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July 26, 2005

Asia Squeezes Western Lead in Science

Asian nations are catching up with Europe and the United States in terms of scientific output, says a US report. If current trends continue, publications from the Asia–Pacific region may outstrip those from the United States within six or seven years. In 2004, the report shows, countries from the Asia–Pacific region, including China, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore and India, produced 25% of the world’s research papers. In 1990, Asia's share of the scientific output was just 16%....One reason for the higher Asian publication share is strong economic growth and the resulting increase in research funding, says Mu-Ming Poo, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Berkeley, who spends part of every year as director of the Institute of Neuroscience in Shanghai. What's more, Poo says, research performance in Asia is now increasingly evaluated in terms of the publications in journals that are indexed by Thomson Scientific. In China, some institutions even pay researchers extra for publications in indexed journals, especially ones that carry widely cited articles. Nature, July 2005 Open Access News 7/26/05

Posted by P. Kaufman at 10:32 AM

Public Library of Science Launches New Open Access Journal on Genetics

"PLoS Genetics [is] a new open-access journal from the Public Library of Science (PLoS). Led by an internationally recognized editorial board with broad knowledge and expertise, PLoS Genetics is a journal that celebrates the research of the greater genetics and genomics community...PLoS Genetics is unique—publishing outstanding articles that reflect the full breadth and interdisciplinary nature of this research, all free to read and to use in your own research and teaching." Be Spacific 7/26/05

Posted by P. Kaufman at 10:21 AM

July 22, 2005

The Promise and Problems of Digital Scholarship

“The University,” Ed Ayers declared, “is still unified under one convention, and that is scholarship.” So opened the Digital Library Federation’s (DLF) Spring Forum 2005, held in San Diego April 13–15. Edward Ayers, dean of the University of Virginia’s College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and director of the Valley of the Shadow project, delivered the keynote address to an audience of DLF members, allies, and invited guests from the United States and abroad. Ayers’s theme of “technology and the professorate” was timely. All university constituencies find themselves grappling with the implementation and implications of modern technology. What does it mean for the scholarly community when new tools change not only the method of dissemination but the very creation of scholarship itself? It is true, Ayers acknowledged, that modern American universities often seem fixed in the apparently disparate disciplinary structures formed in the nineteenth century. But it is also true that those who gather at our universities and colleges, regardless of their discipline, come with the common goals of creating new scholarship and building on what already exists. Digital technology does not alter these goals, but it does raise serious questions about the nature of modern and future scholarship. How may scholars best study, write, and share their knowledge? And how can librarians most effectively support scholars in an increasingly digitally based environment? CLIR Issues July/August 2005

Posted by P. Kaufman at 10:10 AM

Blackwell Saga Resolved

With new money and a new executive team at its head, the outcome of Blackwell's nine month-long strategic review effectively represents a new start for the chain.
Blackwell UK, comprising the retail and online divisions of Blackwell Ltd, will remain in the hands of the family company, and shareholders have pledged new investment cash. The board has also has hired a new management team, bringing fresh ideas from outside the industry. 7/22/05 See

Posted by P. Kaufman at 9:58 AM

July 21, 2005

American Literature E-Scholarship: A Revolution in the Making

Technology is transforming scholarship, and while technology’s impact has been less extensive in the humanities than in the social or natural sciences, recent years have seen a blossoming of innovation by digital humanists. In a forthcoming report from CLIR and DLF titled A Kaleidoscope of Digital American Literature, author Martha Brogan describes achievements in digital American literature and explores priorities and concerns of digital practitioners in the field. Written with the help of Daphnée Rentfrow, the publication is based on a preliminary report prepared for The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in 2004. CLIR Issues July/August 2005:

Posted by P. Kaufman at 8:15 AM

July 14, 2005

Arizona school won't use textbooks: Vail's new Empire High to be all-wireless, all-laptop.

From MSNBC via Associated Press:

TUCSON, Ariz. - A high school in Vail will become the state's first all-wireless, all-laptop public school this fall. The 350 students at the school will not have traditional textbooks. Instead, they will use electronic and online articles as part of more traditional teacher lesson plans. Read more.

Posted by at 4:31 PM

July 1, 2005

Paying for OA Journals: Mostly Funding Agencies, not Universities or Authors.

Andy Gass, Paying to Free Science: Costs of Publication as Costs of Research, Serials Review, May 12, 2005.
Abstract: 'Many proponents of open access to journal articles online view costs of publication as an essential yet minor component of the cost of conducting research in the life sciences. Author-side charges for publication in open-access journals in those fields should, therefore, be paid principally by the agencies and foundations that fund research. Recent analyses of the potential cost-to-institution of a widespread transition away from purchasing subscriptions to scholarly journals and towards paying open-access publication fees on behalf of affiliated faculty must be amended to reflect the reality that third-party funding agencies already pay the bulk of such fees in the life sciences, and will likely continue to do so.'

Posted by at 4:43 PM

Where Can I Look for Lists of Open Access Journals?

