Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Are OA repositories adequate for long-term preservation?

Peter B. Hirtle, Copyright Keeps Open Archives and Digital Preservation Separate, RLG DigiNews, April 15, 2007.  Sadly, this is the last installment of the FAQ column in the final issue of DigiNews.  Excerpt:

I have read that if I publish with a “green” publisher or use one of the author’s addenda, my articles can be preserved in an open access digital repository. Is this true?

The short answer: probably not....

Given that it would appear that more and more funded research is going to find its way into open access digital repositories, an obvious question is whether libraries can rely on those repositories to preserve that information.  Unfortunately, they cannot, for at least two reasons. 

First, as has long been recognized, open “archives” are primarily concerned with providing open access to current information – and not the long-term preservation of the contents. Most lack the technical, organizational, and financial support required for a true digital preservation program. In its draft position statement on access to research outputs, Research Councils UK noted the distinction....

Second, and more troubling, is that the agreements that make it possible for authors to deposit articles in an open access repository do not necessarily also convey the rights needed by the repository to preserve and make available digital information over time....

[T]he self-archiver must have the right to authorize DSpace (or other repositories) to make copies and reformat submissions. Prior to submission to a journal, an author would have that right. When copyright is transferred to a publisher, the publisher must then authorize the author/self-archiver to grant those rights. Yet in the typical copyright transfer agreement of even a “green” publisher, the explicit right to license preservation activities to DSpace is sorely lacking....

Are authors who attach an author’s addendum to their copyright transfer agreement any better able to grant the needed permissions to the repository?  In some cases, the answer is yes....

Open access archives can be a valuable tool in making information immediately available. With time, the license terms that permit self-archiving may mature to explicitly permit digital preservation of the files as well as third party use of the archived material (the other great lacuna in the current agreements).  For now, however, libraries will need to rely on the published journal literature for the long-term preservation of scholarly information. And, as library directors concluded in our recent report, E-Journal Archiving Metes and Bounds: A Survey of the Landscape, only journals that are part of formal third party journal archiving programs can be said to be effectively preserved. In sum, libraries cannot yet rely upon open archives for long-term access to the journal literature.

More on green OA without paying for gold OA

Stevan Harnad, OA or More-Pay? Open Access Archivangelism, April 18, 2007. 

Summary:  Springer Open Choice offers authors the choice of paying for Optional Gold OA: While all publication costs are still being paid for by institutional subscriptions, authors can pay Springer $3000 extra to make their article (Gold) OA for them.
   But there is no need (nor sense) to pay anyone an extra penny while institutional subscriptions are still paying all publication costs. Researchers' institutions and funders should instead mandate that their researchers self-archive their published articles in their own Institutional Repositories in order to make them (Green) OA.
   Mandating deposit in an Institutional Repository is a university and funder policy matter in which the publishing industry should have no say whatsoever. The way to remove the publishing industry lobby from this research-community decision loop is the pro-tem compromise -- wherever there is any delay in adopting an OA self-archiving mandate -- of weakening the mandate into an immediate-deposit/optional-access mandate (ID/OA), so that it can be adopted without any further delay.
   (Such ID/OA mandates can be accompanied by a cap on the maximum allowable length for any publisher embargo on the setting of access to the (immediate) deposit as OA: 3 months, 6 months, 12 months: whatever can be agreed on without delaying the adoption of the ID/OA mandate itself. The most important thing to note is that most of the current, sub-optimal Green OA mandates that have already been adopted or proposed -- the ones that mandate deposit itself only after a capped embargo period [or worse: only if/when the publishers "allows it"] instead of immediately -- are all really subsumed as special cases by the ID/OA mandate. The only difference is that the deposit itself must be immediate in all cases, with the allowable delay pertaining only to the date of the OA-setting.) ...

Opening up Google scans of public-domain govt documents

Raizel, An Open Letter to Google, William Patry, and Google's Library Partners, No Attention, April 13, 2007.  (Thanks to Klaus Graf.)  Excerpt:

All I'm asking for is full access for the public to government documents on Google BookSearch. These documents are in the public domain and therefore should not be limited by claims of copyright, by Google or by the Library Partners.
According to Google's own FAQ:

For books that enter Book Search through the Library Project, what you see depends on the book's copyright status. . . . If the book is in the public domain and therefore out of copyright, you can page through the entire book and even download it and read it offline.

This statement implies all materials on Book Search that one cannot page through or download are not in the public domain.

Can you provide the public a reason why Google BookSearch has not made public domain government documents fully available? ...

I'm sure you know that government works created by the U.S. federal government are not protected by copyright....

More on OA in classics

Josiah Ober and three co-authors, Toward Open Access in Ancient Studies: The Princeton-Stanford Working Papers in Classics, Hesperia, 76 (2007) pp. 229-242.  (Thanks to Tom Elliott.)

Abstract:   The authors’ experience with founding and managing an open-access Internet site for publishing scholarly preprints, the Princeton-Stanford Working Papers in Classics, raises issues about the status of publication in classical studies. Open-access e-prints offer unique advantages in terms of availability and dated registration of work, but raise concerns about certification and permanent archiving. E-prints and traditional publications are currently complementary. Yet the worlds of scholarly publication and academic evaluation of scholarship are changing in important ways; closer cooperation between publishers, scholars, and university administrators could help to maximize benefits and limit costs to disciplines, institutions, and individuals.

A snag with the Swiss OA mandate

Donat Agosti, Urheberrecht als Hindernis für die Forschung, NZZ Online, April 20, 2007.  Read it in German or Google's English.

Here are the two key paragraphs, translated for OAN by Agosti himself:

Despite the fact that the president of the Council of the Swiss Science Foundation, Dieter Imboden, recently decided that recipients of awards are required to self archive through personal or institutional repositories at the respective universities, there is not legal basis what can be offered in such a repository. These new repositories --such as ZORA at the University of Zurich, will thus only slowly be populated because the entertainment industry’s aggressive prosecution of copyright piracy led to a big uncertainty....

A clearcut law which would state that essentially all works have to be open for indexing and should be searchable on the Internet would be an important solution, and it would open the door for full text searches. This would not necessarily mean, that the publications are also open access. But it would allow developing adequate new licences between the publishers and the authors, as well as new forms of publications reflecting new possibilities to enhance the return for money spent in science....

More on the unmet demand for access in India

Abhishek, Towards Open Access For Scientific Research, Descritics, April 20, 2007.  Excerpt:

...I shall only deal with the problems in accessing scientific journals in a developing country like India. For long, the basic research has been concentrated in the U.S. or Europe....

It is interesting to note that most...journals of repute...remain the exclusive preserve of the rich universities abroad. They...often price their products beyond the purchasing power of the individuals in the developing countries by setting up prohibitively expensive access controls.

The Open Access movement wanted to change all that....

The importance of being updated [on new research] cannot be under estimated. Yet, I find it odd that the journals allow for [embargoed] access to the articles after six months, or for some, after years; what relevance would it hold at a later stage? The crying need is to make all access free and fair, irrespective of the country where the person is accessing the articles from....

Two on OA from the March WZB-Mitteilungen

In the March 2007 issue of WZB-Mitteilungen there are two OA-related articles.  (Thanks to Eric Steinhauer via Klaus Graf.)

  • Jeanette Hofmann, Wem gehört das Wissen?  Digitalisierung stellt Urheberrecht vor neue Herausforderungen
  • Sonja Grimm and Christoph Haug, Zugang für alle Open Access: Publizieren

Friday, April 20, 2007

OA repositories under Australian copyright law

The Open Access to Knowledge (OAK) Law project (OAK Law) at Queensland University of Technology has released A Guide to Developing Open Access Through Your Digital Repository.  From the April 18 announcement:

The Open Access to Knowledge (OAK) Law Project has launched a guide for organisations and academic institutions who implement and manage [open access] digital repositories. We believe the guide will be beneficial to repository managers as a practical day-to-day tool.

‘A Guide to Developing Open Access Through Your Digital Repository’ examines and explains the copyright issues involved in depositing and accessing material in digital repositories....Finally, the guide touches on more technical considerations, such as software and metadata.

We see the guide as a building block towards a broader accessibility framework. While the focus is Australian law, it has potential to be adapted to other jurisdictions.

More on OA for preservation and vice versa

The Research Information Network (RIN) has released a new report, Stewardship of digital research data: a framework of principles and guidelines, April 2007.  Excerpt from the full-text:

The essential goals we are seeking to achieve are thus to facilitate the advancement of research and innovation, to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of research, and to maximise the value of public and private investment in research. In pursuance of those goals, the fundamental policy objective is to ensure that

Ideas and knowledge derived from publicly-funded research should be made available and accessible for public use, interrogation, and scrutiny, as widely, rapidly and effectively as practicable....

PS:  As far as I can tell, the report endorses OA both as a goal for preservation projects and as one of the means.

The high cost of not making public information OA

Michael Cross, Bad maps are key factor in farming fiasco, The Guardian, April 19, 2007.  Excerpt:

One accusation we face at Technology Guardian's Free Our Data campaign is that public sector information is a minority interest. Why should any normal person, let alone a busy government minister, be interested in subjects like free access to geospatial information?

A simmering political row over a fiasco that cost English farmers £20m and a senior civil servant his job may move the issue up the agenda.  The National Farmers' Union said this week that geographical information was a key factor in the latest fiasco involving government IT....

Maps printed from the Land Register were sent to every farmer claiming subsidy to check. According to Julie Robinson, a lawyer with the National Farmers' Union, this is where the system went wrong. "Many of the maps sent back to farmers to check turned out to be seriously inaccurate." ...

Freely available mapping data might not have prevented the rural payments fiasco - but it would have given all parties more warning that it was coming....

OAI5 presentations

Most of the presentations from the CERN workshop on Innovations in Scholarly Communication (OAI5) are now online.  All of them are OA-related.

