SCHOLARLY COMMUNICATION ISSUES

A NEWSLETTER FOR THE UIUC COMMUNITY

Issue 20/04

November 5, 2004

Paula Kaufman, University Librarian, Editor

 

 

HILARY ROSEN NOW UNDERSTANDS CREATIVE COMMONS

Slashdot notes that Hilary Rosen, now that she’s no longer in charge of the RIAA, has suddenly found the time to find out what Larry Lessig`s Creative Commons is all about and decided that, it’s really not such a bad thing after all. This is what’s scary. Many people supporting Creative Commons and other views on business models for the recording industry have been trying to clearly explain how these things can help the industry, and repeatedly the industry refuses to listen—assuming that the only people who are suggesting changes are simply trying to destroy the industry. So now, quite some time after she’s out of the office where she should have actually listened to what was being said, she suddenly realizes that it’s not so bad, after all (though, some of her statements aren’t exactly a ringing endorsement of the idea).  Techdirt 10/26/04 http://techdirt.com/articles/20041026/2036254.shtml  Wired 11/04 http://techdirt.com/articles/20041026/2036254.shtml

 

NEW THOMSON REPORT ON OPEN ACCESS JOURNALS

Thomson Scientific, a business of The Thomson Corporation, released a new White Paper entitled:  "Open Access Journals in the ISI Citation Databases: Analysis of Impact Factors and Citation Patterns."  The findings indicate that journals published under the Open Access (OSA) model continue to gain impact in the world of scholarly research.  Despite ranking lower as a group than those published under traditional models, the growth in the number of OA journals is impressive, and some OA journals rank near the top of their respective fields.  Rankings are based on the Journal Impact Factor, as published in the Journal Citation Reports(R) (JCR(R)).  The Journal Impact Factor is the key performance metric for the ranking and comparison of journals.  Of the 8,700 selected journals currently covered in Web of Science(R), 239 are OA journals.  Though the number is small in comparison to the total number of journals indexed in Web of Science, the number represents an estimated 20% of all OA journals.  The Thomson editorial staff reviews approximately 2,000 journals annually. Only 10-12% of those evaluated, however, are accepted.  The same set of established criteria applied to journals published under traditional models is used to evaluate OA journals. "Today's Internet-based information offers authors and publishers important new ways to bring new discoveries to the attention of their readers through a variety of access models," said James Pringle, vice president of development, Thomson Scientific.  "Yet, readership alone does not necessarily translate into research impact.  Our goal is to bring relevant, high-impact research to the attention of the scholarly community, and our studies of Open Access help achieve this goal through an objective, evidence-based approach." Thomson Scientific has updated its study of OA journals to include data from the 2003 JCR.  Using citation metrics such as Impact Factor, Immediacy Index, and Cited Half Life, the study focuses on determining whether OA journals perform differently from other journals in their respective fields.  SPARC-OAForum Digest #387  For the full paper, visit http://www.isinet.com/forms/whitepapers.

 

EC ISSUES WORKING DOCUMENT ON SAFE HARBOR AGREEMENT

The European Commission has released a staff working document that reports on the implementation of the EU Data Privacy Directive's Safe Harbor Agreement with the United States. The report notes that there is non-compliance among some companies, but does not call for a termination of the agreement.  BNA's Internet Law News (ILN) - 10/25/04 Report at http://eusafeharborreport.notlong.com/

 

CROSS-REF CLAIMS MORE THAN 700 PARTICIPANTS

CrossRef, the reference-linking service for scholarly and professional content, now claims over 700 participating publishers and societies and is adding an average of 9,000 DOIs per day to its system. Of the 12-plus million DOIs now registered with CrossRef, over 850,000 are assigned to books and conference proceedings.  Peter Scott’s Library Blog 10/26/04  http://www.crossref.org/01company/pr/press20041020.htm

 

THE TIMELINE OF ART HISTORY

The Timeline of Art History is a chronological, geographical, and thematic exploration of the history of art from around the world, as illustrated especially by the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection. The Museum’s curatorial, conservation, and education staff research and write the Timeline, which is an invaluable reference and research tool for students, educators, scholars, and anyone interested in the study of art history and related subjects. First launched in 2000, the Timeline now extends from prehistory to the present day. The Timeline will continue to expand in scope and depth, and also reflect the most up-to-date scholarship.  Peter Scott’s Library Blog 10/26/04 http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/splash.htm

 

