Issue No. 47

July 15, 2003

Paula Kaufman, University Librarian




A week after it announced its intention to step up the pace on acquisitions, Reed Elsevier put its money where its mouth is. Its global legal information unit LexisNexis announced it will acquire the public records business of Dolan Media. Dolan gathers and re-sells credit-related public records, which is exactly the sort of "industry tracking" information that is integrated into legal and credit analysis tasks—attractive workflow services with high "share of day" usage that will enhance LN's existing public records business. Reed Elsevier announced that it has a war chest it intends to use. It says it will use the over $800 million it generates in free cash flow each year to make further acquisitions. It claims that companies in any of its four main sectors—medical, legal, education, and business-to-business—are potential targets. Outsell Vice President and Lead Analyst Chuck Richard believes that the business-to-business trade journal space is least likely for new acquisitions, because of the sector's cyclical ad-based revenue. In our opinion, Reed Elsevier's explicit signals are an attempt to attract owners and strategic sellers who have been sitting on the fence because of low market valuations.  Outsell's e-briefs, June 27, 2003


Cary Sherman, president of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), says his organization plans to file at least several hundred lawsuits within the next 10 weeks against individual computer users who share substantial amounts of copyrighted music online. The RIAA, which represents the five major music labels, will start gathering evidence against file-swappers by using software to scan the public directories of peer-to-peer networks such as KaZaA and Grokster. Sherman says, "A lot of people think they can get away with what they are doing because peer-to-peer file sharing allows them to hide behind made-up screen names. They are not anonymous. The law is very clear. What they are doing is stealing." (New York Times 26 Jun 2003)  NewsScan Daily, 26 June 2003



The Recording Industry Association of America last week forced Loyola University Chicago to hand over the names of students whom the association suspected of offering music over the university network in violation of copyright law. The association obtained the data through a subpoena, indicating that the group is fulfilling its pledge to clamp down on peer-to-peer music piracy by threatening to sue thousands of people.

An officer for the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia delivered the subpoena to the university last Monday, according to Jack Corliss, a technology administrator at Loyola. The document, part of which was obtained by The Chronicle, cites the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and directs Loyola administrators to provide the names, addresses, telephone numbers, and e-mail addresses of people assigned to a specific Internet address. Mr. Corliss says the university complied with the subpoena after notifying two students assigned to the Internet address on Wednesday that the recording-industry group had sought their identities and contact information. The students, who are enrolled in the university's summer session, have not discussed the subpoena with university administrators, says Mr. Corliss. Loyola is not the only college to receive such a subpoena since the recording-industry association announced last month that it would start amassing evidence to prepare lawsuits against people who upload large amounts of music, said Jonathan Lamy, a spokesman for the group. But he declined to reveal how many colleges have received similar subpoenas. The subpoena to Loyola suggests growing confidence by the recording industry in demanding that Internet service providers identify individuals who are sharing music online. Tracy B. Mitrano, director of the program in computer policy and law at Cornell University, said she has studied the question of whether colleges could refuse to comply with recording industry subpoenas, citing academic freedom or the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, and determined that they can not. "I don't see how we have much of a choice," she said.


Developers of P2P programs say the RIAA's announcement on June 25 that it will start tracking down and suing users of file-sharing programs has yet to scare people.    Grokster reported file-trading activity among users has increased by 10 percent in the past few days. Morpheus has seen similar growth. BNA Internet Law News (ILN) 7/7/03



The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) recently launched a "Let the Music Play" campaign urging the more than 60 million U.S. citizens who use file-sharing software to demand changes in copyright law to get artists paid and make file-sharing legal. The EFF Let the Music Play campaign counters the Recording Industry Association of America's (RIAA) announcement that it will file thousands of lawsuits against individuals who use file-sharing software like Kazaa, Grokster, and Morpheus.



Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) has announced that will join The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal in using CCC's Rightslink to allow users to instantly obtain permission for content re-use and reprints. In music, the public appears to be eager for a legal method for downloading and copying, and thus has jumped on the iTunes bandwagon. There has been no equivalent set of circumstances in online publishing: no headline-grabbing enforcement stories, and no pent-up customer demand for a way to come clean and be legal. In this context, the story is a "visible" event because of the Post's national and international stature. In Outsell's opinion, three trends will converge and move this issue to the
front burner:
- CCC, RSiCopyright, and others will ride the current wave of enterprise-wide content services offered by the likes of Factiva, LexisNexis, and Yahoo!;
- New content purchase features embedded in Microsoft's Office suite of
software; and
- Content-level executives' need to reduce their firm's exposure to risk of
illegal copy and re-use behavior that would open them up to potential
These factors will combine to allow the business-to-business content industry to adapt to something like the music industry's "by the drink" user behavior, but without all the fuss.  Outsell's e-briefs, June 27, 2003

