Friday, June 29, 2007

Congressional Panel Favors Access to Publicly Funded Research

On 28 June, 2007 a press release was issued by the Alliance for Taxpayer Access:

Public access to NIH-funded research took a major step forward this week with Senate Appropriations Committee agreement to direct the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to require that its funded research be made publicly available on the Internet....

The Senate’s 2008 appropriations bill specifically requires that NIH-funded researchers deposit in the National Library of Medicine’s online archive an electronic copy of their peer-reviewed manuscripts upon acceptance for publication in a journal. Articles would become publicly available no later than 12 months after publication....

Under the current NIH Public Access Policy, implemented in May 2005, investigators have deposited less than five percent of eligible manuscripts and, although a few publishers have also deposited articles stemming from NIH-funded research, the vast majority is not yet publicly available.

Congress has expressed concern about the voluntary policy’s failure to meet its goals. However, this is the first time the Senate committee has proposed legislative action to correct the situation. The Senate measure is similar to one recently put forth by the House of Representatives Labor/HHS Appropriations Subcommittee.

The FY08 Senate Appropriations Bill is expected to go before the full Senate for a vote later this summer. The House Labor/HHS Appropriations measure will be considered by the full House Appropriations Committee in July. . . . Full Press Release

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Open Knowledge Foundation announces the launch of Open Textbook Project

SOURCE: Open Knowledge Foundation Weblog (June 25th, 2007)

Open Text Book is a registry of textbooks and text book material that is open in accordance with the Open Knowledge Definition (OKD). It is run by the Open Knowledge Foundation.
Today we are pleased to announce the launch of Open Textbook, a place to list and keep track of news about textbooks that are open in accordance with the Open Knowledge Definition — i.e. free to use, reuse, and redistribute. We welcome participation in the project and if anyone has a textbook or notes they’d like to see listed or would like to be a contributor to the site please head on over to Open Textbook ....
See announcement for more details.

PubMed Central Hits One Million Article Mark

PubMed Central (PMC) recently added the one millionth full-text article to its repository. From the 21 June, 2007 press release:

PubMed Central (PMC), NLM's free digital archive of full-text journal articles, reached the one million-article mark the week of June 18. The millionth article reportedly came from the American Journal of Pathology. Now in its seventh year, PMC is enhanced each week with articles from over 350 important life sciences journals whose publishers have agreed to deposit current issues. All of the content submitted to PMC is converted to a normalized electronic format for long-term storage and display on the web.

Many of the participating publishers have also benefited from the PMC Back Issue Digitization Project, where NLM scans older issues from cover to cover, starting with volume 1, and creates PubMed citations for articles that are not in PubMed. Jointly sponsored by the Wellcome Trust and Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) in the UK, the NLM scanning project has collected and collated over 5 million pages of material. As of June 2007, these scanned articles accounted for 675,000 of the million articles in PMC.

Because of back issue digitization, several historically important works are now available in their entirety, including: Annals of Surgery from v.1, 1885; Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S.A. from v. 1, 1915; and all of the titles published by the American Society for Microbiology, including the Journal of Bacteriology, from v.1, 1916. This year, scanning was completed for the American Journal of Public Health v. 2 1912, and very soon BMJ will be available back to v. 1, 1857 along with all of the specialty journals published by the British Medical Association. Each of these titles continues to participate in PMC by submitting current content in full-text electronic form for every issue. . . . MORE

Friday, June 22, 2007

Malaria Journal Ranks Number One in Field of Tropical Medicine

After just five years BioMed Central's Malaria Journal has become the most highly-cited journal in the field of Tropical Medicine according to the recently released 2006 edition of Journal Citation Reports. From BioMed Central's press release:

Malaria Journal, launched by BioMed Central in 2002, is the only scientific journal dedicated exclusively to malaria research. Its 2006 impact factor of 2.75, up from 2.14 in 2005, makes it the number one ranked journal in the field of Tropical Medicine, up from number two in 2005. Malaria Journal also ranked as the fifth most-cited journal in the field of Parasitology for the second year in a row. These impressive rankings recognize the unique contribution made by Malaria Journal to the fast-growing field of Tropical Medicine, and underline the importance of freely available, open access research to practitioners and researchers working in the developing world. . . .MORE

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Ever Evolving Formulas to Sync Web User Queries with Relevant Results


A posting on the TEDBlog this week entitled, “Google's quest for the perfect links” provides a summary of journalist Saul Hansell's day with Google engineer Amit Shingal and his "search-quality team." With the proliferation of information posted/published on the Web, search algorithms will need to continue their evolution, “[growing] better at reading the minds of users to interpret … very short quer[ies]” and as Mr. Shingal from Google states, “[moving] from 'Give me what I typed' to 'Give me what I want.’”

