Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, October 25, 2008

On OA digital humanities projects

Mark Kornbluh, From Digital Repositories to Information Habitats: H–Net, the Quilt Index, Cyber Infrastructure, and Digital Humanities, First Monday, August 4, 2008. Abstract:
The growth of collaborative digital humanities projects has resulted in significant sets of diverse and important cultural materials stored digitally and freely available online. This paper presents two major collaborative digital humanities projects: H–Net: Humanities and Social Science OnLine and the Quilt Index. Through effective collaboration among humanities experts and information technologists, such culturally rich digital libraries can mature into information habitats where diverse scholars, teachers, researchers, students, and interested Web users can work with digital objects online.

More on the Encyclopedia of Life

Cathy Norton, The Encyclopedia of Life, Biodiversity Heritage Library, Biodiversity Informatics and Beyond Web 2.0, First Monday, August 4, 2008. Abstract:
E.O. Wilson, the noted entomologist at Harvard, “wished” for an authoritative encyclopedia of life that would be freely available on the worldwide web for the entire world. On 9 May 2007, The Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) was launched as a multi–institutional initiative whose mission is to create 1.8 million Web sites detailing all the known attributes, history, and behavior, about every known and described species and portraying that information through video, audio, and literature, via the Internet. A major contributor to the Encyclopedia is the Biodiversity Heritage Library that is currently scanning all the core biodiversity literature.
See also our past posts on the Encyclopedia of Life.

Update. See also this interview with Wilson:
... And finally, in 2003, I wrote a paper called “The Encyclopedia of Life.” And I said, “What we need is to get out there and search this little-known planet, and then put all the information that we get on species already known into a single great database, an electronic encyclopedia, with a page that’s indefinitely extensible for each species in turn, and that would be available to anybody, any time, anywhere, single access, on command, free.” ...

Recommendations on openness for next U.S. president

Project on Government Oversight, Recommended Good Government Reforms for Presidential Transition Teams, report, October 20, 2008. (Thanks to the Sunlight Foundation.) See especially the recommendations on openness:
... As a matter of practice, the federal government should place online all new government-generated or government-collected information that is not exempt from [the Freedom of Information Act]. ...

New issue of Computers in Libraries

The October 2008 issue of Computers in Libraries, a theme issue on digitization, is now available. (Thanks to Fabrizio Tinti.) Articles that seem relevant (for articles with no link, not even an abstract is available, at least so far):
  • Jennifer Weintraub and Melissa Wisner, Mass Digitization at Yale University Library: Exposing the Treasures in Our Stacks
  • Andrew Bullen, The ‘Long Tale’: Using Web 2.0 Concepts to Enhance Digital Collections
  • Janet L. Balas, The Promise of Digitization
  • Marshall Breeding, Digitizing Brings New Life to Video Collections
  • Daniel Chudnov, The Emperor’s New Repository
  • Terence K. Huwe, The Surprising Impact of Digital Repositories

French government report on the digital economy

Éric Besson, France Numérique 2012: Plan de développement de l’économie numérique [Digital France 2012: Development plan for the digital economy], government report, October 20, 2008. Besson is the French Secretary for the Development of the Digital Economy. (Thanks to Alain Pierrot.)

See also the press release, as well as the site for the plan and for the meetings undertaken in preparing the plan (all in French).

The plan appears to discuss topics such as a portal for government data, reuse of public sector information, a Francophone digital library portal, conditions on use of reproductions of public domain artwork, and a digital scientific library for higher education and research, among others.

Comment. It's a large report (81 pages, 154 points), and my French isn't very strong, so it'll take some time to pore over this, not to mention the commentary that usually accompanies a report like this. If you have any information, or come across links discussing it (in English or French), please send them to me.

Update. See also these comments by Daniel Kaplan (in French). (Thanks to Fabrizio Tinti.) Rough translation of an excerpt:

... But it's the absences that are most striking. ... The dynamics of "libre", of collective intelligence? Open innovation, so characteristic of the interesting part of what happens within "Web 2.0"? Nothing at all ...

AAP tries to blackball Lawrence Lessig

The AAP and Copyright Alliance want to prod the next President of the US to tilt the unbalanced US copyright law further toward publishers.  According to a letter the AAP sent to its members (thanks to James Love and Glyn Moody), the two organizations are trying to identify the positions "that will influence intellectual property policy", and will then "offer suggestions regarding appropriate candidates for these positions to both presidential campaigns."

But first they want to blackball one potential nominee:

...AAP is concerned, for example, that based on their past academic relationship, Senator Obama might choose among his appointments a divisive figure such as Larry Lessig - a law professor and leading proponent of diminished copyright rights....


  • Lessig would make a superb Copyright Czar (the new post created by the new Pro-IP Act).  He understands the balance intended by US copyright law --the balance deliberately targeted by the AAP and Copyright Alliance. 
  • To say that Lessig advocates "diminished copyright rights" is the same kind of deliberate misinformation the AAP and Copyright Alliance have used in their lobbying campaigns against the NIH policy and FRPAA
  • For example, just last month both organizations lobbied hard for the Conyers bill, which would overturn the NIH policy.  The AAP falsely claimed that the NIH policy forces publishers to "surrender" their articles, and the Copyright Alliance falsely claimed that it allows the government to "commandeer" publisher articles.  Both spoke as if publishers owned the full copyrights in articles based on NIH-funded research, suppressing the fact that the authors retained a key right and used it to authorize OA.  Both asserted that the policy was "inconsistent with copyright law" but neither could point to any actual infringement.  Indeed, they went to Congress to support a bill to amend copyright law, which would not have been necessary if the policy had caused actual infringement.  For a more detailed rebuttal, see my article from earlier this month on the bill and the publishing lobby's dishonest arguments in support of it.

More on OA for developing countries

Michael Meadon, Science in the South, Ionian Enchantment, October 24, 2008.  (Thanks to Subbiah Arunachalam.)  Excerpt:

Science is carrying an interesting editorial this week by Mohamed Hassan, the executive director of the Third World Academy of Science, who argues that, while science has surged in parts of the South, it has stagnated elsewhere. The good news is that developing countries produce 20% of the articles published in international journals. The bad news is that a couple of countries - China, India, Brazil, Turkey, and Mexico - account for over half that proportion. Indeed, according to the figures Hassan quotes, sub-Saharan Africa generates just 1% of international journal articles.

There is certainly reason for hope, though. I have long thought that recent advances in information technology - especially "Web 2.0" innovations, but the 'basic' internet too - has made it possible to do cutting-edge science far away from traditional research and education centers in the developed world. Podcasts, blogs, online audio lectures, freely shared public talks, and other new developments allow for self-study of unprecedentedly quality and depth. And a movement to open access, together with RSS and free science news services, make it possible to keep abreast of the latest developments....

Friday, October 24, 2008

The challenges of researching OERs

Stephen Godwin, et al., Behind the Scenes with OpenLearn: the Challenges of Researching the Provision of Open Educational Resources, Electronic Journal of e-Learning, April 2008. (Thanks to Open Education News.) Abstract:
Open educational resources are defined as technology-enabled educational resources that are openly available for consultation, use and adaptation by users for non-commercial purposes (UNESCO, 2002). OpenLearn is one of the largest of such initiatives and is committed to the provision of open educational resources for all. It is being developed by The Open University and is primarily sponsored by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. It provides users with over 4 200 hours of higher educational material drawn from Open University courses. Other learning tools such as discussion forums, video conferencing, and knowledge mapping software are also available to the user. In this paper we introduce OpenLearn and outline some of the main research issues surrounding such an initiative. We seek to explore theoretical and practical approaches that can provide suitable tools for analysis. Activity theory is seen as a suitable approach for macro analysis and its use is illustrated in terms of the complexity of large scale research. Activity theory, besides informing research perspectives, can be turned in upon the research process itself allowing us to consider the challenges and context of the research. By using activity theory in this way and illustrating from a range of practical approaches we demonstrate and illustrate a useful research approach.

Cyberspace transforming science

John Wilbanks, Chemistry: on the internet or in cyberspace?, Common Knowledge, October 23, 2008.
... A good place to start is the transformation of scholarly communication from "using the internet" to "existing in cyberspace." ...

What we've been doing for the most part in scholarly communication is using the internet. We've been making digital versions of papers - PDFs - and using the network to post them. You can use the network to order them, rent them, read them. But they're not in cyberspace in this concept - they're not interactive by technical terms, social terms, or legal terms. They are actually less free - thanks to DRM and the move to lease terms from sale terms - than they used to be. OA in many ways is a reaction to this irony, as well as a response to the two pressing problems of increased serials pricing and filter failure for scientific information. ...

Overview of OA in biomedicine

Elena Giglia, Open Access in the biomedical field: a unique opportunity for researchers (and research itself), Europa Medicophyisica, June 2007; self-archived October 23, 2008. Abstract:
Aim of this article is to offer an overview of the Open Access strategy and its innovative idea of a free scholarly communication. Following the worldwide debate on the crisis of the scholarly communication and the new opportunities of a networked environment, definitions, purposes and real advantages of the Open Access pathway are presented from a researcher's point of view. To maximize the impact and dissemination, by providing free access to the result of the research, two complementary roads are pointed out and explained ­ self-archiving in open archives and publishing in Open Access journals. To let authors make their choice the most useful tools to find one's way in this new reality are shown: directories, search engines, citation tracking projects. The starting survey being done, the article deals in its conclusions with the Open Access challenges and most debated themes: impact and dissemination, new assessment measures alternative to the Impact Factor, new mandatory policies of the funding agencies, questions related to the copyright issue.

Access to data from Japanese spacecraft now at the lunar south pole

Joel Raupe, Kaguya unveils Shackleton's Depths, Lunar Networks, October 24, 2008.  Excerpt:

...It's not unusual for research institutions to block open access to "raw" data from their planetary probes. The Japanese, however, apparently have two conflicts that keep the world waiting for monthly dribbles of images from Kaguya [PS:  a.k.a. Selene].

Just published to the Japanese language portion of the Flash Kaguya Image Gallery is the interior of Shackleton crater, positioned on the edge of the Lunar South Pole, the site chosen for what eventually may be NASA's permanent (or semi-permanent) manned Moon base, more than a decade from now.

