SCHOLARLY COMMUNICATION ISSUES
A NEWSLETTER FOR THE UIUC COMMUNITY
Issue No. 51
September 19, 2003
Paula Kaufman, University Librarian
NEW BOOK DEEPENS DIVIDE OVER WEB PUBLISHING
A disagreement about ants highlights increasing conflicts between biologists and book publishers over the release of scientific monographs in print and online. Nature reports that Brian Fisher, an entomologist at the California Academy of Sciences, wants to publish data about an ant species on the Internet. The problem? Under the terms of a contract he signed with Harvard University Press (HUP), he can’t put material from his forthcoming monograph online for at least four years after it is printed. Fisher recently helped launch AntWeb ( www.antweb.org/ ) and wants to post his data there. Harvard press officials are worried that it will harm the book’s future sales. (The book should be published next year.) Harvard biologist Edward Wilson’s book In the New World: A Dominant, Hyperdiverse Ant Genus was published by HUP last year and is now being put on the web. Wilson suggests that the best solution is for book publishers to put monographs online 6-12 months after print publication. Lynne Withey, director of the University of California Press, notes that her press is studying 30 of their social science and humanities books to determine the impact of online publishing on a traditional monograph. Nature 8/28/03. http://www.nature.com/cgi-taf/DynaPage.taf?file=/nature/journal/v424/n6952/full/424985a_fs.html&content_filetype=pdf/
BATTLING THE THREAT OF DATA EXTINCTION
Because most digital files are dependent on the operating systems in which they are stored and the software applications used to create and access them, would-be archivists are faced with the task of retaining and maintaining the digital hardware necessary to read digital files as well as the files themselves. "Often, there is no associated hard-copy output to archive via conventional means, says Eastman Kodak manager Andrew Lawrence. Over time, the problem is that media decays and hardware and software platforms evolve, placing the electronically stored information at risk." Lawrence suggests the best approach to digital preservation is a dual track. For short-term needs, users can maintain structured electronic archives in their native formats. But for longer-term purposes, Lawrence suggests creating a referenced archive of permanent document images in analog format, such as microfilm, that could provide a technology-proof repository. Glenn Widener, director of Internet technology at Swiftview, has a different solution. He recommends using the Printer Control Language (PCL) format, invented by Hewlett-Packard for its LaserJet family of printers, as an easy way to preserve documents." Meanwhile, Dan Schonfeld, director of products for Artesia, says his company's digital asset management software enables users to archive viewers, readers and players along with files. "Because we can store any type of media, we can actually store applications as well as the media files themselves." (TechNewsWorld 28 Aug 2003) NewsScan Daily, 29 August 2003 ("Above The Fold") http://www.ecommercetimes.com/perl/story/31436.html/
OPEN UP INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
A group of distinguished scientists, economists and lawyers have signed a letter to Kamil Idris, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), calling for investigation of "new open collaborative development models" without patents. The 7 July letter notes "in recent years there has been an explosion of open and collaborative projects to create public goods" and claims that these projects raise profound questions regarding 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," says the letter, adding "excessive, unbalanced or poorly designed intellectual property protections may be counter-productive".
The letter calls on WIPO to convene a meeting next year to discuss new open models. The letter is signed by over sixty individuals, including prominent academics and lawyers. An appendix to the letter lists seven examples of open collaborative projects that have had a major impact. These include the development of free and open software and the world wide web. The appendix also emphasizes the importance of sharing information in the success of the Human Genome Project and the SNP Consortium. Open Access scientific publishing gets a special mention, and reference is made to PLoS and BioMed Central. Francis Gurry, an assistant-director at the WIPO, has been reported as saying "the Director General looks forward with enthusiasm to taking up the invitation to organize a conference to explore the scope and application of these models." Open Access Now, August 25, 2003 www.biomedcentral.com/openaccess/
NEW OPEN ACCESS BIOMED JOURNAL FROM INDIA
OJHAS: The Online Journal of Health and Allied Sciences Update OJHAS- the first online open access biomedical Journal from India is online with a new look and feel. This open access publication from India has already made its mark in the publishing arena, with many more publishers in the country following its footsteps. OJHAS is a good example of how open access publishing can be effectively employed in the Developing world. Opn Access News, August 31, 2003. http://ojhas.org/
WILL CDs GO THE WAY OF VINYL?
