. Excerpt:
Eloy Rodrigues of the University of Minho has coded the same eprint request button for DSpace that the Southampton team recently added to Eprints. From today's announcement:
I’m glad to announce that the Repository UM team at Minho University has finished the development of a new Add-on to DSpace, that we called “Request Copy” (but others may call “Request Eprint” or “Email Eprint”, etc.). This first version of the Add-on (see description below) is available [here]. As we plan to release a new version...in the coming weeks, we will welcome comments and suggestions from early adopters or testers. Please send your comments and suggestions to: email@example.com.
PS: See my comment on the same innovation in Eprints. I'm delighted that both the leading archiving packages now offer this feature.
Martin Frank, Access to the Scientific Literature — A Difficult Balance, New England Journal of Medicine, April 13, 2006. Excerpt:
Comment. Six quick comments. (1) Frank tries to position Willinsky as a moderate and most other OA advocates as radicals. But we agree about almost everything. In any case, Frank doesn't agree with Willinsky either, say, about PLoS. What Frank is really trying to do is frame the question so that he can dismiss most OA advocates with name calling rather than answer their arguments. (2) I'm not very concerned to preserve my own moderate credentials. For it it's "extreme" to want research literature to be free for readers, as Frank says, then I'm proud to be extreme. Remember we're talking about articles that authors voluntarily publish without expectation of payment and, in most cases, with support from public funding. But for the record I've praised Frank's organization, the DC Principles Coalition, for the kinds of free online access that it supports and only challenged it to go further. I also make it a rule to praise steps toward wider and easier access even if they fall short of open access. (3) No responsible OA advocate has ever said that OA journals were costless to produce. The question is not whether scholarly literature can be made costless, but whether there are better ways to pay the bills than by charging readers and creating access barriers. (4) There are many reasons to think that the NIH policy will not undermine subscriptions. But if the compliance rate increases significantly, say, because of a mandate, then we don't know what will happen. If medicine is like physics, subscription-journals will thrive alongside high-volume OA archiving. If it's not like physics, subscriptions may suffer. But even in that case, it is justified to put the public interest in public access to publicly-funded research ahead of the interests a private-sector industry. (5) Frank relies on the discredited Cornell calculation, which assumes that all OA journals charge author-side fees and that all fees would be paid by universities. (6) Frank overstates the amount the NIH spends on its public-access policy more than one-hundredfold. In fiscal 2005, the agency spent only $1 million administering the program. Compare that to the $30 million/year that the NIH spends on subsidies to subscription journals like those published by Mr. Frank.
Update. Don't add the weight of the New England Journal of Medicine to Frank's opinion. I've just learned that the NEJM editor in chief, Jeffrey Drazen, in his capacity as a member of the Pubic Access Working Group, has voted to strengthen the NIH policy and make it mandatory.
Chris Sherman, Microsoft Launches Windows Live Academic Search, Search Engine Watch, April 12, 2006. Excerpt:
Microsoft has rolled out Windows Live Academic Search, a targeted search service focused connecting students and researchers with peer-reviewed scholarly information....Although search results are free, users must either have a subscription to a journal or pay on a per-article basis to access the full text of journal articles appearing in search results. Unlike Google Scholar, which crawls the web for academic content, Windows Live Academic Search works closely with publishers and uses structured feeds to build its index. As such, all content accessed through the service comes directly from a trusted source --namely, the publisher of a scholarly journal.
Ed Pentz, the Executive Director of CrossRef, sent the following memo to the CrossRef members this morning:
Microsoft has issued a press release announcing the launch of Microsoft Live Academic Search....Ten CrossRef member publishers are participating in the beta service and CrossRef is providing metadata and DOIs from these ten publishers (however, Microsoft is indexing the full text directly with the publishers). In addition, CrossRef coordinated setting the standard terms and conditions for publisher participation. The long term goal is to open participation in the service to all CrossRef member publishers on standard terms and conditions. In the short term, Microsoft will be adding publishers and content in stages based on subject areas. CrossRef will provide more information about this soon.