Kagyua's representatives at the 39th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston, last March, according to Chuck, "very briefly flashed on the screen an image from their Kaguya spacecraft of the interior of Shackleton crater. This was remarkable because the rim of Shackleton is at the lunar south pole and the crater floor is in perpetual darkness."

Among conflicts for JAXA [Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency] are its obligations under the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 to release data from remote sensing of other planets and its commercial agreement with Japanese state television, with whom it honors a prior claim. A second conflict is nationalistic, and JAXA's habit of releasing (months after its availability) its monthly dribble first on its Japanese language site, and sometimes weeks later on the English language portion.

Of course, no obligation requires the Japanese to release "new" data in English at all....Nevertheless, a comparison with raw images NASA-JPL delivers to the web from Phoenix and the MRO missions, and Cassini, is a stark demonstration of the differences in philosophy.

Perhaps JAXA and NHK's habits of releasing to the public processed images first in Japanese is pay back for NASA's not publishing in Japanese at all....

Coverage of the Kashmir OA conference

Several newspapers are covering the University of Kashmir conference, Open Access Movement: Initiatives, Promotion and Impact (Kashmir, October 23-25, 2008):

PS:  The conference is now in progress.  The dates were apparently changed from those originally advertised, October 15-17, 2008 (see e.g. 1, 2, 3).

Building OA in Africa

Allam Ahmed and William E. Nwagwu, Building Open Access in Africa, International Journal of Technology Management, forthcoming in 2009.

Abstract:   Inequality of access to social, economic and technological advantages among scientists becomes a crucial factor in formal science. Some poor DCs, particularly those in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), can be said to be suffering from scientific information famine. The expectation that the Internet would facilitate scientific information flow does not seem to be realisable, owing to restrictive subscription fees of the high quality sources and the beleaguering inequity in access and use of the Internet and other ICT resources. This paper aims to assess and evaluate Open Access Movement (OA) as a proposed solution to avoid the restrictions over accessing scientific knowledge particularly in SSA. More importantly the paper will outlines opportunities and challenges of implementing OA in SSA. However, there are often mismatches between what "donor" countries can reasonably offer and what SSA countries can implement. Finally, the paper will discuss the slow uptake of the OA in Africa, the perception of African scientists towards the movement, the non-expression of concern by policy makers, among others, in addition to their implications on scientific activities in Africa.

PS:  I've found the abstract in a couple of places (here too), and a longer summary, but not the full text.  If I'm overlooking something, please drop me a line.

Update (11/11/08). The full-text is now OA. (Thanks to David Bradley.)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

OA at Concordia University

Wendy Smith, Sharing information one citation at a time, Concordia Journal, October 23, 2008.  Excerpt:

Any student who’s ever Googled the title of an academic journal article, only to be confronted with a two-line teaser interrupted by a demand for a credit card number, knows how frustrating — and expensive — scholarly research can get.

But if the open access movement has its way, those barriers will be history....

“It’s a movement that started among scholars and librarians who were concerned about the rising costs of scholarly publications,” said Jocelyn Godolphin, Assistant Director of Collection Services. “The issue is to provide alternative ways of publishing scientific and scholarly research that ensures it is freely accessible on the internet.” ...

Besides hosting outreach activities on the first international Open Access Day, Concordia University Libraries is developing an open access repository for Concordia....

The university is developing the required software and should have a working prototype online by next spring....

On Open Access Day October 14, librarians passed out brochures, buttons and bookmarks and answered student questions about open access, including, most frequently, “Does it mean that everything will now be free?”

“No. We are still paying huge costs for our subscriptions (to academic journals) and, for the foreseeable future, will continue to do so,” Godolphin said....

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), and the National Research Council’s Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (NRC-CISTI) have all developed policies to encourage open access.

More on the HathiTrust

Beth Ashmore, HathiTrust: A Digital Repository for Libraries, Information Today, October 23, 2008.  Excerpt:

For those who thought Google Book Search and its Library Partners program represented the death knell for libraries, take a deep breath and check out the latest digital elephant in the room, HathiTrust.  HathiTrust is a shared digital repository aimed at bringing the vast collections of print books and journals currently housed in libraries into the digital world for the purposes of access, discovery, and preservation. The project began as a partnership of the 13 university libraries of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), the 10 libraries of the University of California system, and the California Digital Library (CDL). The University of Virginia Library also officially joined the partnership on Oct. 13, 2008, the same day the repository itself was announced....

[All these institutions are] members of...Google Book Search Library Partners program. While it might seem like the HathiTrust repository would be in direct competition with projects like Google Book Search and the Open Content Alliance (OCA), HathiTrust’s leadership would disagree. Laine Farley, interim executive director of the CDL, sees the projects as complementary to each other and that the HathiTrust can fill a special academic niche. "We have become convinced that there are some approaches to using this content, from an academic standpoint, that Google may not address."

One of the areas in which the projects diverge is the importance placed on long-term preservation....

[M]any of the HathiTrust partners...have been developing the technological infrastructure necessary for creating large-scale searching, rights management, and backup capabilities for this amount of information....[T]he rights management system allows for manual overrides of the automated assertions to allow for a wide variety of instances, including occasions where rightsholders allow open access to their work....

The partners have already developed one API that allows local library catalogs to get URLs and rights information from the HathiTrust site....

The current partners have funded the HathiTrust for "an initial 5-year period beginning January 2008, with a planned process of review and renewal". Future partners "will be charged a one-time start-up fee based on the number of volumes added to the repository, in addition to an annual fee for the curation of those volumes," according to the HathiTrust FAQ....

Southern Illinois U launches an IR

Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (SUIC) has launched Open SIUC, an institutional repository.  From the article in yesterday's issue of the SIUC paper:

...OpenSIUC online storehouse giving one and all permanent, reliable, free access to research and scholarly material produced at the University. A service of Morris Library, it is a one-stop location for accessing material previously unavailable or posted on scattered Web sites here and there.

Faculty, staff and students contribute to OpenSIUC with published and unpublished materials. Featured will be journal articles, conference papers and proceedings, technical reports, working papers, posters, videos, audios, data sets, theses and dissertations, honors theses, REACH posters and much more....

“The idea is to make SIUC output more visible, more accessible and to preserve it,” said Jonathan Nabe, SIUC collection development librarian/science and technology....

Nabe said materials within OpenSIUC are more visible because Google, GoogleScholar and other search engines index them higher than they would the same content on individual or departmental Web sites....

They’ll accept all file formats for inclusion. Microsoft Word documents automatically convert to PDF files. Nabe said the site’s software also supports journal publication and includes a peer review tracking system and other necessary tools. Those who contribute can elect to receive automatic monthly e-mails indicating the total downloads of their posts.

“We help with copyright issues as well,” Nabe said. “Many publishers allow the posting of journal articles in repositories.” ...

EPrints front-ends in development

Interesting repository user interfaces, JISC Information Environment Team blog, October 23, 2008.

There are a number of interesting repository user interfaces being developed by the repositories in the start up and enhancement strand of the JISC repositories and preservation programme. ...

All of these interfaces have taken the approach of displaying the item in the most prominent and appropriate way while relegating the metadata to the bottom of the screen or hiding it in a clickable box. ...

Blog notes on COMMUNIA workshop

Jonathan Gray, Third COMMUNIA Workshop - Marking the public domain, Open Knowledge Foundation Weblog, October 22, 2008.

The third COMMUNIA workshop ‘Marking the public domain: relinquishment & certification’ (which we mentioned last week) took place in Amsterdam on Monday and Tuesday.

It brought together COMMUNIA members and other relevant parties from across Europe for talks and workshops focusing on legal issues related to the public domain, and how public domain works can be found and re-used. ...

See also our past posts on COMMUNIA.

RAND Europe study of IRs in the UK

Stijn Hoorens, Lidia Villalba van Dijk, and Christian van Stolk, Embracing the future:  Embedding digital repositories in the University of London, RAND Europe, October 2008.  A report prepared for the SHERPA-LEAP Consortium.  (Thanks to ResourceShelf.)  From the blurb:

Digital repositories can help Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to develop coherent and coordinated approaches to capture, identify, store and retrieve intellectual assets such as datasets, course material and research papers. With the advances of technology, an increasing number of Higher Education Institutions are implementing digital repositories. The leadership of these institutions, however, has been concerned about the awareness of and commitment to repositories, and their sustainability in the future.

This study informs a consortium of thirteen London institutions with an assessment of current awareness and attitudes of stakeholders regarding digital repositories in three case study institutions. The report identifies drivers for, and barriers to, the embedding of digital repositories in institutional strategy. The findings therefore should be of use to decision-makers involved in the development of digital repositories. Our approach was entirely based on consultations with specific groups of stakeholders in three institutions through interviews with specific individuals.

From the body of the report:

We identified seven motivations for investing in digital repositories, listed below:

  1. fear of missing the boat [PS: more in Section 2.1.1]
  2. providing a shop window for a HEI [more in 2.1.2]
  3. enabling archiving and preserving institutional assets [more in 2.1.3]
  4. facilitating the open access of scholarly outputs: democratising research [more in 2.1.4]
  5. decreasing dependence on traditional cost model of publishing [more in 2.1.5]
  6. providing an up-to-date overview of an institution’s scholarly output [more in 2.1.6]
  7. exploiting the added value of digital content: cross-fertilisation and knowledge
    management [more in 2.1.7]

Also see Table 2 (p. 16) for the authors' sense of which stakeholder groups (lecturers, researchers, heads of departments, publishers, librarians, IT department, senior HEI management, and external relations) are motivated by which of these seven incentives.

Comment.  I've only had time to skim, but it seems very well done.  One exception is that in Section 2.1.4 the authors assume that all OA journals charge publication fees when in fact most do not


Don't let me be misunderstood: the role of access

Jim Hu, A note to authors, blogs for industry, October 22, 2008.
A reason to publish in open access journals:

Sometimes I'd like to view your papers while I'm off campus and at a study section. Of course, if you're one of my grants, I have already accessed your paper from home. But if I can't access the paper from the NSF building in Arlington, or from a hotel where an NIH panel is meeting, I can't use information from it to argue against some other panelists misinterpretation of what you did. ...
As Nick Anthis points out:
To be fair, universities generally offer some kind of off-campus access to electronic journals for their faculty and students. However, these systems often require some sort of premeditation (i.e. signing up to use them while you're still on campus), can be prone to technological hiccups, and/or can be cumbersome to use. ...