Scholarly journals between the past and future

On April 21-22, 2006, the Swedish Royal Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities hosted a seminar, Scholarly journals between the past and the future.  Now the presentations have been published as a book:

Martin Rundkvist (ed.), Scholarly Journals Between the Past and the Future. The Fornvännen Centenary Round-Table Seminar. Stockholm, 21 April 2006. Kungliga Vitterhets Historie och Antikvitets Akademien, Konferenser 65. Stockholm 2007. 109 pp. ISBN 978-91-7402-368-8.

The editor's advice:  "don't buy stock in commercial journal publishing companies."

PS:  I'd link to the seminar and book but I can't find URLs for either one.

Congratulations to Open University

OpenLearn, the open courseware project at Open University, has won a major award.  From the OU press release:

The Open University's OpenLearn project has won a platinum award at the IMS Global Learning Consortium Learning Impact Awards 2007.

The OpenLearn website offers free and open learning educational resources for learners and educators worldwide. Its entry received full marks from the award judges in the area of Expanded Access: Impact on reaching new populations.

The project's success in attracting a global audience since its launch in October 2006 was said by the judges to be a "true innovation in open access" which was to be "applauded".

More on the evolving OA policy from the APA/AIA

The Task Force on Electronic Publication for the American Philological Association (APA) and the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) has issued its Final Report.  The report is undated but appears to have been released March 31, 2007.  Also see the separate appendix.  (Thanks to Karla Hahn.)

From the Executive Summary:

The Task Force was charged the analysis of particular issues associated with the burgeoning area of electronic publishing, including peer refereeing, freedom of information, intellectual property protection, storage and retrieval of data and whatever other concerns it may identify. Having prepared a policy statement in summer 2006, the Task Force turned to the final report of the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) released in 2006....After discussion...and comments, the Task Force has formulated the following recommendations:

R1. Continue with the efforts, supported by the Capital Campaign and Board of Directors, to plan, design, and sustain a portal to digital content....

R4. Appoint two or three editors and institute a section for postprints (and perhaps other material) in the CDL's eScholarship Repository, or like platform.

R5. Explore a new digitally-distributed series of APA monographs....

R6. Appoint a small group to explore the feasibility of digitizing the APA microfiches to make them freely available in an open-access archive.

R7. Issue a statement encouraging development of a high-quality non-commercial digital library of Latin texts.

From the body of the report:

E.4. open access and open content: humanities scholars believe in the transformative power of human communication and artistic expression, and it is natural that they should want original documents and a great deal of the secondary literature that explains and interprets them to be available to as wide an audience as possible with as little constraint as possible, in continuation of the ideals of the public library. Open-access archives are a valuable alternative to commercialized media and the unfortunate expansion of copyright restrictions brought on by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. It is appropriate for the societies and their members to encourage and participate in open-access, open-content endeavors. (See Recommendations F.4 and F.6 below.) ...

Open-access digital repositories of postprints are a logical location for scholars to deposit the kind of published work that is being neglected by the standard digitized collections. The California Digital Library operates an open-access eScholarship Repository that hosts some national disciplinary collections on the basis of participation of University of California departments or faculty. The CDL manager has already agreed that if, for instance, the Classics Department at Berkeley sponsored the inclusion of a APA/AIA postprint collection, such a section could be set up, controlled by editors appointed by the APA. The function of editors would be to review submissions for suitability of content and quality of appearance. The eScholarship Repository is already equipped with the mechanisms for submission and editorial review....

RECOMMENDATION 4: appoint two or three editors and institute a section for postprints (and perhaps other material) in the CDL’s eScholarship Repository, or like platform....

A growing number of books from major library collections are becoming available through GoogleBook and competing projects. Works of classical scholarship have begun to appear in such collections. This is all to the good, but we do not have assurance of the quality of the available materials (for instance, there are reports of missing pages, and availability of only some volumes of a multi-volume work), nor is the free accessibility of more recent works in any way certain. Therefore, it is fully appropriate for classicists and archaeologists to consider projects to place professionally selected specimens of our historical scholarly resources in open-access collections....

We believe that if [our previously microfiched] works are digitized, then the proper disposition of them would be in an open-access archive, perhaps with the provision that print-on-demand copies could be ordered....

RECOMMENDATION 6: Appoint a small group to explore the feasibility of digitizing the APA microfiches to make them freely available in an open-access archive.

The recommendations in the report have been submitted to the APA and AIA boards but have not yet been adopted.

For background on the APA/AIA deliberations, see my blog post from December 23, 2006.

Evaluating the OA journals in different fields

Prof. R.K. Shukla's library science students at Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) in India have been evaluating OA journals in different fields.  So far they have written studies of the OA journals in chemistry, engineering, LIS, medicine, and social sciences.  All the studies are now themselves OA through the IGNOU repository

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Europe needs a green OA lobbying organization

Euroscience, which represents 2,300 working scientists in 40 European countries, has launched a new blog dedicated to OA, Opening scientific communication.  It's a group blog and welcomes new contributors.

The inaugural post is by Stevan Harnad, Green OA Self-Archiving Needs a Lobbying Organisation, April 19, 2007.  Excerpt:

...Gold OA and Green OA are clearly complementary, but there is considerable disagreement over which one should be given priority. The current level of OA worldwide is about 20%, of which about 5% is Gold and 15% is Green....

The critical difference in the probability of increasing OA to 100% via Gold or Green is that Gold OA depends on two further factors: Converting journals to Gold and finding the money to pay authors’ Gold OA publication fees....

The situation with Green OA is very different, because it does not depend on converting publishers, and it is virtually cost-free. Most institutions already have Institutional Repositories (IRs). The only problem is that they are largely empty because, as noted, only about 15% of researchers self-archive spontaneously — even though a series of recent studies have demonstrated OA’s dramatic benefits for all fields of scientific and scholarly research (doubled usage and citations)....

Green OA mandates have been repeatedly demonstrated to work....

Moreover, if and when mandated 100% OA from Green self-archiving should ever go on to cause journal subscriptions to be cancelled, thereby forcing journals to convert to Gold OA publishing, the cancellations themselves will release the institutional subscription funds that can then be used to pay for institutional authors’ Gold OA publication charges.

So the pragmatics of the status quo and the goal would seem to indicate that mandating Green OA (by research funders and institutions) should be given priority, rather than focussing on trying to convert journals to Gold OA and trying to find the funds to pay for it. Journal publishing is in the hands of publishers, but Green OA self-archiving is in the hands of authors and their institutions and funders....

So my ardent plea to this discussion group is to give priority to Green OA mandates by universities and funders. An immediate-deposit, immediate-OA mandate is obviously optimal, but if that cannot be agreed upon immediately, an ID/OA [immediate deposit / optional OA] mandate is infinitely preferable to any further delay in adoption....

As far as I can tell, there are only four kinds of “high-level” OA goings-on that are being arranged periodically by various official organisations (librarians, universities, publishers, funders, government committees):

(1) Librarians and universities, who think OA is all about journal affordability, preservation, digital curation (IRs) and interoperability (OAI).

(2) “OA Publishers,” who insist that OA is all about conversion to Gold OA and the funding of Gold OA fees (CERN, etc.).

(3) Anti-OA publishers whose interest is in lobbying against Green OA mandates as a threat to their industry.

(4) Copyright reformers who think OA is all about reforming copyright law.

There is no recognized topic of Green OA, no Green OA-specific interest group recognized or invited to any of these high-level meetings.

So only two recourses are left to Green OA advocates: One is to do as we are doing, which is to keep on raising our voices on behalf of Green OA in writings and petitions and at the meetings we are invited to.

The other possibility is the one Richard Poynder and Napoleon Miradon and others have proposed, which is to organise an official Green OA lobby. I think that would be a splendid idea (but it would have to be carefully protected against dilution by well-meaning but blinkered proponents of (1) and (4), and perhaps even (3), which would defeat both its focus and its purpose)....

Let us work to make it sooner, rather than later.

More on the OpenDOAR open API

OpenDOAR now has an open API for useful and creative mash-ups.  From yesterday's announcement:

OpenDOAR, as a SHERPA project, is pleased to announce the release of an API that lets developers use OpenDOAR data in their applications. It is a machine-to-machine interface that can run a wide variety of queries against the OpenDOAR Database and get back XML data. Developers can choose to receive just repository titles & URLs, all the available OpenDOAR data, or intermediate levels of detail. They can then incorporate the output into their own applications and 'mash-ups', or use it to control processes such as OAI-PMH harvesting.

The following example illustrates how the API works:

This makes the API request below for repositories holding French language material, with the results sorted by country and repository name:,rname

The resultant XML is then processed locally for display using [a] PHP script....

This is just one example of the many uses to which the API can be put. Three experimental applications were created by external collaborators during the prototype stage, including the Google Maps mash-up Repository66. These examples are detailed in the full online description of the API...where full technical documentation can also be found.

PS:  For background, see my blog post from March 21, 2007.

The future for journal publishers

Charlie Rapple has blogged some notes on a talk by John Cox (unclear when or where --probably the UKSG meeting in Warwick).  Excerpt:

...One consequence of online publishing is the hunger for Open Access - an unproven business model which has not yet shown itself to be sustainable, says Cox....[T]he world's 850 institutional repositories may currently be scantly populated...but they are being supported by a number of major funding agencies, and may yet grow sufficiently to change the current landscape....

The future for publishers, therefore, is in the functionality within which they wrap their content. If the research itself is freely available - and easily discoverable - elsewhere, publishers have to differentiate themselves with truly useful features (e.g. supporting datasets, taxonomies, community facilities). Cox praises OECD's SourceOECD for using the capabilities of online to add massive value over the print, and Alexander Street Press for building communities in the humanities - demonstrating the value across different sectors.