The current gold standard for accessing lists of open access journals is the DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals), which lists only peer reviewed journals. Another list, which was just recently posted by Peter Suber on behalf of Jan Szczepanski, a librarian at Sweden's Goteborg University, is larger, in part because "because the DOAJ is working through a backlog, in part because Jan has focused especially on the humanities, and in part because Jan is willing to list journals that are not peer reviewed." From Peter Suber, on behalf of Jan Szczepanski:
Current OA journals (A large Word file, 3.48 MB.)

Historic or retrodigitized OA journals
(An Excel spreadsheet, 315 KB.)
Update. Many users had trouble with the large DOC file of current OA journals. In response, I've made an HTML version of the file.

Posted by at 3:26 PM

Open Access and National Security

excerpted by Peter Suber for Open Access News:

Associated Press, Controversial Milk Terror Report Released,, June 28, 2005. Excerpt: 'A scientific article that says terrorists could poison thousands of people through the milk supply --withheld at first at the government's request-- is being published despite continuing objections after the National Academy of Sciences concluded it wouldn't help attackers....Bruce Alberts, president of the Academy, said in an accompanying editorial that a terrorist would not learn anything useful from the article about the minimum amount of toxin to use. "And we can detect no other information in this article important for a terrorist that is not already immediately available to anyone who has access to information from the World Wide Web." In fact, he said publication of the article by the Academy could instead be valuable for biodefense....[F]ollowing the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, some government officials have raised concerns that by obtaining biotechnology data terrorists might be able to engineer deadlier versions of diseases....Last September the National Research Council, an arm of the Academy, urged continued open access to scientific research. It also suggested creation of an advisory board to review research and report on any security implications.'

Comment: Read the article, Analyzing a bioterror attack on the food supply: The case of botulinum toxin in milk. Note that this article is available to all as an "open access" article because the authors (apparently) paid the requisit extra amount to make it freely available.

Posted by at 3:10 PM

One of America's oldest journals moves toward Open Access

From Peter Suber's Open Access News:

Psyche: A Journal of Entomology
, published since 1874, is moving toward OA. From the web site: 'As of spring 2005, editorial strategy meetings are ongoing and focus on sponsorship and on how to establish a sustainable publication process. It is hoped that regular publication will resume in an on line, open access format by early 2006. We will be scanning most back issues, from volume 17 (1910) through the present, in June 2005. Look for about 2500 .pdf files on this web site in July or August.'

Posted by at 3:01 PM

Congressman Demands Complete Records on Climate Research by 3 Scientists Who Support Theory of Global Warming

From the Chronicle of Higher Education, July 1, 2005

The chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce is investigating three professors whose work suggests that the earth's climate is warmer now than at any time in many centuries and that increasing levels of greenhouse gases from burning fossils fuels are largely to blame.

n letters to the three scientists last week, Rep. Joe Barton, a Texas Republican, demanded detailed documentation about the hundreds of studies on which they were an author or co-author. Mr. Barton also sent a letter to the director of the National Science Foundation that requests information about the work of the three professors, as well as a list of all grants and awards in the area of climate and paleoclimate science, which number 2,700 in the past 10 years.

Several climate scientists reached by The Chronicle expressed dismay at the investigation and described it as harassment.

Mr. Mann [an assistant professor of environmental science at the University of Virginia, and one of the three whose research is being investigated] said he would comply with the congressman's requests, but because of the legal issues involved, he said he could not comment in detail. "I am pleased that the U.S. Congress has shown in interest in the issue of climate change," he told The Chronicle. "I am confident that when members of Congress take a look at the science, they will join with the consensus of the world's scientists that the earth is indeed warming, and that human activity has played a primary role in the warming observed in recent decades."

UIUC: Read the rest of the article (search for global warming in the headline)

Posted by at 2:46 PM

British Library Predicts a Switch by Publishers from Print to Digital by 2020

From diglet

Lynne Brindley, Chief Executive of the British Library, today predicted a switch from print to digital publishing by the year 2020. ". . . a study by EPS , commissioned by the Library, projects that, by the year 2020, 40% of UK research monographs will be available in electronic format only, while a further 50% will be produced in both print and digital. A mere 10% of new titles will be available in print alone by 2020."

“Our aim at the British Library is to develop the infrastructure to store, manage, preserve and provide access to digital material in the same way as we do for the ‘physical’ national collection that we and our predecessors have stewarded for the last 250 years. We have worked hard over the past few years to secure the legislation we need (digital legal deposit), work in collaboration with publishers, other libraries and with technical partners to build the necessary systems to ensure long-term access arrangements.” Read more.

Posted by at 2:34 PM

Copyright and Library Associations Support the MGM v Grokster Decision but Others Say It Will Stifle Innovation

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has put together a site that links to the various points of view on the MGM v Grokster decision that declared that distributors of peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing systems may be held liable if they actively induce copyright infringement by users of those P2P systems.

The Library Copyright Alliance (LCA)— a group composed of the American Association of Law Libraries, American Library Association, Association of Research Libraries, Medical Library Association, and Special Libraries Association — welcomed this decision, saying that the decision supports the interests of libraries while addressing issues of widespread copyright infringement.

However, the Electronic Frontier Foundation holds that "It means that inventors and entrepreneurs will not only bear the costs of bringing new products to market, but also the costs of lawsuits if consumers start using their products for illegal purposes." They contend the decision will stifle the development of new technology.

Posted by at 1:59 PM