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November 30, 2005

Gamble on Google?

A communications expert plugs the Web mammoth's Library Project into his search algorithm, and fear and doubt are his top two results. By Siva Vaidhyanathan, an assistant professor of culture and communication at New York University. Chronicle of Higher Education 11/30/05

Posted by P. Kaufman at 10:56 AM

Nonprofit Publishers Offer Public Access Plan

Six months after the National Institutes of Health implemented its weakened public access policy for the research it funds, the signatories of the DC Principles, a group of 57 medical and scientific nonprofit publishers, have offered a counter-proposal. Six months after the National Institutes of Health (NIH) implemented its weakened public access policy for the research it funds, the signatories of the DC Principles, a group of 57 medical and scientific nonprofit publishers, have offered a counter-proposal. The plan would have the NIH offer online access to articles by linking directly to journal web sites indexed by the NIH's Medline abstracting service. Currently, the NIH plan enacted in May merely "requests" that NIH-funded authors deposit their final manuscript (as opposed to the final, edited article) in PubMed Central, the NIH's repository, within a year. That plan has satisfied virtually no one and has been heavily criticized by both opponents and proponents of the initially proposed NIH policy proposal, which would have required deposit of the final manuscript within six months of publication. The publishers, who support increased free access to research, if not full open access, said new proposal would better serve the public in gaining access to medical literature while also ensuring the important role of scientific journals. Although submissions to PubMed Central have reportedly picked up in recent months, they have lagged far beyond what supporters of the NIH policy had hoped for. "This is the same proposal they made a year-and-half ago," observed SPARC's Heather Joseph. "It"s a good plan, but it doesn"t go the extra step we need it to go." That step, Joseph explained, is "access now and in perpetuity" for all publicly funded research. Library Journal Breaking News 11/23/05

Posted by P. Kaufman at 10:50 AM

November 28, 2005

Taxpayer Group Lauds NIH Recommendation for Public Access to Research: The Majority of NIH Public Access Working Group members also support free availability of NIH-funded research papers within six months of publication.

Washington, DC – The Alliance for Taxpayer Access, a national coalition of over 60 library, non-profit, and patient advocacy groups, today praised the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Working Group (PAWG) for recommending that researchers be required to deposit published articles resulting from NIH funding in PubMed Central (PMC), NIH’s online database of journal literature.

At a November 15 meeting of the working group, a majority of members also called for articles to be freely available in PMC within six months of their publication in a journal. The current NIH policy is voluntary for funding recipients and allows access to be delayed for up to one year.

Data presented to the working group indicates that less than five percent of eligible papers are being deposited in PMC. The Public Access Working Group’s recommendation is considered significant because of Congressional concern that the current policy has failed to achieve the goals set out by the policy. This past summer, the House and Senate called on NIH to report on the policy’s progress by early 2006.

The Public Access Working Group, which reports to the Board of Regents of NIH’s National Library of Medicine, includes publishers, societies, researchers, patient groups, and libraries. It was convened by NIH last May to inform the implementation of its Public Access Policy ( A list of the Public Access Group Working members is at

Heather Joseph, executive director of SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), says “We are pleased that the Public Access Working Group has pointed the way for NIH to achieve its goals of archiving NIH research, advancing science, and providing taxpayers with access to research.” SPARC is a founding member and administrator of the Alliance for Taxpayer Access.

From: ATA newsbulletin,

Posted by Katie Newman at 11:09 AM

November 22, 2005

Google Gives $3 Million to Library of Congress for Digital Library

The Library of Congress will announce today a $3 million gift from Google to help the library begin building a World Digital Library, a project that aims to digitize and place on the Web significant primary materials from national libraries and other institutions worldwide. James H.Billington, the librarian of Congress, said the World Digital Library would be modeled after the library's American Memory Project, started in 1994, which has been digitizing and placing on the Web millions of items, including manuscripts of Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson, the Gettysburg Address and Civil War photographs. BNA's Internet Law News (ILN) - 11/22/2005

Posted by P. Kaufman at 3:35 PM

Reed Elsevier's Investors Day Highlights

On November 17, RE's CEO Sir Crispin Davis and CFO Mark Armour provided a trading update to investment analysts. The overall picture was positive with 5% organic growth expected for the year. Within the four divisions, Legal is ahead of plan, Education is lagging below plan, and Science and Business are on target.

