SCHOLARLY COMMUNICATION ISSUES
A NEWSLETTER FOR THE UIUC COMMUNITY
Issue No. 55
November 24, 2003
Paula Kaufman, University Librarian
Editor  
 

 

TAYLOR & FRANCIS BUYS DEKKER

Taylor & Francis Group PLC, a specialist publisher of scientific, academic and professional books and journals, said it has agreed to acquire, subject to regulatory clearances, the business and publishing assets of the Dekker group of companies, a US based Scientific, Technical and Medical ("STM") publisher from the family owned Marcel Dekker Inc for $138.6 million. It is expected that the acquisition will be earnings enhancing in the first year of ownership. The consideration will be made up of $122.0 million in cash, a loan note of $1.6 million and a further contingent cash payment at closing estimated to be in the region of $15.0 million. Taylor & Francis said the cash consideration will be paid from group cash resources and banking facilities. Dekker is a leading US based STM publisher of journals, reference and textbooks and encyclopedias, in the specialist areas of science, engineering and medicine. Dekker's sales for the year ended Dec 31, 2002 were $42.0 million, producing an operating profit before exceptional items and shareholders' costs of $5.1 million and profit before tax of $3.2 million. The nature of Dekker's US dollar revenues and the US dollar purchase consideration will further reduce the enlarged group's cash flow based exchange exposure to the US dollar. The group said the high quality Dekker titles will enhance Taylor & Francis' existing scientific, engineering and medical portfolios and have good growth potential as part of a larger focused publishing group. Taylor & Francis said its strategy remains to grow the business through a combination of organic growth and earnings enhancing acquisitions.  Peter Scott’s Library Blog 11/18/03

http://www.iii.co.uk/shares/?type=news&articleid=4798290&action=article

 

DEFAMATION AND PLAGIARISM TROUBLES AT arXiv

The November 6 issue of Nature is running two stories on legal troubles that might plague arXiv, the most used preprint exchange in all the fields of science and scholarship.

(1)    The first (Defamation online) is an unsigned editorial noting that an article by CERN physicist Alvaro De Rújula, posted to arXiv on October 27, accuses Martin Rees, Britain's astronomer royal, of "claiming credit for other researchers' ideas". In the US, this would only be libelous if false, but in the UK it might be libelous even if true. Moreover, in the UK both the archive and the author might be liable, even though the archive does not read or approve the articles it hosts. In the OA movement, we usually distinguish archive deposits from true "publications", but any kind of exposure to third parties counts as "publication" for the purposes of defamation law. The editorial is accompanied by a short note by Jim Giles (Critical comments threaten to open libel floodgate for physics archive) reporting that arXiv founder Paul Ginsparg would remove a defamatory paper from the archive if advised by a lawyer to do so. Quoting Ginsparg: "ArXiv is just a mindless redistribution system. It's not implemented to be a global police force to detect or enforce professional ethics." (2) The second (Preprint server seeks way to halt plagiarists by Jim Giles) reports that 22 papers by Ramy Naboulsi were recently removed from the archive when some were discovered to be plagiarized. They were removed by the colleague who had submitted them to arXiv under the good-faith but mistaken belief that they were original. However, Paul Ginsparg is exploring ways to block plagiarized articles in the future by using software to measure the similarity of new submissions to articles already in the collection. Quoting Fintan Culwin, an expert in anti-plagiarism software at London’s South Bank University: "The technology is there. The question is how much does the archive want to pay to have this service.  Open Access News 11/10/03  http://www.nature.com/cgitaf/DynaPage.taf?file=/nature/journal/v426/n6962/full/426001b_fs.html

http://www.nature.com/cgi-taf/DynaPage.taf?file=/nature/journal/v426/n6962/full/426007a_fs.html

 

