Friday, October 31, 2008

Videos Supporting Open Access

SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), the Public Library of Science (PLoS), and Students for FreeCulture recently released a series of one-minute videos celebrating Open Access Day (14 October). This Voices of Open Access series underscores the importance of providing Open Access to a broad range of scholarly research results for a wide variety of important reasons: “health is transformed; research outputs are maximized to their fullest extent; efficiencies in the research process enable faster discoveries; the best science is made possible; young people are inspired; access transcends the wealth of the institution; cost savings are realized across the research process; and medical research conducted for the public good is made available to everyone who needs it.”

The short videos may be viewed individually or back to back.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

New Publication on Authors Rights

Charles Bailey has a new publication re. Authors Rights. It’s a short, simple, yet very useful overview of such issues as: Copyright, Self-Archiving, and Open Access Journals; Conventional Publisher Agreements; Copyright Addenda; Retaining Full Copyright; Creative Commons Licenses; Self-Archiving Your Article; Publishing in Open Access Journals, etc. Bailey also lists a number of relevant references to online documents and links to pertinent websites (including several very useful videos on author rights).

This publication should be a valuable resource for faculty, grad students and other BC authors re. author rights, retaining one’s copyright, scholarship@BC, etc.

The URL of Bailey’s publication is:

Bailey has another valuable publication in the same series on “Institutional Repositories”:

Friday, October 24, 2008

20,000 Publishers Now Partnering with Google in its Book Search

Over the space of a year Google has doubled the number of publishers with which it is partnering in Google’s Book Search project. There are now 20,000 publishers who are allowing Google to scan the full-text of their books so that internet users can access at least snippets (maybe more) of the works. Excerpt from a 15 October Reuters report:

"We're getting publishers get their content to more and more relevant people and, vice versa, we're getting users in contact with relevant content they probably didn't know existed," said Santiago de la Mora, head of book partnerships in Europe.

Speaking in an interview at the Frankfurt Book Fair, de la Mora said he did not want to single out individual publishers who had joined the programme in the last year.

But, when asked, he confirmed that Bertelsmann's Random House, the world's largest non-factual publisher, had signed up.

Google has been in legal dispute since 2005 with U.S. publishers over its practice of scanning in-copyright works it accesses through its U.S. library partners without explicit permission from copyright holders.

De la Mora was unforthcoming as to the number of books the company has scanned.

"The figure has not been changed. That's the official number," he said, referring to last year's announcement that Google had scanned more than a million books. "It's more than the figures. Let's not get bogged down."

Asked whether the project was getting the necessary resources from Google, de la Mora said, "It's a very ambitious project, I mean, clearly, it's an enormous undertaking, so it's huge, it's huge. And we're going as fast as possible. I mean, 100 languages, more than 1 million books, it's enormous." . . . .

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

ALPSP Scholarly Publishing Practice Survey

The Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishing (ALPSP) recently published the results of a survey of journal publishers regarding their scholarly publishing practices and any changes in their policies and practice since 2000. The survey was conducted of 400 journal publishers, both commercial and not-for-profit. A response rate of over 65% was achieved including the majority of major journal publishers. The report’s findings clearly indicate that many publishers are responding positively to the advocacy of freer and wider dissemination of scholarship advocated by most libraries, SPARC, the Alliance for Taxpayer Access and many other OA proponents. The full report is only free to ALPSP members. Key findings of the survey (from ALPSP’s press release) include:

  • Publishers - especially large publishers and commercial publishers are launching new journals at a higher rate than in 2005.
  • The growth trajectory of online availability has been steady since 2003. There is still some difference between the disciplines, with 96.1% of STM and 86.5% of arts, humanities and social science titles accessible online.
  • Pricing models are just as complex and varied as they were in 2005. Most publishers use a variety of means to establish prices. It is notable that fewer publishers are providing online access free with print and instead are offering online-only subscriptions.
  • Open access advocacy has clearly had an effect on publishers' thinking. The proportion of publishers offering optional open access to authors has grown from 9% in 2005 to 30% in 2008. However, the take-up of the author pays open access option is exceedingly low.
  • Licensing terms have become more generous, as publishers have become more comfortable with the use of digital content, including allowing use in Virtual Learning Environments and repurposing to create learning objects.
  • Publishers' practice on authors' rights is changing. Fewer publishers now require authors to transfer copyright to the publisher and will instead accept a licence to publish.
  • The growth of institutional and subject based repositories has prompted a rethink on authors' rights to post their articles on the web. Large publishers have relaxed prohibitions on posting pre-prints, but have imposed embargoes on the final accepted version.
  • Publishers are at different stages of development in their implementation of Web 2.0 technologies, with 20% enabling collaborative tagging and between 10% and 15% implementing forums, blogs and podcasts for a journal.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Interview with John Wilkin, U. of Michigan, re. the Hathi Trust