The Seisint acquisition in July, 2004 has helped bolster the Legal group's revenues and with its risk management tools has moved the group into the workflow/application arena. Including Seisint, Legal revenues are expected to grow 20% in 2005.

The Education division relies heavily on the US basal market (i.e., core texts for the K-12 market) and isn't as well positioned to benefit from growth in e-learning in professional markets as is Thomson or Wolters Kluwer. Low single digit organic growth is now expected for this division for 2005.

In the Science division, I found it encouraging to hear that library budgets for content are now growing 4-6%. Elsevier's investment in developing Scopus is also paying off with sales ahead of plan, and new updates forthcoming.

The Business division is weathering the print ad decline fairly well through offsetting growth in online services and good performance in the exhibition business.

Reed Elsevier will hold an Investor Seminar next Monday, November 21 with senior executives from Elsevier and other divisions. Shore will report more detail on the performance of the groups at that time. ShoreLines Newsletter from Shore Communications Inc. - 21 November 2005

Posted by P. Kaufman at 7:37 AM

November 11, 2005

Newspapers Need a New Business Model...and PR Agent

Articles in the press across the country today reported a 2.6 percent decline in print circulation nationwide. Some drops were huge (the San Francisco Chronicle down 16.6 percent) and others less so, but still troubling (Boston Globe, 8.2 percent; L.A. Times, 3.6 percent; Washington Post, 2.7 percent). The articles all pointed to two major factors: newspapers trimming back promotional giveaway copies and pruning less-desirable-to-advertiser circulation, and most importantly, the shift of news readership (especially young readers) to online consumption. A good deal of that consumption occurs at newspaper companies' own sites, or is newspaper content consumed at GYM (Google, Yahoo!, MSN) sites, but the stories almost uniformly underplayed that major point.
Outsell's Chuck Richard points out that the industry seems to have a hard time getting its own journalists to see the cup as half full rather than half empty. The New York Times version of the story points out that 47 million people – a third of Internet users – visited newspaper sites in September. None of the stories acknowledge that the real measure is the extent to which users are getting their news online – regardless of whether it's from the newspapers' own sites or elsewhere. This is a fragmented and self-defeating way for news producers to look at their market. Outsell Affiliate Analyst Ken Doctor believes that this attitude grows out of the newspaper companies' continuing inability to properly monetize their digital content. The companies - other than the WSJ Online Journal success story and the fledgling NY Times Select plan - have failed to come up with any compelling, sustainable subscription models for online content. By relying on Google’s AdWords and Yahoo!’s ContentMatch to monetize their content through contextual advertising - and taking fewer cents on the dollar out of those non-owned transactions - they've failed to grasp and profit from this tough, online transition. Confusion may reign in journalists' accounts because the companies they work for have failed to articulate a bold, new strategy to realign their content with advertising in any way nearly as elegantly and profitably as that old daily hunk of newsprint did. Outsell Now 11/8/05

