Welcome to the Free Online Scholarship (FOS) NewsletterAugust 8, 2002
Interview with Ingenta CEO Mark Rowse
In my last issue (FOSN for 6/17/02) I wondered why Ingenta had appointed such an FOS-friendly advisory board. Ingenta produces electronic editions of scholarly journals for publishers of print journals. So far Ingenta produces no FOS or open-access journals.
On July 15 I had a wide-ranging telephone interview with Mark Rowse, Ingenta's CEO, who answered my earlier question and many others.
The short answer to my original question is that Rowse sees no conflict between FOS and Ingenta's current business. He wants to know what's happening in the FOS domain, wants Ingenta to advance some of the goals of the FOS movement (more below), and wants to position his company beyond the sometimes politicized conflicts in the scholarly communication industry today.
For Rowse scholarly journal articles are not merely free or priced. They evolve, and are often both free and priced at different times or in different versions. In the earliest stages, they are usually free, for example in presentations at conferences and informal email discussions. They might also be free at some middle stages, such as circulating preprints to colleagues or posting them to a preprint exchange. The final stage tends to be publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Rowse does not rule out making this final stage free as well, but points out that, even when it is priced, it is compatible with free distribution of the earlier versions at earlier stages.
Rowse believes that publishers are starting to recognize the legitimacy of free versions of published articles. This is shown by their growing acceptance of eprint archiving, at least of preprints.
Having said this, Rowse emphasized that Ingenta is not a publisher and does not want to become one. Others can solicit content and organize its peer review. Ingenta's niche is to produce the ejournal of the resulting articles.
Rowse's openness to free distribution of preprints is one factor that led Ingenta into the eprint services business.
Background: On July 1, Ingenta announced its plan to produce a commercial version of the eprints software developed at Southampton University. Eprints is the open-source software for creating OAI-compliant institutional archives. The Southampton version of the software will remain free and open source, and will continue to undergo development. The free Southampton version and priced Ingenta version will coexist and serve different constituencies.
Rowse is betting that some institutions will not want to bother installing and maintaining an eprints archive, even if the software is free. Ingenta will take on these jobs for institutions willing to outsource them, as well as the job of uploading content to the archives, a follow-through step that many institutions neglect. Institutions will choose whether to host the archives themselves or have Ingenta host them. The even when Ingenta hosts them, the archives will be open-access. For many institutions, Rowse believes that hiring Ingenta will cost less than doing the same work themselves.
Rowse can't yet estimate the release date for the commercial version of the software. Ingenta is still writing the code and considering different charging models.
Though Ingenta will sell the software and related services, Rowse does not expect them to produce a significant portion of company revenue. Ingenta has other reasons for entering the eprints and OAI services business. First, it would like to assure the consistency of the metadata generated by different archives at different institutions. It would like to provide researchers with searching tools that cover both refereed and unrefereed content, perhaps with different tabs on a search results page. It would like to interest commercial publishers in the OAI metadata harvesting protocol, even if these publishers will never adopt open access. It would like to enhance the protocol for various value-added research functions. In all these ways, it would like to make the free and priced worlds interoperable. Above all, it would like to be involved in scholarly communication at every stage in the life of an article.
Finally, I asked whether Ingenta had considered producing open-access journals. The answer is yes, but Rowse noted that he has never been approached by an open-access journal.
Ingenta's expertise includes the DRM system that limits online access to a journal's paid subscribers. But Ingenta only enforces the access rules requested by its publisher clients. Open-access journals might not have considered Ingenta in the past, because they would not take advantage of its DRM (true) or because they believed Ingenta was committed to priced access (untrue). But Ingenta is willing to produce ejournals for anyone, whether they wish to use its DRM or not. In fact, because open-access journals would use fewer of Ingenta's services, Ingenta could charge them less for production and hosting. (Ingenta would not compete with companies like BMC, for the same reason that Ingenta would not become a publisher.) Since the question hasn't yet arisen, Rowse can't give a price for this service. But he invites open-access journals to contact him to discuss it. It's possible that Ingenta's experience and economies of scale would make its production costs lower than other alternatives.
