Archive for December, 2006


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 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


Author Addenda (for Retention of Copyright): An Examination of Five Alternatives

Peter Hirtle, from Cornell University, examines five author addenda as solutions to the transferring of author rights to publishers.

Excerpt from Author Addenda: An Examination of Five Alternatives, D-Lib Magazine, November 2006, vol. 12, no. 11

The Problem:
When an author publishes a book or a paper, many publishers ask the author to transfer all copyrights in the work to the publisher. But that is not always to the author’s advantage.

When authors assign to publishers all of the rights that comprise the bundle of rights known as copyright, they lose control over their scholarly output. Assignment of copyright ownership may limit the ability of authors to incorporate elements into future articles and books. Authors may not be able to use their own work in their teaching, or to authorize others at the institution or elsewhere to use materials.

Unless addressed in the transfer agreement, the publisher may forbid an author to do the following:
• Post the work to the author’s own web site, an institutional repository, or a subject-based repository.
• Copy the work for distribution to students.
• Use the work as the basis for future articles or other works.
• Give permission for the work to be used in a course at the author’s institution.
• Grant permission to faculty and students at other universities to use the material.
For all of the above reasons, many organizations and institutions have encouraged authors to better manage their copyrights.

One Solution: the Author’s Addenda:
Until recently, the primary method that authors could use to retain some rights in their writings was to rewrite the contract with the publishers themselves. Thanks to the development of standardized author addenda, the task has become much simpler. An author’s addendum is a standardized legal instrument that modifies the publisher’s agreement and allows the author to keep key rights.


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

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 ( ) . 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


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


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


Open Access Journal Business Models

Chen Chi Chang, Business models for open access journals publishing, Online Information Review, 30, 6 (2006). Only this abstract is free online:

Abstract: Purpose – This study aims to summarise the information about open access publishing models and to analyse the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT).
Design/methodology/approach – The paper is based on a review of the academic literature, to conduct a comprehensive SWOT analysis and adopt the multiple case study approach to analyse the open access publishing model.

Findings – Useful results include the findings that the success factors of open access business models are: creating savings in publishing costs, increasing incomes, adoption of innovative technologies and controlling the quality of journals. The open access publishing model makes the research permanently visible and accessible, with sustainable development.

Research limitations/implications – While the findings may be applicable to open access journals for reasons other than impact factor, further research would be required to confirm this.

Originality/value – This study provides results that may enhance one’s understanding of the open access publishing model, allowing both the reader and the author to benefit from it. Open access publishing leads to wider dissemination of information and greater advances in science.

Open Access News, 11/24/2006 05:55:06 PM.


Society Journals Superior in Price and Quality to Commercial Journals, but Should Still Consider OA

Kimberly Douglas and Dana L. Roth, Looming Threats To Society Journals, Chemical and Engineering News, November 20, 2006.

Now is not the time for members of professional scientific societies to be complacent or unengaged. The American Chemical Society Publications Division, as well as other learned society publishers, such as the Royal Society of Chemistry, may be overly confident that the obvious high quality of their journals will ensure their position against commercial competitors.

In addition, when they resist open-access efforts, society publishers appear to be more aligned strategically with commercial publishers’ short-term perspective than with the research community’s need to easily access all relevant content over the long term.

Societies need to adhere closely to their members’ needs, even if that means a break with their for-profit counterparts. University faculty and administrators need to engage with librarians to ensure that the best decisions are being made for the long term….

It is time for library administrators to enforce and for university faculty and administrators to support a journal quality and cost-effectiveness metric….

If a given journal is so expensive that it is not cost-effective and is therefore not selected to be part of a library’s offerings, the individual readers can purchase needed articles themselves, order them through Interlibrary Loan, or look for adequate substitutes on the Web. Such availability constitutes substitution for library purchases and is an important alternative to constrain commercial publishers’ unrelenting demand for cash….

Professional societies do a better job of combining quality and cost-effective publishing than most commercial publishers do….