DAMAGES RESOLUTION SAID TO BE NEAR FOR TASINI, LANDMARK COPYRIGHT CASE

Three years and a landmark ruling later, the final chapter to the Tasini vs. New York Times suit appears close at hand. A spokesperson for the National Writers Union (NWU), plaintiff in the case, told Library Journal's sister publication Publishers Weekly (PW) that a final agreement on damages to be levied against the New York Times and its co-defendants is "imminent." Another source close to the case confirmed to PW that a partial settlement had already been reached with the six original plaintiffs and that a settlement on the damages levied for three class-action suits, representing thousands of plaintiffs, is all that remains. Gerard Colby, current NWU president after Tasini left office in spring 2003, declined to provide more details, but told PW that negotiations were continuing and that a final agreement had not yet been signed. The case, Tasini v. The New York Times, charged that the New York Times and its co-defendants had violated the copyrights of freelance writers by reusing their writing in electronic data bases and other digital publications without their permission and without compensation. After two split rulings in lower courts, the case headed to the Supreme Court in 2001, which ruled 7 to 2 in favor of the plaintiffs.  Library Journal Academic News Wire: October 26, 2004

 

ABEBOOKS EXPANDS

Abebooks.com has acquired Iberlibro.com, which they call "the most important online platform for used and antiquarian books in the global Spanish-speaking community." Iberlibro is a network of almost 300 booksellers from 15 countries. Founder Adolfo Pisa says in a statement, "Iberlibro has an intimate knowledge of the Spanish used and antiquarian book market, and Abebooks has a unique position in the worldwide market. Iberlibro's buyers and sellers will also benefit from a much more developed technology base." The purchase comes on the heels of the online bookseller's partnership with Spain's Casa del Libro bookselling chain, which added 250,000 new titles (and 2 million books in all) into the company's system. The 90-year-old Casa del Libro is part of Grupo Planeta. Abebooks' Spanish-language site launched in February, and with the new agreements, it will list almost 3 million titles.  Publishers Lunch 10/27/04 http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=HWRPT_BKS.story&STORY=/www/story/10-26-2004/0002310951&EDATE=TUE+Oct+26+2004,+11:00+AM

 

UNIVERSITY PRESS PUBLISHERS ISSUE STATEMENT ON NIH PROPOSAL

“A recent controversial proposal by the National Institutes of Health would require that the author’s final, peer-reviewed draft of any published manuscript arising from research funded by the NIH be posted on an ‘open access’ server at the NIH six months after publication.  AAUP is sympathetic to the goal of open access, which seeks to expand access to electronic scholarly literature of all kinds.  However, we have deep reservations about the wisdom of the NIH proposal, for the following reasons.

  1. There is no empirical data to support the main public policy argument for it:  that free public access to the latest scientific research on health will help people make better and more informed decisions about their own health care.  There is, however, a good deal of empirical data about patient care that shows something quite different: people make better decisions by receiving information about major findings presented in easily-accessible language, not cutting-edge research couched in the technical vocabulary of a scientist.
  2. There has been no study of the consequences of its implementation for the current system by which NIH research gets published.  This is a particular concern for scholarly societies, whose publishing income often helps underwrite other vital programs.  Supporters of the proposal assert that six months between publication and NIH posting is enough time for publishers to recover their costs, but that assertion is completely untested, and has been put forward with little opportunity for comment from the publishing community. 
  3. Implementation of the proposal would mean that there would be two “published” versions of each article: the author’s final manuscript posted on the NIH server, and the publisher’s edited and corrected version.  What this appears to mean is that the open access material posted on the NIH server will be less reliable than that published traditionally. 
  4. It is an unfunded mandate.  The NIH proposal presumes that the costs of posting articles and maintaining the server will be federally funded, but no money has been earmarked for the purpose.  The most likely source of the required funds is the NIH’s research budget itself, which will mean less money for research.  It also means that the sustainability of this service is dependent on the politics of the federal budgeting process.
  5. Laws currently on the books, like the Data Quality Act, require any federal agency that makes information available to the public to respond to public criticism; the response may include modification or removal of the information.  What are the implications of these laws for the integrity of posted research into areas that may be politically unpopular, like adolescent sexuality? 
  6. There has been no study or, as far as we can tell, thought given to the broader implications of the proposal as a precedent.  Will it mean that all federally-funded research is potentially subject to the same kind of treatment?  If so, why should it be limited to just one kind of intellectual property?  Why shouldn’t processes arising from federally-funded research that might otherwise be patented also become freely available?  If one of the overarching goals of the NIH proposal is to reduce the cost of public access to published research, surely reducing the cost of drugs developed with federal research money is at least as worthy and as practical a public health initiative, and one that, by the same logic, would save far more money.