MORE ON THE POTENTIAL DEFAMATION PROBLEM AT arXiv

The November 13 issue of The Economist contains an anonymous story, “Perishing publishing, on the possible defamation in a preprint on deposit at arXiv.” "On the face of things, pre-printing is a good idea. It exposes a paper to wider scrutiny than the old system did, which should improve its accuracy—as happened in this case. But it also suggests that the price of getting one's ideas into the public domain rapidly is a need to keep them continuously revised in order to avoid criticism, however moderately or immoderately expressed. Like the Red Queen, in 'Through the looking glass', today's physicists need to rush faster and faster merely to stay in the same place."  Open Access News 11/17/03 http://www.economist.com/science/displayStory.cfm?story_id=2208619

 

SCHOLARLY COMMUNICATIONS CRISIS CONTINUES

Librarians have been concerned for decades about the rising costs of academic publications, sometimes referred to as the 'serials pricing crisis'. Scholarly journal prices have been rising faster than inflation, and faster than library budgets, for more than thirty years. The transition to electronic access should have brought relief for librarians - but instead they are now embroiled in lengthy negotiations with publishers who are demanding high prices for electronic site licenses. Open Access Now talked to Beverlee French about her challenging job as the Director for Shared Digital Collections at the California Digital Library.  http://www.biomedcentral.com/openaccess/archive/?page=features&issue=9

 

DOES TEXT MINING REQUIRE OPEN ACCESS?

Steven Dickman writes on the challenges of searching the scientific literature in PLoS Biology, November 17, 2003. "Although the march toward better text-mining systems is building momentum, access could stop it in its tracks. Experts in text-searching uniformly cite access as a key obstacle for developing better search tools. 'Access is a bigger problem than algorithms' is how one machine-learning expert puts it, and a half-dozen others agreed."  Open Access News 11/17/03 http://www.plosbiology.org/plosonline/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371%2Fjournal.pbio.0000048

 

MORE ON ELSEVIER BOYCOTT AND CANCELLATIONS

Cornell University Library has posted a list of about two hundred Elsevier journal titles it is canceling for 2004. Harvard University says it is preparing for similar cuts in its Elsevier subscriptions. The University of California continues its negotiations with the Dutch publisher of scholarly scientific journals on behalf of all the UC campuses, while faculty on some campuses have resolved to boycott Elsevier if reasonable rates cannot be negotiated. Other universities and library consortia around the country are also in the throes of assessing what they can afford and what they will have to cancel due to price increases and budget constraints. Many faculty scholars at numerous universities have already embraced alternative scholarly publishing and open-access models, such as BioMed Central, Public Library of Science (PLoS), and others. SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) recently announced a partnership with PLoS 'to broaden support for open-access publishing among researchers, funding agencies, societies, libraries, and academic institutions through cooperative educational and advocacy activities.'"  Open Access News 11/17/03 http://www.infotoday.com/newsbreaks/nb031117-1.shtml

 

A LOOK BACK AT BIO-ONE

Two years after its launch, BioOne representatives report that the electronic journal's database now contains 68 scholarly journals and one electronic book published by 56 scientific societies and other related organizations. More than 400 libraries around the world (mostly at colleges and universities) provide BioOne access to some 3.5 million scholars, students, researchers and other practitioners. The goal of the e-journal aggregation was to develop an academy-based alternative for the electronic publishing of journals by scholarly societies (focused on biological, ecological and environmental sciences) that lacked the financial and technical resources to become electronic publishers. The founding partners—including the American Institute of Biological Sciences, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), Allen Press, the University of Kansas, and the Greater Western Library Alliance—also wanted to address the continuing need for academic libraries to acquire high-quality scientific literature at a reasonable cost. With a business model that puts as much subscription revenue as possible directly into the coffers of the societies that publish through BioOne (http://www.bioone.org/), 2002 member journals received an average of about $8,500. (C&RL News, Nov 2003)  ShelfLife, 11/13/03

http://www.ala.org/Content/NavigationMenu/ACRL/Publications/College_and_Research_Libraries_News/Back_Issues__2003/November9/Two_years_after_the_launch.htm

 

