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August 30, 2006

Oxford Open's First Year Shows Variable Results

Oxford Journals, a division of Oxford University Press, today released full year figures from its optional open access experiment, Oxford Open. In the first year of launch, almost 400 papers have been published under the optional open access model across 36 of the 49 participating titles.

The majority of uptake of optional open access has, as predicted, been in the life sciences, with approximately 10% of authors selecting the open access option across 16 participating journals in this area, compared with approximately 5% in medicine and public health, and 3% in the humanities and social sciences. Three life sciences titles in the areas of molecular and computational biology have seen over 20% uptake. The highest of these was for Bioinformatics, which has published over 50 open access papers in 2006. 2007 online subscription prices have been adjusted for these journals to reflect this uptake....

Oxford Journals will continue to offer optional open access to the 49 participating journals for 2007, in addition to continuing its other experiments with open access with Nucleic Acids Research(NAR), Journal of Experimental Botany, and Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (ECAM). It also expects further journals to join the initiative over the coming year....

Read the entire press release or the full report (120 pgs)

Posted by P. Kaufman at 1:51 PM

Terms of Google's Deal to Digitize From the Univ. California System Revealed

The details of the deal Google struck with the University of California to digitize millions of their holdings, making them available via Google's Book project, have been revealed. Read on!

From KnowledgeSpeak:

The University of California (UC) has released a copy of its contract with internet search services provider Google, Inc., US. The document, available online at, throws light on the type of agreement Google is reaching with some of the leading academic libraries as part of its Book Search project.

The contract grants Google ‘sole discretion’ to use scanned material in its online services, subject to copyright restrictions. Under the agreement, Google or its successors will not charge users for searching and viewing search results containing digitised material, nor for accessing full text of public domain works. The contract is set to run for six years, but can be terminated earlier. Consequently, it will be renewed automatically every year until the parties agree to end the project. The deal calls for the university to provide 2.5 million volumes to the digitisation project. Also, the university is forbidden from licensing, sharing or selling the material to any third party.
Google had recently signed the University of California to its controversial book scanning project. Under the new agreement, the search engine giant will scan, digitise and make searchable millions of books from UC’s over 100 libraries across its 10 campuses. According to University sources, the university decided to post the contract publicly to satisfy a general interest in the document.
--- With thanks to Sarah Shreeves for pointing out this reference, Karen Doyle has analyzed the difference between the Michigan and the California Google contracts at:

Learn more about the Books project from this Google site,

Posted by Katie Newman at 10:09 AM

August 23, 2006

New Publishers' Rival for Google?

HarperCollins and Austin, Texas-based LibreDigital have announced a hosted service called LibreDigital Warehouse that will give publishers and booksellers the ability to deliver searchable book content on their own Web sites.

Like Google Book Search, the service will allow users to search the entire content of a book and preview a percentage of its text and illustrations.

Unlike Google, LibreDigital Warehouse allows publishers to customize which pages a user can view, which pages are always prohibited from viewing (such as the last three pages of a novel), and what overall percentage of a book is viewable. Publishers can customize these rules per title and per partner. 8/22/06

Posted by P. Kaufman at 8:07 AM

August 17, 2006

American Physical Society Expands Open Access Program

From its 8/16/06 FAQ:

The American Physical Society (APS) is pleased to announce that it will soon expand its Open Access (OA) offerings to articles published in Physical Review A-E, Physical Review Letters, and Reviews of Modern Physics. This OA initiative is called FREE TO READ and, when released in early September 2006, can be applied to any article or group of articles published in the Journals of the American Physical Society back to 1893. Anyone (authors, readers, institutions, funding agencies, etc.) may, by paying a one-time fee, make articles published in our journals available on our sites to all readers at no cost and without a subscription.
Readers will have access to PDF and postscript versions of the FREE TO READ articles through the APS online journals.

Posted by P. Kaufman at 2:43 PM

August 14, 2006

Elsevier Journal Editorial Board Resigns in Protest

Another journal declaration of independence is in progress. The entire editorial board of Topology has resigned to protest Elsevier's refusal to lower the subscription price. Excerpt from the letter:

Dear Mr [Robert] Ross [of Elsevier Science],

We regret to have to tell you that we, the Editorial Board of Topology, are resigning with effect from 31 December 2006.

As you are well aware, the Editors have been concerned about the price of Topology since Elsevier gained control of the journal in 1994. We believe that the price, in combination with Elsevier's policies for pricing mathematics journals more generally, has had a significant and damaging effect on Topology's reputation in the mathematical research community, and that this is likely to become increasingly serious and difficult, indeed impossible, to reverse in the future.

As you know, we have made efforts over the last five to ten years to negate this effect....

The journal Topology has an illustrious history with which we, on becoming editors, were extremely proud to be associated. It owd its foundation to the inspiration and vision of the great Oxford topologist JHC Whitehead in the late 1950s, and the Honorary Advisory Editorial Board and also our predecessors on the Editorial Board have included some of the greatest names in 20th century mathematics. We believe that the journal's ethos and structure, based around a group of editors making editorial decisions jointly in Oxford with the expert assistance and advice of highly eminent editors elsewhere around the world, has many strengths and has provided a great service to the mathematical community in the past. However we feel that Elsevier's policies toward the publication of mathematics research have undermined that legacy.