Mr. Hansell’s full article, “Inside the Black Box” was published in the New York Times on June 3, 2007.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Nature Precedings -- new preprint server from Nature Publishing Group

Nature Publishing Group has announced a new venture in open access publishing for pre-published literature in biology, chemistry, medicine (excepting clinical trials) and earth science. Researchers can use Nature Precedings to share unpublished manuscripts, presentations, posters, white papers, technical papers, supplementary findings, and other scientific documents. Submissions are professionally screened for relevance and quality, but there is no peer review prior to posting to allow for more rapid dissemination of the information. Browse by subject and tag (author- and curator-tagged) to find relevant content.

5 More of BioMed Central's Journals to be Tracked by ISI

BioMed Central has announced that five more of its portfolio of independent journals will be tracked by Thomson Scientific, and will be assigned official impact factors in 2010. The five journals are: Environmental Health, International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, Journal of Neuroinflammation, Lipids in Health and Disease and Virology Journal. (Already all BioMed Central journal articles are tracked by Scopus and Google Scholar, enabling authors to see how often their research has been cited).
From BioMed Central's Blog:

The acceptance of these titles for tracking by Thomson Scientific reflects their growing prominence and reputation in their respective fields, and is a strong endorsement of their achievement to date. We have calculated unofficial 2006 impact factors for each of these journals, based on Thomson Scientific citation data, and this demonstrates that they already have an impressive citation rate.

Environmental Health - Unofficial Impact Factor 2.10
International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity - Unofficial Impact Factor 3.06
Journal of Neuroinflammation - Unofficial Impact Factor 4.36
Lipids in Health and Disease - Unofficial Impact Factor 1.38
Virology Journal - Unofficial Impact Factor 1.94

BioMed Central's growing independent journal portfolio consists of 109 titles which span the whole of biology and medicine. 21 of these journals are already tracked by Thomson ISI, and we look forward to seeing many more independent journals being accepted for tracking in the near future. Find out more about publishing in these titles here.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Librarians' Knowledge of Publishing

Peter Brantley, executive director of the Digital Library Federation, recently made a provocative posting to his personal blog in which he argues that librarians often have little knowledge about the work of publishers, particularly university presses. He writes of the "serious disconnect" between the world of libraries and the world of publishers, labeling it "a potentially crippling one." It is an interesting posting that contains more than a modicum of truth. Still, I believe that Brantley is being overly harsh on librarians and, more specifically, misrepresenting how they view publishers. While librarians might very well, as he suggests, be "lousy publishers", this would more likely be the case with respect to the traditional paradigm/understanding of publisher and publishing, and particularly the business of university presses.

But librarians don't want to take over this traditional publishing world. On the other hand, while many librarians see a continuing role for university presses, at least for the near future, in the dissemination of scholarship, they are increasingly pondering the raison d’ĂȘtre of major commercial publishers whose business practices seem to run counter to the optimal diffusion of scholarship, presumably a primary rationale for their existence. Surely this rationale should be more than solely accruing exorbitant profits? Anyway, librarians don't want to become publishers. They merely want to facilitate a better, more egalitarian system of disseminating the results of research and scholarship. And increasingly such a system has little to do with traditional publishing. Certainly librarians, as Brantley desires, should know more about the complex work of a university press. However, that is a world that may soon end.

Peter Brantley's blog possing is accessible at

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Repository Success at the University of Minnesota

New SPARC partnership points to the exemplary subject-specific model behind AgEcon Search

SOURCE: SPARC Email Release
Washington, DC - June 14, 2007 - SPARC has aligned with AgEcon Search: Research in Agricultural and Applied Economics, a free Web-based repository at the University of Minnesota that collects, indexes, and electronically distributes full-text copies of scholarly research. This SPARC Scientific Communities partnership recognizes how the creators of AgEcon Search have developed a model subject-specific repository that is innovative, collaborative, and successful as a focal resource for studies in the field.

The AgEcon Search ( collection includes current and archival working papers, journal articles, and conference papers that focus on agricultural economics and sub-disciplines such as agribusiness, food supply, natural resource economics, environmental economics, policy issues, agricultural trade, and economic development. The project is a collaboration of the University of Minnesota Libraries, the university Department of Applied Economics, and the American Agricultural Economics Association. Special projects have been funded by grants from the Farm Foundation, the USDA Economics Research Service, the American Agricultural Economics Association Foundation, and the National Agricultural Library.

Although launched 10 years ago as a repository for current working papers, AgEcon Search now includes 13 journals - and that number will grow in the coming year. Journal participants are diverse. Some are e-only journals that have their own Web sites but are part of AgEcon Search because it enhances their visibility and use. Others are print journals for which AgEcon Search serves as the only electronic distribution channel. A few have undertaken digitization projects and have contributed material back to the 1950s. AgEcon Search will serve as the permanent archive for this literature and encourages authors and organizations to use the electronic library as the storehouse for additional appropriate scholarly electronic works.