Scott Carlson, Challenging Google, Microsoft Unveils a Search Tool for Online Scholarly Articles, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 12, 2006 (accessible only to subscribers). Excerpt:
Microsoft is introducing a new search tool today that will help people find scholarly articles online. The service, which will include journal articles from prominent academic societies and publishers, puts Microsoft in direct competition with Google, which offers a similar service called Google Scholar. The new free search tool, which should work on most browsers, is called Windows Live Academic Search. For now, it includes eight million articles from only a few disciplines -- computer science, electrical engineering, and physics. "We will be expanding this over time to cover all the areas where there are scientific journals," said Danielle Tiedt, general manager of content acquisition for Microsoft. "We started in the place where there is the most highly structured metadata, which is these three hard-sciences areas."
Jennifer Papin-Ramcharan and Richard A. Dawe, The Other Side of the Coin for Open Access Publishing - A Developing Country View, Libri, March 2006. Only the abstract is free online for non-subscribers, at least so far.
This article presents the Open Access publishing experience of researchers in an academic research institution, in a developing country, Trinidad and Tobago, namely at the University of the West Indies (UWI) St. Augustine Campus. It considers UWI researchers' knowledge of Open Access, their access to the scholarly literature, Open Access Archives/Repositories at UWI and related issues of Research and Library funding and Information Communication Technology (ICT) Infrastructure/ Internet connectivity. The article concludes that whilst Open Access publishing yields some obvious and well-documented benefits for developing country researchers, including free access to research articles and increased impact and visibility of "published" Open Access articles, there are some disincentives that militate against developing country researchers fully contributing to the global body of knowledge via Open Access. It finds that Open Access Journals are beneficial for scholars who consume information but are of little benefit for developing country scholars wanting to publish in these journals because of the high cost of page charges. Inadequate and unreliable ICT infrastructure and Internet connectivity also often limit access to information. It concludes that because of technical, financial, human and infrastructural limitations, Open Access via the Green Road of self-archiving is also often not an option for developing country researchers. These researchers are therefore unable to reap the real benefits, of making their research Open Access, that of increased impact and visibility. This study is to develop and evaluate methods and instruments for assessing the usability of digital libraries. It discusses the dimensions of usability, what methods have been applied in evaluating usability of digital libraries, their applicability, and criteria. It is found in the study that there exists an interlocking relationship among effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction. It provides operational criteria for effectiveness, efficiency, satisfaction, and learnability. It discovers users' criteria on "ease of use," "organization of information," "terminology and labeling," "visual attractiveness," and "mistake recovery." Common causes of "user lostness" were found. "Click cost" was examined.
Comment. The authors are apparently unaware that the majority of OA journals do not charge author-side fees, and that the percentage in developing countries approaches 100%. Their skepticism about the green road in developing countries is thoroughly rebutted by Leslie Chan, Barbara Kirsop, and Subbiah Arunachalam, Open Access Archiving: the fast track to building research capacity in developing countries, SciDev.Net, 2005.
Richard Sietmann, Open Access: EU-Konsultation zum wissenschaftlichen Publikationswesen, Heise Online, April 12, 2006. (In German.)
Syncytium, Open the review process to improve quality of science publications, April 7, 2006. Here's the post in full:
Fully open access scientific journals will not exist until the full review process is made available to the readership and reviewers are identified.
Comment. I must disagree. If open forms of peer review are better than closed forms (on which I have no opinion), then by all means adopt them ASAP. But do not confuse removing access barriers with reforming peer review. These are independent projects. OA is a kind of access, not a kind of quality control. It's compatible with every kind of peer review, from the most conservative to the most innovative. Tying OA to just one model of peer review doubles the difficulty of persuading institutions to endorse OA.
