Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Reversing the privatization of memory institutions

Guy Pessach, (Networked) Memory Institutions: Social Remembering, Privatization and its Discontents, Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal, April 2, 2008.  The published edition has no abstract, but here's the abstract from the self-archived edition:

Memory institutions are social entities that select, document, contextualize, preserve, index and thus canonize elements of humanity's culture, historical narratives, individual and collective memories. Archives, museums and libraries are paradigmatic examples for traditional memory institutions. Content-sharing platforms, social networks, peer-to-peer file-sharing infrastructures, digital images agencies, online music stores and search engines' utilities represent emerging novel entities with a de-facto derivative function as networked memory institutions. This article includes an in-depth inquiry regarding the manners in which digitization and networked communication technologies implicate on the identity, structure and attributes of society's memory institutions. More specifically, I focus on privatization processes that networked memory institutions are increasingly undergoing. My basic hypothesis is that the transformation from tangible/analogue preservation to digitized cultural retrieval tends to result in intense privatization of society's memory institutions - both traditional and novel ones. Among other aspects, I examine the fundamental role of copyright law in facilitating and supporting these dynamics of privatization.

The article then analyzes the consequences of privatizing memory institutions in the light of their unique social functions in a democratic culture. Commercialization and unequal participation are two elements that characterize privatized memory institutions and that may conflict with a democratic vision of social remembering. Privatized memory institutions also avoid institutional separation between the social function of cultural production and the social function of cultural preservation. The resulted outcome is that groups and sectors with dominant positions in contemporary media are able to reproduce, leverage and manipulate their social dominance from one generation to another. The power to remember, as well as the power to forget, is thus gradually being concentrated in clusters of commercial enterprises with very particular interests, beliefs, ideologies and preferences.

I conclude with several reform proposals for deprivatizing networked memory institutions. As general matter of policy, reduced copyright protection is also likely to result in an equilibrium that strengthens the capacities of public-oriented memory institutions while reducing the incentives - and therefore the dominance - of commercial intermediaries entering this field. More specifically, I focus on two distinct types of reforms. One type of reform proposals focuses on ex-ante copyright privileges for networked memory institutions. The second type of reforms introduces my novel proposal to impose ex-post obligations on networked memory institutions. I argue that deprivatization of memory institutions requires also regulation that takes into account and moderates imbalanced proprietary regimes of networked memory institutions. Based on this argument, I offer a complementary set of reciprocal share-alike obligations that come on top of the general ex-ante privileges that memory institutions should benefit from.

Moving toward free lending libraries of digital works

Jeffrey J. Erwin, Copyright and the Digital Library, a preprint self-archived November 2, 2008. 

Abstract:   This paper describes the legal and technical issues which bedevil the creation of online libraries, particularly in relation to copyright. It discusses the Google Books settlement of October 2008 and a number of divergent views on its value or problems for libraries.

From the body of the paper:

...As I see it, there is but one solution that supports libraries and their patrons in an effective way: extending the First Sale Doctrine to allow the “lending” of copies of the licensed product with robust copy protection or in a read only format. But —you may ask, these measures are useless against a skilled hacker… well, photocopying a whole book or stealing it are loopholes that are exploited by a few library users; but only by a rare few. Most users will have little reason to reduplicate their items; and one should expect that films and other media will be available in pirated versions in the greyer areas of the Internet. The practical limits of hard drives will keep patrons from downloading a whole collection....

A critical view at repositories

Andy Powell, Some (more) thoughts on repositories, eFoundations, November 7, 2008.

... [I]t seems to me that the collection of material we are trying to put into institutional repositories of scholarly research publications is a reasonably well understood and measurable corpus.  It strikes me as odd therefore that the metrics we tend to use to measure progress in this space are very general and uninformative.  Numbers of institutions with a repository for example - or numbers of papers with full text.  We set targets for ourselves like, "a high percentage of newly published UK scholarly output [will be] made available on an open access basis" (a direct quote from the original roadmap).  We don't set targets like, "80% of newly published UK peer-reviewed research papers will be made available on an open access basis" - a more useful and concrete objective.

As a result, we have little or no real way of knowing if are actually making significant progress towards our goals. ...

Across the board we are seeing a growing emphasis on the individual, on user-centricity and on personalisation (in its widest sense). ... Yet in the repository space we still tend to focus most on institutional wants and needs. ... As long as our emphasis remains on the institution we are unlikely to bring much change to individual research practice. ...

Global discipline-based repositories are more successful at attracting content than institutional repositories. ... This is no surprise. It's exactly what I'd expect to see. Successful services on the Web tend to be globally concentrated (as that term is defined by Lorcan Dempsey) because social networks tend not to follow regional or organisational boundaries any more. ...

On the Web, the discovery of textual material is based on full-text indexing and link analysis. In repositories, it is based on metadata and pre-Web forms of citation. One approach works, the other doesn't. ...

CC in academic settings

Molly Kleinman, The beauty of "Some Rights Reserved": Introducing Creative Commons to librarians, faculty, and students, College & Research Libraries News, November 2008.

... The most immediate benefit of Creative Commons licenses to academia is the wealth of new works that are available for use without permissions or fees. Instructors, librarians, and students no longer have to rely on the public domain for materials that they can repurpose without risk of copyright infringement. In the time it takes to do a Google search, members of our community can find Creative Commons-licensed photographs, illustrations, music, video, and educational resources, and they’re all free.

Creative Commons answers one of the most common copyright questions librarians get: “Is it okay for me to use this photograph/article/figure/etc. in my classroom/article/Web site/etc.?” If the photograph/article/figure is Creative Commons-licensed, the answer is always “Yes.” At the University of Michigan Library, we decided we wanted to get the word out to our faculty and librarians to encourage them to take advantage of the incredible resources available through Creative Commons, and to contribute to those resources by licensing their own work. ...

At the University of Michigan Library, we have included Creative Commons in a larger copyright outreach campaign that began in May 2007. The campaign targets university faculty, researchers, students, staff and librarians, and aims to raise community members’ awareness of their rights as authors and creators, improve their understanding of fair use, and promote a balanced approach to copyright. It has involved the redesign of the university’s copyright Web site, outreach to academic departments through their subject specialists, and a series of copyright workshops offered in the library. ...

More on the Google settlement #4

Here are some more comments from the press and blogosphere on the Google-Publisher settlement.  (This is my fourth collection; also see 1, 2, and 3.)

From AuthorLink:

...The good news [for authors] is this: authors and publishers will at last receive a small share of net online sales of their digitized work. They will also receive a share of the advertising revenues generated from the book search pages, in an amount yet determined by Google. Google will provide links to online stores such as where consumer can purchase hard copies of books.

The announced publisher or author share of consumer sales is 63%, while Google retains 37%. Sounds good. But there’s some fine print in the massive legal document that everyone in the industry should study....

The 63%, however is not what the author or publisher will actually take home. First, the rightsholder must pay the Book Registry a $200 “inclusion” fee for the privilege of being listed (or not listed) in the database Google uses for its searches and price setting....In addition, the Book Registry plans to take another 10-20% of the 63% to cover its “administrative costs, which whittles the publisher/author’s income down to 43%, less the inclusion fee.

The search giant also gets to charge 10% in operating costs off the top of the selling price before “net purchase revenues” are calculated....Google gets to set discounts for advertisers, which in turn affects author compensation.

So, does anyone out there know the actual cost to the author of having two “middle men” (Google and the Book Registry), each taking cuts of revenue?

Google can with the sanction of the Book Registry set discounts deeper than the author may intend. For example, a $7.99 book may not net the 63% sum of $5.03 at all (especially after all fees are deducted). If Google decides to deep discount the book, to, say $1.99 that 63% share is whittled down to $1.25. We have seen this sort of deep discounting before--on Amazon.

The point is this: We [authors] need to thoroughly understand what the publishing industry is signing authors up for as good as it may sound....

From Karen Coyle at Coyle's InFormation:

This Google/AAP settlement has hit my brain like a steel ball in a pinball machine, careening around and setting off bells and lights in all directions....Reading the FAQ (not the full 140+ page document), it seems to go like this:

Google makes a copy of a book.
Google lets people search on words in the book.
Google lets people pay to see the book, perhaps buy the book, with some money going to the rights holder.
Google manages all of this with a registry of rights.

Now, replace the word "Google" above with "Kinko's."
Next, replace the word "Google" above with "A library."

TILT! If Google is allowed to do this, shouldn't anyone be allowed to do it? Is Jeff Bezos kicking himself right now for playing by the rules? ...

Ping! Next thought: we already have vendors of e-books who provide this service for libraries. They serve up digital, encoded versions of the books, not scans of pages. These digital books often have some very useful features, such as allowing the user to make notes, copy quotes of a certain length, create bookmarks, etc. The current Google Books offering is very feature poor. Also, because it is based on scans, there is no flowing of pages to fit the screen. The OCR is too poor to be useful to the sight-impaired. And if they sell books, what will the format be?

TILT! Will it even be legal for a publicly-funded library to provide Google books if they aren't ADA compliant? ...

Ping! It looks like Google will collect fees on all books that are not in the public domain. This means that users will pay to view orphan works, even though a vast number of them are actually in the public domain. Unclaimed fees will go to pay for the licensing service. Thus, users will be paying for the service itself, and will be paying to view books they should be able to access freely and for free.

Ping! We have a copyright office run by the US government. I'm beginning to wonder what that Copyright Office does, however, since we now have two non-profit organizations in the business of managing rights, plus others getting into the game....

TILT! Rights holders can opt-out of the Google Books database. If (when) Google has the monopoly on books online, opt-out will be a nifty form of censorship. Actually, censorship aimed directly at Google will be a nifty form of censorship.

GAME OVER. All your book belong to us.

From James Gibson in the Washington Post:

...At first glance, it looks like this great champion of the free flow of information has caved to copyright interests. But in fact, Google may be better off with a settlement than an outright win....

Claims of fair use are common in the Internet age, when unauthorized copying of copyrighted materials happens all the time. Not so common are actual court rulings on such claims. Damages in copyright cases can be frighteningly high, and questions of fair use can be terribly indeterminate. This means that few defendants have the guts to see their fair use claims all the way through; once they get a little skin in the game, they frequently adopt an attitude of "license, don't litigate."

But Google seemed like a copyright owner's worst nightmare: a risk-taking iconoclast with deep pockets, unafraid to litigate licensing issues all the way to the Supreme Court. So the copyright industry held its breath as the controversy played out, wondering if it had met its match.

Viewed in this light, the settlement looks like a setback for Google. In the game of brinksmanship, Google blinked -- losing its nerve like so many copyright defendants do. In reality, however, settling probably puts Google in a better position than it would have been if it had won its case in court.

Here's why: Google's concession has made it more difficult for anyone to invoke fair use for book searches. The settlement itself is proof that a company can pay licensing fees and still turn a profit....

By settling the case, Google has made it much more difficult for others to compete with its Book Search service. Of course, Google was already in a dominant position because few companies have the resources to scan all those millions of books. But even fewer have the additional funds needed to pay fees to all those copyright owners. The licenses are essentially a barrier to entry, and it's possible that only Google will be able to surmount that barrier....

From Georgia Harper in Library Journal:

...I frankly don’t think it is possible to fairly critique [libraries’] efforts without knowing what they were up against, how tirelessly they worked, how little the publishers and authors ever appeared to appreciate how critical their collections are to the dollars publishers and authors now expect to make....

[The participating libraries] don’t all have the same deals with Google. We don’t all value equally the things some fought to achieve. Each of us had to decide at the end of the day if it was still worth it to us, given the failure to get things we wanted but couldn’t get....

I’m excited about the potential of the deal to improve public access to orphan works and ultimately generate information about which works are, in fact, orphans. Another exciting aspect of the deal to me is Google’s ability to demonstrate to publishers and authors that more access to digital copies, and lower prices, can produce more revenues for copyright owners. Data is Google’s stock in trade. The data that this undertaking will yield has the potential to help the publishing industry, maybe not too late, find its way in the digital networked environment. The other potential, actually, is the unknown—once these books are widely, and more freely accessible, people will start thinking of neat things to do with them that we can’t even imagine right now—an explosion of business ideas built on a widely available corpus of great literature, freed from the shelves of private or even public, but relatively inaccessible, places....

From the Open Content Alliance:

Rather than accept the Google settlement with publishers and authors as a fait accompli, or as an obligatory blueprint for the future, the appropriate response is to consider its implications for the future and take all steps to build the world we want to live in....[W]e should not assume that Google Book Search is the only way, or even the best way, to organize and make available our cultural heritage.

This post will outline some of the issues.  Next step is to build an appropriate response, to which we welcome input.  Losing access and control of our cultural heritage as part of a digitization wave is not acceptable.

At its heart, the settlement agreement grants Google an effective monopoly on an entirely new commercial model for accessing books. It re-conceives reading as a billable event.  This reading event is therefore controllable and trackable.  It also forces libraries into financing a vending service that requires they perpetually buy back what they have already paid for over many years of careful collection....

Already, a collective critique is emerging....

The issues encompassed by the Google-AAP-Authors Guild Settlement extend beyond the interests of the parties to this one lawsuit. We believe that, as a society, we can do better....

