Welcome to the Free Online Scholarship (FOS) NewsletterDecember 26, 2001
With this issue I close out the first calendar year of the newsletter's existence. For years I'd been sending separate, personal emails about developments on the FOS front to a small group of friends. Stage One in the evolution of the newsletter occurred when I let myself realize that I could save time by broadcasting one email to a list. I only had to overcome my reluctance to send a form letter to friends. This happened in March 2001. Stage Two occurred when I got tired of adding new friends to the list manually. I knew I could automate the process and scale up if I registered with a hosting service. But first I had to overcome my reluctance to grow the list beyond my circle of friends. This happened in April, and soon the list contained a number of total strangers. Stage Three occurred in May, when my sabbatical began. If not for that, I would have written short, infrequent installments that would not have attracted 5% of the subscribers now on the list --and I would not have learned more than 5% of what I now know about the FOS movement.
Not counting today's issue, the newsletter has appeared 38 times in 38 weeks, averaging 24k per issue. Though I keep trying to write shorter issues (if only to lower expectations for future issues), their size has grown steadily: the last 15 issues have averaged 34k per issue.
I am deeply grateful to the 800+ formerly total strangers among you who have joined the list and shared your knowledge, thoughts, and feedback with me. In a 1952 essay, A. J. Muste argued that civil disobedience was useful in part because it made actual dissidents known to potential dissidents. It broke the appearance of unanimity that, by itself, discouraged many people from voicing their opposition or even thinking clearly and courageously about opposition. The growing subscription list is gratifying in part precisely for breaking the appearance of unanimity. The Public Library of Science petition has had the same effect on a much larger scale. It's odd to be working toward an exciting reform that will benefit scholars, the effective means to which are already in the hands of scholars, but which most scholars haven't yet acknowledged, let alone endorsed. We can be forgiven for welcoming the occasional bit of evidence that fellow travelers exist beyond the illusory veil of unanimity.Happy holidays to you all,
PeterPostscript. Stage Four will occur in August 2002 when my sabbatical ends and I return to full-time teaching. I'm still thinking about what that will mean for the newsletter. As I reach clarity on this myself, I'll say more about it in future issues.
More on the BioMed Central (BMC) decision to charge processing fees per article starting January 1
I should have mentioned in my previous story on this decision (FOSN for 12/19/01) that BMC will waive the processing fee not only for authors from developing countries, and authors with financial hardship, but also for authors from institutions with a BMC membership. Universities will pay much less in per-article processing fees on behalf of their researcher-employees than they now pay in subscription prices through their libraries. Moreover, because processing fees will make the resulting literature freely available online, universities willing to pay them will give their researchers more readers and impact in their fields. BMC is hoping that as universities understand these new realities, more will support this alternative financing model, and more will seek the even deeper discounts permitted by institutional memberships.
BMC press release on its institutional membership program("BioMed Central's business model is based on the dual premise that all original research articles should be freely available and that the imposition of subscription charges by other publishers is damaging the communication of science.")
Jeffrey Young, Publisher of Free Online Science Journals Will Charge Authors a 'Processing Fee'
BMC's online discussion of its alternative financing model
* Starting in 2002, the journal _Serials_ will be available to anyone wishing to subscribe, not just to members of the United Kingdom Serials Group.
* With money from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Wellcome Trust has bought Francis Crick's scientific and personal papers. Early in 2002 it will start indexing and digitizing them and will eventually create a free online Crick archive.
* Canada's Advanced Internet Development Organization (CANARIE) has launched a program to fund the development of advanced e-content, including projects in the arts and cultural heritage. Proposals for first-round funding will be considered until January 30.
* The Open Video Project, a free online video archive, is now a compliant and registered with the Open Archives Initiative.
* JISC and NSF have launched a joint initiative to study how digital libraries can transform teaching and learning.
* Swets Blackwell and ProQuest have announced a partnership in which their online journals and databases will link to one another. Libraries that subscribe to both will have full access to each through the links from the other.
* The Research Libraries Group (RLG) has launched the Cultural Materials Initiative to promote online access to cultural materials, including digitized copies of rare and unique works otherwise very difficult to see. Access will not be free.
* VTLS Inc. has launched the Chameleon iPortal, software for libraries to automate the creation of information portals on any subject. It draws on information gathered from multiple internet channels and search engines. Drop-in/pull-out modules let institutions incorporate content from licensed external databases and make the portal contents OAI-compliant.