The immediately previous posting below reported on the initiative (the Hathi Trust) of over twenty major research libraries to archive and share their digitized collections. The majority of these collections will be composed of digitized works from the Google Book Search project. On 16 October the LJ Academic Newswire published an interview with John Wilkin, Michigan Associate University Librarian and Executive Director of HathiTrust, about this initiative. Excerpt:

LJAN: HathiTrust represents something librarians have thought—or, dreamed about—since the digital age began. How did this specific initiative get rolling?
JW: You’re right—we’ve been thinking about this sort of thing for years, with specific discussions going back at least to the first Making of America project in 1995. Sometimes the genesis of an idea is hard to trace, but in fact we had very specific discussions regarding this notion of a shared digital repository back in 2004, with Michigan and California beginning to articulate some specific notions. Discussions in the CIC were early, as well, and began to flesh out an approach. But as we began to absorb substantial amounts of digitized content from Google, talks become more focused and urgent. It’s worth pointing out that we have had terrific support in this venture from university leadership, as well in the libraries.

You mention Google—it seems you are both its partner and competitor at once. Can you talk about where your missions diverge and dovetail?
That’s a great question—the primary difference will be in our commitment to long-term preservation of this information and Google’s commitment to access. That said, we will provide some minimal levels of access (for public domain works, etc.), and we will work to identify specific scholarly needs that Google is less likely to serve. For example, data mining and large-scale linguistic computation is more likely to be in our bailiwick than Google’s. . . .

HathiTrust has been funded for five years: what happens then—can this major effort be sustained?
We should make a distinction between funding and planning—the participating institutions here have always known they would have to spend money to host their digitized content and, by and large, they have identified funding to support this work for the indefinite future. So, in that sense, the initiative is permanently funded. This specific collaboration, however, is something that has never been done at this scale, and it makes a lot of sense to build in requirements for examination and evaluation of the initiative. Hence, the initial commitment is for five years. Before that deadline, we will surely make changes and we expect that participants will renew and extend their financial commitments.

The complete interview here.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Something to ponder...

Should Boston College Libraries consider adopting Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial licenses for works created by the Library for which The Trustees of Boston College hold the copyright?

Essentially, this license is a limited solution to copyrighted material on the internet. Specifically, one is free to share and to remix, to adapt the work, only under two conditions: attribution and noncommercial. First, you must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work) and secondly, you may not use this work for commercial purposes. Recently, The University of Michigan Library decided to adopt Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial licenses for all works created by the Library for which the Regents of the University of Michigan hold the copyrights. More information.

Monday, October 13, 2008

University Libraries in Google Project to Offer Backup Digital Library

An article in today’s Chronicle of Higher Education discusses an initiative by a group of university libraries that are partnering with Google in Google’s Book Search project to digitize millions of the world’s books. Excerpt from article:

A group of major universities has been quietly working for the past two years to build one of the largest online collections of books ever assembled, by pooling the millions of volumes that Google has scanned in its partnership with university libraries.

One of the most important functions of the project, say its leaders, who plan to unveil the giant library today, is to create a stable backup of the digital books should Google go bankrupt or lose interest in the book-searching business.

The project is called HathiTrust, and so far it consists of the members of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, a consortium of the 11 universities in the Big Ten Conference and the University of Chicago, and the 10 campuses in the University of California system. The University of Virginia is joining the project, it will be announced today, and officials hope to bring in other colleges as well.