GOOGLE AND BEYOND

George Plosker says that he and his fellow panelists at the Special Libraries Association conference "became increasingly concerned that professionals and researchers sincerely believe that searching the Open Web, particularly Google, is 'good enough.' Groups with degrees from excellent schools, Ph.D.s in environments that included technical R&D, and even biomedical and pharmaceutical professionals were using Google, not recognizing the significant differences in authority and quality between the Open Web and premium subscription content typically provided by the information centers/libraries." Google now gets 250 million search requests a day, and Searcher editor Barbara Quint says it is getting more searches in three days than all libraries combined globally get in one year. An amazing service! Plosker and his colleagues conclude that "what remains to be done is to inform and educate users that there is more to the content world than the Open Web." At the same time, the profession "can no longer resist these influences on the content environment, nor maintain dated points of view. What we learned in library school is not enough. We cannot sit at the reference desk and proclaim, 'We only support premium content databases.'" (InfoToday 3 Nov 2003)   ShelfLife 11/13/03

http://www.infotoday.com/online/nov03/plosker.shtml

 

MICROSOFT LINKS EXCEL TO EDGAR ONLINE COMPANY DATA

For a fee, thanks to a newly created tie-up with the Edgar Online database, users of Microsoft's Office 2003 will be able to graph, chart and compare financial results from income and cash flow statements, as well as balance sheets, for any of more than 10,000 companies that file with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Microsoft is connecting its popular Excel spreadsheet to the Edgar Online database of U.S. financial reports so that company analysts will be able to pipe in data currently entered by hand, thus saving the estimated hundreds of millions of dollars now spent retyping data from one application to another. The data, which goes back five years, will be delivered in XBRL, a version of XML designed for business reporting. Microsoft is betting that XML will become the Internet's dominant language for computer-to-computer communications. "We think XBRL's a winner," says Rob Blake, Microsoft's lead official for XBRL. "We think XBRL should be part of all of our software products that touch the accounting and finance community." (Reuters 5 Nov 2003) ShelfLife 11/13/03

http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=3757183

 

BOOK SALES STRONG IN SEPTEMBER

The month of September was very good for book sales, with almost every category tracked by the Association of American Publishers (AAP), showing positive figures for the month. Adult trade hardcover books were up 31.7 percent, with sales of $179.8 million, and sales of paperback books were up 1.4 percent ($101.8 million) for the month.  While the sales figures for September 2003 were positive, calendar year to date numbers show sales are down 5.8 percent for hardcover and down 4.5 percent for paperback.  Adult mass market books were up 27.9 percent in September, with sales of $80.2 million.  Year to date sales figures show this category is down a slight .2 percent compared with last year at this time.  Sales of children’s/young adult hardcover books were up 62.1 percent, with sales of $113.4 million.  Year to date numbers show sales are up 56 percent for the year.  The children’s/young adult paperback category was up 7.3 percent ($40.6 million) for the month, however, year to date figures show sale are down 5.9 percent for the year.  http://www.publishers.org/press/releases.cfm?PressReleaseArticleID=174

 

5 SCENARIOS FOR DIGITAL MEDIA IN A POST-NAPSTER WORLD

This recently released document—a joint effort between GartnerG2 and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society—presents five possible scenarios for copyright law applicable to digital media in the United States.  Descriptions of each scenario were developed by Professor William Fisher and John Palfrey of the Berkman Center at Harvard Law School. The outcomes of each scenario were developed by GartnerG2 as “first takes” on the implications that changes in copyright law will have on future business models and markets.  The intent of this paper is to spark reasoned discussion and debate that can assist in the development of new business models for the entertainment industry, artists and technology companies, while enabling consumers to legitimately acquire and manipulate copyrighted digital media. These scenarios were the basis for several working sessions at a recent conference sponsored by the Berkman Center and GartnerG2. Feedback from those work sessions was compiled and posted on both the GartnerG2 and Berkman Web sites. http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/home/2003-07

This document is a supplement to “Copyright and Digital Media in a Post-Napster World,” available on GartnerG2.com, and also at http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/home/2003-05 

 

