Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Library Copyright Alliance Strongly Supports HR 1201, the FAIR USE Act

The Library Copyright Alliance issued the following press release today:
The Library Copyright Alliance (LCA) strongly supports the introduction of the Freedom and Innovation Revitalizing US Entrepreneurship (FAIR USE) Act of 2007, HR 1201. The FAIR USE Act is co-sponsored by Congressmen Rick Boucher (D-VA), Congresswomen Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Congressman John Doolittle (R-CA).

At the end of 2006, Dr. Billington, the Librarian of Congress, approved six exemptions from the prohibition on circumvention of technological measures contained in section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). These exemptions will sunset in three years. The FAIR USE Act makes these six exemptions permanent. “Two of these exemptions are particularly important to the library community,” said Miriam Nisbet of the American Library Association. “During the rulemaking proceeding before the Library of Congress, the library community supported the exemptions for screen readers for the visually impaired and film clip compilations for college media studies classes. The Fair USE Act will ensure that these important activities can continue in the future and the Act will go a long way to eliminate the negative affect the DMCA has had on lawful uses,” Nisbet said. . . . MORE

Monday, February 26, 2007

Scholarpedia: Peer Reviewed Equivalent to Wikipedia

Eugene M. Izhikevich, a Senior Fellow in Theoretical Neurobiology at The Neurosciences Institute in San Diego, is Editor-in-Chief of Scholarpedia -- a free peer reviewed online encyclopedia. Izhikevich is leading a collaborative effort to produce a peer reviewed equivalent to Wikipedia, entirely open to public contributions but with editorial oversight by experts.

Debatepedia: Encyclopedia of Debates

Debatepedia is a free, wiki-based encyclopedia where people can collaboratively research and write outlines of arguments on various topics. As a "wiki", it enables anyone to easily present and organize the unique arguments that have been made by third-party sources (ie. by scholars, experts, leaders,...). It also enables you to present the positions of the key players, organizations, countries in major public debates. Debatepedia combines "wiki" technology with an ideal "logic tree" debate methodology.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Census of Institutional Repositories in the United States

In this CLIR report, the authors describe results of a nationwide census of institutional repositories in U.S. academic institutions. The census is one of several activities of the MIRACLE Project, an IMLS-funded research program based at the University of Michigan. From the Executive Summary:
What Progress Have Respondents Made on IR Policies?
At least 60% of census respondents with operational IRs report they have implemented policies for (1) acceptable file formats, (2) determining who is authorized to make contributions to the IR, (3) defining collections, (4) restricting access to IR content, (5) identifying metadata formats and authorized metadata creators, and (6) determining what is acceptable content (Figure 6.2). There are many more IR-related activities for which these institutions report drafted policies or no policies at all.

It may be not necessary for all IR policies to be in place at the time of the public launch of an institution’s IR. Taking a wait-and-see attitude, evaluating what transpires after a period of time, then firming up existing policies and implementing new ones as needed may be the most expedient course of action.

Who Contributes to IRs and at What Rate?Authorized contributors to IRs are typically members of the institution’s learning community—faculty, librarians, research scientists, archivists, and graduate and undergraduate students (Table 6.3). Staff who facilitate the research and teaching missions of the institution (e.g., press, news service, academic support staff, central computer staff) are less likely to be authorized to contribute. Asked to identify the major contributor to their IR, only PPT staff are unified in their response, with almost 60% naming faculty (Table 6.4). Percentages drop to 48.1% and 33.3% for PO and IMP respondents, respectively. The unified response of PPT staff probably stems from the fact that they work one-on-one with faculty who are early adopters during the planning and pilot-test phase of the IR effort. In fact, PO, PPT, and IMP respondents choose “IR staff working one-on-one with early adopters” as the most successful method for recruiting IR content (Figure 6.5). Other successful methods are “word of mouth from early adopters to their colleagues” (Figure 6.6), “personal visits to staff and administrators,” and “presentations about the IR at departmental and faculty meetings” (Figure 6.7).