From Siva Vaidhyanathan at The Googlization of Everything (updating his earlier comments with Google's reply):

Last week I asked Google's lawyers the following questions and received the following responses, which I have paraphrased:

• Isn't this a tremendous anti-trust problem? Google has essentially set up a huge compulsory licensing system without the legislation that usually makes such systems work. One of the reasons it took a statutory move to create compulsory licensing for musical compositions was that Congress had to explicitly declare such a consortium and the organizations that run it (ASCAP, BMI) exempt from anti-trust laws....More importantly, this system excludes the other major search engines and the one competitor Google has in the digital book race: the Open Content Alliance. Don't they now have a very strong claim for an anti-trust action?

The Google legal team did not see this agreement as structured in a way to actively exclude competitors from developing a competing service. The agreements with and about publishers, libraries, and the registry were all non-exclusive, as is the habit and tradition of Google’s approach to competition in the Web business. The registry will be started with Google funds, but it will be an independent non-profit that may deal with the Open Content Alliance and other services without restriction from Google.  Generally, Google’s lawyers don’t’ see this service as presenting a “typical anti-trust” problem. There are so many segments to the book market in the world, including real bookstores, online stores such as, and used-book outlets that no one may set prices for books (even out-of-print books) effectively. There is always a competing source – including libraries themselves....

Friday, November 07, 2008

New OA journal of climate science

The Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems is a new peer-reviewed OA journal published by the Institute of Global Environment and Society. The journal operates a companion forum, Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems - Discussion, for posting and discussing papers before they have undergone peer review. Both are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. (Thanks to the U.S. Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program.)

See the journal's policy on author fees:

Submission to and posting on JAMES-D, the open discussion venue for JAMES, is free of charge.

If your submission is accepted for publication in JAMES following formal peer review, you will be asked to pay a publication fee of $50 U.S. per typeset page. ... Authors should remit payment promptly; however, nonpayment of fees will not necessarily preclude publication. We do not want to prevent the publication of worthy work.

Upon billing you will have an opportunity to request a waiver of the charges. Authors whose work is supported by funding sources that include monies for publication should not request a waiver of charges.

More on the Textpresso text-mining tool

Hans-Michael Müller, et al., Textpresso for Neuroscience: Searching the Full Text of Thousands of Neuroscience Research Papers, Neuroinformatics, October 24, 2008. Abstract:
Textpresso is a text-mining system for scientific literature. Its two major features are access to the full text of research papers and the development and use of categories of biological concepts as well as categories that describe or relate objects. A search engine enables the user to search for one or a combination of these categories and/or keywords within an entire literature. Here we describe Textpresso for Neuroscience, part of the core Neuroscience Information Framework (NIF). The Textpresso site currently consists of 67,500 full text papers and 131,300 abstracts. We show that using categories in literature can make a pure keyword query more refined and meaningful. We also show how semantic queries can be formulated with categories only. We explain the build and content of the database and describe the main features of the web pages and the advanced search options. We also give detailed illustrations of the web service developed to provide programmatic access to Textpresso. This web service is used by the NIF interface to access Textpresso....
See also our past posts on Textpresso.

Sunlight recommendations on PSI to the Obama administration

The Sunlight Foundation has posted a set of recommendations from its staff to the incoming Obama presidential administration, dated November 6, 2008:

[Greg Elin:] I want President-Elect Obama to instruct every department to publish a Data Catalog on their Web site in the model of Washington, DC’s Office of the CTO, and to embrace Open Government Data Principles. ...

[Clay Johnson:] I think the executive branch needs to start requiring electronic filings for oversight-based documents. The Foreign Agent Registration Act, for example, publishes its filings online, but the data set is relatively useless, as many of the filings are actually hand-written. ...

[James Turk:] ... It is past time for the federal government to rethink how it stores and shares the data it accumulates—instead of having to ask for specific databases that are technically public but difficult to access due to layers of bureaucracy coupled with outdated technologies, it is time for many of these data sets to exist online in a uniform location for both official and public use. ...

[Nancy Watzman:] ... And yes, senators, it’s time to join the not-so-new century and file your campaign finance reports electronically. ...

More ways to use repository RSS feeds

Les Carr suggests that researchers can use their IR's RSS feed of their latest publications by embedding it elsewhere, such as with a service like Pageflakes. See his example.

French resources on open archives and OA

Couperin, a consortium of French higher education and research institutions, has launched a portal of information about open archives and OA (in French). The site was prepared by Couperin's open access working group. (Thanks to INIST and Bulletin des Bibliothèques de France.)

Report on copyright and schol. comm. conference

Kim Plummer, Conference Discusses Copyright Laws, The New Paltz Oracle, November 6, 2008.

A conference entitled Intellectual Property and Copyright in the Academy was held on Friday, Oct. 24 [at New Paltz, USA]. The aim of the conference was to better educate and inform students, faculty and community members on copyright laws and how they affect scholarly communication. ...

Kenneth Crews, Director of the Copyright Advisory Office at Columbia University, opened the conference with an in-depth power-point presentation, “Get the Big Picture of How Copyright Works.” ...

Michael W. Carroll, visiting professor of law at American University, followed with a presentation regarding the changing information environment created by the Internet and how it affects research by students and professors. “Open Access and You: The Future of Scholarly Communication,” was a presentation that spoke to the current state of scholarly information.

Carroll, an advocate of open access, believes that by selling [sic] publishing rights to journals, the lines of scholarly communication close. Open access to information is scholarly content, free of charge, and free of the licensing restrictions of most copyright law.

Carroll encouraged all scholarly writers to think before signing publishing forms. He said that open access is more rewarding because it has a more significant impact since the information is readily available to everyone and no one needs to subscribe to expensive journals to see your information. ...

DOAJ launches RSS feed of recent additions

The Directory of Open Access Journals has updated its new titles page, adding RSS feeds of recent additions to the directory. The feature was added on October 22, 2008. Feeds are available for journals added in the last 24 hours, last 7 days, or last 30 days.

See also our past post on DOAJ's revamp of the new titles page earlier this year, or all past posts on the DOAJ.

Comment. This should come in handy for a number of uses; thanks again to DOAJ. Two suggestions:

  • A feed of the most recent additions in reverse chronological order (limited, say, at the last 20 additions, rather than the last 1/7/30 days, which are in alphabetical order by journal title)
  • Putting the date added in the feed item title, and putting journal information in the feed item body (presently, the item title is only the journal's title, and the body is empty)

Student views on libraries and publishing

Libraries and Publishing 3.0: Student Views from the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies, The University of British Columbia is a series published by the Canadian Association of Special Libraries and Information Services in October 2008. The papers were originally presented at the Canadian Library Association annual conference (Vancouver, May 21-24, 2008). (Thanks to CASLIS Ottawa.) Relevant papers:
  • Tania Alekson, Historical Collections 2.0: From Information to Understanding (p. 11)
  • Natalie Porter, The Impact of the Open Access Movement for Scholars in India (p. 23)
  • Christina Struik, The Past, Present and Future of Scholarly Communication in Ornithology (p. 30)
  • Mê-Linh Lê, Google Scholar: An Outcast in the Library World (p. 39)

HathiTrust launches search beta

HathiTrust has launched a beta feature of public search functionality of its collections. See the November 4 blog post by Chris Powell.

See also our past posts on HathiTrust.

Libraries as gateways to OA content

Jane Hutton, Academic Libraries as Digital Gateways: Linking Students to the Burgeoning Wealth of Open Online Collections, Journal of Library Administration, October 3, 2008. Only this abstract is free online, at least so far:
Digital collections of full-text e-books are proliferating on the Web and provide a wealth of open content for students. To examine whether academic libraries are providing a digital gateway to these resources, ten e-book titles from open digital collections were searched in the online catalogs and Web pages of ten academic libraries serving distance learners. Only three of the digital collection e-books were available from any of the library catalogs, and none were found on library Web pages. Availability of the ten e-book titles through Google and other digital discovery tools also had mixed results. Continued projects for improved delivery of open online content are necessary. In order to fulfill their role as digital gateways for their academic communities, libraries must pursue metadata standards to support cross-searching, collaborative projects, and development of e-resource search software, which integrates with the library catalog.
See also the author's presentation and handout on the same topic at the Off-Campus Library Services Conference (Salt Lake City, April 23-25, 2008).

The priority of open education

ELIG sets learning priorities in Europe for 2009, a press release on the annual meeting of the European Learning Industry Group (ELIG), November 7, 2008.  (Thanks to Subbiah Arunachalam.)  Excerpt:

...Michael King, Vice President of Global Education Industry for IBM...observed: “Open platform education is the engine of innovation in the 21st century – especially since, between 2010 and 2020, the USA, Europe, Japan, China and India are predicted to face a shortfall of some 32m well-educated, technically specialised professionals. Consequently, education should enable open access for all; encourage open data and business processes; promote open communities of learning and open technologies to deliver the learning.” ...

Participation in Hindawi journals by country; coming soon, by funder

Hindawi Announces its Country Web Pages, press release, posted to SPARC-OAForum on November 6, 2008.

Hindawi is pleased to announce its "Country Web Pages," which give its web site visitors an overview of the research output of a particular country published in Hindawi's open access journals. Along with the list of articles originating from the country, these pages also list the scholars who authored these articles, the scholars who are currently on the Editorial Boards of Hindawi journals, and the scholars who reviewed one or more articles for any Hindawi journals in the past couple of years.

"We are very pleased with the response we have received from many scholars, librarians, and publishers to our recently launched Institutional Web Pages, so we decided to extend this feature to the country level," said Ahmed Awad, Head of Information Systems at Hindawi. "Our next project will be the creation of Research Funder Web Pages, which we hope to release in the near future."

The Country Web Page for a particular country can be accessed using a URL of the form, where "code" is the ISO Standard 3166 two-letter code of that particular country. For example, the Country Web Page for Germany is located at ...

See also our past posts on Hindawi's institutional pages (1, 2).

More on open textbooks

Eric Frank and David Wiley, Redefining 'Open Book' for the 21st Century, Community College Week Fall 2008 Technology Supplement, October 20, 2008. Discusses particularly Flat World Knowledge. (Thanks to Open Education News.)

See also our past posts on Flat World Knowledge.

The state of open content and open access

Bernd Hartmann and Felix Jansen, Open Content – Open Access:  Freie Inhalte als Herausforderung für Wirtschaft, Wissenschaft und Politik, FAZIT Forschung, vol. 16.  Undated but apparently recent.  An overview of the current state of open content and open access, with special attention to the University of Konstanz.

Because this is a PDF, I can't link to a machine translation.  However, you can read a short HTML summary in German or Google's English.

PS:  See our past posts on OA activity at the U of Konstanz.

OA and other openness movements

Jürgen Pfeifle, Open Content: Eine Frage des Geschäftsmodells, Do It.Online, November 5, 2008.  An intro to several related openness movements, with a few paragraphs on OA research.  Read it in German or Google's English.

Ways to use a repository's RSS feed

Les Carr points out that an RSS feed of the most recent items deposited in a repository can be embedded somewhere else, such as a widget for a blog.

New version of the Declaration of Helsinki on human medical research

Virginia Barbour, New version of the Declaration of Helsinki, Public Library of Science blog, November 5, 2008.

Last week the World Association of Medical Editors announced the new version of the Declaration of Helsinki. This document, which was first drawn up in 1964, is essential reading for everyone doing research on human participants. The revision was the result of a huge amount of international consultation, and along with many other organisations, PLoS and the Committee on Publication Ethics, which I am also involved with, provided input into this document. ...

Paragraph 30 now makes editors’ duty clear on the publication of research including the duty to make it “publicly” available. The paragraph in full is:

Authors, editors and publishers all have ethical obligations with regard to the publication of the results of research. Authors have a duty to make publicly available the results of their research on human subjects and are accountable for the completeness and accuracy of their reports. ...

We were keen to have some wording on Open Access incorporated; perhaps next time ...

Another key point made is in paragraph 19, “Every clinical trial must be registered in a publicly accessible database before recruitment of the first subject.” ...

Update. See also this post at the BioMed Central blog.

OA database of anti-parasitic screens

Michelle Arkin and James McKerrow, Low-Hanging Fruit: An Anti-Parasitic Drug Database, Public Library of Science blog, October 28, 2008.

... A ... very cost-effective approach [to drug development] is “diversity” or “phenotypic” screens where drug libraries are tested directly against parasites in culture without regard to known or validated targets. ...

The Low-Hanging Fruit site provides a portal by which the community can view hits from these screens and make decisions on which compounds represent the most suitable leads to take to the next step in the drug development pipeline. ...

The apples on the tree at the website represent links to data for the parasites indicated. In some cases, this data is a simple list of hits to be viewed by those individuals and agencies interested in rapid follow-up. In other instances, a more complete database can be accessed under “protocols and statistics” as compiled by Pipeline Pilot (Accelrys) software.

We view this website as both a resource and a challenge. Through Low-Hanging Fruit, we provide our data on an open-source basis to the antiparasitic drug development community at large. We hope this encourages others to pursue these hits, either as potential drug leads or for target discovery and validation studies. ... We also challenge the community at large to provide their data in a similar open-source manner to encourage new collaborations and follow-up. We envision that this website may serve as one component of a larger community database “hub”, linking global efforts in all stages of the antiparasitic drug development pipeline to initiate new collaborations and minimize redundancy of effort.

