Issue 14/04

August 17 2004

Paula Kaufman, University Librarian, Editor




England 's Institution of Electrical Engineers (IEE) has issued a press release (July 21) expressing "grave reservations" about open-access journals. It objects that the upfront funding model will compromise peer review, that it will exclude work from poor countries, and that it will allow research corporations that formerly paid subscriptions to get OA journals for free. Open Access News 7/26/04



Michael Geist’s regular Toronto Star “Law Bytes” column covers a report released on July 26 that he co-authored with Milana Homsi examining the effect of U.S. law, particul arl y the Patriot Act, on Canadian privacy law. The report comes in response to concerns in British Columbia over a proposed go vern ment outsourcing of health data. The report's conclusions have impl ications for any personal data transfer to a company with U.S. connections from a country with strong privacy laws as we find that several U.S. statutory provisions provide U.S. courts with the power to order secret disclosures from both U.S. companies with foreign subsidiaries and foreign companies with U.S. subsidiaries and that current Canadian privacy law can do little to stop such disclosures. BNA's Internet Law News (ILN) - 7/26/04 Column at

Report at



The LA Times features a story on how the music industry is beginning to adopt features once found only on file sharing networks. These include the ability to send free songs to friends, listen to the songs on different portable players, and encouraging limited sharing. BNA's Internet Law News (ILN) - 7/26/04,1,4128712.story



A National Research Council-STEP Board committee chaired by Richard Levin, president of Yale University , and Mark Myers, the Wharton School and formerly Xerox Corp., has released a final report of its 3-year study of patent policy. The report, A Patent System for the 21st Century, focuses on how well the system fulfills its mission of encouraging research, innovation, and the dissemination of knowledge and how it is adapting to rapid technological and economic changes. The panel concludes that the system has shown admirable flexibility in accommodating new technologies and reflecting the greater importance of intangible capital of all sorts. On the other hand, there is reason to be concerned about the quality of issued patents (whether they meet the statutory standards of novelty, utility, nonobviousness, and adequate written description), the resources available to the US Patent and Trademark Office to keep up with the pace of change and volume of applications, features of US law that inhibit the dissemination of information contained in patents and that raise the cost and uncertainty of litigation over patent validity and infringement, access to patented research technologies for basic non-commercial research, and redundancies and inconsistencies among national patent systems that raise the cost of global intellectual property protection. July Newsletter - STEP Board



The British Academy has completed a study of the contributions of the arts, humanities, and social sciences to national wealth titled That Full Complement of Riches. The study, which addresses a central public policy issue that continues to arise in the US as well as the UK , contains both some quantative data and also a wide variety of compelling anecdotes. There's a press release about the study here: and a page pointing to both HTML and PDF copies of the study proper can be found here:

Clifford Lynch, CNI-Announce 7/25/04



The Committee’s Report concludes that the current model for scientific publishing is unsatisfactory for both libraries and users. Libraries face major technological and organizational challenges in managing the growing number of digital materials. In addition, they are struggling to acquire the material their users need against a background of growing research output and rising prices for scientific journals. Highlighting the British Library's importance in underpinning UK scientific and technological research, the Committee argues: 'The British Library has a crucial role to play in the preservation of digital publications, both strategically and practically'. In its recommendations the Committee strongly supports the Library’s efforts to secure funding to develop the infrastructure for an effective national digital archive, and highlights the danger of inaction: 'Gaps of up to 60% in the deposit of electronically-delivered publications, including STM journals, represent a significant breach in the intellectual record. Open Access News 7/22/04



In the spring of 2001, it was estimated that some 93% of new information is “born digital,” i.e., created originally in digital form. While the benefits of digital content creation are numerous, ranging from easy access to low publication costs, one of the big dangers of digital-only content is its potential loss. The average life span of a Web site is approximately six weeks and ne arl y half the Web sites found in 1998 were gone by the following year. Founded in 1996, the Internet Archive (IA) was created to archive as much of the Internet as possible. As of January 2004, the IA contained in excess of 30 terabytes of data, including more than 30 billion Web pages. Despite its vastness, some academics fear the IA won¹t be enough. Because its collection capabilities are limited to public Web pages containing links to other pages, the billions of orphaned and restricted-access pages that reside on the Web are out of reach. Scholars are increasingly concerned with the possibility of a coming Digital Dark Age, a period in the not-so-far future when the manuscripts and ephemera used by historians, social scientists and others to examine the past and present will not exist in a significant accumulation to yield useful historical or social context. (Ephemeral to Enduring: The Internet Archive and Its Role in Preserving Digital Media 30 Apr 2004 ) ShelfLife, No. 166 ( July 22 2004 )



E arl y proclamations that the world would enter a ³digital dark age² if schol arl y and cultural materials weren¹t preserved immediately have given way to a more measured long-term attitude that looks at digital preservation not just as a technical mechanism, but as a process operating in concert with the full range of services. It is, write Online Computer Library Center specialists: ³... a social and cultural process, in the sense of selecting what materials should be preserved, and in what form; it is an economic process, in the sense of matching limited means with ambitious objectives; it is a legal process, in the sense of defining what rights and privileges are needed to support maintenance of a permanent schol arl y and cultural record. It is a question of responsibilities and incentives, and of articulating and organizing new forms of curatorial practice. And perhaps most importantly, it is an ongoing, long-term commitment, often shared, and cooperatively met, by many stakeholders. As experience in managing the long-term stewardship of digital materials accumulates, there will likely be even more ways we will need to look at digital preservation in the course of building digital information environments that endure over time.² (D-Lib Magazine Jul/Aug 2004) ShelfLife, No. 167 (July 29 2004)



This sixth DigiCult Thematic Issue concentrates on how resource discovery technologies can ensure that the high value, authoritative information of heritage institutions is effectively found, retrieved, and presented to Internet users. With a key focus on the user, the Issue looks into user-driven approaches in interactive resource discovery. Expert opinion suggests that offering easy to use services and tools able to integrate the research and learning needs and behaviors of their users may form one of the heritage institutions’ answers to the dominance of general-purpose global search engines. However, along with ensuring state-of-the-art interactive access and presentation, the heritage sector will also need to raise the public’s awareness to, and visibility of, its online resources in a more profound manner. Otherwise it faces the risk that the large investment required in creating digital collections, rich descriptive metadata, study and learning material, will fail to realize a high return – in terms of interest and appreciation, discovery and valuable uses of heritage resources.



