Wednesday, January 30, 2008

New study on peer review by the Publishing Research Consortium

The Publishing Research Consortium, based in the U.K., announced on January 25 the publication of a new study, Peer Review in Scholarly Journals - perspective of the scholarly community: an international study . The full report and summary are available online. Over 3,000 senior authors, reviewers and editors participated in the study survey. Findings indicated general satisfaction with the peer review process as it currently exists, but pointed toward some possible improvements including the need for increased speed of the process and greater use of "double-blind" reviewing. Publishing Research Consortium partners include:
the Publishers Association, the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP), the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers, and the Association of American University Presses.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

SPARC Releases New Campaign for Student Engagement

SPARC has released a new educational initiative, The Right to Research: The Student Guide to Opening Access to Scholarship", to engage students on the topic of Open Access.

Excerpt from the Press Release:
Washington, DC – January 28, 2008 – SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) has released a new educational initiative to engage students on the topic of Open Access. “The Right to Research: The student guide to opening access to scholarship” repeats SPARC’s call for student voices to broaden the ongoing discussion of access to research. . . .

The Right to Research:

  • Helps students recognize the problem of access, saying they shouldn’t have to skip over research that could be important to their papers.
  • Introduces the principle of Open Access, making a clear distinction between the principle and the ways Open Access is being realized – through OA journals, repositories, copyright management, and policies.
  • Indicates how Open Access can make life as a student easier, advance research, widen access to those who need it, and increase visibility for student scholars.
  • Offers ways to support OA for both graduate students approaching publishing decisions and undergraduates who wish to adopt the OA cause. . . .
Text for The Right to Research campaign was developed by Gavin Baker and refined with input from undergraduate and graduate students across the U.S. For more information, visit the SPARC Web site at

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Publishers Announce Copyright Agreements with Universities

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) announced that three universities--Hofstra, Syracuse, and Marquette--have reached an agreement with the AAP on new copyright guidelines affirming that educational content delivered to students in digital formats should be treated under the same copyright principles that apply to printed materials. The guidelines, which were developed separately by the three universities, govern how librarians and faculty members distribute copyrighted content through library electronic course reserves systems, course management systems, faculty and departmental webpages, and other digital formats.

For announcement click here.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Berkeley Research Impact Initiative

UC Berkeley has announced a new pilot program to subsidize fees charged to authors who select open access or paid access publication. A primary rational is "[t]o provide support to new and emerging publisher options that both enhance the impact of Berkeley authors' research and show promise in helping research institutions create affordable and sustainable models for scholarly communication." The "initiative covers publication charges for open access journals such as PLoS, BioMedCentral, PhysMathCentral, and others (capped at $3000). It covers paid access charges for non-OA journals (capped at $1500 per article)."

See Press Release and Frequently Asked Questions.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Digital Library Initiatives at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The Jan/Feb 2008 issue of D-Lib Magazine has a brief but interesting overview of the digital initiatives at the Library of The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the largest State funded university library in the nation.

Digital library initiatives at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign began in 1994 for the dual purposes of providing digital access to the University Library's rich collections and conducting digital library research to advance the creation and use of digital resources. Today the UIUC Library is actively engaged in large-scale digitization of its collections through in-house and out-sourced projects, and its participation in the Open Content Alliance and the CIC Google Library Project. It has also recently launched the Illinois Harvest web portal, which provides organized and thematic access to digitized and born-digital resources about Illinois, created by Illinois scholars, or included among the digital collections of the University of Illinois Library. The Illinois Digital Environment for Access to Learning and Scholarship (IDEALS) is a set of digital collections and related services that together constitute the campus institutional repository.
The article also mentions the Digitized Book of the Week blog, that features news and highlights of the digitization initiatives at the Library of UIUC.

Full article:

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

NIH Public Access -- FAQs

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has posted a very useful list of FAQs regarding the new NIH Public Access policy that mandates that the public has access to the published results of NIH funded research.

