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Kerryn McKay, Chris Armstrong, and Heather Ford, The Enterprise Commons: Growing sustainable open content for accessible education in Africa, Commons Sense, version 1.0, March 2006. (Thanks to Open Business.) Excerpt:
The word “business” may be a bit distracting when talking about educational projects. Unlike traditional business models that rely solely on commercial transactions between the company and its customers, the funding of open content education products comes mostly from public foundations, international donors and government departments. Although open educational publishing projects are typically not developed around pure business or commercial goals, all of them require a strategy that addresses long-term viability in order to sustain themselves after what is usually only an initial period of funding. Sustainability of open educational content projects is referred to further in this manual as an elusive “golden egg” that is dependent on a range of interdependent factors. Projects partnerships; the development, licensing and procurement of content; content dissemination; interactivity and user statistics; innovative and entrepreneurial scope and, lastly, project finding are analysed through the lens of “openness” in this guide. From this perspective, the guide has attempted to analyse to what extent “openness” plays a part in the project’s sustainability and whether there are any clear trends that similar projects could follow in achieving success in providing accessible, quality educational services.
Emma McCulloch, Taking stock of open access: progress and issues, Library Review, 55, 6 (2006).
LR gives three URLs for this article (one, two, three), all of them dead. I don't mean that I got a login or pay-per-view page rather than text. I got error messages. I assume the problem is temporary. Meantime, here's the issue's table of contents.
Update (7/9/06). All three links are working this morning. Here's the abstract:
Purpose – Aims at providing a broad overview of some of the issues emerging from the growth in open access publishing, with specific reference to the use of repositories and open access journals.
Jessica Litman, The Economics of Open-Access Law Publishing, forthcoming from the Lewis & Clark Law Review. Self-archived July 3, 2006.
Abstract: The conventional model of scholarly publishing uses the copyright system as a lever to induce commercial publishers and printers to disseminate the results of scholarly research. The role of copyright in the dissemination of scholarly research is in many ways curious, since neither authors nor the entities who compensate them for their authorship are motivated by the incentives supplied by the copyright system. Rather, copyright is a bribe to entice professional publishers and printers to reproduce and distribute scholarly works. As technology has spawned new methods of restricting access to works, and copyright law has enhanced copyright owners' rights to do so, the publishers of scholarly journals have begun to experiment with subscription models that charge for access by the article, the viewer, or the year. Copyright may have been a cheap bribe when paper was expensive, but it has arguably distorted the scholarly publishing system in ways that undermine the enterprise of scholarship. Recently, we've seen a number of high-profile experiments seeking to use one of a variety of forms of open access scholarly publishing to develop an alternative model. Critics have not quarreled with the goals of open access publishing; instead, they've attacked the viability of the open-access business model.
Peggy Garvin, Open Access and Public Access: New Models for Information Access, SLA Government Information Division, undated but apparently July 7, 2006. A report on a session at the SLA Annual Conference (Baltimore, June 11-14, 2006). Excerpt:
The Canadian Breast Cancer Research Alliance (CBCRA) maintains its own OA repository for CBCRA-funded research. (Thanks to Jim Till.) From the site:
We have created a unique repository of peer-reviewed literature on breast cancer research, research supported by CBCRA. We believe it is the first of its kind, initiated by us because we believe that the public should have free access to research results funded by public agencies....
Also see the Grant Application Guide (p. 14):
CBCRA is aware of new models for the publication of research results and supports open and unrestricted access to published research in freely-accessible, high-quality scientific journals available via the Internet. Therefore budgets proposed in applications for CBCRA grants may include a line item for the cost of charges, such as article processing fees (APFs), that may be required for open access to publications in such online journals.
Comment. Kudos to the CBCRA. I can't tell whether it requires OA to the research it funds or simply provides OA to as much of it as it can. Either way, it's in very select company. I couldn't find the policy spelled out anywhere at the web site. Am I missing it, or did the CBCRA decide that the policy is so simple and obvious that there is no need to raise grantee anxieties, even to allay publisher anxieties, with legalistic detail on embargoes, permissions, copyright transfer agreements, and mandates? (If anyone knows, please drop me a line.)
Unlike the Wellcome Trust, which is private, and the Research Councils UK, which are public, the CBCRA is an alliance with members on each side of the line. Its motto is: Canada's unique collaboration of public, private and non-profit organizations.
