SCHOLARLY COMMUNICATION ISSUES

A NEWSLETTER FOR THE UIUC COMMUNITY

Issue 08/04

April 21, 2004

Paula Kaufman, University Librarian, Editor

 

 

SCHOLARLY COMMUNICATIONS AS A COMMONS

Most of the presentations from the recent Workshop on Scholarly Communication as a Commons (Bloomington, Indiana, March 31 - April 2), are now online. The workshop doesn't have a web site, but has deposited most of the workshop papers into the Digital Library of the Commons, where Frederick Emrich found them and listed them for his commons-blog.  Open Access News 4/4/04  http://www.info-commons.org/blog/archives/000410.html

 

A PATENT SYSTEM FOR THE 21st CENTURY

Patents on novel, useful inventions - and copyrights on works of art, literature, and other forms of expression - are issued on the assumption that although firms and individuals have many incentives to create, some innovations are more likely to be forthcoming and attract investment if inventors are granted exclusive ownership rights.  These rights give inventors opportunities to recoup initial investments by temporarily impeding imitators.  In exchange for periods of exclusivity, inventors must disclose the knowledge underlying their creations - knowledge that may in turn lead to further innovation.  A National Academy of Science committee - made up of experts in areas such as biotechnology, intellectual-property law, engineering, business management, pharmaceuticals, and telecommunications – has recommended several measures to maintain the patent system's strength in some areas, or to enhance it in others. 

Recommendations are made in the areas of:

Openness to new technologies

Nonobviousness standard

Post-grant review

Research exception

Elements of litigation: willful infringement, best mode, and inequitable conduct State sovereign immunity International harmonization Strengthening USPTO capabilities

A prepublication version of the report is at http://books.nap.edu/openbook/0309089107/html/1.html

 

PERVASIVE COMPUTING VISION: COMPUTERS TO BE ‘OXYGEN OF THE FUTURE

By the year 2010, scientists predict we will be immersed in a sea of miniature computers. Many of us carry three or four digital devices with us, according to Simon Moore of Cambridge University’s Computer Laboratory, but soon that figure will be in the hundreds. Those predictions came at the launch of the Cambridge-MIT Institute’s Pervasive Computing initiative, a trans-Atlantic collaboration between information scientists and engineers at Cambridge University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston.  OCLC ABSTRACTS - April 5, 2004 (Vol. 7, No. 14)  http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/3583479.stm

 

SCHOLAR CHALLENGES COPYRIGHT LAW

Stanford University law professor Lawrence Lessig has filed a federal lawsuit intended to allow online archives to include copyrighted works that are not available otherwise. The Internet Archive and the Prelinger Archives are being developed as online resources for academics and others. One project of the Internet Archive, the "One Million Book Project," a joint project with Carnegie Mellon University, the National Science Foundation, and the governments of India and China, aims to put one million books online by 2005. Many of the books developers want to include, however, are copyrighted to deceased authors or present other problems for obtaining proper permissions. The lawsuit was filed in an attempt to have various federal copyright laws declared unconstitutional under certain circumstances, particularly as they apply to such "orphaned" works—creative materials that are often out of print or otherwise unavailable through commercial avenues but that are still protected by copyright. Chronicle of Higher Education, 9 April 2004 (sub. req'd)  Edupage, April 07, 2004 http://chronicle.com/prm/weekly/v50/i31/31a03401.htm

 

NEW NEWSPAPER PUBLISHING PARTNERSHIP

The Times (UK) ( http://www.timesonline.co.uk ) and Japan's The Yomiuri Shimbun       (http://www.yomiuri.co.jp ), the world's largest-selling newspaper, have announced a significant publishing partnership. Starting on Sunday April 4th 2004, The Daily Yomiuri, an English-language newspaper published by The Yomiuri Shimbun, will carry a weekly supplement, in the English language, of Times editorial, offering Yomiuri readers a weekly view from Europe. The supplement will be branded The Times and will carry The Times masthead.  The Write News Weekly 4-9-04

 

GOOGLE TO OFFER SEARCHES OF ACADEMIC PAPERS

Working with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and 16 other universities, Google is developing a feature of its search tool that will allow users to search specially tagged academic content. Using a tool called DSpace that MIT developed, colleges and universities can build so-called "superarchives" of scholarly work, including metadata tags that allow for online searches of that content. According to MIT's MacKenzie Smith, about 125 institutions have used DSpace, but there has not been a tool to search across all of these archives. The Google tool will use an interface created by the Online Computer Library Center and will likely be part of the search site's advanced-search page. Smith said she hopes all institutions that use DSpace will eventually be included in the search tool. She also noted that the search capability is not restricted to Google. Other search engines may create search tools specifically for the academic content, said Smith, or "[w]e may even do our own thing." Chronicle of Higher Education, 9 April 2004 Edupage, April 09, 2004 http://chronicle.com/free/2004/04/2004040901n.htm

 

ETCH-A-SEARCH

Researchers at Purdue University have developed a search engine that enables users to simply sketch what it is they're looking for and retrieves all images that match the drawing. The new search engine is geared toward industrial and manufacturing users, with the goal of avoiding redesign costs by enabling them to quickly find existing widgets. However, the concept of general image searches on the Internet should be viable in 10 to 15 years, says Purdue mechanical engineering professor Karthik Ramani.

