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November 21, 2006

Top 100 Global Universities

An August 2006 article in the international edition of Newsweek evaluated universities from around the world on their "globalness", providing a ranked list of the top 100. We're pleased to see that one of their criteria was the size of the library.

We evaluated schools on some of the measures used in well-known rankings published by Shanghai Jiaotong University and the Times of London Higher Education Survey. Fifty percent of the score came from equal parts of three measures used by Shanghai Jiatong: the number of highly-cited researchers in various academic fields, the number of articles published in Nature and Science, and the number of articles listed in the ISI Social Sciences and Arts & Humanities indices. Another 40 percent of the score came from equal parts of four measures used by the Times: the percentage of international faculty, the percentage of international students, citations per faculty member (using ISI data), and the ratio of faculty to students. The final 10 percent came from library holdings (number of volumes).

The top 10 were:

1. Harvard University
2. Stanford University
3. Yale University
4. California Institute of Technology
5. University of California at Berkeley
6. University of Cambridge
7. Massachusetts Institute Technology
8. Oxford University
9. University of California at San Francisco
10. Columbia University

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign came in 48th, behind other big ten universities such as Michigan (11), U Chicago (20), Wisconsin (28), Minnesota (30), Northwestern (35), and Penn State (40). Others from the Big 10 that made the list of 100 included Michigan State (62), and Purdue (86).

Read the entire list of the 100 top global universities at MSNBC as well as a related story.

Note: You may also be interested in reading the Times of London's analysis of the "Top 100 Universities", worldwide. By their accounting, the University of Illinois ranked 58 in 2005 and 78 in 2006. According to this listing, the top universities are:

1. Harvard
2. Cambridge
3. Oxford
4. MIT
4. Yale
6. Stanford
7. California Institute of Technology
8. UC Berkeley
9. Imperial College, London
10. Princeton
11. University of Chicago

Posted by Katie Newman at 1:59 PM

November 20, 2006

The Future of Scientific Publishing: an Open Discussion in the Journal of Neuroscience

For the past several months, the Journal of Neuroscience has been hosting a series of articles concerning Open Access and the future of scholarly publishing -- OA's merits, who pays for it and the role of the scholarly society. A series of guest columnists spear-headed the discussion:

Sept 6 Why Open Access to Research and Scholarship? John Willinsky
John Willinsky is Pacific Press Professor of Literacy and Technology at the University of British Columbia. He is the author of The Access Principle. The case for Open Access to Research and Scholarship (MIT Press, 2006).

Sept 13 Will Research Sharing Keep Pace with the Internet? Richard K. Johnson
Richard Johnson was the founding Executive Director of SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), which was founded in 1998 by a group of libraries to promote competition in scholarly publishing.

Sept 20 As We May Read. Paul Ginsparg
Paul Ginsparg is a professor of physics and computing and information science at Cornell University. He is the creator of, which provides an immediately available, online "archive" of preprints, primarily in physics, mathematics, and computer science. Submissions are not peer-reviewed, but can be submitted as well to peer-reviewed journals.

Sept 27 Reinventing the Biomedical Journal. Richard Smith
Richard Smith is Chief Executive of UnitedHealth Group Europe and former Editor of the British Medical Journal. He is a board member of the Public Library of Science.

Oct 4 Open Access and the Future of the Scientific Research Article. Matthew Cockerill and Vitek Tracz
Matthew Cockerill is Publisher at BioMed Central, which currently publishes 162 open access journals in biology and medicine. Vitek Tracz is Chairman of the Science Navigation Group (formerly Current Science Group) of which BioMed Central is a member company.

Although the articles are interesting and thuoght-provoking, for some reason there appears to have been no participation in a subsequent online forum!

Posted by Katie Newman at 4:45 PM

Memo to the Next Google: Don't Set Up Shop in Australia

In a recent statement, the Australian Digital Alliance declared that if the Australian Copyright Amendment Bill 2006 is rushed through Parliament, then Australians will be the not-so-proud owners of a complex and inflexible copyright regime that's out-of-date the day it becomes law. Despite what seemed like good intentions, the government has delivered a 200 page mess of changes, with no "fair use" flexibility that U.S. consumers and innovators depend on.

The ADA has called upon the Federal Government to embrace a flexible defense of fair use to ensure that Australia’s copyright laws are credible, relevant, and timely for consumers and technology developers alike.

Read more at Australian Digital Alliance 11/14/06

Posted by P. Kaufman at 7:48 AM

November 16, 2006

Journal of Natural History: A Cautionary Tale

Below is a message that came to me via SLA's Natural History Caucus listserv. It recounts the history of a once-illustrious journal that in it's early days published several papers from Darwin and his colleagues but is now probably being priced out of the range of many scholarly libraries.

Another Bergstrom & Bergstrom article on the economics of publishing ... this time on Ecology
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment: Vol. 4, No. 9, pp. 488-495.
The economics of ecology journals
Carl T Bergstrom, and Theodore C Bergstrom

Note the cautionary tale on "Journal of Natural History" on pp. 494-495:
[How many [libraries] canceled print in favor of online in the last few years?]

"In 1844, 15 years before the publication of The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin published a pair of articles (Darwin 1844a,b) in a fledgling natural history journal, The Annals and Magazine of Natural History. This journal had been founded by publisher Richard Taylor and his son William Francis in 1840, who merged several British natural history titles dating back to 1828. The journal published five of Darwin's papers in total. Darwin's contributions to The Annals focused on the specifics of natural history rather than on the theory of evolution. However, the journal earned a prominent place in the history of evolutionary biology, as the venue for Alfred Russell Wallace's 1855 manuscript "On the Law which has regulated the Introduction of New Species" (Wallace 1855). In that paper, published 3 years before the famous Darwin-Wallace outline of natural selection (Darwin and Wallace 1858), Wallace drew upon his own phylogeographic observations to conclude that new species must arise from pre-existing species, giving rise to a tree-like relationship among taxa.