Digitization at the National Library of Quebec

The Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec's annual report for fiscal year 2007-08, released on July 30, 2008, contains a description of its digitization activities. (Thanks to Olivier Charbonneau.) Roughly translated excerpt:

... On March 31, 2008, the digitized collections of BAnQ consisted of 8,165,441 files, diffused through the institution's portal or in the process of so being. ...

Newspapers (daily or weekly) constitute a priority of the digitization program. During the exercise, 10 titles were put online, among them some publications which knew a long existence, like L’Action catholique de Québec (1915-1962) or Montreal Witness (1845-1938).

Putting Quebec magazines online constitutes another component of the development of the digital collection. In 2007-2008, BAnQ notable put on line complete collection of L’Action nationale (1933-2005), with the ability for users to search the full text of some 85,000 pages of the magazine. ...

RePEc October update

Christian Zimmermann, RePEc in October 2008, The RePEc blog, November 5, 2008.

The major development this past month is that the contents of AgEcon Search are now listed on RePEc. About 30,000 works will gradually be integrated over the next weeks. ... We recorded 701,893 file downloads and 2,757,234 abstract views [in October]. In addition, the following publishers joined us during this month: British University in Egypt, Migration Letters, Universitatea “Al. I. Cuza”, Université du Littoral, AgEcon Search, EERI, University of Suceava, Econometica, Spiru Haret University, WorldFish Center, Université Libre de Bruxelles,, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Tufts University. ...

Forthcoming OA journal of media and communication

PLATFORM: Journal of Media and Communication is a forthcoming OA journal edited by graduate students in the Media and Communications Program at the University of Melbourne. (Thanks to Gin Chee Tong.)

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Blog notes on Open Content Alliance workshop

Using Digital Collections Workshop Attracts Advocates for Open Access, Open Content Alliance blog, November 1, 2008.

The Internet Archive and Open Content Alliance (OCA) sponsored a two-day workshop in San Francisco on October 27-28 to share progress and plans for the continued growth of open web access to digital books. The meeting featured scholars discussing the power of complete digital collections in the disciplines of Classics, Yiddish Studies and Biodiversity, as well as updates by OCA contributors on their scanning and access activities.

Two new services to be launched through the website were debuted at the meeting: Scan on Demand and Print on Demand.

The Scan on Demand service will allow end-users to selectively request that individual books be scanned and added to the OpenLibrary collections. This service has been prototyped in a partnership between the Boston Public Library and the Internet Archive, with funding under the Library Services and Technology Act. It can be used as a collection development tool by libraries or an access mechanism by individual library patrons. Libraries that wish to include their catalogs in the Scan on Demand service can contact Jon Hornstein, Interim Director of the OpenLibrary project ...

The Print on Demand Service will enable end-users to order a bound, high quality printed version of a book. ... The book will be printed and shipped to the end-user by Hewlett Packard. Libraries and additional fulfillment partners that wish to participate in this service may cantact Jon Hornstein ...

Blog notes on PSI conference

Jonathan Gray, After the Workshop on Public Information, Open Knowledge Foundation Weblog, November 4, 2008. Blog notes on the Workshop on Finding and Re-using Public Information (London, November 1, 2008.)

... There was representation from across the board - from local government to European policy analysts, from civic society to commercial re-users. The day started out with introductions and planning - and jumped into fruitful and interesting discussions about technical, legal and social aspects of public information discovery and re-use. Rufus Pollock spoke about [the Comprehensive Knowledge Archive Network] and other things, and John Sheridan spoke about Information Asset Registers (IARs).

After lunch we had a brainstorm about what kinds of particular documents and datasets people wanted to get stuck into. We took notes on the wiki and on flip charts and entered some new packages into CKAN ...

Moving forward, we’d like to continue to improve and add to the UK government and public information packages on CKAN (cf. uk tag). We strongly encourage you to edit existing packages to fill in gaps or additional information, or to register new ones you may know about!

Also, where relevant and appopriate, we’d like to add some new requests to [the Office of Public Sector Information]’s excellent beta for a Public Sector Information Unlocking Service! We’d particularly like to do this for material for which the terms of re-use are not clear, or where its clear that material must exist, but not obvious how to get it or re-use it. ...

See also our past posts about CKAN.

New OA law journal

Amsterdam Law Forum is a new OA journal published (in English) by the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam library. Like American law reviews, ALF is student-edited. The inaugural issue is now available. (Thanks to Simon Foddon.)

On the IR at UCM

Manuela Palafox, El Archivo Institucional E-Prints Complutense al servicio de la difusión y preservación de la investigación de la UCM, presented at Depósitos Digitales Depósitos Digitales y Acceso Abierto en Bibliotecas Universitarias (Murcia, Spain, December 3-4, 2007). (Thanks to Recursos Bibliotecarios.) English abstract:
The [Universidad Complutense de Madrid] has made a durable commitment with the principles of the Open Access movement. The University signed the Berlin Declaration on 2006 with the CRUMA [Conferencia de Rectores de las Universidades de Madrid] universities. In this field the Complutense Library has developed some actions in two areas, the digitization of the library bibliographic heritage and the dissemination and diffusion of the UCM scientific outputs. With this aim the Complutense library has developped the institutional repository E-Prints Complutense. This paper collects information about the implementation of the repository.

IRs for small institutions

Dorothea Salo, Small institutions and repositories, Caveat Lector, November 3, 2008.

I did get some responses to my query about small institutions opening institutional repositories, and while I can’t reveal my sources, I can talk in general terms about what I heard.

Some of these institutions are using IR software as a quick-and-dirty digital preservation mechanism, mostly for institutional records. These institutions don’t have any particular commitment to open access, nor are they under any illusions about their faculty’s commitment thereto. They’ll let faculty deposit if they’ve a mind, but that’s not what the IR is there for. A variant on this scenario is IR software considered alongside other content- or knowledge-management systems. ...

Unfortunately, that’s not the whole story. At least some of these small institutions have The Shiny in their sights. Everybody has an IR these days, so why don’t we? If we build it, they will come! ...

To be fair, small institutions have one major advantage large ones don’t: scale. Yes, scale. Small is beautiful; at many small schools, it’s perfectly feasible for the library to have one-on-one relationships with nearly every researcher on campus ...

There tend to be cultural differences between small teaching-focused and large research-focused institutions as well, ones that do not bode well for open access. One is obvious: these places tend not to have physicists, medical researchers, computer scientists—precisely the disciplines that are early adopters of open access. What they have in plenty are humanists and social scientists, who see OA (when they see it at all, which most frankly don’t) as a commie plot aimed directly at the heart of their beloved scholarly societies. ...

New OA journal of pathogenetics

Pathogenetics is a new peer-reviewed OA journal published by BioMed Central on the pathogenesis of genetic diseases, phenotypes and traits. See the November 3 announcement. The inaugural editorial is now available. Authors retain copyright and articles are available under the Creative Commons Attribution License. The article-processing charge is £1180 (€1485, $1900).

Blog on online journals

La Criée : périodiques en ligne is a blog devoted to (OA and TA) online journals.  (Thanks to Klaus Graf.) 

Each post is a basic catalog entry:  title, short description, ISSN, language, file format, Dewey classification, and link.  It doesn't indicate when the journals were launched, and many entries "announce" older journals.

PS:  I can't tell how new or old the blog itself is, since the archive is not set up to display the back files. 

New OA journal of agriculture and biological engineering

The International Journal of Agricultural and Biological Engineering is a new peer-reviewed, OA journal from the Chinese Society of Agricultural Engineering and the Association of Overseas Chinese Agricultural, Biological and Food Engineers.  (Thanks to John Reidelbach.)  From the editorial in the inaugural issue:

...The journal adopts an Open Access policy which makes our articles freely accessible online immediately upon publication. With this policy, we expect our journal to reach a broader spectrum of readership by removing the limitations caused by financial hardship that some individual readers and libraries may experience....

New OA journal of elementary education

The International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education is a new peer-reviewed OA journal.  The inaugural issue (October 2008) is now online.  (Thanks to John Reidelbach.)

More from the AAUP on the Conyers bill

Fair Copyright in Research Works Act, The Exchange Online: The Newsletter of the Association of American University Presses, November 4, 2008.  Excerpt:

U.S. Representatives Conyers, Issa, and Feeny introduced the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act, HR 6845 [a.k.a. the "Conyers Bill"], on September 9, 2008. AAUP sent a letter in support of the bill to its sponsors and the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property....

AAUP’s letter did not express opposition to the open access mandate initiated by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), but rather focused its concern on the larger issue of whether federal agencies should have the authority to claim a copyright in “extrinsic works” as a result of their funding of underlying research. AAUP is concerned that these types of mandates could conceivably be enacted by other federal agencies funding research in the social sciences and humanities.

The letter of support highlighted the contributions of publishers in preparing both print and electronic versions of scholarly works. Projects like the Founding Fathers’ Papers, which have been prepared and developed for electronic publication by university presses, were cited as examples of the irreplaceable value added by scholarly publishers—added value that is funded only partially, if at all, by federal monies.

AAUP emphasized the importance of member presses’ publishing operations as their primary revenue source: on average, they make up 90% of a university or scholarly press’s operating revenue. The letter expressed concern that certain open access models might hinder the ability of scholarly presses to generate the revenue necessary for continued scholarly publication:

The members of AAUP strongly support open access to scholarly literature by whatever means, so long as those means include a funding or business model that will maintain the investment required to keep older work available and continue to publish new work. However, trying to expand access by diminishing copyright protection in works arising from federally-funded research is going entirely in the wrong direction, and will badly erode the capacity of AAUP members to publish such work in their books and journals.

No further action was taken on the bill before the end of the congressional session, but we understand that Congressman Conyers intends to re-introduce the bill in the next session.

Read the full text of the bill [here].

Read the AAUP letter of support [here].


  • See my blog comments on the AAUP letter, my comments on a subsequent AAUP clarification, and my full-length critique of the Conyers bill (in SOAN for October 2008).  All three address the AAUP's misleading claim that the NIH policy "diminishes copyright protection". 
  • The AAUP is right that its letter didn't expressly oppose the NIH policy.  More importantly, there are some public signs (1, 2) and private signs that the AAUP does not, in fact, oppose the NIH policy.  Nevertheless, the AAUP has expressly supported a bill that would directly overturn the policy.  If the AAUP believes the Conyers bill should be refined to target certain practices and leave the NIH policy intact, then it would help everyone if it would say so.  Until it does, I stand by my call on university presses to join Rockefeller University Press in disavowing the AAUP letter, and on university faculty, librarians, and administrators to ask their presses to do so.
  • This is new and disturbing:  "[W]e understand that Congressman Conyers intends to re-introduce the bill in the next session."

Richard Poynder interviews the publisher of Dove Medical Press

Richard Poynder, The Open Access Interviews: Dove Medical Press, Open and Shut?  November 6, 2008.  An interview with Tim Hill, Publisher of Dove Medical Press, an OA publisher based in Auckland, New Zealand.  The lengthy introduction is a good primer on the suspicions that some OA publishers are cutting corners and giving OA journals a bad name.  Poynder interviewed Hill in part to get his responses to some of those suspicions about Dove.  Note his conclusion:  "While it does appear that there are a number of unscrupulous OA publishers operating, I could find no reason to conclude that Dove is one of them...."  Excerpt:

...[I]t is no surprise that we are seeing a flood of small new OA publishers entering the scholarly communication market, most of whom appear to have set themselves the ambitious task of creating a large portfolio of new journals very rapidly.

The arrival of these new publishers has been warmly received by OA advocates, most of whom view the rapid growth in the number of OA journals as evidence that a tipping point has been reached, and the OA movement has therefore finally won the argument. Today the Directory of Open Access Journals lists nearly 4,000 OA journals, and some expect to see a 50% growth in 2008.

But as the excitement has grown, so have the questions. Who are these new publishers? How are they recruiting their editorial boards, and attracting article submissions? How many of their journals actually have papers in them? And how are they evaluating papers before publishing them?

Information Today columnist Robin Peek, for instance, points out that, on closer inspection, many of the new journals appear to have very little (if any) content in them....

But the most frequently voiced concern is that these companies have been bombarding researchers with unsolicited e-mails inviting them to join editorial boards and to submit papers to journals — an approach presumably adopted because of the need to sign up thousands of scholars in a very short space of time.

Dr Gunther Eysenbach, an associate professor at the University of Toronto, and founder and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Medical Internet Research, has been especially critical of these email campaigns, and penned several angry posts on his blog accusing the perpetrators of spamming researchers....One of the companies Eysenbach accused of spamming is Dove Medical Press....Eysenbach also implied that the publisher of Dove, Tim Hill, uses the alias Tom Hill to run a second publisher Libertas Academica — both of which companies, said Eysenbach, publish "vanity journals which come in the disguise of serious open access journals."

Intrigued by these claims, I contacted Tim Hill, and invited him to do an email interview with me. Hill agreed readily, and answered my questions promptly. And, for the most part, he answered them directly. In the process, he explained that the only connection between Dove and Libertas Academica is that his son Thomas owns and operates the latter company....

