Monday, October 29, 2007

Rethinking Collections - Libraries and Librarians in an Open Age: A Theoretical View

Heather Morrison has published a thought-provoking article in the latest issue of First Monday.

Open access, one of the most important of the potentials unleashed by the combination of the electronic medium and the World Wide Web, is already much more substantial in extent that most of us realize. More than 10 percent of the world’s scholarly peer–reviewed journals are fully open access; this does not take into account the many journals offering hybrid open choice, free back access, or allowing authors to self–archive their works. Scientific Commons includes more than 16 million publications, nearly twice as much content as Science Direct. Meanwhile, even as we continue to focus on the scholarly peer–reviewed journal article, other potentials of the new technology are beginning to appear, such as open data and scholarly blogging. This paper examines the library collection of the near and medium future, suggests that libraries and librarians are in a key position to lead in the transition to an open age, and provides specific suggestions to aid in the transition.

Morrison's Conclusions:
The time is ripe to rethink collections. The universe of information has already changed significantly in the Internet age, with open access journals and archives already playing a key role in scholarly communication. More change is to be expected as we continue to explore the full potential of new media. The library collection of the future may include whole collections of digital documents, files, data, and links, with less emphasis on individual items.

Libraries can play a key role into the future. Change can begin with something as simple as revising the library’s vision statement. Libraries should support transition towards open access, employing suitable cautions, such as ensuring that market forces will be in play to moderate the average per–article costs, to ensure a cost–effective scholarly communications system, and ensuring that true open access is supported, not just free access. Libraries can play a vital role in supporting the publishing efforts of their faculty, for example by hosting and providing basic technical support for journals. It is not too soon to begin reorganizing for change. Current library staff have skills that will be needed in institutional repositories and the new world of collections; the best approach is to engage staff as soon as possible, to help them envision themselves in an open access future, so that they can help us all to figure out how to get there.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Mandate for Public Access to NIH-Funded Research Poised to Become Law

On Tuesday, October 23, 2007 the full U.S. Senate approved a bill containing support for public access to taxpayer-funded research by directing the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to require participation by researchers. See the news release from the Alliance for Taxpayer Access.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Max Planck Society cancels Springer journals contracts due to excessively high costs

The Max Planck Society has terminated its contract for online journal access to some 1200 Springer Verlag journals effective January 2008. This high-profile decision follows extended negotiation efforts, and is based on comparison of Springer cost/use data with similar data from other major journal publishers under contract to the institutes. Researchers at the various institutes will have on-going access to older Springer volumes since the previous license agreements provided for perpetual access to volumes purchased. Articles published in 2008, however, will no longer be available through the SpringerLink platform, and the Society library will find other more cost-effective ways to provide access to this information. The Max Planck Society was an initiator of the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities in 2003. The declaration calls for open access to publicly funded research, with over 240 scientific organizations signatories. See the Heise Online article for more information.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


The Alliance for Taxpayer Access (ATA) is urging that we inform our Senators to oppose amendments that strike or change the NIH public access provision in the FY08 Labor/HHS appropriations bill. Contact with Senators must be made before 2PM Eastern on Monday, October 22.

From ATA's website:

The Senate is currently considering the FY08 Labor-HHS Bill, which includes a provision (already approved by the House of Representatives and the full Senate Appropriations Committee), that directs the NIH to change its Public Access Policy so that participation is required (rather than requested) for researchers, and ensures free, timely public access to articles resulting from NIH-funded research. On Friday, Senator Inhofe (R-OK), filed two amendments (#3416 and #3417), which call for the language to either be stricken from the bill, or modified in a way that would gravely limit the policy’s effectiveness.

Amendment #3416 would eliminate the provision altogether. Amendment #3417 is likely to be presented to your Senator as a compromise that “balances” the needs of the public and of publishers. In reality, the current language in the NIH public access provision accomplishes that goal. Passage of either amendment would seriously undermine access to this important public resource, and damage the community’s ability to advance scientific research and discovery.

Please contact your Senators TODAY and urge them to vote “NO” on amendments #3416 and #3417.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Redefining Scholarly Publishing as a Service Industry

Paul Peters has published the article "Redefining Scholarly Publishing as a Service Industry" in The Journal of Electronic Publishing. Peters is the Head of Business Development for the Hindawi Publishing Corporation.