The entire NIH proposal was developed without consultation with scientific societies, university presses and commercial STM publishers, or with their associations, AAUP and AAP.  For this and the other reasons listed above, AAUP is unable to endorse the NIH proposal.  We urge our members to register their misgivings with the NIH directly at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/public_access/add.htm, and to urge that implementation be delayed until a GAO study of the proposal’s need and ramifications can be undertaken.

 

SMITHSONIAN PRESS UNDERGOES REORGANIZATION  

Despite a nearly break-even performance in its just-completed fiscal year, reversing a decade-long trend of losses reportedly totaling close to $2 million, the Smithsonian Institute Press (SIP) is now facing a major reorganization. Although sales increased 30 percent in the fiscal year ending September 30, paced by SIP's growing trade list, the press will cut titles and shed more than half of its employees, roughly 16 of 28 positions. Under the reorganization, a pared down SIP scholarly book publishing program will be directed by undersecretary for science David Evans. Meanwhile the future of SIP's publishing program will be in the hands of a still-to-be- determined corporate publishing partner. SIP, which functions much like a university press and is a member of the Association of American University Presses (AAUP) has a backlist of nearly 800 books in print, and publishes on average about 50 books per year. While SIP's current fall list is proceeding, the press' spring list has been suspended until the reorganization is complete. In addition, SIP's trade list has been moved to Smithsonian Business Ventures, which handles the Smithsonian's for-profit projects, including Smithsonian magazine. SIP director Don Fehr, who took over the press in 2002 with a mandate to stop the losses, said he is talking to a number of interested publishers about a variety of arrangements, including the possibility of SIP becoming an imprint within another publisher, although he acknowledged that talks to date have included a number of configurations. Fehr told LJ sister publication Publishers Weekly that he'd like to reach an agreement by January, one that would include arrangements for publishing the press' backlist. He conceded he was disappointed by the way things have turned out, but said he is "very optimistic about the potential of Smithsonian as a brand in the market." Meanwhile, the reorganization has brought some criticism from some SIP supporters. Richard McCabe, the executive vice president of the Wildlife Management Institute, which has published two volumes under the Smithsonian imprint, told reporters at the Washington Post  that people were "absolutely alarmed and are gravely saddened" by the demise of SIP in its current incarnation. "It is going to hurt people financially and hurt the Smithsonian's reputation," McCabe said. Ironically, Fehr told PW the success of SIP's trade books was partially responsible for sparking the reorganization. Fehr said that as the trade program grew there was a "blurring of the distinction between the press' commercial and scholarly missions." SIP receives $1.5 million from the government to underwrite its academic titles. Even though sales jumped significantly in the last fiscal year, SIP's future became "complicated by the funding structure."  Library Journal Academic News Wire: October 28, 2004

 

ICOLC SAYS PRICING REMAINS A TOP CONCERN

According to a recent statement from the International Coalition of Library Consortia (ICOLC), library consortia "must achieve greater value for their money." In a recent update to its earlier statements on preferred practices, ICOLC takes aim at a familiar target—publisher pricing models in the digital realm. Endorsed thus far by over 50 library consortia in 12 countries, the update is both a snapshot of the difficulties plaguing academic libraries in the e-journal realm and a blueprint for change. "Today's publishers act globally to provide electronic information," the statement notes. "It is incumbent upon libraries to act globally to express their market positions." While the update addresses a full range of issues in the digital realm, including access, preservation, and usage reporting, it emphasizes economic and pricing matters, which, it notes, "have remained a significant concern" since the first meetings of the ICOLC in 1996. "ICOLC members are concerned that, amid all the changes in scholarly publishing, the annual cost to libraries of maintaining information access continues to rise far more rapidly than either inflation or library budgets, which are, in many cases, flat or decreasing." Specifically, the ICOLC recommends that "non-disclosure language" not be required for any licensing agreement; that libraries should have the option to purchase electronic access without the paper subscription; that electronic access should cost substantially less than the printed subscription price; and that bundling electronic and print subscriptions in "non-flexible multi-year packages" must not be the sole pricing option for libraries. The statement also calls for "breathing room" within bundled deals, allowing libraries to cancel titles within their packages as budgets may dictate. The inflexibility of big deals has been a major sticking point for libraries in the last round renewals for Elsevier's leading ScienceDirect, sparking a number of high-profile cancellations in 2004. "Package deals have been useful for various consortial customers and will continue to have utility," ICOLC notes, but adding that amid uncertain multi-year budget situations; publishers must also "build reasonable possibilities for orderly attrition" within those agreements. The update suggests that publishers allow libraries to trim unused titles and provide a credit; allow libraries to delete titles and recoup a percentage of the dollar value of the subscription price for those titles; provide cancellation allowances for each year. The ICOLC update also includes a vote of confidence for the role of subscription agents in the digital arena. As publishers have morphed into service providers in the digital realm, the administration of those deals has impacted on libraries. ICOLC notes that the roles of subscription agents may change, but should not be eliminated. "ICOLC members are supportive of changes in the arrangements for purchase of and access to electronic content," the statement reads, "but many continue to wish to work with serials agents and other parties to manage their subscriptions during this period of change." To read the full update, visit: http://www.library.yale.edu/consortia/2004currentpractices.htm    Library Journal Academic News Wire: October 28, 2004