Brendan Scott, Open to temptation, ComputerWorld, April 12, 2006. Excerpt:
It is tempting to think that references to "open content" have a meaning similar to those for "open source". It is equally tempting to want to make use of 'open content' in an open source project. Do not yield to temptation! [The term] Open content...is used to refer to a broad range of licensing schemes, including Creative Commons (CC) and AESharenet, which are overwhelmingly open source incompatible. Using "open content" in an open source project is, in most cases, likely to result in the project ceasing to be open source because of licence restrictions on the content. The most popular of these restrictions is the so called "noncommercial" restriction of the CC licences - a discriminatory provision which is anathema to the open source definition. Unfortunately there are other more subtle problems which may render even apparently unobjectionable CC licences - such as BY (Attribution) and BY-SA (Share Alike) - open source incompatible....Knowing that something is "open content", or even "Creative Commons" does not assist in determining whether the content can be used in an open source project.
Gary Price, Microsoft Launches Academic Search Beta, ResourceShelf, April 12, 2006. Excerpt:
Dean Giustini, "Academic Search" and Librarians in the new information economy, UBC Google Scholar Blog.Folio, April 11, 2006. Excerpt:
[The launch of Microsoft Academic Search marks] the beginning of a fierce battle for control of billions of dollars, and the future of the info-economy.
From the site:
Windows Live Academic is now in beta. We currently index content related to computer science, physics, electrical engineering, and related subject areas. Academic search enables you to search for peer reviewed journal articles contained in journal publisher portals and on the web in locations like citeseer.
Y.S. Chi, The Crisis of Identity in the Publishing Community, a keynote address at Buying & Selling eContent, April 9-11, 2006. The text is not online, but here's a summary from Shannon Holman's conference blog:
Y.S. Chi is delivering a very crisp, focused, humble, and accessible talk on publishing's current identity crisis. This should've been the first keynote, because Y.S. is able to talk about online innovations in a way that's not befuddling some of the incumbents, and he's positioning the current publishing space within its landscape of history. He's pointing backward to show, as with the 100-something year old journal Lancet, that publishing has always been disruptive, and has always had the same purpose: to "let in the light" or "cut out the dross."...Joe Bremner's asking about new pricing models. Y.S. is pointing out that 40% of Elsevier's revenues come from journals, leaving lots of room to experiement with new models with books, database products, etc. No details forthcoming, but "it's going to be quite revolutionary in many ways." Tom ? asking about "open access"/author pays, where authors pay to be freely accessible to everyone. Elsevier has trouble with this model --it evokes vanity publishing, rasing authority concerns, and means that the rich (in this case, colleges with bigger endowments) get a louder voice. Suggests a delayed model that combines peer review and a timed exposure...Sales model at Elsevier moving from intermediary ("we didn't know our customers") to generalists to specialists. "It's a mess. The good news is that we have excellent people..."
PS: Thanks to William Walsh not only for drawing this to my attention, but for quoting me in his comment:
Vanity publishing? Haven't we moved past this? See, for example, Peter Suber's response to a question during a January 2004 CHE Colloquy Live on OA:...nothing deserves to be called "vanity publishing" if it includes peer review. OA journals conduct peer review. Second, the processing fees charged by OA journals are not typically paid by authors; they are usually paid by those who sponsor the author's research, such as the author's funder, employer, or government. If you're saying that OA journals might accept weak papers, papers that would not ordinarily survive their peer review process, simply to collect a fee that only covers their costs, that's very far-fetched. First, similar conflicts of interest arise at conventional journals, e.g. when an author works for an advertiser. All experienced editors think about these conflicts and are used to handling them. If anything, the problem is worse at subscription-based journals where profit margins are high and price hikes are publicly justified by the growing volume of articles.
Update (4/12/06). Shannon Holman writes on her blog this morning that the phrase "vanity publishing" is hers, not Chi's, a quick paraphrase to keep up with the streaming lecture. Thanks for the clarification, Shannon, and apologies to Y.S. Chi for misplaced criticism.