The article's abstract:
The landscape of the scholarly publishing market has been largely defined by subscription-based publishing models that have existed since the earliest days of scholarly journal publishing. If there is a widespread shift from these subscription-based models to an open-access model based on publication charges, the fundamental nature of the scholarly publishing industry will transform from that of a content-providing industry to a service-providing industry. The benefits that this transformation will bring to the research community are in many ways as important as the benefits that an open access model will have in terms of increasing online access to scholarly literature.
The article's conclusion:
Apart from the substantial benefits that an open access model will have on improving access to scholarly literature, a shift towards business models based on publication charges can provide vastly increased value to the scholarly community. This is not to say that the shift to an “author pays” model will be easy, since this transition is likely to cause a fair bit of turmoil in the short run. Fields in which authors do not have research budgets that can support publication charges will have a difficult time converting to an “author pays” model until sufficient funding sources can be redirected to support these charges. Both commercial and not-for-profit publishers that have become dependent on large per-article revenues will face serious challenges if the quality of their service does not justify these revenues. Nevertheless, in the long run, a shift towards a system based on publication charges will enable greater competition between publishers, more innovative services, and greater overall value for researchers. Publishers who can provide the greatest value to the research community will see their journals flourish without the need for costly sales teams, and those who cannot will soon find that they have become obsolete in the context of a service-oriented publishing system.
Click here for the full article.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

University Video Collections on

The Open Culture website <> provides access to numerous interesting video and audio collections from some of America’s leading colleges and universities. For example, Columbia Interactive is a gateway to selected electronic learning resources developed at Columbia University. The Yale University - YaleGlobal Online Magazine site, run by the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization, has numerous video interviews with major international leaders and thinkers — for example, Benazir Bhutto, Thomas Friedman, Mohamed ElBaradei, Lawrence Summers and former President Clinton. From UC Berkeley (webcasts.berkeley) one can access webcasts and podcasts of full-fledged Berkeley courses and events. Other fascinating university video and audio sites are accessible from the Open Culture website.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Librarians Protest Science's Departure From JSTOR, Fearing a Trend

There’s an article in the 11 October, 2007 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education about the journal Science leaving JSTOR. Particularly interesting is the issue (under the section Revolt of the Librarians) about a possible implication for going e-only with journals.


When the American Association for the Advancement of Science announced in late July that it would pull its flagship journal, Science, from JSTOR, the popular, nonprofit digital archive of scholarly publications, the association cast its decision as a natural evolution.

According to the announcement, the AAAS, as the association is known, was merely joining "an increasing number" of large scientific-society journals that were "digitizing and controlling their own content."

Why, then, are so many librarians kicking up a ruckus about it? . . . .

Looking at the AAAS's decision, librarians see more than a clash between profit seeking and the association's mission. They fear that the group's abandonment of JSTOR is the beginning of a trend that will make libraries regret having eliminated print subscriptions and removed journals from shelves. They also wonder how libraries at smaller institutions and in poorer countries will be able to afford new subscriptions to titles removed from "online aggregators" like JSTOR.

Even large library systems say the move, which could push them to return to print journals, may create a new space crunch. . . .

Full Text of Article
Please note that the article is only available to Chronicle subscribers or to those accessing through BC Libraries' portal.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Taylor & Francis Announce More iOpenAccess Titles

In a recent press release Taylor & Francis announced that 31 journals in environmental and agricultural sciences, behavioural sciences, development studies will be added to their "author-pays" open access program. Taylor and Francis now have over 200 journals with their iOpenAccess option. Excerpts from the press release:

Taylor & Francis are delighted to announce that their "iOpenAccess" option has been extended to cover 31 journals in environmental and agricultural sciences, behavioural sciences, development studies. This is in addition to the 175 journals from T&F's Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics portfolios, 7 behavioural science journals from Psychology Press, and medical and bioscience journals from Informa Healthcare.

From today, all authors whose manuscripts are accepted for publication in one of these iOpenAccess journals will have the option to make their articles available to all via the Journal's website, and to post to repositories, for a one-off fee of $3100. . . .

  • Authors are asked to grant a publishing licence or assign copyright in the normal way. Selection of the iOpenAccess option and payment of the appropriate fee will then allow the article to be made available to all under a Creative Commons Licence (Attribution-Non-commercial-No Derivatives version 3.0). Under this licence we allow tagging and cross-referencing of articles within repositories so that they relate back to the original research grants and programmes.
  • Authors selecting the iOpenAccess option have no embargo restriction on posting their version of the published article to any institutional or subject repository. Where appropriate, we facilitate deposit on behalf of authors into PubMedCentral.
  • We undertake to review the subscription prices of each journal with respect to the uptake of the iOpenAccess initiative, and the relevant information will be published at The assessment of the first group of iOpenAccces titles will take place in early 2008. . . .

Participating Journals

iOpenAccess Agreement

Tuesday, October 2, 2007