On intergovernmental organizations' copyright

William New, World Customs Organization Publications Copyright Policy Questioned, Intellectual Property Watch, October 21, 2008.

In an unusual policy for an international organisation, the World Customs Organization imposes copyright over every document its bodies produce, even agendas, which means that no document can be reproduced without the organisation’s express consent.

But now some member governments are questioning this practice, which they say was intended only for the organisation to protect the rights in publications made for sale or containing proprietary information, and is now blocking access to information about the organisation’s work. ...

In order to access documents, passwords are needed, according to a source. But it is unclear why a copyright is used to protect negotiating documents used by elected governments, when the documents are not expected to be offered for sale or any other apparent disadvantage to the organisation’s secretariat. ...

Anticipating SCOAP3, physics journal continues with no-fee OA model

The European Physical Journal --a cluster of eight journals-- converted to hybrid OA in November 2006.  In November 2007, one of the eight, European Physical Journal C, became a no-fee OA journal for all its articles. 

Now that EPJC is completing its first year under the new model, it has decided to continue.  From the announcement:

Following the completion of the first period (2007-2008) of its OA publishing scheme, and in anticipation of successful negotiations with interested Open Access funding agencies in the future, the "open access" publishing fees for all experimental papers submitted to and accepted for publication by The European Physical Journal C - Particles and Fields will continue to be waived. The paper categories concerned are both regular articles and scientific notes, on experimental physics. Independently, all Letters continue to be published "open access" by default, without any fees being incurred by the authors.

PS:  The anticipated "successful negotiations with interested Open Access funding agencies in the future" refers to SCOAP3.  Also see our past posts on EPJ.

MedlinePlus is 10 years old

MedlinePlus Turns 10 Years Old, press release, October 22, 2008.

MedlinePlus, the popular, consumer-friendly health [OA] Web site produced by the National Library of Medicine, is celebrating 10 years of bringing trusted health information to people across the country and around the world.

Nearly 500 million people in more than 200 countries have turned to MedlinePlus for accurate, up-to-date information since its launch on October 22, 1998. The site, now available in English and Spanish, receives about 12 million visitors each month and is approaching one billion page views a year. MedlinePlus routinely is recognized as one of the best places on the Web to go for health information. ...

See also our past posts on MedlinePlus.

OA resources at U. of Calgary

Andrew Waller, Open Access Resources and Services, presented at the University of Calgary (Calgary, October 20, 2008). Abstract:
This presentation covers some of the basic elements of Open Access as well as some Open Access-related resources and services that are available to library users at the University of Calgary.

Flat World announces new financing, staff

Jim Milliot, Open Source Text Publisher Gets More Financing, Publishers Weekly, October 21, 2008.

Flat World Knowledge, a year-old company that plans to publish free open source college textbooks, has received $700,000 in new financing, bringing total investment in the startup to $1.4 million. The company has also announced a number of new appointments, including that of former Simon & Schuster CEO Jonathan Newcomb to its board of advisors.

... A larger round of investment is expected to be completed within the next six months. ...

Flat World began beta testing its four titles this fall with over 600 students at 20 colleges. It has set the commercial launch for January.

In addition to naming Newcomb as an advisor, Flat World has added to its sales and marketing team, appointing three former print salespeople to new spots. Sharon Koch, formerly director of marketing for a division of Prentice-Hall/Pearson Education, has been named marketing director; Brett Sullivan, a senior account manager with McGraw-Hill, has been named director of eastern region sales; and Jennifer Welchans, formerly with West Publishing and Prentice-Hall, has been named director of inside sales.

See also our past posts on Flat World Knowledge.

Toward libraries for data

International science community to establish global virtual library for scientific data, press release, October 23, 2008.

The existing networks for collecting, storing and distributing data in many areas of science are inadequate and not designed to enable the inter-disciplinary research that is necessary to meet major global challenges. These networks must be transformed into a new inter-operable data system and extended around the world and across all areas of science. The General Assembly of the International Council for Science (ICSU) agreed today to take the first strategic steps to establish such a system. ...

The expert report recommending the new system and presented to the ICSU General Assembly asserts: 'there is a need for global federations of professional state of the art data management institutions, working together and exchanging practices. Such federations can provide quality assurance and promote data publishing, providing the backbone for a global virtual library for scientific data'. The report concludes that ICSU itself can play a leading role by re-structuring its own data bodies.

Ray Harris, chair of the expert Committee that produced the report said, 'Data is the lifeblood of science and there are many exciting developments, which mean that access to scientific data both for science and for policy making should be much easier. However, in many areas there is little order and the origin and reliability of what one finds on the web can be almost impossible to determine'.

'A more strategic and systematic international approach, together with significant financial investment at the national level, is urgently required if we are to realise the full benefit of science for society,' Harris continued. ...

Portal of Japanese IRs

The Japanese National Institute of Informatics launched JAIRO (Japanese Institutional Repositories Online) in beta on October 22, 2008. JAIRO is a portal for federated searching of Japanese IRs, currently including more than half a million items in 80+ IRs. See the announcement here. (Thanks to Charles Bailey.)

Survey of UK authors and institutions on OA publication fees

JISC has released its Open Access Publication Charge Surveys.  The report is undated but was apparently completed in September and released this week.  Excerpt:

During May and June 2008 JISC conducted two surveys, one sent to 160 UK HEIs and the other to 4055 biomedical authors, to investigate the situation regarding the payment of publication charges to journal publishers for articles to be available on open access....The surveys were supported by the JISC Scholarly Communications Group and undertaken in collaboration with the RIN/UUK Working Group on the Payment of Open Access Publishing Fees. Representatives from the Society for Endocrinology, the publisher BioMed Central and the Wellcome Trust who are members of the RIN/UUK Group assisted JISC in sending the survey form request to their authors and grantees....Some of the key results from the surveys are given in bullet-form below.

Author survey key findings ...

  • 72% of the responding authors have published in a fully-OA journal in the last five years, 64% in a hybrid OA journal during the same time-period.
  • Of all authors who have published an article in a journal in the last five years 43% have on at least one occasion paid an OA publication charge, and 47% have had to pay colour charges or other charges to a publisher of a subscription journal.
  • Of those responding authors employed by an HEI, 43% stated that their HEI has an OA policy, 20% that it does not, and 36% do not know, while 31% feel that their HEI has a policy that encourages OA publication by its staff.
  • Asked whether their employer has an OA fund, 16% replied “yes at a central level”, 4% “yes at a Faculty level”, 4% “yes at a departmental level”, while 40% replied “no OA fund” and 36% “do not know”.
  • 12% of responding authors acknowledged a restriction upon the use of grant funding for OA – of which the most common restriction mentioned was use during the lifetime of the research grant – but 39% felt that there are no restrictions and 48% “do not know”....
  • 25% of responding authors feel that their employing institution assists in accessing a research funder’s OA grant, 38% feel that the assistance is not there, and 37% “do not know”.

UK Higher Education Institution survey key findings ...

  • 23 institutions stated that they have an OA policy, 34 do not and 4 were unsure.
  • 5 institutions mandate OA, 13 encourage it, 10 allow it, and 1 discourages it.
  • 6 institutions have a central OA fund, 4 have a School or Faculty or Departmental OA fund.
  • All 10 Russell Group institutions responding claim to be dealing with the payment of OA publishing fees.
  • Of the 55 institutions which responded that they do not have an OA fund, 11 responded that they are likely to set up an OA fund in the future, 21 responded “not very likely”, and 4 “not at all likely”.
  • 44 responding HEIs allow researchers to make an application for OA publication charge funding up to the point of publication, 9 after publication, but 15 allow no application for funding and 21 “do not know”.
  • 15 of the 46 institutions allowing applications will authorise a purchase order “within a few days”.
  • Asked about any restriction upon use of a research grant for OA publication charges, 5 institutions acknowledged restrictions (of which for 2 the reason given is “limited by the availability of funding”), 47 responded that there are no restrictions, and 9 “do not know”.
  • Asked about including OA publication charges in FEC [full economic costing] calculations, 8 institutions replied that they do this, 21 replied “no”, and 13 replied “planning to do so in the future”.
  • 17 of the 61 responding institutions believe that no member of their research staff has used a research grant for the payment of OA publication charges over the past 12 months but 16 institutions estimate up to 99 instances and 4 institutions estimate over 500....


Three OA journals move to OHP

Three OA journals have moved to the Open Humanities Press.  This brings the OHP journal portfolio up to 10.  From the OHP descriptions:

  1. Fast Capitalism....Fast Capitalism is an academic journal with a political intent. We publish reviewed scholarship and essays about the impact of rapid information and communication technologies on self, society and culture in the 21st century. We are convinced that the best way to study an accelerated media culture and its various political economies and existential meanings is dialectically, with nuance, avoiding sheer condemnation and ebullient celebration. We seek to shape these new technologies and social structures in democratic ways.  Publishing open access since 2005
  2. Image and Narrative....Image [&] Narrative is a peer-reviewed e-journal devoted to visual narratology in the broadest sense of the term. In addition to tackling theoretical issues, the journal provides a platform for reviews of real-life examples. The languages of publication are French and English....Publishing open access since 2000
  3. Postcolonial Text....Postcolonial Text is a refereed open access journal that publishes articles, book reviews, interviews, poetry and fiction on postcolonial, transnational, and indigenous themes. It fosters critical discussions about the culturally contested and transformative terrain of postcolonial literary studies. To remain critical of academically instituted forms of cultural and literary knowledge production, the journal is committed to a rigorous analysis of persisting imperial and uneven global relationships of power at the crossroads of class, gender, and race.  Publishing open access since 2004

Update (10/24/08).  Also see the OHP press release.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Journals that converted from TA to OA

The Open Access Directory (OAD) has launched a list of Journals that converted from TA to OA.  It already identifies 104.

OAD is a wiki and counts on users to keep its lists comprehensive, accurate, and up to date.


Another editorial misses the target

John W. Moore, Does Information Want To Be Free?  Journal of Chemical Education, November 2008.  An editorial.  JCE is published by the American Chemical Society.  Excerpt:

If you had free online access to all of the content of this Journal, would you pay for a subscription?  ...

