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Open access might not be the real issue issue for the future of research communication

Dr. David Rosenthal, engineer and co-creater of LOCKSS (Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe) recently spoke on the topic of Open Access at the University of British Columbia.

He choseto look at five audiences where OA may have an effect: general public, researchers, libraries, publishers, and software developers.  He discusses his thoughts on peer-review or in his opinion bad peer-reviewing and whether or not open access increases or decreases bad research publishing; the creation of the big deal journal bundling by publishers to fight off the cost decrease due to the transition to Web publishing and lack of library initiative to fight off the big deals; and how the increase of OA data versus OA articles might be more beneficial for researchers.  Essentially, he believes a combination of reducing publication costs, finding new technology driven publishing models, less restrictions on intellectual property and publishing of better quality articles may be the issues that face the future of research and that OA may just be a way to work on those real issues.

The full transcript of this talk can be found on his blog: http://blog.dshr.org/2011/10/what-problems-does-open-access-solve.html.

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UCLA video case is dismissed.

According to Brandon Butler, Director of Policy Initiatives at the Association of Research Libraries, “the federal district court in central California has dismissed the complaint against UCLA over ripping and streaming DVDs to authenticated users over the Internet. The case was dismissed on both procedural grounds (state sovereign immunity, standing) and substantive ones (UCLA did not infringe copyright).” Experts are not saying this case makes sweeping changes to laws or regulations.  However, in the context of pending litigation on copyright it may offer some hope for fair use applications for video presentations.

ARL Policy Notes.  “A Copyright Victory: Video Vendor Case Dismissed!”
http://policynotes.arl.org/post/11024602634/a-copyright-victory-video-vendor-case-dismissed

Scholarly Communications at Duke. “Streaming Video Case Dismissed”
http://blogs.library.duke.edu/scholcomm/2011/10/04/streaming-video-case-dismissed/

Full-text of the decision
http://www.aime.org/news.php?download=nG0kWaN9ozI3plMlCGRm&u=111004120000

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Do ‘the Risky Thing’ in Digital Humanities

Kathleen Fitzpatrick, the director of scholarly communication at the Modern Language Association, recently wrote an essay in The Chronicle of Higher Education called Do ‘the Risky Thing’ in Digital Humanities.  She recounts a story where she encouraged a graduate student to do the risky thing and pursue an innovative project rather than a traditional dissertation. Fitzpatrick added  “Make sure that someone’s got your back, but do the risky thing.” She adds:

“That is not to push experimentation for experimentation’s sake, but it is to say that reining in a project a graduate student really wants to do to conform with a traditional structure is counterproductive, deflating both the student’s passion and the thing that makes her work distinctive.”

Fitzpatrick continues by identifying the support from an adviser as more critical. This support continues through helping graduates in their first jobs explain to senior faculty about their work.

“Too many young digital humanists find themselves cautioned away from the very work that got them hired by well-meaning senior colleagues, who now tell them that wacky digital projects are fine on the side, or once the work necessary for tenure is complete.

“In giving that advice, we run the risk of breaking the innovative spirit that we’ve hoped to bring to our departments. And where that spirit isn’t broken, untenured digital scholars run the risk of burnout from having to produce twice as much—traditional scholarship and digital projects—as their counterparts do.”

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JSTOR opens access to pre-1923 journal content

JSTOR is opening access to everyone for their pre-1923 journals in the United States (pre-1870 elsewhere), making them freely accessible to the public. These articles come from more than 200 journals and total close to half a million articles, about 6% of the total JSTOR collection. The content can be re-used for non-commercial purposes. When searching JSTOR, you can limit your search to “only content I can access” in the advanced search. The Early Journal Content will be marked with the word “free”, along with other content that is freely available. A short video tutorial on accessing the content is also available. The content will be released on a rolling basis over the next week.

