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April 28, 2007

Judge Orders University to Disclose Students to RIAA

As many as 53 UW-Madison students could be slapped with lawsuits by the music recording industry after a federal judge ordered the university to surrender their names and other information for sharing digital music files over the Internet. Sixteen record companies represented by the Recording Industry Association of America filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court seeking the names associated with 53 Internet connections for copyright infringement.

Read more in Wisconsin State Journal 4/26/07

Thanks to Daily News 4/27/07

Posted by P. Kaufman at 1:55 PM

April 24, 2007

European Science Foundation Report Examines Peer Review Issues

From KnowledgeSpeak:

The European Science Foundation (ESF), France, has published a report which reveals some concern on the shortcomings of peer review and outlines some possible measures to cope with them. The report, ‘Peer review: its present and future states’, draws on ideas from an international conference held in Prague in October 2006.

Scientists are questioning whether peer review, the internationally accepted form of scientific critique, is able to meet the challenges posed by the rapid changes in the research landscape. The ESF report showcases a number of options that could lead to greater openness in innovative research. A central theme of the report is that the current peer review system might not adequately assess the most pioneering research proposals, as they may be viewed as too risky. The conference called for new approaches, enabling the assessment of innovative research to be embedded in the peer review system. Participants agreed that the increasing importance of competitive research funding has also added on the pressure on referees and on research funding agencies.

All contributors to the conference report agreed that peer review is an essential part of research and that no other credible mechanism exists to replace it.

ESR Press Release
ESR Report

Posted by Katie Newman at 11:03 AM

April 20, 2007

Electronic Publishing in the Humanities: Task Force Report

The Joint Task Force on Electronic Publishing of the American Philological Association (APA) and the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) has submitted its final report to the boards of the two societies. This document has been submitted to the Board of Directors of the APA and the Governing Board of the AIA for their consideration.

The APA Board of Directors formulated the following guidance for the Task Force:

The Task Force will have as its charge the analysis of particular issues associated with the burgeoning area of electronic publishing, including peer refereeing, freedom of information, intellectual property protection, storage and retrieval of data and whatever other concerns it may identify. Our precedent is the Association's Committee on Computer operations which, during its active life, made many valuable contributions, some of which have had lasting influence upon techniques utilized in our research.

From the Executive Summary, the following are the main points of the Report:

  1. Invest in cyberinfrastructure for the humanities and social sciences, as a matter of strategic priority.
    Implementation: Determine the amount and efficacy of funding that now goes to support developing cyberinfrastructure for humanities and social sciences from all sources; through annual meetings and ongoing consultation, coordinate the goals this funding aims to achieve; and aim to increase both funding and coordination over the next five years, including commercial investments that are articulated with the educational community's agenda.
  2. Develop public and institutional policies that foster openness and access.
    Implementation: The leadership of the humanities and social sciences should develop, adopt, and advocate for public and institutional polices that foster openness and access.
  3. Promote cooperation between the public and private sectors.
    Implementation: A private foundation, a federal funding agency, an Internet business, and one or more university partners should cosponsor recurring annual summits to explore new models for commercial/nonprofit partnerships and to discuss opportunities for the focused creation of digital resources with high educational value and high public impact.
  4. Cultivate leadership in support of cyberinfrastructure from within the humanities and social sciences.
    Implementation: Increase federal and foundation funding to one or more scholarly organizations in the area of humanities and social science computing so that they can work with member organizations of the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) and others to establish priorities for cyberinfrastructure development, raise awareness of research and partnership opportunities among scholars, and coordinate the evolution of research products from basic to applied.
  5. Encourage digital scholarship.
    Implementation: Federal funding agencies and private foundations should establish programs that develop and support expertise in digital humanities and social sciences, from short-term workshops to postdoctoral and research fellowships to the cultivation of appropriately trained computer professionals. The ACLS should encourage discussion among its member societies in developing recommendations with respect to evaluating digital scholarship in tenure and promotion decisions.
  6. Establish national centers to support scholarship that contributes to and exploits cyberinfrastructure.
    Implementation: Universities and university consortia should develop new and support existing humanities and social science computing centers. These centers should provide for advanced training and research and curate collections of unique materials.
  7. Develop and maintain open standards and robust tools.
    Implementation: University consortia such as the Committee on Institutional Cooperation should license software such as SourceForge, an enterprise-grade solution for managing and optimizing distributed development, and make it available to open-source developers in academic institutions. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) should support the development, maintenance, and coordination of community-based standards such as the Text Encoding Initiative, Encoded Archival Description, Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard, and Visual Resources Data Standards. The National Science Foundation (NSF), the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the IMLS, and other funding agencies should support the development of tools for the analysis of digital content.
  8. Create extensive and reusable digital collections.
    Implementation: Extensive and reusable digital collections are at the core of the humanities and social science cyberinfrastructure. Scholars must be engaged in the development of these collections. National centers with a focus on particular methods or disciplines can organize a certain amount of scholar-driven digitization. Library organizations and libraries should sponsor discipline-based focus groups to discuss priorities with respect to digitization. When priorities are established, these should be relayed to the organizers of annual meetings on commercial and nonprofit partnerships, and they should be considered in the distribution of grant funds by federal agencies and private foundations. Funding to support the maintenance and coordination of standards will improve the reusability of digital collections. The NEA, NEH, and IMLS should work together to promote collaboration and skills development—through conferences, workshops, and/or grant programs—for the creation, management, preservation, and presentation of reusable digital collections, objects, and products.