Therefore, with great reluctance and sadness, we have made the difficult decision to resign.

[signed] Martin Bridson, Ralph Cohen, Nigel Hitchin, Frances Kirwan, Marc Lackenby, Jean Lannes, Wolfgang Lück, John Roe, and Ulrike Tillmann.

Open Access News 8/11/06

Posted by P. Kaufman at 10:54 AM

Copyright Law Is Roadblock

Copyright law is hampering innovative uses of digital technology in schools and colleges across the country, according to a report released this week by Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. The report, based on a yearlong study by the center, highlights how copyright restrictions have adversely affected a research center at George Mason University, the field of film studies, a nonprofit group that promotes American composers, and WGBH, a public broadcaster in Boston.

Chronicle of Higher Education: Wired Campus 8/11/06

Posted by P. Kaufman at 7:45 AM

August 10, 2006

Google Adds University of California to Its Book Scanning Project

Internet search services provider Google, Inc., US, has reportedly signed University of California (UC) as another partner to its controversial book scanning project. The university is also having books digitised as part of the Open Content Alliance (OCA), which is led by Yahoo, Microsoft and Internet Archive.

Under the new agreement, Google will scan, digitise and make searchable millions of books from UC’s over 100 libraries across its 10 campuses. Both Google and UC will keep a copy each of all scanned books. UC joins the Stanford University, University of Michigan, Harvard University, Oxford University and the New York Public Library with whom Google has been working since last year to scan, digitise and make searchable public domain and copyright-protected books.

The participant’s support for the project is in contrast to publishers and writers who are suing Google for digitising books without obtaining prior permission.

Search Google Books:
From: Knowledgespeak

Posted by Katie Newman at 8:33 AM

August 7, 2006

Browse Inside at HarperCollins

On August 3, HarperCollins launched its "Browse Inside" feature, which allows users to peruse pages from digitized books. The kickoff of "Browse Inside" includes titles by Isabel Allende, Geraldine Brooks, Paulo Coelho, Bernard Cornwell, Michael Crichton, Karen Kingsbury, C.S. Lewis, Lisa Scottoline, Robin Sharma, and Rick Warren, but the plan is to roll it out to all of the publisher's titles.

In the future, authors will be able to link to Browse Inside pages from their blogs, and HarperCollins also hopes to allow users of social networking sites such as MySpace to link to pages from favorite books.

About Literature

Posted by P. Kaufman at 1:19 PM

More U.S. University Officials Endorse Open Access

Provosts from an additional 23 universities have declared their support for the US’ Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006 (S.2695). The universities added their backing in a letter issued by the Greater Western Library Alliance (GWLA) and in individual correspondence, bringing to 48 the number of universities that have gone on record as favoring the measure.

Earlier, 25 leading universities declared their support for the legislation, which requires federal agencies to make electronic manuscripts of peer-reviewed journal articles that stem from their research publicly available online. Academic publishers have, however, stated that any such broadening of open access would increasingly jeopardize their journals programm.

The latest signatories of the GWLA letter include provosts and vice presidents for state and non land-grant institutions, such as the University of Washington and Rice University. The 25 institutions that had expressed support for S.2695 earlier include UIUC.

Knowledgespeak Newsletter 8/7/06

Posted by P. Kaufman at 6:32 AM

August 3, 2006

Intellectual Property Rights Portal is an internet portal on Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) and Sustainable Development. It contains a selection of relevant online documents and resources related to IPRs and sustainable development including a guide to IPRs, proposals submitted to the WTO, discussion papers classified by topics, a calendar of IPRs related events, latest news on IPRs, and links to listservs and relevant institutions working on IPRs.

Thanks to Denise Nicholson, Copyright Services Librarian
University of the Witwatersrand

Posted by P. Kaufman at 6:58 AM

August 2, 2006

New Report Says College Students Don't Know Much Beyond Google

Of 10,000 high school and college students asked to evaluate a set of Web sites last fall, nearly half could not correctly judge which was the most objective, reliable, and timely, according to preliminary results of a digital-literacy assessment done by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the New Jersey nonprofit.

Terry Egan, project manager for the assessment, told the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, “What we’re finding is not only does it [digital literacy] need to be taught at the higher education level, it needs to be taught a lot younger than that. I’m hoping that having an assessment like this available is going to change the paradigm of what people think is important to test and important to teach.” The newspaper reported that some University of Texas professors are now requesting seminars to teach students about the university library catalog and the approximately 200 computer databases available to them at the UT-Arlington library.
ETS has developed its first assessment to measure how students find, judge, and use information online. A key element is evaluating whether they can take the information and generate their own analyses or projects, Egan said.

More at Star-Telegram 7/27/06

Posted by P. Kaufman at 1:08 PM