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The Open Knowledge Society launched in Kerala, India, apparently last week. From the front page:
From the activities page:
PS: Welcome to the OKS!
Andrea Rinaldi, Access evolved? Versatile open access policies are evolving together with scholarly information, but copyright issues remain unsettled, EMBO Reports, April 2008. Not even an abstract is free online, at least so far.
Ted Bergstrom, Maxim Massenkoff, and Martin Osborne have launched Prices and Ratings of Economic Textbooks (POET). From the site:
Matthew Cockerill, NIH Public Access Policy becomes mandatory from April 7th, BioMed Central blog, April 4, 2008. Excerpt:
Comment. BMC isn't alone in this category, but the advantages it lists are real. While many journals from many publishers meet the NIH criteria for making deposits on behalf of authors, not all of them are OA, and not all of the OA journals use open licenses.
Graham Steel is active in patient advocacy, especially for those with Motor Neurone Disease (MND). But he doesn't have an institutional affiliation, and therefore doesn't have access to TA medical journals.
NHS Scotland grants access to the medical literature it licenses --"over 5000 online journals, over 80 major databases, over 5000 electronic books"-- to all NHS Scotland staff, students and partners, and just decided that Steel qualifies because of his patient advocacy.
From Steel's blog account:
PS: Kudos to NHS Scotland for opening the door to Steel and others like him.
Matt Jones, Publishers Still Unhappy with Congress, NIH over Open Access Law, GenomeWeb Daily News, April 4, 2008. Free registration required. Excerpt:
Update (4/5/08). Also see Stevan Harnad's comments:
Glen Newton, Free the articles (full-text for researchers & scientists), Zzzoot, April 4, 2008. Excerpt:
PS: See my past posts on how OA facilitates meta-analysis and text-mining.
Charles Watkinson, Only Panthers Share Archaeological Data, Charles Watkinson's blog, April 1, 2008.
... But let's move back to the examples of good sharers Sebs brings up; Jack Davis with PRAP and MRAP, Ian Hodder at Çatalhöyük, Martha Joukowsky at Petra, and Brian Rose at Troy. Let's face it, Sebastian, these are legendary names, the "gray panthers" who have nothing to prove. Tenured, funded, at the top of their profession, they have little need for further reward, have access to some of the best minds around to help shape their data for other users, have less need than others to retain the right to priority, and are savvy in their abilities to navigate the intellectual property minefield. If you are a powerful feline, the obstacles to data sharing drop away.Tom Elliott, Bill Caraher, and Eric Kansa continue the taxonomizing.
Charles Bailey has links to selected blog posts from Open Repositories 2008 (Southampton, April 1-4, 2008). From the looks of it, there were a lot of bloggers there.
Sarah Lai Stirland, U.S. Funded Health Search Engine Blocks 'Abortion', Wired, April 3, 2008. (Thanks to Gavin Baker.) Excerpt:
Update. That was fast. Michael Klag, Dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has reversed the decision. (Thanks to Catherine Rampell.) From Klag's public statement (April 4, 2008):
USAID may disregard the freedom of inquiry at Johns Hopkins, as it has in the past. Or it may defund the POPLINE database. But no matter what it does, Johns Hopkins has its own mission to follow. Kudos to Dean Klag for remembering.
Update. It appears that USAID did contact the university prior to the act of censorship. According to Robert Pear in the April 5 New York Times,
Nevertheless, there's no evidence that USAID asked the university to censor searches.
Update. Another bit of news from the Library Journal Academic Newswire for April 8, 2008:
A spokesperson for USAID, Sandra Johnson, told reporters...that administrators at Hopkins had "misunderstood" the agency's request [to remove two articles from the database], however, and said the agency was "glad" the search function was being restored.