 

Currently, image searches remain largely a text-based activity, with tools based primarily on keywords. That means images must be tagged with metadata in order to match up with users' queries. But companies such as Virage, Vima Technologies and LTU Technologies are working on technologies much closer to what the Purdue researchers are developing. And while Vima CEO David Telleen-Lawton says he's not convinced that a hand-drawn search is really what people want, ImgSeek offers a downloadable tool that allows users to search photo collections by drawing a rough sketch of what it is they're looking for. It then displays the best matches in a thumbnail format. Ramani says studies have shown that design engineers cumulatively as a whole spend about six weeks a year looking for lost parts—his search engine could cut that time by 80% and help companies gravitate toward standardized components with fewer in-house designs. (CNet News.com 31 Mar 2004) ShelfLife, No. 151 (April 8 2004) http://news.com.com/2100-1038-5182775.html

 

MORE ON THE END OF THE TRADE EMBARGO

The Free Expression Network has issued a public statement, Editing a Scientific Manuscript Is Not 'Trading with the Enemy', April 12, 2004. Excerpt: "The undersigned organizations protest application of Treasury Department trade embargo rules to scientific, literary and artistic work originating in countries that are currently the subject of an American trade embargo. This is a violation of the First Amendment right of Americans to read and learn from writers, artists, and thinkers of all nations....While the recent clarification from OFAC resolves some issues, it leaves many unanswered. OFAC reiterates that any 'substantive or artistic alterations or enhancements' of a manuscript from an author in a sanctioned country is prohibited without prior government approval, and that 'a collaborative interaction' is considered 'a prohibited exportation of services.'...There is no claim that these restrictions are necessary to protect the United States from terrorism, nor are they likely to persuade these countries to adopt policies that advance US interests. Indeed, it appears that they serve no purpose other than to keep Americans ignorant of work done by scientists, writers, and artists in certain parts of the world."  The statement is signed by American Association of University Professors, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression American Civil Liberties Union, American Library Association, First Amendment Project, National Coalition Against Censorship, Peacefire, PEN American Center, and the People For the American Way Foundation.  Open Access News 4/13/04 http://www.freeexpression.org/newswire/0412_2004.htm

 

WHO PAYS FOR OPEN ACCESS?

The first in a series of responses to widespread misunderstandings about OA has appeared in PLoS Biology. “Here we address...the perception that the publication-charge model puts an unfair burden on authors. Subsequently, we will address concerns about the long-term economic viability of the open-access model, the integrity and quality of work published in open-access journals, and the effect that open access will have on scholarly societies....Perhaps the real misconception about the unfair burden that open access places on authors resides in the terminology --the term 'author charge' is itself misleading. Publication fees are not borne purely by authors, but are shared by the many organizations whose missions depend on the broadest possible dissemination and communication of scientific discoveries.  Open Access News 4/11/04 http://www.plosbiology.org/plosonline/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371%2Fjournal.pbio.0020105

 

CONFERENCES GET EXTENDED LIFE ONLINE

Maryland-based start-up StreamCenter, founded by former magazine publisher and tech entrepreneur Edwin Grosvenor, is helping organizers of association conferences "recycle" meeting content on the Web. The underlying idea is that "only a small percentage of an organization's members are able to show up at seminars and panel discussions" – creating a potentially huge untapped audience. By making video clips of key session events available via the Internet, StreamCenter is able to charge members for access and pocket a portion of any revenues.  Corante Internet News 4/13/04   http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A4382-2004Apr11.html

 

THE STATE OF COPYRIGHT ACTIVISM

Siva Vaidhyanathan tackles this subject in the latest issue of First Monday: “In 1998 the U.S. Congress radically revised American copyright laws without much public scrutiny or protest. Copyright was too arcane, too technical, too boring, to break through the headlines about political sex scandals and celebrity murder trials. With the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act the United States abandoned 200 years of moderate, successful copyright traditions. Copyright used to balance the public’s interests and private needs. Now it only serves large, established copyright holders. Yet while Congress was considering these radical changes, newspapers rarely paid attention to the changes. Only in recent years, with the accumulation of horror stories about copyright abuses and bullying, have we seen sufficient attention paid. As a result, we are finally seeing critical mass of public interest activism.”  First Monday 4/5/04 http://www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue9_4/siva/index.html