Fewer and fewer people are willing to pay for a printed copy, costs are going up, and the era of personal journal subscriptions may be ending....

Subscription fees pay for production and distribution, salaries of our excellent editorial staff..., support of our Secondary School Chemistry Section, technical expertise..., and creating special issues.... We are non-profit, so all of the fees are used to make the JCE as good as it can be. Without subscriptions, this would be a very different (perhaps nonexistent) Journal....

Proponents of open access journals...often quote Stewart Brand (of Whole Earth Catalog fame) as saying, “information wants to be free”...

Proponents of open access argue that because the government pays for research through grants, the research should be published where all taxpayers can read and use it. This assumes that everything published is the result of government-supported research....

Of course [our staff, paid with subscription revenue] produces a higher quality product, but is that what is really wanted today? ...Is this Journal barking up the wrong tree by trying to achieve the highest quality product? ...

Comment.  Moore evidently assumes that OA journals have no revenue and cannot be high in quality.  His explicit claims are equally uninformed.  I don't know a single proponent of OA journals who has quoted Stuart Brand.  (Moore is resting on a stereotype here.)  And I don't know a single proponent of OA who believes that the case for OA to publicly-funded research implies that all research is publicly funded.  These careless assertions would not survive peer review.

Non-OA search engine adds OA sources to its index

Infovell Adds Major Scholarly Publishers, Broadens Reach into Deep Web, press release, October 21, 2008.

Infovell today announced that four major new content sources will soon be added to its growing index of Deep Web material. New sources will include scholarly journals from Oxford University Press, MIT Press and Hindawi Publishing, as well as the arXiv database, hosted by the Cornell University Library. Infovell – the world’s research engine for the Deep Web - uncovers relevant information that is hidden deep within archives, databases and within the full text of documents that are impenetrable by other search engines, enabling users to discover the 99% of the internet inaccessible to most searchers. ...

Anyone who has conducted research on the internet has undoubtedly struggled to construct a search or filter results to arrive at the most credible and appropriate information. To address these problems, Infovell has developed powerful, intuitive tools and formed relationships with publishers, enabling access and insight into the most reputable and respected sources of information available on the internet. ...

Data handling in different repository software

Dorothea Salo, Content, presentation, and behavior, Caveat Lector, October 20, 2008.

... DSpace and EPrints make certain assumptions about the files they take in. Key for our purposes is that they assume that all they have to do to mediate between a file and its end-user is serve it up in response to a request. Ask, give, end of story. ...

For a dataset, this ask-and-give assumption is pure disaster. Hardly anybody wants a whole dataset boiled down into a single file. Hardly anybody creates a dataset that way. Sure, they’ll tell you they just have the one spreadsheet, but that doesn’t count the data dictionary and the lab notebooks and the field notes and the et cetera. What’s more, datasets don’t want to be treated as unitary objects; ask-and-fetch just doesn’t work. Query, slice-and-dice, facet, analyze, number-crunch, mash up—that’s what people want to do with a dataset. They want it to have an API.

And all DSpace and EPrints can do is say “durrr, here’s a file.” ...

Les Carr, Data Access in Repositories - Don't Overlook What We Already Have!, RepositoryMan, October 21, 2008.

Dorothea Salo's latest blog entry takes EPrints and DSpace to task for not being able to help users analyse (query, slice-and-dice, facet, analyse, number-crunch, mash-up) data files.

You can already do that, at least you can in Microsoft Excel anyway. As an example, I chose a data file that is already in the MINDS reporisoty (DSpace) and one that is in my school repository (EPrints) and created a new spreadsheet on my desktop that referenced data ranges in both of the archived data sets. ...

It is an interesting issue, to think what the data-oriented functions are that a repository can provide. However, we should not overlook the functions that we already have! ...

Matt Cockerill on BMC acquisition

Matt Cockerill, BioMed Central acquired by Springer Science+Business Media, BioMed Central Blog, October 21, 2008.

Earlier this month, BioMed Central was acquired by Springer Science+Business Media, the world's second largest publisher of Scientific, Technical and Medical journals. Springer is absolutely committed to maintaining BioMed Central's policy of full open access to all research, and this acquisition is great news for open access, demonstrating that it is both a financially viable publishing model and an increasingly important part of mainstream scholarly publishing. ...

The acquisition of BioMed Central by Springer was approved by BioMed Central's Board of Trustees, who are charged with ensuring that any new owner of BioMed Central commits to permanently retain BioMed Central’s policy of unconditional open access to published research articles.

BioMed Central Limited will remain an autonomous operating unit within Springer Science+Business Media and it is 'business as usual' for BioMed Central staff and journals. All BioMed Central's titles are included in the acquisition, with the exception of Cases and Journal of Medical Case Reports which remain with Science Navigation Group. BioMed Central will continue to set its own article processing charges and there are no plans to increase charges as a result of the acquisition. ...

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank the authors, editors, peer-reviewers, librarians who have made BioMed Central’s success possible. We look forward to making the most of Springer's global reach and resources to improve our service and to help bring the benefits of open access publishing to an ever wider community.

More on TA journal subscription prices

Björn Ortelbach, et al., Journal Prices Revisited: A Regression Analysis of Prices in the Scholarly Journal Market, Serials Review, September 2008. Only this abstract is free online, at least so far:
Increasing prices of scholarly journals have been subject to fierce discussion for several decades. In this paper the authors integrate influence factors of journal prices analyzed in different previous studies in a unified regression model based on current data. Three different models are calculated. In the first model (overall market) the largest influence was found for the size of the journal. Additionally, the authors calculate separate regression models for STM (Scientific, Technical, Medical) vs. HSS (Humanities and Social Sciences) journals and for for-profit vs. not-for-profit journals. The first comparison found that the influence of the number of published articles is much lower for HSS journals. The comparison between for-profit and not-for-profit journals showed that the influence of the circulation of a journal on its price is higher in the for-profit segment.

Blog notes from IR panel

Gretchen Gueguen, Institutional Repositories: Design and Development, Panel Discussion, LITA Blog, October 21, 2008. Blog notes from the Library and Information Technology Association National Forum 2008 (Cincinnati, October 16-19, 2008). Notes on the following presentations:
  • Shu Liu and Yongli Zhou, Developing and Institutional Repository: Implementation of DigiTool at Colorado State University Libraries
  • Bradley D. Faust, EPrints as the Cardinal Scholar Institutional Repository at Ball State University — Bringing and Institutional Repository to the Ball State University Community through Cardinal Scholar (CS)
  • Tabatha Becker and David Hodgins, Libraries as publishers: Using the Open Journal System in a Smaller Academic Library

Another way to monitor the growth of green OA

Chris Keene has upgraded IRcount, renamed it Repository Records Statistics (RRS), and expanded its scope from the UK to the whole world.  (Thanks to Charles Bailey.) 

Comment.  One of the great virtues of the Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR) is the graph for each repository showing the daily growth in its deposits.  RRS takes this a step further and shows weekly deposit totals (in numbers, not graphics), clustered together with the totals for all other repositories from the same country.  You pick the country.  It not only gives us a useful new tool for monitoring the growth of green OA, but serves as a living example of the usefulness of the reusability of open data --in this case, ROAR's.

Indian workshop on knowledge dissemination

The Proceedings of the Second Workshop on Creation and Dissemination of Knowledge (New Delhi, October 15-17, 2008) are now online.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

New OA database for molecular data, funded by NIH

New Data Resource to Advance Computer-Aided Drug Design, press release, October 9, 2008. (Thanks to Chemistry Central.)

Advances in information technology have shaped not only how we find or share information, but also how we make new medicines. A project just funded by the National Institutes of Health plans to take computer-aided drug design to the next level.

The University of Michigan will lead the effort to expand and enhance the molecular data needed to develop computer programs that more accurately predict potential drug candidates. The data will be housed in a Web-based resource that the scientific community and others interested in this information can access for free. The resource is estimated to receive up to $5 million over five years from NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS). ...

Chemist Heather Carlson, Ph.D., of the University of Michigan’s College of Pharmacy will oversee the creation and operation of the new Community Structure-Activity Resource, which will include detailed molecular information about proteins that bind small, drug-like molecules called ligands. ...

To build the resource, Carlson and her co-investigators at the University of Michigan will gather molecular data from existing resources and will work with others to generate new data. A major activity will be the collection of unpublished data from pharmaceutical company scientists, who emphasized both the need for this information and a willingness to share it during public meetings leading to the establishment of the new resource.

The team also will draw from published literature as well as from Carlson’s Binding MOAD (for "Mother of All Databases"), which contains more than 11,000 protein-ligand complexes, and the PDBbind database, which was developed by co-investigator Shaomeng Wang, Ph.D., and provides experimentally measured binding data. The team will conduct experiments to address any gaps in the data and sponsor community-wide events to facilitate collaboration among scientists. ...

On the medieval digitization project at St. Gallen

John Tagliabue, Bringing a Trove of Medieval Manuscripts Online for the Ages, The New York Times, October 20, 2008.

One of the oldest and most valuable collections of handwritten medieval books in the world, housed in the magnificent baroque halls of the library in [St. Gallen, Switzerland]’s abbey, is going online with the help of a $1 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. ...

The idea to scan the library’s manuscripts — above all, the 350 that date from before 1000 — was born as a reaction to the devastating floods that swept Dresden, Germany, and its artworks in 2002, said Ernst Tremp, an expert on medieval history who is the library director.

What started as a pilot project in 2005 grew sharply last year, when the Gallen project was incorporated into a program to digitize all of Switzerland’s roughly 7,000 medieval manuscripts. At the same time the Mellon Foundation agreed to finance the St. Gallen project with a two-year, $1 million grant, with an option to extend it for another two years after 2009. ...

So now, day by day, a team of scanning experts works in a small room above the library, gingerly arranging manuscripts on two large frames that use suction devices to spread the pages and lasers to ensure that they are not spread so wide as to damage a binding.

High-resolution digital cameras and video recorders then copy the pages and download the images to a database, where they are prepared for presentation on the library’s Web site. Already, about 200 manuscripts are in the database, and 144 are available online. ...

The project has increased the number of visitors the abbey library draws ...