Ben Hoyle, Internet book piracy will drive authors to stop writing, London Times, March 31, 2008. (Thanks to Catherine Rampell.) Excerpt:
Noam Harel has launched a site called SCIEnCE, for Share Collaborative Ideas, ENact Cooperative Efforts. (Thanks to Heather Piwowar.) The idea is to share scientific ideas before they are turned into research projects or funded. Think of it as OA for pre-pre-prints. As he puts it:
Michael Cross, Report backs freer use of data, The Guardian, April 3, 2008. Excerpt:
The Electronic Journal Database of University of Tehran allows reading and downloading of articles from 43 journals, apparently all of them published by the university and all of them OA.
Academic Journals is a publisher of OA journals, apparently launched in 2007. On its journal page, it lists 49 titles, but on its home page it says it publishes over 80. It's located in Asia but doesn't indicate the city or country.
PS: With 49-80 titles, AJ is among the five largest OA journal publishers in the world, and I'd like to know more about it. If anyone has more background info, please drop me a line.
Richard Poynder, The Open Access Interviews: Bill Mortimer, Open and Shut? April 4, 2008. This interview builds on Richard's profile of OA at Open University published last month in ComputerWeekly. From the new interview:
Anup Kumar Das, Open access to knowledge and information: scholarly literature and digital library initiatives – the South Asian scenario, UNESCO, 2008. A new, 137 pp. book from the New Delhi office of UNESCO. The full text was self-archived at OpenMED this morning.
From the conclusion (p. 128):
Update. Also see the UNESCO press release on the book.
Taylor & Francis has modified the terms of its hybrid journal program, iOpenAccess, which now covers 234 journals. Formerly, iOA articles were published under a CC-BY-NC-ND license. Now they will be published under a near-equivalent homegrown license. Here's the key provision:
Faulkner Press, a textbook publisher, on April 1 filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Class Notes (d/b/a Einstein's Notes), a student note-taking service at the University of Florida. Faulkner primarily publishes textbooks written by UF professors for use in UF classes. The suit alleges that Einstein's Notes illegally copied material from Faulkner Press publications, as well as a UF professor's web site and lectures. The professor is not a plaintiff but says he supports the suit. The professor is paid by Faulkner for sales of the textbook; Faulker also publishes a lecture guide for the class, for which the professor is not paid but payment is made to the department.
For details, see the coverage in the Gainesville Sun or the Independent Florida Alligator. For student responses to the suit, see this editorial cartoon and these letters to the editor (1 and 2), as well as this blog post by the president of UF's Free Culture chapter. Faulker has created its own web site about the suit, which links to the original complaint and other documents.
These note-taking services have been a recurring point of soreness for UF faculty; see e.g. this article from 2005 (and my op-ed response, at the time as a student). The stories also note an unsuccessful suit from 1996 against a similar service.
Comment. My favorite take on this, and the angle relevant to OA, is the student editorial cartoon, which points to the tension between the advancement of learning (supposedly a core value of academia) and academics' management of their own copyright, and the incentives toward profit and control therein.
Disclosure: As it happens, I once registered for this particular professor's class and bought the textbook in question, published by Faulkner. I dropped the class and returned the textbook when I discovered that the textbook, which is only available in electronic format, only works on Windows and Mac (I use Linux). I was also upset at the cost of the textbook ($80 or so for a CD in a box) and the software-registration system which Faulkner uses to prevent resale after the semester ends. Update. See the comments by David Wiley (1 and 2).
The story was also picked up by the Chronicle's Wired Campus blog, Wired's Threat Level blog, and Boing Boing, among others. Update. According to the Independent Florida Alligator, the note-taking company hasn't yet responded to the lawsuit, but is temporarily stopping its service for the class in question. The textbook publisher also announced it will make the class' lecture notes available free online beginning in the summer, and will start posting audio lectures immediately.
D'Arcy Norman, Open needs to be bidirectional, D’Arcy Norman dot net, April 2, 2008.
Comments from Lancet readers are now online. (As with the editorial itself, free registration may be required in order to access full text.)
From John James, Editor and publisher, AIDS Treatment News:
From Luca De Fiore, Manager, Il Pensiero Scientifico Editore:
From Matthew Cockerill, Publisher, BioMed Central:
Karla Hahn, Research Library Publishing Services: New Options for University Publishing, ARL, March 2008. Hahn is the Director of the ARL Office of Scholarly Communication. Excerpt:
The Open Repositories 2008 conference is now in progress (Southampton, April 1-4, 2008).