Respondents report that recruiting content for the IR is difficult (Figure 7.3). At institutions with operational IRs, IR staff are willing to entertain institutional mandates that require members of their institution’s learning community to deposit certain document types in the IR (Table 7.3). Asked why they think people will contribute to the IR, respondents give high ratings to reasons that enhance scholarly reputations and offload research-dissemination tasks onto others. Lower-ranked reasons pertain to enhancing the institution’s standing.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Health Groups Urge Senators to Support On-line Access

The Alliance for Taxpayer Access (ATA) has issued a press release about letters sent from thirty-nine patient, health, and consumer organizations to Senators Lieberman, Cornyn, and Collins in support of the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA). "The Public Access Act would require that most taxpayer funded scientific papers be made available for free online within six months of initial publication. The groups stress the particular importance of greater access to published medical research, which would help scientists speed the development of new treatments and cures."

Copies of the letters and signers are available here:

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Directory of Open Access Journals

This is a reminder about the very valuable Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), an initiative that is hosted, maintained and partly funded by Lund University Libraries. DOAJ is a database covering free, full text, quality controlled scholarly journals in all subjects and languages. Currently there are 2581 journals in DOAJ, 771 of which are searchable at article level. As of today 127246 articles are included in the DOAJ service. All of DOAJ's journals are accessible through the BC Libraries Quest catalog.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Book 2.0

Scholars Turn Monographs Into Digital Conversations

From the The Chronicle of Higher Education's Information Technology section, Volume 52, Issue 47, Page A20, by Jeffrey R. Young
Mr. Wark, a professor of media and cultural studies at New School University, has put the draft of his latest book online in an experimental format inspired by academic blogs and the free-for-all spirit of Wikipedia .... Each paragraph of Mr. Wark's book has its own Web page, and next to each of those paragraphs is a box where anyone can comment — though readers are not permitted to alter the original text. ... More

Libraries Urged to Drive a Hard Bargain in Negotiating Digitization Agreements

Richard J. Johnson, former founding executive director of the Association of Research Library's SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), has published “In Google’s Broad Wake: Taking Responsibility for Shaping the Global Digital Library" in the February 2007 special issue of ARL: A Bimonthly Report. He argues that libraries should make every effort to ensure that digitization agreements they enter into protect the public domain and provide for innovative uses of digital files beyond keyword searching. It's essential, he writes, that any arrangements advance or protect a variety of institutional, scholarly, and public interests and address such questions as: "Do these arrangements adequately prevent restrictions on use of public domain works? Do they advance the opportunities for resource discovery and computational analysis? Do they anticipate long-term preservation needs? Do they sufficiently value the substantial investment made by institutions to develop, organize, and maintain collections over time?

The article is available at http://www.arl.org/bm~doc/arlbr250digprinciples.pdf. A press release is at http://www.arl.org/bm%7Edoc/googleswakepr.pdf

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The EC Petition and the EC Poll

Les Carr's message below was forwarded to the SPARC Institutional Repositories Discussion List. It's a clear indication that European (and other) researchers are strongly in favor of Open Access as a tool for facilitating their research endeavors.

** Cross-Posted **

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 14 Feb 2007 00:42:08 +0000
From: Leslie Carr
Reply-To: American Scientist Open Access Forum

Subject: The EC Petition and the EC Poll

The European research and academic community has demonstrated overwhelming support for the European Commission's proposed Open Access Self-Archiving Mandate (A1). A petition, launched jointly on January 14th 2007 by research organisations in a number of European countries, has drawn over 20,000 signatures from Europe and worldwide in support of the EC's proposal. The response includes almost 1,000 institutional signatories from National Academies of Sciences, Universities, Rectors' conferences, Learned Societies, national and private research funding councils, and industries that apply research.)

In conjunction with the petition, a separate poll has been conducted of the EC Open Access Mandate's specific target constituency. The administrators of currently active EU FP6 projects were asked to register a vote FOR or AGAINST open access to research results. The result was overwhelming: 85.8% in favour of open access, 14.2% against (based on a healthy 8.22% response rate from 2652 email invitations to vote).

Previous research has demonstrated the increased impact that Open Access to Research Results offers the research industry.
The petition and the poll demonstrate that Open Access now receives broad-based and popular support as a mainstream requirement of the European research industry.
Les Carr
University of Southampton

Monday, February 12, 2007

ARL “Know Your Copy Rights™” Brochure

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has published “Know Your Copy Rights™ – What You Can Do,” a brochure that gives faculty and teaching assistants in higher education an easy-to-scan explanation of when and how they can legally use intellectual property in their teaching, often without requesting permission or paying fees. An electronic copy of the brochure is available free on the Know Your Copy Rights™ Web site at http://www.knowyourcopyrights.org/.