Posted by P. Kaufman at 9:03 AM

November 10, 2005

Google Print Raises Curtain on 10,000 Non-Copyrighted Texts

The Google Print project has started to roll out more non-copyrighted texts from its library scanning efforts, now bringing to light little chestnuts such as ""The Seventh Regiment Rhode Island Volunteers in the Civil War" and other public-domain works. This wave of texts is fairly large - 10,000 volumes in all, according to the New York Times - and includes the full text of these works available for searching and reading online. In place of the "Copyrighted Material" label on the edge of each displayed is the phrase "Google Print" - not indicating ownership but clearly branding the content in the Google mould. Though the Times piece claims that one can cut and paste content from a page and print individual pages the "how" of this is not evident: "right-click" mouse functions are disabled on Google Print pages in both Internet Explorer and Firefox and one cannot select the text image on the page for copying. Using the "Control-P" key sequence to print the Web page for a displayed book page prints out everything BUT the page of text. Dear NY Times, please verify these functions before trusting the PR guys at Google. The bottom line of all this is that Google has succeeded in creating searchable online books in the public domain that provide a valuable research source for those who would have otherwise been challenged to find these works in other venues. The limited display capabilities of Google Print appear to protect booksellers nicely and even lends them a hand with links to the online sellers. And for this we should be afraid because...? ShoreLines Newsletter from Shore Communications Inc. - 9 November 2005

Posted by P. Kaufman at 7:00 AM

November 7, 2005

The FBI's Secret Scrutiny

The FBI came calling in Windsor, Conn., this summer with a document marked for delivery by hand. On Matianuk Avenue, across from the tennis courts, two special agents found their man. They gave George Christian the letter, which warned him to tell no one, ever, what it said. Under the shield and stars of the FBI crest, the letter directed Christian to surrender "all subscriber information, billing information and access logs of any person" who used a specific computer at a library branch some distance away. Christian, who manages digital records for three dozen Connecticut libraries, said in an affidavit that he configures his system for privacy. But the vendors of the software he operates said their databases can reveal the Web sites that visitors browse, the e-mail accounts they open and the books they borrow.

Christian refused to hand over those records, and his employer, Library Connection Inc., filed suit for the right to protest the FBI demand in public. The Washington Post established their identities -- still under seal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit -- by comparing unsealed portions of the file with public records and information gleaned from people who had no knowledge of the FBI demand. Washington Post 11/6/05

Posted by P. Kaufman at 7:24 AM

November 4, 2005

In Defense of the Google Print Project

Not everyone is lambasting Google for it's Google Print project. Peter Suber posted this nine-point rebuttal to the Google Print critics:

Pat Schroeder and Bob Barr, Reining in Google, The Washington Times, November 3, 2005. Pat Schroeder is a former member of Congress from Colorado and the current president of the Association of American Publishers (AAP), which his suing Google. Bob Barr is a former member of the House Judiciary Committee. (Thanks to Garrett Eastman.) Excerpt:

You're probably reading the byline above and wondering, "What could these two, from opposite sides of the aisle in Congress, possibly have in common with each other?" The answer is when it comes to Google's Print Library Project we have much in common: We're both authors and both believe intellectual property should actually mean something....The creators and owners of these copyrighted works will not be compensated, nor has Google defined what a "snippet" is: a paragraph? A page? A chapter? A whole book? Meanwhile Google will gain a huge new revenue stream by selling ad space on library search results....Not only is Google trying to rewrite copyright law, it is also crushing creativity. If publishers and authors have to spend all their time policing Google for works they have already written, it is hard to create more. Our laws say if you wish to copy someone's work, you must get their permission. Google wants to trash that....Just because Google is huge, it should not be allowed to change the law....Google envisions a world in which all content is free; and of course, it controls the portal through which Internet user's access that content. It would completely devalue everyone else's property and massively increase the value of its own....These lawsuits are needed to halt theft of intellectual property. To see it any other way is intellectually dishonest.