 

CLIFF RICHARD LEADS CHALLENGE ON COPYRIGHT TERM OF MUSIC

Sir Cliff Richard is launching a campaign to change European Union law which means that artists and record companies lose exclusive rights to their sound recordings after 50 years. The Times reports that "if he and others are unsuccessful, the ruling will mean that the rock'n'roll years will become a free-for-all, wiping billions of pounds off the value of record companies."  BNA's Internet Law News (ILN) - 11/2/04 http://business.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,13130-1338692,00.html

 

AUTHOR’S SUIT AGAINST TREASURY INCLUDED WITH INDUSTRY FILING

Last Wednesday a press release indicated that 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, an Iranian human rights activist, had filed suit against the US Treasury Department. She is challenging rules from the Office of Foreign Assets Control that prohibit the publication of a book she wants to write in the US. The Strothman Agency, which wants to represent her, joined in the suit.  Now there are multiple news accounts, after a Federal judge decided yesterday to include Ebadi's suit along with similar actions, such as the suit filed in September by the AAP's PSP division, the AAUP, the PEN American Center, and Arcade. Publishers Lunch 11/02/04 Press release  http://home.businesswire.com/portal/site/altavista/index.jsp?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20041027005627&newsLang=en     Current BBC report  http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3974099.stm

 

PRINT JOURNAL ARCHIVING

Microtome Publishing, founded by Stuart M. Shieber, James O. Welch, Jr. and Virginia B. Welch Professor of Computer Science at Harvard University, is offering open access print archive services for publishers of open access electronic journals.  The open access Journal of Machine Learning Research is Microtome’s first print archiving partner.  A print version of JMLR, previously published in traditional print form by MIT Press, was published eight times a year at an annual fee of $400.  Microtome plans to provide the next volume in print at $200 per year.  Open access print archiving is founded on the idea that the print version of a journal that is freely electronically distributed is intended to serve an archival role only, not an access role.  Thus, frequent time distribution of the print version is not necessary, as long as the distribution of the print version occurs at a time scale faster than that of the changing underlying technology, the archival purpose is served.  Microtome will produce a single volume on acid-free paper with library binding and spine embossing.  Because once a print run of reasonable size is sold out, further copies do not contribute to the archival safety of the document and there is no need to keep inventories or backstocks.

 

INUIT LANGUAGE FINDS HOME ON THE WEB

Inuktitut, the language spoken by the Inuit people living in Nunavut, northern Canada, can now be used on the Internet, thanks to attavik.net, which provides a content management system that allows native speakers to write, manage documents and make online payments in their native language. Web Networks, a nonprofit Canadian group that provides Web services for socially committed organizations, worked with the Piruvik Center in Nunavut to develop the system. "It was a big challenge to give the Inuit and Inuktitut speakers the ability to have Web pages published in their native language," says Web Networks chief executive Oliver Zielke. "A lot of people have older computers and limited ability to use technology." The content management system used in attavik.net can also be used for other syllabic languages, such as Cree, Ojicree and Korean.  NewsScan Daily, 3 November 2004  (BBC News 3 Nov 2004) http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/3975645.stm

 

ONLINE PUBLISHERS ASSOCIATION: CONTENT IS TOPS

The Online Publishers Association’s Internet Activity Index shows that the time spent viewing content sites in September surpassed the time spent on communications tasks for the first time in the Index’s year-long history, according to an OPA release. The data shows that content accounts for a 41.0 percent share of time spent online; communications accounts for 39.8 percent. Commerce and search account for 15.2 and 4.0 percent shares, respectively.

