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December 29, 2005

New Search Engine to Offer Free Acess to Some Priced Articles

Congoo is a forthcoming search engine that will give registered users free online access to selected priced publications. Users will download a 200 KB browser plug-in, register with Congoo, run searches, and find some fee-based content in the hit list. When they click on an item from a willing publisher, Congoo will pass the user's registration information on to the publisher and the publisher will give the user free access to full text, at least temporarily. Users get free online access to texts that are not ordinarily free and one-time registration for all publishers that eventually participate. But what's in it for publishers? Some of their content is more visible to users (the amount, the pieces, and apparently the duration are under publisher control) and they get the contact info for users interested enough to click through. Congoo plans to launch in January. Open Access News 12/29/05

Posted by P. Kaufman at 12:30 PM

December 28, 2005


The NeuroCommons is a proving ground for the ideas behind Science Commons: open legal contracts, open access literature, advanced use of open-standards semantic web technology and the construction of a community involving all the stakeholders in scientific funding, research and publishing. The NeuroCommons project will:
1. Use freely available literature and databases to make scientific knowledge, descriptions of biological materials and data sets easier to use and find. A graph will connect neurological information and publish it in semantic web standard formats.
2. Provide an infrastructure for community-driven additions and annotations.
3. Lower the legal and technical barriers to finding and sharing knowledge and tools in the neurosciences.
The backbone of the NeuroCommons is the scientific canon or set of facts published in neurological research. Presently, the vast majority of these facts are trapped in document formats that are readable only by individuals - PDF, Word, HTML - and in many cases, usage is constrained by copyright. Users wishing to develop new methods to manage the literature can face a multitude of license schemes from publishers, digital rights management preventing text mining and other library management protocols. Although the methods for generating data are transformed by miniaturization and automation, the methods for interpreting those data remain stolidly traditional: individuals reading the peer-reviewed literature. The barriers to changing the system are both legal and technical. A new kind of scientific publishing known as "open access" uses standard copyright licenses from Science Commons' parent organization to explicitly allow users to share, repost and run software across scientific articles. This has created a growing body of literature that is legally re-usable without the involvement of lawyers or clearance with institutions such as universities. The NeuroCommons will be built upon this body of literature as well as the many public databases created in the US, the UK, the EU, Japan and other countries. The success of the NeuroCommons will depend on the creation and evolution of a true open community like that in the free and open source software world. NeuroCommons is supported in conjunction with Teranode, a private software company with a semantic web focus as well as funders investing in researching complex neurological disorders, principal investigators in neuroscience, bio-materials repositories and others.

Posted by P. Kaufman at 10:00 AM

‘Little Red Book,’ Big Fat Lie

A student at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth has admitted that he fabricated his claims of being interrogated by Department of Homeland Security officials for checking out Mao’s Little Red Book from the university’s interlibrary loan system. The 22-year-old student’s lies were uncovered by The Standard-Times of New Bedford, Mass., which first broke details of his story on December 17. Before recanting his tale, the student told the local newspaper that he had been visited a second time by officials from the Department of Homeland Security, “where two agents waited in his living room for two hours with his parents and brother while he drove back from a retreat in western Massachusetts. He said [that] he, the agents, his parents and his uncle all signed confidentiality agreements that the story would never be told.” None of his new allegations were able to be confirmed, and he eventually told both his parents and at least one professor at the university that he had lied about the whole situation. The incident had prompted significant discussion among faculty members around the country, coming as it did amid revelations about domestic spying by the Bush administration. Inside Higher Ed 12/28/05

Posted by P. Kaufman at 7:18 AM

December 22, 2005

BioMed Central Journals & Impact Factors

Have you been thinking of publishing in one of the BioMed Central open access journals, but were concerned because they might not be construed as a quality journal? One measure of the quality of a journal is it's Impact Factor, a value calculated by ISI from journals that they track (index) in their citation indexes such as Science Citation Index (which is available to UIUC on the web as Web of Science.) The impact factors are reported in Journal Citation Reports. ISI does not track all journals, but rather relies on a board of scientists to select which journals to index. Thus, to be chosen as a journal that ISI will index is something of a coup.

BioMed Central, one of the largest publishers of open access journals, has created a site where they list the BMC titles that are being indexed by ISI. As reported elsewhere, one of the BMC journals, BMC Bioinformatics, recently received nearly the same impact factor as the most well established journal is this field, Bioinformatics. This suggests that open access journals are being widely read and cited by others...which, after all, is a goal of most researchers.

(Also posted to the Biotechnology Information Center Newsletter.)

Posted by Katie Newman at 2:12 PM

Portico to Make Permanent Archives of Elsevier Journals

Elsevier has announced a partnership with Portico, a non-profit electronic archiving service, under which Portico will preserve over 2,100 current and back issues of published journals on Elsevier's ScienceDirect service in a permanent archive. Over 7 million Elsevier articles will be loaded onto Portico starting in 2006. Knowledgespeak Newsletter 12/22/05

Posted by P. Kaufman at 6:58 AM

December 21, 2005

Japanese Site Offers Thousands of Videos for Download

The Softbank Corporation, Japan's second-biggest provider of
high-speed Internet services, and its affiliate, Yahoo Japan
Corporation, are offering 100,000 movies and video clips on
a Web site. The site offers more than 30,000 video clips
from content providers, and links to 70,000 movie files on
the Internet. The library includes 15,000 fee-based items
and movies by the Time Warner unit Warner Brothers
Entertainment. BNA's Internet Law News (ILN) - 12/21/2005