Forrester Research recently predicted a steep fall in CD sales, as audio and video file sharing over the Internet continues to emerge as a preferred option among consumers. The firm said 20 percent of Americans engage in music downloading, and half of the downloaders said they are buying fewer CDs. By 2008, 33 percent of music sales will come from downloads, with CD sales down 30 percent from their 1999 peak. On-demand movie distribution will generate $1.4 billion by 2005, and revenue from DVDs and tapes will decline 8 percent, Forrester predicted. In the next nine months, at least 10 Windows-based music services will emerge, creating alternatives to illegal file sharing. America Online already has 90,000 MusicNet subscribers. Musicmatch and RealOne Rhapsody will try to differentiate their media players with Web radio; BuyMusic will try to take advantage of its early entry with personalized recommendations from ChoiceStream. And Apple Computer will release a Windows version of its popular iTunes service. Forrester predicted that by the end of 2004, Apple and possibly Musicmatch will emerge as leaders, file sharing will be in decline, and downloads and on-demand subscriptions will bring in $270 million. Surging online revenue—including subscription services—will increase music sales by more than a half billion dollars in 2004, according to the study. The research firm said music companies and studios are realizing that they must create new channels for online delivery. Consumers, tired of paying high prices for CDs and DVDs, are looking for flexible forms of on-demand media delivery. The survey also shows that the music industry's plan to sue individuals for online piracy through software such as Kazaa might pay off: More than two out of three young file sharers said they would stop swapping if there were a serious risk of jail or a fine. http://news.com.com/2100-1027_3-5070177.html?tag=fd_top/
KEEP UPDATED ON U.S. PATRIOT ACT
Nancy Kranich has written an August 27 update to her May article on the ways in which the Patriot Act has curtailed freedom of expression in the US. Open Access News 9/5/03 http://www.fepproject.org/commentaries/patriotactupdate.html/
DISTRIBUTED DIGITAL MATH LIBRARY
The university libraries of Cornell, Göttingen, and Michigan have launched a distributed digital library of mathematical monographs consisting of more than 2,000 volumes of important historical (public domain) monographs from their separate holdings. Moreover, they've made the collection full-text searchable, using a protocol "consistent with OAI, borrowed from DIENST". Searches return full citations to the hits, including volume page numbers. Click on a result to see a scanned image of the page. To run a search, use the interface at Michigan or Cornell, which are slightly different. For more details, see the press release. Open Access News, 9/5/03 http://www.library.cornell.edu/mathbooks/
OPEN ACCESS DEBATE
An interesting discussion is emerging between Bernadine Healy, former director of the National Institute of Health, who published a piece defending the current system of scholarly communication in U.S. News and World Report (http://www.usnews.com/usnews/issue/030908/opinion/8healy.htm/ ) and David Rothman of TeleRead (http://www.teleread.org/blog/2003_08_31_archive.html#106266778349045262/). Healy argues that members of the public who seek current articles about diseases and cures can search PubMed ( www.pubmed.gov/ ), read summaries of articles, and access the articles, for free or for a fee, depending on the publisher. She also suggests that if an article is too expensive, one can email the author and request a copy. Rothman disparages her comments, suggesting that the Open Access movement will solve many of the access issues that now abound in scientific publishing.
