SCHOLARLY COMMUNICATION ISSUES
A NEWSLETTER FOR THE UIUC COMMUNITY
Issue No. 18
May 6, 2002
Paula Kaufman, University Librarian
PUBLISHERS' ECONOMIC REPORT: COPYRIGHT IS BIG BUSINESS
If librarians were wondering why people like Pat Schroeder (Association of American Publishers), Jack Valenti (Motion Picture Association of America), and Hilary Rosen (Recording Industry Association of America) are concerned about copyright protection in the digital world, a recent economic report shows why. According to the Association of American Publishers (AAP) 2002 economic report, the copyright industries in the U.S. economy, including books, film, and entertainment software, accounted for an annual $535.1 billion, or 5.24 percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product, in 2001, employing more than 4.7 million workers.
Pat Schroeder, president and CEO of AAP said that the report underscores the need to keep copyright protection high on the national agenda. "Protecting copyright means protecting American jobs," she said. "With 3.5 percent of the total U.S. workforce now working in the copyright industries, and with employment in these industries growing at more than three times the rate of the rest of the U.S. economy, it doesn't take a Nobel Prize in economics to figure out that our future depends on our ability to protect America's creative industries at home and abroad." The study was conducted for the International Intellectual Property Alliance, a coalition of six copyright-based industry associations. The full text of the report can be found at www.iipa.com. LJ Academic Newswire, 4/25/02
WHAT DO AUTHORS AND READERS THINK OF SCHOLARLY ELECTRONIC PUBLICATIONS?
On April 24 the UK’s Association of Learned and Professional Society publishers (ALPSP) published a report on authors' and readers' views of electronic research publications. The web site contains a summary of the findings (HTML) and the key statistics (PPT), but the full report is only available in print ($100 for the first copy, $50 each for additional copies). The report is based on a survey of 14,000 academics from all disciplines and many countries, with a 9% response rate. From the online summary: "[M]ost want electronic journals to be free in the future....It is salutary to discover how little they value the various additional features which publishers add to electronic journals, with the notable exception of citation linking...." The print edition contains not only the data and its analysis, but the verbatim comments of the respondents to several open-ended questions. http://www.alpsp.org/pub5.htm
UNIVERSITY PRESS NARROWS ITS PUBLISHING
The latest victim of the troubles besetting university presses is the University of California Press. As part of a general retrenchment, the UC Press will no longer produce books on philosophy, architecture, archaeology, political science or geography. It will publish much less literature and fewer works of literary theory. Why the changes? The Press lost more than $1 million last year. The University of California subsidizes slightly more than 7% of the press’ budget and the rest comes primarily from sales revenues, which last year amounted to $15 million from books and $3 million from journals. With the pro bono help of consulting firm McKinsey & Co., the Press developed a formula under which it will do 80% of its business in six fields where it’s already strong: history, anthropology, sociology, religion, biology, and natural history. Read more at www.BayArea.com April 26, 2002.
NATIONAL SURVEY DOCUMENTS EFFECTS OF INTERNET USE ON LIBRARIES
80% of the students and faculty members who responded to a recent national survey sponsored by the Digital Library Federal (of which UIUC is a member) and undertaken by Outsell, Inc., stated that the Internet has changed the way in which they use campus libraries. More than 1/3 of the respondents overall and half of those in fields such as business and engineering now use the library less than they did just two years ago. Preliminary analysis of the findings from the survey of more than 3,200 students and faculty members at universities and liberal arts colleges indicates that respondents’ patterns of information use and their perceptions of libraries are not monolithic. Information needs vary by discipline and type of use and patterns of use and perceptions vary by type of institution. For information about the study and its results go to www.diglib.org/use.htm
CAN WE DEVELOP A NATIONAL STRATEGY FOR PRINT COPIES?
As reliance on electronic resources grows, the future of research materials in print form takes on increasing urgency. The amount of materials potentially useful for research in the humanities and social sciences exceeds the ability of any single library to catalog and store, although many libraries, including UIUC’s, try to collect comprehensively. As a result, the artifacts of paper-based communication are piling up in our libraries and are becoming an ever more expensive problem. Both the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) and the Center for Research Libraries (CRL) have issued reports recently that focus attention on the imperiled future of print resources. CRL suggests that because the scale of an endeavor to make these materials available in perpetuity is so enormous, we might look to the model of the national energy grid, a distributed coordinated system that would make possible a more rationalized management of these resources than is available at present. There is already a nascent network of “repositories of last resort,” in libraries such as the Library of Congress, the American Antiquarian Society, CRL and others who have accepted responsibility, at least informally, for retaining hard copy of print materials within certain large domains. To succeed, a national system for distributed preservation of artifactual materials must be incremental and scalable, risk-averse, voluntary, transparent, and economically sustainable. The UIUC Library will be working with CRL and two other libraries to investigate some of these issues in a small-scale project that focuses on print copies of the journals also available through JSTOR.