·        The data is based on a click-stream database developed by the OPA and Nielsen//NetRatings. The OPA’s numbers have a number of shortcomings, in Outsell’s opinion: They are heavily weighted toward consumer-oriented sites (the kinds of sites run by OPA’s members, so no surprise there). That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it begs the question of what numbers would come from business and academic markets.  

·        The division between content, communication, commerce, and search is artificial. If a consumer uses Froogle to find a product, goes to a commerce site, reads reviews of the product, exchanges buying advice with other consumers, and then buys a product, she has used all four, with very blurry lines between one activity and the other.

·        The OPA data excludes government (.gov) and education (.edu) domains, arguably the most content-rich sites out there. And pornography sites are also excluded – Outsell Now readers can decide for themselves if that’s content worth measuring or not.

So caution is in order; while this data says a lot about trends in the behavior of users of OPA members' Web properties, it doesn’t by any means represent the entire content universe or content user population. Still, the general trend identified by OPA, increasing reliance on the Web for content, is consistent with our own data showing that knowledge workers' information needs are increasingly met on the Internet, whether that’s free or fee-based content. Outsell Now 11/2/04 http://now.outsellinc.com/now/2004/11/content_the_top.html

HAYSTACK PROJECT

Computer science professor David Karger and former MIT professor Lynn Stein began work on the aptly named Haystack project back in 1995 as a way to organize computer files more intuitively, making them easier to retrieve than the typical name/type/date system. Haystack enables associations or groupings of files to be created among files of any type. For instance, e-mails can be linked with photos, Web sites, MP3 files or text documents. The Haystack project started just when search engines like AltaVista were first gaining popularity. "What really bugged me was that we suddenly had amazing tools for searching the Internet but still couldn't organize our own stuff," says Karger. "I don't think people envisioned having such a large personal repository of information that would need to be searched." Haystack's interface allows users to drag and drop files and attachments (such as photos) into collections. A right click on any item reveals its context menu, allowing immediate access to all operations that "make sense" for that object. The underlying organizational principle focuses on the information a user wants to save, not the application. (Technology Review Nov 2004)   ShelfLife, No. 181 (November 4 2004) http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/04/11/massave1104.asp?p=4

 

HISTORY OF THE DOT-COM ERA

University of Maryland professor David A. Kirsch has been collecting business plans of the dot-com era, to preserve an important piece of American business and cultural history: "How will future historians be able to understand the texture of this time? What information will they have access to, to understand the highs and lows? We can't wait 100 years for documents to wend their way into historical archives. We've got to act now." Kirsch and his students have created a digital database http://www.businessplanarchive.org listing more than 2,300 companies so far, mostly from 1997 to 2002. Kirsch says, "I call it 'Open Source History'—history that is to be written by the people who lived it. History tends to be from the voices of the elites. I want to know what the receptionist was thinking, not just the chief executive." (Washington Post 27 Oct 2004) ShelfLife, No. 181 (November 4 2004)   http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A3750-2004Oct27.html

 

NARA PROPOSES MAIL DISCARDS

National Archives and Records Administration officials want to revise the agency’s short-term e-mail policy, permitting federal officials to discard routine e-mail messages after a certain amount of time without keeping hard copies.  A proposed rule, published in the 11.04.04 issue of the Federal Register would allow agencies to dispose of short-term temporary electronic mail records (e.g., those with a retention period of 90, 120, or 180 days) without requiring the creation of a separate paper or electronic recordkeeping copy.  The short-term records can reside on a live e-mail system if users and the system’s automatic deletion rules do not delete the messages before the NARA-approved retention period expires. FCW.com 11/4/04 http://www.fcw.com/fcw/articles/2004/1101/web-nara-11-03-04.asp

 

TV ON YOUR CELL PHONE

A new Texas Instruments chip for cell phones will allow viewers to watch live TV broadcasts on their handsets. Industry analyst Neil Strother of InStat/MDR thinks that TV phones could prove popular in mass transit systems, airports and among young consumers, who might pay for subscriptions or pay by the minute. "We know that Americans love TV, and if this is delivered at the right price, it will be a winner. I think people will graze in smaller chunks—maybe they'll look at a weather forecast or they'll check sports reports." (AP/USA Today 21 Oct 2004) NewsScan Daily, 22 October 2004 http://www.usatoday.com/tech/products/services/2004-10-21-talk-and-watch_x.htm

 

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