COLLEGES PLAN MUSIC SERVICES
A group of universities, caught between students who like to download music and the recording industry, which wants the universities to block such activity, has come up with a novel solution: Offer students a fee-based music service. The Boston Globe says as many as two dozen universities nationwide will start testing technology this coming spring for delivering songs to their students over the Internet. Graham B. Spanier, president of Penn State says the idea is for universities to license songs from digital music providers, make them available to students through streaming or download, and tack a few dollars onto each student's bill in the same way that some universities now charge for cable television. "If music is that important to our students, one of the things we might do is simply provide the music to them," he said. "We can make what is now illegal legal by giving students legitimate access to these services. Corante Technology News 9/4/03 http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2003/09/03/colleges_plan_music_services/
NATURE TO EXPAND POLICY ON DISCLOSURE OF CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
Criticized for tolerating undisclosed conflicts of interest among its authors, Nature will announce this month that it is expanding its disclosure policy to include authors of review essays, not just papers of original scientific research. Nature and its affiliated journals already require scientists who submit primary-research papers for publication to choose one of three options: reveal their financial interests in the research, state that they have no competing interests, or choose not to make a financial disclosure. Their answers are revealed when the journals publish their papers (The Chronicle, September 7, 2001). But last month, two of Nature's monthly research journals came under fire for publishing articles that did not reveal authors' conflicts of interest. First, two scientists raised concerns about a review of experimental treatments for depression that appeared in Nature Neuroscience without mentioning that the lead author had financial ties to companies developing some of the therapies. Later, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a watchdog group, pointed out that many letters to the editor on genetically modified foods that appeared in Nature Biotechnology had come from scientists with hidden ties to the agriculture industry. In response, the Nature journals will extend the requirements for disclosure of potential conflicts of interest to authors of review essays. The Center for Science in the Public Interest also criticized Nature's main competitor, Science, citing five articles that appeared from January to April without conflict-of-interest disclosures. Three were review papers or essays, and one was a commentary; none revealed their authors' financial ties. The fifth was a news article that failed to mention that one of the scientists quoted had served as an industry consultant.
Donald Kennedy, Science's editor in chief, said that his journal's policy, if enforced strongly enough, would have resulted in disclosure in every example except the commentary. Authors of opinion pieces, he argued, are usually prominent enough that readers are likely to know their links to industry, or find it easy to discover them.
THE AMAZING SHRINKING NEWSPAPER
There is growing evidence that online media is having an adverse impact on newspapers. A study of web users conducted earlier this year by Belden Associates indicated that newspaper web sites are beginning to cut into print subscriptions and single-copy sales. In addition, the study found that web site users who did continue to purchase print versions read much less frequently. The shape of print editions is starting to change in response to online media. The San Francisco Chronicle, among other newspapers, announced earlier this summer that it would cut the space devoted to daily stock, bond, and mutual fund tables from four pages to two pages. The paper will direct readers to its online site where they can find the latest prices as well as charts and links to SEC documents and company news. According to the Chronicle's managing editor, the web is a better vehicle than print for providing information that frequently changes. That makes sense, but prompts us to wonder what's next—weather, sports, and classifieds? Hold on, where's my newspaper? Greenhouse Effects 9/9/03 http://www.greenhousegrows.com/id94.htm
THE OTHER SHOE DROPS: RIAA FILES SUITS, OFFERS BIZARRE AMNESTY DEALS
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) announced recently that its members have filed the first onslaught of lawsuits against music file-sharers it claims are illegally trading copyrighted songs. The RIAA filed suit against 261 file-sharers it says traded a substantial number of songs—in the thousands. Meanwhile, the second part of the RIAA legal strategy to stop file-sharing was unveiled at the same time, with an RIAA offer of amnesty to file-sharers who voluntarily give themselves up and sign a notarized pledge not to share files further. In May, the RIAA settled with four students accused of copyright infringement for trading songs via file-sharing services operating on university networks (see LJ Academic Newswire 4/08/03). The RIAA had sought damages of $150,000 per song, but Princeton student Daniel Peng and Michigan Tech University (MTU) student Joseph Nievelt paid the RIAA roughly $15,000 each, while Rensselaer Polytechnic students Jesse Jordan and Aaron Sherman paid $12,000 and $17,500, respectively. Critics of the RIAA say their legal strategy is ill-conceived. The Electronic Frontier Foundation blasted the RIAA suits and its amnesty offers as failing to address the real issue. "Rather than demanding that 60 million people sharing music files turn themselves in with a so-called amnesty program, the recording industry should take this opportunity to make file-sharing legal in exchange for a reasonable fee," said Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Staff Attorney Wendy Seltzer. Library Journal Academic News Wire: September 09, 2003
RIAA SUITS RAISE LEGAL, PARENTAL, AND JURISDICTIONAL QUESTIONS
Analysis of the RIAA suits against 261 file sharers covers a wide range of issues. The NY Times notes that parents are being forced to confront their children over Internet usage, the WSJ runs an opinion piece by University of Chicago law professor Douglas Lichtman which argues that the P2P services are the more appropriate target for RIAA suits, while the Globe and Mail assesses the likelihood of similar actions in Canada. BNA's Internet Law News (ILN) - 9/10/03 http://www.nytimes.com/2003/09/10/technology/10MUSI.html/
ARE DATABASES THE NEXT COPYRIGHT BATTLEGROUND?
