About Author: Edward Shreeves

Posts by Edward Shreeves


Elsevier boycott gains momentum

A boycott aimed at the publisher Elsevier, initiated by Timothy Gowers, a prominent mathematician from the University of Cambridge, has picked up support in recent days, attracting as of Jan. 31 at 4 pm CST over 2350 signatures. One of the motivations for his call for a boycott was Elsevier’s support for the Research Works Act (RWA–see our blog post of January 11th).

Writing in the Chronicle of Higher Education Josh Fischman reports:

 “Timothy Gowers of the University of Cambridge, who won the Fields Medal for his research, has organized a boycott of Elsevier because, he says, its pricing and policies restrict access to work that should be much more easily available. . . The company has sinned in three areas, according to the boycotters: It charges too much for its journals; it bundles subscriptions to lesser journals together with valuable ones, forcing libraries to spend money to buy things they don’t want in order to get a few things they do want; and, most recently, it has supported a proposed federal law (called the Research Works Act) that would prevent agencies like the National Institutes of Health from making all articles written by its grant recipients freely available.

For the full Chronicle article see http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/elsevier-publishing-boycott-gathers-steam-among-academics/35216?sid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

The boycott’s web site (where you can sign of if you’re so minded) is http://thecostofknowledge.com/


Response filed to the Authors Guild lawsuit over Hathi Trust

A brief story in the Chronicle reports on the response of defendants to the Authors Guild suit against Hathi Trust and several universities for copyright infringement. See http://chronicle.com/blogs/ticker/hathitrust-defendants-respond-to-authors-guild-lawsuit/38805?sid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en for more.


Berlin 9 Open Access Conference held in Bethesda.

The ninth Berlin Open Access Conference, and the first to be held in the US, concluded last week in Bethesda, Md. See http://www.berlin9.org/ for details on the program. The Conference follows on the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities, “issued in 2003 by international research, scientific, and cultural institutions, to promote the Internet as a medium for disseminating global knowledge.”

Some interesting quotes from the meeting from Jen Howard’s coverage in the Chronicle of Higher Education:

“One or two people in this room will die in the next five years because of research that didn’t make its way to clinics fast enough,” one presenter, Cameron Neylon, told the crowd. Mr. Neylon, a biophysicist, is a senior scientist at Britain’s Science and Technology Facilities Council. He spoke at a session on how open access can create new opportunities for business as well as for scholarship. “This is not about ideology anymore,” it’s about creating the best, most efficient mechanisms for getting research to those who need it, he said.

“To me this is a design challenge,” said Michael Crow, president of Arizona State University. In an ideal world, knowledge would be as evenly distributed as sunlight, he said, recommending that universities need to be redesigned so they don’t work on exclusivity.


Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) plans move forward.

At a meeting at the National Archives last Friday “representatives from top cultural institutions and public and research libraries expressed robust support for the proposed library, which would create a portal to allow the public to get easy online access to collections held at many different institutions.” Announcements included additional pledges of financial support from donors and foundations and a linkage with Europeana, a related project in Europe.

David Ferreiro, Archivist of the United States, is quoted as stating  “My reason for being so passionate about the DPLA is that I want every stinking piece of this collection digitized … I want it available to the world 24 hours a day.”

See Jennifer Howard’s article on the meeting  in the Chroncle of Higher Education


OA week continues: Michael Eisen on PLoS One’s success

PLoS One, an author-pays open access journal, has achieved great success while offering a new model for peeer review and rapid publication. It is tied for second among journals in frequency of publication by Iowa authors, and comes in third for number of citations to articles published by Iowa researchers. Michael Eisen in this blog post comments on its success and the imitators it has spawned in its wake:

“So it has given me considerable pleasure to watch, over the past year or so, as one traditional publisher after another has responded to the smashing success of PLoS One by launching direct ripoffs that seek to capitalize on the business model we have established.”

See “PLoS Won” http://www.michaeleisen.org/blog/?p=686 

Clones mentioned by Eisen include:






“Tough love for authors”: © ≠ Ownership

Interesting post by Rich Anderson on the balance between authors’ rights as creators and readers’ rights to make use of their creations. Additional comments on ebooks, the Authors’ Guild suit against Hathi Trust, and other matters.

See http://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2011/10/25/some-tough-love-for-authors/


Open Access Week begins today–take a quiz (courtesy of CUNY)

Today marks the beginning of Open Access Week. Open Access publishing is in part a response to the high cost of scholarly journals published by traditional means. To test your knowledge of journal publishing economics, try this quiz posted by CUNY:  https://sites.google.com/site/cunyoaccess/

When you get to question 4 you may not realize that the example cited there of a reasonably priced journal–Medieval Feminist Forum–is published for the Society that issues it by the University of Iowa Libraries.


Princeton joins Harvard, MIT with open access mandate

As widely reported online, Princeton’s faculty recently voted unanimously to adopt an open access policy for work by faculty published in scholarly journals. The faculty committee recommending the measure declared that  “[t]he principle of open access is consistent with the fundamental purposes of scholarship.”

Princeton joins Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Kansas and others who have approved and implemented policies that seek to have faculty and other researchers post copies of their articles in open digital repositories, usually institutional repositories such as Iowa Research Online. Like the other policies, Princeton’s allows authors to request a waiver, and does not cover unpublished drafts, books, lecture notes and the like.

See this Chronicle of Higher Education article for more details.


New York Times article on scholarly journals & open access publishing

An article in the New York Times of September 18th describes growing resistance to high-cost, commercially produced journals. It opens with the following: 

After decades of healthy profits, the scholarly publishing industry now finds itself in the throes of a revolt led by the most unlikely campus revolutionaries: the librarians.

Primary focus is the pushback in the UK to package deals with Elsevier and similar publishers, and the growth of open access publishing. The article quotes Sir John Daniel, president of the Commonwealth of Learning:

“I’ve seen it from both sides,” said Sir John, who was once briefly on the board of Blackwell. “I saw the vast industry built up from publicly funded research, and it was never clear to me what value was being added. But if you needed the material, they had you over a barrel.”

His view that open access scholarly publishing is a matter of international justice has become increasingly influential.

The UI Libraries plan to observe open access week, which this year begins on October 24th.




Authors’ Guild vs Hathi Trust et al–continuing developments

Statements and observations continued through the end of last week and beyond arising from the Authors’ Guild suit against Hathi Trust. Much of the focus centered on the orphans listed by Michigan that turned out not to be. Stories in Inside Higher Education and the Chronicle provide summaries and links to the various statements. Worth noting is Kevin Smith’s open letter to one author of a work shown not to be an orphan arguing that the best chance for this book to find readers today would be exposure in digital form in HathiTrust.