Open Access News, 11/27/2006 01:59:07 PM.


Hybrid Journal Program from the Royal Society of Chemistry

The Royal Society of Chemistry has launched its own hybrid journal program. Read the press release.

Authors of RSC journal papers can now choose to have their research freely available the moment it is published – for a fee….

The RSC has been critical of such open access (OA) publishing models in the past but Robert Parker, RSC publishing’s editorial director, said the move was business-minded to keep RSC publishing competitive. ‘We need to position ourselves so that we have a basis for any potential new source of income or financial model,’ he said, ‘within the remit of serving the chemistry community and disseminating chemistry.’

In the same vein as the ACS model (American Chemical Society’s Author’s Choice), the RSC will offer authors whose papers have satisfied the peer review process the option to pay a fee for their article to be made freely available. The basic fee for a primary research article will be £1600….

Despite the increasing emergence of OA publishing, neither the RSC nor ACS is optimistic about its financial benefits or popularity among the chemistry community. Parker told Chemistry World that he predicted a low uptake of fewer than 100 OA papers in the next year and warned that any quick move to the full OA scenario would pose ‘a challenge to learned societies’….

RSC Open Science goes one step further than similar services provided by other chemical science publishers — all article types, not just primary research papers, published in RSC Journals are eligible for inclusion in this scheme. This ensures that the RSC continues to support all authors at every stage of their research programme….
Authors who have published their work in RSC journals will also be able to retrospectively apply for their work to be included in the scheme.
Fees for RSC Open Science in 2007 are dependent on the article type published:
• Communications £1000
• Primary Paper £1600
• Review £2500
A 15% discount will be applied to fees for authors who are RSC members [and some others].

There are still more details on the RSC Open Science FAQ.

Open Access News, 10/3/06


Math Society Journal Converts to Open Access

The European Association for Theoretical Computer Science (EATCS) has started an OA trial period for its journal, the Bulletin of the European Association for Theoretical Computer Science, starting with the current issue (October 2006). [Currently the University of Iowa is a subscriber]

For background, see Vladimiro Sassone’s Letter from the Bulletin Editor in the current issue (pp. 6-7):
Rejoice!, as the Bulletin of the EATCS is going Open Access! Yes, starting from the October 2006 issue, the Bulletin will be freely available on the EATCS web site for a trial period of unspecified length; retrospectively, the past issues from no 81 (October 2003) will also be available electronically. EATCS members will be able to opt for a printed copy in addition to the default PDF one….

The Council of the EATCS, recognising the high quality reached by this publication during its many years of activity, convened that the Bulletin must take up the challenge of becoming more widely available beyond the circle of EATCS members, if it is to keep improving. This is expected to enlarge our readership and, therefore, provide our authors and editors with a well-deserved, higher return for their excellent work and contribute to further raise quality standards. With its decision, the Council turns the Bulletin from ‘just’ a “members’ benefit” to a high-visibility item, an icon to speak up for the entire Association and promote its activities. In this sense, this is a “promotion” for the BEATCS, and indeed a source of satisfaction for me. Of course, going OA is a momentous choice from the Council: the Bulletin has been among the chief Association’s members’ benefits for over 30 years, and before committing to it for good we need to collect feedback from our members and from the community at large, and assess the return. This is the reason to start with a trial period….

Open Access News, 11/27/2006


New Kind of Online Journal Opens Planning Web Site

It is fitting that the creators of a new kind of online journal — meant to feature bloglike mini-articles and try an open system of peer review — would do much of the planning for their endeavor on a public Web site. For those eager to read about, and participate in discussion of, the planning of MediaCommons, as the new e-journal is called, its planning Web site went live today. The electronic publication will focus on media studies, and its founders hope it will help spark a revolution in scholarly publishing, as described in a recent Chronicle feature (titled Book 2.0: Scholars turn monographs into digital conversations (

Read more at:
The Wired Campus, 11/2/2006