To access the FAQs:

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Cities and the Environment (New Scholarly Open Access Electronic Journal)

Cities and the Environment (CATE), published by the Urban Ecology Institute and the Boston College Libraries, in cooperation with the USDA Forest Service, has released its first volume/issue. CATE publishes peer-reviewed scholarship on urban ecology research and urban ecology education.
Cities and the Environment (CATE), a web-based journal, aims to provide an international forum for urban researchers and practitioners to explore ecological theory, share relevant data and exchange best practices. Industry sectors that this journal shall target include the biophysical, social and educational aspects of urban management, landscape transformation and educational interventions. The ability of web-based publishing to reach the widest readership possible and the publisher’s goal to keep this journal free of charge will produce a scholarly environment where the audience can exchange ideas and findings that contribute to continued positive urban transformations.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Pitt’s Libraries and University Press Collaborate on Open Access to Press Titles

SOURCE: Press release from the University of Pittsburgh, November 29, 2007
The University of Pittsburgh’s University Library System (ULS) and University Press have formed a partnership to provide digital editions of press titles as part of the library system’s D-Scribe Digital Publishing Program. Thirty-nine books from the Pitt Latin American Series published by the University of Pittsburgh Press are now available online, freely accessible to scholars and students worldwide. Ultimately, most of the Press’ titles older than 2 years will be provided through this open access platform. See the Press release for all the details.

... The University of Pittsburgh Press Digital Editions may be viewed at and through direct links from the Press website,".

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Race to the Shelf Continues: The Open Content Alliance and

An article in the Jan. 2008 issue of Searcher discusses two important "competitors" of the Google Book Search Library Project, namely the Open Content Alliance (OCA) and Boston College, several Boston Library Consortium libraries, and a number of other important North American libraries are partners with the OCA.


Internet giants such as Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, and Amazon are in the middle of nothing short of a modern-day space race: Who can scan the most and the best books in alliance with the biggest and brightest libraries in the U.S. — nay, the world! — while simultaneously providing print on demand, “find in a library,” and “buy the book” links as well? The amount of press and controversy surrounding the Google Book Search Library Project tends to overshadow one detail — while these companies may have begun the race to the shelf, they certainly did not invent book digitization. Look no further than Michael Hart’s Project Gutenberg, which celebrated its 35th anniversary in 2006 and expanded its reach to Canada in July 2007, to know that book digitization is nothing new. But, as with almost all things these big internet companies touch, the stakes have been raised significantly.

While Google seems to rack up an increasingly impressive list of library and industry partners [See “Google Book Search Libraries and Their Digital Copies: What Now?” at for a description of the Google Book Search library partners — then], the Open Content Alliance, or OCA, is giving Google a run for its money. OCA comes armed with an open access philosophy and its own impressive stable of partners, including Yahoo! and, at least initially, Microsoft. Amazon, the dark horse in the race, as scanning and making books available for free online would seem antithetical to its book-selling roots, has gotten into the act, offering to partner with libraries to help scan and sell rare and hard-to-find books from library collections. Under Amazon’s model, the libraries retain their own digital copies along with a portion of any print-on-demand profits. Ultimately, librarians now have choices when it comes to large-scale digitization partnerships. . . .

Which Project to Pick?

Financial concerns certainly must be considered, but there are also some weighty philosophical issues that emerge. The titles included in the Google Book Search program are unavailable to other Web services. Is this a real problem or does Google’s search engine supremacy make this a nonissue? Does OCA have a sustainable model of open access in place and can it continue to scale? Would selling print-on-demand copies of your rare books through Amazon make your digitization project financially feasible? And what do we do about copyright? Some libraries have taken a stance of sorts on these types of issues, as reported in an Oct. 22, 2007, New York Times article, “Libraries Shun Deals to Place Books on Web” [
ex=1193716800&en=abc109c23daee1fe&ei=5070&emc=eta1]. In this article, the author explains the resistance of some libraries, such as the Boston Public Library and the Smithsonian Libraries, to sign up with Google. Regardless, answers to these questions will not come soon or easily. In the meantime, librarians will have to make some tough choices, but keep seeking the benefits that can be drawn from these endeavors.