Web 2.0 "will bring further changes", of which user-generated content and folksonomies have most relevance to scholarly publishing. They represent the value-adds which can differentiate publisher platforms from institutional repositories - if publishers are willing or able to make the necessary investment in technology, and to make the transition to being service providers rather than manufacturers.

Comment.  OA is a kind of access, not a kind of business model.  It's not only compatible with many different business models, but it's already supported by many different business models.  However, Cox is otherwise right --if I may paraphrase him this way-- that the future for publishers lies in adding value to OA content.   OA is not going away and the OA percentage of peer-reviewed journal literature will only keep growing.  Some publishers will offer OA themselves and recover their costs from sources other than readers.  Others will charge readers for access to enhanced versions of the OA literature.  Some of these enhancements will themselves be OA, but some will be unavailable gratis and worth paying for.  For those publishers who want to charge for access, as opposed to another kind of service, the new struggle will be to stay ahead of the creeping gift economy that will find ways to make each new enhancement available to end users free of charge.

Update. Also see Rapple's notes on Sally Morris' talk at the same conference.

The transformation of scholarship from print to digital

Douglas Brown, Scientific Communication and the Dematerialization of Scholarship, ProQuest CSA, 2007.  (Thanks to ResourceShelf.)

Abstract:   Many scientific research fields are becoming massively computationally intensive, handling and mining enormous datasets, a trend that is opening up possibilities for new methods of discovery, transdisciplinary and problem-centred investigation, and very large scale collaboration. Simultaneously, research practices at the frontier are changing rapidly as scientists and engineers are moving towards a research process of continuous refinement - writing, annotating and revising in near real time using the Internet - a tendency that may be further encouraged by the emergence of new, informal writing platforms and collaborative tools. These and related developments of the last decade may be contributing to the transformation of a system of scholarly research communication, based on the printed scholarly journal and the research article, that has been in place essentially unchanged for over three centuries. Following a backward glance at the beginnings of modern scientific communication, this article draws attention to this sudden, apparently dramatic shift, reviewing moves towards the development of 'cyberinfrastructure', a vision of a 'natively digital' scholarly communication system, the proliferation of open access institutional repositories, and the possibility of entirely new forms of scholarly communication as science itself shifts into a new phase in the 21st century.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Bentham Science aims to be largest OA publisher, and soon

Siân Harris, Bentham announces OA growth strategy, Research Information, April/May 2007.  Excerpt:

Bentham Science plans to launch over 300 open-access journals during 2007 with the first 100 journals being launched by May 2007. The journals, collectively known as ‘Bentham Science OPEN’, will cover all major disciplines of science including engineering, mathematics, chemistry, medicine, bio-chemical sciences, pharmaceutical sciences, earth sciences and environmental science. They will be published exclusively online and will be available for free viewing via Bentham Science’s website.

Bentham Science OPEN will launch three types of open-access journals: those that publish research articles; those that publish exclusively review articles; and those that publish letters or short communication articles. All articles will be peer-reviewed prior to publication and Bentham promises that article-processing charges to authors will all be less than US$1000 per published article.

‘We have decided that we can now build-up an impressive and large list of exclusively open-access titles without endangering our current subscription list,’ Bentham’s editorial director Matthew Honan told Research Information. ‘Our aim is three-fold,’ he continued. Firstly the company wants ‘to build-up the largest list of open-access journals of any existing STM publisher.’ It also hopes to successfully publish a list of both open-access and subscription journals. The third aspect of this open-access strategy is that the company has observed an increasing trend in favour of open-access publishing, for example from funding bodies such as The Wellcome Trust. ‘As a publisher we need to listen to our authors and follow the trends in publishing which we believe we are doing,’ said Honan.

This is not the company’s first experience of open access. An open-access option is available on Bentham’s 79 existing subscription titles, with author charges of US$3000 per published article....

April/May Research Information

The April/May issue of Research Information is now online.  Here are the OA-related articles:

The advantages of OA journals

Matthew Cockerill, OA creates new opportunities, Research Information, April/May 2007.  Excerpt:

For many years, publishers, scientists, academics, librarians, funders and government officials have debated the value of greater public access to the results of scientific research. The internet has fundamentally changed the economics of distributing scientific research results, and has made the idea of universal access to research a realistic prospect. The number of open-access journals continues to increase rapidly, as does the proportion of scientific research that is freely available online.

As open-access publishing has emerged it has attracted both enthusiasm and scepticism in almost equal measure....

Scepticism and debate are healthy, especially if the debate is informed by evidence. In the case of open-access publishing, the track record of existing open-access journals now demonstrates that the open-access model can succeed in the real world. In particular, open-access journals have demonstrated their ability to operate as a sustainable business, and to publish research of high quality – validated by the industry’s leading metrics.

Perhaps more importantly, the success of open-access publications is also stimulating the research community to...consider how the open-access model can provide a channel for the rapid publication of more research results in formats that allow their effective compilation and reuse....

An example of open-access success can be seen in Malaria Journal....

BioMed Central’s much newer Journal of Medical Case Reports benefits from the open access publication model in a different way....

[A]n important aspect of many open-access journals is that they also encourage the publication of more incremental advances, and even negative results, if properly performed....[O]pen-access journals provide more raw data for researchers to use in subsequent studies....

Lastly, open access, by making the underlying research articles freely available and reusable, opens up myriad possibilities for enhancing and extending that research. This includes the use of computational techniques to mine research articles for information, and the use of Web 2.0 technologies such as blogs, tagging and wikis to allow the research community itself to enrich articles with additional content and connections....

Communicating with repository managers

OpenDOAR has announced an email distribution service.  From today's announcement:

OpenDOAR, as a SHERPA project, is pleased to announce the release of a trial email distribution service for repository administrators, service providers and researchers around the world....

The global open access repository community is a vibrant and disparate group of individuals, whom make use of local and national email discussion lists for rapid and effective communication. However, to date there has been no readily available system to allow them, or other interested parties, to reach a bespoke or broader portion of the community on a truly global scale. It is to fulfil this perceived need that OpenDOAR has introduced this service.

Through using a small series of simple menus and options on the request form it is possible to directly address a specific proportion of the OpenDOAR listed repositories, including: countries, continents, language groups and software platform.

In keeping with the OpenDOAR quality assurance ethos all potential emails are filtered by SHERPA staff in terms of content and suitability of scope before redistribution.

As this is a pilot service the actual types of emails that will be redistributed remain uncertain, although it is anticipated that the follow types will be commonly received:

  • Emails announcing conferences, events and workshops

  • News or announcements concerning OA software platform developments

  • News of Open Access developments

  • Requests for collaborators on a project, research or similar

  • Announcements of research results of general interest to OA community....

Storage and tools for OA economics data

The Open Knowledge Foundation has released Open Economics version 0.4.  From today's announcement:

This is the fourth release of the Open Economics project and the first that has been deemed ‘worthy’ of a full release announcement. The Open Economics project provides data storage and visualization for economics data as well as associated web services and assorted modelling code. The project home page is:  [here] while the open economics web interface is currently available at: [here] (though note that we plan to move to a dedicated domain in the near future).

BMC's consultation workshop

On the BioMed Central blog, Matt Cockerill previews the BMC consultation workshop at Medical Libraries Association 2007 (Philadelphia, May 18-23, 2007).  Excerpt:

Join BioMed Central at MLA 2007 in Philadelphia to find out more about how librarians and research administrators can work together to promote open access....

Peer-reviewed open access publications, such as those listed in the Directory of Open Access journals, have the potential to deliver universal access at no greater cost to the scholarly community than the traditional publishing system. Desirable as this outcome may be, many librarians face a Catch-22 situation. Open access publication has costs - typically covered by publication fees - but library budgets are already so tight that they cannot easily stretch to cover publication fees, in addition to subscriptions.

Fortunately, a solution to this problem is at hand. Research funders around the world, most prominently the Wellcome Trust and the US National Institutes of Health, have recognized the shortcomings of the traditional journal publishing system, and are taking steps to enhance access by setting up open access repositories, calling on grantees to deposit publications in those repositories, and making funds available to cover the cost of publishing in open access journals. Reports commissioned by the Wellcome Trust , the European Commission and most recently the Australian Productivity Commission have all concluded that open access publishing has the potential to cost less than the traditional model, while delivering vastly more access, and so promises to be an extremely cost-effective use of research funds. Wellcome estimates the total cost of disseminating the results of research through open access journals as only 1-2% of the cost of carrying out the research.

A major benefit of open access journals is that they address the concern that open access repositories might undermine the peer-review system. Open access journals, such as those published by BioMed Central, provide a business model for the publication of high-quality peer-reviewed journals that is fully compatible with open access via repositories. Open access journals make the most of repositories by ensuring that articles are deposited systematically, in final form, with immediate open access, and without requiring additional effort on the part of the author....

Under the traditional model, the role of the librarian centred on purchasing access to proprietary information for users. In an open access environment, librarians have the opportunity to take a more active role in facilitating scholarly communication. By partnering with research funders and research administrators to support open access repositories and open access journals, they can ensure that research from their institution is effectively disseminated....

[The BMC consultation workshop] will be held onsite at the MLA conference on Monday, May 21st, 2007 from 7.00 - 9.00am and breakfast will be provided. Spaces are limited, so please send an email to if you would like to attend.