When asked about his background, Hill said that he has 35 years experience in scholarly publishing, including 19 years as managing director of the New Zealand division of the well-regarded publishing company ALDIS International (acquired by Wolters Kluwer in 1997).

Hill added that while Dove was originally conceived as a traditional subscription-based publisher, the company is currently in the throes of being transformed into an OA publisher. And from Hill's description it would appear that Dove operates a perfectly respectable peer-review system. Indeed, speaking to me Hill emphasised high editorial standards, and said: "I believe that there is a real need for the traditional editorial standards to be applied to the growing number of Open Access publishers."

What about Eysenbach's claim that Dove has been spamming researchers? Hill denied that the company has done anything improper, saying he had been advised that Dove's emailing activities were not in breach of New Zealand's anti-spam laws. In any case, he added, the email campaigns have now been discontinued....

While it does appear that there are a number of unscrupulous OA publishers operating, I could find no reason to conclude that Dove is one of them....

RP: Can you say who the other [five] owners are [apart from yourself]?

TH: No....

RP: ...[M]any of [your journals] appear still to have no content. How many journals could be said to be "up and running" (with content)?

TH: There are some 60 journals with content that is currently progressing through our manuscript management system.

RP: How many papers have you published so far?

TH: To date we have published 2,200 papers....

RP: What opportunities does OA offer for small publishers? Does it perhaps level the playing field, and so make it easier for them to compete with large publishers?

TH: I think that there are opportunities for small publishers but only if they start from the premise of "how do I have to build my business in order to prosper in the OA world?" The old very high-margin business that the conventional controlled-access publishers enjoyed can't last, and they will struggle to adapt to the new reality of OA in their business....

More on the Google settlement

Seth Finkelstein, Google's copyright war will have open access advocates up in arms, The Guardian, November 6, 2008.  Excerpt:

...[T]he very concept [of what Google had been doing in its Library Project] has created a copyright law conundrum.

From one perspective, Google is making "fair use" - the use of short extracts, allowed under copyright law - of the books. Possibly a small snippet may be shown, while the searching ability is a valuable "transformative" application. But from a competing perspective, Google is making commercial use of the entire book itself overall. Doing it in little pieces per transaction might then be akin to the "salami slicing" computer crime technique of stealing extremely small amounts from a large number of items.

There's no obvious answer as to which view is legally correct....

Perhaps the most important aspect [of the proposed settlement] is the creation of a Book Rights Registry, which will manage recordkeeping and revenue disbursement. In heaven, this will be a model of cutting the Gordian Knot, which keeps material tied down and away from view because of the desire to compensate writers. In hell, it'll just be a deal that shuffles almost all the money among large corporations, while actual authors receive a pittance that's used to justify the system.

Parallels have been drawn with the collective licensing of music, in the hopes of having a similar collective licensing of books. But if the end result also imports the creative accounting of the music business, artists will not see much benefit....

Librarians and open access advocates have not all been enthusiastic. The director of Harvard University Library has stated that "the settlement contains too many potential limitations on access to and use of the books by members of the higher education community and by patrons of public libraries". Brewster Kahle, who founded the Internet Archive and heads the Open Content Alliance, earlier warned of "the consequences of the consolidation of information into the hands of a few private organizations". Professor Siva Vaidhyanathan is also cautions against "corporate welfare" and of libraries "giving away access to one company that is cornering the market on online access"....

There's some value in enemy-of-my-enemy opposition, where the interests of an advertising near-monopoly are a counterweight to a content cartel. But battles between behemoth businesses should not be mistaken for friendship to libraries, authors or public interest.


  • OK, I'm an OA advocate, and this may be a good time to add some second thoughts to my first impressions of the settlement.  Am I up in arms? 
  • I'm deeply disappointed that Google didn't litigate the fair-use claim to the end.  I have four reasons:  (1) Google had a strong case, (2) almost nobody else could bear the enormous legal costs of fighting the AAP and AG, (3) the proposed settlement weakens the claim for any future litigant, if only by creating a new commercial opportunity for publishers to balance against fair use, and (4) leaving the fair-use claim unresolved is harmful to digitization projects and search engines.  So yes, I'm up in arms about that aspect of it. 
  • On the other hand, I'm not at all sure that litigating the claim to the end would have been a victory for Google and fair use.  As I wrote in a 2005 article, "On the merits, it's an important question to [resolve].  But I admit that I'm not very comfortable having any important copyright question [resolved] in today's legal climate of piracy hysteria and maximalist protection...."
  • Google and the publishers disagreed passionately about the fair use claim, each side thought it was right on the merits, and each wanted to see the question resolved in its favor.  The settlement must have been delayed by the fact that neither side could readily give up the legal claim it thought was so essential to its business.  But both sides understood that fair use is vague and contestable, and neither wanted to take the risk of seeing the claim resolved the other way.  Choosing to settle instead is a hard judgment but, in the end, I'm not sure it was wrong.  The settlement will harm fair use, but refusing to settle might have been more harmful.  This consideration vents much, but not all, of my steam. 
  • Harvard is right that the settlement puts needless restrictions on the digitized editions of the copyrighted, OP books at the heart of the case.  But we have to remember that we wouldn't have OA to these texts even if Google had not settled and had prevailed in court on every point.  In that sense, the major issue isn't OA at all, but what sort of restricted access different kinds of users would have to books which are under copyright but out of print.  That's an important question, for research and commerce, but it doesn't implicate OA.  You might wish that OA had been an option, but the OA movement deliberately focuses on works which pay no royalties, like journal articles and public-domain books, or works with consenting rights holders.  From this point of view, OA itself was not at stake in the lawsuit or the settlement. 
  • By contrast, OA really is at stake for Google's digitization of public-domain books.  But neither the lawsuit nor the settlement affects that part of Google's project, and Google plans no changes to it.  On that front, btw, I've always argued that Google's form of access is a step forward which stops short of OA, and that the OCA model is superior precisely because it is OA.
  • I do hope that Harvard can persuade the parties or a court to tweak the restrictions on the copyrighted books at the heart of the case.  But the fact that the settlement itself could be improved doesn't change the fact that, even unmodified, it would be an improvement over the kinds of access we have to copyrighted books today:  20% previews rather than short snippets, free full-text access from selected terminals in libraries, free text-mining of full-texts for some institutional users, free full-text searching of a larger rather than smaller number of books, and even the availability of priced access to full-text digital editions.  If OA were an option, I wouldn't be nearly as happy with these half measures.  But for these copyrighted books, it was never an option.

More on OA as a solution, especially for university presses

Kristin Boice, Open Access, Libraries, and the Future of Scholarly Publishing, a preprint self-archived November 5, 2008.

Abstract:   Running scholarly presses as profit centers is becoming increasingly unsustainable as many are barely able to stay solvent in today’s market economy. Under increasing financial pressures university presses are creating a bottleneck for the publishing of scholarly articles, making less of it available more slowly. By restricting access and limiting outlets for publication, today’s commercially structured scholarly publishing system runs counter to the aims of scholarly publishing —to circulate discourse and research findings through academic institutions and into the world. The open access movement is one response to a general failure of the for-profit scholarly publishing system. This paper looks at what it would mean to reconfigure scholarly publishing away from commerce and toward an open access model, and the potential role of libraries within an open access publishing system.

An IR for Dublin City University

Dublin City University officially launched its institutional repository, DORAS (DCU Online Research Access Service).  From the announcement:

The [DCU] Library held a special event on Tuesday 4th November to launch DORAS....

DORAS provides access to DCU’s research publications through a single interface which showcases its scholarship on a global scale. Professor Eugene Kennedy, Vice President for Research, spoke about the importance of DORAS in terms of increasing the visibility and impact of DCU’s research output. He noted that amongst the top ten downloads from DORAS in September 2008, were a number of PhD theses and remarked on the importance of the research commons as a dedicated space for PhD students to work on their theses and the opportunity the space afforded for cross-disciplinary networking and collaboration. He strongly encouraged all those in attendance to deposit their research papers in DORAS.

OA scholarship and teaching

Leslie Chan, Open Access Scholarship and Teaching: Why Should it Matter to You?  A talk at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the U of Toronto, November 5, 2008.  See the 53 minute video and slides.  From the announcement:

After several centuries of relative stability, the ways in which knowledge is created, consumed, and shared today are rapidly changing. These changes are enabled in part by networking tools and new modes of social production, and in part by the growing movement towards open access to the scholarly literature and educational resources. While innovative pedagogical and scholarly practices are flourishing as a result of open sharing and social learning, there remains serious intellectual, social, institutional and policy barriers to participation.

What then are the key challenges to scholarship in the digital age? What happens when scholars share research openly through institutional repositories, open access journals, and other social platforms such as wikis and blogs? What are the rewards of scholarship and teaching in an open access knowledge ecology? What kind of institutional support and incentives need to be put in place?

The goal of the presentation is not to prescribe answers, but to prompt debates and dialogues on how best to take full advantage of what the open access knowledge environment has to offer.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Interview with SPARC's Heather Joseph

Mike Rossner, Heather Joseph: Getting the message across, The Journal of Cell Biology, November 3, 2008. An interview with Heather Joseph, executive director of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition.

[Q:] Was SPARC involved in promoting the NIH mandate for public access to the results of NIH-funded research?

Yes. The NIH Public Access policy is a crucial, landmark policy, and we have very actively supported both its creation and implementation for the past four years. It’s a great example of a funding agency that invests an enormous amount of public money into research (nearly $29 billion each year), stepping up and saying, “the best way to leverage this investment is to make sure that the results are available quickly to anyone who would like to use them.” Remember—it’s not just scientists to whom this information is valuable. This is crucial, health-related information that is of great interest to physicians, patients, health-care workers, and members of the public. ...

Do you think Congress will continue to support the mandate in the future?

I do. We find that the more policy makers delve into the issue and understand the benefits of the mandate for advancing science and improving public health, the more committed and supportive they become. The roadblocks we’ve run into have been largely the result of misinformation ...

As with all of the previous attempts to block or reverse the NIH policy, the most effective countermeasure is accurate in-formation. Members of Congress need to understand that researchers want greater access to the work of other researchers, and that they want other researchers to be able to access their results seamlessly as well. They need to know that journals such as the JCB thrive with access policies that do even more than what the NIH policy calls for, and in doing so effectively serve the interests of the scientific community and the public. ...

Forthcoming OA library journal

Collaborative Librarianship is a forthcoming peer-reviewed OA journal. The journal is published by the Colorado Academic Library Consortium, the Colorado Library Consortium, the Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries, Regis University, and the University of Denver. (Thanks to Heather Morrison.)

More on open mapping

Andrew Plemmons Pratt, Historical Election Maps and Open Mapping Research, Science Progress, November 4, 2008.

Open access publishing is great, but what if you can’t capture your research in words? Over at the Chronicle’s Wired Campus blog, Jeffery Young reports that in order to expand the reach and accessibility of their historical elections mapping project, digital historians at the University of Richmond moved their data from an in-house system to two platforms familiar to many web surfers: Google Maps and Google Earth. ...

But Young’s point isn’t just about communicating and collecting research–it’s about thinking of open formats like Google’s mapping system (which stores data in a special flavor of the eXtensible Markup Laguage, or XML, called KML) as new frameworks that can shape the research product itself. He asks whether open platforms like Google should be the tools of choice or whether home-grown systems are the better way to go. ...

So would it make sense to consider stipulating that some map-based research end up in an open, accessible format? The current National Institutes of Health policy on open-access publishing mandates that research funded with NIH dollars published in peer-reviewed journals must also be submitted to the PubMed database within 12 months. An agency like the National Science Foundation could experiment with providing incentives or tools to research grantees doing mappable work to provide their research in open formats. What do you think?

  • The choice here isn't between "open platforms" or "home-grown systems". Widely-used platforms aren't necessarily open (for instance, Adobe's Flash); homebrew platforms aren't necessarily closed (as long as the specification is public and anyone is allowed to implement it). Openness and familiarity aren't always linked; in some cases (like Flash), they're at odds.
  • For clarity: Google Maps/Earth is an open platform; it's not open content. The GIS data, satellite imagery, etc. are proprietary (some may be from public sources, but others are licensed exclusively or nonexclusively to Google). In addition, the software that runs Google Earth and Google Maps is proprietary. But users can add their own content, and the KML format for doing so is open.

Obama video on tech policy

Barack Obama's presidential campaign released a video on November 2 detailing his plans for technology policy. The short video includes a mention of OA to government data. The video seems to be compiled of excerpts from Obama's talk at Google headquarters in November 2007. (Thanks to The 463.)

Wikipedia can be re-licensed CC

The Free Software Foundation released of version 1.3 of the GNU Free Documentation License on November 3, 2008. The revision allows public wikis using the GFDL (such as Wikipedia) to relicense their content under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license.

The move comes at the request of the Wikimedia Foundation, which last year passed a board resolution asking the FSF for the change.

Background: Wikipedia was launched before the Creative Commons licenses existed. Wikipedia adopted an existing license, the GFDL, for its content. But some have argued since then that the CC licenses are a better fit for Wikipedia: for instance, the GFDL has a number of specialized facets related to its history as a license designed for software manuals, which can be confusing in other contexts; the GFDL is only officially maintained in English, and was crafted primarily with an eye to American law, whereas CC has an expansive internationalization effort; etc. Notably, since both the GFDL and CC's BY-SA license have copyleft or "share alike" clauses, content under those licenses can only be mashed and combined with other content under the same license -- so the vast body of content in Wikipedia can't be repurposed for CC-licensed materials, and vice versa.