PubMed Central has some major treats in store for science libraries and the users of scientific literature in the coming months. Biochemical Journal is the flagship publication of the Biochemical Society. Although the Biochemical Journal's website mentions 'Free online archive', I cannot locate any statement regarding the free portion of the archive. Biochemical Journal will be added to PubMed Central through the JISC/Wellcome Trust Medical Journals Backfiles Digitization Project. I infer from the description at the Wellcome Library that the material published in a calendar year is to be released for free access in January of the following year. Biophysical Journal is the primary journal of the Biophysical Society. The journal's archives at HighWire Press are freely available after a twelve month embargo. The retrodigitization of Biophysical Journal is part of PubMed Central's ongoing backfile scanning project. Biochemical Journal - Fulltext v313+ (1996+) [by subscription]; Print ISSN: 0264-6021 | Online ISSN: 1470-8728. Biophysical Journal - Fulltext v74+ (1998+) 1 year moving wall; Print ISSN: 0006-3495 | Online ISSN: 1542-0086. PS - Dana Roth found the following statement: The Biochemical Journal online archive is free to anyone with internet access. Every year in January, the online content for the previous year becomes free providing access to full papers from 1996 and abstracts from 1976. Full access to the current year of the online journal is restricted to institutions that have a subscription. Biochemical Journal - Fulltext v313+ (1996+) [current calendar year requires subscription]; Print ISSN: 0264-6021 | Online ISSN: 1470-8728. In addition, Roth notes that Biochemical Society Transactions has a similar policy. Biochemical Society Transactions - Fulltext v27+ (1999+) [current calendar year requires subscription]; Print ISSN: 0300-5127 | Online ISSN: 1470-8752. Open Access News 7/26/04 (Note: your editor is on the PubMedCentral Advisory Board.)



National Institutes of Health (NIH) director Elias Zerhouni indicated at a gathering of 43 scientific journal publishers and editors on July 28 that eventually all NIH-financed research will be freely available to the public. Zerhouni stopped short of setting deadlines for depositing full-text materials in the searchable PubMed database, as recommended in a House Appropriations Committee report released e arl ier this month. Instead, he asked the publishing exec utives to inform him how best to manage material so that the public can freely use it. 'The public needs to have access to what they've paid for,' Zerhouni told commercial and nonprofit publishing exec utives at a meeting he called on the NIH campus....'The status quo just can't stand.' " The Scientist 7/29/04 Open Access News 7/29/04



While supporters of open access hailed a proposal by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to make all taxpayer-funded NIH research freely available within six months, more than 100 publishers yesterday visited the NIH offices to voice their strong opposition. Among their complaints: the NIH tucked the measure into an appropriations bill, which denied publishers, including society publishers, the opportunity to be heard on the issue. The meeting was hosted by NIH Chairman Elias Zerhouni, and was the first in what is expected to be a number of hearings on the proposal, including, Meredith adds, a possible colloquy sponsored by the AAP. In response to publisher outcry, Rick Johnson, director of SPARC, in a letter sent to Zerhouni yesterday, suggested that NIH had made the right choice and that publishers appeared to "misunderstand the proposal, which proposes open archiving, not open-access publication." Open archiving, Johnson said, "is not a threat to journals." Mark Sobel, exec utive officer of the American Society for Investigative Pathology (ASIP), who spoke at the NIH meeting, disputed Johnson's take. "It appears that the underlying factor behind this proposal is unsustainable subscription fees for libraries," Sobel said. "That's unfair to individual publishers." Sobel said the non-profit ASIP publishes two affordable journals a year, including the flagship journal in pathology, just barely making enough to cover its expenses and reinvest money into improving the quality of its journals, scanning backfiles, and supporting other activities. He said the NIH proposal could dip into the revenue paid to his journals by libraries, as well as cause an array of logistical problems for both researchers and the NIH. "We signed on to the DC Principles," Sobel explained. "We support open access; all of our journal material is accessible in some way." Sobel expressed frustration, however, that concerns of society publishers like APIS were not heard before the NIH policy was suggested. He characterized the NIH proposal as a one-size-fits-all solution to an issue that requires a more flexible approach. "At yesterday's meeting, Sobel said NIH director Zerhouni told publishers flatly that the status quo could no longer be tolerated. "What status quo was he talking about?" Sobel wondered. "Our status quo is very different from other publishers' status quo." Library Journal Academic News Wire: July 29, 2004



The House Appropriations Committee Enters Scholarly Publishing Fray, AAU CFR Weekly Wrap-Up , July 30, 2004 , pp. 1-2. An unsigned story in the AAU CFR Weekly reported the committee action and the AAU stance on it. Excerpt: "AAU has not taken a position on the substance of the proposal contained in the report language, but the association believes that a congressional prescription for scholarly publishing is unwise and unwarranted. However the debate over public access is decided, the quality and reliability of scholarly publishing should remain the first priority. A congressional mandate requiring a specific business model for the scholarly publishing enterprise prejudges what should be an internal, transparent deliberation by the academic and scientific communities. That process should examine the full range of options for controlling costs and increasing access to scholarly publishing while preserving its quality and reliability. Publishers are exploring different options, and outside groups or the government—no matter how well intended—should not prematurely pick winners and losers." Open Access News 8/2/04



In another contribution to Nature’s “focus” discussion, Mark McCabe and Christopher Snyder characterize the views of some of the major players in the markets on which business model is best for schol arl y journals and then consider two commonly discussed business models, traditional (reader pays) and Open Access.