MSN CREATES GOOGLE NEWS COMPETITOR

Microsoft has launched a beta version of a competitor to the popular Google News automated headline site—MSN Newsbot. In addition to an English-language UK site, MSN has launched versions for France, Italy and Spain. According to the site, Newsbot is an experimental, automated news service that gathers news from more than 4,000 sites. Unlike Google, the site says it offers personalization: "If you sign in to Passport, we can personalize the news site based on your interests: showing you news from sources you've chosen in the past, or suggesting stories based on your previous interests." The site was developed in partnership with Moreover Technologies.  http://www.cyberjournalist.net/  http://uk.newsbot.msn.com/

 

NEW REPORT ON FILTERS IN LIBRARIES

Internet Filters and Public Libraries by David L. Sobel is a new First Report now available from the First Amendment Center. Sobel, general counsel of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, examines the effects of the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2003 ruling in U.S. v. American Library Association, which declared the Children’s Internet Protection Act constitutional. CIPA mandates that libraries accepting federal funds install filtering software to block access to material that is “obscene,” “child pornography” or “harmful to minors.”  http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/about.aspx?id=12151

 

DVD ‘EXTRAS’ OFFERED IN NEW PAPERBACK BOOKS

HarperCollins is introducing the literary equivalent of the extras that DVD buyers get - unseen footage, and so on - when it brings out its Harper Perennial line of up-market paperbacks next year. Harper Perennial will add sections called "P.S.", containing interviews with the author, critical pieces and suggestions for further reading. The first titles, due in the spring, include Jane Dunn's Elizabeth and Mary, Katie Hickman's Courtesans, Ann-Marie MacDonald's The Way the Crow Flies, and Douglas Coupland's Hey Nostradamus!  The Guardian 11/15/03 http://books.guardian.co.uk/news/articles/0,6109,1085297,00.html

 

COPYRIGHT: WHAT MAKES A USE “FAIR?”

Fair use can raise some of the most difficult and controversial issues in copyright law. Users often wish there were clear rules to establish exactly when a use is fair and when it is not. But the ambiguity of the fair use doctrine is also its strength, because it allows courts to apply fair use to new and sometimes completely unanticipated uses of copyrighted works.  Copyright owners have certain exclusive rights, in particular the right to copy their work and to create adaptations based on the original. Those rights are not absolute, however. The law provides exceptions to permit various uses without the copyright owner's consent. Perhaps the best known is fair use, a flexible exception that allows reasonable uses that will not unduly harm the market for the original copyrighted work. What makes a use "fair"? There is no simple formula. EDUCAUSE Review, Nov/Dec 2003

Read more at http://www.educause.edu/pub/er/erm03/erm036_articles.asp?id=8

 

THINGS LOOKING BETTER FOR EBOOKS?

A new report released by Shore Communications Inc. paints an optimistic outlook for the emerging ebook industry that is already growing at exponential rates in year-over-year sales figures and seeing stronger usage in both traditional and non-conventional outlets for book-based content. According to the report (http://www.shore.com/research/current/reports/SCI200302.html), the consolidation and standardization of ebook platforms, formats and rights management, their broadening availability via consumer, library and professional outlets and improved accessibility via search technologies is creating acceptance and use that can be expected to grow significantly in the near term. However, major challenges still confront the growth of ebook demand.  The Write News 11/14/03 http://www.writenews.com/2003/111403_soundbytes.htm

 

FAST TRACK FOR SCIENCE DATA

The first leg of an ultra-high-performance network went live recently in what its backers call the most important networking experiment since Arpanet, the military network that laid the foundation for the Internet. The National LambdaRail is the biggest, fastest network ever undertaken for scientific research. Created by a private consortium of universities and tech companies, the NLR will link hundreds of research institutions around the United States with a dedicated, high-speed optical network. The first leg linked Chicago's TeraGrid facility and the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center. The remainder of the network will be up and running by the end of 2004. 