Wikipedia can't change its own license since it doesn't hold the copyright to its content: each edit is owned by the contributor who made it, who provides only a non-exclusive license to Wikipedia to use it under the GFDL. So to move Wikipedia to a CC license, the GFDL had to be changed to add an exception to its copyleft. The details of the change are that the exception only applies to "public wikis", and only applies until August 2009. It's not a general exception allowing GFDL and CC BY-SA content to be mixed.

Wikimedia now has a window to decide whether to migrate its content to the CC license. Wikimedia's Erik Möller posted an email detailing the process.

See also:

Will the Google settlement be approved?

Andrew Albanese, On Track to Approval, Google Settlement Faces Legal Hurdles, Library Journal, November 4, 2008.  Excerpt:

With last week’s settlement, four years of wrangling between authors, publishers, and Google is ostensibly over. Now, however, the battle turns to getting the sweeping class-action settlement past the various class members, and a federal court....

“This is not the final word,” blogged Duke Scholarly Communication officer Kevin Smith, hinting at the winding legal road that now lies ahead for the settlement —beginning with the parties themselves. “The plaintiff classes in this class action suit are very large, so the process of notification will be complex and it is likely that class members will object and want to discuss changes in the agreement.”

Washington-based attorney Jonathan Band...told the LJ Academic Newswire the size of class in this settlement —encompassing publishers and authors of millions of in-copyright books— was not unusual. “...The fact that the Authors’ Guild (AG) represents 8000 authors suggests that this class has more real representatives than most.” 

On the other hand, the Authors Guild’s stated 8000 members represent but a tiny fraction of the authors included in Google’s program. The Association of American Publishers (AAP), meanwhile, which pursued the legal action on behalf its members, represents some 260 publishers. While that includes all of the major houses, and many mid-to-smaller houses, that is but a small slice of a historically diverse book publishing universe —and notably, a number of both groups’ members opposed the suits from the start....

Perhaps, but both AAP and the AG will note that copyright owners who disagree with the settlement can simply opt out of it....May 9, 2009 has been listed as the opt-out deadline....If large numbers balk, it could threaten —or, at least change— the settlement....

The judge also will weigh the settlement against the law, and, as with all things copyright, that’s a wildcard. In the recent Tasini settlement proceedings..., a federal judge quashed the proposed deal as inconsistent with the law, even though no party raised the issue the judge used to reject the settlement, and both parties to the suit, and the settlement’s objectors, disagreed in briefs with the judge’s reasoning....

Band says he has no predictions about how the approval process will go for Google. “A court’s main objective in reviewing a class action settlement is to make sure that the settlement actually is in the interests of the class,” he noted, “and not just the lawyers representing the class.” ...

POD as a revenue source for OA journals

Christopher V. Hollister, The Economics of Open Access, Communications in Information Literacy, 2, 1 (2008).  (Thanks to PKP.)  Excerpt:

Year one for Communications in Information Literacy (CIL) is in the books. We can say this literally; the print version of Volume One is now available through the online print-on-demand [POD] service Lulu. When co-editor Stewart Brower and I announced this, we received a number of email messages concerning our distribution method, and in general, our open-access economic model. One note came from Susan Searing, suggesting that "the welter of publishing and commerce models out there is making life very difficult for selectors and acquisitions librarians." She continued, "You've just added another strange twist —annual volumes that have to be ordered like books." Searing concluded her message by proposing that we revisit other revenue-generating economic models commonly adopted by open-access publications: advertising, institutional sponsorship, and author fees.

We wish to assure our readership that a substantial amount of research and deliberation went into the development of our economic model, which includes the provision of our print-on-demand service....To begin with, CIL's present financial needs are minimal. The modest income generated from Lulu serves us very well....

Concerns about making the distribution of our print volumes more library-friendly are valid and understandable. However, we believe this is more of an issue for subscription vendors and book jobbers than it is for publishers. Stewart and I believe that the future of paper-based publishing is print-on-demand: It is more efficient, there is better return on investment, and it is better for the environment. As a matter of viability, subscription vendors and book jobbers will need to devise mechanisms for working with print-on-demand services en masse, rather than title by title. We see this beginning to happen already....Although standing orders are not currently an option, we are developing an invoice-driven distribution system through the CIL site. Stay tuned.

This brings us back to the issue of economics. Our print-on-demand service generates modest, but necessary income. In keeping with the "PBS model" ["plead, beg and steal"] CIL also accepts donations by check or by PayPal. We considered author fees, but not for long. Stewart is more diplomatic in his explanation; he believes this model discourages first-time authors or any others who lack financial backing. I believe it reflects badly on any publisher that stipulates author fees, and I believe the practice is regressive at best....

PS:  CIL is completely open about its financing and discloses its hosting expenses and revenue from

A repository for OERs

New Open Access Archive Focuses on Open Educational Resources Movement, Blog Twidox, November 5, 2008.  Excerpt:

This is fantastic news for anyone involved in open access. William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has partnered with IssueLab to create the OER Research Repository to ensure that all the valuable knowledge created through Open Educational Resources (OER) projects is readily accessible to a broad audience.

Envisioned is a vibrant and vital knowledge management center where the materials and documentation that OER professionals, supporters, and enthusiasts use in their work to further the cause of OER are easy to share and access....

Any nonprofit organization or university-affiliated research center/lab can create a free research contributor account with IssueLab and add unlimited materials. Presentations, white papers, data sets, evaluations, surveys, and other materials related to furthering OER are welcome. Ownership rights remain with the contributing organization and contributors maintain full control over how their materials are described.

Anyone can search, browse and access materials shared through this open access archive. To further spread the material, an RSS feed is available and IssueLab provides a very simple way to carry the titles included in the OER Research Repository on any blog, website, or other web property with just one line of HTML code....


OA for inventors

Johnny Chung Lee is an inventor who distributes the details of his inventions through OA videos on YouTube and still makes a profit from developing them.  From Leslie Berlin's story in the NY Times

...Contrast this with what might have followed from other options Mr. Lee considered for communicating his ideas. He might have published a paper that only a few dozen specialists would have read. A talk at a conference would have brought a slightly larger audience. In either case, it would have taken months for his ideas to reach others.

Small wonder, then, that he maintains that posting to YouTube has been an essential part of his success as an inventor. “Sharing an idea the right way is just as important as doing the work itself,” he says. “If you create something but nobody knows, it’s as if it never happened.” ...

Mr. Lee encourages innovators to ask themselves, “Would providing 80 percent of the capability at 1 percent of the cost be valuable to someone?” If the answer is yes, he says, pay attention. Trading relatively little performance for substantial cost savings can generate what Mr. Lee calls “surprising and often powerful results both scientifically and socially.” ...

Andres Guadamuz makes a good point at TechnoLlama (thanks to Glyn Moody):

...Something not mentioned in the NYT piece however is the patent implication of Dr Lee's practices. Patenting requires novelty, therefore by making his inventions public before filing for a patent application would invalidate any later request. However, by placing his inventions on YouTube, it also precludes anyone else from trying to patent the invention. This is, for lack of a better word, open source invention....

Dr Lee's success point the way towards a new model of invention. Share your ideas and findings on YouTube, and if they are good they will have an impact immediately. Imagine if Mr Lee had tried to patent instead of sharing, he may be sitting on a useless patent with no way to bring it to market. Sharing then becomes a good strategy for the struggling inventor....

OA journal moves to the U of California IR

The OA Electronic Green Journal has moved to the University of California eScholarship Repository

Comment.  Many OA journals are distributed through institutional repositories, and many journals move from one platform or publisher to another.  But I believe this is the first time an existing OA journal has moved to an IR.

Planning for Open Access Day 2009

The founders of Open Access Day have started collecting expressions of interest from  people who would like to participate in OA Day 2009.

Update.  Also see the post (11/4/08) at the OA Day blog summarizing the successes of OA Day 2008 and anticipating OA Day 2009.  Excerpt:

...The best way to sum up the positive feedback that we’ve received about the day is through this simple fact. We asked the 120 organizations who signed up to participate in the day, who originated from more than 27 countries, whether they would participate again next year - 90% said YES.

Then we (the organizers of Open Access Day: PLoS, SPARC and Students for Free Culture) asked ourselves whether we felt that we’d achieved our goal which was:

“To broaden awareness and understanding of Open Access, including recent mandates and emerging policies, within the international higher education community and the general public.”

Our answer was also a resounding YES. Although next year we’ll encourage participants to organize their activities at any point during “Open Access Week” to ease scheduling headaches, we’ll bring some more international folks into our organizational team, we’re seeking a technology partner, and we’ll give greater advanced notice of the next event!

We are pleased to announce that next year’s Open Access Week will be in October 2009, dates to be confirmed. To hear about the latest development please complete this form.

There were many different ways to measure the success of the 2008 day apart from the level of participation. Here are just a few of them:

• An explosion of new open access materials and their organization – not only did we create many new resources for the day but the good folks at the Open Access Directory compiled a Wiki to help organize much of the world’s material into an easy-to-use source.

• Significant blog coverage – ranging from about 400 posts about the day and the activities to over 40 superb posts in response to the synchronous blogging competition - the two winners were Dorothea Salo for her post My Father The Anthroplogist and Greg Laden for hisPoem for Open Access Day.

• New Association launched – we were delighted that the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association chose that day to announce their formation.

• New video content – we prepared six 1- minute videos presentations from a Teacher, Librarian, Funder, Student, Physician Scientist and a Patient Advocate on why Open Access Matters to them (also available on YouTube and Internet Archive), several video shout-outs (messages of support from the community) and two webcasts from Sir Richard Roberts and Dr Phil Bourne....

We’d like to make next years’ event in October 2009 bigger and better than ever. To hear about the latest developments, please complete this form.

Proving that repository deposits have not been altered

Stuart Haber, Pandurang Kamat, and Kiran Kamineni, A content integrity service for digital repositories, HP Labs Technical Reports, October 21, 2008.  (Thanks to ResourceShelf.)

Abstract:   We present a "content integrity service" for long- lived digital documents, especially for objects stored in digital repositories. The goal of the service is to demonstrate that information in the repository is authentic and has not been unintentionally or maliciously altered, even after its bit representation in the repository has undergone one or more transformations. We describe our design for an efficient, secure service that achieves this, and our implementations of two prototypes of such a service that we developed, most recently for DSpace. Our solution relies on one-way hashing and digital time- stamping procedures. Our service applies not only to transformations to archival content such as format changes, but also to the introduction of new cryptographic primitives, such as the new one-way hash function family that will be chosen by NIST in the competition that was recently announced. In the face of recent attacks on hash functions, this feature is absolutely necessary to the design of an integrity- preserving system that is meant to endure for decades.

Wheeler Declaration in German

The Wheeler Declaration and open university campaign have been translated into German.

Update.  There are now also versions in Catalan and Spanish.  To keep up with the new translations, see the list on the Wheeler Declaration front page.

Great expectations for an Obama administration

Barack Obama's victory has ignited worldwide excitement, and should excite friends of OA as well. 

Neither Obama nor McCain took a position on the NIH policy, or on the attempt by the publishing lobby to overturn it, and both clearly lean more toward OA than against it.  But Obama sent an important signal when he made Harold Varmus one of his science advisors.  While we haven't seen an OA position statement, the Varmus appointment is a very good reason to hope that an Obama administration will protect OA from special interest lobbying and expand it across the federal government

More later, you can be sure.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Sociology of the acceptance of OA

Ulrich Herb, Open Access - A Panacea? Science, Society, Democracy, Digital Divide, a preprint self-archived on November 4, 2008. 

Abstract:   Claims for Open Access are mostly underpinned with:

  1. science-related arguments (Open Access accelerates scientific communication)
  2. financial arguments (Open Access relieves the serials crisis),
  3. social (Open Access reduces the Digital Divide),
  4. democracy-related arguments (Open Access facilitates participation),
  5. and socio-political arguments (Open Access levels disparities).

Using sociological concepts and notions this article analyses some of the presumptions mentioned. It focuses strongly on Pierre Bourdieu's theory of (scientific) capital and its implications for the acceptance of Open Access, Michel Foucault's discourse analysis and the implications of Open Access for the Digital Divide concept. Bourdieu's theory of capital implies that the acceptance of Open Access depends on the logic of power and the accumulation of scientific capital. It does not depend on slogans derived from hagiographic self-perceptions of science (e.g. the acceleration of scientific communication) and scientists (e.g. their will to share their information freely). According to Bourdieu's theory it is crucial for Open Access (and associated concepts like alternative impact metrics) how scientists perceive its potential influence on existing processes of capital accumulation and how it will affect their demand for distinction. Considering the Digital Divide concept Foucault's discourse analysis suggests that Open Access may intensify disparities, scientocentrisms and ethnocentrisms. Additionally several concepts from the philosophy of sciences (by Karl Raimund Popper, [Thomas] Kuhn and Paul Feyerabend) and their implicit connection to the concept of Open Access are described.