It's rare that the words "hoopla" and "wiretap act" wind up next to each other.  But the First Circuit Court of Appeals achieved just that on June 29. That's when the Massachusetts court ruled that it is not a violation of wiretap law for Internet service providers to read e-mail messages that pass through their system. Reaction to the decision was swift. Privacy advocates were aghast. Big-name Internet service providers were quick to assure that their privacy policies prevent such snooping. So perhaps it's no surprise that Congress, too, acted quickly, slipping in proposed new legislation before adjourning July 24 for the six-week summer recess."



"It used to be that if you had a photograph, that was the end of it - that was truth," said Hany Farid, associate professor of computer science at Dartmouth College . But in this age of PhotoShop, who can tell if what you see is really the way it was? Images that look authentic can in fact be digitally tweaked: license plate numbers changed, single items duplicated, two pyramids squeezed a little closer together. But researchers are now developing software that automatically detects alterations in digital pictures. Your eyes can't tell, but Farid says his algorithms can spot changes. How? When two images are spliced together—like the famous picture of a shark supposedly attacking a low-flying helicopter—one or both of the original pictures usually has to be shrunk, enlarged or rotated to fit together. Those changes, no matter how artful, leave clues that Farid's algorithms can detect. His team's techniques are virtually foolproof, he says, but only if the picture quality is very high. Uncompressed TIFF image files, which contain enormous amounts of data, are like an open book. But the technique doesn't work as well with JPEGs, the compressed photo format most commonly used. As JPEG files are compressed, the changes become much less obvious. At 90 percent, it's very hard to tell. "We can't stop tampering," Farid admitted. "We can s impl y make it harder." (New York Times 22 July 2004) ShelfLife, No. 167 (July 29 2004)



Incompatible file formats have become more than just a glitch to students with disabilities across the country. While the technology exists to offer students with blindness, low vision, or print disabilities access to electronic versions of textbooks, lack of a standardized format for these files have prevented a number of these resources from getting to the students who need them. This week, the Department of Education endorsed a new, voluntary standard to help solve this problem: the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS). Read more in a press release from the Department of Education and learn about the Berkman Center's K-12 Initiative to explore innovative ways to bring electronic textbooks to classrooms. Berkman Center Blog 7/30/04



Eli Lilly and Co. will begin disclosing the results of all trials on the drugs it sells in an online registry it plans to have available on a Web site later this year, the company said recently. Trial results that are contrary to the expected outcome of the drug will be disclosed, along with comprehensive descriptions of the methodology for each study, the Indianapolis-based company said. "Lilly understands that patients, customers, and critics are looking for transparent answers that provide value to the health care decision-making process," Sidney Taurel, Lilly's chairman, president and chief exec utive, said in a statement. "These actions should prove to be invaluable for patients and the medical community as they seek to make informed decisions about Lilly medicines.” The registry will be available to the public on a company Web site, Lilly said. Lilly will hire an independent third-party to monitor the clinical trial site and make sure Lilly is publishing the data it promises. Open Access News 8/3/04



The head of the British Library has warned that huge numbers of texts will be lost forever unless the go vern ment acts to preserve the accumulating bank of digital material. Web sites, online-only journals and CD-ROMs are in danger of becoming obsolete in just a few years. Books, scientific journals and films which are published only on the Internet could be lost unless a system to store the digital material in permanent form is put in place, said Lynne Brindley the chief exec utive of the British Library. The British legislature last year passed a law saying that electronic and non-print publications should be deposited at the British Library in the same way as printed matter. However, the new law didn't stipulate how the added costs should be covered, and the library says it will need substantial funding to collect, collate and manage the material. "There is very much a sense that our grandchildren will not have a full picture of history if we don't do something," says Brindley. "Although that sounds a bit exaggerated, if we're not preserving and collecting digital material, we're getting less and less of a picture of our society. It is a mammoth task, but it is better than throwing up your hands and saying we can't do it." (The Independent 25 Jul 2004) ShelfLife, No. 168 (August 5 2004)



Dan Koster, Web content manager for Queens University of Ch arl otte in North Carolina , became a minor celebrity last spring when he reported that 15-20% of the 2,000 CDs in his properly stored collection suffered from what has loosely been called CD rot and would no longer play. As people entrust more and more of their valuable records—everything from tax forms to family photos—to digital media, the idea that those reliable-looking CDs and DVDs could be, well, less than reliable, is alarming. And history tells us that even if the media hold up, the technology needed to retrieve the files may not always be there. When was the last time you used a reel-to-reel tape player? Accelerated aging tests conducted by the Library of Congress and National Institute of Standards and Technology demonstrate that the poorest-quality CDs may last only four or five years; the best, more than 100. Consumers can hedge their bets by keeping hard copy printouts of valuable documents and uploading photos to online archiving services, but in the end, the s impl e truth is that nothing lasts forever. ( USA Today 26 Jul 2004 ) ShelfLife, No. 168 ( August 5 2004 )



The Schol arl y Publishing Office of the University of Michigan University Library has partnered with print-on-demand pioneer Lightning Source Inc., to publish a series of 19th century books. The library will now offer readers and libraries the opportunity to acquire new copies of an array of volumes that have become difficult to find, either because they are long out of print or because original copies have deteriorated. The books are produced from digital images created through the library's preservation reformatting program, which results in an electronic version of the text that can be accessed online, but also can be used to create new print copies. Ne arl y ten thousand of these digitized volumes have been online for several years in the library's MAKING OF AMERICA collection. Library Journal Academic News Wire: August 05, 2004 For more information, see



