SCHOLARLY COMMUNICATION ISSUES
A NEWSLETTER FOR THE UIUC COMMUNITY
Issue No. 24
August 19, 2002
Paula Kaufman, University Librarian
COPYRIGHT IMPLICATIONS ABOUND THREATENED BY ANTI-COUNTERFEITING BILL
Last April, Senator Biden (D/DE) introduced an anti-counterfeiting bill (S.2395) that has recently caused great concern within the education and library communities for its potential impact on currently exempt uses of copyrighted materials. When the bill was first introduced it would have created new prohibitions against trafficking in illicit authentication labels applied to physical copyrighted works. Not bad. But, when the measure was marked up by the Judiciary Committee in mid-July, it was expanded to cover digital works. Bad. This raised the prospect that the bill could create liability for otherwise exempt acts such as interlibrary loan, distribution of distance ed course materials that would be authorized under the TEACH Act, and other exempt uses. Violations could occur through the distribution of materials that had undetected authentication labels affixed to them although copyright law authorizes the distribution of such material without permission of the copyright owner under certain circumstances, S.2395 could make such distribution without permission illegal as trafficking in illicit authentication labels. Moreover, S.2395 amends the criminal code, potentially subjecting users of copyrighted materials to entire new criminal penalties and unprecedented expansion of civil penalties.
UCITA RETURNS, SLIGHTLY WOUNDED
After lobbying by library groups and others held it in check for a year or so, the Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA) is poised to make its way back to state legislatures. Readers of this newsletter will remember that UCITA is a set of broad provisions that would govern digital transactions in each state. It has passed in Virginia and Maryland. The UCITA Standby Committee, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws committee responsible for drafting UCITA, recently approved 38 amendments to the controversial legislation. Although these amendments respond to critics, opponents say it’s not enough. Now eliminated is the provision that would have permitted vendors to disable products electronically if a contract is perceived to have been breached. In addition, the amendments would allow state consumer protection law to trump UCITA; give buyers the right to criticize software products and pursue remedies for known defects; and authorize reverse engineering to make information products work together. However, other proposals weren’t backed, including a provision that would require licensors to make all license terms available to consumers before they paid.
THE US NATIONAL DIGITAL INFORMATION INFRASTRUCTURE AND PRESERVATION PROGRAM (NDIIP)
Remember the Library of Congress digital preservation program? It continues to make progress. The NDIIPP recently launched its own web site athttp//www.digitalpreservation.gov/ndiipp/. The site provides information about the program's mission, advisory board, funding and the Digital Strategy Oversight Group, as well as links to the program's strategic planning directions and a number of papers and reports.
In 1998 the Library of Congress began to develop a digital strategy with a group of senior managers who were charged with assessing the roles and responsibilities of the Library in the digital environment. This group has held several planning meetings to assess thecurrent state of digital archiving and preservation. The Library has also assembled a National Digital Strategy Advisory Board to guide the Library and its partners as they work to develop a strategy and plan, subject to approval by Congress. Among the reports available are a series of background environmental scans by recognized experts in six topic areas in which the Library of Congress "faces collection-management issues large Web sites, electronic books, electronic journals, digitally recorded sound, digital film, and digital television." The collected papers include a summary by Amy Friedlander, are also available as a Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) publication, "Building a National Strategy for Preservation Issues in Digital Media Archiving" at http//www.clir.org/pubs/abstract/pub106abst.html
PRESERVING DIGITAL SCHOLARSHIP
A scholar who wants to present a working paper to his colleagues around the world no longer has to submit the paper to a print journal then wait months for it to be published. Instead, the researcher can simply pull up a web journal and instantly submit the paper and data sets online. This virtual intellectual asset sharing is part of DSpace, a joint project between MIT and Hewlett-Packard to create a long-term, sustainable digital repository. This fall, MIT will open the DSpace archive to all its professors. The project will also release a set of free software tools so that any college or university can create its own online repository. "We see this… as a kind of public good," says MacKenzie Smith, associate director of technology for MIT's libraries. As universities churn out vast amounts of research in electronic form, many are building immense digital archives to capture, distribute and preserve intellectual output. "We really have to start thinking about alternative models, so we don't lose a record of scholarship from this particular era," Smith says. Technological obsolescence is a huge problem with keeping material viable beyond the next 5-10 years. "It is yet to be proven that publishers who electronically publish this material will succeed in preserving it," said Smith. Other institutional archives include the University of California eScholarship Repository, Ohio State University's Knowledge Bank and Caltech's Library System Digital Collections. DSpace is atwww.dspace.org. We’ll be talking about the possibility of an institutional repository here at UIUC in the coming academic year. http//www.wired.com/news/school/0,1383,54229,00.html
DIGITAL PRESERVATION WITH A METADATA APPROACH