A new platform for electronic publishing

Launch of CARPET project development of a platform for electronic publishing tools, a press release from the Max Planck Society, November 3, 2008.  Excerpt:

The CARPET (Community for Academic Reviewing, Publishing and Editorial Technology) project aims to develop an electronic platform where tools and services for electronic publishing can be systematically and clearly represented. This shall allow a more efficient use of existing tools and foster coordinated developments avoiding redundancies. [The project is]supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG) [for] the next two years....

The need for such a platform results from altered scientific communication within the evolving virtualization of media and working processes....Electronic publication via open access patterns is thereby an increasingly popular option.

A DFG survey and a subsequent workshop entitled „Development of Generic Publication Tools“ [11/23/06] are the initial points for the project. Given the current multitude of publication tools this revealed an urgent need for presenting existing approaches on an internet-based platform. The CARPET project will step-by-step create such an openly accessible platform. As a start a catalogue of existing tools will be generated which will be expanded to an information platform and eventually be developed to a collaboration platform, a forum to support users and developers alike. The aim of the project is to establish the platform permanently as a virtual competence center to make the results of developments in the area of electronic publishing available in the long term and to effectively support their use and future developments. The platform is amenable to the presentation of international developed publication tools provided that they can be reused freely....

The project partners are Berlin Humboldt-University, Max Planck Digital Library, Goettingen State and University Library, Deutsche Initiative für Netzwerkinformation e.V., and the Open Access Information Platform.

Update (11/5/08).  When I read the announcement, I couldn't tell whether CARPET was to be a list of publishing tools or a publishing tool itself.  I put my question to Melanie Stetter, CARPET project public relations the Max Planck Digital Library, and she was good enough to let me quote her reply.  (Thanks, Melanie.)

CARPET will not be a tool itself though it aims to be more than just a list. At first we will list existing tools starting with 17 German projects, for example institutional repositories or e-journals, which developed tools on their own and want to make those tools reusable for others more easily. The simple list will be refined to allow comparison between the tools on different levels. You will for example be able to choose if you're looking for a tool for workflow support, a converter or document management, at first, and then you can specify your requirements for the tool (or service). We're planning to have a structure similar to

Later in the project we hope that the "list" will evolve into a community platform which encourages exchange of information and tools within the community of developers and users and we will try to give support on questions like which tools can be easily connected with each other through interfaces, which interfaces or further developments are needed to make the tools more generic and not so much specified to the needs of the developing institute or faculty (which is the problem with most of the developments here).

Abstracts for next week's Berlin 6 meeting

The sponsors of the Berlin 6 OA conference, Changing Scholarly Communication in the Knowledge Society (Düsseldorf, November 11-13, 2008), have released the Berlin 6 Conference Handbook, "containing the full program, abstracts, information about the side events and other relevant information."  (Thanks to Cornelius Puschmann.)

100 open courses on openness

Jessica Merritt, 100 Free Open Courseware Classes About Open Source Everything,, November 3, 2008.  (Thanks to Kelly Sonora.)  The list covers many openness topics but not OA.

Two new Norwegian OA journals

Two new peer-reviewed OA journals from Norway:

  1. Nordisk barnehageforskning [Nordic Kindergarden Research]
  2. Formakademisk [Form Academic, on design]

(Thanks to Kari Aamli in, via Lorenz Khazaleh.)

More on the Google settlement

Barbara Quint, The Google Book Search Settlement: ‘The Devil’s in the Details’, Information Today NewsBreaks, November 3, 2008.  Excerpt:

...If the settlement agreement goes through as planned, the public domain content would continue to be treated as it is today....Preview views, similar to the blocks of contextual displays offered for much of the publisher partner content and encompassing as much as 10%–20% of content or 4–5 page displays, would become the default display for books in-copyright but out-of-print....Publisher or author rightsholders would have the option to withdraw books from preview mode. Books that were in-copyright but in-print could receive the same preview treatment, but only if the publisher or author rightsholder approved. In other words, choosing to opt-out can stop an orphan’s chance to shine, but choosing to opt-in can get in-print items on stage.

But here’s the pot of the gold at the end of the rainbow: Online access to the full text of the in-copyright, out-of print books will become available under institutional subscriptions....There are exceptions to coverage specified in the settlement agreement, e.g., periodicals, and rightsholders can remove items if they choose. But this settlement would open up an epic quantity of curated book content, i.e., items selected by knowledgeable research librarians who are building world-class research collections. Institutional subscriptions would operate in "pricing bands" based on issues such as the size of the user group. According to Clancy, "The amount an institution pays per student, for example, would vary depending on the type of institution. For example, Stanford would pay more than Foothill Community College, but it would be open to public libraries, corporations, K–12, etc." ...Google has retained the right to create other subsets of the file, e.g., discipline-defined sets, which may involve different institutional subscription fees.

But that’s not all. Under the agreement, public libraries would receive limited access to the full text of in-copyright, out-of-print books (plus public domain, of course) for free. The public library would have to dedicate a computer to the Google Book Search content. Google would then supply the software to reach and navigate the collection at no charge. According to Adam M. Smith, director of product management for Google Book Search, the agreement specifies that the offer extends to each library building; branches could have their own dedicated computers....

The agreement describes a number of revenue models by which rightsholders would receive as much as 100% to as little as 35% of monies collected by Google, from institutional subscriptions, advertising, book sales, etc....

[The] new Book Rights Registry...should start operation in January 2009, even before the court has approved the settlement agreement, according to Clancy....

Four [Google Library project] partners —the University of Michigan, the University of California, Stanford, and the University of Wisconsin–Madison— issued a press release praising the settlement—but somewhat cautiously. In conversations, both Daniel Greenstein, vice provost of the University of California, and John P. Wilkin, associate university librarian for Library Information Technology and Technical and Access Services at the University of Michigan, indicated that they would have liked it if Google could have pursued its "fair use" argument to a case law conclusion. Both Greenstein and Wilkin understood why Google and its opponents had decided to settle however, and they looked forward to the ensuing benefits, particularly as decisions unfavorable to Google could have put the library partners in legal danger too, even allowing for the indemnification clauses that Google wrote into its contracts. As Wilkin put it, "There are things we got and things we gave in this process, but hissy fits wouldn’t have helped. We could have stood on a matter of principle and said we would not sign this atrocity, but then we’d have the old agreement. Google could stop giving us the in-copyright stuff. We wouldn’t be allowed to use it. Instead, we’ve done all the work of nailing down the amendments." Both Wilkin and Greenstein expected that addenda would be added to the library partner agreements once a judge signs off on the basic settlement agreement.

However, not everyone proved as sanguine. On Halloween, 4 days after the Google Book Search settlement was announced, Harvard University, one of the earliest Google Book Search Library Partners, said it would not participate in scanning copyright materials, something it had apparently planned to do once the outcome of the lawsuits clarified the issue....Despite these concerns, a Harvard spokesman left the door open to further negotiations with Google and rightsholders....

The AAP’s Adler explained, "...Some people feel Google betrayed them by not continuing to fight for fair use. Who knows what would have been the outcome of litigation? If we won or if they won, it would go to the Supreme Court. If it got a Supreme Court ruling, the likelihood is that it would have been a split ruling and a narrow ruling applicable only to the facts before it. So then both sides try to spin the ruling to their advantage and finally—more litigation. This settlement provides more benefits to the stakeholders than would have resulted from litigation." ...

Repository contents as a wall of posters

Les Carr, Visualising Repository Contents, Repository Man, November 4, 2008.  Excerpt:

Those who have followed this blog will know that I'm a sucker for a good visualisation that provides a helpful way of displaying and accessing the contents of a collection or a whole repository.

So I read with interest about cooliris, a convincing and polished implementation of the displaywall metaphor that works on media resources described in RSS feeds. Using XSLT I turned the XML export of an EPrints search result into the required MediaRSS format (making use of the eprint item thumbnails) and embedded it into a web page as a demo. The results are best viewed in their installable full-screen viewer rather than the web page-embedded Flash program, especially if the feed extends to thousands of objects! ...

WordPress plugin exports journal metadata to the DOAJ

Jonathan Brinley, DOAJ Export WordPress Plugin, x + 3 > cataloging, November 3, 2008.  Excerpt:

Today I converted Eric Lease Morgan’s c4lj2doaj.cgi into a WordPress plugin....

Publishers of [OA] journals can provide article-level data to the DOAJ, opening those articles up to discovery through the DOAJ interface. One can provide this data to the DOAJ through a form (entering the title, authors, abstract, keywords, etc., for each article, one at a time) or by uploading data that conforms to the DOAJ acticle XML schema.

Enter the DOAJ Export plugin

Eric built a Perl module to grab the necessary info from the Code4Lib Journal’s database and present it in this format. This functionality seemed to belong in a WordPress plugin, so I set out to convert Eric’s script into the plugin before you today....

You can download the DOAJ Export plugin from the WordPress Plugin Directory.

Jonathan Rochkind spells out the implications in a comment:

This is a great feature, for those using WordPress as a host for an open access journal, like the Code4Lib Journal.

It’s important to note that one important benefit of including article-level metadata in DOAJ is that the metadata will also end up in the indexes of anyone that harvests from DOAJ with OAI-PMH. OAISter is one great example.

Making the case for OA at BYU

On October 9, Gideon Burton and Jeff Belliston argued for an OA mandate and expanded use of the institutional repository at the Brigham Young University.  Here are their slides, and here's an excerpt from Burton's blog post about their presentation:

At a presentation on Open Access to the Academic Vice President's Council at BYU last week we discussed changes in academic publishing and proposed moving toward a Open Access policy for this university comparable to Harvard's.

A key component of the Open Access movement is the rise of institutional and disciplinary repositories....

The institutional repository can serve the goals of self-assessment, norming, accreditation--by organizing, ultimately all forms of knowledge production at the university and opening the door to better understanding what we know and what we do as researchers, teachers, or students....

Institutional repositories will become central aspects of university identity in the years to come. The accumulated intellectual output can be showcased and measured for both interior and exterior audiences, and the repository will be as much about outreach (even public relations) as it is about accommodating current research....

OA and openness for libraries

Ellyssa Kroski is giving a workshop today on openness at New York's Metropolitan Library Council, and has already posted her five slide presentations:

Monday, November 03, 2008

OA in Colorado

The Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries has posted the minutes from its August 2008 roundtable on OA. (Thanks to Heather Morrison.)

... Rebecca Harner described the successful Open Access forum held at [Colorado College]. They took the Harvard mandate as a hook to develop interest in attending the forum. The forum was informal and included lunch. They advertised it widely on campus. The faculty that attended was a good mix from various disciplines ...

[Colorado State University] wants to get on the radar of the V-P for Research. They have developed policies using the Cal State model and started with the Vet School. Idea is for faculty to submit a form when they submit an article for publication that spells out what their rights are as an author and what they are going to do with the article.

Yem Fong reported that they have participated in the ARL/ACRL scholarly communications institute. The [University of Colorado Boulder] faculty assembly has been discussing open access and there is a library committee working on an open access resolution. This resolution to support open access will go to faculty assembly for adoption. They are going to survey select faculty to ascertain how much they know about open access and institutional repositories.

At [University of Northern Colorado], they have a scholarly communications committee, have attended the ARL scholarly communications institute, and are seeking ideas from this group.

[Auraria Library] has considered sending participants to the scholarly communications institute and is identifying faculty or administrative partners. They are seeking ideas from the round table group as well. ...

The Alliance is building portals for all the participating institutions [in the Alliance Digital Repository] that will result in a searchable interface and pull the ingested content back out. ...

Online discussion on academic publishing in the digital age

Academic Publishing in the Digital Age is the November topic on the HASTAC Scholars Forum. The opening questions:
  • How are traditional methods of academic publishing being changed by digital and online avenues? What advantages or disadvantages do these new forms of publication have over conventional means? ...
  • Should published scholarship be freely available, or is restricting access a necessary evil?
  • How might we increase the academic credibility of emergent forms of scholarship and publication?
  • How do you envision digital platforms transforming academic research in the coming years?

Presentations and blog notes on OA mandate conference

The presentations from Mandating and the scholarly journal article: attracting interest on deposits? (London, October 29, 2008) are now online: See also the blog notes by Michael Jubb:

... [The seminar] had another theme running through it, in the emphasis that a number of speakers gave to the gathering of evidence on the extent of the changes in behaviours on the part of publishers and libraries, as well as researchers. Implementation of policies does not lead to immediate results, and assessing the evidence of change is clearly an important part of the implementation process itself. ...

First, it was interesting to hear from Robert Kiley that the latest evidence from the Wellcome Trust shows that 30% of articles arising from projects funded by the Trust are being deposited in UK PubMedCentral. But 94% of articles are being published in journals that comply with the Trust’s policy on deposit. The difference between the two figures is clearly very striking.

Secondly, it was interesting to hear from Ann Okerson from Yale of the very practical concerns that have arisen for universities in the US in handling issues to do with compliance with the NIH “public access policy” that became operative in April. ...

Thirdly, we heard for the first time a full account of the PEER project that is now getting under way ... The purpose of the project is to get publishers and the research community to collaborate in developing an “observatory” to monitor the impact of systematically depositing stage-two outputs (that is, peer reviewed manuscripts) on a large scale; and to gather hard evidence to inform future policies. ...