* TDNet has become a CrossRef affiliate. This means that when TDNet makes a custom database of online journals accessible to a given library, all journals in the collection will support CrossRef reference linking.
* Britain's Library Association has launched a new promotional campaign on Science in Libraries.
* In the three years prior to 2000, lack of funds forced 39 local governments in Japan to cancel their mobile library programs. (PS: Another problem for which FOS is the solution.)
* The Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) oversees the academic cooperation of the Big 10 universities plus the University of Chicago. On December 3, the CIC launched the Cooperative University Press Initiative, in which the presses of the member universities will share their ebooks and ejournals with other member universities free of charge. Part of the initiative is to develop sustainable models for non-members to have access (probably paid access) to the econtent published by the member universities.
CIC press release on the Cooperative University Press Initiative
CIC home page
CIC Virtual Electronic Library
* ICAAP is a non-profit organization devoted to advancing the cause of free and affordable online scholarly communication. It has just launched myICAAP, a service to help support ejournals, launch new ones, and help ejournals find qualified, willing reviewers. myICAAP is backed by the powerful BlueSky software suite (see FOSN for 6/1/01) which automates nearly every aspect of publishing an online journal except the exercise of editorial judgment. For example, editors can assign a manuscript to a reviewer, track and nag the reviewer, read the reviewer's judgment, and decide whether to accept, reject, or resubmit the manuscript, with just a few mouse clicks. With another click, an accepted article can be readied for publication in HTML, PDF, eBook, CD-ROM, or WAP formats. The software will also generate statistics on reviewer time and acceptance rates, and generate any kind of article metadata, including OAI metadata. The extensive automation saves time, labor, and money. Journals that register for myICAAP have full use of BlueSky. Scholars who register for myICAAP enter a database that participating journals may search by academic specialization when they need reviewers. Libraries are asked to pay a subscription fee based on the number of myICAAP journals to which they want access. But even these fees are voluntary, since ICAAP journals are free for readers and libraries.
ICAAP and myICAAP(Full disclosure: I'm on the ICAAP board of governors.)
* Turbo 10 is a metasearch engine willing to incorporate nearly any specialty database or search engine that wishes to sign up. The chief exception is that once a topic like chemistry or artificial intelligence is "sufficiently covered" by other participating databases, Turbo 10 won't accept new databases on the same topic. This limitation seems arbitrary to me, except as a way to spur archive managers to sign up quickly. But apart from this, Turbo 10 is a smart concept, a win-win for searchers who want deeper access to the invisible web and content providers who want wider visibility. If you maintain a searchable archive, sign up before you're preempted. Joining the Turbo 10 index is free and entirely revocable.
Turbo 10 home page
How to add your search engine to Turbo 10
* If you like the idea of advancing science by harnessing spare CPU cycles around the internet for distributed supercomputing, be careful about implementing it at your institution without wide consultation. David McOwen faces a $400,000 fine and 120 years in prison for installing distributed.net software on the DeKalb Technical Institute network in 1998. McOwen had authority to install software on the network at the time, and the distributed.net software he installed is used exclusively for scientific projects. At McOwen's school, the network cycles were put to use testing the RC5 encryption algorithm. The total drain on the system was equivalent to sending one email per day. McOwen's trial is set for January 28.
Ann Harrison, Is Distributed Computing a Crime?
Postscript. I'm covering this because it's an unexpected legal obstacle to scientific research. But as long as I'm on the subject, note this news that major players like IBM, Sun, Compaq, NEC, and Cray are trying to make sure that the future of distributed or "grid" computing is open source.
* Some kinds of scientific research lend themselves better than others to interactive web sites and online polling. Here's one. Richard Wiseman studies the psychology of humor. Needing some data on what real people think of real jokes, he launched a web site with the cooperation of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. Users submit and rate jokes, and give a few details about themselves. This allows Wiseman to crunch the data and find patterns in risibility by sex, age, and nationality. It also lets him pinpoint the world's funniest joke.
World's funniest joke
How nations differ in their sense of humor
New on the net
* The proceedings of the October International Conference on Dublin Core and Metadata Applications 2001, in Tokyo, are now online.
Informative TOC without links
Uninformative TOC but with links
The powerpoint presentations of a subset of the conference presentations went online earlier (see FOSN for 12/12/01).
* Educause has put online the proceedings of its Fall 2000 forum, The Internet and the University.