In the latest in its series of interivews, KnowledgeSpeak interviews Ian Palmer, Director of Marketing for Infotrieive US, April 12, 2006. Excerpt:
PS: In ArticleFinder, only the search is free; the articles themselves are mostly pay-per-view. For companies with priced content, free searching is like advertising: eminently sensible, even a business necessity, but nothing to crow about. Not providing it would be like Walmart not letting customers walk the aisles.
BioMed Central has issued a press release weloming the new EC report on scientific publication markets in Europe. Excerpt:
Open access publisher BioMed Central today welcomed a report from the European Commission that calls attention to problems with the current system for scientific publication. The EC study, prepared by economists at Toulouse University and the Free University of Brussels, identifies various reasons why the current scientific publishing system does not work as effectively as it should. The report also makes several concrete policy recommendations for improving the system. "This is a very important report," said Matthew Cockerill, Publisher at BioMed Central. "It confirms what BioMed Central has been saying for some time - that scientists and funders are getting a poor deal from the traditional publishing system, which delivers limited access at high cost. The report also supports the view that open access publication, funded by article processing charges, would provide greater transparency and so deliver a more efficient service to the scientific community."...The report notes that, if funders wish to avoid simply preserving the publishing status quo, they need to actively provide support for new publishing models such as open access. According to the report's authors:"It is worth noting that, if the research funding authorities want to 'give a chance' to the author-pay model, they have to allow for a 'level-playing field' in comparison with the reader/library-pay model, that is, provide funding for publication costs and not only for library budgets...."
Hindawi Publishing has added four titles to its set of OA journals. Two are new launches and two are acquisitions from other publishers converted from subscription models. For more details, see today's announcement.
The presentations from the seminar, The New Publishers (London, March 31, 2006), are now online. (Thanks to Colin Steele.)
Norm Medeiros, On the Road Again: A Conversation with Jill Emery, OCLC Systems & Services, 2006. Self-archived April 10, 2006. (Thanks to ResourceShelf.)
Abstract: This article features an interview with Jill Emery, Director of the Electronic Resources Program at the University of Houston. Ms. Emery discusses her career, the potential impact of the open access movement, and the nuances of licensing electronic resources.
From the body of the article:
Comment. "The current models are subscriptions that just aren’t called subscriptions." This is flip. Emery seems to be thinking of the OA journal business model that charges author-side fees. If so, then she's making several mistakes at once. First, the majority of OA journals charge no fees at all, on either the author or reader sides. Second, where these fees exist, they are nothing like subscriptions. Subscriptions are access barriers that lock out those who cannot afford to pay. Subscriptions pay for private access or consumption. But processing fees at OA journals pay for open access, free for everyone with an internet connection, including those who have paid nothing. And third, of course, she ignores OA archiving.
Olufunmilayo Arewa, Open Access in a Closed Universe: Lexis, Westlaw and the Law School, Case Western Reserve Legal Studies Research Paper No. 06-03, self-archived March 2006. (Thanks to Law LIbrarian blog.)
Abstract: This paper considers issues of open access from the context of the broader legal information industry as a whole. The structure and contours of the legal information industry have shaped the availability of online open access publishing of legal scholarship. The competitive duopoly of Lexis and Westlaw is a particularly important factor in considerations of open access. Also significant is the relationship between Lexis and Westlaw and law schools, which form an important market segment for both Lexis and Westlaw. This paper begins by considering the important role information plays in the law. It then notes the increasing industry concentration that has occurred over the last 10-15 years among legal and other publishers. This industry concentration is believed to have contributed to significant price increases for scholarly journals generally. This industry concentration has potentially significant implications for questions of access, particularly in the current environment of increasing electronic dissemination of legal information. In addition to examining characteristics of the legal information industry, this paper also looks at the role of dominant players such as Lexis and Westlaw and the ways in which information dissemination has changed with the advent of electronic legal information services. Consumers of legal information, including law firms, law school users and the general public are also considered, particularly with respect to the implications of legal information industry organization and operation for questions of access to legal information.