Update. See also these notes on the conference by Nicholas Lewis and Graham Stone.

New OA book on the commons

Genes, bytes y emisiones: Bienes comunes y ciudadanía is an OA book published by Heinrich Böll Foundation in August 2008. It contains essays on various aspects of the commons, including a Spanish version of John Wilbanks' essay, "What is Science Commons?". (Thanks to Bienes Comunes.)

Academic uses for Google Earth

Jeffrey R. Young, Is Google Earth Becoming a Platform for Academic Scholarship?, Wired Campus, October 30, 2008.

Earlier this year scholars at the University of Richmond unveiled an innovative Web site that displays county-by-county election data from U.S. presidential elections since 1840. Now their project’s been Googled.

In an effort to get more exposure for their data just in time for election day, the university’s Digital Scholarship Lab spent the past few months working with Google engineers to embed the data into Google Maps and Google Earth. The results are now part of Google’s election Web site.

In a statement released today, Rick Klau, a manager on Google’s Elections team said, the company hoped other universities would use the Google Earth platform “to share information and make a complex collection of data structures more easily accessible.” ...

New OA Egyptology journal

Égypte nilotique et méditerranéenne is a new OA journal of Egyptology published by the Institut d'Egyptologie François Daumas at the Université Paul Valéry - Montpellier III. It claims to be the first French electronic Egyptology journal. The first articles were posted on September 28, 2008. (Thanks to Charles Ellwood Jones.)

More support for the Conyers bill from STM

STM has released its October 30 letter to the members of the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property --the committee holding the September hearing on the Conyers bill.

The International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers (“STM”) thanks your Committee for taking on the important task of protecting the work done by the many thousands of journal editors, publishers and publishing staff, in providing high-quality peer-reviewed and edited academic and scholarly journals through the introduction of the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act (H.R. 6845)....

NIH’s mandatory deposit policy is unique with respect to government funding agency policies internationally. Issues concerning public funding and the dissemination of research results have been raised in numerous countries. To our knowledge, the proposals and policies of government agencies and private research institutions abroad do, in contrast to the NIH policy, support publishers and copyright models and recognize the importance of the investment and support both peer review and the need for high quality. Most of the research agencies that have adopted public access policies have flexible rather than mandated policies and exceptions are provided with respect to periods for postings, depending on the policies of individual journals. In addition, other agencies facilitate publisher compensation by allowing authors to include public access charges in their grants or charge back to the agency for public access....

Representatives from our association attended the hearing on H.R. 6845 which took place on 11 September 2008, and some comments were made by two of the witnesses, Dr Zerhouni of the NIH and Heather Joseph of ARL/SPARC, which we feel must be addressed.

The first concerns peer review. The sense of community and obligation on the part of the reviewers is a key factor in the unquestioned success of this system. However, the significant investments that publishers make in integrated and efficient systems for enabling, managing, and facilitating the submission, peer review, editing, web-posting, and interrelating of manuscripts are an integral part of this process and just as vital to the foundation of scholarly communication as peer review itself. The process of peer review is not “free” to anyone, but rests on a system of interdependent activities and value-given-for-value-received relationships that includes financial investments made by publishers.

The second issue we wish to address is interconnectivity and the use of the Internet. We agree with Dr Zerhouni’s statement that “…the connectivity of all available electronic sources of scientific information and their efficient exploitation with the new powerful engines of software that are used in the modern search engine technologies… is what 21st century science and health require…” The information that apparently was not shared at the hearing is that scholarly publishers have likely invested more money, more time, and more resources on web-related platforms, databases and projects that enable greater linking and connectivity than any other industry or Federal agency of which we are aware. As a result of these investments, more content is available to more people in more ways than at any time in human history....


  • See my analysis of the Conyers bill (in SOAN for October 2008) for a detailed rebuttal of the STM arguments.
  • Most of the points the STM adds in this letter were also added by Martin Frank, in a supplement to his testimony at the hearing.  My response to Frank's supplement also responds to the STM supplement.  But in particular I want to point out the error in the STM claim that the NIH policy is uniquely radical:
  • The NIH is not the only funder whose OA mandate makes no exception for dissenting publishers.  In my October article I list seven other funders whose policies are equally uncompromising:  the Arthritis Research Campaign (UK), Cancer Research UK, Department of Health (UK), Howard Hughes Medical Institute (US), Joint Information Systems Committee (UK), Medical Research Council (UK), and the Wellcome Trust (UK).  In the same article, I discuss the differences between policies that create loopholes or opt-outs for dissenting publishers and policies, like the NIH's, which do not.
  • There is an important sense in which the NIH policy is unique, but it cuts against the STM argument.  The NIH is the only medical research funder with an OA mandate, public or private, in any country, using an embargo longer than six months.  From this perspective the NIH policy is uniquely easy for publishers to accommodate, not uniquely difficult.
  • "[O]ther agencies facilitate publisher compensation by allowing authors to include public access charges in their grants...."  Also untrue.  One only has to read the policy FAQ (Question E3).  The NIH will pay reasonable publication fees at both OA journals and TA journals.
  • "The process of peer review is not “free” to anyone...."  Neither Zerhouni nor Joseph said it was free.  Everyone acknowledges that managing peer review has costs.  This is a straw man.  But as long as STM is bringing it up, TA journals are compensated by their subscribers for the costs of managing peer review.  If STM wants to say that the NIH policy endangers its subscriptions, it will have to produce evidence.  (See my article from September 2007, sections 5-10.)  If it wants to say that the NIH policy should not apply to peer-reviewed manuscripts, when the costs are borne by others, then (as I put it in my October 2007 article), it's forgetting "the timeline of events and the role of publisher consent. It's not the case that publishers invest in peer review and then learn after the fact, helplessly, that the NIH will host copies of the peer-reviewed manuscripts.  NIH-funded authors ask publishers in advance whether they are willing to publish under the terms required by the NIH.  The decision is up to the publisher."
  • "[S]cholarly publishers have likely invested more money, more time, and more resources on web-related platforms, databases and projects that enable greater linking and connectivity than any other industry or Federal agency of which we are aware. As a result of these investments, more content is available to more people in more ways than at any time in human history...."  This may be true, but it's beside the point.  We want OA for publicly-funded research not because access to other literature is declining or because publishers aren't spending enough, but because this research is publicly-funded, because taxpayers deserve access to it, because OA maximizes the return on our common national investment, because OA maximizes the usefulness of research, and because this is a large and important body of knowledge critical for healthcare and research progress in many different fields.

Google creates and searches OCR'd editions of scanned texts

Google is stepping up its use of OCR'd editions of image scans in its search index.  From its October 30 announcement:

...Every day, people all over the world post scanned documents online -- everything from official government reports to obscure academic papers. These files usually contain images of text, rather than the text themselves....

In the past, scanned documents were rarely included in [Google] search results as we couldn't be sure of their content. We had occasional clues from references to the document-- so you might get a search result with a title but no snippet highlighting your query. Today, that changes. We are now able to perform OCR [Optical Character Recognition] on any scanned documents that we find stored in Adobe's PDF format....

This is a small but important step forward in our mission of making all the world's information accessible and useful.

While we've indexed documents saved as PDFs for some time now, scanned documents are a lot more difficult for a computer to read....

Here's the example from the first paragraph of the announcement:

Comment.  Google has been OCR'ing its scanned books from the start (December 2004), in order to make them searchable.  But it didn't release HTML editions until July 2007, presumably to prevent easy indexing by rival search engines.  When it released the HTML editions, it said its purpose was to help visually-impaired users, whose reading software doesn't work on images.  That was a good reason, but I never understood how it overcame Google's famous reluctance to share its work with rivals.  As I wrote at the time:

Access for the visually impaired is important and long overdue.  But the new plain-text layer also provides access for cutting and pasting, text-mining, and other forms of processing.  Making these books accessible as texts, and not merely as images, is a breakthrough for all users.

I have a similar mix of appreciation and puzzlement today.  But in addition to wondering why Google relaxed its grip on a competitive advantage, I'm also wondering whether this has any connection to the new settlement with book publishers.  Today's announcement is not about book texts, but the HTML editions are based on technology Google developed for its book scanning program.

New publishing platform for OA humanities is a new publishing platform for OA humanities literature.  (Thanks to Klaus Graf.)  From the English version of its home page: is online. This international publication platform for humanities studies sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) now provides free access to selected publications of the Foundation of German Humanities Institutes Abroad (DGIA) and their international partners. starts off with a retro-digitalised version of “Francia”, the journal of the German Historical Institute in Paris, and with electronically published conference reports and reviews. This is just a first selection of the results of the work and research carried out, organised and communicated by the German Humanities Institutes Abroad. In the months to come will be gradually extending its range of publications.

The Francia articles are gratis OA with this licensing statement:  "This article may be downloaded and/or used within the private copying exemption. Any further use without permission of the rights owner shall be subject to legal licences (§§44a-63a UrhG / German Copyright Act)."

PS:  For background, see our February 2008 post previewing the site.

Update (11/4/08).  Francia recensio is the new, online-only, book-review portion of Francia, and it is libre OA under a CC-BY-NC-ND license.  (Thanks to Klaus Graf.)

Comments on the Google-Publisher settlement #3

Here are some more comments from the press and blogosphere.  (This is my third collection; also see the first and second.)

From John Blossom at ContentBlogger:

Well, of course it took a long time, but at the end of the day most of the several years [it has taken to reach this settlement]...has been a matter of the book publishing industry deciding to name a reasonable price....Since the book industry was barely interested in e-books and print-on-demand a few years ago, it's understandable that the magic number was not readily at hand back then....

In many ways this enables the book industry to monetize fringe content far more effectively via Google partners such as Amazon, in essence validating the value of Chris Anderson's "long tail" theory for content that was sometimes discounted by book industry executives resistant to Google's scanning efforts. The settlement is really just a bulk licensing fee to make it easier to administer long-tail revenues....

Enter Google's new Android operating system, which will be able to power any number of mobile and handheld devices - including perhaps, Kindles [to support the newly digitized ebooks]....

So all in all this deal is likely to turn into a content industry love-fest over the next few years, a peace treaty that finally enables book publishers to leverage the vast power of Google's book scanning initiative, thus avoiding expensive or less powerful alternatives and enabling book marketers to accelerate their increasingly aggressive exploitation of online channels for their marketing efforts....

From Kenneth Corbin at

...While they praised the settlement, the university libraries noted that they each had independent cooperative agreements with Google, and that those would now have to be renegotiated.

"Any final decision to continue contributing to Google Book Search will be made after negotiation and finalization of such an amended agreement," the libraries said, adding that they expected to reach acceptable terms and continue participating in the project....

The ALA [said it] will not have an opinion on the matter until it becomes clear which libraries would be required to pay for the service, and how much it would cost....

From Deutsche Welle:

German book publishers denounced a historic accord between Google and US authors, dubbing it trick that would make the US company the master of the world's knowledge.

The Boersenverein, the German booksellers and publishers association which has bitterly opposed Google for years, rejected the accord as a "creeping takeover."

"This accord is like a Trojan Horse," Alexander Skipis, chief executive of the Boersenverein, said in a statement on Thursday, Oct. 30. "Google aims to achieve worldwide control of knowledge and culture.

"In the name of cultural diversity, this American model is out of the question for Europe," he said, adding that it contradicted "the European ideal of diversity through competition."

The Boersenverein has funded a pay-for-use book-scanning service for German-language books, Libreka....

From Georgia Harper at Collectanea:

...Google, by a landslide....

[M]y own thoughts on and feelings about the deal are a combination of heartbreak, exhilaration, relief, pride, thankfulness, and gratitude to the libraries who worked so hard to make the deal a better one for the public interest....

Heartbreak: It hit me really, really hard to realize that Google utilized fair use strategically to bring the publishers and authors to a deal. My heart was in strengthening fair use. It has been for a long, long time. I felt betrayed, really hurt. But damn it, Google was right. It is right. This deal is way better for everyone, more value, more possibility, more of everything. For fair use to cover digitizing for indexing would have been nice, but it would not have given us this (and there was the chance Google could have lost, though I firmly believed Google would have won). Maybe we could have had both....

I do hope that those who may be unhappy about the shape of the deal for the public (outside the obvious benefit to the public of discoverability, readability and the ability to buy "lost" books) won't be too quick to assume that any library could have done better. If the criticism is that none of us should have been involved at all, well, that's simply a non-starter. Libraries are not sitting the revolution out or trying to go it alone. Partnering is simply a fact of our lives....

I hope the deal gets approved and moves on to implementation....

From Fred von Lohmann at the EFF:

...First, this agreement is likely to change forever the way that we find and browse for books, particularly out-of-print books....[T]he agreement goes beyond Google's Book Search by permitting access, as well. Unless authors specifically opt out, books that are out-of-print but still copyrighted will be available for "preview" (a few pages) for free, and for full access for a fee. In-print books will be available for access only if rightsholders affirmatively opt in. The upshot: Google users will have an unprecedented ability to search (for free) and access (for a fee) books that formerly lived only in university libraries.

Second, this outcome is plainly second-best from the point of view of those who believe Google would have won the fair use question at the heart of the case. A legal ruling that scanning books to provide indexing and search is a fair use would have benefited the public by setting a precedent on which everyone could rely, thus limiting publishers' control over the activities of future book scanners. In contrast, only Google gets to rely on this settlement agreement, and the agreement embodies many concessions that a fair user shouldn't have to make.