As befits a conference on OA repositories, at the institution responsible for the first and most-used repository software (EPrints), this conference has found an innovative way to share the presentations. As they are given, the presentations are deposited in a special conference repository, OR08 Publications. You can track new deposits or browse and search existing deposits.
What will happen to the repository after the conference ends?
Comment. Congratulations to the organizers for this useful innovation. I hope other conferences adopt it.
Matthew J. Cockerill and Bart G.J. Knols, Open Access to Research for the Developing World, Issues in Science and Technology, Winter 2008. Excerpt:
Also see the section on OA in the Forum of the same issue. There are contributions from Mark Grabowsky, Malaria Coordinator for the The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and Mark Walport, Director of the Wellcome Trust.
Anand Rajaraman, More data usually beats better algorithms, Datawocky, March 24, 2008. (Thanks to John Wilbanks, via Slashdot.)
The OA connection, from commenter "Plausible Accuracy" on Wilbanks' blog:
... This is a great example of how "mashups" ... can be used to sort of bootstrap the power of a dataset. In the case of the Stanford teams, the incorporation of data from an external source enabled them to improve their algorithm. In the case of Open Access science, the ability to better combine data from a variety of studies and fields will in turn lead to more discoveries.
Scribd announced on April 1 its new Convert Your Paper to iPaper program. (As the announcement says, despite the date, it's not an April Fools joke.) The offer: you mail hardcopy documents to Scribd, they scan them for free and publish the document online. (Thanks to Boing Boing.)
Scribd uses a Flash viewer to the display the documents online, but offers a download option and integrated Creative Commons licensing. No word on whether they send you the paper back when they're done.
Comment. Unless I hear otherwise, I wouldn't rely on this for archival-quality scans and careful handling of fragile documents. But if you're not worried about this, it is free -- time to dig up that old dissertation?
Stevan Harnad, NIH Invites Recommendations on How to Implement and Monitor Compliance with Its OA Self-Archiving Mandate, Open Access Archivangelism, April 2, 2008.
I just mailed the April issue of the SPARC Open Access Newsletter. This issue brings together the many online guidelines and resources for implementing the new NIH policy, and takes a close look at the principles and policy options for universities considering an OA policy. The round-up section briefly notes 97 OA developments from March.
D.J. Willison and eight co-authors, Access to medical records for research purposes: varying perceptions across research ethics boards, Journal of Medical Ethics, April 2008. Only this abstract is free online:
Jody L. DeRidder, Googlizing a Digital Library, The Code4Lib Journal, March 24, 2008. (Thanks to Current Cites.) Abstract:
This article describes how we dramatically increased access to our content through the use of sitemap files and sets of browsable links. Digital libraries, when characterized by search and retrieval capabilities, are normally part of the Deep Web, inaccessible to general web crawlers and hence to generalized search engines such as Google. Yet the primary goals of digital libraries include enhancing accessibility, expanding one’s audience to the general public, and promoting the library. Leveraging the capabilities of popular search engines is a potentially powerful and low-cost method of meeting these goals. An overview is provided of the problem, the solutions being developed, as well as an exploration of the current methods of remediation and their applicability to two other search engines, Yahoo! and Ask. A selection of methods is implemented for a dynamically-delivered database of 1081 finding aids (in the form of Encoded Archival Description). Access statistics (ruling out crawlers) already indicate a remarkable increase in user and hit counts as a result.
Free law pioneer will publish vital precedents free for the first time, OUT-LAW News, March 20, 2008. (Thanks to Simon Chester.) See also the accompanying podcast.
Cathy Davidson, Permission Denied, Cat in the Stack, March 31, 2008. (Thanks to Klaus Graf.)
What does it mean for the estate of an artist to withdraw permission to print any of the artist's images and text in a scholarly book? We've been having a lot of conversations about open access and we need to add another element to that conversation: the control of artists, writers, and their descendants on the publication of images. ...
