News for the University of Illinois Community

« February 2006 | Main | April 2006 »

March 31, 2006

NATURE stands by it's Wikipedia / Encyclopaedia Britannica Analysis

(from Knowledgespeak)
The scientific journal Nature has rejected Encyclopaedia Britannica’s call to retract a paper comparing the web-based offerings of Encyclopaedia Britannica and Wikipedia on scientific topics, published in the journal’s December 2005 issue. Encyclopaedia Britannica had accused the journal of misrepresentation, sloppiness and indifference to scholarly standards.

According to Nature, the original article consisted of asking independent scholars to review 50 pairs of articles from the Wikipedia and Encyclopaedia Britannica web sites. The source of the articles were not revealed to the reviewers and the subjects were chosen in advance to represent a wide range of scientific disciplines. Lists of factual errors, omissions and misleading statements pointed out by reviewers were compiled and tallied for each encyclopaedia. Nature further says that turning the reviewers’ comments into numerical scores did require a modicum of judgement, which was applied diligently and fairly.

Nature says Britannica had raised objections to the article in private a few months ago. The journal had, at that point, sent to Britannica every comment by a reviewer that served as the basis for assessing something as an inaccuracy. Though the journal was willing to discuss the issues, Britannica failed to provide specific details of its complaints, says Nature. No further correspondence was received by the journal from Britannica until the publication of its open letter recently. Read more

Posted by Katie Newman at 2:17 PM

March 23, 2006

Read Any Good Blooks Lately?

Books are springing out of blogs like tulips after a spring rain, it seems, and now these creations have a name -- blooks -- and their very own literary award. The winners of the first annual Blooker Prize will be announced April 3. The prize is sponsored by Lulu, a print-on-demand book company. 3/23/06 Read about the Blooker Prize

Posted by P. Kaufman at 3:10 PM

Did NATURE Cook Wikipedia Story?

Nature magazine has some tough questions to answer after it let its Wikipedia fetish get the better of its responsibilities to reporting science. The Encyclopedia Britannica has published a devastating response to Nature's December comparison of Wikipedia and Britannica, and accuses the journal of misrepresenting its own evidence. BookTradeInfo 3/23/06 More in The Register. See also Brittanica's response.

Posted by P. Kaufman at 3:02 PM

March 22, 2006

Literary Novels Going Straight to Paperback

Knock-offs of "The Da Vinci Code," made-up memoirs and accounts of life with ornery pets are selling tens of thousands of hardcover copies a week. But publishers say there is no harder sell in the world of books these days than literary fiction. Even critically acclaimed literary novels often have a short shelf life in hardcover, with one-half to three-quarters of the books shipped to stores often being returned to the publisher, unsold. That has a growing number of publishing companies, from smaller houses like Grove/Atlantic to giants like Random House, adopting a different business model, offering books by lesser-known authors only as "paperback originals," forgoing the higher profits afforded by publishing a book in hardcover for a chance at attracting more buyers and a more sustained shelf life. New York Times 3/22/06

Posted by P. Kaufman at 3:45 PM

March 16, 2006

Bound by Law

Duke Law School's Center for the Study of the Public Domain has just released "BOUND BY LAW?" - a comic book on copyright and creativity -- specifically, documentary film. It is being published today under a Creative Commons License. The comic, by Keith Aoki, James Boyle and Jennifer Jenkins explores the benefits of copyright in a digital age, but also the threats to cultural history posed by a “permissions culture,” and the erosion of “fair use” and the public domain. Berkman Blog 3/15/06

Free digital versions are available here.

Posted by P. Kaufman at 8:35 AM

March 15, 2006

From AAP: Funds for the Showdown with Google, and A Brief Showdown with the NEA

After nearly eight hours of educational sessions and networking, the most important message transmitted by AAP came in flash yesterday, before about 65 remaining attendees and it was delivered not such much in words as in numbers: The board has approved a budget for the new fiscal year that runs a substantial deficit from operating revenues, due entirely to a nearly $4 million-set aside to fund "vigorous action to defend copyright" as John Sargent put it. (The allocation increases last year's budget of $7.5 million by just over 50 percent.) While some of those funds may go to additional efforts by the International Copyright Protection Committee, the clear message was that much of it will support the AAP's lawsuit against Google, reinforced by a brief update from attorney Bruce P. Keller at Debevoise & Plimpton. Organization head Pat Schroeder noted, "It's been a very good year, and a very trying year, but everyone has stuck together." She also noted, "So many players have said publishers only get to play on paper...and we have stood up to them." Publishers Lunch 3/15/06

Posted by P. Kaufman at 2:30 PM

March 14, 2006

New Google Service Sells Books Online

Google has announced a new service by which it hopes to sell online access to copyrighted books on behalf of publishers, similar to a program announced last fall between and Random House. With Google's new service, users would be able to buy electronic access to the full text of a book, based on terms determined by the publisher, but not allowed to make or save copies of the book. Currently, users of Google's Book Search service can see small bits of books but cannot access the full texts. According to Google, the new program is intended to help publishers increase revenues. The announcement comes as Google's legal troubles continue over its Library Project, a program to scan millions of books, including copyrighted books and those in the public domain. Public domain materials would be available online in their entirety, while only selected portions of copyrighted books would be online. Publishers and other copyright holders have challenged Google in court, saying the company has no right to make digital copies of their books, regardless of how it limits access to those copies. ZDNet, 13 March 2006
Edupage, March 13, 2006