Sara Kehaulani Goo, AOL May Speed Shift Away From Subscribers, Washington Post, July 7, 2006. AOL is converting from subscriptions to ad-supported open access. It will give up $1.8 billion in subscription revenue, but it will also realize large savings by cutting "hundreds or thousands of jobs related to marketing and subscriber retention." And there's this:
"It's a case where AOL has to make a move to stay competitive," said Rob Enderle, a Silicon Valley technology consultant. "While they are declining slowly, they are still declining. It wasn't a matter of if but when they would be dead."
PS: It's not scholarly communication, but it's a sign of larger trends.
Richard Willing, Tax dollars to fund study on restricting public data, USA Today, July 5, 2006. Excerpt:
The federal government will pay a Texas law school $1 million to do research aimed at rolling back the amount of sensitive data available to the press and public through freedom-of-information requests. Beginning this month, St. Mary's University School of Law in San Antonio will analyze recent state laws that place previously available information, such as site plans of power plants, beyond the reach of public inquiries. Jeffrey Addicott, a professor at the law school, said he will use that research to produce a national "model statute" that state legislatures and Congress could adopt to ensure that potentially dangerous information "stays out of the hands of the bad guys."
Comment. Fine; do the study. But let's frame the issue honestly. There's no way to keep citizens informed and keep terrorists in the dark. We're talking about keeping citizens as well as terrorists in the dark, not just terrorists.
Chris Anderson, People Power, Wired, July 2006. Excerpt:
There’s...gold in the casual Web droppings we all leave online. Much of the value of Amazon and Netflix comes from their tens of millions of customer reviews. Your click trail on Amazon is used to create better recommendations for those who follow. Your query on Google and the pages that you find relevant give feedback that fine-tunes the search algorithms. The ads you click don’t just boost revenue for Google, they also tell it how much to charge the next advertiser. These companies have found ways to harness the wisdom of the crowd, extracting information that was there all along, just latent and lost.
Comment. On the whole, the nonacademic web is far ahead of the academic web in taking advantage of these tools. One reason is the reluctance of academics to trade in professional or credentialed peer review for democratic or anarchic peer review. But wherever you stand on that question, it should be clear that the nature of peer review isn't the only place where the promise of these tools intersects the academic web. The possibilities for improved impact measurements and recommendation services, to name just two, are real and exciting.
For me, the first and most important way that academics can take advantage of the internet is open access. But after that there are thousands of other ways, large and small, although most of them presuppose OA. Let's not allow our conservatism about peer review to make us conservative about taking full advantage of the internet in ways that don't affect peer review.
Susan Nevelow has discovered that the National Science Foundation (NSF) blocks the Wayback Machine from copying its web pages, and would like to know why.
PS: Good question. I'd like to know too. The web pages we're talking about are already OA at the NSF site.
Update. Bill Hooker at Open Reading Frame wrote to the NSF webmaster and got a direct answer:
NSF blocks all indexing of the site between 7AM and 7PM ET, our peak traffic hours, for the convenience of our users. However, there is no block on the site from 7PM to 7AM ET. This is standard policy for most high traffic sites. The owner of [the Wayback Machine] need only comply with our policy in order to index our pages.(Thanks, Bill.)
As you may know, Bush administration budget cuts are forcing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to close its network of libraries. The growing protest by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) focuses on an OA connection that gives me an excuse to cover it here. PEER has publicly released its June 29 letter to the Congressional appropriations subcommittees responsible for funding the EPA. Excerpt:
Senior EPA managers are touting the message that the $2 million budget reduction, and subsequent library closures, will promote increased “efficiencies,” with virtually all EPA reports being available in an electronic format. These “savings” are illusory. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Here are some sobering facts regarding our impending library closures:...The National Environmental Publications Information System, EPA’s repository of electronic documents, currently holds about 13,000 documents. But the Agency has a total of about 80,000 documents that should be retained; most of these are not yet available in any electronic format. Our management has not addressed the issue of how much it will cost to digitize these thousands of reports, where the money will come from, or how long it will take to complete the task....
Also see the PEER press release acompanying its letter:
In an extraordinary letter of protest, representatives for 10,000 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency scientists are asking Congress to stop the Bush administration from closing the agency’s network of technical research libraries. The EPA scientists, representing more than half of the total agency workforce, contend thousands of scientific studies are being put out of reach, hindering emergency preparedness, anti-pollution enforcement and long-term research, according to the letter released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER)....Approximately 50,000 original research documents will become completely unavailable because they are not available electronically and the agency has no budget for digitizing them....The public and academic researchers may lose any access to EPA library materials as services to the public are being axed and there are no plans to maintain “the inter-library loan process.” “Eliminating library access is an absolutely awful way to run an agency devoted to public and environmental health,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch.