A proposed bill scheduled for a joint hearing by the U.S. House Judiciary and Energy and Commerce Committees would prevent the wholesale copying of news archives, professional directories, and other compilations of factual information not currently protected by copyright laws. Backers of the measure say it would prevent groups from simply copying and repackaging databases to resell them or make them available for free, but the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and consumer advocates plan to protest the proposed legislation, arguing that it could dramatically limit the public's access to information and that database providers can protect themselves through existing terms-of-service agreements with users. "We think this is already dealt with under license and contract law, and there's no reason to extend beyond that," says Joe Rubin, director of congressional and public affairs at the U.S. Chamber. And while some advocates say the measure would encourage publishers to make more information available for free, Mike Godwin, senior technology counsel at Public Knowledge, says the more likely outcome will be the opposite: "Information, when not copyrighted, is something that can be shared. Once you start putting fences around information, there's not freedom of inquiry. That doesn't make us smarter, it makes us dumber." (Reuters/CNet 5 Sep 2003) NewsScan Daily, 8 September 2003 ("Above The Fold") http://news.com.com/2100-1028-5072206.html
MORE ON THE DATABASE BILL
Four major library groups have sent an open letter opposing the bill to James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary, and Billy Tauzin (R-LA), Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. In addition to specific objections to the bill, the open letter contains this paragraph: "Finally, as described in the enclosed article and editorial from the Washington Post and the New York Times, the scientific and research communities are moving in a very new and exciting direction to spur the advancement of knowledge. The new approach, 'open access,' encourages and supports the greater sharing of data and information across and between disciplines to promote the advancement of science and innovation. Many in the scientific community are embracing this new dissemination model for several reasons: restrictive licensing terms and conditions, the high cost of journals, and the opportunity to better realize the benefits of the information technologies utilized in support of research. Thus the approach taken in the draft database bill is strikingly at odds with how the research and education communities are increasingly engaging in scientific and research discovery." Open Access News 9/10/03 http://www.ll.georgetown.edu/aallwash/lt09042003.html
BARNES & NOBLE SHELVES E-BOOKS
Barnesandnoble.com is shutting down its e-book business in a move viewed as a setback for both Microsoft and Adobe Systems, which have been pushing their technologies for digital book formats and readers. "Sales have been pretty minimal," says Nielsen/NetRatings senior analyst Robert Leathern. "E-books for a long time have been something that people have said will lead to a spike in adoption, but the technology really hasn't been there yet… The more futuristic vision is that you can carry the book around. There is some technology in the works to make reading on those screens a lot clearer, and there's some potential for that. It could become the preferred way for people to read business documents. But I doubt whether that will be the preferred way people read everyday things." (CNet News.com 9 Sep 2003) NewsScan Daily, 10 September 2003 ("Above The Fold") http://news.com.com/2100-1019_3-5073796.html?tag=fd_top/