Posted by P. Kaufman at 10:14 AM

Gutenberg Radio

Librivox is offering free access to recorded versions of titles from the Project Gutenberg library of public domain electronic books. The recordings are done by volunteers. There are 12 complete titles available so far, and Librivox is soliciting additional readers. It’s All Good 12/19/05

Posted by P. Kaufman at 7:11 AM

December 20, 2005

Big Brother, ‘Little Red Book’

A senior at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth was interrogated last month by Department of Homeland Security officials because he tried to borrow from a campus library an unabridged version of The Little Red Book, which centers on Mao Tse-Tung’s views of Communism. The 21-year-old student, who wishes to remain anonymous, told Brian Glyn Williams, a professor of history at the university who focuses on Islamic studies, that he had attempted to borrow the book earlier this semester through the University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s interlibrary loan program. The student was searching for primary texts to complete a paper for a class in Williams’s department on fascism and totalitarianism. Shortly after the student filed his request — providing his name, address and phone number — two agents arrived at his parent’s house, where he lives. They asked him to prove why he wanted the book, which they indicated was on a “watch list,” and inquired about his travels to South America. The officials brought a copy of the book with them to his parent’s residence, but said he couldn’t have it. Ultimately, the student chose to travel to an FBI office about an hour from the university to further defend himself. The student is currently finishing his paper, and it is unknown at this point if the Department of Homeland Security plans to take action against him. Several calls to the department on Monday went unreturned. More at Inside Higher Education 12/20/05
See later (12/28/05) entry: ‘Little Red Book,’ Big Fat Lie

Posted by P. Kaufman at 7:02 AM

December 12, 2005

The Royal Society Defends Its Stance on Open Access

The Royal Society, UK's autonomous scientific academy, has hit back at its critics who recently alleged that the society was taking a negative stance on open access. In a statement released recently, the society has denied taking a negative stance on open access, clarifying that it was only concerned about achieving open access without affecting quality, peer review and accessibility of scientific literature.

A recent letter signed by 46 fellows of the society, including five Nobel laureates, opposed the academy for its November 24 position statement on open access agreements. The letter had accused the society of placing its own interests as a publisher of a scholarly journal ahead of interests of science.

From Knowledgespeak, Dec 12.

Posted by Katie Newman at 10:03 AM

December 9, 2005

The Shift Away From Print

For most scholarly journals, the transition away from the print format and to an exclusive reliance on the electronic version seems all but inevitable, driven by user preferences for electronic journals and concerns about collecting the same information in two formats. But this shift away from print, in the absence of strategic planning by a higher proportion of libraries and publishers, may endanger the viability of certain journals and even the journal literature more broadly — while not even reducing costs in the ways that have long been assumed. Inside Higher Education 12/8/05

Posted by P. Kaufman at 10:19 AM

Pulitzer Prizes to Allow Online Journalism in all Entries

The Pulitzer Prizes will start accepting online material along with print material in all 14 of its journalism categories starting with the 2006 competition. Online submissions will be limited to stories and images in all categories except for Public Service. In the Public Service category, which has allowed an online element since 1999, all online material, from databases to interactive graphics, will continue to be permitted. In two categories -- Breaking News Reporting and Breaking News Photography -- an entry consisting entirely of material published online will be permitted. The new rules were adopted after a study that began a year ago. In the past two years, two winning entries had major online components. Although those online components technically didn't count for the prize, they may have helped persuade the Pulitzer Prize Board of the need to include online material in all categories. 12/8/05

Posted by P. Kaufman at 10:15 AM

December 6, 2005

Report Finds Free Speech Under Net Attack

A report released yesterday by a pair of free-expression advocates at New York University Law School's Brennan Center
for Justice claims Web site owners and remix artists alike
are finding free-expression rights squelched because of
ambiguities in copyright law. The study argues that
so-called "fair use" rights are under attack. It suggests
six major steps for change, including reducing penalties for
infringement and making a greater number of pro-bono lawyers
available to defend alleged fair users. BNA's Internet Law News (ILN) - 12/6/2005 Coverage at">
Report at">a>

Posted by P. Kaufman at 8:35 AM

British Royal Society Warns Against Hasty Shift to Open Access

The Royal Society has expressed concern over the potential costs of compulsory provision of free access to research articles. Stating its stand on the issue, the Society has said that the hurried move to open access publishing can decrease the ability of scientific organizations to promote their activities. It may also bring about the closure of existing journals and hamper the exchange of knowledge among researchers, the Society has warned.
Knowledgespeak Newsletter 12/06/05

Posted by P. Kaufman at 7:22 AM

December 5, 2005

Google makes data free for all

Google launched a new service last week, Google Base. It allows anyone to upload files for free to its massive server farms, making the data instantly searchable. Although mainly aimed at online markets for such things as homes and jobs, scientists say the facility could have important implications for data-sharing in science, and perhaps boost efforts to make the web more 'intelligent'.
...advocates say that this allows web content to be structured as databases on a large scale. For a start, that makes it simple for any scientist to share data, and store it in ways that allow computers to search and retrieve it.
From Nature,438, 400-401 (24 November 2005) Read more.

Posted by Katie Newman at 9:29 AM

New Open Access Web Page

SPARC's new Open Access Programs web page gives librarians, administrators and others a way to share the concept and execution of open access programs held at their universities. Institutions can submit information about the open access program on their campus or simply browse information about other institutions’ open access programs. A “program” can be broadly defined – anything from a brown bag lunch to a meeting of a department or faculty senate to a regional conference on open access. Because so many issues in scholarly communication are closely related, the site also contains information on institutional repositories and scholarly communication programs in general.

Posted by P. Kaufman at 7:47 AM