Now this is what we call peer review. In yet another attempt to illustrate the promise of the digital age, Stanford University 's Lawrence Lessig will ask readers to input their own editorial changes to a new edition of his 2000 landmark book CODE AND OTHER LAWS OF CYBERSPACE. A web site will allow them to make edits directly in the book's electronically projected text. Lessig will then adopt those changes he feels are appropriate. The public editorial session is being undertaken with publisher Basic Books. In March 2004, Lessig used his latest book, FREE CULTURE: HOW BIG MEDIA USES TECHNOLOGY AND THE LAW TO LOCK DOWN CULTURE AND CONTROL CREATIVITY in another publishing experiment. The book, published by the Penguin Press, appeared as both a print edition and as a free PDF, available online under a Creative Commons license. Lessig theorized that free electronic dissemination of the book would boost sales, but it's still too e arl y to tell if he was right. Library Journal Academic News Wire: August 05, 2004



Numbers gathered in a paper published in the August 2004 Association of Research Libraries (ARL) BIMONTHLY REPORT show that the typical university research library spent ne arl y 400 percent more on electronic resources in 2001/02 vs. 1994/95. E-journals accounted for 92 percent of those expenditures. The statistics show the rapid, dramatic shift to electronic resources; in comparison, overall library expenditures increased just 61 percent during the same time period. The report is based on two surveys (conducted in 2001/2002 and in 2003 by the ARL) and was written by Mary Case , university librarian at the University of Illinois at Chicago , and the former director of ARL's office for schol arl y communication. So rapid has change been in electronic publishing, Case notes, that, since the first survey went out in 2002, the STM publishing world has seen dramatic changes. Those changes include Elsevier's acquisition of Academic Press, the merger of Kluwer and Springer, and Taylor & Francis's numerous acquisitions, including Marcel Dekker. The data raise concerns about the rate at which libraries are canceling print in favor of electronic. In the 2002 survey, Case notes, "only a few libraries" indicated they were moving to electronic-only versions of journals, taken from a sample of 14 popular commercial and non-profit journal publishers. In the 2003 survey, however, 75 percent of libraries indicated they were canceling print for titles they also subscribed to in electronic format—although, many added, they were doing this selectively. With a long-term digital preservation solution still to be realized, "the fact that there will be no physical copies of these electronic resources leaves the library community vulnerable," Case writes. "No clause in a license guaranteeing perpetual access or any other user rights will help if the resource suddenly disappears." The report also offers data on a host of other issues heating up in the electronic realm, from licensing clauses to price and usage terms. On average, the survey reports, responding libraries spent approximately $1.3 million annually on Elsevier journals in 2002—a whopping 5.5 times the next largest expenditure, $240,831 on Wiley. Library Journal Academic News Wire: August 10, 2004 To access the report, see



Joseph J. Esposito, The devil you don't know: The unexpected future of Open Access publishing, First Monday , August 2004. Abstract: "With the advent of the Internet and online publishing, the notion has arisen that access to the world’s research publications could be made available to one and all for free, presumably by shifting the costs to other places in the value chain and disintermediating publishers, a circumstance called Open Access (OA) publishing. While there are many hopes embedded in this view (lower costs, wider access, etc.), it appears more likely that Open Access will come about not through a revolution in the world of legacy publishing, but through upstart media built with the innate characteristics of the Internet in mind. An unanticipated outcome of this situation will be that the overall cost of research publications will rise, though the costs will be borne by different players, primarily authors and their proxies." Open Access News 8/7/04



Dan Sabbagh, Reed Elsevier chief hits back in scientific publishing row, London Times , August 6, 2004 . Excerpt: "Critics argue that the scientific community should abandon seeking publication in journals of the type that Reed owns in favor of the 'open-source' model, in which authors pay to have their research made public. 'After five years, the author-pays model has gained a 1 per cent market share,' Sir Crispin said as the Anglo-Dutch group reported interim results. 'Libraries do push back on costs, but we are securing a 96 per cent renewal rate, and that tells the real story.'...Last month, MPs on the Commons Science and Technology Committee called on the Go vern ment to create a free national archive of all scientific publications, and accused Reed of 'not being transparent' about its costs. At that time, Ian Gibson, MP, the committee’s chairman, went further and accused commercial publishers of 'ripping off the academic community'. According to the committee, the price of scientific publications has increased by 58 per cent since 1998. The report is now in the hands of the Go vern ment, which has to decide what measures to adopt. Executives at Reed are privately confident that any measures adopted will not have a major impact on business." Open Access News 8/6/04,,9071-1204570,00.html



Technology visionaries who once believed e-mail and the internet would lead to the paperless office are back again. This time, they are promoting flexible, powerless displays that can roll up and fit in a pocket. The e-paper promises to be reusable and fully portable. One imagined application is replacing the 2kg weekend newspaper with one piece of paper-thin film, where the text can be changed on command. It is a wonderful dream, yet engineers and developers are being cautious about over-hyping. E-newspapers will be available one day, but not yet. What has brought the dream closer to reality is major advances in materials and chemicals, with elements of nanotechnology also being employed. The result is super-thin sheets of plastic that have a few key properties. They reflect natural light, which means they do not require any added light source to read, much like ink on paper. They are bi-stable, which means once the power is off, the image remains unchanged. You only need power to change the image. Sheets are so thin they can be rolled up like normal paper. South China Morning Post 8/10/04 Electronic BookWeb 8/10/04

The Congressional Budget Office released a new study on digital copyright issues (, outlining economic problems that Congress should keep in mind as it grapples with making new laws. While stopping short of specific legislative recommendations, the paper offers a set of principles for lawmakers that's largely focused on avoiding being tied too closely to past practices or to the interests of powerful companies or consumer groups. Cnet 8/10/04 8/11/04