THE ALEXANDRIA LIBRARY RISES FROM THE ASHES
The rebuilt great library of Alexandria, Egypt, a $200 million facility that will house as many as 8 million books, opened quietly to the public in late April. Plans for a gala opening were changed as a result of the current conflicts in the region. In addition to its physical facility and resources, the Library offers a website of 10 billion web pages as well as a library of American and Egyptian television programs and movies (copyright issues limit severely the scope and type of movies available). The original library of Alexandria housed 500,000 scrolls, which made it a center of culture and scholarship from the third century B.C. into the early Christian era. The modern library aims for similar stature as a global hub of information. The details of the demise of the original library are not clear. Various researchers claim that Julius Caesar burned it in 48 B.C., that Augustus Caesar destroyed it in his pursuit of Marc Antony, that early Christian monks burned it in 391, that Muslim zealots decimated it in 642. Brewster Kahle, founder of Internet Archive of San Francisco is donating a subset of his collections to help the Library start its digital library. Print holdings will be tightly focused on fields and specialties such as global environmental protection, Egyptian history and culture, comparative religion, history of science and Mediterranean civilizations, and women’s studies. One of the library’s primary champions has been Suzanne Mubarak, Eqypt’s First Lady, and that has not been without some controversy. Read more at www.wired.com/news/print/0,1294,52028,00.html
HISTORIANS SEEK ACCESS TO PRESIDENTIAL RECORDS
The Association of American Publishers, the Authors Guild, and PEN American Center recently brought together three historians to discuss their fears that the presidential executive order that limits access to presidential records will block important presidential research. Robert A. Caro, Arthur Schlesinger, and Robert Reeves discussed how governmental officials, invoking either claims to privacy or national security, more often abuse exemptions to shield themselves, their colleagues, and their records from public scrutiny. The event was organized to address presidential executive order 13,233, issued by President Bush in November 2001, which allows incumbent presidents, former presidents, vice-presidents and family members of deceased presidents the right to veto the release of presidential records. The executive order essentially blocks the 1978 Presidential Records Act. The panel agreed that historians don’t always know what they’re looking for. These laws require the researcher “to request specific things in advance to get information, but that’s contrary to practice. You can’t always know what you’re looking for in advance.” All three historians agreed that claims of national security are used arbitrarily to block access. Publisher’s Weekly, April 22, 2002.
GOOGLE ENCOUNTERS COPYRIGHT DISPUTE
Google, the company that provides the popular Web search engine, is involved in an interesting dispute involving the Church of Scientology and a controversial copyright law. The Church recently sent a complaint to Google, saying that its search results for “Scientology” included links to copyrighted Church materials that appear on a web site critical of the Church. Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, the complaint meant that Google was required to remove those links quickly or risk being sued for contributing to copyright infringement, even though the site in question is based in Norway, beyond the reach of the DMCA. When Google responded to the church’s complaint by removing the links in question, free-speech advocates accused Google of censoring its search results. As a result of this incident, Google has developed a new way to handle such complaints. When it receives a complaint that results in removing links from its index, it will give a copy to Chilling Effects Clearinghouse (www.chillingeffects.org)
SHOULD SCIENCE FICTION PAY FOR THE REAL THING?
Michael Williams, a Republican candidate for the 5th Congressional District seat in Alabama, has a “creative” plan to fully fund NASA: tax science fiction. Williams has proposed a 1% ‘NASA tax’ on science fiction books and comic books, space sciences books, and any other space-related literature. The tax would also apply to “space, space-related, and science fiction toys, puzzles and games,” Williams said in a listing of his platform. Perhaps taxes on mystery books could pay for our federal and local investigation agencies, and taxes on romance books could pay for….
DO WE NEED TO MAKE CHANGES?
Scholarly Communication Issues welcomes your input. Please let us know what’s missing from our coverage. And let us hear your comments about the issues themselves. Does our current system of scholarly communication need to be changed? If so, how should the academic community go about changing it? Send your comments to Paula Kaufman at firstname.lastname@example.org.