Alternative Publishing Models Category

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Open Data for Historical Research: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database

Culminating several decades of collaboration between researchers and archives spanning four continents, the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database comprises the most comprehensive source of historical data on the slave trade, and is freely available over the Internet. The Voyages Database, its core tool, offers researchers an intuitively friendly interface for searching among nearly 35,000 discrete slave voyages undertaken between 1514 and 1866. Data points for individual voyages include things like: ship name; flag(s); owners; place(s) of slave purchase; place(s) of slave landing; numbers of slaves that died in transit; and much more.

Three ancillary databases provide estimates of the volume of trade for particular periods, regions, and itineraries; images of documents, maps, and illustrations; and the African names of individual slaves that were recorded for particular voyages. Additional resources include a series of interpretive essays by contributing scholars, and a set of lesson plans for the K-12 audience.

Access the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database at http://www.slavevoyages.org/

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Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions

Twenty-two universities and colleges have formed the Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions (Coapi) to “collaborate and share implementation strategies and advocate on a national level for institutions with open access policies”.

University of Kansas Dean of Libraries Lorraine Haricombe said:

“Society depends on universities for the creation of new knowledge, so we have a responsibility to disseminate and share that knowledge to gain the most benefit for science and society. This new coalition will offer academic institutions an opportunity to stand together and establish open access to knowledge in the sciences and humanities as a broad societal norm.”

Marc L. Greenberg, professor and chair of the Slavic Languages and Literatures department added:

“I always keep the idea of ‘knowledge as a public good’ in mind in doing  work for open access and I view what we do as part of renegotiating the social contract between universities and society. Universities belong to the public.”

See http://www.news.ku.edu/2011/august/3/openaccess.shtml for more information and a list of participating institutions.

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arXiv turns 20

A story in today’s Wired Campus  notes the 20th birthday of arXiv. Originally founded as a preprint server for high-energy physics, it is now perhaps the most successful disciplinary repository around–it holds “700,000 full texts, receives 75,000 new texts each year, and serves roughly 1 million full-text downloads to about 400,000 distinct users every week” (Ginsparg in Nature–see reference below).

Paul Ginsparg, its founder and director since its inception, announces his departure and reflects on the implications of arXiv for scholarly communication in a piece in the August 11th issue of  Nature. The Wired Campus item mentions the community support that has helped fund the continuation of arXiv. The University of Iowa Libraries is one of the 85 institutions contributing to that support.

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Coalition of universities with open access mandates is formed

A number of prominent institutions have over the past few years passed open access “mandates,” requiring campus authors (unless a waiver is sought) to deposit copies of their scholarly articles in the school’s institutional repository–their equivalent of our Iowa Research Online , or IRO. Passage of these mandates has come about through the efforts of faculty concerned about problems in the system of scholarly publishing,  and been passed by the equivalents of Iowa’s Faculty Senate. Institutions with open access mandates  include Harvard, Duke, MIT and Kansas, among others.

Now a group of these institutions have formed the Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions, or Coapi, to help address the issues that arise in implementing such policies. University of Kansas Dean of Libraries Lorraine Haricombe observed:

“Society depends on universities for the creation of new knowledge, so we have a responsibility to disseminate and share that knowledge to gain the most benefit for science and society. This new coalition will offer academic institutions an opportunity to stand together and establish open access to knowledge in the sciences and humanities as a broad societal norm.”

Marc L. Greenberg, professor and chair of the Slavic Languages and Literatures department added:

“I always keep the idea of ‘knowledge as a public good’ in mind in doing work for open access and I view what we do as part of renegotiating the social contract between universities and society. Universities belong to the public.”

See the story by Jennifer Howard in today’s Wired Campus: http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/universities-join-together-to-support-open-access-policies/32632?sid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

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Development of Open Access from 1993-2009

Scientists from Finland and Germany have taken on the task of researching the history of Open Access journal publishing over the last 17 years.  Their article “The Development of Open Access Journal Publishing from 1993 to 2009” was recently published in PloS One. Looking at the history of Open Access (OA) and evaluating the publishing trends they were able to determine that the greatest growth is from 2000-2009 in the number of OA journals established and thus in the number of OA articles produced. Although the percent overall of articles published each year that are OA is still small, the trend doesn’t look to be slowing down. They estimate that by the end of 2011 one third of all scientific articles will be open access.