Multiple accounts share the announcement that C-SPAN's Booknotes program will end on December 5, after 15 years on the air and interviews with 800 authors. Host Brian Lamb is ready to do new things—which is apparently why he isn't s impl y passing the seat to another interviewer. Instead, he'll occupy the Booknotes time slots with a broader interview show called Q&A. The Washington Post says that "Lamb insists that BookTV—C-SPAN2's 48-hour programming on the weekends—will see enhancements that will compensate for the loss of 'Booknotes.' Most likely viewers will see another interview show soon." Publishers Lunch 8/11/04


Many of Europe 's historic films—censored in Austria , Germany and Czechoslovakia during the 1920s and 1930s—lie damaged, forgotten and largely unseen. Until recently, when a group of researchers mined three national archives and manually digitized 20,000 pages of documents about films, as well as related correspondence, press articles, photos and film clips. They then cataloged, indexed and annotated the pages and are using the results to demonstrate COLLATE, a new Web-based "collaborative knowledge working system," dubbed a "collaboratory" (collaboration plus laboratory). The system allows researchers to work remotely using software tools such as databases, digital libraries and research results. The tool may for a limited time be freely downloaded or directly accessed at There, researchers may search historic and cultural sources by content, using existing tools and retrieval systems, some of which are open source. Visitors may, for example, download a version of the complete Austrian movie, "Café Electrik," prints of which no longer exist. Using the new system, researchers pieced together its story from related photos and subtitles. Its creators say COLLATE is the first collaboratory used in the humanities, but note it can be used in other domains, as well. (Information Society Technologies 27 Jul 2004 ) ShelfLife, No. 169 ( August 12 2004 )

With many university presses continuing to struggle financially, director at the U. of Michigan Press Phil Pochoda asks when institutions without presses will "pay their fair share for this whole network that is supporting and under girding their tenure and promotion? They're riding free on this system." The Chronicle of Higher Education has a long exploration of the possibilities for various subsidy systems. They also look to a certain extent at the larger issues: Should universities stop making publication a requirement for tenure, and does it make sense to subsidize more academic works when there are too many already? "Though many presses have reduced the number of books they publish in the humanities, the presses' struggles to survive in the book market have produced an academic-publishing glut. The average number of books published by each academic press more than doubled between 1963 and 1988—from 41 to 88—and has stayed steady since, according to figures from the Association of American University Presses. On top of all that, the demand for books has not been sufficient to allow their prices to keep pace with inflation." Publishers Lunch 8/12/04


Previous issues of this Newsletter have reported on testimony at P arl iamentary hearings about schol arl y publishing. The committee’s report is now available at: (Apologies for this long summary, but the report is an important one):

Conclusions and recommendations

1. It is discouraging that the Go vern ment does not yet appear to have given much consideration to balancing the needs of the research community, the taxpayer and the commercial sectors for which it has responsibility. (Paragraph 22)

2. We are convinced that the amount of public money invested in scientific research and its outputs is sufficient to merit Go vern ment involvement in the publishing process. Indeed, we would be very surprised if Go vern ment did not itself feel the need to account for its investment in the publishing process. We were disappointed by how little thought has been given to the issues within Go vern ment thus far and hope that this Report will prove to be a catalyst for change. (Paragraph 24)

3. The backdrop of international interest and momentum for change sets the scene for the UK Go vern ment to take a lead in establishing an efficient and sustainable environment for the publication of research findings. (Paragraph 25)

4. We will give a copy of this Report to the UK delegates to the Culture, Science and Education Committee of the P arl iamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. We hope that the Committee will pursue the issues raised here, both within the Council of Europe and on a wider international stage. (Paragraph 28)

5. The British Library's Document Supply Service is an efficient and cost-effective method of providing access to articles in scientific journals. The decline in demand for Document Supply notwithstanding, we are persuaded that the service provides a valuable alternative route for users who would not otherwise have access to the journals that they needed. We recommend that the Go vern ment takes steps to protect the service. (Paragraph 31)

6. We are not convinced that the publisher practice of granting each subscriber access to a set number of digital "copies" of a journal is either effective or necessary. We recommend that the Joint Information Systems Committee strongly argues the case against such restrictive practices when it negotiates the terms for the next national site licence with publishers. (Paragraph 32)

7. We congratulate the Medical Research Council on its support of the principle that primary research data should be made available to the scientific community for subsequent research. We recommend that the Research Councils consider providing funds to enable researchers to publish their primary data alongside their research findings, where appropriate. (Paragraph 33)

8. All researchers, regardless of the nature of their institution, should be granted access to the scientific journals they need to carry out their work effectively. (Paragraph 35)

9. We recommend that the Joint Information Systems Committee and the NHS work together to impl ement joint procurement procedures that reflect the close working patterns of NHS and the higher education sector and represent value for money for both. (Paragraph 36)

10. Teaching is a crucial university function. Universities should be permitted, within reason, to derive maximum value from the digital journals to which they subscribe by using them for legitimate teaching purposes. We recommend that future licensing deals negotiated by the Joint Information Systems Committee explicitly include provisions to enable journal articles, whether print or digital, to be used for teaching purposes. (Paragraph 38)

11. It is not for either publishers or academics to decide who should, and who should not, be allowed to read scientific journal articles. We are encouraged by the growing interest in research findings shown by the public. It is in society's interest that public understanding of science should increase. Increased public access to research findings should be encouraged by publishers, academics and Go vern ment alike. (Paragraph 40)

12. We are not convinced that journal articles are consistently available to members of the public through public libraries. (Paragraph 42)

13. Digitisation should facilitate, not restrict access. We recommend that the next national site licence negotiated by the Joint Information Systems Committee explicitly provides for all library users without an Athens password to access the digital journals stocked by their library. (Paragraph 44)

14. Publishers are to be commended for signing up to laudable schemes such as HINARI, AGORA and INASP-PERI. We hope that the provision of free and low-cost access to scientific publications for institutions and researchers in developing countries will continue to be a significant aspect of the way that they conduct their businesses. (Paragraph 47)

15. The digitisation of journals has the potential to greatly increase access to research findings for researchers in the developing world. (Paragraph 48)