“The library has become more visible,” [project director Christoph] Flüeler said. “On the Internet we now have more visitors than in the real library.” ...

The scanning has increased the requests from museums and libraries to borrow the manuscripts themselves and to use the illustrations in books and other publications. So great have the demands become that Mr. Flüeler set up a small company last year to handle them, with the profits going toward financing the scanning. ...

Comment. Despite the age of the documents, the project claims that the digitized images aren't in the public domain. See the site's terms of use:

The virtual library CESG and its related content is offered exclusively for personal, non-commercial use. It is not allowed to publish, redistribute, license or sell images, metadata or other content of CESG ...

All images may be used for private, personal, educational and non-commercial purposes (especially for education, research and science). Please be sure to cite the source of the content used ... We reserve the right to refuse the use of our content in particular cases. ...

See also our past posts on the digitization project at St. Gallen.

Update (10/22/08). See Klaus Graf's comments on St. Gallen's claim that these manuscripts are not in the public domain (in German or Google's English).

New OA journal of early modern literature

APPOSITIONS: Studies in Renaissance / Early Modern Literature and Culture is a new peer-reviewed OA journal edited by W. Scott Howard in the Department of English at the University of Denver. The inaugural issue was released in May 2008. The journal is published under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

£5.7 million for OERs

JISC, Opening up resources for learning, press release, October 13, 2008.

... The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) has announced an initial £5.7 million of funding for pilot projects that will open up existing high-quality education resources from higher education institutions to the world.

The Higher Education Academy and JISC will work in partnership to deliver the 12-month pilot projects. These will run at institutional, subject and individual level along with accompanying support services. The projects will be formally launched in April 2009.

Dr John Selby, Director of Education and Participation at HEFCE, said, ‘... If the pilots are successful, we will have demonstrated that we could significantly expand the open availability and use of free, high quality online educational content in the UK and around the world. ...’

Open educational resources could include full courses, course materials, complete modules, notes, videos, assessments, tests, simulations, worked examples, software, and any other tools or materials or techniques used to support access to knowledge. These resources will be released under an intellectual property license that permits open use and adaptation. ...

Dr Malcolm Read, Executive Secretary at JISC said, ‘This is the first time that a project of this nature will have been undertaken on this scale, collaboratively across an entire national educational sector. We want this 12-month pilot to be a success to enable the education community to benefit from world class e-learning resources.’ ...

This project will be jointly managed by the Higher Education Academy and JISC. Invitations to tenders will be issued from both the Higher Education Academy and JISC in early December 2008.

Biomed journal converts to no-fee OA with BMC

Lisa Phelps, Journal of Biomedical Science is moving to open access with BioMed Central, BioMed Central Blog, October 20, 2008.

Journal of Biomedical Science is to become an open access journal published by BioMed Central. The journal is indexed in MEDLINE and Web of Science and has an Impact Factor of 2.02. It is now accepting submissions via its new BioMed Central website and will publish its first open access articles in January 2009.

Journal of Biomedical Science, launched in 1994, is supported by the National Science Council (NSC) of Taiwan. Thanks to support from the NSC, authors will not be required to pay any article processing charges to publish in the journal. ...

Comment. Who was the previous publisher of this journal, you ask? Why, none other than BioMed Central's new parent company, Springer. Coincidence?

Negative effects of gold OA fees

Stevan Harnad, Gold OA Fees, Whether for Submission of for Publication, Are Premature, Open Access Archivangelism, October 20, 2008.
Submission fees as a potential means of covering peer review costs have been mooted since at least 1999 and much discussed across the years in the American Scientist Open Access Forum. They are indeed a promising and potentially viable mechanism for covering the costs of peer review.

However, today, when 90% of journals (and almost 100% of the top journals) are still subscription-based, publication charges of any kind are still a deterrent. There is a case to be made, however, that submission charges -- for peer review -- applied to all submissions, regardless of whether they are ultimately accepted or rejected, are a more understandable and justifiable expense than publication charges, applied only to accepted articles (and bearing the additional burden of the cost of the peer review for all the rejected articles too).

It remains true, however, that at a time when most peer-reviewed journals are still subscription-based -- and when Green OA self-archiving is available as the authors' means to make all their published articles OA -- it is an unnecessary additional constraint and burden for authors (or their institutions or funders) to have to pay in any way for OA. ...

It makes incomparably more sense to focus all OA efforts on Green OA self-archiving and Green OA self-archiving mandates at this time. ...

Today, in contrast, such charges (whether for submission or acceptance) are not only a gratuitous additional burden for authors, their institutions and their funders, but they are a distraction from the immediate need for universal Green OA self-archiving and Green OA self-archiving mandates from all research institutions and funders.

Formal launch of Pakistan's digital library

Farhan Zafar, HEC to provide free access to digital library, (Pakistan) Daily Times, October 18, 2008.
The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has formally launched its unique Digital Library program to provide students, faculty members and researchers free access to over 25,000 international journals and 45,000 textbooks anywhere in the country.

Former HEC Chairman Prof. Dr Attaur Rehman informed the vice chancellors of various universities about the digital library program through a letter.

The program was initiated in 2004 to promote productive research in the country. Some 300 universities, public and private, and research institutes benefit from this program. ...

In four years, over five million articles have been downloaded, resulting in increased research output in the country. ...
See also our past posts on the Pakistan Digital Library.

Interview with Frances Pinter of Bloomsbury Academic

Jane Park, An Interview with Frances Pinter of Bloomsbury Academic, Creative Commons blog, October 20, 2008.  Excerpt:

Recently, we had a chance to speak with Frances Pinter, Publisher of Bloomsbury Academic, a new imprint launched by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc last month. Frances has been in the publishing industry since she was 23, when she started her own academic publishing house, Pinter Publishers. She comes to Bloomsbury Academic as the former Publishing Director of the Soros Foundation....

The new publishing model consists of releasing works for free online through a Creative Commons or other open license, and then offering print-on-demand (POD) copies at reasonable prices....Bloomsbury Plc, a leading European publisher housing works such as Harry Potter, ...[now adopts this model] with Bloomsbury Academic, which will publish works in the Humanities and Social Sciences exclusively under non-commercial CC licenses. Their first title, Remix: Making art and commerce thrive in the hybrid economy, will be available for download soon, and is authored by our very own Lawrence Lessig, board member and former CEO of Creative Commons....

Can you say a few words about Bloomsbury Academic and how it’s a departure from the Bloomsbury Publishing model? What prompted the folks at Bloomsbury to develop this new initiative?

Bloomsbury Publishing Plc is a wonderful company full of the best of traditional publishing values. Now that they’ve been so successful with Harry Potter, they are looking to diversify and specialize, and academic publishing has become a priority. Of course, the idea of putting the complete content of a book online is still seen as radical by many in the publishing industry. However, the Bloomsbury people took a look beyond the horizon and could see that something other than the traditional business models needed to be tested. I brought them the idea of allowing content to be online through a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial license (CC BY-NC), with enough early evidence that this would work. We’ll now see whether it [works] on a larger scale and within the confines of a company that must stay commercial to survive.

Our business model is simple. We may lose some print sales because of free access, but we will gain other sales because more people will want the print edition. Librarians know that most people do not want to read a 300 page book on screen and that once you have more than two or three people printing out a book in a university, it is cheaper to just buy a copy for the library – and it is much more environmentally friendly. We will also have flexibility on how we produce the printed copies – whether through traditional printing methods or print on demand (POD). We hope to show that digital and print [copies] can co-exist for certain types of publications for some time to come, and be financially sustainable....

Why did Bloomsbury Academic choose Creative Commons licensing, as opposed to other open content licensing, for its new imprint? How do you think Bloomsbury Academic’s goals are similar to Creative Commons’?

Creative Commons is the best known license for this kind of publishing. There are still some issues with it, such as defining very precisely what is ‘commercial’. However, we felt that on balance it was best to go with a license that had such wide recognition. One reason for putting the whole text online free of charge is to avoid all the fuss and confusion that arises when publishers allow odd excerpts online and free downloads for limited periods etc. This may be good PR, but better to have a policy that is more focused on delivering what authors and readers want – which is to use the Web as a library. This is especially true of academic works.

In the early 2000s battle lines were drawn between publishers who sought refuge behind copyright laws and academics who were pushing for open access. I thought this was unfortunate because too much energy was spent hurling abuse across the trenches. I think much has changed recently and both sides realise that a) the added value that the publishing process brings is desirable b) this costs money whether done inside a publishing house or outside of it and c) that by working out some new models together we might just get to where we need to be more quickly than otherwise. I’m getting lots of cooperation from all sides and actually everyone wants our business model to work....

I have heard that you are spearheading pilot projects testing “the viability of CC licensing” in South Africa and Uganda. How is that going?

PALM – Africa is a project funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada. PALM stands for Publishing and Alternative Licensing Models. We were aiming to introduce open content licensing and its benefits to a wide range of publishers. There were a few precedents, indeed, the HSRC Press in Cape Town has been a lone pioneer in this area for a few years now. And New Vision, a Ugandan newspaper saw their sales double when they put their content online free of charge – though they hadn’t actually licensed it. Now they are fans of Creative Commons.. So far the interest by commercial and non-commercial publishers has greatly exceeded our expectations. There is still another year to go with the PALM Project, but your readers can find out more [here]....

PS:  Also see our past posts on Bloomsbury Academic.

Milestone for NORA

NORA (Norwegian Open Research Archive) has passed the milestone of 20,000 documents on deposit. 

Case study of an IR collection project

Amelia Breytenbach and Ria Groenewald, The African Elephant: A digital collection of anatomical sketches as part of the University of Pretoria's Institutional Repository – a case study, OCLC Systems & Services, 24, 4, (2008) pp. 240-251.  (The DOI-based URL does not work.)  Only this abstract is free online, at least so far (excerpt):

Purpose – Although several collections have been digitized and made available in the University of Pretoria's Institutional Repository, a pilot study has not been done to measure the project management and workflow. The collections available in the repository at the time of this project were all long-term projects. There was a need to identify a project small enough to conform to normal project management requirements to use as an example to establish the planning and workflow of future projects. The purpose of this study is to determine the outcome and quality of the final web-ready institutional repository product against specific digitization project goals....