Elsevier's Scirus will now index CURATOR, the institutional repository for Japan's University of Chiba, and CURATOR will add Scirus search technology to the repository. From yesterday's announcement:
CURATOR holds 2,000 records in both English and Japanese, including departmental bulletins, technical reports, preprints and articles, theses and research papers. The partnership provides the opportunity to address the technical challenges of indexing Japanese language content. “One of the known problems with Japanese Web content is indexing documents containing Japanese character strings without word boundary spaces,” said Mr. Hauruo Asoshina, Division of Information and Management of Chiba University Library. “Our collaboration with Scirus has enabled us to partner to find an efficient solution, and with Scirus’ expertise in powering search results, we know that our valuable content will be made more accessible to students and researchers worldwide.” In addition to adding CURATOR to the Scirus index, Scirus is offering its search expertise to Chiba University by powering the search capability on the CURATOR site. This two-tiered approach makes their valuable content easier to find. As part of the partnership, Scirus will also participate in a joint communications program designed to demonstrate the value and increase awareness of the repository on the Chiba University campus.
The Ministry of Universities, Research and the Information Society for the Government of Catalonia has signed the Berlin Declaration on Open Acces to Knowledge.
PS: Add this to yesterday's post on the momentum toward a government OA policy in Spain.
In today's FE News, Vijay Pattni concludes a two-part interview with Cormac Connolly, editor of the UK's Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). At one point Connollly says, without elaboration:
We understand that there are question marks about the way people search [the social science research] on our website. Something called the ‘google’ factor; i.e., making the search engine more user friendly and intuitive. We are looking to meet the open access initiative standard.
It looks suspiciously like Connolly meant the Open Archives Initiative. But I'd like to hear from anyone who can say more about Connolly's open access plans for ESRC.
GNU Eprints has a useful new feature. From today's announcement:
A new feature has been built into the GNU EPrints (free) software for creating Institutional Repositories (IRs). We hope it will dramatically increase the growth rate of open access (OA) content deposited in IRs while -- perversely it may seem -- allowing authors to opt out of providing OA! It's extremely simple, and if implemented carefully by the repository can produce immediate results without additional cost or resource implications....
Comment. This is a useful innovation. It neutralizes most of the ordinary disadvantage of "dark" (non-OA) deposits in OA repositories. Repository software has long since been able to give dark deposits visible, OA metadata; now it can also remove most of the barriers to email access as well. Users who find an article by virtue of its metadata, say, in a search engine, can ask for a copy of the text by email almost as easily as clicking to open an OA file. If the author consents to share the file, then she can do so with another simple click at her end. Streamlined email access is not as good as open online repository access, but it's much better than cumbersome email access. Basically, this feature makes it easier for everyone to live with dark deposits. And when do we want to do that? Whenever authors, publishers, or funding agencies impose embargoes on OA.
Katie Yurkewicz, Predicting Extreme Weather with SCOOP, GRID Today, April 10, 2006. Excerpt:
When a storm threatens the coastal United States, emergency-response managers look to scientists to help them prepare for potentially catastrophic consequences. Accurate predictions of the environmental response to extreme weather keep disaster recovery costs down and help save lives. Creating accurate and timely predictions requires bringing many different types of data from many different organizations together with a large amount of on-demand computing power -- a task uniquely suited to cyberinfrastructure and Grid computing. Coastal researchers can now harness only a limited amount of up-to-date monitoring information and computing power for their predictions. The Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA) has undertaken the SURA Coastal Observing and Prediction (SCOOP) program with the hope to change that, by creating the first distributed real-time environmental prediction system. "We're creating a prototype distributed laboratory that's advancing the science of environmental prediction and hazard planning," said SCOOP program director Philip Bogden. The SCOOP cyberinfrastructure will initially be focused around the southeastern coast of the United States, first integrating diverse data flows from a variety of already established coastal ocean observing efforts and then incorporating the data flows into an open-access, scalable environmental prediction system.