16. We recommend that the Joint Information Systems Committee develop an independent set of measures, agreed by subscribers and publishers alike, to monitor trends in journal pricing. This will help exert pressure on the publishing industry to self-regulate more effectively and will give libraries and other users greater knowledge when they are deciding which subscriptions to take. (Paragraph 53)

17. It is not for us to pronounce on the acceptability of the profit margins secured by private sector companies. Nonetheless, high publisher profit margins need to be set against the context of faltering library budget s and an impending crisis in STM journals provision. Cancelled journal subscriptions due to pressures on library budget s will have a negative impact on publishers. It is thus in everybody's interest for profit margins to be kept at a reasonable and sustainable level. We urge publishers to act on the recommendations of this Report to address these issues. (Paragraph 54)

18. Go vern ment invests a significant amount of money in scientific research, the outputs of which are expressed in terms of journal articles. It is accountable for this expenditure to the public. We were dismayed that the Go vern ment showed so little concern about where public money ended up. (Paragraph 55)

19. We recommend that the Joint Information Systems Committee ensure that provision for continuing access in the event of cancellation to articles published during the subscription period is written into its next national licensing deal. (Paragraph 61)

20. Increasing usage rates do not equate to an increased ability for libraries to pay for journal bundles. The recent availability of usage statistics should not be used as a justification for publishers to raise their prices. (Paragraph 66)

21. Although libraries may aspire to provide access to every scientific journal, they cannot afford to do this. It is inevitable that difficult choices between a number of journals with lower usage rates and impact factors will have to be made. Nonetheless, these decisions should be made in response to local user needs rather than as a side effect of bundling. (Paragraph 67)

22. Current levels of flexibility within the journal bundle do not present libraries with value for money. Whilst we accept that unbundling STM information carries risks for the main commercial publishers, only when flexible bundled deals are made available will libraries achieve value for money on their subscriptions. Furthermore, although we recognise that bundled deals may be advantageous to libraries in certain circumstances, we are concerned about the potential impact bundling may have on competition, given limited library budget s and sustained STM journal price growth. (Paragraph 68)

23. Publishers should publicly acknowledge the contribution of unpaid peer reviewers to the publishing process. We recommend that they provide modest financial rewards to the departments in which the reviewers are based. These rewards could be fed back into the system, helping to fund seminars or further research. (Paragraph 70)

24. We do not doubt the central importance of peer review to the STM publishing process. Nonetheless, we note a tendency for publishers to inflate the cost to them of peer review in order to justify charging high prices. This lack of transparency about actual costs hampers informed debate about scientific publishing. (Paragraph 76)

25. We applaud the development by publishers of new technologies for digital journals. Innovative products such as ScienceDirect have brought increased functionality to researchers and users, making journals a more valuable research tool. (Paragraph 78)

26. We are persuaded that the costs to publishers associated with digitisation will reduce over time. Consequently, we would no longer expect these costs to be used as a justification for steep increases in prices. In the meantime we are concerned that financially powerful STM publishers may be using their strength during this digital transition period to make excessive profits whilst the going is good (Paragraph 79)

27. We believe that publishers should make it clear to subscribers what services and costs are and are not covered by the overall subscription price, enabling libraries and other users to weigh up the costs and benefits of taking out the subscription. We urge the Joint Information Systems Committee and other buying bodies to press for greater transparency in this area. (Paragraph 80)

28. Like the Office of Fair Trading, we are not entirely convinced by the cost-justification argument employed by publishers to explain rising prices. Publishers undoubtedly add value to the scientific process, but they also profit from it. (Paragraph 83)

29. It is not enough for the Go vern ment departments involved to declare themselves to be aware of the problems surrounding the imposition of VAT on digital, but not print, publications. As the issue is so critical to the adequate provision of scientific publications and to reaping the full anticipated benefits from digitisation, we recommend that DTI, DfES and DCMS all make a strong case to HM Customs and Excise for a change to the existing VAT regime. (Paragraph 86)

30. We recommend that HM Customs and Excise make strong and immediate representations within the European Commission to bring about the introduction of a zero rate VAT relief for digital journals, in line with the zero rate currently charged on print journals. (Paragraph 88)

31. We recommend that HM Customs and Excise exempt libraries from the VAT currently payable on digital publications whilst it negotiates for a more permanent solution within the EU. (Paragraph 89)

32. Because library budget s generally have a fixed ceiling, by increasing prices, the publisher with the largest share of the budget can gain an even greater share and may also force other publishers out of the budget altogether. (Paragraph 93)

33. We recommend that the Go vern ment Response to this Report provides information on the measures being taken by the Office of Fair Trading to monitor the market for STM journals. We urge the Office of Fair Trading to commit to biennial public reporting on the state of the market, including how STM publication prices are developing; how prices change following mergers and acquisitions in the sector and the impact of bundling deals upon competition. (Paragraph 94)

34. We agree that universities should be able to allocate their budget s locally in response to the needs of their teaching and research communities. (Paragraph 96)

35. It is unacceptable that HEFCE has shown so little interest in library budget s. We recommend that it commission a study from HEPI to ascertain both current library funding levels and library funding needs. The results of this study could be used to inform the allocation of the block grant. (Paragraph 97)

36. HEFCE has a valuable role to play in advising universities on library funding requirements. We recommend that HEFCE establish a code of good practice for library funding that universities can draw upon when allocating their budget s. (Paragraph 98)

37. Pressure on library journal acquisitions budget s has resulted in cancelled subscriptions and has contributed to a decline in book purchasing. This compromises the library's ability to provide the full range of services required by its user community. (Paragraph 99)

38. There is undoubtedly some scope for libraries to make efficiency savings, as there is for most organisations. Nonetheless, the valuable services provided by the library are expensive and staff-intensive. It is unlikely that libraries will have more to spend on acquisitions until they see an increase in budget s. (Paragraph 101)