Originality/value – This paper offers practical help to libraries starting with digitization. It supplies valuable information for project management, planning of workflow and estimate time frames for completing a specific task in the digitization process.

Update (5/17/09). The authors have now self-archived an OA edition of the paper --and Emerald has recognized the paper as an Outstanding Paper Award Winner at the Literati Network Awards for Excellence 2009. (Congratulations to Amelia and Ria!)

Overcoming exclusionary practices

Claudia Koltzenburg, Check-listing digital objects in context, OCLC Systems & Services, 24, 4 (2008) pp. 227-239.  (The DOI-based URL does not work.)  Only this abstract is free online, at least so far:

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to discuss phenomena in publishing that usually escape recognition. The aim of the research is to address exclusionary practices surrounding digital objects, including those in open access journals.

Design/methodology/approach – The subject scope focuses on digital objects and how their contexts come to matter in open-ended processes of “metadating”. The new concept of a digital object in context (doic) marks the difference between an author's file and the metadata work undertaken on it. The theoretical scope of the paper is feminist technoscience. An analogy to piezoelectric transducer technology in ultrasonography (Barad) is transferred to the context at hand. Barad's concept of “apparatus” is employed to shed new light on publishing.

Findings – The paper finds that contextual metadata should be given due attention. Metadata may show exclusionary practices that need reconsideration.

Research limitations/implications – Technology is closely intertwined with technoscientific issues and user perspectives. Yet, user perspectives are not all there is to publishing. Future research might address if exclusionary practices in publishing differ from one scientific community to another.

Practical implications – The analytical distinction between a file and its metadata serves to get a digital object on the track to better visibility. The provisional checklist helps reconsider current practices in publishing.

Originality/value – The paper infuses the open access debate with current technoscientific research and introduces Karan Barad's concept of “apparatus” to a wider audience. To research authors this paper gives crucial information for the placement decisions of their upcoming articles. For readers and innovative publishing initiatives the checklist is helpful for reflecting one's own practices. For anyone concerned with research publishing, including commercial enterprises as well as library and information scientists, the new concept of a doic generates ideas when linked to research communication as being first and foremost an economy based on gift giving for recognition.

IR advocacy taking disciplinary differences into account

Danny Kingsley, Those who don't look don't find: disciplinary considerations in repository advocacy, OCLC Systems & Services, 24, 4 (2008) pp. 204-218.  (The DOI-based URL does not work.)  Abstract:

Purpose – By describing some of the often-ignored aspects of repository advocacy, such as disciplinary differences and how these might affect the adoption of a particular institutional repository, this paper aims to offer practical guidance to repository managers and those responsible for open access and repository policy.

Design/methodology/approach – The argument uses examples from an empirical study of 43 in-depth interviews of academic staff in three disciplines, Chemistry, Computer Science and Sociology, at two Australian universities. The interviewees discussed their interaction with the literature as an author, a reader and a reviewer.

Findings – The study finds that disciplines are markedly different from one another, in terms of their subject matter, the speed of publication, information-seeking behaviour and social norms. These all have bearing on the likelihood a given group will adopt deposit into an institutional repository as part of their regular work practice.

Practical implications – It is important to decide the purpose of the institutional repository before embarking on an advocacy program. By mapping empirical findings against both diffusion of innovations theory and writings on disciplinary differences, this paper shows that repository advocacy addressing the university academic population as a single unit is unlikely to be successful. Rather, advocacy and implementation of a repository must consider the information seeking behaviour and social norms of each discipline in question.

Originality/value – The consideration of disciplinary differences in relation to repository advocacy has only begun to be explored in the literature.

Update. Also see the OA edition, self-archived 2/19/08.

Bibliometrics of IR deposits

A.I. Bonilla-Calero, Scientometric analysis of a sample of physics-related research output held in the institutional repository Strathprints (2000-2005), Library Review, 57, 9 (2008) pp. 700-721.  (The DOI-based URL does not work.)  Only this abstract is free online, at least so far:

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to describe a “scientometric” analysis of a sample of research output in Physics taken from the institutional repository of the University of Strathclyde (“Strathprints”). The documents in this sample were authored over the period 2000-2005 but were deposited in the repository during the period from publication up to 2007. The paper aims to analyse these data bibliometrically.

Design/methodology/approach – Use was more of open access logs for Strathprints which describe the number of downloads per document, revealing how many countries cite and download each document, and analysing the factors that influence the number of citations and downloads per document. The documents retrieved in Strathprints are described by a variety of indicators delineating levels of activity, collaboration and visibility, which in turn are analysed in order to discern patterns characteristic of the repository.

Findings – The number of documents in this open access repository has increased during the period under consideration, as has the number of authors, centres and countries per document. In terms of institutional origin, unsurprisingly Scottish institutions occupy first or final position in 94 per cent of the total documents. Documents published in 2000 (the earliest documents in the repository) are the most cited. There is a positive correlation between the number of citations and downloads and the number of distinct countries that cite and download. The most cited and downloaded types of documents are articles; post-prints are the most downloaded type of publication. There is no relationship between the journals with the highest average of citations per document in web of science (WoS) and those with the highest number of citations in Strathprints.

Originality/value – Institutional repositories (IRs) are a relatively new phenomenon in the digital library world. Not much in depth analysis of IR statistics has been undertaken to date, so this study is an important attempt to contribute to this new area of research.

New RSC journal will try free online access

Metallomics is a forthcoming journal of biometals from RSC [Royal Society of Chemistry] Publishing.  The inaugural issue is expected in January 2009. 

Metallomics is not committing itself to full, long-term OA.  But on its access and subscription page, it commits itself to a model well beyond the short, free trial periods I don't bother to blog:

The current issue will be free online in 2009 and 2010. Free access to ALL 2009/10 content will be made available following a simple registration process....

Monday, October 20, 2008

Podcast on DSpace and Fedora

Paul Miller, Michele Kimpton and Sandy Payette Talk with Talis about DSpace, Fedora, and collaboration, Xiphos blog, October 10, 2008. The duration is 51:03.
In our latest podcast I talk with Michele Kimpton and Sandy Payette. Michele is Executive Director of the DSpace Foundation, and Sandy the Executive Director of Fedora Commons. We discuss the repository software solutions offered by each community, before exploring the implications of their recent announcement of a collaboration between the two organisations. ...

BMJ converts to OA

BMJ converted to OA on Open Access Day.  From the announcement:

The BMJ [formerly, the British Medical Journal] reiterates its commitment to open access publishing on the first international Open Access Day.

After 10 years of providing free access to its peer reviewed research online, the BMJ is now officially an open access journal. The BMJ's unique business model means that all research articles are freely available immediately on publication, regardless of whether or not they are publicly funded, with no charges to authors or readers....

In 1998, the BMJ became the first major general medical journal to provide free full text online access to its research articles, to deposit the full text in PubMed Central, and to allow authors to retain the copyright of their articles.

Since then, the BMJ Group has introduced BMJ Unlocked, which allows authors who submit research to 19 BMJ specialist journals to pay an author fee and make their work open access.

Changes to the BMJ's processes this year have brought it into full compliance with international open access policies but with a unique mixed revenue model, whereby access to research articles is currently funded through income from subscriptions and advertising rather than from author charges....


  • BMJ is an OA pioneer and has modified its business model several times over the years.  After almost 10 years of completely gratis OA, it began charging for non-research articles in January 2005 (announced in August 2003).  In January 2006 it put non-research articles behind a year-long moving wall, instead of offering their first week free of charge.  I'm very glad to see BMJ move back to immediate OA for all its contents, and very glad it is able to use other revenue to dispense with author-side fees.
  • Curious to know which license BMJ chose for its OA articles, I looked at a sample research article published since October 14 (this one, published October 17).  I could find no licensing information or copyright statement in the article.  Users must apparently fall back on BMJ's general page on Website Terms and Conditions, which essentially requires written permission for all uses beyond fair use or fair dealing.  BMJ's new OA is gratis, not libre.

Update (10/21/08).  A colleague points out that the article I examined for licensing info yesterday has been deposited in PMC, and that the PMC copy has a CC-BY license.  (The whole BMJ backfile, from 1840 to July 2008, is on deposit in PMC.)  This suggests that BMJ intends to make its OA research articles libre OA, not merely gratis OA, and that it hasn't yet added the licensing info to the journal copy of the article.

As long as I'm writing an update, let me add that in the first version of my post I mistakenly said that BMJ was making all its articles OA, when in fact it's only making its research articles OA.  I noticed and corrected the error a couple of hours later.  But I've since heard from several correspondents responding to the original version.  I'm glad to take this opportunity to draw attention to the error and its correction.


Podcast on Microsoft Research

Paul Miller, Savas Parastatidis and Alex Wade talk with Talis about Microsoft Research, Famulus, Scholarly Communication and Semantic Computing, Xiphos blog, October 15, 2008. The duration is 39:25.

In our latest podcast I talk with Savas Parastatidis and Alex Wade, members of the External Research Team within Microsoft Research. We discuss Microsoft Research’s interest in scholarly communication and the recent beta release of Famulus, their ‘Research-Output Repository Platform.’

Towards the end of the conversation we explore the relationship between the Semantic Web and Microsoft’s notion of Semantic Computing. ...

See also our past posts on Microsoft Research.

Podcast on UK Strategic Content Alliance

JISC, Updates on the SCA, podcast, October 20, 2008. The duration is 9:19. Summary:
The Strategic Content Alliance (SCA) works with public sector bodies across the UK to develop a framework to share and access information. The SCA is currently running a series of workshops in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland to incorporate the regional challenges into this framework.

In this podcast Rebecca O'Brien catches up with Stuart Dempster, Director of the SCA, about the alliance's achievements and what the next steps will be.
See also our past posts on the Strategic Content Alliance.

More on the Personal Genome Project

Ellen Nakashima, Genome Database Will Link Genes, Traits in Public View, The Washington Post, October 18, 2008. (Thanks to Garrett Eastman.)
George Church wants to put his personal genetic blueprint online for all to see ...

And he wants 99,999 other people to follow suit.

The Harvard genetics professor's Personal Genome Project is an attempt to build the only public genomic database that connects genes with diseases. With it, he believes, scientists could correlate more easily many millions of genetic variants with medical and other traits ...