 

NEW LAWSUIT SEEKS TO PUT COPYRIGHT “ORPHANS” INTO THE PUBLIC DOMAIN

They may have lost their legal challenge to the "Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act" last year, but Internet archivists and cyberlawyers have now filed a new case arguing that changes in the copyright system over the last 30 years have had such dramatically repressive effects as to violate the First Amendment and the Constitution's Copyright Clause. The plaintiffs in Kahle v. Ashcroft are the Internet Archive and Prelinger Associates, both Web libraries that make thousands of works freely available online, including audio, books, films, and software. In general, these works must be in the public domain, unburdened by copyright controls, before they can be made available: finding owners is often impossible, and paying for permission to reprint is not realistic for archives that house many thousands of documents.  The Free Policy Expression Project 4/8/04 http://www.fepproject.org/news/kahle.html

 

EBOOK SALES UP SIGNIFICANTLY IN 2003

In the late 1990s, some predicted that ebooks would be a major new sector of the publishing industry by 2004. That hasn't happened. However, statistics released this week from the Open eBook Forum (OeBF) show that, with the pressure now off, ebooks are showing solid growth, even to the point where an ebook bestseller list is now viable.

According to OeBF figures, sales of ebooks rose 27 percent in 2003, to $7.3 million. Those figures are based on reports from 20 publishers who supplied data to the Open eBook Forum. Units sold increased a whopping 71 percent, to 1.3 million, indicating a decline in ebook prices. Title output jumped 43 percent, to 7,138 titles. Meanwhile, the OEBF's first monthly bestseller list debuted for March 2004, and includes both fiction and nonfiction titles. Topping the charts in March—THE DA VINCI CODE.  Library Journal Academic News Wire: April 15, 2004

The list can be viewed at http://www.openebook.org/bestseller/march04.htm.

 

DEBATE CONTINUES OVER ACCESS TO SCIENTIFIC LITERATURE

The Internet is profoundly changing how scientists work and publish. New business models are being tested by publishers, including open access, in which the author pays and content is free to the user. Nature is running an ongoing web focus to explore current trends and future possibilities. Each week, the website will publish specially commissioned insights and analysis from leading scientists, librarians, publishers and other stakeholders, as well as key links, and articles from our archive. All content is available free.  http://www.nature.com/nature/focus/accessdebate/

 

ENHANCED FREE CULTURE

Oh, the glories of a Creative Commons license. Thanks to the rights that Larry Lessig granted readers of Free Culture, for example, José Menéndez has come up with two new HTML versions. He writes: To make it as easy to read and study as possible, I linked not only the table of contents, but also all of the endnotes and even the index. I also retained the original pagination and added a "Quick Navigation" box where readers can type in any page number to jump right to it. That makes it very easy for people to go back to reading the e-book wherever they left off.  I actually have two HTML versions. The second one displays the endnotes in a resizable popup window when the mouse pointer hovers over the superscripts in the text unless, of course, the reader has his browser set to block popups. If he does, he can click on the superscripts the usual way to jump to the corresponding endnotes. Tip: Also check out the remixes section of the Free Culture Website for other examples of enhanced editions.  Teleread 4/13/04 http://www.ibiblio.org/ebooks/Lessig/index.html

 

GOOGLE OR SOMETHING ELSE?

When Elsevier researchers asked librarians and scientists to name the top three most reliable online services, librarians named ScienceDirect, ISI's Web of Science, and Medline—whereas when they asked scientists the same question, the answers they got were Google, Yahoo!, and PubMed. John Regazzi, Elsevier's managing director of market development, says that researchers need more than just Search: they need data integration of both internal and external sources. They also need the ability to search scientific and business information at the same time and to use data-mining tools to help identify trends and issues. Ben Shneiderman, professor at the University of Maryland and author of "Leonardo's Laptop," suggests that organizations consider leasing the Google search engine for proprietary systems with "Google Inside," allowing the restriction of searches to what the publisher or library chooses to provide. (Library Journal 1 Apr 2004)  ShelfLife, No. 152 (April 15 2004) http://tinyurl.com/2e5n5

 

INTEGRATING IMAGES INTO THE DIGITAL LIBRARY

Digital librarians feel a strong need to improve access to the visual information that forms part of digital libraries. But metadata-based retrieval systems have not been entirely successful. Many librarians hope that retrieval methods using the image's content, rather than (or in addition to) its metadata, might further the use and usability of image collections. Currently, digital librarians have no tools for evaluating either content-based or metadata-based image retrieval systems, so it's difficult to know which is better or to evaluate proposed changes in these systems. Benchmarking may offer a solution. An image-retrieval benchmarking database would provide a controlled environment for exploring questions critical to the development of the field. A successful image-retrieval benchmarking database could offer many significant benefits, including comparing the effectiveness of retrieval strategies. But developing an image benchmark database is a significant task, complicated by the many criteria that might be tested in such an environment. These criteria include capture, compression, color management, lighting, database and storage, image displays and user interfaces, printing and replicating, retrieval, indexing methodologies, tools, and vocabularies, and transmission. Creating an image retrieval benchmarking service would require the cooperation of a broad community of researchers who were willing to devote time and energy to the development of evaluation methodologies. (CLIR.org Jan 2004)  ShelfLife, No. 152 (April 15 2004) http://www.clir.org/pubs/reports/trant04/tranttext.htm