JSTOR states:

“Our mission involves expanding access to scholarly content as broadly as possible, in ways that are sustainable and consistent with the interests of our publishers who own the rights to the content. We believe that making Early Journal Content freely available is another step in this process of providing access to knowledge to more people; that we are in a position both to continue preserving this content and making it available to the general public; and this is a set of content for which we are able to make this decision.”

Not all pre-1923 content will be made available by JSTOR.

“We do not believe that just because something is in the public domain, it can always be provided for free. There are costs associated with selection, digitization, access provision, preservation, and a wide variety of services that are necessary for content to reach those who need it. We have determined that we can sustain free access and meet our preservation obligations for this particular set of content for individuals as part of our overall activities undertaken in pursuit of our mission.”

We thank JSTOR for making the Early Journal Content freely accessible.

For more information see: http://about.jstor.org/participate-jstor/individuals/early-journal-content and http://about.jstor.org/participate-jstor/individuals/early-journal-content-faqs

See also http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/jstor-opens-up-u-s-journal-content-from-before-1923/33057?sid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

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Academic publishers make Murdoch look like a socialist

The Guardian has a short opinion piece on academic publishers, calling them “the most ruthless capitalists in the western world”.  The author, George Monbiot, compares spending £1 for 24 hours of access to the Times with a per article cost ranging from $31.50 for an individual Elsevier article to $42 for a Wiley-Blackwell article. He notes that journals are now 65% of library budgets (we spend a similar percentage at The University of Iowa). Elsevier’s profit margin was 36% in 2010, the same as in 1998, demonstrating that this is not a new phenomenon. Elsevier, Springer and Wiley have bought smaller publishers, so they now account for 42% of journal articles, including many with the highest impact factors.

The author states:

“Academic papers are published in only one place, and they have to be read by researchers trying to keep up with their subject. Demand is inelastic and competition non-existent, because different journals can’t publish the same material. . . . Far from assisting the dissemination of research, the big publishers impede it, as their long turnaround times can delay the release of findings by a year or more.”

While this issue is bad for researchers at universities, it is even worse for independent researchers who would need to purchase each article separately.

“This is a tax on education, a stifling of the public mind. It appears to contravene the universal declaration of human rights, which says that ‘everyone has the right freely to … share in scientific advancement and its benefits’.”

Monobiot concludes with the suggestion that all publicly funded research be made openly accessible (as is current practice with NIH funded research) and that there would be a single global archive of academic literature and data funded by library budgets with money diverted from the private publishers.

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Transitions: scholarly communications news for the UI community | February 2007

February 2007
Issue 1.07

Welcome to the February issue of Transitions.

The purpose of this irregular electronic newsletter is to bring to readers’ attention some of the many new projects and developments affecting the current system of scholarly communication, with emphasis on new products and programs, the open access movement and other alternative publishing models. Scholarly communication refers to the full range of formal and informal means by which scholars and researchers communicate, from email discussion lists to peer-reviewed publication. In general authors are seeking to document and share new discoveries with their colleagues, while readers–researchers, students, librarians and others–want access to all the literature relevant to their work.

While the system of scholarly communication exists for the benefit of the world’s research and educational community and the public at large, it faces a multitude of challenges and is undergoing rapid change brought on by technology. To help interested members of the UI community keep up on these challenges and changes we plan to put out 6-8 issues per year of this newsletter.

This newsletter aims to reflect the interests of its readers so please forward comments, suggestions and entries to include to karen-fischer@uiowa.edu. Also, read the health sciences counterpart to Transitions: Hardin Scholarly Communication News.