Update. Also see this Tom Elliott post, and the discussion in the comments, on the problem of "post-mortem claw-back" by a copyright holder's heirs.
Chris Rusbridge, UK Repositories claiming to hold data, Digital Curation Blog, March 31, 2008.
Heather Morrison, Dramatic Growth of Open Access March 31, 2008 Edition, The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics, March 31, 2008.
...In this quarter alone:
New developments in the debate about OA to U.S. Congressional Research Service reports (see past OAN posts):
Gisele Craveiro, Jorge Machado, and Pablo Ortellado, O mercado de livros técnicos e científicos no Brasil: subsídio público e acesso ao conhecimento / El mercado de libros técnicos y científicos en Brasil: subsidio público y acceso al conocimiento (The market for technical and scientific books in Brazil: public subsidy and access to knowledge), a report by Grupo de Pesquisa en Políticas Públicas para el Acceso a la Información, Universidad de São Paulo (Research Group in Publicy Policies for Access to Information, University of São Paulo), 2008.
See the English summary by Pablo Ortellado on the A2k mailing list, March 31, 2008:
... Our report identifies public subsidies in 3 moments in the production of the scientific book in Brazil: in the funding of scientific research, in industrial production (by means of tax exemption to publishing houses) and directly through public university presses. The tax exemption alone costs annually US$ 560 million to the Brazilian public. We also studied the institutional status of national authors of 2,000 books adopted in several graduate courses and found that in scientific areas 86% of them work full time in public institutions. We also found out that public university presses produce about 10% of the books adopted. Despite this high public subsidy to scientific books, Brazilian copyright law includes very confuse provisions for public access (through exceptions and limitations) and Brazilian public institutions have had very incongruent policies to guarantee public access to books.
Alexander Varshavsky, a Professor of Cell Biology at the California Institute of Technology, is the first winner of the $1 million Gotham Prize for cancer research. For details, see today's press release.
PS: For background, see my post from May 2007, when the prize was first announced:
Jennifer Howard, U. of California Assesses Its Publishing Needs, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 4, 2008 (accessible only to subscribers). Excerpt:
Update. Here's the California report itself: Publishing Needs and Opportunities at the University of California. (Thanks to Jennifer Howard.) Excerpt:
Update. Also see the article in Library Journal Academic Newswire, April 10, 2008. Excerpt:
hprints, the consortial repository for Nordic humanities research, has finalized the deal to be hosted by HAL (Hyper Archive Online), the consortial repository hosted by France's CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique).
PS: hprints chose HAL back in October 2007.
Sukhdev Singh, Naina Pandita, Shefali S. Dash, Opportunities and challenges of establishing open access repositories: a case study of OpenMED@NIC, a presentation at the ICCSR seminar, Trends and Strategic Issues for Librarians in Global Information Society (Panjab University Chandigarh, March 18,19, 2008). Self-archived March 31, 2008.
Philip E. Bourne, J. Lynn Fink, and Mark Gerstein, Open Access: Taking Full Advantage of the Content, PLoS Computational Biology, March 28, 2008. An editorial. Excerpt:
Comment. Exactly. We will not unleash the full power and utility of OA research until we go beyond the removal of price barriers to the removal of permission barriers. The greatest promise of OA is to free up creative people to make creative uses of research. It was precisely to support these creative uses that the BOAI called for more than the freedom to read research articles without charge, but also permission to "download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself."
Update. Also see Chris Leonard's comments at the PhysMath Central blog.
The Section 108 Study Group, "a select committee of copyright experts charged with updating for the digital world the Copyright Act's balance between the rights of creators and copyright owners and the needs of libraries and archives", has released its report, dated March 2008. The Study Group was "convened [in 2005] as an independent group by the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation program of the Library of Congress and by the U.S. Copyright Office".
Read the executive summary or the full report. See also the coverage at Wired Campus and in this EDUCAUSE Live! podcast. Quoting from the Library Journal Academic Newswire coverage:
... The diverse 19-member panel was chartered in 2005 to inform legislative changes to update the Copyright Act's exception for libraries and archives for the digital age, but it remains unclear how quickly, or if, the group's carefully-worded, conditioned recommendations will ever make it into law. ...