39. Whilst we accept that it is important that libraries are responsive to local needs, opting out of national licensing deals negotiated with those needs in mind only makes the situation faced by libraries worse. (Paragraph 104)

40. We recommend that the Joint Information Systems Committee negotiate with libraries, regional purchasing consortia and other national bodies responsible for procurement to agree on a common strategy. Only by combining their resources will they be able to negotiate a licensing deal that secures national support and brings real benefits. (Paragraph 105)

41 . It is disappointing that many academics are content to ignore the significant difficulties faced by libraries. Until they start to see the provision of journals as, in part, their problem, the situation will not improve. (Paragraph 107)

42. Elsevier is no sudden convert to Open Access. The company has seen the direction of trends in publishing and has acted accordingly to minimise criticism of its current policies. We are in little doubt that Elsevier timed the announcement of its new policy on self-archiving to pre-empt the publication of this Report. It is good news that our inquiry has prompted such a high profile endorsement of increased access to research papers. Nonetheless, there are a number of serious constraints to self-archiving in the model proposed by Elsevier. (Paragraph 112)

43. Institutions need an incentive to set up repositories. We recommend that the requirement for universities to disseminate their research as widely as possible be written into their ch arte rs. In addition, SHERPA should be funded by DfES to allow it to make grants available to all research institutions for the establishment and maintenance of repositories. (Paragraph 115)

44. Academic authors currently lack sufficient motivation to self-archive in institutional repositories. We recommend that the Research Councils and other Go vern ment funders mandate their funded researchers to deposit a copy of all their articles in their institution's repository within one month of publication or a reasonable period to be agreed following publication, as a condition of their research grant. An exception would need to be made for research findings that are deemed to be commercially sensitive. (Paragraph 117)

45. We recommend that institutional repositories are able to accept charitably- and privately-funded research articles from authors within the institution, providing that the funder has given their consent for the author to self-archive in this way. (Paragraph 118)

46. We recommend that DCMS provide adequate funds for the British Library to establish and maintain a central online repository for all UK research articles that are not housed in other institutional repositories. (Paragraph 118)

47. Institutional repositories should accept for archiving articles based on negative results, even when publication of the article in a journal is unlikely. This accumulated body of material would be a useful resource for the scientific community. It could help to prevent duplication of research and, particul arl y in the field of clinical research, would be in the public interest. Articles containing negative findings should be stored within a dedicated section of the repository to distinguish them from other articles. (Paragraph 118)

48. In order for institutional repositories to achieve maximum effectiveness, Go vern ment must adopt a joined-up approach. DTI, OST, DfES and DCMS should work together to create a strategy for the impl ementation of institutional repositories, with cle arl y defined aims and a realistic timetable. (Paragraph 120)

49. A greater degree of consistency is desirable in copyright agreements, from publishers, but also from Go vern ment, institutions and academics, who have the power to influence the terms on which copyright agreements are established. (Paragraph 121)

50. The issue of copyright is crucial to the success of self-archiving. We recommend that, as part of its strategy for the impl ementation of institutional repositories, Go vern ment ascertain what impact a UK-based policy of author copyright retention would have on UK authors. Providing that it can be established that such a policy would not have a disproportionately negative impact, Research Councils and other Go vern ment funders should mandate their funded researchers to retain the copyright on their research articles, licensing it to publishers for the purposes of publication. The Go vern ment would also need to be active in raising the issue of copyright at an international level. (Paragraph 126)

51. We recommend that higher education institutions are funded to enable them to assume control of copyright arising from their research. In order to carry out this function they will need in-house expertise and dedicated staff. (Paragraph 127)

52. The cost to the taxpayer of establishing and maintaining an infrastructure of institutional repositories across UK higher education would be minimal, particul arl y in proportion to the current total UK higher education spending. When the cost is weighed against the benefits they would bring, institutional repositories plainly represent value for money. (Paragraph 130)

53. Having taken the step of funding and supporting institutional repositories, the UK Go vern ment would need to become an advocate for them at a global level. If all countries archived their research findings in this way, access to scientific publications would increase dramatically. We see this as a great opportunity for the UK to lead the way in broadening access to publicly-funded research findings and making available software tools and resources for accomplishing this work. (Paragraph 131)

54. Peer review is a key element in the publishing process and should be a pillar of institutional repositories. We recommend that SHERPA agree a "kite mark" with publishers that can be used to denote articles that have been published in a peer-reviewed journal. Upon publication, articles in repositories should be allocated the kitemark and marked with the date and journal of publication by the staff member responsible for populating the repository. Authors depositing articles in institutional repositories should also be required to declare their funding sources in order to reduce the risk of conflicts of interest occurring. (Paragraph 135)

55. We recommend that the Go vern ment appoints and funds a central body, based on SHERPA, to coordinate the impl ementation of a network of institutional repositories. (Paragraph 136)

56. A Go vern ment-established central body would play a major role in impl ementing technical standards across institutional repositories to ensure maximum functionality and interoperability. (Paragraph 137)

57. We recommend that DTI works with UK publishers to establish how the industry might evolve in an environment where other business models flourished alongside the subscriber-pays model. Go vern ment also needs to become an intelligent procurer, outsourcing some of the technical work involved in establishing and maintaining institutional repositories to publishers who already have the relevant infrastructure and expertise in place. (Paragraph 140)

58. We see institutional repositories as operating alongside the publishing industry. In the immediate term they will enable readers to gain free access to journal articles whilst the publishing industry experiments with new publishing models, such as the author-pays model. (Paragraph 143)

59. For the Go vern ment either to endorse or dismiss the new publishing model would be too s impl istic. Without any Go vern ment action, some authors are already choosing to publish in journals that use author payments to recover costs. Author-pays publishing is a phenomenon that has already arrived: it is for the Go vern ment and others to decide how best to respond. (Paragraph 144)