Unlocking IP in Australia

The March issue of SCRIPT-ed is devoted building a knowledge commons by unlocking intellectual property in Australia.  From Graham Greenleaf's editorial:

This special issue of SCRIPT-ed is based on papers presented at the Conference Creating Commons: The Tasks Ahead in Unlocking IP, held at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, on 10-11 July 2006. The ‘Unlocking IP’ project, funded by the Australian Research Council, investigates the rapidly changing relationship between public and private rights in Australian copyright law and practice. It explores options for maximising the ‘unlocking‘ of the potential uses of copyright works through sharing and trade in works involving public rights (open content, open source and open standards licensing) and through enhancement to the public domain. The papers in his Special Issue address all four main aspects of the project (i) theories and taxonomy of public rights (Greenleaf); (ii) voluntary licences and their consistency, simplicity, and effectiveness (Bond, Coates); (iii) technical issues in finding works with public rights more effectively (Bildstein); and (iv) incentives to expand public use rights (Clarke) and requirements to protect them (de Zwart). Nicol’s paper deals with aspects of all four topics in relation to patent regimes and biotechnology, whereas the focus of the other papers is on copyright. One common theme in most papers is the national dimension of commons, the question of to what extent commons are created by and situated in the copyright regimes, institutions and practices (including licences) of particular countries. Is the ‘Australian commons’ significantly different in its features than the ‘Scottish commons’, or are both now largely homogenised in an US-flavoured international commons stew? ...

You can watch the Unlocking IP project unfold at [here] and more entertainingly on the project researchers’ blog The House of Commons.

OA publishing sans revenue

John Willinsky and Ranjini Mendis, Open access on a zero budget: a case study of Postcolonial Text, Information Research, April 2007.  This is #3 in IR's series of case studies in open access publishing.  Abstract:

Introduction. The founding of a new open access journal is described in terms of its use of the open source software Open Journal Systems, its contribution to a new field of inquiry and its ability to operate on a zero budget in terms of regular expenses.

Method. A case study method is deployed describing the circumstances of the journal's founding and current manner of publishing.

Analysis. The use of online and open source software, as well as a global team of volunteers is presented as the basis of sustaining an open access approach to publishing.

Results. The journal has been able to operate with a zero dollar operating budget over the course of its first six issues and is in a position to continue in this manner.

Conclusions. A strong commitment to the principles of developing a new field of inquiry committed to global issues of access to knowledge, in combination with open source and Internet technologies, has lowered the barriers to the exercise of academic freedom on a modest, but nonetheless global scale.

Update on Sweden's project

Co-Action has written a short report on last week's meeting of the project (Stockholm, April 12-13, 2007).  In its entirety:

Nearly all of Sweden’s university and college libraries were represented, in addition to the Swedish Research Council, individual researchers and others. The main focus was on Open Access policies and practices within and between Swedish universities and colleges, and on Swedish and European archiving and repository challenges and techniques.

Håkan Billig, Secretary General of the Medical Scientific Council of the Swedish Research Council, and responsible for drawing up guidelines for and implementing the Research Council’s publication policies, reported that the Research Council is likely to announce their long-awaited Open Access policy in December 07. The Council has signed the Berlin declaration and the Petition to the EU, yet has been uncertain as to how it would proceed in practice. Though Billig could not provide the details of the forthcoming policy, his presentation suggested that in future, funding recipients will be bound by a contractual clause that addresses Open Access publishing in some form. Billig emphasized that the Research Council’s prime goal is to maximize access, not to minimize publishing costs.

Marianne Wikgren, Research Officer at the Humanities and Social Sciences Scientific Council of the Swedish Research Council announced that earmarked funds to support the publication of Open Access journals will be available from 2008. The Scientific Council is currently restructuring its application forms to this end. This should spur the launch of several new Open Access journals in the Humanities and Social Sciences, as well as provide some needed support to existing journals.

Progress report on OA in the Nordic countries

Turid Hedlund and Ingegerd Rabow, Open Access in the Nordic Countries - a State of the Art Report, Nordbib, February 28, 2007.  (Thanks to Co-Action.)  Excerpt:

The report describes the present situation in the Nordic countries (Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland) regarding Open Access in scientific publishing. The present progress report presents comprehensive policy issues when present, as well as initiatives concerning a transfer to a more Open Access publishing policy, such as immediate application of Open Access publishing at various universities or research institutes. Success stories and challenging areas are given in the report and are illustrated with concrete examples.

The reports deals with primary Open Access publishing of scientific journals, working paper series and doctoral theses as well as parallel publishing of scientific articles in publication repositories. The role of the publishers will also be examined in connection with questions about agreements.

Open Access publishing demands a clear picture of the copyright to material published on the Internet. The report considers the central questions and initiatives to solutions to the copyright problems....

The introduction of the report is a section about the background to the Open Access or free access to scientific publications....In the following two sections publication patterns and the differences that exist within all science fields are described. Our examples are taken from biomedicine and the humanities and social sciences. Scientific journal publishing, specifically in the Nordic countries with small language areas and small circles of readers, is one of the problem areas in the report. In section four, alternatives for solutions through some pilot studies in the Nordic countries are described. In sections five to nine a country report of each Nordic country is given (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden). The report finishes with a discussion about future and existing challenges.

This report is commissioned by the Nordbib project, and the report will primarily function as a basis for discussion at a workshop, arranged by Nordbib, during the spring 2007....

Presentation on data sharing in archaeology has released a screencast presentation on data sharing in archaeology.  From the Alexandria Archive Institute blurb:, a consortium of five institutions working toward a cyberinfrastructure for archaeology has just made an in depth presentation about Open Context available. The presentation introduces Open Context and why it is a significant advance for data sharing in archaeology, and how it may illustrate a valuable approach for data sharing in many other 'small science' disciplines.

Digital Libraries group discusses OA issues with the EC

Europe's Digital Library experts set to focus on copyright today, a press release from the European Commission, April 18, 2007.  Excerpt:

The EU's High Level Expert Group on Digital Libraries - which includes, inter alia, stakeholders from the British Library, the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, the Federation of European Publishers and Google - will present this afternoon an advisory report on copyright issues to the European Commission. In addition, the group will discuss today how to ensure more open access to scientific research and how to improve public-private cooperation. The work of the High Level Group is part of the European Commission's efforts to make Europe's rich cultural and scientific heritage available online. For this purpose, the group advises the Commission on issues regarding digitisation, online accessibility and digital preservation of cultural material....

PS:  That's all I have on today's meeting or its OA agenda.  If anyone has more, I'd love to hear it and, if permitted, publicize it.

BMC impact factors up

Increased citation impact for BioMed Central journals, BMC blog, April 17, 2007. 

Every year, BioMed Central calculates unofficial impact factors for journals that have published a significant number of research articles but do not yet have an official impact factor. These unofficial impact factors use the same citation data and methodology used by Thomson Scientific's official impact factor calculations.

Newly calculated unofficial 2006 impact factors show a significantly increased citation rate for BioMed Central journals. For example, BMC Biology and BMC Medicine, the flagship journals of the BMC series, both increased their unofficial impact factors significantly. The 2006 unofficial impact factor for BMC Biology is 4.43 (up from 3.81 in 2005) while for BMC Medicine the 2006 figure is 4.17 (up from 2.52 in 2005).

Updated unofficial impact factors for more than 50 journals published by BioMed Central are listed on our Impact Factor FAQ page, alongside details of official impact factors for a further 26 journals.

Overall, the average unofficial impact factor for a BioMed Central journal increased by 0.39 compared to 2005. Other BioMed Central journals with impressive unofficial 2006 impact factors include Journal of Neuroinflammation (4.36), Retrovirology (4.32), Cardiovascular Diabetology (4.00), Molecular Cancer (3.62) and Journal of Translational Medicine (3.30). Updated official 2006 impact factors will be released by Thomson Scientific in June.

Filling the Harvard institutional repository

[Stuart] Shieber, Why Don’t Scholars Provide Open Access to Their Articles? Harvard Interactive Media Group, April 17, 2007.  Blurb for a public talk to be given at Harvard today:

Let us stipulate, for the purpose of discussion, that open access to the scholarly literature is a Good Thing for the individual scholars and for society as a whole. Why then, do scholars not make their articles available through open access? In particular, why are institutional repositories so poorly populated? (See, for instance, Institutional Repositories: Evaluating the Reasons for Non-use of Cornell University’s Installation of DSpace.) The question is not idle; as Harvard University contemplates setting up an institutional repository, it behooves us to make sure that the effort is worthwhile and that a significant fraction of the scholarly article output of the faculty end up available therein. I will review the background on the issue and then make a proposal that I believe could lead to extremely high availability rates at modest cost. The proposal does, however, require the enthusiastic participation of the free culture movement.

More on libraries as OA journal publishers

DSA has blogged some notes on the panel discussion, Trying the Gold Road on a Shoestring Budget: Open Access Publishing with PKP's Open Journal System, at CNI's Spring 2007 Task Force Meeting (Phoenix, April 16-17, 2007).  Excerpt:

Speakers: Nancy John (UI [University of Illinois] Chicago), Edward Valauskas (First Monday)....

Needless to say, I was drawn to this session not only because I am quite familiar with PKP/OJS from attending Access in Canada, but because we in K-State [Kansas State University] Libraries have discussed moving into the role of publisher, and this desire recently found expression in our strategic plan. While Cornell and other partners (including the U of Utah as I learned at dinner last night) are busy at work on DPubs, it has yet to become a full-fledged publishing platform, as opposed to OJS, which can handle the full lifecycle of journal publishing, from submission to archiving.

UIC's goal was to highlight the work of UIC faculty, support the emergence of OA journals, educate the campus about intellectual property, and demonstrate the library's leadership role in this arena. In addition to journal publishing, they also have a DSpace-backed repository administered by the library.

All of this came about after a 2005 program on scholarly communication, where faculty were able to discuss the various issues related to journal publishing: quality, quantity, academic freedom, promotion/tenure concerns, need for campus support to do editing, archiving, etc. Faculty engaged in the work were "going under," i.e.- being overwhelmed by the work, so the library went on a search to manage the process. They found a faculty member who edited a journal (Behavior and Social Issues). The journal hadn't actually published an issue in some time, since they were woefully behind in their work. The library offered to 'rescue' the journal and opted to use the PKP/OJS. She said the install time was 15 minutes and that the software requires little customization. The documentation taught the editor how to use it in under an hour (as promised by the name of the document: OJS in Under an Hour).