Share your thoughts
* The Network Industry Awards would like your nominations (including self-nominations) for the 2002 awards. It will accept nominations until April 1, 2002.
* Canada's Internet Development Organization, CANARIE, solicits nominations for the five 2002 CANARIE IWAY (Information Highway) awards. It will accept nominations until January 30, 2002.
* eLibrary is software developed in Poland "for scientific publications based on advanced search methods". The developers are looking for a collaborators or financial support. I wish I could say more, but the page of further details is in Polish.
* Jeroen Meij has issued a call for papers on data mining and knowledge discovery in science, business, and government, and on technical aspects of data mining itself. These can be old or new papers, in nearly any format (HTML, PDF, PS, Latex, Word). They will be collected on a CD, where they will be "text-mineable". The CD will accompany a book anthology on the same subjects to be published early in 2002. To submit a paper or ask a question, contact Meij by email at <jeroen.meij [at] stt.nl>.
In other publications
* In the December 26 _SearchDay_, Chris Sherman describes two free online archives on the history of the internet, other than the Wayback Machine: The Arpanet Collection and the Internet FAQ Consortium.
* A short piece in the December 26 _eStatNews_ reports on a survey of U.S. adults conducted by SBC Internet Services. People who turn to the internet first for information outnumber those who turn to books first, three to one. People who think that the internet's primary value lies in education outnumber those who think it lies in commerce, 15 to one.
* In a December 3 press release, InfoTrieve reports that a study it commissioned from Outsell has found that the market for scholarly journal articles is $1.6 billion per year. It also reports that rising subscription prices has triggered a growing demand for pay-per-view document delivery. (PS: Was FOS listed among the options on the survey? There's no telling, but it's relevant that InfoTrieve specializes in pay-per-view document delivery.)
* In his December column on digital libraries for _Library Journal_, Roy Tennant argues that the tendency of human beings to settle for what is good enough rather than push harder for excellence, and the rise of digital libraries, have created a "convenience catastrophe". One solution is to provide more searchable online pointers (such as tables of contents, indexes, and reviews) to offline resources. Another is cross-database searching.
* In a paper published in December by the Digital Library Federation (DLF), William Brockman and three co-authors describe how scholars in the humanities conduct their research, especially their online research. The authors' purpose is to help libraries adapt to the changing needs of humanities scholars. One conclusion is that humanities scholars will want access to more electronic texts, and the tools for searching and analyzing them.
* In the latest issue of the _IFLA Journal_, Librarian of Congress James Billington discusses FOS initiatives like the National Digital Library of American history and culture, and asks whether electronic literature will diminish the "values of the book culture that made democracy and the responsible use of freedom possible". I don't know his answer because only an abstract of his article is free online.
* The latest issue of _Online Information Review_ has several FOS-related articles. Unfortunately only the table of contents and abstracts are freely available online:
Su Xin-ning, Han Xin-ming, and Han Xin-ning, Developing the Chinese Social Science Citation Index
Yin Zhang, Kyiho Lee, and Bum-Jong You, Usage Patterns of an Electronic Theses and Dissertations System
Linda Ashcroft and Stephanie McIvor, Electronic Journals: Managing and Educating for a Changing Culture in Academic Libraries
* In the latest issue of _The Electronic Library_, Alice Keller presents the results of an international survey on the future of electronic journals. The survey covered these five topics: the "future role of scholarly journal literature; scenarios for the journal of the future; serials crisis; archiving of e-journals; and new pricing and access models." Only the abstract is free online.
* In the winter issue of the AAP's _Professional Scholarly Publishing Bulletin_, Natalie Hilzen describes a dilemma facing commercial publishers. Federal law requires them to make their electronic content accessible to the disabled. But this means allowing users to copy files, or at least cut and paste selections, into special software e.g. for reading aloud. But leaving this door open for the disabled leaves it open for all readers. "Encrypted content that can only be read by a specific piece of equipment or software is inherently inaccessible to assistive software." Exactly.(This story starts on p. 4. You'll have to scroll. I know the AAP is slow to adopt electronic publication, but internal anchors are not rocket science.)
* In the November _Online Journalism Review_, Rebecca Fairley Raney reviews some of the controversies surrounding egovernment initiatives in the U.S.
* In a recent but undated issue of _The Ohio State Law Journal_, Kenneth Crews criticizes the many sets of non-binding guidelines that have tried to help students, teachers, librarians, and researchers understand the law on "fair use" and stay within its terms. The guidelines "bear little credible relationship" to the actual state of the law, and yet put themselves forward, or are accepted, as mandatory. People who need to know fair-use law "would be better served had the guidelines never existed".