Ingenta home page
Ingenta announcement of its Open Archive and E-Print services
Open Archives Initiative
For more on Ingenta's support for online scholarship, see its June 25 acquisition of BIDS, the non-profit academic bibliographic service in the UK.
...and its study of the impact of site licensing and library consortia on academic journal publishing.
* PS. Some publishers ask Ingenta to allow free access to their contents. Here's one example,
Journal of the Association of Laboratory Automation (current issue)
The only snag is that articles are only "available for download for 24 hours". I don't know what this time limit means in practice. But if it is enforced, then this is free access without open access in the full sense.
But that is only how one journal chose to regulate access. I recommend that fully open-access journals take Mark Rowse at his word. If you are comparing prices for mark-up, hosting, and production (just about everything but editing), then ask Ingenta for quote.
Momentum for eprint archiving
Institutional eprint archiving is currently undergoing a unprecedented surge of acceptance and support. Years of patient work by many people at many institutions around the world have slowly assembled the pieces, spread the word, impressed the skeptics, and created a critical number of interoperable archives. Now archiving has reached a tipping point. Its rapidly spreading success is a pleasure to behold.
For these purposes, eprint archiving has three components: (1) the software for building the archives, Eprints for large institutional or disciplinary archives and Kepler for smaller individual "archivelets", (2) the Open Archives Initiative metadata harvesting protocol, the standard for making the archives interoperable, and (3) the decision by universities and laboratories to launch archives and fill them with the research output of their faculty.
* Here are the major developments on these three fronts going back only six months. If you've been following the progress of the FOS movement for any number of years, you'll agree that no other single idea or technology in the movement has enjoyed this density of endorsement and adoption in a six month period.
February 1, 2002. JISC holds the meeting to launch its Focus on Access to Institutional Resources Programme (FAIR), a program "inspired by the vision of the Open Archives Initiative".
February 6, 2002. Eight major library organizations from eight nations launch the International Scholarly Communication Alliance, which endorses institutional eprint archiving and the Open Archives Initiative.
February 14, 2002. Eprints launches version 2.0.
February 14, 2002. The Open Society Institute launches the Budapest Open Access Initiative, which endorses institutional eprint archiving and the Open Archives Initiative.
February 25, 2002. The University of Michigan Libraries Digital Library Production Service announces the launch of OAIster, which creates an OAI-compliant archive out of content previously invisible in the deep internet.
March 2002. The CARL/ABRC (Canadian Association of Research Libraries / Association des bibliothèques de recherche du Canada) issues a report endorsing the Open Archives Initiative.
March, 2002. François Schiettecatte launches my.OAI, a flexible search engine for OAI-compliant archives.
March 12, 2002. MIT's OAI-compliant DSpace enters its Early Adopter Phase
March 26, 2002. The first DELOS EU/NSF Digital Libraries All Projects Meeting in Rome devotes a forum to the Open Archives Initiative.
March 26, 2002. The OCLC Institute hosts the satellite videoconference, "A New Harvest: Revealing Hidden Resources With the Open Archives Metadata Harvesting Protocol" with host Lorcan Dempsey and featured speaker Herbert Van de Sompel.
April 3, 2002. The California Digital Library launches the OAI-compliant eScholarship Repository.
April 7, 2002. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign launches its OAI-compliant Cultural Heritage repository.
April 11, 2002. Stephen Pinfield, Mike Gardner and John MacColl write an important article for _Ariadne_ on their experience setting up institutional eprint archives at the universities of Edinburgh and Nottingham.
April 17, 2002. At the Museums and the Web 2002 conference in Boston, Timothy Cole and five co-authors present their experience setting up the UIUC Cultural Heritage Repository.
May-June, 2002. Colin Steele and Lorena Kanellopoulos visit each of the Group of Eight universities in Australia to promote the creation and use of eprint repositories. Queensland set up an archive, Monash plans to do so, and Melbourne is experimenting; the rest of the Group of Eight is expected to create archives shortly. The separate university archive projects have web sites, but not the Steele-Kanellopoulos roadshow.