Their second partner was First Monday, previously published by Munksgaard online only. Started in 1995, first issue in May 1996. Munksgaard did it for three years as an open journal, then decided to charge, so the editors pulled it out and moved it to UIC (Jan 1999). The journal is very successful: 795 papers, 132 issues, 951 authors, 30-40 countries represented, 6.4 million downloads in 2006. Check out the Web page for this journal; right there on the bottom of the page is the name University of Illinois Chicago Library! ...

OA podcasts from non-OA journals

Charles W. Bailey Jr. has collected some links for journals offering OA podcasts.

In a recent SSP-L message, Mark Johnson, Journal Manager of HighWire Press, identified three journals that offer podcasts or digital audio files:

Here are a few others:

Jacso reviews 4.0

Péter Jacsó reviewed 4.0 in his column for Thomson Gale, March 2007.  (Thanks to ResourceShelf.)  Excerpt:

The U.S. government has produced many valuable open access full-text and abstracting/indexing databases and developed excellent hosting systems. Beyond the very well known and widely used databases of the National Institutes of Health hosted on the excellent Entrez system, these include many other databases and services: the ERIC database and service (with more than 100,000 full text documents), the useful Energy Citations and even more useful Information Bridge full text databases of the DOE, the excellent Transportation Research Information Services, TRIS Online, the outstanding NCJRS (National Criminal Justice Reference Service) with ever growing full text coverage and very smart software, the not so outstanding but important NTIS database with subset of its indexing/abstracting records. There are many other open access government databases which include full text scientific documents and/or indexing/abstracting records.... is...a much better tool for searching science and technology-related documents than Google's special U.S. Government search or the Microsoft-powered

The launch of Open Medicine

Open Medicine launched today, but already the web site is overwhelmed with traffic.  Give it a few hours and try again.  While you're waiting, read some of the voluminous press coverage.

Update.  I finally got in.  Here's an excerpt from James Maskalyk's editorial in the inaugural issue:

...To attain their true worth, medical journals need to place the knowledge on their pages into as many capable hands as possible. In the past, this opportunity was limited mainly to those with a university library close by. Now, because of the Internet, one simply needs to be near a telephone line. The capacity of medical journals to disseminate knowledge has never been greater.

Unfortunately, physicians attempting to answer a clinical question are faced with two unappealing options: to navigate a sea of unedited pages of varying quality, or to pay for access to more carefully reviewed scholarly information. It seems an anathema to the spirit of medical research that, largely for economic reasons, the information it produces remains hidden from many potential users. Access is limited not only for health professionals in poorer countries, but also for health care providers in wealthy countries (most of whom do not have "free" access to information unless they work in universities), and for patients, who deserve the opportunity to become informed about research that affects their lives. The transformation of research findings and discussion of the results — the application of knowledge — is curtailed. Just as importantly, the debate over its merit is stifled before it can properly begin.

There is a necessary cost to medical publishing, the publisher's pursuit of profit notwithstanding. The reviewing and editing processes that help to ensure the reliability of information is intensive, requiring considerable resources. However, the costs of editing and peer review, where possible, should not be borne by the end user, but should be shared by a broader group in society who acknowledge that the utility of information lies in its application and that the health of individuals and populations is a common good. There is increasing recognition that the costs of publishing the results of medical research should be built into funding grants as an integral part of the cost of research: without dissemination, knowledge cannot truly be said to exist.

Traditional modes of medical journal publishing can also exact a price in other, less noticeable, ways. There is clear evidence of publication bias in medical journals predicated on financial conflicts, geography and poverty. There are also several important instances where information and debate have been stifled because of private and political concerns over making knowledge public. To an important degree, the impetus to launch Open Medicine arose from widespread dismay in the Canadian and international medical community over one such attempt to suppress open discussion and restrict the scope of health care discourse. Further, too much of the revenue that sustains medical journals comes from pharmaceutical advertising that attempts to influence physicians into making decisions based on brand recognition rather than on discerning scholarship.

Medical knowledge should be public and free from undeclared influence. When possible, it should be free for those who apply it. Since people's lives depend on it, that knowledge must be filtered several times before it is ready to use. Studies need to be peer reviewed, to have their statistics analyzed, their content edited, then copy edited, then published quickly for as wide an audience as possible. The prospect of having a high-quality source of information that held true to these principles but was also free and globally accessible was impossible to imagine 20 years ago....

[I]is our intention to make the journal not only open, but also collaborative. As an example, the editors considered the merits of publishing peer reviews along with accepted papers, and began reviewing the published evidence on the effectiveness of open peer review. Before reaching consensus, we realized that this is a discussion our readers and contributors should actively participate in. As we developed Open Medicine, we made extensive use of a wiki site and quickly realized how well it captured our combined efforts. We will continue to experiment with its use as an editing tool, and are discussing ways to add a wiki to our public site.

Information technology is evolving at a blistering pace. To try to keep step with its potential to influence medical science and practice, Open Medicine is hosting a blog on the topic. To manage it, we are using an open-source program (Drupal). So, too, for our manuscript management system (OJS)....Our intent is to harness as much power as possible from the collaborative potential of a connected world. With it, Open Medicine can publish articles as soon as they are peer reviewed and edited, host the discussion on their interpretation and perhaps even watch them change. Once they are published, they will be available to the widest possible audience and to the worldwide media who can cast them even further....

Ultimately, the success of Open Medicine will depend on how important our readers believe it is to have open access to high-quality medical information that is as free from commercial and political influence as possible. We believe there are few things more important....

Also see these two articles from the Analysis and Comment section:

Blue OA

Christina Pikas has blogged some notes on R. James King's presentation at Computers in Libraries 2007 (Arlington, Virginia, April 16-18, 2007).  Excerpt:

He’s proposing a “blue” model
- funding focus – “capturing all published literature created by a funding agency”
- (this would affect my place of work [Naval Research Lab])
- less problem with copyright bcs maintain traditional publishing routes, but use this for capturing final product not pre-print(?)
- using agency repositories
- available to the gov’t but only partially available to the public where possible – ok this causes a big problem with all of the non-governmental research organizations (universities, non-profits, for-profits) who will have an unfair disadvantage when competing with the gov’t research labs who will have free access to all gov’t funded lit (proposing – just suggesting – should be that if you’re funded to do gov’t work, that you have the same access to these resources)....

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

More on the launch of Open Medicine

Helen Branswell, New open-access medical journal, offshoot of CMAJ firing fight, is launched, CBC News, April 17, 2007.  Excerpt:

A new Canadian open-access medical journal is about to be born.

Open Medicine, to be officially launched Wednesday, was conceived in the bitter aftermath of the February 2006 firing of the editor and deputy editor of the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

The publication's business model differs greatly from standard medical journals. It will be available online only, will have no subscription fees, and no corporate or medical association ownership.

It won't accept advertisements for medical devices and drugs - the major advertisers in traditional journals. And in the first year at least, it won't charge authors the publication fees on which other open-access journals rely.

That all adds up to a modest, at best, potential revenue stream. Co-editor Dr. Anita Palepu admitted Tuesday that the word "utopian" has come up when she talks about the project with her husband.

She insisted, however, that the Open Medicine team is committed to producing a high quality, independent journal that is available to anyone who wants to read it, a journal that can't run afoul of the interests of corporate owners or the politics of an organization like the Canadian Medical Association....

Many of the people who had made the CMAJ one of the world's top five general medical journals, including Hoey and Todkill, are involved in Open Medicine.  The reason for the firings was never made public....But it was widely known Hoey and his team had had a series of run-ins with the holding company that published the journal for the CMA, including over a news article that was critical of the way pharmacists were selling the emergency contraceptive drug Plan B....

Most traditional medical journals only make their material available to subscribers, or for a per-item reprint fee - and both types of fees can be steep. Proponents of open-access journals argue that is a barrier to the dissemination of science, much of which is generated using public funding....

OAI5 webcasts

The CERN workshop on Innovations in Scholarly Communication (OAI5) starts tomorrow in Geneva and runs through Friday.  For those who can't attend, the presentations will be webcast.  From CERN's announcement earlier today:

The main proceedings of the OAI5 workshop (CERN Workshop on Innovations in Scholarly Communication) will be broadcast on the web as video file attachments in the programme....

A file for each session in the main auditorium should appear approximately 10 minutes after the end of the presentation. The first such session takes place on Wednesday afternoon (tomorrow) and then on Thursday during most of the day and Friday morning.

We hope that many of you will join us virtually to watch. Already many participants have arrived ready for the start of events tonight. Messages to participants can be sent to

Where OA stands today

Lee C. Van Orsdel and Kathleen Born, Serial Wars, Library Journal, April 15, 2007.  Excerpt:

In a year filled with drama and hyperbole, the serials marketplace churned toward a future whose shape is the subject of fierce debate. Forecasts from commercial publishers touting collapse and disaster seemed oddly out of sync with the profits they enjoyed —around 25 percent on average. Nevertheless, in a market where prices continued to rise and bundled content continued to sell, some of the very publishers whose fortunes are made in scientific, technical, and medical (STM) journals all but declared that the open access (OA) movement is apocalyptic in scope and will lead to the end of journals as we know them.

Open access is no longer a subtext in the annals of the journals industry. It stands alone as an alternative to the existing system of journal publication, which most say is unsustainable in its current form....

Libraries want relief from journal prices that are patently outrageous and defy cost-benefit justification. Authors want impact, and OA articles get cited much more often. Scientists want faster and easier access to others’ research, but a recent paper, “UK Scholarly Journals: 2006 Baseline Report,” found that half of all researchers in Britain have problems securing access to needed articles. Universities want a better return on their investment in intellectual capital, authors, peer reviewers, and editors. Taxpayers want to be able to read the research they sponsor.