 

PAPER DVDS PROMISE INCREASED CAPACITY, SECURITY

Sony and Japanese company Toppan have developed a DVD made largely from paper that can store five times as much as current DVDs. The paper discs use blue-laser technology, which is being developed by electronics manufacturers including Sony, Philips, Hitachi, and Samsung. Compared to the red-laser technology on which today's DVDs are based, the blue-laser format allows capacities of about 25 gigabytes per disc. Current DVDs have a limit of 4.7 gigabytes. Because the new discs are made primarily of paper, they can easily be cut with scissors, offering a simple and reliable way to dispose of the discs and to destroy the data on them. Paper discs will reportedly be less expensive to produce than current DVDs, though Sony and Toppan did not say when the new DVDs would be available to consumers. BBC, 19 April 2004 Edupage, April 19, 2004 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/3639585.stm

 

ACLS COMMISSION ON CYBERINFRASTRUCTURE AND THE HUMANITIES

The American Council of Learned Societies has launched a Commission on Cyberinfrastructure and the Humanities chaired by John Unsworth of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This is going to be a very important initiative which will help the humanities disciplines to engage many of the same issues that the National Science Foundation committee chaired by Dan Atkins framed for the sciences in its report on Cyberinfrastructure last year. There is now material on the web listing the members of the Commission, the charge and plan of action, and information about a mailing list for Commission announcements. The ACLS information is at

http://www.acls.org/cyberinfrastructure/cyber.htm

Note that the Commission will be holding a series of public hearings in the coming months; these are listed as part of the "Charge" discussion on the web site.  Cliff Lynch, CNI Announce 4/19/04

 

PERIODICALS PRICE SURVEY 2004

In the last year, the anger and frustration simmering in libraries for a decade or more over the growing dysfunction of the scholarly communications system found a voice, a cause, and a cadre of allies around the globe. This time, the voices that said, "No" to the Big Deals were those of faculty members and academic officers at some very prestigious institutions—Cornell, Harvard, the Research Triangle institutions in North Carolina, MIT, and, for a time, the University of California. Theirs were the "no's" heard round the world when the mainstream press, intrigued no doubt by the image of academics defiantly waving nonrenewal letters in the face of corporate giants like Elsevier, picked up the stories. These universities spoke for many when they declared their intent to choose journal titles the old-fashioned way—year by year, title by title, based on the value of the content rather than the size of the package.  The fate of the Big Deal won't be decided by one renewal season, but there are other signs that the extreme-profit model in the scholarly communications market is about to meet serious competition. The competition is advancing under the flag of the Open Access/Open Archives Initiative (OAI). The movement draws its passion from the belief that the monopolistic pricing of the current system seriously limits access to information and threatens an important public good. By restoring copyright to authors and by providing free and global access to scientific information, open access seeks to break the stranglehold of scientific, technical, and medical (STM) publishers. While the economics of the new model are going to be debatable for some time to come, the movement has accrued positive attention in venues both inside and outside of the academy. If the OAI movement succeeds in creating competition as hoped, it may be the long-awaited antidote to skyrocketing journal costs.

http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA408358?display=searchResults&text=periodicals+prices

 

UK LIBRARY BUYS IRIS MURDOCH LIBRARY

Iris Murdoch's working library was saved for Britain last night by the fundraising zeal of one of the newer universities, and the loyalty of a rare book dealer who refused fatter offers from the US. Kingston University in Surrey said it had bought the novelist's library for a sum understood to be £120,000, though it was on the market for £150,000. The university managed to raise half of this in only a few months. The collection of more than 1,000 books - many of them with her own remarks in the margins - surrounded and influenced her from 1952, when she began writing the first of her 26 novels, until a few years before she died of Alzheimer's disease in 1999. The archive contains a number of unique literary and philosophical treasures, including a notebook in which she wrote comments on a lecture given by the French existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre in Brussels in 1945. Seven years later she published a study of Sartre.  The rest of the purchase price was raised in a £40,000 appeal by the Iris Murdoch Society and a £20,000 grant from the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council.  The Guardian 4/17/04  http://books.guardian.co.uk/news/articles/0,6109,1193825,00.html

 

The scholarly communications are also on line at http://door.library.uiuc.edu/administration/scholarly_communication/