New legislation could be a shot in the arm for the diverse forces that have been challenging the scientific publishing establishment with limited success in recent years. The Public Library of Science, whose free PLoS Biology online journal is directly targeting authors and readers of key for-profit scientific publications, has enlisted the cooperation of Minnesota Representative (D) Martin Olav Sabo in its efforts. Sabo will introduce legislation that would place the results of federally funded research in the public domain, so that private or association publishers would not be able to obtain copyright protection for such research. Sabo claims that $45 billion in tax dollars is spent on research that is only available in high-priced academic journals, which many universities and research libraries have been forced to cut back on due to budget concerns. The push for alternative publishing by PLoS and other organizations has failed to gain much traction in recent years, but this legislation has the potential to further level the playing field.  Outsell's e-briefs, June 27, 2003



A group challenging the power of established scientific journals says legislation will be introduced to make the results of all federally financed research available to the public. The group's objective is an open system of scientific publishing that would bypass the current system, which centers on journals that charge, through their subscriptions, for access to results. The measure places results of research financed primarily by the government into the public domain so access cannot be prohibited by copyright, said Dr. Michael B. Eisen, a co-founder of the library, and a biologist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The bill also calls on federal agencies to improve access to their research results. Representative Martin Olav Sabo, Democrat of Minnesota, is to introduce the measure, called the Public Access to Science Act. A spokesman said that Mr. Sabo was concerned about patients' access to the latest medical research and that he would seek co-sponsors for the bill. American taxpayers invest about $45 billion a year in scientific and medical research, and the results should be readily available to them, Mr. Sabo said. The Public Library of Science, with the help of a $9 million grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, will begin publishing an online, peer-reviewed journal on biology in October, followed by a medical science journal early next year. Access to the journals is to be free, and the operating expenses are to be financed by $1,500 fees charged to researchers whose papers appear. Most research grants are large enough to include payments for publishing results, proponents say. Traditional journals like Nature and Science publish papers at no charge to researchers but recoup costs and sometimes make profits with advertising and paid subscriptions, on paper and online.



Hugo Alrøe, a scientist at the Danish Research Centre for Organic Farming and administrator of the open-access Organic Eprints Archive, also maintains a web page listing the policies of various scientific publishers on allowing authors to self-archive their articles. He knows that the RoMEO Project is already collecting this information and has a large head start. The difference seems to be that the Project RoMEO listings are based on published policies and copyright transfer agreements while his own are based on specific replies to a letter of inquiry.  Open Access News 7/6/03



The June 25 issue of the Environment News Service reports on the open-access literature provided by the Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) of the US Department of Energy (DOE). This takes the form of an open-access repository for gray literature, one for preprints, one for journal articles, and a new cross-archive search engine for the many DOE and OSTI collections. Open Access News 7/6/03



BioMed Central launched Open Access Now, a twice-a-month newsletter on open-access publishing. Open Access Now is edited by Jonathan B. Weitzman and will feature interviews with important players in the open-access movement and news. The inaugural issue interviews Gerry Rubin of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, a moving force behind the Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing. A print edition of the newsletter will be distributed with The Scientist.  Open Access News 7/14/03



The International Council for Science (ICSU) has released its Agenda for Action: Science in the Information Society. This is a set of documents outlining a vision for science in the age of the internet. The ICSU will encourage national governments from around the world to endorse the agenda at the upcoming World Summit on the Information Society. Quoting the press release: "Universal access to scientific knowledge, decision making and governance, policy issues for scientific information and improving education and training are the four key themes, which were chosen by the scientific community in developing its agenda for action. The science perspectives in relation to each of these themes is summarized in a series of four published brochures, which are available in English, French and Spanish. For each theme, the key principles, the challenges, the actions required, as well as examples of best practice, are highlighted....A very strong message to governments is the need to strengthen the public domain for scientific data and information and ensure equitable access to this. As Professor Jane Lubchenco – ICSU President - states: 'Scientific knowledge carries enormous potential for helping the world address the UN Millennium Development Goals, and the use of Information and Communication Technologies opens up unprecedented opportunities to accelerate this process.'" Open Access News 7/14/03



In the past, Gemstar CEO Henry Yuen was convinced that the ebook would soon become the preferred format for readers. But in yet another sign that ebooks were headed back to the drawing board, Gemstar said recently that it was pulling out of the ebook business; it will no longer sell eBook devices, but will continue to sell content until July 16, 2003, at which point the company will "cease to sell all books and periodical issues—either directly to customers or through" For "at least the next three years," Gemstar said that users would be able to continue to use their eBook devices and content under the same arrangements as they do today. Still, that, the company noted rather ominously, is subject to change. Gemstar, the California-based developer of technologies such as VCR Plus+, entered the ebook market with a flourish in early 2000 by acquiring two ebook pioneers, SoftBook Press and NuvoMedia, known for its Rocket device.  Library Journal Academic News Wire: June 24, 2003