May, 2002. CARL/ABRC launches a project to create institutional archives at seven Canadian universities and have the institutions exchange ideas, suggestions and best practices. (Also see the November 21-22 conference, below.) The project itself does not have a web page, but it does have this page of relevant resources.
May, 2002. RLG (Research Libraries Group) and OCLC (Online Computers Library Center) release their major report, "Trusted Digital Repositories: Attributes and Responsibilities".
May 6, 2002. The Perseus Project launches its Open Archives Initiative services.
May 9, 2002. Colin Steele gives a seminar on eprint archives at University of Adelaide.
May 21, 2002. ARL (Association of Research Libraries) releases its final report on its Scholars Portal project, and calls for it to be OAI-compliant.
May 29, 2002. _The Australian_ publishes a major article on eprint repositories.
June 14, 2002. The OAI releases version 2.0 of the protocol for metadata harvesting.
June 22, 2002. A group chaired by Colin Steele completes specifications for a national center to promote eprint repositories in Australia. The specifications were requested by the Australian Department of Education, Science and Training department. There is no web site yet for this project.
July, 2002. OAIster launches version 1.0 of its search interface.
July 1, 2002. Eprints affiliates with GNU, assuring that it will remain free and open source.
July 1, 2002. Eprints forms a partnership with Ingenta, which will produce a commercial version of the software (more in the Ingenta story above).
July 4, 2002. Eprints launches version 2.1.
July 5, 2002. Jeffrey Young publishes a important article on institutional archiving in the _Chronicle of Higher Education_.
July 8, 2002. William Nixon writes an important article for _Ariadne_ on the experience of setting up an institutional archive at the University of Glasgow.
July 14, 2002. The Public Knowledge Project releases its Open Archives Harvester.
July 14, 2002. Michael Nelson, Herbert Van de Sompel, and Simeon Warner present an "Advanced Overview of Version 2.0 of the OAI Protocol for Metadata Harvesting" at the ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries.
July 16-17, 2002. The Joint Conference on Digital Libraries gives the OAI two sessions at its 2002 meeting in Portland, Oregon. (Scroll down to sessions 6B and 10A.)
July 29, 2002. The University of Southampton, which developed the eprints software, announces TARDIS (Targeting Academic Research for Deposit and dISclosure), a project to stimulate the practice of eprint archiving.
July 29, 2002. SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) releases its major position paper, "The Case for Institutional Repositories".
August 1, 2002. Project SHERPA (Securing a Hybrid Environment for Research Preservation and Access) begins operation. Funded by JISC-FAIR, SHERPA is designed to stimulate eprint archiving in the UK CURL (Consortium of University Research Libraries) institutions.http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/ (home page under construction)
August 2, 2002. Max Rauner writes an important story on institutional archiving for _NZZ Online_.http://makeashorterlink.com/?F22715371 (Google's English translation)
August 3, 2002. Kendra Mayfield writes a major story on eprint archives for _Wired News_.
August 8, 2002. And now this.
* If we peek a little into the future, we see three important meetings coming:
October 17-19, 2002. CERN will host its second annual workshop on the Open Archives Initiative and eprint archives.Here's the web site for the first CERN OAI workshop, in March 2001.
October 18, 2002. ARL, SPARC, and CNI will host a workshop on institutional repositories in Washington, D.C.(Rick Johnson of SPARC tells me that this workshop has already attracted more than 100 registrations from 66 universities. This suggests widespread interest in launching institutional repositories.)
November 21-11, 2002. CARL/ABRC will host a conference ("Research, Innovation and Canadian Scholarship: Exploring and implementing some new models for scholarly publishing") on the lessons learned from its ongoing project to launch and monitor archives at seven Canadian universities. (See the CARL/ABRC entry for May above.) The conference program and registration information will soon appear at the CARL web site.