Friday, February 9, 2007

The Academic Publishing Industry: A Story of Merger and Acquisition

Though the web site, The Academic Publishing Industry: A Story of Merger and Acquisition, has been up for several years, it is still a very informative account in time-line format of a major trend among publishers, namely the tendency for mergers and acquisitions. "A major finding of this research has been how many of the major imprints bought by academic librarians all over the world are owned by the same company. . . . The story is sobering." A clear message is that as publisher mergers and acquisitions increase, so do the cost of their journals and books. The author, Mary H. Munroe, updated the site in December, 2006.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

American Society for Cell Biology Announces Support for Open Access

The American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) has announced its support for free public access to federally-funded research within 6 months of publication. The Society has provided open access to research articles in the journal, Molecular Biology of the Cell, since 2001 and has seen no financial difficulties in this procedure. For the full story see: http://ascb.org/index.cfm?navid=10&id=1968&tcode=nws3.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Princeton Joins Google's Digitization Project

Princeton University Library is partnering with Google to make approximately 1 million books from its collection available online. From Princeton's 5 Feb., 2007 press release:
. . . . In a move designed to open Princeton's vast resources to a broad international audience, the library will work with Google over the next six years to digitize books that are in the public domain and no longer under copyright. The partnership is part of the Google Books Library Project, which digitizes books from major libraries and makes it possible for Internet users to search the collections through Google Book Search. . . . .
Princeton is the 12th institution to join the Google Books Library Project. Books available in the Google Book Search also include those from collections at Harvard, Oxford, Stanford, the University of California, the University of Michigan, the University of Texas-Austin, the University of Virginia, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the New York Public Library, the University Complutense of Madrid and the National Library of Catalonia.


Sunday, February 4, 2007

EUA Working Group on Open Access

The European University Association (EUA) recently established a Working Group on Open Access. Its goal is: (i) to raise awareness of open access to scholarship to the university community; and (ii) to develop a common strategy on key selected issues. The EUA Working Group has identified five “priority issues”:
1) Universities’ public role and responsibility as “guardians” of research knowledge/results as “public goods” – the preparation of statements and positions addressed to academic authors, and to public funding bodies.
2) The need for well-functioning open access repositories and networking between them (on the basis of common standards) for archiving purposes as a viable alternative to other modes of publication in the digital world.
3) Strengthening of legal rights position (non-exclusive copyright) and related legal requirements through the promotion, advancement or encouragement of model copyright agreements at university/ institutional as well as individual researcher level.
4) The promotion, advancement or encouragement of business models for publishing based upon open access principles.
5) The promotion, advancement or encouragement of peer review and quality control mechanisms by academic researchers for open access journals.

The 26 January, 2007 statement of the EUA Working Group on Open Access is available here.

Friday, February 2, 2007


ARL SPARC's E-News for Dec. 2006-Jan.2007 is now available. Particularly interesting is the bibliography (under "Articles of Interest") on the recent hiring by the Association of American Publishers of an "aggressive" PR firm to counter the rapidly growing Open Access movement.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Google: "Books are Not Part of a Network."

There's an interesting article about the Google Book project ("Google's Moon Shot: The Quest for the Universal Library") in the current New Yorker. It offers insight into Google's relationships with publishers and libraries and into some of the issues of copyright and competition. But it also includes this curious quote from Dan Clancy, identified as the chief engineer in Google’s system for scanning books in library collections:
“The scanning technology is boring,” Clancy said. “The real challenge is to get somebody something that they are actually interested in, inside a book. Web sites [my emphasis] are part of a network, and that’s a significant part of how we rank sites in our search—how much other sites refer to the others.” But, he added, “Books are not part of a network. There is a huge research challenge, to understand the relationship between books.”
Except, of course, that books are part of a network, and the relationship between them, in the sense of one referring to another in the way that Web sites do, is not so hard to understand. It may not be easy to parse those references when they're not in the form of http links, but the challenge should not be, as Clancy puts it, "to understand the relationship between books" but to draw on that relationship to get people to sources they'll find useful.