  9. Finally, in light of these requirements and in order to realize the promise of cyberinfrastructure for research and education, the Commission calls for specific investments—not just of money but also of leadership— from scholars and scholarly societies; librarians, archivists, and curators; university provosts and university presses; the commercial sector; government; and private foundations.

Access the full report
Access the executive summary

Posted by Katie Newman at 1:02 PM

Rethinking Personal Use

In a forthcoming article, "Lawful Personal Use," University of Michigan law professor Jessica Litman argues thoughtfully for "a view of copyright in which readers and listeners are as important as authors and publishers" and in which many of the uses we all routinely make of copyrighted materials would be deemed noninfringing -- indeed, wholly outside the scope of the copyright owners' exclusive rights -- regardless of whether they would satisfy the fair use standard:

Reading, listening, viewing, and their modern cousins watching, playing, running, and building, are central to the copyright scheme. We knew that once, but forgot it sometime within the past generation as the rhetoric of copyright increasingly characterized personal uses as piracy and theft. If we think about personal use as a guilty pleasure that is probably morally wrong, we’re going to lose it. If we recall that encouraging personal use is an objective that’s crucial to the copyright system, we may find the will to defend it against increasingly forceful encroachment.

And after all, she notes, "laws that discourage book reading end up being bad for book authors" as well. Litman comes to no definitive conclusions as to what the precise scope of "lawful personal use" should be, but her article is well worth reading, and the debate she has started is well worth engaging in.

Steve McDonald, @ollecteana 4/17/07

Posted by P. Kaufman at 9:02 AM

World Book and Copyright Day

I think I missed previous celebrations, but Monday is World Book and Copyright Day, brought to us by UNESCO as part of its efforts to seek to promote reading, publishing and the protection of intellectual property through copyright.

UNESCO's website provides this nice background information and a nice poster you can download:

23 April: a symbolic date for world literature for on this date and in the same year of 1616, Cervantes, Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died. It is also the date of birth or death of other prominent authors such as Maurice Druon, K.Laxness, Vladimir Nabokov, Josep Pla and Manuel Mejía Vallejo. It was a natural choice for UNESCO's General Conference to pay a world-wide tribute to books and authors on this date, encouraging everyone, and in particular young people, to discover the pleasure of reading and gain a renewed respect for the irreplaceable contributions of those who have furthered the social and cultural progress of humanity.

The idea for this celebration originated in Catalonia where on 23 April, Saint George's Day, a rose is traditionally given as a gift for each book sold. The success of the World Book and Copyright Day will depend primarily on the support received from all parties concerned (authors, publishers, teachers, librarians, public and private institutions, humanitarian NGOs and the mass media), who have been mobilized in each country by UNESCO National Commissions, UNESCO Clubs, Centres and Associations, Associated Schools and Libraries, and by all those who feel motivated to work together in this world celebration of books and authors.

Posted by P. Kaufman at 8:53 AM

April 2, 2007

Fired Editors Launch Online Open Medical Journal

The editors who were fired or resigned over the editorial-independence controversy at the Canadian Medical Association Journal have reunited to start their own free, online medical journal.

Open Medicine will be a peer-reviewed, independent open-access journal that does not accept advertising from pharmaceutical or medical-device companies. It is published only at The launch date of the first issue is April 17.

The virtual journal's publisher is John Willinsky, a professor in the faculty of education from the University of British Columbia.

Co-editors are Dr. Anita Palepu, an internist with St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver and Dr. Stephen Choi, an emergency physician from The Ottawa Hospital.

The idea of starting an open-access journal began shortly after the firings of the CMAJ's former editor Dr. John Hoey and senior deputy editor Anne Marie Todkill in February 2006. The two are on the editorial team of the new publication.

"The editors who were fired or resigned over the editorial-independence controversy at the Canadian Medical Association Journal have reunited to start their own free, online medical journal."

Toronto Star 4/2/07

Posted by P. Kaufman at 12:30 PM