The project operates as what economists refer to as a distributed network. The leading partners - the University Libraries and Department of Applied Economics - contribute staff time, equipment, and funds for student support. Content contributors take on the work of preparing each paper, completing the submission form, and delivering the manuscripts to AgEcon Search - thus minimizing what needs to be done centrally. If a group chooses, they may pay (on a cost-recovery basis) to have their accumulated resources incorporated. To ensure the quality of the research in the collection, an organized scholarly community such as a society, association, university department, or organization must sponsor the work submitted, and each group has a peer review process in place for contributions.

Ten years since its launch, AgEcon Search has become an important tool for academe and industry. The collection contains over 24,000 papers from 140 institutions and professional associations, and over 1.25 million downloads have been recorded since 2001.

"From the outset, this project has been a partnership of the library, the academic department, and the association," noted University Librarian Wendy Lougee. "We have worked hand-in-hand to design a resource that would serve the discipline effectively. The Department of Applied Economics has been an invaluable partner and it is due in large part to their involvement that the project has achieved such success. It is our hope that libraries will help other disciplines to adopt the model of collecting and electronically archiving literature from a discipline that might otherwise be difficult to access."

"SPARC is pleased to help raise the profile of a repository initiative that has drawn its success from cross-campus and society collaboration," said SPARC Director Heather Joseph. "The founders of AgEcon Search have demonstrated that researcher involvement is key, and that focusing on the unique needs of a specific discipline can help not only to overcome the hurdles involved in growing a repository, but to create a new hub for the free and open study of a specific topic."

AgEcon Search completed a successful migration to the DSpace software in April, and has become part of the University's Digital Conservancy that is hosted by the University Libraries.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

YouTube to Test Copyright Protection Tool

Associated Press: YouTube to test video fingerprint tool
LOS ANGELES - The popular user-generated video sharing site YouTube will begin testing video recognition technology in conjunction with partners Time Warner Inc. and The Walt Disney Co.

The test will begin next month with hopes that the software, designed to recognize copyright content in videos, will be ready to roll out later this year, the company said.

The site's owner, Google Inc., has previously pledged to adopt some kind of solution to identify copyright content on its site so it can remove pirated content or negotiate with owners for a license.

While much of YouTube's videos are homegrown, copyright content from such partners as CBS and NBC also attract viewers. Protecting those relationships is key for online video sites.
Full Story

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The New Metrics of Scholarly Authority

There is a fascinating article, The New Metrics of Scholarly Authority, by Michael Jensen, Director of Strategic Web Communications for the National Academies, in the latest issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education. In a wide-ranging account Jensen focuses in particular on the rapidly changing nature of scholarly authority in the dynamic world of scholarly communication that is increasingly being affected by Web 2.0. He also looks ahead to how Web 3.0 might influence scholarly authority and scholarly publishing (he thinks it entirely possible that academic publishing as we know it will disappear). The article's direct address is

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) Partners With Google's Library Project

The Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) has joined with Google's Book Search Library Project. CIC and Google will work together to digitize select collections across all of CIC's libraries. The number of volumes involved could be as many as 10 million. The CIC is a national consortium of 12 research universities, including University of Chicago, University of Illinois, Indiana University, University of Iowa, University of Michigan, Michigan State University, University of Minnesota, Northwestern University, Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University, Purdue University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Two CIC libraries, those of the University of Michigan and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, had already been partners in this Google Library initiative. The addition of these further 10 CIC institutions represents a very major development, the number of libraries partnering with Google being now 25. From CIC's press release:

Google will have the opportunity to scan some of the most distinctive collections from the CIC’s holdings, now over 75 million volumes. The collections are comprehensive and global in scope, such as Northwestern’s Africana collection and the University of Chicago’s renowned South Asia holdings. The collective library holdings also underscore the Midwest foundation of the CIC universities. . . . Examples of these collections include the University of Minnesota’s Scandinavian and forestry collections, Michigan State’s extensive holdings in agriculture, Indiana University’s folklore collection, and the history and culture of Chicago collection from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

See CIC's full press release and Google's announcement.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Cases in Public Health Communication & Marketing: A Different Approach

Cases in Public Health Communication & Marketing, a new open access journal from the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, takes an unusual approach to academic publishing. Here's what they have to say about their mission, audience, and approach:
Our Mission

This journal is intended to advance practice-oriented learning in the fields of public health communication and social marketing. As the first journal in these fields to focus exclusively on case studies, we publish peer-reviewed, commissioned and sponsored cases that have the potential to teach and improve the practice of public health. Each case we publish describes a public health program - or some aspect of a public health program - that is based at least in part on communication or marketing methods.