When is selling a book about hockey an act of terrorism? The National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, and the National Football League are joining forces to argue before the Supreme Court that a lower court ruling that permits the selling of books outside sports stadiums must be overturned on the ground that it would permit terrorists to disguise themselves as booksellers and get dangerously close to the stadium. Behind this fracas is a book by hockey fan Mark Weinberg critical of Bill Wirtz, owner of the Chicago Blackhawks. Weinberg likes to sell his book outside the Blackhawks' stadium, and Wirtz wants this to stop. Open Access News 9/10/03 http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org//news.aspx?id=11903&SearchString=national
ANOTHER EDITORIAL BOARD RESIGNS TO PROTEST HIGH PRICES
The entire editorial board of Labor History (published by Taylor & Francis) resigned in protest over the journal's high subscription price and lack of editorial independence. The same editors then launched Labor with non-profit Duke University Press, which will publish its first issue in February 2004. Labor is a partner of SPARC, which assisted in the transition and launch. For more details, see the SPARC press release. Open Access News 9/11/03 https://mx2.arl.org/Lists/SPARC-OAForum/Message/140.html/
FREE ACCESS TO GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTS GUARANTEED
The Government Printing Office and the National Archives and Records Administration have pledged to ensure free and permanent access to more than 250,000 federal government titles through GPO Access (http://www.gpoaccess.gov/ ). Included among the titles are the Congressional Record, the Federal Register, the Code of Federal Regulations, the U.S. Code and other federal agency publications. "Preserving the essential evidence of our Government's work is a serious responsibility and we feel confident that working together with GPO will enable us to ensure that these records will continue to be available for all to use," says Archivist of the United States John W. Carlin. The agreement is an outgrowth of the 2001 NCLIS report, Comprehensive Assessment of Public Information Dissemination, which recommended that government agencies should form partnerships to ensure permanent public access to government information resources. It was hailed by librarians as a significant first step in comprehensively addressing that need. "This new agreement is a critically important step that demonstrates the federal government's commitment to these concerns. We applaud GPO and NARA for working collaboratively so that the public will have access to this valuable information, both today and in the future," says Janis L. Johnston, president of the American Association of Law Libraries (and Director of the Albert E. Jenner Memorial Law Library at UIUC). (Information Today 25 Aug 2003) ShelfLife, No. 123 (September 11 2003) http://www.infotoday.com/newsbreaks/nb030825-1.shtml
SELLING ONLINE CONTENT A LITTLE AT A TIME
Comic strips for a quarter? A new twist on micro payments is raising the likelihood that you'll be able to pay tiny sums of money for small slivers of information. The point of micro payments is to create a system that allows people to buy and sell content online for far less. BitPass promises that it can facilitate transactions for prices lower than any previous micro payment system on the market, ultimately getting down to a few pennies—you can now buy a “dime novel” for a dime. Subscribers go to the BitPass home page and enter their credit card information one time to buy the digital equivalent of a phone card, which can be used quickly and easily with any affiliated vendor. http://www.technologyreview.com/search/searchresults.asp?sp-a=sp10024705&sp-s=creation&sp-t=search&sp-q=micro+payments&x=17&y=13
WONDER WHY SOME ONLINE DELIVERY PROMISES ARE SO LONG?