Comment. OA to all EPA-funded research would solve much (but not all) of this problem. But we're not there yet and a false claim of progress toward OA should not be used as a pretext to close off other forms of access.
The EPA is one of the 11 agencies covered by the OA mandate in the pending FRPAA. If the Bush administration wants to use OA to EPA research as a reason to shut down the EPA libraries, then it could show its good faith by backing FRPAA, on which it has not yet taken a position.
Declan Butler has identified the top 50 science blogs, as measured by Technorati rankings.
PS: What's important about this to me is not the ranking but the reminder, for those who'd rather not notice, that serious science is being reported and discussed on blogs. If you visit some, you'll also notice that the people writing and reading these blogs are having fun.
Susan R. Morrissey, Elias A. Zerhouni, Chemical & Engineering News, July 3, 2006. A profile of the director of the NIH. Excerpt:
C&EN: An issue that is gaining congressional interest is public access. NIH has had a policy in place since May of last year that asks researchers it supports to voluntarily post resulting journal articles on PubMed Central as soon as possible, but no longer than one year after publication. Legislation has been introduced in the Senate that would make public access mandatory after six months. Is it possible to find a balance that will satisfy supporters who want tax-payer-funded research available for free as quickly as possible and publishers who worry that making publications free too quickly will hurt their ability to recoup the costs of publishing the journals?
Back in February I blogged a powerful new tool built by Inera for CrossRef. Enter a bibliographic citation and it returns the DOI, at least when the cited work has a DOI. Ed Pentz, Executive Director of CrossRef, says that the tool matches citations to DOIs for 21.6 million items.
Back in February, the service was only available to CrossRef members, and my blog posting included a plea to open it up to everyone. Today CrossRef has done just that. (The web form has a place to enter "member name" but just leave it blank.) It's even more powerful than the last version. For example, paste in series of citations, and it will return a series of DOIs.
Kudos to CrossRef for opening this up.
BioMed Central Journals join Medscape Publishers' Circle, a press release from BMC, July 6, 2006. Excerpt:
Google Book Search has added four Chinese publishers to its set of partners. From a short article in China Knowledge (today):
Google China signed agreements with four publishing houses, including China’s Tsinghua University Press and the Children's Publishing House of China, Xinhua reported Wednesday.
The presentations from the conference, E-Publishing & Global Promotion of Indian Publications (Mumbai, July 1, 2006), are now online.
In March, Robert Centor published an article in BMC's Medical Informatics and Decision Making. Yesterday he blogged a letter he received from BMC giving him a "traffic report" on how often his article had been downloaded, comparing his download rate to the BMC average, and showing him where he can continue to monitor traffic. His conclusion:
This is my first experience with open access publishing and it is an excellent experience. Hopefully, the medical literature will move rapidly towards this model.
Yesterday, the University of Toronto's Project Open Source | Open Access publicly released its response to the CHIR's call for comments on its evolving OA policy. Excerpt:
Researchers should be encouraged to publish articles as open access, either in open access journals or in open access repositories. Researchers should store protocols in World Health Organization accredited clinical trial registries. If software products used are open source, the researchers should be encouraged to share the source code....Raw data and data appendices in publications should be deposited in open access repositories where available....
Martin LaMonica, Microsoft bends on OpenDocument, News.com, July 5, 2006. (Thanks to Glyn Moody.) Excerpt:
I blogged The Commons Rising back on May 15, but the Tomales Bay Institute, its publisher, didn't officially announce it until yesterday. From David Bollier's post on it at the Institute's excellent blog, On the Commons:
Google Book Search clarifies the four ways that it displays digitized books. (See the site for illustrations.)
Eric Kansa, Indigenous cultural heritage and the digital commons, Digging Digitally, July 5, 2006. Excerpt:
The Spring issue of Issues in Science & Technology Librarianship has a Supplement on Forestry. The main part of the issue contains David Flaxbart's strong editorial in support of FRPAA (already blogged here 5/31/06). Here are the OA-related articles from the Supplement:
Scott McLemee, Public Access, Inside Higher Ed, July 5, 2006. Excerpt:
For any publisher or author trying to get some traction in this landscape, the situation can be confusing. It might be helpful to frame things in terms of what I’ve come to call “the price paradox.” In short, the cost of making books known in the digital public sphere is both very small and incredibly intensive.