* There are also some developments without specific dates:
The BOAI (Budapest Open Access Initiative) is considering a program to support institutional archiving.(No details on the site yet. Stay tuned; I'll report any developments.)
The BOAI self-archiving FAQ is growing steadily.(If you haven't seen it recently, see it now. It has become extremely detailed and thorough.)
Helene Bosc reports that five eprint repositories have recently sprung up in France:
These-En-Ligne (theses only)
l'Institut Jean Nicod
Paristech (theses only)
* Here are the URLs of some players mentioned above without links.
Open Archives Initiative
* Thanks to Helene Bosc, Sarah Faraud, Chris Gutteridge, Melissa Hagemann, Stevan Harnad, Rick Johnson, Xiaoming Liu, Tim Mark, Stephen Pinfield, Colin Steele, and Herbert Van de Sompel for providing details.
Back from limbo
In early June I had a good dialog with Rick Anderson and a few other correspondents on the LibLicense discussion list. The topic was how to get past DMCA-bashing to a constructive alternative. If the DMCA is bad for scholarship and libraries, then what would be good? If our fair-use rights are being violated, then what amendments are needed to respect them that won't violate legitimate IP rights on the other side? I liked the challenge of not imitating the IP industry in simply making the infantile demand for a one-sided remedy.
The dialog went through many layers. Unfortunately, when it finally petered out I discovered that my postings in the LibLicense archive were empty. It's still not clear why --some unusual convergence of bugs and incompatibilities at the two ends of the communication. Ann Okerson, the LibLicense moderator, has been very helpful in restoring the postings to the archive from her personal email box. I thank Ann.
Rick and I took the conversation offline after a point, where it continued for another 4-5 layers. If there's any interest, then with Rick's permission I can post those messages to the FOS forum.
The thread, "DMCA Alternatives"
At first the FOS News blog was an experiment to see whether it could carry some of the burden formerly carried by the newsletter. It has definitely succeeded. I love the way that I can post items immediately, open the door for other contributors to post items, give every item a unique URL, and let users choose whether to read the results on the web, by email, or through RSS syndication.
So here's where things stand in the evolution of the FOS Newsletter.
(1) News items with and without short comments will go straight to the FOS News blog. If you signed up for the newsletter in order to get these news items, then you should start visiting the blog regularly, add it to your RSS newsfeed aggregator, or sign up for email delivery (on the blog page). The newsletter will no longer carry these items.
(2) I'll send press releases, interesting postings from other discussion lists, and other tidbits to the FOS discussion forum. Subscription to the forum is free but separate from subscription to the newsletter. I separated them early last year because many newsletter subscribers did not want the extra traffic in their mailboxes represented by forum postings.
(3) Conference and workshop information now goes to a dedicated web page, not the newsletter. This allows you to get updates as soon as I do, and see the conference information as far into the future as I have information.
(4) FOSN will continue to be the place where I write longer pieces of analysis. However,as my work for the 02-03 school year kicks in, these will not be frequent.
I'm happy to report that the blog now has eight excellent contributors. It will serve everyone better, however, if I can recruit more. As the 02-03 school year deepens, I'll not only have less time for writing essays for the newsletter, but less time for posting short items to the blog. And so far my postings have constituted about 90% of the whole. As I slow down, I worry about gaps in its news coverage. We can prevent this if we add contributors from different disciplines, different nations, and different sectors of the scholarly communication universe. The more the merrier. Please consider joining the blog's board of contributors. Read more about it and drop me a line if you're interested.
I'm also happy to report that the tally of newsletter subscribers continues to grow (now 1220+), even while the newsletter frequency declines. To all the newcomers I say welcome and thanks for your interest. If you're wondering why the newsletter is slowing down just as you're signing up, the reasons can be found in the May 30 issue.
FOS News blog
FOS home page(Subscribe to the discussion forum, search the FOS pages.)
The Free Online Scholarship Newsletter is supported by a grant from the Open Society Institute.
This is the Free Online Scholarship Newsletter (ISSN 1535-7848).
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Copyright (c) 2002, Peter Suber
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