Click here to read full text.

Full citation: Laakso M, Welling P, Bukvova H, Nyman L, Björk B-C, et al. 2011 The Development of Open Access Journal Publishing from 1993 to 2009. PLoS ONE 6(6):e20961. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0020961

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Canadian law library directors call for free access to legal information.

In May, 2011 the organization of Canadian law library directors joined a distinguished group of US law librarians in calling for electronic publication of law journals and other scholarly work produced at their institutions in open and freely available forms. The precedent setting Durham Statement by law librarians from Harvard, Chicago, Yale and others was issued in late 2008. The Council of Canadian Academic Law Library Directors asserts that “it will benefit legal education, improve the dissemination of legal scholarship, promote free access to legal information and enhance access to justice if our law schools commit to making the scholarship they publish available in stable, open, digital formats in an institutional or other open-access repository.”  For the full statement see http://library.osgoode.yorku.ca/documents/Calgary_Statement.pdf

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British research library group demands reductions in “Big Deal” costs

A recent article in Wired Campus by Jennifer Howard calls attention to the announcement by a group representing British research libraries that they would not sign agreements with Wiley and Elsevier for journal packages–so-called “big deals”–unless a significant price reduction were offered. The group represents many of the most prominent university libraries in the UK, including Oxford and Cambridge. Many US libraries have recently backed away from such agreements, which often include publishers like Sage, Nature Publishing Group, Springer and Taylor and Francis, as well as Elsevier and Wiley. The University of Iowa Libraries is watching these developments with interest. Our current contracts with Wiley, Springer and Nature all expire at the end of 2011.

For the story, see http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/british-research-libraries-say-no-to-big-deal-serials-packages/32371?sid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

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JSTOR files posted online

The indictment of Aaron Swartz has prompted a good deal of comment in blogs, Twitter and other media. The story below from a Chronicle of Higher Education/wiredcampus post by Jen Howard describes a response in protest from one individual who has put massive amounts of pre-1923 content from JSTOR online.

“Prompted by the indictment this week of the online activist Aaron Swartz, a programmer has posted JSTOR’s archive of a historic science journal online via BitTorrent. In a note on the Pirate Bay Web site, Gregory Maxwell said he was sharing 18,592 papers from the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society—33 gigabytes’ worth.”

http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/user-posts-thousands-of-jstor-files-online/32378?sid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

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Humanities Scholars Discuss Their ‘Shared Mental Map’ for a New Age of Digital Communication

A report on the Scholarly Communications Institute just held at UVa talks about the future of “digital humanities,” the academic reward system and new models for communicating scholarly work.

See http://chronicle.com/article/Humanities-Scholars-Discuss/128282/?sid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

For views into t he future by some of the participants, see https://docs.google.com/document/d/1NiQSR-e-Yu88-IsVmezcE1QHPBKRNmbXpScdMhBmzC8/edit?hl=en_US&pli=1#

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Top Research Funders found top-tier open access bioscience journal

Three research organizations who are major funders of biomedical research have announced their intention to create a top-tier open access e-journal. Yesterday the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Max Planck Society and Wellcome Trust proclaimed their plan for a new journal to publish the best research in the biomedical and life sciences. The journal, as yet unnamed, will exist only online and employ an “open and transparent” peer review system. As an open access journal it will be free to readers anywhere. The first issue is expected in 2012. The announcement makes no such claims, but reads as if this new journal is intended to compete in terms of impact and prestige with Nature and Science.

From the announcement: 

“The three research organizations developed their plans following a workshop in 2010 at HHMI’s Janelia Farm Research Campus attended by a number of leading scientists. The participants concluded that there was a need for a model of academic publishing that better suits the needs of the research community.” [Emphasis added]

See http://www.hhmi.org/news/20110627.html