Comment. Nine quick replies. (1) A snippet is a fair-use excerpt. If you think Google's snippets are too long to count as fair use, then the AAP should scale back its lawsuit to the demand that snippets be short enough to count as fair use. Right now the AAP is trying to halt the whole project regardless of fair use. (2) Why do you care whether Google makes money? When a book critic quotes a fair-use excerpt in a book review, it appears on the same page as an advertisement. The publishing newspaper has a commercial purpose in publishing the excerpt. Does that negate fair use? Does it depend on how much the newspaper makes from advertising? (3) Authors who have nothing better to do than "police" free advertising for their books, and try to stop it, should lie down and wait for help. Meantime, other authors can write books and work with Google, among others, in bringing them to the attention of readers. (4) Google believes that existing rules protect what it is doing. It doesn't need to trash them. If you really don't know that Google has a legal argument, then see the many defenses of Google's project by lawyers and law professors that I collected last month. (5) You write: "Just because Google is huge, it should not be allowed to change the law." Did you really think Google disagreed? Just because you are angry authors doesn't mean that Google is harming you. Just because you are former members of Congress doesn't mean that you've got the lock on fair use. (6) No doubt, Google is taking a step whose legality is uncertain. But its legality will be decided by a court, not by Google. Did you really think otherwise? (7) Google is making some information free, but it's making other information searchable without making it free and helping users find places to buy it. (8) You clearly believe that Google's project will harm authors and publishers. But why not cite even one piece of evidence? (9) Why is it more important for you to disparage the arguments against you as intellectually dishonest than to restate them honestly and criticize them?

Posted by Katie Newman at 4:20 PM

Oxford Open: Publish in Oxford University Press journals in an Open Access Mode.

Select Oxford University Press journals allow authors to, for an extra fee, publish their articles in the journal in an open access mode. This allows anyone in the world access to the article, whether they have an online subscription to the journal, or not. The result is greater visibility and readership of your article!

An analysis after just 3 months shows that many researchers, particularly in the biomedical sciences, are using this option. See:

If the University of Illinois subscribes to the journal, the fee for making your article open access is currently $1500. If we do not subscribe, the fee is $2800.

To see a list of journals for which this is an option, please go to:

Posted by Katie Newman at 4:03 PM

November 2, 2005

Digital Textbooks Struggle to Gain a Foothold on Campus

A pilot program that lets college students buy digital textbooks from their campus bookstores has gotten off to a slow start. But the company that runs the project says the early returns show at the very least that students are interested in e-books. MBS Textbook Exchange, Inc., has released sales data from 10 colleges that started offering digital textbooks through the company's Web site this fall. According to the company, e-books now account for 5.7% of the textbook sales at those institutions. The Chronicle Wired Campus Blog 11/1/05

Posted by P. Kaufman at 10:16 AM

November 1, 2005

Dramatic Rise In Authors Publishing In Open Access Journals

Twenty-nine percent of senior authors questioned say that they have published in an open access journal, according to a new independent survey. This is up eighteen percentage points compared to a similar question asked in a study carried out in 2004 by the same researchers, a two-and-a-half-fold increase in just twelve months. BioMed Central is delighted that independent research is now available that confirms its own experience of the continuing growth of open access publishing. "New Journal Publishing Models: An International Survey of Senior Researchers was produced by CIBER, an independent publishing think tank based at City University in London. The study, published in September 2005, is based on a survey of 5513 authors (typically principal investigators or research group leaders) who had published in an ISI-indexed journal during 2004. It is the follow up to a previous CIBER study conducted in 2004. Ian Rowlands and Dave Nicholas, the authors of the report, found that "the research community is now much more aware of the open access issue." The report authors write "There has been a large rise in authors knowing quite a lot about open access (up 10 percentage points from the 2004 figure) and a big fall in authors knowing nothing at all about open access (down 25 points)." Thirty percent of authors surveyed claimed to know "a lot" or "quite a lot" about open access journals. This is up from 18% in the 2004 survey. Altogether 81% of authors claim to have some awareness of open access, up from 66% in 2004. Rowlands and Nicholas found that "Authors strongly believe that, as a result of open access, articles will become more accessible." 75% of authors surveyed agreed with the statement "High prices make it difficult to access the journals literature". More at 11/1/05

Posted by P. Kaufman at 1:48 PM

Google to Resume Google Print Scanning

Google is to start scanning and copying the world's books again after announcing on Tuesday that its self-imposed suspension is over. The company says it will resume scanning books but will focus on out-of-print titles and wants to get publishers' permission to scan in-print books as part of Google Print. BNA's Internet Law News (ILN) - 11/1/2005

Posted by P. Kaufman at 8:45 AM