* Information Today, Inc., has published volumes 34 and 35 in its series, Annual Review of Information Science and Technology. Some of the papers in these volumes address digital preservation, information retrieval, and the use of online scholarly literature. The volumes are not free.
* In the latest issue of _Mousaion_, Monica Hammes has an article, "Beyond E: Scholarly Communication in the Knowledge Era", which looks relevant. But I haven't seen it because Mousaion is not yet available online.
* You may remember the Liberty Alliance, a consortium of major players, formed to create an open authentication standard to compete with Microsoft's Passport (FOSN for 10/5/01). The alliance is picking up even more major players.
* In FOSN for 11/26/01 I summarized Nicholas Carroll's elegant anti-thesaurus proposal, which would create a new metadata tag allowing authors to declare that certain search terms were *not* relevant to their sites. Carroll has now written Part 2 to his proposal, responding to common questions and giving more technical detail on how it would work. Better, he quotes a line from the FOSN coverage of Part 1.
Catching up (old news I should have discovered earlier)
* In September, the Gale Group announced that libraries may purchase, and not merely license, its scholarly databases. This move addresses concerns of librarians that the must renew their licenses indefinitely in order to retain their content indefinitely.
In related and more recent news, the Gale Group announced that it is adopting the SFX OpenURL standard.
* In 1997 law professor Brian Wassom wrote a helpful compendium of advice on how to put copyrighted material on a course web site.
* Dana Ward, Professor of Political Studies at Pitzer College, has created Anarchy Archives, a free online collection of primary and secondary sources on the anarchist movement.
* David Pilgrm, Professor of Sociology at Ferris State University, has created the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia, a free online archive of the manifestations of racism in America.
* The U.S. State Department has created a series of free online archives on topics of importance to U.S. history and policy. For example:
Islam in the United States
Women in the United States
Women's Rights, 1848 to the Present.
If you plan to attend one of the following conferences, please share your observations with us through our discussion forum.
* Academic Institutions Transforming Scholarly Communications (SPARC/ARL Forum at the ALA Midwinter Meeting)New Orleans, January 18-23
* Electronic Texts in the 21st Century (another forum at the ALA Midwinter Meeting)New Orleans, January 18-23
* Intellectual Property and New Business Creation from Science and TechnologyOxford, January 27 - February 1
* High Quality Information For Everyone And What It CostsBielefeld, February 5-7
* E-volving Information futuresMelbourne, February 6-8
* Book Tech 2002New York, February 11-13
* ICSTI Seminar on Digital Preservation of the Record of Science[No web site yet, but for registration info contact Barry Mahon, <icsti [at] icsti.org>.]Paris, February 14-15
* Electronic Journals --Solutions in Sight?London, February 25-26
* International Spring School on the Digital Library and E-publishing for Science and TechnologyGeneva, March 3-8
* Database and Digital Library Technologies (part of the 17th ACM Symposium on Applied Computing)Madrid, March 10-14
* Digitization for Cultural Heritage Professionals: An Intensive ProgramChapel Hill, North Carolina, March 10-15
* Computers in Libraries 2002Washington D.C., March 13-15
* The Electronic Publishers Coalition (EPC) conference on ebooks and epublishing (obscurely titled, Electronically Published Internet Connection, or EPIC)Seattle, March 14-16
* Internet Librarian International 2002London, March 18-20
* New Developments in Digital LibrariesCiudad Real, Spain, April 2-3
* The New Information Order and the Future of the ArchiveEdinburgh, March 20-23
* International Conference on Information Technology: Coding and ComputingLas Vegas, April 8-10
* NetLat and Friends: 10 Years of Digital Library DevelopmentLund, April 10-12
* Creating access to information: EBLIDA workshop on getting a better deal from your information licencesThe Hague, April 12
* United Kingdom Serials Group Annual Conference and ExhibitionUniversity of Warwick, April 15- 17
* Information, Knowledges and Society: Challenges of A New EraHavana, April 22-26
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).
Please feel free to forward any issue of the newsletter to interested colleagues. If you are reading a forwarded copy of this issue, you may subscribe by signing up at the FOS home page.
FOS home page, general information, subscriptions, editorial position
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Guide to the FOS Movement
Copyright (c) 2001, Peter Suber