The database, a nonprofit venture, is scheduled to go online Monday, when Church and up to nine other volunteers -- the "PGP 10" -- will release their genomic data and traits profiles to the public. Then anyone, from a university researcher to a kid working in a basement lab, will be able to tap into the data and create research applications much the way that Facebook allows vendors to create game applications. ...

See also our past post on the Personal Genome Project.

Release of OAI-ORE v. 1 specification

The Open Archives Initiative released the production version (v. 1) of its Object Reuse and Exchange specifications (OAI-ORE) on October 17, 2008. From the press release:
Over the past two years the Open Archives Initiative (OAI), in a project called Object Reuse and Exchange (OAI-ORE), has gathered international experts from the publishing, web, library, repository, and eScience communities to develop standards for the identification and description of aggregations of Web resources. These standards provide the foundation for applications and services that can visualize, preserve, transfer, summarize, and improve access to the aggregations that people use in their daily Web interaction: including multiple page Web documents, multiple format documents in institutional repositories, scholarly data sets, and online photo and music collections. The OAI-ORE standards leverage the core Web architecture and concepts emerging from related efforts including the semantic web, linked data, and Atom syndication. As a result, they integrate both with the emerging machine-readable web, Web 2.0, and the future evolution of networked information.

... This public release is the culmination of several months of testing and review of initial alpha and beta releases. ...

The documents in the release describe a data model to introduce aggregations as resources with URIs on the web. They also detail the machine-readable descriptions of aggregations expressed in the popular Atom syndication format, in RDF/XML, and RDFa. ...
See also our past posts on OAI-ORE.

U.S. Labor Dept. won't post attachments to submitted comments

Celeste Monforton, Lesson for Labor Dept about Open Access, The Pump Handle, October 14, 2008. Describes how the U.S. Labor Department, in posting comments submitted on a proposed regulation, declined to post an attachment from an OA journal due to concerns about "copyright protections".

CC Network, copyright registry and social network for CC supporters

Creative Commons launched the Creative Commons Network on October 15, 2008. See the announcement. CC Network is a social network for CC supporters as well as a digital copyright registry. Membership is available with an annual contribution to Creative Commons.

Portal of Greek OA journals

The University of Patras has launched Dexameni (Δεξαμενη, Repository), a collection of Greek OA journals.  (Thanks to

Housekeeping: Blogger trouble

You may have noticed some glitches in Blogger's display of OAN lately. 

  1. Every day for the past two weeks or so there has been a point on the front page below which all the posts are indented.  At that point, several posts are also missing.  The glitch point shows up in different places on different days, and when it moves, the posts that were previously hidden become visible again. The texts are not permanently lost and the posts are not missing critical tags.  If you can find the permalink for an individual post mangled by the glitch, clicking on it will display that post properly.
  2. In Firefox, Mozilla, and Opera, the blog doesn't display the left margin or the right sidebar, and the text doesn't wrap.  In Explorer and Chrome, these problems don't appear.  If you click on a permalink, individual posts display properly.  (Since I now use Chrome by default, I don't know how new or old this problem is.)

I suspect the problems are related but I just don't know.  I haven't revised my blog template for months.  I'm stumped and apologize for the poor service.

If you think you know what's going wrong, or how to fix either problem, please let me know

Update.  I just posted a longer description of the problem to the Blogger help group.  As soon as I did, both problems disappeared.  If only one could count on this effect--

Primer on the obstacles to open data

Elisabeth Jones, E-Science Talking Points for ARL Deans and Directors, Association of Research Libraries, October 15, 2008.  (Thanks to Charles Bailey.)  Excerpt:

...We can also continue promoting researcher participation in open access repositories, since these help to remove the institutional subscription barriers to electronic resource access, providing a common literature on which multi-institutional collaborations can draw....

8.  What is the Connection Between Open Access and Open Data?

Like Open Access, Open Data has proven controversial, yet the sources of controversy differ between the two movements. For Open Access, the most forceful objections have been raised by the existing scholarly publishing industry, who object to policies that they see as a challenge to their business model. For Open Data, the complaints emerge not from the publishing industry, but from researchers and research institutions....[A]mong them:

Having to share data before the individual researcher/research group/institution has fully exploited it might reduce the incentive to produce the data in the first place.

Different legal systems afford different protections for databases and datasets; effective sharing creates thorny international intellectual property issues, and in some cases may directly clash with particular pieces of database protection legislation.

Particularly in medical fields and others dealing with human subjects, data sharing creates complicated confidentiality issues.

The formats of research datasets are insufficiently standardized to enable their integration, and attempting to increase standardization might create a disincentive for healthy variation in methodological choices....

More on the permissions problem

Copyright and the move towards Open Content, Li's work blog, October 20, 2008.  Excerpt:

...Our experience [at ARRTS in Northern Ireland] shows that both funding bodies and academics are positive on giving permission to disseminate and share the research outcomes and data to a broader audiences and users through the repository. However, publishers are wary and most of them are still hostile to open access due to the issues and problems the industry faces. Many institutions don’t have clear policies on who should be responsible for copyright and IPR issues and pass the responsibility to library staff. There is an urgent need for more efficient and cost effective mechanisms and methods to copyright clearance and permissions....

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Another free Nature supplement

Nature Publishing Group launched an OA supplement on neuropsychiatric disease on October 16, 2008. The supplement is sponsored by Lilly.

See also our past posts about NPG's OA supplements: on genomic medicine in developing countries, quantum coherence, Planet Earth, proteins to proteomes, ageing, neglected diseases, AIDS, and glycochemistry & glycobiology.

Google doubles the number of Book Search partners

Georgina Prodhan, Google doubles book-scan publisher partners, Reuters, October 15, 2008.

Google has doubled the number of publishers signed up to its once-controversial book-search service ...

The Internet giant caused uproar among publishers and some libraries when it launched the project four years ago, with many in the establishment fearing Google planned to gain control of all the world's books and give them away for free online.

Since then, 20,000 publishers -- twice as many as a year ago -- have done deals to let Google scan the full text of their -- have done deals to let Google scan the full text of their books to let potential buyers to read snippets relating to their Internet searches.

Google also works with academic and reference libraries to scan out-of-copyright works -- and, controversially, some works still in copyright from U.S. libraries -- but has added only two library partners over the past year, bringing the total to 29. ...

[Google's Santiago de la Mora] confirmed that Bertelsmann's Random House, the world's largest non-factual publisher, had signed up. ...

See also our past posts on Google Book Search.

Update. See also this Library Journal story on the Random House connection.

4 new OA journals from Medknow

Medknow, Four new launches on Open Access Day, October 2008.
Medknow is pleased to announce launch of two new open access journals. These are
  1. PVRI Review: A quarterly publication of the Pulmonary Vasculature Research Institute, UK.
  2. Journal of Dental Implants: A quarterly peer-reviewed publication of the Indian Society of Oral Implantologists.
Additionally, two more journals being published by Medknow are now online. These are
  1. Indian Journal of Nuclear Medicine: A quarterly peer-reviewed international journal, published under the auspices of the Society of Nuclear Medicine, India
  2. Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine is a quarterly peer-reviewed international journal, published for the Indian Psychiatric Society, South Zone.

2000 journals using OJS

Kevin Stranack, OJS now used by 2000 journals, Public Knowledge Project, October 14, 2008.

In conjunction with Open Access Day, we are very happy to announce that [Open Journal Systems] is now being used by at least 2000 journals! ...

China Joins WorldWideScience

China Joins WorldWideScience Alliance, press release, October 14, 2008.

The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) today announced that the People's Republic of China has joined the WorldWideScience Alliance–the multilateral governance structure for the global science gateway, ...

On June 12, 2008, the Alliance was formally established as representatives of 38 countries signed the Alliance's founding document. The Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China, a component of the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, will represent China in the Alliance. enables anyone with Internet access to launch a single-query search of 375 million pages of scientific and technical information in databases and portals from over 50 countries, covering six continents and three quarters of the world's population. China, a major producer of journals and conference proceedings, is offering searches of key Chinese English-language scientific literature through The Chinese resource enables searching of over 6,000 journals. ISTIC will consider the addition of more Chinese sources to after a successful test period. ...

See also our past posts on WorldWideScience.

Submission fees for APC journals

Gavin Baker, Submission fees: a means of defraying costs for OA journals?, A Journal of Insignificant Inquiry, October 16, 2008.
... The [article-processing charge] model is compatible with other revenue streams, such as underwriting by sponsoring organization ..., donations, philanthropic grants, advertising, sales of print subscriptions, sales of merchandise, etc. So let me touch a third rail and suggest another method of defraying costs for OA journals: submission fees.

... [Look] at the numbers from PLoS: they’re rejecting 9 out of 10 papers submitted. The 9 rejected papers require editorial resources, but they don’t pay any of that cost. ... So, what do you do when demand for editorial resources is outstripping the supply of said resources? You raise the price. ...

I would propose a moderate amount [for the fee], in the range of $20-$100 per submission. I find it hard to believe that an author who feels strongly that her paper is suitable for a certain publication will be unable or unwilling to contribute $50 to that publication’s continued operation, or that $50 per submission will be an undue burden. ...

I expect demand [for submissions] would be fairly inelastic. Here’s why: all the authors submitting to an APC-levying journal already know that if accepted, they’ll have to pay the APC (subject to discounts and waivers). So they’re willing and able to pay. ...

So would it actually generate revenue for the journal? Well, let’s take the example of a fairly selective journal with a fairly high APC: a 90% rejection rate and a $2,000 APC. A $100 submission fee would generate $900 of additional revenue for each accepted article. That’s a 45% increase in revenue, which is not chump change. Even a journal with only a 50% rejection rate, a $2,500 APC, and a $100 submission fee could result in a 20% increase in revenue. ...

In summary, I speculate that submission fees could generate significant revenue for APC-model OA journals without significantly decreasing submissions or unduly burdening authors. Worth a shot, no? ...

Growth of DOAJ spikes in 2008

Gavin Baker, Growth of DOAJ: steady 2003-2007, major spike in 2008, A Journal of Insignificant Inquiry, October 17, 2008.