Yesterday, Belize launched the Belize Virtual Health Library. From the press release:
The Ministry of Health in collaboration with other national institutions and with technical support from the Pan American Health Organization will be launching its Virtual Health Library (VHL) on Tuesday July 04 2006....The VHL is a means of joining the expanding network of internet libraries on health sciences information throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. This initiative is intended for users countrywide and regionally to ensure universal access to scientific and technical information, products and services.
Also see the transcript of today's news broadcast on the launch from Belize's News 5 TV.
Rafael Ball, Green Road - Golden Road: Open Access - The Road to Hell? B.I.T.online, 9 (2006) Nr. 2. (Thanks to medinfo.) Only the abstract is free online, at least so far. Abstract of the BIT Online article:
Seven years after Open Access was first defined, the concrete realisation of free access to scientific information is beginning to take shape. A variety of paths have been trod along the way. The spectrum ranges from the ideal of "freedom of information" up to merciless commercialisation, for example, through Open Choice programmes by some scientific publishers. Using seven theses, withis paper will show that the "golden road" is the wrong road for the realisation of Open Access, that publishers are by no means the devil in disguise and that scientific communication does not need to be revolutionised by Open Access.
PS: This article seems to be based on Ball's slide presentation from the 5th Frankfurt Scientific Symposium (October 22-23, 2005). At least the slide presentation came first and has a similar title, "Open Access – neither green road nor golden road, is this the road to hell?" I don't have access to the full text of the article, but from the abstract it appears that Ball was much more positive about OA at the time of the presentation, when he concluded that "Everyone's a winner with Open Access."
Update. Ball is the head librarian at the Zentralbibliothek Jülich, a major research institution with an ample budget. One of his theses in the article is that libraries don't need OA. In a blog post on Tuesday, Jürgen Plieninger argues that Ball is out of touch with the needs of university libraries. Four comments support Plieninger's critique and OA. (Thanks to Klaus Graf.)
Participants in the iCommons iSummit for 2006 (Rio de Janeiro, June 23-25, 2006) asked the iCommons board to sign the Budapest and Berlin declarations. They also launched a wiki-based Rio Declaration on Open Access, whose language is still evolving.
PS: The draft declaration is already off to a good start, basing its definition on the BOAI (rather than starting over from scratch) and focusing on promotion, implementation, and resources. If you have any suggestions, which the sponsors prefer to direct edits, post them before July 13.
At the American Library Association Annual Conference 2006 (New Orleans, June 24-27, 2006), the ALA adopted a resolution in support of FRPAA.
At the same meeting, the American Association of Law Libraries adopted a resolution in support of OA to PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records). PACER is the US government center for access to appellate court records, and is one of the most useful US government information services that it is not yet fully OA.
Jeffrey K. Aronson, 'Open-access' publishing: first the evidence --then the verdict, Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, March 2006. An editorial. Not even an abstract is free online, at least so far.
Paula Le Dieu, Science Commons, a podcast lecture delivered at the O'Reilly European Open Source Convention (Amsterdam, October 17-20, 2005). Paula Le Dieu is the Director of Creative Commons International. (Thanks to Windley.) From the description:
Stephanie Mehta, The future of telecom is in Wales, CNN Money, June 8, 2006. (Thanks to Cooperation Commons.) Excerpt:
BT, (British Telecom) the incumbent phone company in the United Kingdom, is planning to shut off all of its legacy phone networks - a hodge podge of systems that includes the traditional "circuit switched" system that has served as the architecture for delivering phone calls for more than a century - by 2010. In its place, BT is installing a single network based on Internet Protocol, the language of the Internet. And the first town to make the conversion to the new network is Cardiff, a former coal port....
Comment. Kudos to BT. The fact that we can barely imagine the power of mashups between the phone system and the rest of the internet is the reason to do this, not the reason to resist. Opening the door will put imagination and cleverness to work, not keep them shut out.
Here's one potential mashup. Press 1 for an eprint. Dial a repository, identify an eprint, press 1, and a copy is on its way by email. The repository grabbed your email address from another mashup that connects email addresses with phone IDs. Here's another: Press 2 for an audio reading of the eprint. A pleasant computerized voice reads the eprint to you over the phone. Press 3 for an MP3 of this eprint. If you liked the audio reading and want a copy, or if you just didn't have time to finish listening to it in the cab on the way to the airport, ask for an MP3 to be sent to your email. You can listen to it on your iPod the next time you go jogging.