From the site:
Goals: Creating an open access, distributed laboratory for oceanographic scientific research and coastal operations by:  Supporting the development and implementation of data standards that comprise the technical language of interoperability,  Demonstrating the potential for integration and added value that occurs when disparate and diverse communities employ a common, standardized framework for information exchange; and  Deploying the technical infrastructure to create an environmental prediction system that can be used as a research tool and handed off to the responsible entity that will use it to support the decision-making activities that benefit society.
Heather Morrison, The CERN Library Team: an OA Inspiration! OA Librarian, April 9, 2006. The latest installment of Heather's celebration of librarians who work for OA. Excerpt:
Mark Chillingworth, Zoologists bank on database, Information World Review, April 10, 2006. Excerpt:
An open access register for animal taxonomy will offer a free online resource for checking animal names and registering new species. The database, called ZooBank, will be the first ever single reference resource for zoologists conducting research or naming newly discovered species when launched this quarter. “We are trying to encourage scientists, authors and journal editors to deposit the original description of a species in ZooBank, as well as registering its taxonomic details,” said Andrew Polaszek, executive secretary of the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature, the body behind ZooBank.
The buzz has already started (1, 2, 3, 4), for tomorrow's release of Microsoft Academic Search, which will crawl academic journals, databases, and repositories.
PS: I was one of many people Microsoft consulted about MAS. Don't think clone of Google Scholar. Think rival in the same space, competition that should --eventually-- crawl more content and offer more services to users.
Bruno Bauer, Open Access Publishing - Trends in Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz: Initiativen, Projekte, Stellenwert, a slide presentation at ODOK '05: Zugang zum Fachwissen (Bolzano, September 13-15, 2005). Self-archived April 7, 2006. In German but with this English-language abstract:
Open access publishing proclaims free access to scholarly journals via internet. Since the turn of the millenium scientists, non profit publishers, policy makers, international organisations and last but not least librarians strongly support open access initiatives as alternative to existing publication systems. The present report analyses current open access initiatives and projects in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Assessment deals with participation in boycotts and proclamations, the fuction of editors and authors in open access journals (eg. PloS, BioMed Central), self archiving and implementation of institutional repositories.
Robin Peek, European Commission Releases Key Scientific Publishing Report, Information Today, April 10, 2006. Excerpt:
The European Commission has finally released its report on scientific publishing and now has firmly placed itself in the international discussion of where such publishing should go in the future. In June 2004, the European Commission began a study to examine the economic and technical evolution of scientific publishing in Europe....The study was carried out by a consortium led by Mathias Dewatripont of the Université Libre de Bruxelles. The study, undertaken by the directorate-general for research, sought to determine the conditions for “optimum” operation of the scientific sector and to assess how the Commission could help meet those conditions. European Science and Research Commissioner Janez Poto?nik said: “It is in all our interests to find a model for scientific publication that serves research excellence. We are ready to work with readers, authors, publishers, and funding bodies to develop such a model.”...
Spain's CIEMAT (Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas, or Research Centre for Energy, Environment and Technology) has signed the Berlin Declaration on Open Acces to Knowledge.
Comment. CIEMAT is the second Spanish government agency to sign the Berlin Declaration this year. The Spanish National Research Council (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, CSIS) signed in late January. The signs are adding up that we may soon see a proposal to mandate OA to publicly-funded research in Spain.
Stevan Harnad, Optimizing the European Commission's Recommendation for Open Access Archiving of Publicly-Funded Research, Open Access Archivangelism, April 8, 2006. Excerpt:
The European Commission "Study on the Economic and Technical Evolution of the Scientific Publication Markets in Europe" has made the following policy recommendation:RECOMMENDATION A1. GUARANTEE PUBLIC ACCESS TO PUBLICLY-FUNDED RESEARCH RESULTS SHORTLY AFTER PUBLICATION.