Each university library originally planned to manage the digital copies of the scanned books on its own, but through HathiTrust, library officials are now working together to create a shared online collection. . . .

Already HathiTrust contains the full text of more than two million books scanned by Google.

But there is an important catch. Because most of the millions of books are still under copyright protection, the libraries cannot offer the full text of the books to people off their campuses, though they can reveal details like how many pages of a given volume contain any passage that a user searches for. . . .

The librarians have already added one feature that some library leaders have been calling on Google to provide—a better sense of exactly what is in the collection. Google has refused to release such details, but HathiTrust publishes online a list, updated daily, of what is in its collection.

The librarians plan to work together to create new services to search and display the digital books that Google might not provide for its copies.

Click here for full article.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Ranking of Journals

There's an interesting article in a recent issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education regarding the ranking of journals: (this URL is for subscribers only). The article refers to work of the European Reference Index for the Humanities (ERIH):

Though this ERIH body seems mainly concerned with the Humanities, there is also an initial list of journals in a couple of Social Science areas, e.g. education/pedagogy and psychology. To access the lists, click the link "ERIH 'initial' lists" in the NAVIGATE ERIH column on the right. Then navigate to the disciplinary area.

Whatever the merits of the methodology used by ERIH in ranking journals, it has the benefit of ranking journals in Humanities areas. It is not easy to locate rankings of Humanities journals. However, for evaluating and comparing journals in Science, Technology and Social Science disciplines the database Journal Citation Reports (one of BC Library’s online databases) is an important tool. Journal Citation Reports relies on various analyses of citation data in ranking and evaluating journals.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Call for Wider Support for Digitizing Books

On Sept. 25 and 25 at the Boston Public Library, a "summit" meeting sponsored by the Boston Library Consortium and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation focused on the need for preserving public access to digitized library collections. Such access is potentially in danger if digitization is left to Google and other internet companies where the bottom line, and not our intellectual and cultural legacy, is the ultimate criterion for any project.

Co-conveners of the meeting were Dr. Mark Huddleston, President, University of New Hampshire, Dr. Peter Nicholls, Provost, University of Connecticut, and Dr. Jack Wilson, President, University of Massachusetts. Speakers included Senator Chris Dodd (via video); Maura Marx, Executive Director of the newly formed Open Knowledge Commons; Dr. Robert Darnton, Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and Director of the University Library, Harvard University; and Siva Vaidhyanathan, Professor Media Studies and Law, University of Virginia. Attendees included university and library administrators, educators, and public interest advocates.

A white paper titled “Free Our Libraries! Why We Need a New Approach to Putting Library Collections Online,” presented by Richard K. Johnson, senior advisor to the Association of Research Libraries, commissioned by BLC for the summit, identified a number of issues which need to be addressed as libraries push forward with substantial digitization projects of their own such as the BLC/OCA project. The BLC's news release about the meeting and Richard Johnson's white paper are available. Boston College is participating in the BLC/OCA project by digitizing books on the history of the Jesuit order. Quest records are available for the books which have been digitized thus far. In Quest, click the Command button near the top of the page. In the Enter Search Terms box, type wlt=oca jesuitana and click Search.

Friday, October 3, 2008

2 New Digital Models Promise Academic Publishing for Profit

Jennifer Howard published an article in the October 2 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education discussing a couple of recent innovative models of disseminating monographs in digital format. One model concerns the publisher Bloomsbury Academic (discussed in this blog on 10 September in this blog) that will be making all its imprints freely accessible as open access. The other initiative concerns Tizra Inc., an e-publishing service provider, with whom the Association of American University Presses has recently made a deal. “Tizra provides what is sometimes called ‘agile software’ or ‘software as a service.’ The company's Web site describes Tizra Publisher as a ‘Web-based software service that lets content owners create branded commerce Web sites from existing content, with complete control over branding, merchandising, and sales terms’ — a sort of glorified Movable Type for publishers. Content — university-press monographs, for instance—is hosted on Tizra's servers, but how it looks and how it is distributed are up to those providing the content.”

The complete Chronicle article is available here.

New Issue of SPARC Open Access Newsletter

The October 2 issue of the SPARC Open Access Newsletter is now online.