Or instead of using the phone to send content to your computer, use your computer to send content to your phone. Click here to send an audio reading of this file (or this podcast lecture) to your cell phone voicemail. You're running out the door but can listen to the file on your commute.
Sure, there will be new kinds of spam, but there will also be new kinds of spam solution. Spam wasn't a reason to keep email systems closed. Bring on the utility and plan to mop up as we go.
Charles W. Bailey, Jr., How Can Scholars Retain Copyright Rights? DigitalKoans, July 3, 2006. Excerpt:
Scholars are often exhorted to retain the copyright rights to their journal articles to ensure that they can freely use their own work and to permit others to freely read and use it as well. The question for scholars who are convinced to do so is: "How do I do that?"
Comment. This is a good introduction to the options. I'd only make two additions.
Today's New York Times has a good story on the prospects for an OA database of US government grants and contracts. Right-wing politicians like it because they think public scrutiny will lead to a reduction in government spending. Left-wing politicians like it because they think public scrutiny will increase political protection, if not spending, for valuable programs. The only opponents are politicians trying to defend their pork from public scrutiny, but there seem to be more of them than originally expected. The House version of the bill, passed in June, retreats from the original vision by shining light only on nonprofits receiving grants, not businesses receiving contracts. Democrats complain that his looks like a way to keep Republican pork in the dark.
PS: For another example of selective OA that seems to have a political motivation, see the global warming story I blogged last week.
Andrew Leigh, Academia online, On Line Opinion, July 3, 2006. Excerpt:
Comment. Just one correction: It's much better to post one's work to an OA repository than to a personal web site. You won't have to move the content and break existing links when you change jobs or retire; the content will be indexed by academic search engines (like OAIster) as well as the mainstream giants (like Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft); and in most cases dedicated librarians will assure its long-term preservation.
Sophie Rovner, Evolving Access, Chemical & Engineering News, July 3, 2006. Excerpt:
Publishers are striving to find a viable business model to support free reader access to scholarly articles on the Web.
I just mailed the July issue of the SPARC Open Access Newsletter. This issue takes a close look at the big step toward OA mandates at the RCUK, the big step toward an OA mandate at the NIH, and the case for mandating OA to electronic theses and dissertations. The Top Stories section takes a brief look at the Royal Society's decision to switch to hybrid OA journals, the PLoS preview of PLoS ONE and its first-ever fee increase, the results to date of Oxford's OA experiments, protests within the American Anthropological Association about the AAA decision to oppose FRPAA, the Science Commons launch of Scholar's Copyright, some new OA policies at three research institutions, and more news and comment on FRPAA.
Ségolène Royal, a candidate for the Presidency of France, supports the Berlin Declaration and the WSIS principles for OA. Thanks to Francis Muguet for forwarding a press release, in English and French, reporting Royal's recent meeting with Richard Stallman:
Open standards (like the Open Document Format) and the use of Free Software contribute to the independence, quality and effectiveness of public agencies and local communities. Developments funded by public authorities for their own needs should be free, as a general rule.
Update. For more background on the Royal-Stallman meeting and its joint statement, see Glyn Moody, Time for Coders to Get Political? Linux Journal, July 3, 2006.
Robert J. Lackie, The Changing Face of the Scholarly Web: Finding Free, Quality, Full-Text Articles, Books, and More! Multimedia & Internet@Schools, July 1, 2006 (free registration required). Excerpt:
Fortunately for all of us, the scholarly Web is getting noticed more because of new digitization initiatives underway and the enormous publicity search leaders are receiving for their fledlging work. Many librarians and researchers seem to be pleasantly surprised by the continually changing face of the scholarly Web and its freely available quality full-text offerings.
PS: Lackie's survey is strongest on OA books and full-text search tools. He includes the DOAJ and some other sites on OA journals, and gives short shrift to OA repositories (mentioning PMC, for example, but not arXiv, OAI, OAIster, ROAR, or OpenDoar).
Miriam Drake, Open Access for Physics: Interview with Marc Brodsky, Searcher, July/August, 2006. Only this blurb is free online:
Miriam Drake interviews Marc Brodsky, the executive director of the American Institute of Physics (AIP), about what role open access will play in the disbursement of physics research on the Web.
Update. Bill Walsh has blogged an excerpt.
Robin Peek, The Impact of Open Choice, Information Today, July/August 2006. Excerpt:
The findings of a study released last month in PLoS Biology reveal that articles that are published by the author-pays open access (OA) approach are cited more often than those that are published in the same journal and that are publicly released 6 months after publication.