... [A]ccording to data from the [Directory of Open Access Journals]’s new titles page, roughly the same number of journals were added each year from 2003-2007. To date, 2008 is a significant increase over previous years; if the growth rate from the first 10 months of the year holds for the last 2, it’ll be nearly a 50% increase. [Click here to see the chart.]

Year # of titles added
2002 26
2003 577
2004 602
2005 618
2006 549
2007 598
2008 (to date) 727
2008 (projected) 872

... Assuming the data’s accurate, I wonder why: are more journals being submitted for inclusion, or are more journals meeting DOAJ’s selection criteria (e.g. to have an ISSN), or are there simply more journals in existence?

Update. See also Heather Morrison's comments highlighting some of the potential factors in interpreting the data.

Forthcoming OA journal of informatics in chemistry

The Journal of Cheminformatics is a forthcoming peer-reviewed OA journal published by Chemistry Central. Authors will retain copyright to their work. (Thanks to Useful Chemistry.)

Will users read an OA e-book?

Janneke Adema, Open Access and eBooks, Open Reflections, October 18, 2008.

One of the most heard objectives against eBooks ... is that nobody is going to read a whole book from a screen. Especially in the Humanities, [where] long stretched arguments are laid out over hundreds of pages, scholars and students will prefer a solid hard copy over reading from the screen.

Reading attitudes are changing however. ... [A]t the London Book Fair of this year, David Nicolas, a member of the eBooks Observatory research team, said that eBooks have reached the tipping point. The reading behavior of students is changing as they are much less reading the whole book online as they are viewing the book. This means that the whole book is no longer the unit of consumption in an online environment but rather chapters or even paragraphs.

As the preliminary research results of the eBook Observatory project show, people are reading books on their computers. ...

In order to find out if scholars and students in the Humanities will increasingly read monographs online, a lot more eBook content is needed in this field. This is one of the targets of the OAPEN project. ... The OAPEN project might ... create critical mass ... for research about changing user needs, as the JISC survey has done. And as these two innovative projects show or will show, people are reading books from a screen and probably will do so increasingly. And with this one of the main objectives against Open Access eBooks is being more and more contested.

See also our past posts about OAPEN.

Repository widgets released

Repository widgets, JISC Information Environment Team, October 17, 2008.

JISC funded a small piece of work to produce some repository related widgets that could be used on platforms such as Netvibes and iGoogle. ICO3 carried out the work for us and I am pleased to say that there are now a number of widgets available.

You can read about the widgets and add them to your netvibes and iGoogle page here.

Or to see them in action, go to the netvibes universe.

My favourite of these is the SherpaRoMEO widget, which works really well.

ICO3 will be doing some work to get community feedback on these widgets so if you are interested in helping ICO3 to review the widgets or if you just want to express an opinion, post a comment below or contact me directly. I’d be really interested to hear your opinions and ideas.

The purpose of this work was to explore the possiblities of repository related widgets in this area, not to produce polished tools so I think that there is plenty of room for further development ...

Update. See also this email from David Gadd of ICO3:
... ICO3 are now seeking feedback on these widgets from people with an interest in repositories. Feedback is welcome via email or if you would like to have a free one on one consultation with someone from ICO3 to show how widgets can be embedded in your repository work then please do not hesitate to contact us ...

CLA to launch OA interest group

Ken Roberts, CLA Welcomes New Open Access Interest Group, announcement, October 14, 2008.

This September, the [Canadian Library Association] Executive approved the formation of a new Open Access Interest Group. Today, it is my pleasure on this First International Open Access Day to officially announce the formation of this group!

This group will follow on the recent work carried out by the CLA Open Access Task Force ...

Terms of Reference

  • To provide a forum for members to discuss issues and topics relating  to Open Access.
  • When requested, to respond to Open Access matters on behalf of CLA.
  • To work with both Canadian and international organizations (including other CLA/ACB Interest Groups and Committees) to promote Open Access initiatives.
  • To organize Open Access-related sessions and other events at the annual CLA/ACB conference and elsewhere.

Membership in the Open Access Interest Group is open to all CLA members.  ... [Y]ou can sign up for the CLA Open Access Interest Group listserv by contacting Heather Morrison at The purpose of this listserv is to allow participants to share ideas and news about open access at their respective institutions, in Canada, and in the global information environment. ...

See also Heather Morrison's blog post.

U. Michigan library to CC license all its works

MLibrary and Creative Commons Licenses, undated but apparently recent. See also the announcement on the Creative Commons blog.

The University of Michigan Library has decided to adopt Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial licenses for all works created by the Library for which the Regents of the University of Michigan hold the copyrights. These works include bibliographies, research guides, lesson plans, and technology tutorials. We believe that the adoption of Creative Commons licenses is perfectly aligned with our mission, "to contribute to the common good by collecting, organizing, preserving, communicating, and sharing the record of human knowledge."

University Librarian Paul Courant said, "... By marking our copyrighted content as available for reuse, we offer the University community and the public a rich set of educational resources free from traditional permissions barriers." ...

What resources will be available with Creative Commons licenses?
All original copyrighted material that is created by Library staff and in which the copyright belongs to the Regents of the University of Michigan will be available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial license. This includes bibliographies, research guides, lesson plans, and other resources. ...

The Library has begun attaching Creative Commons licenses to content throughout its website, but some pages do not include the license code yet. The licenses will be fully integrated into the Library's new website design, scheduled for release in Fall 2008. ...

OA edition of new Lessig book

Lawrence Lessig's new book, Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy, was released on October 16, 2008. An OA, CC-licensed edition will be released soon. A release event will be held in San Francisco on October 29.

Creating new business models

Kent Anderson, Business Model Mystery, The Scholarly Kitchen, October 16, 2008.  Excerpt:

A scene from this year’s STM meeting at Frankfurt Book Fair: an audience member, presumably a publisher, asked Larry Sanger, a founder of Wikipedia and now founder of Citizendium, what the business model of collaborative environments could be.

Something in my brain began to smoke, a short-circuit. Maybe it was the jet-lag.

I consistently hear people at publishing meetings ask what the business model is, as if it’s arch and wise to ask how to commercialize an innovation rather than offering a positive statement affirming that we can create options. I hope these people are in the minority, since this is a mindset that doesn’t strike me as fitting our trade. We’re publishers. We’re supposed to be the ones who know how to make a business out of the convergence of audience and content. We’re supposed to be the experts. Instead of us asking academics or philosophers [PS: Larry Sanger is a philosopher], they should be asking us!

There are publishers actively working to find the business models that will commercialize the convergence of new audiences and new forms of content, creating enduring new offerings that sustain themselves and create wealth. But even those seem hobbled by a reluctance to embrace the subscription model, to scale advertising, or to assert licensing rights. If we don’t invent the business of the future, we will have it dictated to us....

Comment.  Anderson may support some kinds of toll access (see the second to last sentence of my excerpt), but I appreciate his call to publishers to use their imagination, and their expertise, to find creative new business models to meet new needs.

Not information overload but filter failure

Clay Shirky, It's Not Information Overload. It's Filter Failure, a 24 minute video of his presentation at Web 2.0 Expo (New York, September 16-19, 2008).  Thanks to Kate Sheehan for the alert and some blog notes on the talk.

Comment.  Shirky's thesis is in his title, and it's exactly right.  It matters for OA because every now and then someone seriously argues that price tags are a good solution to the problem of information overload.  My response to that argument focuses on the OA context more than Shirky does, but presses the same general thesis.  See for example this article from November 2004,

We want to remedy information overload, but we want to do it with smart tools that help us find the subset of information we need, not with crude policies that set off huge swaths of it, relevant and irrelevant alike, as too expensive.

and this one from March 2005,

Every time I raise the scaling argument, someone counters by saying that the [toll-access] system provides a welcome check on information overload.  My brief reply:  Information overload is a problem, but don't be satisfied with crude solutions when there are much better ones.  I'd rather have access to all knowledge and use increasingly sophisticated tools for carving out the subset I need than to have access only to a shrinking subset of knowledge determined by what I can afford....

Depositing monographs in OA repositories

Valdinéa Sonia Petinari, Repositórios digitais de acesso livre de monografias na área a ciência da informação, an undergraduate thesis at the Faculdade de Biblioteconomia,Pontíficia Universidade Católica de Campinas, 2007.  In Portuguese with this English-language abstract:

It is presented scientific communication, its communication channels, its sources of information and it is discussed the information dissemination by means of digital repositories of free access. Graduation in Brazil, the area of Information Science and the purpose of the works of course conclusion and monographs is approached. It is investigated if the digital repositories of free access of monographs can be a new tool of scientific communication in the area of the Information Science. It is evaluated in the point of view of undergraduate, graduated and professors of the Course of Information Science of the College of Library Science of the Pontifical University Catholic of Campinas the use and the applicability of the digital repositories of free access for dissemination of the scientific knowledge. It is verified possible demand and interest of the academic community for digital access the works of course conclusion, and if the professors of the course of Information Science consider pertinent the availability of the scientific production of the graduation (monographs) in a digital repository of free access. It is used as the method scientific search of exploratory character and it is applied as instrument of the collection of data questionnaires structuralized with closed and opened questions. He has yourself as resulted of the research that the professors consider pertinent the availability of the monographs in digital way and that there is interest of the academic community in having access to informational contents by means of the digital repositories. It is concluded that, even so it is not a current practice the use of digital repositories of free access of monographs for the community searched, presented as a new tool for dissemination of the scientific communication in the area of Information Science.

Connecting JISC discussion lists and the Depot

Users of the JISCmail academic discussion lists now have direct access to the Depot from each list's home page.

For example, here's the home page for the JISC-Repositories list.  Note the Depot link at the top of the right-hand sidebar.

From the announcement (October 15, 2008):

EDINA [which runs the Depot] and JISCmail have been working together and are now pleased to offer access to the Depot from the JISCmail Tools area of all list homepages.

The Depot is the JISC-funded service which enables all UK academics to share in the benefits of open access exposure for their research outputs.

The Depot offers an automatic re-direct service, nicknamed UK Repository Junction, to ensure that users who have an existing Institutional Repository (IR) are directed to that local service. Those researchers at institutions that do not currently have an Institutional Repository can deposit their research outputs directly into the Depot.

For more details, including a screen shot and a short Depot FAQ, see the JISCmail page on the new service.

PS:  Also see our past posts on the Depot.