Table of Contents

For Oxford University Press, Online Venture Breathes New Life into the Monograph
Publishers’ Group Reportedly Hires P.R. Firm to Counter Push for Free Access to Research Results
Google’s Moon Shot: The Quest for the Universal Library
University of California Libraries Announce Pursuit of Value-based Journal Prices
U. of Michigan Press, Library, Scholarly Publishing Office Launch Digital Studies Imprint, Web Site
Major Society Publisher Announces Support for Public Access to Scientific Literature
Wiley Completes Acquisition of Blackwell
Scholarpedia Launches
American Mathematical Society Journals to be Preserved in Portico
Open Access to Research Is in the Public Interest – PLoS Biology Editorial
A Lesson in Viral Video
Web 2.0 … The Machine is Us/ing Us
SPARC at Ten: A Decade Later, Organization Still Aims to Be Part of The Solution
BioOne Announces Return of Systematic Botany
Invitation to Sign Petition for Open Access

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Transitions: scholarly communications news for the UI community | December 2006

December 2006
Issue 2.06

Welcome to the December issue of Transitions.

The purpose of this irregular electronic newsletter is to bring to readers’ attention some of the many new projects and developments affecting the current system of scholarly communication, with emphasis on new products and programs, the open access movement and other alternative publishing models. Scholarly communication refers to the full range of formal and informal means by which scholars and researchers communicate, from email discussion lists to peer-reviewed publication. In general authors are seeking to document and share new discoveries with their colleagues, while readers–researchers, students, librarians and others–want access to all the literature relevant to their work.

While the system of scholarly communication exists for the benefit of the world’s research and educational community and the public at large, it faces a multitude of challenges and is undergoing rapid change brought on by technology. To help interested members of the UI community keep up on these challenges and changes we plan to put out 6-8 issues per year of this newsletter.

This newsletter aims to reflect the interests of its readers so please forward comments, suggestions and entries to include to karen-fischer@uiowa.edu. Also, read the health sciences counterpart to Transitions: Hardin Scholarly Communication News.

Table of Contents
Author Addenda (for Retention of Copyright): An Examination of Five Alternatives
Report on the ARL Workshop on Stewardship of Digital Data Sets
Publishing Research Consortium Studies What Prompts Journal Cancellations
Harnad: PRC Open Access Study Flawed
Open Access Journal Business Models
Society Journals Superior in Price and Quality to Commercial Journals, but Should Still Consider OA
Hybrid Journal Program from the Royal Society of Chemistry
Math Society Journal Converts to Open Access
New Kind of Online Journal Opens Planning Web Site
Anthropology Steering Committee Endorses FRPAA, Rebukes Leadership
Co-Founder of Wikipedia Starts Spinoff With Academic Editors
What is Open Data?
Survey on academic publishing
Publishers Criticize Professors for Copyright Violations

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Report on the ARL Workshop on Stewardship of Digital Data Sets

The final report of the ARL Workshop on digital data stewardship, To Stand the Test of Time: Long-term Stewardship of Digital Data Sets in Science and Engineering, is now available via http://www.arl.org/info/frn/other/ottoc.html.

The report of a two-day, NSF-funded workshop, examines the role of research and academic libraries with other partners in the stewardship of scientific and engineering digital data. Workshop participants explored issues concerning the need for the new partnerships and collaborations among domain scientists, librarians, and data scientists to better manage digital data collections, necessary infrastructure development to support digital data, and the need for sustainable economic models to support long-term stewardship of scientific and engineering digital data for the Nation’s cyberinfrastructure.

The workshop report builds on prior studies supported by NSF. It reflects the recognition, voiced in many NSF workshop reports, that digital data stewardship is fundamental to the future of scientific and engineering research and the education enterprise and hence to innovation and competitiveness. Overall, it is clear that an ecology of institutional arrangements among individuals and organizations, sharing an infrastructure, will be required to address the particularities of heterogeneous digital data and diverse scholarly and professional cultures.
You may also be interested in Chris Greer’s (NSF Office of Cyberinfrastructure) presentation to the NSF Advisory Committee for Cyberinfrastructure (http://www.nsf.gov/events/event_summ.jsp?cntn_id=108124&org=OCI ) . His presentation provides additional detail on the “National Digital Data Framework Launch Concept.”