Avi Rushinek and Sara Rushinek tackle this question in the May 13-19, 2003 issue of Ubiquity.  Excerpt: "Evaluating the quality of a journal publisher is many times a controversial issue. This is especially the case as it pertains to the promotion and tenure decisions of faculty members. For that reason, many academic articles have been written about this subject. Yet, these articles may not address some issues when applied to environments outside the academic community. One such example is from the perspective of a forensic expert witness testimony. In such an environment, the traditional academic approach may not be the best and only approach. It may be too theoretical or too esoteric. It may take too much time to conduct these academic studies, leading to out-of-date results. What can be done to supplement the traditional academic methods of comparing the quality of different journal publishers, authors and articles, especially for lay people who do not know the domain, cannot invest a lot of time in studying it, and need to get objective, immediate and up-to-date answers? Our response is using the Internet search engines to compare articles."  Open Access News 6/29/03



(All Content Copyright © 1998-2003 - All Rights Reserved) A variety of serious problems plague university libraries and the MIT Press believes they just solved (at least) one of them. With diminished library budgets, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep out of print books on the shelves for use by students and faculty. Print-on-demand programs have historically been incapable of sufficiently maintaining stock, primarily because it is not economically feasible to print and store books when demand falls below a certain threshold. If books are available, the quality is often poor or the cost of printing individual copies or small batches is prohibitive. Enter the MIT Press Classics series. The MIT Press has partnered with Edwards Brothers, a short-run printer out of Ann Arbor, Michigan, The Hewlett-Packard Company, and R.R. Donnelly printers in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Their process is fairly streamlined: The MIT Press provides Edwards Brothers with PDF files of the books, R.R. Donnelly quality-checks the books, merges the metadata, and delivers the final text to the printer. Within 48 hours of receiving an order from the MIT Press, Edwards Brothers prints and ships the finished product without ever involving the warehouse. At present, the books have a simple black cover design, but books published in the future will retain their own designs.



If you missed the June 18 story on libraries and the Patriot Act on the NewsHour with Jim Leherer, take a look: "Libraries & Liberties".   Commons-Blog July 3, 2003 



In the July 3 Nature, George Szpiro tells the tale of Thomas Hales and his attempt to prove Kepler's sphere-packing conjecture. Hales' proof uses an exhaustive computer exploration of 5,000 packing arrangements and 100,000 inequalities. After four years of review at Annals of Mathematics, the referees ran out of energy and gave up. They believe the proof is correct but have been unable to finish the job of making sure. The editor will publish Hales' paper next year, but with a note explaining that the proof has not yet been completely verified. Open Access News 7/4/03


Few people like the idea of the government watching them, but they feel pretty good about watching the government. Researchers at the MIT Media Lab deployed the Government Information Awareness (GIA) site on Friday, which collects and collates information about government programs, plans and politicians from the general public and other sources. Right now, the database contains information on more than 3,000 public figures. The site was inspired by the Total Information Awareness (TIA) program. MIT graduate student Ryan McKinley, who developed the system, said the goal is to "develop a technology which empowers citizens to form their own intelligence agency; to gather, sort and act on information they gather about the government."  Corante - Tech News: July 7, 2003,1848,59495,00.html



Despite what several speakers described as one of the toughest market environments they have ever faced, nearly 600 university press people gathered in St. Louis June 22–25 for their annual convention. The meeting, whose theme was "We're All in This Together," came against a background of both public and private anxiety about the presses' position, at a time of diminished sales, rising returns and much disagreement as to whether publishing books with a stronger trade flavor is the best way to mend their fortunes or whether it simply leads to higher returns. North Carolina Press director Kate Torrey suggested the conference theme be renamed "Sleepless in St. Louis." The public anxiety was expressed by University of Illinois Press director Willis Regier, who wrote in a recent issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education that the presses are suffering from higher financial demands from their parent institutions, the decline of foundation funding, the takeover of professional journals publishing by international conglomerates whose prices strain academic library budgets and the fact that scholarly book production was growing much faster than the market. Private concerns were expressed in a closed-door directors meeting before the convention began, at which Phil Pochoda and Doug Armato, directors at Michigan and Minnesota, respectively, were reported to have declared the present situation an "unprecedented financial crisis" for many presses. They urged franker exchanges among directors, and with the AAUP itself, about the extent of their various fiscal plights. A public case must be more strongly made, the two urged, for the role in the culture played by the presses, and a more coherent plan collegially conceived for dealing with the crisis.  Publishers Weekly, 7/7/03



