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March 31, 2008

Cancer Literature Through PubMed: Currently 13% is free

Writing in her blog, The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics, Heather Morrison has reported an analysis of the % of free cancer literature that's available thorugh PubMed. I'm sure she'll be tracking the availablity of this literature over time, considering the NIH Public Access mandate that is set to go into force in just a week -- April 7th. What she's finding at this point in time is that most of the cancer literature is NOT freely accessible.

Cancer: 13% of the literature in PubMed on cancer links to Free Fulltext.

By publication date range:
7% - within last 30 days
10% - within the last year
17% - within the last two years
21% - within the last 10 years

Data on other topics indicates a range of percentages of literature that is Free Fulltext. Of the topics selected, the highest percentage was for genetics, with 30% Free Fulltext, and the lowest was dentistry, with 4% fulltext. Most topics appear to be close to the 13% range.

Please refer to the blog entry for a link to the data, which Heather has made freely available via Google's Spreadsheets.

Posted by Katie Newman at 1:40 PM

Orphan Works Legislation: Another Try?

From Georgia Harper at @ollecteana

Congress reportedly will try to pass orphan works legislation again this session, introducing a bill as early as this week. After its March 13 hearing, at which 6 interested parties presented testimony (including the Register of Copyrights, Marybeth Peters, and representatives of the 2006 bill's most vehement opponents, free-lance photographers), the stage appears set for another try.

Georgia voices doubts about the value of the legislation to non-profits, but time will tell if the legislation is passed. Stay tuned for the next act.

Posted by P. Kaufman at 10:17 AM

March 7, 2008

Access Barriers to Information are Bad for Capitalism

From that bastion of capitalism, the Wall Street journal comes this pronouncement...

... barriers to the spread of information are bad for capitalism. The dissemination of knowledge is almost as crucial as the production of it for the creation of wealth, and knowledge (like people) can't reproduce in isolation...In fact, open access might help to moderate some of the worst forms of academic hokum, if only by holding them up to the light of day -- and perhaps by making taxpayers, parents and college donors more careful about where they send their money ...

Keeping knowledge bottled up is also bad for the world's poor; indeed, opening up the research produced on America's campuses via the Internet is probably among the most cost-effective ways of helping underdeveloped countries rise from poverty ...

The context for these quotes was an article, Information Liberation, in the March 7, 2008 issue of the Wall Street Journal. (Currently available for all to read.)

The focus of the article is on the problems that the current barriers to research findings cause to the citizenry. The blame is placed on the rising serials costs. However, it is noted that there are signs that the barriers to access are falling with the advent of open access mandates. The recent NIH mandate is applauded

Congress has mandated that by April 7 papers arising from NIH-sponsored research -- roughly 80,000 of them a year -- be made freely available in the federal PubMed database, which can be read by anyone with an Internet connection. Alas, the new NIH policy will allow a 12-month lag between publication and posting on PubMed.

As is the recent mandate by the Harvard Arts & Sciences faculty

hose members voted to publish on the Internet for all to see -- gratis. These professors will give Harvard world-wide nonexclusive license to their work, and the university will exercise it by posting their papers. The journals won't have much choice if they want the work of Harvard professors. The faculty members will still publish in expensive journals, but the move to put the same materials on the Internet is a stake poised at the heart of a vampire that has been sucking dollars out of academic institutions for years through the ever-sharper bite of subscription prices.

Posted by Katie Newman at 4:21 PM