Posted To the : SPARC-OpenData listserve, Wednesday, November 01, 2006 4:04 PM

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Publishing Research Consortium (PRC) Studies What Prompts Journal Cancellations

Librarians will embrace open access resources and cancel subscriptions when possible, according to a study of librarian purchasing preferences conducted by Scholarly Information Strategies on behalf of the Publishing Research Consortium, an independent group representing publishers and scholarly societies. The study, Self-Archiving and Journal Subscriptions: Co-existence or Competition? calls into question “previous claims that librarians will continue to subscribe to journals,” when some or all of the content is freely available in institutional archives. “Overall, the survey shows that a significant number of librarians are likely to substitute OA materials for subscribed resources,” the summary states, “given certain levels of reliability, peer review and currency.” The study, conducted in July 2006, surveyed over 400 librarians internationally, collecting their general attitudes to open access and analyzing the relative importance of specific “decision-making factors such as price, embargo period, article version, and reliability of access.”

Price, of course, was a major factor. Currency, however, is also critical and cannot be overlooked, the report stresses. In other words, embargoes of any kind were specifically frowned upon. “Resources become much less favored if they are embargoed for any length of time,” the study concludes. The survey tested the effect of embargoes on both OA and licensed content and found there was a “significant effect” on librarians’ preference for open access resources when the embargo period was set to at least 12 months. The study, however, bolsters claims made by publishers in opposing government-mandated archiving policies, such as the one initially proposed by the NIH in 2004, finding that a “six-month embargo has little impact” on librarians’ preference for open access. Unsurprisingly, however, the study finds that librarians will generally prefer open access because the price is right. “Librarians show a strong preference for content that is made freely available,” the study notes. “Even as librarians were asked to trade off price considerations against other factors, such as the version of the content and the immediacy of its availability, there remained a significant pull towards free content or content whose cost had been greatly reduced.”

Library Journal Academic Newswire, Nov. 9 2006

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Harnad: PRC Open Access Study Flawed

Open Access pioneer Stevan Harnad this week took aim at a recently released study by the Publishing Research Coalition, saying its methodology is fundamentally flawed and that its main conclusion, that librarians will cancel journals and substitute OA materials, remains unproven. In a critique posted to the departmental repository of his home institution, the University of Southampton (UK), Harnad posits that the survey, which asked librarians which of three hypothetical products they preferred (with a variety of combinations and properties), “has a glaring methodological flaw” because it does not properly address open access through self-archiving. “The questions on which [the survey] is based were about relative preferences for acquisition among competing ‘products’ having different combinations of properties,” Harnad explained. “But self-archived articles are not products purchased by acquisitions librarians, they are papers given away by researchers, anarchically, and in parallel. Hence from the survey’s ‘Share of Preference model’ it is impossible to draw any conclusions about self-archiving causing cancellations by librarians, because the librarians were never asked what they would cancel, under what conditions; just what hypothetical products they would prefer over what.”

The study also concluded that, when possible, librarians will prefer free or low-cost resources, a conclusion that also failed to impress Harnad. “Of course [librarians] would prefer lower-priced, immediate products over higher-priced, delayed products!” Harnad wrote. But the “banal fact that everyone would rather have something for free rather than paying for it” he noted, does not “fill the gaping evidential gap about the existence, size, or timing of any hypothetical effect of self-archiving on cancellations.” Nevertheless, Harnad agrees that, in a potential future where all researchers self-archive, journal subscriptions would feel the pinch: “It is important to state clearly that, although there is still no evidence at all of self-archiving causing cancellations, it is possible, indeed probable, that self-archiving will cause some cancellations, eventually.”

The question of whether or how actively librarians would cancel journals, however, is not apparently a major concern for Harnad. “Even if valid evidence should eventually emerge that OA self-archiving does cause journal cancellations,” he wrote, “it would be for the publishing community to adapt to that new reality, not for the research community to abstain from it, and its obvious benefits to research, researchers, their institutions, their funders, and the tax-paying public.”

Library Journal Academic Newswire, Nov 16, 2006