Here’s an interesting take on the business of bookselling from “across the pond:” It is discouraging to be told that the book you want will take three weeks or more to order. Amazon.co.uk, which prides itself on being the place to visit for any title in print, warns customers that some books may take four to six weeks to reach them. In fact, very few publishers and distributors are that inefficient these days. But Amazon and other booksellers advertise the long delays for two reasons: they would rather surprise customers by delivering early than by delivering late; and, although they will never admit it, they are not desperately keen to attract this kind of business. Supplying an obscure book to one customer may win goodwill, but it is not profitable. That is why Amazon has slapped a £1.99 surcharge on titles that it describes as "hard to find". The titles affected mostly come from smaller academic or specialist presses, which are dismayed at the charge, believing that it will put off potential buyers. It may do so, and it certainly dents Amazon's reputation as the willing supplier of "Earth's biggest selection". However, Amazon appears to have calculated that people who have bothered to track down these titles may not be concerned about the prices they pay for them; and that, in any event, the loss of business will be more than compensated for by the loss of unprofitable transactions. So much for the smaller presses. http://books.guardian.co.uk/news/articles/0,6109,1036449,00.html/
THE BOOK BUSINESS
Things are as bleak in the UK as they appear to be here, at least with regard to the book business. The Educational Publishers Council has revealed the effect of the crisis in educational budgets on the publishing industry. Since the start of the year, 10% of jobs in educational publishing have been lost as primary school spending on books has declined by 16%, and secondary school spending by 7%. John Tuttle, chair of the EPC board and a director at Cambridge University Press, described it as "the worst year for book supply to schools in a couple of decades". Meanwhile, schools have spent more than £25m on digital material available through Curriculum Online, and have a further £100m to spend by next August. But publishers warn that online learning cannot be a complete substitute for the use of books. http://books.guardian.co.uk/news/articles/0,6109,1036449,00.html/
THE KAZAA CONUNDRUM
Eric Hellweg writes that the ISP industry is split over how to respond to the Recording Industry Association of America's plans to subpoena individual file sharers. "As the highways over which the majority of file-sharing traffic passes, broadband ISPs now find themselves at a fork," says Hellweg. On the one hand, file sharing is a "killer application" for driving broadband adoption. On the other hand, "heavy file sharing places a strain on ISPs' resources," and a reduction in file-sharing prompted by the RIAA's lawsuits could help increase their profits by lowering costs. A Jupiter survey found that 54 percent of respondents cited file sharing as their reason for switching to broadband, and 31 percent of current broadband customers said they use file-sharing applications. Hellweg advises tech investors in ISPs how to evaluate the approach each ISP is taking toward the RIAA's legal tactics. Corante - Tech News: September 12, 2003 http://money.cnn.com/2003/09/10/technology/techinvestor/hellweg/index.htm
DIGITAL LIBRARIES: BARRIERS OR GATEWAYS TO SCHOLARLY INFORMATION?
Unprecedented desktop access to scholarly information has been made possible by the introduction of digital libraries. The powerful combination of digital publications, specialist and generalist databases, sophisticated search systems and portals enables scholars and students to rapidly examine a great variety of the literature in their own disciplines and those new to them. Access is available globally 24 hours a day without geographical limitation. But that access is not without limitations. It is limited by the availability of reliable and affordable information and communication technologies. It is limited to those scholars and students who are affiliated with organizations which have the money and skills to provide access. It is limited to those who are literate, information-literate and have a command of the major languages of commerce and scholarship (English in particular). In addition, contractual and other bounds imposed by vendors exclude many potential users. In combination, these limitations inhibit many scholars and students from using digital scholarly information and can increase the marginalization of the already marginalized including, especially, indigenous peoples. This contradiction between access for some and marginalization for many poses many challenges for libraries. Open Access News 9/13/03 http://fidelio.emeraldinsight.com/vl=5584491/cl=45/nw=1/rpsv/cgi-bin/linker?ini=emerald&reqidx=/cw/mcb/02640473/v21n5/s2/p414
REED ELSEVIER PASSES THOMPSON IN MARKET SHARE
Outsell's annual comprehensive market share and size analysis of the Information Content (IC) Industry reveals a reshuffling at the top. Reed Elsevier has replaced Thomson in the number two spot on the overall market share rankings, in part due to its acquisition of Harcourt and other companies. AOL retains the number one spot, and Pearson and Gannett round out the largest five companies in the $183 billion industry. The distribution of winners and losers continues to follow familiar patterns:
- As a segment, the IT Research players, such as Gartner Group, show the poorest growth, declining 9.4 percent, in the face of lower IT spending.
- The fastest growing segments were the Scientific, Technical & Medical (STM), dominated by Elsevier, Thomson, and Wolters Kluwer, with 11.6 percent growth, and Education & Training (E&T) with a 12.2 percent growth rate.
The top companies in this "invisible industry" touch the life of every literate citizen in the Western world. They are critical components of the worldwide economy and political life. The IC Industry as a whole is a leading indicator for the general economy, growing for four consecutive quarters with a forecasted 8.5 percent growth rate for 2003. Outsell's e-briefs, September 12, 2003
The scholarly communications are also on line at http://www.library.uiuc.edu/administration/scholarly_communications/