One hundred and fifty years later, The Annals and Magazine of Natural History continues to be published, still under the name of Taylor and Francis, which has morphed into an international publishing conglomerate that publishes 800 periodicals. The journal is now titled The Journal of Natural History. Perhaps due to shifts of scientific fashion, the journal's prestige is not what one might expect given its history: its impact factor was an unimpressive 0.611 at the time of our first survey in 2001. While the 2001 price per page, $0.77, was modest for a for-profit publisher, the price per citation, $19.21 was among the highest in the field of ecology.

Taylor and Francis responded to the low impact factor in two surprising ways. First, they increased the size of the journal, from 2323 pages in 2000 to 3347 pages in 2004. Second, they dramatically increased the price, from $1784 for print in 2001 to $6735 for the print plus online combination in 2005. Even accounting for the increased number of pages, this represents a near-doubling of the price per page. By 2004, the impact factor had dropped to 0.514 and price per recent citation rose to a staggering $90.37. (Only the translated Russian Journal of Ecology is more expensive per recent citation; the next closest is Ekologia Bratislava, which costs $34.50 per recent citation.)

Why is it that, despite its low impact factor and falling subscriptions, Taylor and Francis has radically increased the subscription price of the oldest journal in ecology, and the only one that can claim Darwin as an author? Evidently the publisher is banking on the proposition that libraries will be slow to cancel a journal with such an illustrious history, even at $6735 per year. In the long run, it is unlikely that pricing at $90 per recent citation is sustainable. We suspect that the journal may be heading into a "death spiral" of increased prices, reduced circulation, and falling impact factor. Although the publisher may earn substantial profits along the way, charging ever higher prices to ever fewer subscribers, this would be a sad end for a venerable publication."

Posted by Katie Newman at 12:24 PM

November 3, 2006

Funding Agencies That Will Support Open Access Fees

Which funding agencies mandate or recommend that their grantees make their research available in an openly accessible venue?

Which funding agencies allow their grantees to use grant funds for open access fees?

Which funding agencies have set aside pools of money to support open access publishing by it's grantees?

Several organizations have pulled together information on such funder policies:

SHERPA's Juliet database of funder policies

BMC's comparative table of funder policies

The ROARMAP list of the strongest funder and university policies

The SPARC Europe spreadsheet of OA policies at the eight Research Councils UK

With thanks to Peter Suber, for pulling these resources together in his newsletter.

Posted by Katie Newman at 2:57 PM

November 1, 2006

UK Report Examines Inhibiting Factor of Copyright

The British Academy, a national body for the advancement of humanities and social sciences, has released a report, sponsored by the European Commission, suggesting the application of copyright law in the United Kingdom may be inhibiting the work of scholars and offering ten "recommendations" for redress, including possible government regulation of licensing deals.

The British Academy, a national body for the advancement of humanities and social sciences, has released a report, sponsored by the European Commission, suggesting the application of copyright law in the United Kingdom may be inhibiting the work of scholars and offering ten "recommendations" for redress, including possible government regulation of licensing deals. Among the report's conclusions: copyright exemptions such as "fair dealing" (fair use) should "normally be sufficient for academic and scholarly use," but that "problems lie in narrow interpretation," both by rights holders and by publishers; that copyright holders, as a result of the development of new media, "are more aggressive in seeking to maximize revenue from the rights, even if the legal basis of their claims is weak;" and that there are "well-founded" concerns that new database rights and the development of digital rights management systems (DRM) "may enable rights holders to circumvent the effects of the copyright exemptions designed to facilitate research and scholarship."

The report, Copyright and Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences: A British Academy Review was composed by a working group of eight members, appointed by the British Academy and drawn from a range of subjects in the humanities and social sciences along with help from the Centre for the Study of Intellectual and Technology.

Library Journal

Posted by P. Kaufman at 1:18 PM

Firefox Scholar Released (Now Called Zotero)

A group of scholars at George Mason University released a free Web-browser enhancement this month designed especially for other scholars. The project, which was originally called Firefox Scholar, is now called Zotero.

The goal is to bring search and organizational tools to humanities scholars who might not have the skill or interest to otherwise use them, by embedding them in the Web-browser software the scholars are already using, says Daniel J. Cohen, an assistant professor of history and director of research projects at the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University.

With Zotero, which requires the latest version of the Firefox browser, users can import Web pages, and citation information from them, into a personal filing system, among other features. A written statement on the project's Web site says the software "includes the best parts of older reference-manager software (like EndNote)—the ability to store full reference information in author, title, and publication fields and to export that as formatted references—and the best parts of modern software such as or iTunes, like the ability to sort, tag, and search in advanced ways."

Chronicle Wired Campus

Postscript -- (KN) --
I gave this product a try and it's great for grabbing citations from library catalogs, Amazon, Google Scholar, Google Books. So far it doesn't work on most other bibliographic indexes such as Web of Science, Pubmed, etc.

For instance with Google Scholar, Zotero will give you a view of the titles from a Google Scholar search where you can "check" off each citation that you're interested in. You can then save the ciations to an RIS file, and then import it into EndNote or Refworks. Multiple other output formats are also available, such as BibTeX, MODS, Refer/BibIX or Unmodified Dublin Core. Or you can just create a bibliography from the list in Chicago, APA, or MLA style. Looks useful, particularly for book citations.

Zotero only works with v.2 Firefox, and above.
[comments by KN]

Posted by P. Kaufman at 1:12 PM