"...Being digital does not mean being accessible," say three scholars from the University of North Texas. For example, among the inherent problems associated with digital resources is the fact that they can only be read by software. So, to ensure long-term access to digital resources, archivists would need to preserve all the software, hardware and operating systems on which the software ran. A growing number of high-level initiatives are now under way to perfect digital preservation methods so resources in all formats will be accessible as long as necessary. These metadata strategies would provide sufficient technical information about the resources and support the two primary strategies for digital preservation migration (transfer of digital resources from one generation to a subsequent generation) and emulation (developing techniques for imitating obsolete systems on future generations of computers). Properly employed metadata can facilitate the long-term access of the digital resources by explaining the technical environment needed to view the work, including applications and version numbers needed, decompression schemes and other files that need to be linked to it. In addition, a set of preservation metadata management tools will ultimately improve the management, storage and serving of large datasets, say the researchers. (First Monday 22 Jul 2002)http//firstmonday.org/issues/issue7_8/alemneh/index.html
The University of California International and Area Studies (UCIAS) Digital Collection UCIAS is a partnership of the University of California Press, the California Digital Library (CDL), and internationally oriented research units on eight UC campuses. The Digital Collection publishes articles, monographs, and edited volumes that are peer-reviewed according to standards set by an interdisciplinary UCIAS Editorial Board and approved by the University of California Press. UCIAS makes digital versions of these works available free of charge to a global network of scholars and encourages international intellectual exchange and research collaboration. Selected volumes may also be published in hard copy by the University of California Press.http//repositories.cdlib.org/uciaspubs/
EVALUATING ELECTRONIC SCHOLARLY PUBLICATIONS FOR TENURE
As the UIUC Senate begins discussions of proposed considerations in evaluating electronic scholarly publications for tenure, readers may find of interest the recently-published "Talking Past Each Other Making Sense of the Debate Over Electronic Publication," by David J. Solomon. "To make sense of this complex issue, it is helpful to view it from the perspective of the origins of the system and its three core functions, the ranking of scholarship, facilitating interactive communication among scholars, and creating a comprehensive archive of scholarly and scientific knowledge. Each of these core functions has different requirements that are to some extent overlapping but also to some extent in conflict. The Internet opens the possibility of developing a variety of different models of scholarly communication each fulfilling to a greater or lesser extent these three roles paper journals have served and possibly other roles that were not even conceivable prior to the development of world-wide electronic networks. The implications of electronic distribution for ownership and access to the scholarly literature are profound and likely to exacerbate the already serious serial pricing crisis that is hindering the widespread access to scientific and scholarly information. The scholarly community, which both authors the material contained in these publications and largely consumes the finish product holds the key to solving this crisis and allowing the Internet to be a vehicle for facilitating the dissemination of publicly funded research and scholarship rather than resulting in its transfer to private ownership."http//www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue7_8/solomon/index.html
FREE ACCESS TO MEDICAL JOURNALS
The Amedeo Group provides a series of sites that track free access to medical journals, medical books and provides links to free sources of specific medical information organized by disease/disorder. If you read through the guest book, you can get a feel for what a tremendous problem access to up-to-date medical information is for practitioners in the developing world.www.amedeogroup.com
KEEP UP WITH THE LITERATURE OF SCHOLARLY ELECTRONIC PUBLISHING
Charles W. Bailey, Jr. has released Version 44 of his Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography. The bibliography cites over 1650 print and online books, articles, and other resources on scholarly electronic publishing. This bibliography presents selected English-language articles, books, and other printed and electronic sources that are useful in understanding scholarly electronic publishing efforts on the Internet. Most sources have been published between 1990 and the present; however, a limited number of key sources published prior to 1990 are also included. Where possible, links are provided to sources that are freely available on the Internet.http//info.lib.uh.edu/sepb/sepb.html
SCHOLARLY REVIEWS THROUGH THE WEB
The 8/12/02 issue of the New York Times had a very interesting article about peer-reviewed scholarly journals, calling them perhaps the Web’s "killer app." The authors and reviewers, who work as volunteers, can be anywhere in the world, and many journals' editors work off site. With such far-flung participants, the submission and assessment process for peer-reviewed articles has traditionally involved lengthy mail delays, high postage costs and cumbersome administration. But over the last few years, about a dozen companies have developed Web-based peer-review programs that aim to reduce turnaround time, postage bills, and workload by automating and tracking the process. Industry observers estimate that 30 percent of scholarly publishers--which include commercial houses, academic presses and nonprofit associations--have adopted the online systems. Software makers and publishers themselves say that nearly all will do so within the next several years.