60. The evidence produced so far suggests that the author-pays model could be viable. We recommend that Go vern ment mobilise the different interest groups to support a comprehensive independent study into the costs associated with author-pays publishing. The study could be used to inform Go vern ment policy and strategy. (Paragraph 150)

61. Encouraging a public that is more scientifically literate and assisting women in their pursuit of successful careers in scientific research have been two of the Committee's longstanding concerns. We support, in principle, any measure that seeks to further these aims. (Paragraph 156)

62. Although e arl y indications are positive, it is too e arl y to assess the impact that author-pays publishing has had on access to scientific publications. (Paragraph 159)

63. The author-pays publishing model would be extremely advantageous to researchers in developing countries, enabling them to keep abreast of research conducted elsewhere. Financially, author charges would be less burdensome to researchers in the developing world than current subscription rates. If the author-pays model were to prevail, publishers, Go vern ment agencies and other donors would need to adapt existing schemes, such as HINARI, AGORA and INASP-PERI, to meet the demands of the altered cost recovery model. (Paragraph 162)

64. We recommend that the Research Councils each establish a fund to which their funded researchers can apply should they wish to publish their articles using the author-pays model. The Research Councils will need to be funded by OST to take account of this increase in costs. We hope that industry, charity and other Go vern ment funders will consider similar measures. (Paragraph 165)

65. Research Councils for disciplines that require only limited funding should be funded to enable them to pay for publication costs where necessary. (Paragraph 166)

66. In order to succeed, most author-pays publishers, like everyone else, will have to publish articles of a high quality. It is not, therefore, within the interest of journals at the higher end of the market to lessen the rigor of peer review. Nonetheless, there is a risk that lower quality journals might seek to reduce their quality threshold in order to generate profit. Were the author-pays publishing model to prevail it would be vital to ensure that peer review was not compromised in order to retain confidence in the integrity of the publishing process. (Paragraph 172)

67. The introduction of a submission fee would be an important step towards ensuring the quality of scientific publications and we strongly recommend that author-pays publishers introduce this system. (Paragraph 174)

68. The commercial and industrial sectors currently contribute significant funds to the publishing process through payments for journal subscriptions. Much of this money would be lost to the system if an author-pays model were to prevail. This is one of the key issues that needs to be addressed before the wholescale transition to an author-pays model can be supported. Go vern ment, publishers and industry need to work together to identify a solution to this problem in order to avoid a disproportionate increase in the amount of money that Go vern ment invests directly or indirectly in the publishing process. (Paragraph 177)

69. Learned societies are greatly valued by the academic and wider research community. It is of concern to us that learned societies could stand to lose a substantial portion of their income in a move to the author-pays publishing model. This is another key issue that proponents of the author-pays model need to address. (Paragraph 180)

70. We strongly support further experimentation with the author-pays publishing model. In the short term Go vern ment may need to provide limited financial assistance to encourage publishers and institutions to take part in what, for them, may be an expensive process. We applaud the Joint Information Systems Committee for providing funding for this purpose so far and hope that it will continue to do so. (Paragraph 184)

71. Author-pays publishing is a growing phenomenon. Its impl ementation on any scale will have important consequences for current funding structures and the UK publishing industry. So far the Go vern ment has shown little inclination to address this issue. (Paragraph 185)

72. Go vern ment has not shown much evidence of a joined-up approach to the challenges posed by changes to the model for scientific publishing. Whilst the central departments have been slow to respond to the author-pays publishing model, at least two Go vern ment-funded bodies have given public support to it. This creates unnecessary confusion. We recommend that it formulate a coherent strategy as a matter of urgency. (Paragraph 186)

73. We are satisfied that, by scaling publication with research costs, the author-pays publishing model would ensure a fairer global distribution of the costs of publishing research findings. (Paragraph 188)

74. The UK would put itself at a financial disadvantage internationally if it were to act alone in mandating publicly-funded researchers to publish in author-pays journals. (Paragraph 189)

75. Institutional repositories should be a key component of any long-term strategy to ensure the preservation of digital publications. (Paragraph


76. The British Library has a crucial role to play in the preservation of digital publications, both strategically and practically. This is an expensive process. Whilst the publication of this Report is too late to have any influence on funding decisions made as part of the 2004 Spending Review, we strongly support the British Library's call for extra funding in recognition of the work that it has carried out in this capacity. Failure of the Go vern ment to give adequate funding to the British Library could result in the loss of a substantial proportion of the UK 's scientific record. (Paragraph 196)

77. It is vital that work on regulations for the legal deposit of non-print publications begins as soon as possible. We cannot understand why DCMS has not yet established the Legal Deposit Advisory Panel. We recommend that they appoint the panel and begin preliminary work on the regulations at official level immediately. (Paragraph 199)

78. We recommend that the first task of the Advisory Panel is to establish definitions of a digital publication and a UK publication that are flexible enough to capture material from a range of sources in a range of formats. (Paragraph 200)

79. The existence of a secure network between the legal deposit libraries would create greater efficiencies in the deposit system and would have the potential to increase access to deposited material. We recommend that provisions for such a network are made in the regulations with these two aims in mind. The deposit libraries should be funded to establish the network. (Paragraph 201)

80. We recommend that the regulations make provision for the deposit libraries to deliver digital articles remotely to desktops on the same payment basis as Document Supply. (Paragraph 202)

81. Gaps of up to 60% in the deposit of electronically-delivered publications, including STM journals, represent a significant breach in the intellectual record. It is imperative that work on recovering and purchasing the missing items begins immediately. The six deposit libraries will need additional funding to do this. (Paragraph 203)

82. As is the case with any process, peer review is not an infallible system and to a large extent depends on the integrity and competence of the people involved and the degree of editorial oversight and quality assurance of the peer review process itself. Nonetheless we are satisfied that publishers are taking reasonable measures to main high standards of peer review. (Paragraph 207)

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