STM publishers vigorously defend the adequacy of the current system, downplaying the extent of concerns like those above and questioning the merits of the OA movement. However, they have made concessions to scholars who want their work to be open access by allowing them to archive a version of their peer-reviewed articles on the web or in an institutional repository after an embargo. They have also made concessions on the business side of things. They have designed hybrid OA programs in an effort to control economic risk while experimenting with a new business model....One could say that publishers and OA proponents have made strides in finding common ground. So what caused publishers to ratchet up the rhetoric of opposition over the winter months?

Support for OA is accelerating worldwide, and therein may lie the answer. The very speed of its growth must be alarming to publishers. For example, almost 2600 peer-reviewed journals are listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals—a 25 percent increase over the year before—and over 200 of the titles are tracked for impact by Thomson-ISI. Despite strong publisher opposition, five of Britain’s eight Research Councils adopted self-archiving mandates for the recipients of their research grants. Policy discussions in Europe, the United States, and other regions around the world may lead to similar mandates, potentially affecting a huge percentage of articles published by the top scientific houses. Publishers seemed to take particular notice when administrators at many prestigious American universities threw their weight behind the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA), a sweeping legislative proposal with an OA mandate. The universities’ involvement brings the issue right to the doorstep of the scholars/authors whose lack of awareness of market issues has always worked in publishers’ favor....

This year’s Periodicals Price Survey [at the end of this article] looks at these and other factors shaping the journals marketplace....

If some publishers think the OA movement will rob them of their livelihoods, you can’t tell it from their balance sheets. According to a September report from Outsell, a market research company, the top ten STM publishers bring in almost 43 percent of the revenue in a market that totals just over $19 billion....

Librarians aren’t waiting to see what kind of price relief the OA movement might bring. They are beginning to ask hard questions about the relationship between the value of a journal and its price. In January, University of California (UC) Libraries disseminated a pilot study on value-based journal pricing. UC used the Bergstrom-McAfee calculations for value-pricing as the basis of the study but included other metrics as well, such as the university system’s contributions to the publishing process (author, editor, reviewer services), cost savings to publishers from economies of marketing and selling to consortia, and normative range of cost increases for the industry as a whole, defined by the Producer Price Index....

UC will push for more than a conversation. The stated goal of the study is actively to influence the journal pricing market.

The UC study underscores the message to heavy-hitting publishers that intransigent pricing policies are driving customers to seek pricing relief one way or another. Either the current system flexes to address concerns over price and access, or a new system will take its place....

The practice of self-archiving that is at the heart of these [national OA] policies is the same one already permitted by most publishers. The difference is the mandate. Publishers know that most scholars don’t archive unless someone makes them do it. Mandates would force them do it. Publishers fear that once the practice of postpublication archiving becomes widespread, a rash of subscription cancellations will follow, embargoes notwithstanding.

Open access initiatives in the United States and Europe exemplify the policy mandates that publishers most fear. In this country, the FRPAA is waiting to be reintroduced in the Senate. FRPAA would enforce open access of articles that result from any government-sponsored grant program of a certain size within six months of publication, pushing the free information principle into all areas of federally funded research. Also under consideration in the Congress is a set of recommendations from two advisory groups to strengthen the National Institute of Health’s self-archiving policy from a request to an edict that grantees deposit research articles in PubMed Central. The recommendations also call for shortening the embargo period from 12 to six months, but that proposal is not expected to pass.

The strongest OA momentum at this writing seems to be in Europe, where the European Commission, the EU’s executive body, has been aggressively pursuing policy development around the issue of access to scientific information. Last year’s Study on the Economic and Technical Evolution of the Scientific Publication Markets of Europe advised a mandate for open access to research funded by the EU. In the lead up to a February 2007 conference to review recommendations from the study, over 19,000 individuals and representatives of institutions around the world signed a petition urging their adoption. In addition, a preconference poll showed that 86 percent of principle investigators with current EU grants favored open access to the findings they plan to publish. The conference failed to produce the mandate favored by petitioners and poll respondents, but the EU left the door open for further guidelines. This result was less than OA proponents hoped for and no doubt less than publishers feared.

Faced with mounting evidence that OA directives are rapidly gaining support, a coalition of publishers last winter turned to shock language and political hardball to try to keep them from passing. Two of the strategies backfired. As reported in Nature (1/25/07), the Association of American Publishers (AAP) hired a notorious PR firm for between $300,000 and $500,000 to launch a campaign of disinformation against FRPAA. Both the AAP and the publishers associated with the story (American Chemical Society, Elsevier, and Wiley) were skewered in the scholarly and public media as a result. Then in February came the announcement of the Brussels Declaration, ten “self-evident” principles from STM publishers about science publishing. At the time of writing, the declaration wasn’t faring much better in its reception than the above-mentioned PR debacle. Taken together, these acts indicate, pundits suggest, that war has, in essence, been declared by publishers on policy-driven OA initiatives.

In 2007, academic libraries saw overall journal price increases just under eight percent for the second year in a row. U.S. titles rose nine percent on average; non-U.S., 7.3 percent....Expect overall price increases to be in the seven percent to nine percent range for 2008 subscriptions....

Also see the annual Periodicals Price Survey data at the end of the article.

Comment.  This is an excellent picture of where OA stands today.  If you have colleagues who want to know what's been happening and only have time for one article, give them this URL. 

Accelerating and widening scientific debate: blogs v. open-review journals

Carl Zimmer, When Scientists Go All Bloggy, ScienceBlogs, April 17, 2007.  Excerpt:

It's getting harder and harder to remember what it was like to write about science in the pre-Web 2.0 days. Back then (i.e., 2004), I'd come across an intriguing paper, I'd interview the authors, I'd get comments--supportive or nasty--from other experts in the field, and then publish an article distilling everything I'd learned. It would take months or years for the authors to follow up on their work or for other scientists to publish their own papers attacking or supporting the original research.

How quaint. Let's take a look at an experience I had yesterday....Yesterday [John] Dennehy wrote [a blog post] about a new paper on the evolution of the flagellum, the spinning filament that microbes use to swim. This is a topic of some interest to me, because I'm writing a book about E. coli, and much of what scientists know about the flagellum they've gotten from studying E. coli....In the new paper, scientists at Arizona State University report on searches they've made for flagellum genes in the genomes of 41 different species of microbes....

So, I do what any science writer does. I read the new paper and looked for some comments. I email Nick Matzke, a co-author of an earlier paper on this topic. He wasn't impressed. To register his displeasure, he wasn't content just to send me a grousing email. He blogged at length on Panda's Thumb. Commenters threw in their own two cents. Meanwhile, another source-turned-blogger, Ryan Gregory (whom I wrote about in an article on dinosaur genomes), wrote about the study as well, to which Larry Moran, himself a blogger as well as University of Toronto biochemist, responded harshly in the comments, saying that the paper should never have been published. (Moran, Matzke, and others complain about the methods the ASU scientists used to identify related genes.)

Now, in the pre-Web 2.0 era, all this to-ing and fro-ing happened all the time. At a packed presentation at a scientific conference, people would stand up during the question period and have at it, or head out to the hallways to continue the arguments. But most of this sort of debate didn't get far beyond the walls of the conference hall. Science writers like me would try to offer a glimpse into the arguments, but there's a hard limit to how much we can convey in a thousand-word piece. Any other debate had to get channeled into the glacial flow of scientific publications. Now, as this flagellum exchange makes clear, freewheeling scientific debates can reach a wider audience....

[I]t seems to me that productive debate is a lot like life. If you pack a lot of enzymes and DNA and other molecules in a tight package, you get life. Disperse them, and you get a few random reactions. Pack comments about a particular paper in one place, and a real debate can emerge. Disperse them across the blogosphere, and you encourage cheap shots and irrelevant tangents, while good observations go unappreciated.

It's not as if there hasn't been a lot of talk about how to make this sort of conversation possible. Science papers could be published in an open-access format and readers could post comments directly to the paper. And in fact, there is such a system in place, called PLOS One. In case you're not familiar with PLOS (short for Public Library of Science), it's now a real powerhouse in the world of scientific literature, with a number of high-impact journals. (Full disclosure: I was asked to write an essay for one of their journals.) PLOS One, started in January, takes their philosophy a step further.

What I find striking, however, is how quiet it is over at PLOS One. Check out a few for yourself. My search turned up a lot of papers with no discussion attached. Many others had a few comments such as, "This is a neat paper." There's nothing like the tough criticism coming out about the new flagellum paper to be found at PLOS One.

I suspect this situation has come about because scientists as a group are only just becoming comfortable in the blogging environment....So perhaps in a couple years I'll revisit this issue and see if indeed the debate really has crossed over into a new incarnation....

What are we learning about IRs?

Tom Wilson has blogged some notes on the panel discussion, Institutional Repositories: What Are We Learning? at CNI's Spring 2007 Task Force Meeting (Phoenix, April 16-17, 2007).  Excerpt:

Cliff Lynch: We have now had some experience with building repositories and have learned that they do not populate themselves....

[At Caltech] Students are excited. About 2000 thesis and dissertations. Students are embellishing their documents with supplemental materials.

Library staff systematically work to populate. Faculty not very responsive as of yet....

What’s the biggest surprise so far?

CalTech: Ease with which graduate students have grabbed onto the concept and the loading of materials. Do it without agonizing. With the faculty, library is becoming a digital book repository. Opportunities to try things. Faculty are going back to publishers and reclaiming copyright.

UT: Have a number of books available. In some cases have created digital material for publishers. Surprises, the numbers of items in repositories are remarkably similar among similar institutions....

UT and CalTech: Don’t see much interest in browsing.