Story location: http://www.wired.com/news/infostructure/0,1377,61102,00.html

 

PUBMEDCENTRAL WILL HOST INDIVIDUAL OPEN ACCESS ARTICLES

PubMed Central has launched an About Open Access page drawing attention to the journals that provide open access to their contents through PMC. The page also announces an important new policy: "[I]n October 2003, PMC began accepting individual open access articles from journals that do not participate in PMC on a routine basis. For the specific conditions under which PMC accepts these articles, see the relevant PMC agreement (in Microsoft Word format)." The offer is open to all authors in the life sciences willing to release their work to "open access" as defined by the Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing.  Open Access News 11/12/03 http://www.pubmedcentral.gov/about/openaccess.html

 

PERSONALITY DETERMINES HOW WE SEARCH

We have more information at our fingertips than any generation before us, yet there is little evidence that our ability to make good decisions has improved in correlation. Instead, many people find it increasingly difficult to separate good information from bad. The goal of improving information literacy is one that a number of countries have established, and broad-based information literacy training will certainly help. But one

researcher has found that personality plays a big role in the development of information literacy. In her study last year, Fast Surfers, Broad Scanners and Deep Divers, on how personality affects our ability to find and absorb information, information literacy researcher Jannica Heinstrom found that "personality and approach to studying influence (our) information-seeking habits.” She finds the neurotic, easily distracted and

lazy "Fast Surfers" have difficulty formulating searches and then interpreting what they find. "Deep Divers" are identified by their willingness to consider viewpoints and link ideas. Strategic thinkers, or "Broad Scanners," are conscientious and have clear goals. The last two categories are highly motivated, Heinstrom says, and often able to find the

information they seek, although for different reasons. While discipline and education can improve the way information sources are used once located, Heinstrom concludes that "personality (will) create boundaries and unique possibilities for the way information seeking is executed." (The Age 11 Nov 2003) ShelfLife, No. 133 (November 20 2003)

http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/11/10/1068329472603.html

 

OPEN ACCESS REPOSITORY AT EPA

On November 18, the US Environmental Protection Agency launched Science Inventory, an open-access repository of EPA-funded research projects, their results and data. The repository is several years old, but until now access was limited to EPA employees. The November 18 ceremony opened it to the public. Quoting EPA Acting Deputy Administrator Steve Johnson from the press release: "Americans invest hundreds of millions of dollars every year in EPA's human health and environmental science. Now that very science is easily accessible to anyone with a link to the Internet. The public launch of the Science Inventory is another example of open, transparent government." Open Access News 11/21/03 http://cfpub.epa.gov/si/

 

EMANI MOVES TO THE WEB

The Electronic Mathematical Archiving Network Initiative (EMANI) now has a web site. EMANI's mission is to digitize mathematics journals and assure their long-term preservation and accessibility. The project includes both the back runs and future issues of participating journals, some of which are open-access and some priced. EMANI focuses on journal literature, and should not be confused with the Distributed Digital Library of Mathematical Monographs, even though they are sponsored by some of the same institutions (notably, Cornell and Göttingen Universities). However, Cornell's partnership in EMANI does seem to imply that EMANI subsumes or at least embraces Project Euclid.  Open Access News 11/21/03  http://www.emani.org/index.htm

 

SHARP WORDS AT THE 2003 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD CEREMONY

Shirley Hazzard, who brought home the Fiction Award for The Great Fire (FSG), took Stephen King, the recipient of this year's Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, to task in her acceptance speech. King had talked of closing the divide between popular literature and literary literature. Hazzard said, "I want to say in response to Stephen King that I don't regard literature … as a competition." She also said that it was a delight to be in the company of others in the room, adding that she was "impressed by the variety" of the finalist's work. "There was no uniformity, except in the wish to do well by the English language," she said. After the awards ceremony, Hazzard told BTW that "the other books had every reason to win."  The Nonfiction winner was Carlos Eire, author of Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy (Free Press/S&S), a March/April 2003 Book Sense 76 Pick. C.K. Williams' The Singing (FSG) won in the Poetry category, and Polly Horvath, author of The Canning Season (FSG), took the prize for Young People's Literature.  http://news.bookweb.org/2020.html

 

The scholarly communications are also on line at http://www.library.uiuc.edu/administration/scholarly_communication/