We believe there is much to be learned by critically analyzing real-world experience. Unlike at NASA, at this journal failure is an option. We encourage analysis of both successful and failed programs. By providing a platform to critically assess real-world case studies, this journal hopes to raise the bar on the practice of public health communication and marketing.

Our Target Audience and Approach

Most academic journals cater primarily to researchers. We believe that practitioners, students and teachers are also important audiences, so we designed this journal in a manner intended to engage all of them. Graduate students edit this journal. Graduate students - in partnership with practitioners and their academic advisors - are the lead authors of all peer-reviewed cases in this journal. And to give practitioners a chance to take the lead in critically analyzing their own work, we also feature commissioned and sponsored cases (that are not peer-reviewed). Unusual? We think so. Appropriate? We certainly hope so. You be the judge. But please provide us with feedback so that we can improve our approach over time.

Emory Partners with Kirtas Technologies: OA Plus Print-on-Demand for Rare Books

Emory University’s Woodruff Library will partner with Kirtas Technologies, using a Kirtas robotic book scanner to digitize rare books, create PDF files that will be made freely available on the Internet, and also sold as print-on-demand books for those wanting printed copy. The project is limited to materials in the public domain (published before 1923). See press release for details.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Innovation in viewing, organizing, manipulating and zooming into images on the web


Another user engagement / data delivery innovation (Photosynth from Microsoft) demonstrated at TED2007, by Blaise Aguera y Arcas, software architect for Microsoft.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

BumpTop demo from TED2007

Interface designer, software developer, inventor, and nerdcore hip-hopper Anand Agarawala brings a welcome sense of expressiveness to the dusty desktop interface. His BumpTop software applies a 3D metaphor and rough-and-tumble interactivity that delights anyone who sees it in action. ... More

Play Presentation Below:

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

SPARC Recognizes Ted and Carl Bergstrom as SPARC Innovators

SOURCE: SPARC Email Release

Father-son team named for pivotal work on journal pricing and assessing the value of scholarly information

Washington, DC - June 5, 2007 - SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) has recognized Ted Bergstrom and Carl Bergstrom as the new SPARC Innovators. The father-son team advances the open sharing of scholarly information through original research and the creation of innovative tools that are used widely by the academic community to assess the value of research.

Ted and Carl are best known for their collaborations on Ted's journal pricing Web pages and, more recently, on the Web site produced by Carl's research lab. Ted's journal pricing page, which offers data reporting price per article and price per citation for about 5,000 academic journals, has centralized pricing information so it can be explored and compared in ways that were previously impossible. The site has become a vital resource for researchers and librarians alike. Carl's site offers a completely new and innovative approach to assessing the value of journals; it provides researchers, librarians and others a new mechanism to evaluate based on a diverse array of criteria.

Ted, an economist, holds the Aaron and Cherie Raznick Chair of Economics in the Economics Department at the University of California Santa Barbara. Carl, a theoretical and evolutionary biologist, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Washington. To read in more detail about the Bergstroms' contributions to scholarly publishing, please see the SPARC Innovator Web page at

"It's clear that father and son place a high value on the open sharing of information, and they have devoted their careers to probing the notion of defining value in scholarship," said SPARC Director Heather Joseph. "Although they work in different fields, they come at the basic questions of fairness and access in ways that will impact scholarly communication for generations. It's entirely reasonable to believe that, together, they have the ability to change the way journals are measured and purchased."

"It is an honor to be recognized by SPARC, whose goals I share," Ted Bergstrom said. "And a great pleasure to share this honor with Carl, who has made our projects a lot of fun."

"I very much appreciate this honor, and I am particularly pleased to be sharing it with my father," said Carl Bergstrom. "I've deeply enjoyed working with him, and it means a great deal to me to know that others find our work to be useful and interesting."

The SPARC Innovator program recognizes advances in scholarly communication realized by an individual, institution, or group. Typically, these advances exemplify SPARC principles by challenging the status quo in scholarly communication for the benefit of researchers, libraries, universities, and the public. SPARC Innovators are featured on the SPARC Web site semi-annually and have included Melissa Hagemann of the Open Society Institute; the University of California; and Herbert Van de Sompel of the Los Alamos National Laboratory. SPARC Innovators are named by the SPARC staff in consultation with the SPARC Steering Committee.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Microsoft Adds Copyrighted Works to Book Search Engine


Microsoft Corp. will expand its books search engine by including copyrighted works in its index...

...Microsoft has obtained permission for all the copyrighted books included in the Live Search Books service, said Danielle Tiedt, general manager of the Live Search selection team.

... Microsoft's service will feature "tens of thousands" of copyrighted books in its index, from publishers including McGraw-Hill Companies, Simon & Schuster and Yale University Press....