VTLS: People coming to repositories looking for discovery tools.

Lynch: Lots of talk about researchers needing to submit materials in order to receive grant funding. What impact might this have on repository strategies? Or whether you are positioning yourselves with the faculty as a service for meeting this need?

CalTech: Faculty pride themselves in their independence. Have to deal with the money, tie to funding. If agencies do act on this, institutions can harness local facilities to meet need....

Review of Willinsky

Lisa Ennis has written a review of John Willinsky's book (The Access Principle, MIT Press, 2005, print edition, OA edition), forthcoming from the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology.  Thanks to William Walsh for the alert and, since I don't have access, for this excerpt:

One of the most interesting sections of the book looks at the role of professional associations in journal publishing. For instance, Willinsky explains that although the American Psychological Association produces over fifty journals, research by Tenopir and King shows the number of personal subscriptions held by scientists has halved, and that these scientists are doing a third of their reading online (p. 56). As more scientists read more online and allow print subscriptions to lapse, associations are having a difficult time managing their journals and are selling them off to commercial publishers. Willinsky argues that association journals can move to an online open-access model without losing any revenue. For example, he points to the Journal of Clinical Investigation published by the American Society for Clinical Investigation as a success story. The journal is published completely online and is free to whoever wishes to read it.

Duplicate provision of priced resources

Lanny Arvan has blogged some thoughts on the November 2006 ARCL report, Changing Roles of Academic and Research Libraries.  Excerpt:

...Open access to scholarly information in electronic form requires one Library in total – that's for the entire globe. There is a huge amount of wasteful duplication now as each University Library provides in essence the same service. The service that needs to be provided locally, giving access to the private good content that is in the Library collection, will continue indefinitely, but as the report points out there is likely a narrow constituency for that service and that constituency is likely to dwindle in the future....

Embargo the OA, if necessary, but not the repository deposit

Stevan Harnad, Don't Make Deposit Timing Policy Conditional On Publisher Embargo Policies, Open Access Archivangelism, April 17, 2007.  Excerpt:

On Mon, 16 Apr 2007, Alexander Borbély, University of Zurich, wrote in the American Scientist Open Access Forum:

I was astonished to read that depositing the final version of the manuscript is prohibited [for Blackwell's European Journal of Neuroscience]... Making available only the version originally submitted is not very useful if major modifications based on the referees' recommendation are made....

Are you familiar with these instructions and what is your opinion?

I am very familiar with these instructions. Blackwell's is a 12-month embargo publisher.

The solution is extremely simple: always deposit the postprint (i.e., the refereed, revised, accepted final draft) immediately upon acceptance for publication (definitely not 12 months later!) and set the access as "Closed Access" instead of "Open Access," if you wish, which means the metadata (author, title, journal, abstract) are openly accessible to anyone on the web immediately, but the full-text is not. In addition...make sure to implement the "Fair Use" Button (in your university's repository, ZORA): EMAIL EPRINT REQUEST.

All searches will lead to the Closed Access Deposit, and that in turn has the Button, which will provide for all usage needs during the 1-year embargo, semi-automatically, almost immediately, via almost-OA....

Several other points:

(1) Unlike Blackwell's journals, most journals (62%) already endorse immediate OA deposit.

(2) There is no reason whatsoever to hold out for the publisher's PDF: The author's postprint is just fine for all research purposes! ...

(3) [I]t is...good scholarly practice, wherever possible, to also deposit, even earlier, the pre-refereeing preprint (especially if submitting to an embargo publisher): The repository will tag the preprint clearly as an unrefereed draft, with a prominent link to the refereed postprint (and from there to the "Fair Use" button); this will also allow search engines to pick up the full-text for full-text indexing in the case of a Closed Access deposit, leading to many more discoveries of both the preprint and the postprint.

I do not for one microsecond believe that any publisher's statement that "a corrected version of the preprint (i.e., the postprint) cannot be made OA immediately" has any legal validity; nor do I think such nonsense could ever be enforced, had it had any legal validity....

Journal prices rarely correlate with impact or size

Sonya White and Claire Creaser, Trends in Scholarly Journal Prices, 2001-2006, LISU Occasional Paper #37, Oxford University Press, March 2007.  From the Executive Summary:

There is little consistent evidence of associations between price, impact factor and number of pages.  Data relating to some publishers for some subject areas show significant correlations, most frequently between price and number of pages.  There are also some significant associations between price and price per page, and between price and impact factor, but this is not widespread, and can generally be attributed to a small number of titles with exceptional pricing....

Also see the Oxford press release, which emphasizes the results for Oxford journals.

Danish environmental journal converts to OA

The Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) has shifted from TA to OA for its journal, the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland Bulletin.  GEUS is a research institute within the Danish Ministry of the Environment and its Bulletin publishes in English.  (Thanks to Soren Bertil Fabricius Dorch.)

New OA database from WHO

New online database to help fight infectious diseases, a press release from WHO, April 16, 2007.  Excerpt:

An international network of researchers announced today the release of a new web-based resource designed to facilitate the development of medicines to fight infectious diseases afflicting the developing world...the Drug Target Prioritization Database....

"This is the first time that any group has assembled such a comprehensive set of information pertinent to drug target discovery, for such a diverse array of parasitic and bacterial diseases," says Dr. Wesley Van Voorhis from the University of Washington in Seattle, who coordinates the Drug Target Prioritization Network....

The network's goal is to identify and prioritize drug targets against diseases that predominantly affect developing countries. The database is unique in that it allows any researcher -- in both developed and developing countries -- to have access to this kind of information....

The web site combines available genomic and bioinformatic data for each priority organism with automatically extracted and manually curated information from the research literature and other databases relevant to each putative drug target. The network has invested substantial effort in annotation to assist scientists in the identification of high-value drug targets. The database also permits comments from experts in the field.

User-defined weightings permit potential drug targets to be ranked according to their desirability, providing prioritized, customized lists....

[T]he network encourages the international community to take advantage of this resource, contribute additional data, and make suggestions for further improvement.

Housekeeping notes

Google just upgraded Open Access News, without my consent, from Old Blogger to New Blogger. In the process, it introduced a slew of garbage characters into old posts, apparently corresponding to smart quotes, m-hyphens, and accented characters. In Explorer they show up as square boxes and in Firefox as black diamonds with question marks. If I have to fix these manually, I'll never get around to it (I have 10,700+ posts). I expect other post-transition glitches and apologize in advance for the poor service.

Update. Another glitch: the permalinks for each new post double up the item number. Until I can fix this, users will have to delete one copy before the link will work as intended. For example,


must become


Update. I just fixed the garbage-character problem. Many thanks to Dorothea Salo for the solution.

Update. I just fixed the double-ID problem as well, and again thank Dorothea for the solution.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Open Shakespeare update

Rufus Pollock, v0.4 of Open Shakespeare Released, Open Knowledge Foundation Weblog, April 16, 2007.  Excerpt:

We [at the Open Knowledge Foundation] have been doing more work on the Open Shakespeare project with the result that a new version (v0.4) is ready for release....For those unfamiliar with the project, Open Shakespeare has two basic aims.

First, to provide a simple but compelling open knowledge exemplar — and to show some of the complexities in producing open knowledge. For example, simply getting a good open set of Shakespeare’s work involves some degree of effort: Project Gutenberg has 4 versions of most of Shakespeare, two of those four versions are copyrighted (and all Gutenberg texts have Gutenberg headers and footers that need to be removed). Next those out-of-copyright texts you can find are not always ’socially open’, that is easy to access and download (particularly in an automatable manner). Finally, the texts that are available aren’t necessarily technologically open so work has to be done to put them into open, machine processable formats (plain text/xml etc).

The second basic aim of Open Shakespeare is to illustrate real-world knowledge packaging — all the Open Shakespeare material is available in a single (python) bundle that can be automatically downloaded and ‘installed’. Furthermore, every effort is made to make the material as reusable as possible and there’s a full programmatic API together with ancillary tools: our main aim is not to provide another Shakespeare website but to provide the tools and material to allow others to build their own applications and websites. While we have created a simple site using the material we’ve gathered its purpose will be to showcase what can be done and to encourage others to use our work in ways we haven’t even considered....

For more information see the about page....Get involved....

Society publishers build federated search engine

Barbara Quint, Sci-Tech Societies Unite to Create Search Portal, NewsBreaks, April 16, 2007.  Excerpt:

A major new sci-tech search portal called is scheduled to launch at the SLA annual meeting in the first week of June. A test version may actually launch a few weeks earlier. Thirteen scholarly society publishers are working together to create a free federated, vertical search portal capable of accessing some 3 million articles spanning as far back as 150 years, as well as some patents. A search on will initiate simultaneous searches on all participating publishers' Web sites, will retrieve and merge results, and will present users with a relevant ranked list of bibliographic citations and abstracts from which they can choose the full-text articles they need. Acquiring the full-text articles will involve authentication to licensed subscriptions or pay-per-view payments....

Despite the direct relationship to authors and readers found in their memberships, scholarly society publishers have found competing in the Web world something of a struggle. The "big-deal" offers from commercial scholarly publishers eat up library serials budgets, pushing smaller publishers off the table and sometimes even luring societies to let commercial publishers take over their publications. At the same time, freebie services such as Google Scholar, Elsevier's Scirus, and Windows Live Academic Search lure away end-user eyeballs. Many scholarly society publishers open some of their content to Google Scholar and other services, but this experience hasn't satisfied the societies' interests or, in the opinion of some society publishing executives, even the users they serve....

Barbara Lange, director of product line management and publishing business development at IEEE, and Tim Ingoldsby, director of strategic initiatives and business development at the AIP, both pointed out that Google Scholar has a spidering schedule that could leave current articles stuck in a multiweek pipeline. will offer real-time updating....