EBSCO has launched a new database, GreenFILE, apparently some time this month. The database is free to access and contains abstracts and indexes for more than 600 titles, scholarly and non-, totaling almost 300,000 records, about 5,000 of which offer OA full text; see description here. Update. Also see the EBSCO press release, March 28, 2008.
The new copyright law passed by Israel's Knesset in November 2007, which takes effect in May, creates a new "fair use" provisions modeled after the one in U.S. law. See Jonathan Band, Israel now has the right copyright law, The Jerusalem Post, March 26, 2008.
Kevin L. Smith, Managing Copyright for NIH Public Access: Strategies to Ensure Compliance, ARL Bimonthly Report, June 2008. A preprint. Smith is the Scholarly Communications Officer at Duke University. Excerpt:
Chris Keene has launched a web page to track the growth of UK repositories. From the site:
Update. Good point from Glyn Moody:
Germany's Informationsplattform Open Access has made it to the second round of consideration for renewal of its DFG funding. If it is renewed, it will expand and update the information on its site, and offer all of it in English translation. Read the announcement in the original German or in Google's English.
Tomorrow the UK Arts and Humanities Data Service (AHDS) will come to the end of its regular funding. From today's announcement on the AHDS front page:
Andy Powell, Open cultural heritage, eFoundations, March 29, 2008.
Bibliotheca Alexandrina launched its Access to Knowledge project on March 30. From the announcement:
... This platform aims to raise awareness about the importance of A2K and its role in accelerating development efforts around the world, and in the Arab region in particular, by providing an interactive forum that will be continuously [updated] to include latest news and international developments in the field, in addition to the latest articles published on the topic, some of which will be also translated into Arabic to make it available to the widest audience possible. ... The BA's activity comes against the backdrop of the need to remedy the negative effects of obstacles denying developing countries access to international knowledge that would contribute to their development processes and to the advancement of human intellect. Such obstacles result from the rising trend of using international intellectual property protection rules and regulations by developed countries for the purposes of exclusivity, therefore, blocking the use of such knowledge by developing countries to create new knowledge. Being aware of such challenges, and in view of its role in disseminating knowledge and contributing to scientific progress and consequently economic and social development, the BA has undertaken the responsibility to promote for the importance of A2K, especially on the regional Arab level ...Update. See also this profile at iCommons.
oreprovider is a free and open source add-on service for Fedora to "disseminate digital objects stored in a Fedora repository as OAI-ORE Resource Maps". The project is written in Java and was developed by the National Library of Sweden. The project was registered on Sourceforge on March 26; the latest release, 0.4 Beta 1, was March 28. (Thanks to Charles Bailey.) From the announcement:
The idea behind it all is that you have a Java web application (oreprovider.war) that, on the fly, will generate Resource Maps serialized as Atom feeds (using OAI4J) for objects in Fedora. All you have to do in Fedora is to add information in RELS-EXT what datastreams belongs to which Resource Map (exactly how to do this can be seen at the projects web page).
Heather Morrison, Cancer Literature: 13% Free, The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics, March 29, 2008.
Andrea, Free resources for library/information science research, infogeek.org, March 29, 2008. A list of books, journals, repositories, etc.
Request for Information: NIH Public Access Policy, a new call for public comments, March 28, 2008. Excerpt:
Comment. Holsinger tries to balance what he sees as the pros and cons. In the end, he favors OA ("Open access is a friend who deserves our help and support"), but two incorrect assumptions give his picture of the con side undeserved weight. (1) He assumes that all OA journals charge publication fees. But most do not. (2) He assumes that OA archiving always requires embargoes. But the majority of green journals, or those allowing postprint archiving, allow it immediately upon publication. The fact that funder OA mandates permit embargoes may be causing some confusion. At most green journals, authors may still self-archive without delay, regardless of the author's funder. In this sense, most green journals permit more than funders require.