Posted by P. Kaufman at 11:09 AM

March 8, 2006

DFG Passes Open Access Guidelines

In 2003 the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) signed the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities. The DFG supports the culture of open access. Unhindered access to publications increases the distribution of scientific knowledge, thereby enhancing the authors' visibility and contributing to their reputations. The DFG has now tied open access into its funding policy. During their meetings in January 2006, the DFG’s Senate and Joint Committee recommended encouraging funded scientists to also digitally publish their results and make them available via open access. In order to put secondary publications (i.e. self-archived publications by which the authors provide their scientific work on the internet for free following conventional publication) on the proper legal footing, scientists involved in DFG-funded projects are also requested to reserve the exploitation rights. Recommendations are currently being integrated into the usage guidelines, which form an integral part of every approval. They are worded as follows: "The DFG expects the research results funded by it to be published and to be made available, where possible, digitally and on the internet via open access. To achieve this, the contributions involved should either be published in discipline-specific or institutional electronic archives (repositories), or directly in referenced or recognised open access journals, in addition to conventional publishing. When entering into publishing contracts scientists participating in DFG-funded projects should, as far as possible, permanently reserve a non-exclusive right of exploitation for electronic publication of their research results for the purpose of open access. Here, discipline-specific delay periods of generally 6-12 months can be agreed upon, before which publication of previously published research results in discipline-specific or institutional electronic archives may be prohibited. Please ensure that a note indicating support of the project by the DFG is included in the publication." The revised usage guidelines are expected to be available in April 2006. Further information on open access is available at (Peter Suber, BOAI Forum 3/7/06)

Posted by P. Kaufman at 7:21 AM

March 6, 2006

OpenDocument Format Alliance

As documents and services are increasingly transformed from paper to electronic form, there is a growing problem that governments and their constituents may not be able to access, retrieve and use critical records, information and documents in the future. To enable the public sector to have greater control over and direct management of their own
records, information and documents, the ODF Alliance seeks to promote and advance the use of OpenDocument Format (ODF). The alliance works globally to educate policymakers, IT administrators and the public on the benefits and opportunities of the OpenDocument Format, to help ensure that government information, records and documents are
accessible across platforms and applications, even as technologies change. Read more. (Thanks to Denise Nicholson)

Posted by P. Kaufman at 7:52 AM

Federal Gray Literature Now Accessible

The GrayLIT Network makes the gray literature of U.S. Federal Agencies easily accessible over the Internet. It taps into the search engines of distributed gray literature collections, enabling the user to find information without first having to know the sponsoring agency. Peter Scott's Library Blog. 3/6/06

Posted by P. Kaufman at 7:49 AM

March 3, 2006

Survey Points to Increase Author Understanding of NIH Policy

Scientific, technical and medical publishers have called for an increase in communications to science and medical authors in light of a new survey that finds low understanding of the NIH's Public Access Policy for posting peer-reviewed articles to PubMedCentral (PMC), NIH's online database. The survey, conducted online in January 2006 by the Publishing Research Consortium (PRC), shows that although most authors are aware of the NIH policy, many do not post on PMC because they neither understand the process nor identify clear benefits for posting their work. Of the NIH-funded authors who responded to the survey, 15% have never heard of the policy and a further 23% have heard of it but know nothing about it. The survey found awareness of NIH-funded authors is only marginally higher than of all life sciences and medicine authors. Read more.

Posted by P. Kaufman at 9:24 AM

March 2, 2006

European Commission Steps up Efforts to Put Europe's Memory on the Web

"The Commission today published an overview of the results of a major online consultation on the digital libraries initiative which had been launched on 30 September 2005. Link to PDF
The 225 replies came from libraries, archives and museums (46%), publishers and right holders (19%) and universities/academics (14%). The replies generally welcome the initiative and see it as an opportunity for making Europe?s cultural heritage more accessible and usable on the Internet. They also show that opinions are divided on copyright issues, in particular between cultural institutions and right holders." Resource Shelf 3/2/06

Posted by P. Kaufman at 10:45 AM

Stacking Up Web of Science Against Google Scholar

"Google Scholar Rivals Web of Science" - UBC Prof Says

It's axiomatic that databases bought by university libraries - like ISI'sWeb of Science (WoS) - outperform free search tools like Google Scholar. Or is it? A recent study co-authored by Daniel Pauly, director of the UBC Fisheries Centre suggests otherwise; the study compared WoS with Google Scholar, with some surprising results.
(Thanks to Melody Allison for sending this along)

Posted by P. Kaufman at 7:54 AM

March 1, 2006

Open J-Gate is Gateway to Open Access Journals

Here's a useful note from the OA Librarian Blog (2/28/06):
Open J-Gate was launched on February 27 by Jean-Claude Guedon (a very familiar name to the OA world) and is:

"an electronic gateway to global journal literature in open access domain... Open J-Gate is the contribution of Informatics (India) Ltd to promote OAI. Open J-Gate provides seamless access to millions of journal articles available online. Open J-Gate is also a database of journal literature, indexed from 3000+ open access journals, with links to full text at Publisher sites."

The Open J-Gate lists a several "features and benefits":

Portal with the largest number of e-journals
Links to one million+ open access articles
Constant updating
Well designed journal classification
Table of Content (TOC) Browsing
Easy-to-Use search functionalities

Access it at

Posted by P. Kaufman at 1:54 PM