The content will also reach as far back as the societies carry content. For example, users will be able to reach 1.5 million documents dating from 1884 from IEEE; 410,000 dating from 1893 from APS; 390,200 dating from 1930 from AIP; 245,000 dating from 1874 from IOP; 235,000 dating from 1990 from SPIE; 99,700 dating from 1902 from the Electrochemical Society; and 51,806 dating from 1990 from SAE. Ingoldsby pointed out that low usage was often used to justify open access embargoes, for example, a 6-month delay. "That may be true in medicine and the life sciences," said Ingoldsby, "but it's less true in physics, more ‘less true' in chemistry, and most ‘less true' in mathematics." ...

In the case of material still in copyright, any payments might be owed to authors rather than the societies, if the society publisher had not had the prescience to get author agreements to concede electronic rights before electronic-information services existed. Lange stated that all those problems belong to the individual society publishers and their clients....

Comment.  It looks like some societies are thinking that if they make their old articles easier to find, then they can generate extra revenue from access fees.  That may be true.  But I hope they also consider that if they make their old articles OA and easier to read, then they can generate extra citations. 

Of course even those who pay for access may cite the articles they read.  So this is not a simple trade-off between revenue and citations.  But it is a trade-off between a small bump in paying readers, with a proportionally small bump in citations, and a large bump in non-paying readers, with a proportionally large bump in citations. 

A few other ways to frame the issue:  Which would generate more revenue, charging access fees for old articles or harnessing a larger impact factor to increase submissions and subscriptions?  How much should publishers spend to make articles easier to find without making them easier to retrieve?  If they're going to pave the path to a locked door, could they increase the return on their investment by unlocking the door and letting customers in to see, use, and tell others about the value to be found there?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

OA articles from Nature on climate change

Nature is providing OA to selected articles on climate change.

OA collection from Science on the Macaque genome

Science Magazine is providing OA to its special collection on the Macaque Genome.   (Thanks to Francis Ouellette.)

Two by Gavin Yamey

Gavin Yamey, a senior editor at PLoS Medicine, recently gave two talks on OA at Harvard.  From his description at the PLoS blog:

The first invitation came from the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights, based at Harvard School of Public Health....My talk was called "Excluding the poor from accessing the biomedical literature: a rights violation that impedes global health." The school has now posted a video on its website.

In this talk, I discussed several longstanding and recent international declarations that enshrine access to scientific and medical knowledge as a human right.

There are two major ways in which these declarations frame the right to access knowledge. Several global, regional, and national declarations confirm that all people should have the right to seek and access knowledge without political barriers. In other words, knowledge should be “free”, where free has the same meaning as “free speech” (i.e. freedom from political barriers).

But having the political freedom to access a scientific or medical research paper is meaningless if the cost to download it puts it out of the reach of most of society. And so a series of more recent international charters and treaties enshrine the right of people to read research results without economic barriers.

The second invitation came from the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. I called this talk "Open access to the biomedical literature: what are the lessons for the social sciences & humanities?" An audio podcast is now available....

At the Berkman Center, I discussed some of the reasons for this slow uptake [of OA in the social sciences and humanities], and also gave some beacons of hope, such as the Creative Commons Open Access Law Program, which now has 34 law journals on board, and Open Humanities Press, a "new international initiative being launched by academics, journal editors and librarians to promote the adoption of open access publishing in the humanities."

Social science journals have a huge amount to gain from adopting open access models. But don’t just take it from me—take it from Heidi Bond, Executive Articles Editor at the Michigan Law Review, one of the signatories to the Creative Commons Open Access Law Program. In the press release announcing the program, she said: “Open access policies make for happier authors and better scholarship. After all, law review articles are like software: they’re best when they’re free for others to learn from and build on.”

The case for open data in science

Peter Murray-Rust, Open Data in Science, abstract of a presentation to be given at XTech 2007 (Paris, May 15-18, 2007).  Excerpt:

Science is increasingly based on the re-use of existing published data. Traditionally this has been associated with primary journal articles, either within the “fulltext” or attached as supplementary information. In some disciplines (biosciences, crystallography) there has been strong community pressure to publish this in open, machine-accessible form, either into data centres (e.g. bioinformatics institutes) or as supplemental data. Where this is accepted practice, data mining and text mining have generated new areas of knowledge-driven science. It is particularly valuable to be able to link data from different disciplines (e.g. biological function and molecular structure). In principle the new web technologies can access distributed data and create syntheses from which new insights arise.

However the successful areas are the exception. Most publishers make no effort to encourage the machine-readable publication of data and several actively oppose it by practices such as licenses, copyright and bans on robotic downloads. For example in chemistry Open databases have been resisted by publishers on the basis that they are a commercial challenge. Many publishers requires authors to hand over copyright on data, even though it can be argued that these are facts.

There are encouraging signs of progress – the ALPSP and STM publishers have argued that data (as opposed to fulltext) should be Open, and funders such as Wellcome are requiring not only Open Access to text, but Creative Commons licenses enabling re-use of data. The development of Science Commons is also very timely.

The presentation will advocate the following:

  • publishers should adopt a positive policy of making scientific data openly available and remove restrictions.
  • authors, editors and publishers should recognise the value of publications in semantic form (“machine-understandable”).
  • funders should require data to be semantic and open.
  • authors should deposit data in institutional repositories....

Publisher Q&A about CC licenses

The Creative Commons Publishers Association is "a small group that meets semi-regularly to discuss questions about CC licensing and to establish best practices for publishers and others using Creative Commons’ legal tools."

The CCPA home page (a wiki) has the minutes from the last meeting (February 21, 2007), which included some very useful questions about CC licenses and answers by Eric Steuer, Creative Director at Creative Commons.  Excerpt:

  • Can a license on a particular item of content be retracted or changed down the road if you change your mind?
    • Technically, yes, you can stop publishing your work under a CC license -- but you can't require people who have already obtained your work under the previous CC license to stop using it or redistributing it....
  • Can you license your content to a publisher under an exclusive agreement and still release it under a CC license?
    • No, by its definition, an exclusive agreement allows only that publisher to distribute or otherwise use your work....
  • If, as a publisher, I distribute content that others have provided to me under a CC-Noncommercial license, does that mean I can't sell ads to help support my business? ...
    • Yes, you can....
  • Can you license different versions of a content item under two different licenses? For instance, two different resolutions of a graphic image?
    • Yes, if the two versions are clearly distinguishable. A thumbnail could be CC-licensed, while the full image could be All Rights Reserved....
  • Has CC licensing been contested and/or upheld in a court of law?
    • Yes, twice....

Brewster Kahle on OA to museum content

Geoff Crane has blogged some notes on Brewster Kahle's plenary address at Museums and the Web 2007 (San Francisco, April 11-14, 2007).  Excerpt:

Brewster talked about the possibility of creating a modern Library of Alexandria, an online open access library of everything.

He stepped through various media types, outlining the possibilities, probabilities, difficulties and current state of play with each: texts, audio, moving image, software and web.

Interestingly the biggest hurdle to overcome isn't the volume of data, but rather the legal issues surrounding copyright, access and usage.

Of course many works [are] in the public domain and are able to be digitised, and Brewster's organisation already have 150 000 books, 100 000 audio recordings, 55 000 movies and billions of webpages available, as he put it, for free and forever. These numbers are growing rapidly: for example, over 12 000 printed books are being scanned (at a cost of about 30¢ per page) every month! ...

In concluding his presentation, Brewster challenged us, the museum community, to let go of some of our control over our content, and in return use Internet Archive's unlimited storage and unlimited bandwidth for free, for ever!

OA wiki at Delft

The library at Technische Universiteit Delft has launched an Open Access Wiki (in English).  From Maria Heijne's introduction:

In 2001 I published a column in the SURF journal SURF Cahier (nr.30;November 2001).  I referred to an article in a Dutch Elsevier weekly where librarians (and researchers) were pictured as book worms in their “marginal struggle” for new (business/technical) models for publication of scientific output. Our pleas for alternative models were then and now received with a bantering tone by publishers.

In the column I predicted that the book worm could turn out to be a snake in the grass!

And indeed we DAREd to bite: the DARE project was the basis to start institutional repositories, and in 2007 it turns out to be a success with international standing....

And the publishers now think the best antidote to the snakebite is to hire a ‘pit bull’: they hired a well known aggressive PR agent (Dezenhall Resources) to take on the free-information movement.  The article [in Nature] states ‘The publishers' link with Dezenhall reflects how seriously they are taking recent developments on access to information’.

I think we could see this as a victory for the book worms. And we really should welcome this because it could mean that publishers finally realize that the efforts from the bookworms have impact. Only now they may be ready to take serious steps in thinking with us about the real changes that have to be made to opening access to publicly funded information....

This wiki is maintained by TU Delft Library. We welcome your contribution!

Law reviews with OA companions

Environmental Law, the OA law review published by the Lewis & Clark Law School, now has an OA companion, Environmental Law Online.

Thanks to Michel-Adrien Sheppard for the tip and for pointing to BoleyBlogs, the legal research blog of the Lewis & Clark Law School Boley Law Library, which lists other law reviews (most non-OA) with OA companions:

Environmental Law Online joins a growing list of elite law reviews with online [and OA] companions, including The Yale Law Journal’s Pocket Part, Harvard Law Review’s The Forum, Michigan Law Review’s First Impressions, Northwestern University Law Review’s Colloquy, Texas Law Review’s See Also, Virginia Law Review’s In Brief, and University of Pennsylvania Law Review’s PENNumbra.

Another postdoc gets it

Seth Dobson, a postdoc in anthropology at Dartmouth, is self-archiving his publications to the Dartmouth institutional repository.

New OA journal of philosophy

Kritike is a new peer-reviewed OA journal of philosophy published by the University of Santo Tomas in the Philippines.