The Carlyle Group, which acquired Baker & Taylor in 1992 from W.R. Grace, has sold the distribution company to the private investment group Willis Stein & Partners for $255 million. After completion of the deal, which is expected by the end of the month, Richard Willis will become CEO of B&T, succeeding Gary Rautenstrauch, who will remain with the company through the transition. B&T is estimated to have revenue of about $1.2 billion and has been profitable for several years. In 1999, Carlyle had sought to take B&T public, but withdrew the public offering when the IPO market weakened after the collapse of the Internet bubble. Richard Willis told PW his firm was attracted to B&T because it is a business that can grow "if you take care of your customers." Willis said he was also impressed by B&T's ability to adapt its operations to the changes that have taken place in the book market. The incoming CEO said his group is prepared to invest fresh funds to help B&T grow organically and through acquisitions. And after the owners get to know the business better, Willis said, they will look for acquisitions in the company's core areas, and he pointed to B&T's purchase of Yankee Book Peddler as the type of business he would like to pursue. Willis Stein previously owned Troll Communications, which it sold in 2000.

Publishers Weekly, 7/7/03



The appropriations bill recently adopted by the House (H.R. 2660) contained the following paragraph in the section on the National Library of Medicine: "Restrictions on access to research data.—The Committee is concerned by reports that there has been a significant change in the availability of research data internationally and a dramatic rise in medical research data subscription costs. NLM is encouraged to examine how the consolidation of for-profit biomedical research publishers, with their increased subscription charges, has restricted access to vital research information to not-for-profit libraries. The Committee would like a report by March 1, 2004, about potential remedies to ensure that taxpayer-funded research remains in the public domain and steps that can be taken to alleviate this restrictive trend in information technology. Open Access News 7/11/03



A group of activists for an information commons and open access have sent a public letter to Dr. Kamil Idris, Director General of WIPO, asking WIPO to convene a meeting on "open and collaborative projects to create public goods." The appendix to the letter lists seven areas where innovation can occur without intellectual property protection or even where IP protection hampers innovation. The sixth area on the list is "Open Academic and Scientific Journals." Here's the full text of the letter, minus signatures and appendix:

Dear Dr. Idris: In recent years there has been an explosion of open and collaborative projects to create public goods. These projects are extremely important, and they raise profound questions regarding appropriate intellectual property policies. They also provide evidence that one can achieve a high level of innovation in some areas of the modern economy without intellectual property protection, and indeed excessive, unbalanced, or poorly designed intellectual property protections may be counter-productive. We ask that the World Intellectual Property Organization convene a meeting in calendar year 2004 to examine these new open collaborative development models, and to discuss their relevance for public policy.

Open Access News 7/7/03

A "tedious and unimportant" dissertation is suddenly receiving serious attention. Sean Gorman, a graduate student at George Mason University, has mapped every business and industrial sector in the U.S. with an overlay of the fiber-optic network that connects them. All of the information used by Gorman is publicly available, though not collated in the same manner. Conversations with government officials and CEOs suggest that Gorman's work should be classified—something he's resistant to. "Classify my dissertation? Crap. Does this mean I have to redo my PhD? They're worried about national security. I'm worried about getting my degree." Former cyberterrorism chief Richard Clarke suggests, "He should turn it in to his professor, get his grade—and then they both should burn it." Corante - Tech News: July 8, 2003



Internet2 has announced the availability of Shibboleth 1.0, which is standards-based and open source software incorporating active privacy management of Web resources that are shared subject to access controls. Much of the work of requirements-definition for Shibboleth, which will now be used by the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) to allow access to customized or restricted content and services, was done five years ago by the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI). CNI executive director Clifford Lynch says that one of the first applications of Shibboleth will be managing access to content licensed by research libraries on behalf of campus communities, which of course hold user privacy as a core value. For the Internet2 site, see  (PR Newswire 1 Jul 2003) ShelfLife 7/10/03



Once it became clear that the reading public was not about to dispense with bound books in favor of handheld electronic devices, e-books were declared dead. But Microsoft has not given up on the format. This summer the company will offer free downloads of 60 titles in its Reader software, which can be read on desk- or laptop computers. The offer includes Bill Bryson's current bestseller A Short History of Nearly Everything and novels by Margaret Atwood, Elmore Leonard, Amy Tan and John Updike. You can order Microsoft Reader e-books from  Guardian Unlimited 7/12/03,6109,996346,00.html


The scholarly communications are also available on line at