But the settlement has one distinct advantage over a litigation victory: it's much, much faster. A complete victory for Google in this case was probably years away....

Under the agreement, Google has unrestricted, royalty-free access to this corpus. The agreement gives libraries their own copy of the corpus, and allows them to make it available to "certified" researchers for "nonconsumptive" research, but will that be enough? ...

This agreement promises unprecedented access to copyrighted books. But by settling for this amount of access, has Google made it effectively impossible to get more and better access? ...

The agreement apparently envisions a world where Google keeps all of the electronic books that you "purchase" on an "electronic shelf" for you....Google is also likely to keep track of which books you browse (at least if you're logged in). This is a huge change in the privacy we traditionally enjoy in libraries and bookstores....Does the agreement contain ironclad protections for user privacy?

From Jef Pearlman at Public Knowledge:

...The settlement would do two main things, one for the availability of orphan works and one for the rights holders and those who want to license the works they control. First, it would give Google the ability to safely offer these works to the public, both in searchable form and as full, purchasable copies. This is a clear win for the public, who can not only find works that they didn’t know existed, but learn what libraries the works can be found in or even read them in their entireties without leaving their living rooms. It’s also a win for Google, who was already doing a lot of this, but facing potential copyright liability.

Second, it creates the books right registry, or BRR (please hold the chilling-effects puns), which gives authors a place to go to identify themselves and receive compensation for Google’s use of their books, including a portion of purchase and ad revenues. The creation of a BRR does good both for the authors of currently-orphaned works and for those who want to use them: It provides a way for authors to effectively un-orphan their books and receive compensation, and it provides a way for users to locate previously-unknown rights holders and obtain the rights to use those works. It also provides a financial incentive for those authors to come forward, as they will receive the compensation that the BRR has collected on their behalf....

The First-Sued Advantage ...[T]his settlement only applies to Google. Even in the ideal case where the BRR offers similar rights to non-Google organizations on nondiscriminatory terms – a situation which I sincerely hope will come to pass – the BRR can only offer third parties licenses for those authors in the registry. It is only the opt-out nature of a class action law suit that allows the AAP and Authors Guild to license the rights of millions of rights holders who are not actively involved in the case and often don’t even know they have rights to defend. Short of getting sued and settling (in a non-collusive fashion), no one else can pull this off. And since the case didn’t go to judgment, anyone else who wants to make fair use of these works will face uncertain legal ground and the possibility of a massive copyright suit....

This structure effectively limits the BRR to authors represented by the AAP or the Authors Guild or those who individually register themselves. If I want to use an orphaned book, and the rights holder does not identify himself or herself in the BRR, then I’ll be no better position after the settlement than I am right now. I still will run the risk of an expensive lawsuit if the rights holder shows up, and will have no way to mitigate that risk.

The Authors Guild represents more than 8,000 authors, and the AAP has over 300 member organizations covering an unknown number of authors. On the other hand, according to Brewster Kahle, founder of the Open Library (and member of our board), the over 20 million books listed on Open Library were written by over 5 million authors. Some of these, of course, wrote works that are now in the public domain, and others are represented by the BRR.

But how many of those 5 million authors of in-copyright books are unknown to Open Library, unreachable, and unrepresented? ...

From Kevin Smith at Scholarly Communications @ Duke:

...[T]his settlement would not resolve the fair use argument that is at the heart of the lawsuit; the parties have been very clear that they still have a significant disagreement over whether Google’s activities to date infringe copyright or are authorized as fair use. A decision on that issue would have provided libraries with more guidance as we proceed (or not!) with digitization projects, but both sides in the case, I suspect, wanted to avoid getting to that point. The likely result, unfortunately, is that the next time someone considers pushing the envelope on fair use, there will be even more pressure to just pay the costs of licensing up front and not go down the fair use path at all....

For out-of-print works this [20%] would be the default availability, with the rightsholders able to opt out. For in-print books, the rightsholders would have to opt-in. So while it seems likely that, overall, there will be increased access in the Google Book Search product, some in-print works will also likely disappear, even from the snippet view, as rightsholders elect not to opt in.

The participating libraries are in an interesting “in-between” position here.They have no voice in the settlement agreement, and it appears that, for some of them, the options for using the digital scans of books that they receive from Google will be reduced....[T]here are strict limits on how those files can be used. They cannot be made available for reading even on campus, much less linked into a catalog. They cannot be used for interlibrary loan, e-reserves or in a course management system. They are essentially preservation copies, although there is a provision to allow research based on “text-mining.” ...

It will be especially interesting to see if some of the partner libraries choose to subscribe to [the] more robust version of the database to get the level of access that is denied to them with the scanned files of their own works....

Finally, there are provisions for free access to this “fuller-text” version of the Google product, via dedicated terminals. One such terminal would be offered to every public library, although it is not clear if public libraries that still lack broadband access would benefit much from this offer. A free terminal would also be available to “colleges and universities,” with one such terminal for each 10,000 FTE (one per 4,000 for community colleges)....[N]o allowance is made for free access at the K-12 level.

For all three of these approaches to “access uses,” there are pretty strict limits imposed on cutting and pasting, and on printing....

Most troubling to me, however, is that this agreement would seem to move us one more big step in the direction of per-pay-use, where every library resource would be licensed and metered.

Repositories for visibility, impact, and workflow

Alma Swan, Reasons researchers really rate repositories, Optimal Scholalrship, October 31, 2008.  Excerpt:

As the SPARC repositories conference approaches in Baltimore, repositories are the topic of conversation all over the place. Les Carr will be running an eve-of-meeting session where people can contribute and share evidence or anecdotes about how repositories are benefiting researchers. I've had a few whispers in my ear that people are still saying researchers don't rate repositories. Perhaps they don't, where they don't fully understand the picture, or where they've not (yet) personally seen the benefits of using one. But they certainly rate them when they do see those benefits. And that shows we must get the right messages to researchers - and, critically, in the right way.

One conduit is an articulate peer. John Willinsky's lovely tale of how he persuaded his fellow faculty members at Stanford to vote unanimously to mandate themselves to provide OA, greenly, through the repository is illustrative of the power of the peer....

The testimony of peers to the effect that using a repository to provide OA has really shown a benefit is also powerful. I've long used a quotation from a US philosopher, offered in a free-response box in one of our author surveys, to make a point to researcher audiences. It goes: "Self-archiving in the PhilSci Archive has given instant world-wide visibility to my work. As a result, I was invited to submit papers to refereed international conferences/journals and got them accepted". Not much to argue with there. One big career boost, pronto.

Let's look at another such. Last month at the Open Access & Research conference in Brisbane, Paula Callan presented some data from her own QUT repository in a workshop on 'Making OA Happen' (all the ppts are up on the conference website). The data pertain to a chemist, Ray Frost, who has personally...deposited around 300 of his papers published over the last few years....From 2000 to 2003, [Frost's] citations were approximately flat-lining at about 300 per year, on 35-40 papers per year. When Ray started putting his articles into the QUT repository, the numbers of citations started to take off. The latest count is 1200 in one year. Even though Ray’s publication rate went up a bit over this period – to 55-60 papers per year – the increase in citations is impressive. And unless Ray’s work suddenly became super-important in 2004, the extra impact is a direct result of Open Access.

Now, there’s another little piece of information to add to this tale: the QUT library staff routinely add DOIs to each article deposited in the repository. Would-be users who can access the published version will generally do so using those. The 165,000 downloads are from users who do not have access to Ray’s articles through their own institution’s subscriptions – the whole purpose of Open Access. That’s an awful lot of EXTRA readership and a lot of new citations coming in on the back of it.

The final example of a reason for rating repositories comes from Ann Marie Clark, the Library Director at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle....Ann Marie reports that the National Institutes of Health...nowadays require that most grant applications come in electronic form only..."This new rule limits them, when citing papers that support their grant proposal, from attaching more than three published PDFs. Any papers cited, beyond that limit, may only offer URLs for freely-accessible versions. As a result, convincing faculty members to work with our librarians to deposit their papers into our repository has not been difficult at all...."

So there we have it. Or them, rather. Reasons researchers really rate repositories: vast visibility, increased impact, worry-reduced workflow.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Draft white paper on OER in health

David Stern and Ted Hans have drafted an outline for a white paper on OERs in health and are looking for feedback. See also the OER in Health site. (Thanks to Open Education News.)

Presentations on data management

The presentations from the Institutional and National Services for Research Data Management Workshop (Oxford, October 20, 2008) are now online. Several presentations discuss open data and repositories. (Thanks to Charles Bailey.)

OA for university press books

Heather Morrison, Should university presses adopt an OA model for all of their scholarly books?, The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics, October 31, 2008.

At ELPUB 2008, Greco & Wharton presented a compelling case for why university presses should adopt an OA model for all of their scholarly books - a case based entirely on economics, not philosophy.

Greco & Wharton present analysis showing how a small press releasing 20 Open Access books would generate $128,511. in profit; a large press releasing 100 titles would generate $642,555.00 in profit (p. 11).

This is based on a processing fee approach (G&W use the term author-pays), with $250 as a preliminary charge, and $10,000 on final publication. This is for electronic text, with print-on-demand.

At first, this figure seems high, and I was quite sceptical. The more I think about it, the more sense this makes. ...

$10,000 is a lot of money for a book - but another way of looking at this, is that 100 libraries contributing $100 each can pay for the production of an open access book. Libraries already do a lot of purchasing as groups through library consortia and groups of consortia; this approach could be a great fit. ...

Site for CC-licensed designs

SomeRightsReserved is a publishing platform and shop for CC-licensed blueprints and design files. Contents range from e-books to fonts, audio, and software. Some downloads are priced, while others are gratis. (Thanks to Creative Commons.)

Update from CLEO

Delphine Cavallo, Une plateforme d’édition électronique complète, L’édition électronique ouverte, October 31, 2008. An update on the activities of the Centre pour l’édition électronique ouverte [Center for Open Electronic Publishing]. (Thanks to Fabrizio Tinti.)

Libraries, e-science, and open data

Elisabeth Jones, E-science Talking Points for ARL Deans and Directors, Association of Research Libraries, October 24, 2008. (Thanks to Fabrizio Tinti.) See especially point 8, "What is the connection between Open Access and Open Data?":

Open Access and Open Data share strong ideological ties, but diverge in the content being shared and the arguments for and against such sharing. ...

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. The objections raised against Open Data are quite distinct from those leveled against Open Access, among 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. ...

November SOAN

I just mailed the November issue of the SPARC Open Access Newsletter.  This issue includes an open letter to the next President of the United States, arguing that a national policy to require OA for publicly-funded research would serve the national priorities to reduce our carbon footprint, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and create jobs in a burgeoning economic sector devoted to green technology and green energy.  The round-up section briefly notes 143 OA developments from October. 


Briefing paper on geodata and Web 2.0

Stuart Macdonald, Data Visualisation Tools: Part 2 – Spatial Data in a Web 2.0 Environment and Beyond, DataShare briefing paper, September 2008; apparently posted online October 28, 2008.
... [The paper] aims to discuss and highlight some of the many examples of spatial (or geographic) data mashups using Web 2.0 technologies and geo-browsers and how they are or can be utilised in an institutional or collaborative research realm. It will also touch on neo-geography and Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) in addition to other open geo-processing tools and organisations which publish and support the use of spatial data in open ways. ...
See also our past posts on the DataShare project.

SURF video on author rights

SURF has released a short video, Author rights, your rights, encouraging scholars to retain their copyrights.

Paradoxical commoners

David Bollier, The Public Domain as a “Jungle”,, October 28, 2008. A review of Terms of Use: Negotiating the Jungle of the Intellectual Commons by Eva Hemmungs Wirtén.

... Even though public universities have been in the forefront of patenting scientific research, they are also leading new efforts to establish new types of “science commons” for data, journal articles and research.

Similarly, even though large drug companies are aggressively patenting biological knowledge, they are also in the forefront of establishing new research commons in order to share data. The companies increasingly realize the dangers of the so-called “tragedy of the anti-commons,” in which fragmented and dispersed property rights make it difficult to share and collaborate, and therefore to innovate. ...

OA in the new Spanish science law

La nueva Ley de Ciencia y Tecnología y el “Open Access” [The new Law of Science and Technology and OA], Open Access, October 31, 2008. Excerpt of a rough translation:

One of the first actions announced by the Minister of the new [Spanish] Ministry for Innovation and Science was the development of a new Law on Science. It is already working on a preliminary draft of the law, for whose preparation a Working Group was established, made up of specialists in various subjects that the law intends to touch upon. And as good news for our OA community, one of the topics included in this draft is open access to the results of scientific research financed with public funds. ...

[The Ministry organized] a few days of debate last month and has opened an electronic mechanism to enable stakeholders to send comments, suggestions and opinions on the preliminary draft until late December.

The draft includes the issue of open access, which is an important step; however, the wording was too vague with regard to the arguments about its importance, and on the other hand, if left as is, may be limited to a mere declaration of intent, as it doesn't specify the means that will allow open access (in terms of infrastructure that supports it, for example). ...