Creators of the software say e-mail and sophisticated databases, accessible anywhere via the Web, can help publishers gain an edge without changing the nature of the peer-review system. For example, The Journal of the American College of Cardiology, in San Diego, began using an electronic peer-review system in January. Because manuscripts must be sent to editors and several reviewers, then back to publishers and on to authors for revision, and then on to presses, journals' express mail bills easily reach $100 for each accepted article. Add in international reviewers, and the bills can double. Many journals receive thousands of submissions a year and publish hundreds of articles, making electronic systems attractive for postage savings alone. This year it expects to save 80% of its mailing costs, which have typically run between $60,000 and $70,000.
There are as many pricing schemes as there are peer-review programs. Some publishers license software and run it themselves; others hire software companies to run it for them. In one common model, there is a set-up charge, typically $5,000 to $20,000, and sometimes processing fees, generally $12 to $50 a manuscript. Even when the cost savings are minimal, publishers often install electronic systems for convenience. Because most systems track the amount of time an article stays at each stage, electronic peer review also allows publishers to identify bottlenecks. In addition, the systems can automatically generate alerts when an article is delayed. And they let publishers create a record of how often each reviewer has been invited, which articles each accepted, and how each performed. Despite the barriers, there is consensus among publishers that electronic peer review will soon be universal as demand for speedier publication increases. But many publishers point out that while technology can ease the process, the bulk of time from submission to publication is simply the weeks or months that a reviewer holds a paper.http//www.nytimes.com/2002/08/12/technology/12NECO.html
THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING FOUNDATION GIFT HELPS REVIVE
TRINITY UNIVERSITY PRESS
While many university presses are having hard times, Trinity University in San Antonio has officially announced the revival of the Trinity University Press after 13 years of inactivity. Trinity officials said that a $2.9 million gift from the Ewing Halsell Foundation of San Antonio will underwrite Press operations. Michael Fischer, Trinity's VP of academic affairs, said the Press will spotlight the serious academic work that Trinity has always valued. The press hopes to publish its first list--about six to eight titles--in 2004, and will initially focus on regional, Southwestern, environmental, and literary themes. Trinity's previous university press was launched in 1961, when the university acquired Principia Press of Illinois, a small private press with titles primarily in mathematics, economics, and philosophy. To give more visibility to the university, the name was changed in 1967 to Trinity University Press. Operating with a small staff and a limited budget, the Press published about a half-dozen books a year, mainly in the fields of religion, history, art and architectural history, bibliography, and regional materials. Though a small-scale operation, the Press brought regional and national recognition to the university through its scholarly books and monographs, and by 1975, had a backlist of nearly 100 titles. However, the Press ceased operations at the end of the 1988-89 fiscal year. Barbara Ras, will serve as director of the Press. Ras is former assistant director and executive editor of the University of Georgia Press and an award-winning poet. (LJ Academic News Wire, 8/8/02)
GOVERNMENT WANTS TO SHUT DOWN PUBSCIENCE
The U.S. Department of Energy runs a Web site called PubScience that allows users to simultaneously search more than 1,000 scientific journals for abstracts and citations. But the department wants to close the Web site, saying that two commercial operations, Scirus and Infotrieve, offer almost the same services. A notice at the PubScience site (http//pubsci.osti.gov/) says that 90 percent of PubScience's content is covered by these other sites and that their offerings are expected to increase. A 30-day public comment period will end on September 30, after which a final decision will be made on the future of PubScience. Publishers of some small scientific journals argue that closing the government-run site would be a bad idea because their journals are not covered by either Scirus or Infotrieve. http//chronicle.com/free/2002/08/2002081401t.htm
COMING SOON FAST, FREE ONLINE ACCESS AT ALL U.K. LIBRARIES
An ambitious project called the People's Network will see all of the United Kingdom's more than 4,000 libraries linked to the Internet to become access-and-learning centers by the end of this year. Thirty thousand high-speed terminals are being installed, boasting e-mail, browsing, office applications, digital imaging and video conferencing capabilities. The funding--over £100 millioncomes from the country's lottery ticket
sales. Libraries are the perfect place to get people online, officials point out. Over 60% of the British population has a library card, and borrowing a book is one of the country's most popular pastimes--five times more popular than going to a professional football game. Public response has been loud and enthusiastic. Wherever the new terminals appear, waiting lines form. An informal, small-sample survey of the libraries last
year recorded a million hours of online use before they quit counting. Inspired by a groundbreaking report about creating a networked library service and the U.K. government's determination to get the entire country connected by 2005, the People's Network has interested library services and governments around the world. "It's tackling the whole issue of social inclusion," one librarian commented. Another added, "The best bit is that they are learning while they are having fun; they don't even notice. Book
borrowing has also increased in every library with the new technology." (Wired News 27 Jul 2002)http//www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,54151,00.html