Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, October 30, 2008

OA journal launches repository for article-related datasets

The Optical Society of America has launched a repository to host datasets associated with articles published in its journals, including the OA journal Optics Express. OSA is calling the initiative "Interactive Science Publishing" ("ISP"). See this email from M. Scott Dineen:

The Optical Society has just started to use a DSpace-based system to host datasets associated with peer-reviewed journal articles. The OSA "MIDAS" system was launched with the help of [the National Library of Medicine] and Kitware, Inc., on a DSpace platform. Our first articles with datasets were published earlier this month with 3D image data (TIFF stacks, RAW, DICOM, and similar formats). ...

Our first special issue of Optics Express with associated datasets is available here.

See also the September 30, 2008 press release announcing OSA's partnership with NLM. From the press release:

... The joint OSA/NLM pilot ISP project will publish three to four focus issues in OSA journals in 2008 and 2009 with articles that include large datasets as primary components. The articles will be open access, as will tools for viewing and analyzing the datasets. The articles and data will be published in OSA’s journals, but will also be deposited in PubMed Central, NIH’s free digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature.

See also the project's wiki.


  • There are two parts here: MIDAS, the DSpace-based repository software, and the OSA ISP software, used for viewing the files downloaded from MIDAS.
    • MIDAS is based on FOSS, including DSpace, but based on Kitware's product page, there doesn't seem to be any plan to release MIDAS as open source. (DSpace's license doesn't have a copyleft clause that compels derivative software to be free.)
    • OSA's ISP software, which is only available for Windows and Mac OS, doesn't seem to be open source, either. In fact, the gratis version offers only limited functionality; from the FAQ:
      Access to full OSA ISP authoring functionality is freely available for 30 days following activation. After 30 days, the software reverts to reader mode. In reader mode, one can interactively view data associated with OSA ISP articles but cannot load other data or use the authoring tools.
      However, the FAQ also says it's not necessary to use OSA's ISP software:
      We recommend use of the free OSA ISP software for viewing ISP image datasets. ... However, the source data as provided by the author is available in the MIDAS repository and can be loaded into any capable software application. ...
  • As to the data themselves, here are the terms of use:
    ... You may use the datasets for research purposes, provided that Author(s) are given proper credit as the source of the data, in a manner consistent with generally accepted scientific principles. ...
Update. See also Kitware's press release on the ISP software.