Israel Scholar Communication Scrolls

Reshaping academic communication. Liberating the scholarship from commercial publisher cabal. Uniting global Jewish scholarship

September 30, 2005

Teaching future researchers about Creative Commons licenses

Mia Garlick, Getting a Reasonable IP Education, Creative Commons Blog, September 28, 2005. Excerpt:
A lecture on Creative Commons will form part of the induction training programme for incoming graduate research students at Goldsmith's College, University of London, this week. Andrea Rota, who is a member of the Liquid Culture project at Goldsmith's College, will be giving the lecture on "A range of protections and freedoms for researchers, authors and artists" as part of the scheduled activities for new graduate research students in induction week. Of course, the lecture materials themselves are available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 license. The induction training programme includes sessions dedicated to copyright and IP issues for research students....A welcome initiative bringing balance back into education about intellectual property issues.

(PS: This is a great idea. All graduate departments ought to have a similar workshop on open access, focusing on how OA helps authors and how authors can provide it for their own work.)

Source: P Suber Open Access News Blog (28 September 2005) [FullText]

September 28, 2005

Implications of Open Access for Libraries

Some of the potential implications of the Open Access movement on the operation of academic libraries is explored in a current article. Nothing is online yet, but ACRL members may retrieve fulltext when the issue is posted to the College & Research Libraries website.

Krista D. Schmidt, Pongracz Sennyey, and Timothy V. Carstens. "New roles for a changing environment: implications of open access for libraries." College & Research Libraries 66(5):407-16 Sept. 2005.Abstract: This article examines the likely implications of open access on library operations. The context of the examination takes place assuming that the traditional model of publication and open access coexist. Open access presents numerous challenges and opportunities, but entrepreneurial libraries will find new ways to serve their patrons in the new mixed open-access-traditional (MOA) environment. In order to do so, these libraries will need to redesign their organization and this can be expected to stretch both monetary and human resources.

Source: Peter Suber. Open Access News Blog (27 Nov 2005) [FullText]

September 26, 2005

Breaking ACS Monopoly: Downloading Chemical Structures from PubChem for Free

Gavin Shear and Karim Kassam, Transferring Structures from PubChem to ACD/ChemSketch, Advanced Chemistry Development (ACD), n.d. Detailed instructions for working chemists who need to find or download structures from PubChem, plus this more general observation:

The ability to easily and accurately transfer structures from the PubChem database, as well as other sources into ACD/ChemSketch provides increased access to chemical information. The chances of costly errors due to inaccurate structure translations are greatly reduced. As well, the fact that chemical information can easily be managed, exploited, and distributed via ChemSketch and other ACD/Labs software is conducive to improved productivity. Once structures are in the ACD/ChemSketch interface, they can be utilized readily by the multiple prediction and databasing tools offered by ACD/Labs as well as with other applications such as other cheminformatic systems and common reporting applications like Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF.

Source: Peter Suber. Downloading structures from PubChem. OANews (26 September 2005) [FullText]

September 24, 2005

Toward Open Access Textbooks and Post-textbooks

The Institute for the Future of the Book has launched next\text, a project "to encourage the creation of born-digital learning materials that enhance, expand, and ultimately replace the printed textbook." The web site doesn't say so, but the focus seems to be on learning materials that are both multimedia and open access. From the about page (quote by OA News blog):

There are two main components of the next\text project, this website being the first: an ongoing showcase of some of the most significant digital learning projects in the field. The experiments represented here are varied. Some do not consitute complete "textbooks" in themselves, but rather, individual strains of development, that, when taken together, begin to create a new idea of what a textbook can be. This idea contains many facets, which include, but are in no way limited to: "expanded" multimedia textbooks; open textbooks continually improved by teachers and students; dynamic, networked textbooks with live or regularly updating components; and multi-user playspaces and games. The curated site will serve as the planning stage for the second component: an invite-only meeting to be held some time in the coming year where the innovators behind these projects will meet and engage....But first, we'll focus on laying out the pieces here on this site, and for this we need your help. In order to get the fullest sense of what is possible, next\text hopes to draw on the collective intelligence of the community - educators, publishers, designers, students - to not only identify the most important developments in digital learning, but to grapple with the big questions that must be asked as we make this shift. How will the textbook of the future be owned and distributed? What new mechanisms must be developed for warranting authority in a more fluid matrix? How do we build a critical framework for mulitimedia scholarship?...Readers are invited to comment on showcased work, to suggest other projects of interest, and to join discussions and introduce topics on our forums. We encourage readers to bring their insight to bear on this process. (Thanks to Academic Commons and Peter Suber)

September 18, 2005

Open Access Indexing v. Conventional Indexing

"At least for OA content, will OA indexing services outperform conventional, priced indexing services? Here's one symptom and comment from Outsell Now, the blog of Outsell Inc. Excerpt from a September 6 posting:

Blog search engine Technorati has introduced a new "Blog Finder" service. In contrast to its main search index, which allows users to search individual blog posts, this allows users to search for blogs that deal with specific subjects. The indexing system is based in part on the tags that individual bloggers apply to their posts and blogs – meta-data about content provided directly by authors....The blog and RSS worlds are ripe for the kind of enhancements that organize and make finding and using blogs and feeds more efficient. Just as magazines and journals spawned an abstracting and indexing (A&I) industry to help people find stuff, blogs are now getting their own tools. This time, however, the relief is coming not from the traditional A&I publishers; they seem to have left the room. Thousands of students will enter universities this fall unfamiliar with the traditional abstracting and indexing tools used to find information in their fields, but many will be intimately familiar with the way tech-based solutions such as Google News and Technorati are organizing vast content domains. Many information industry companies have ceded territory to tech-based interlopers by not getting there first."

Source: OA indexing v. conventional indexing. OANews Blog (7 Sept 2005) [FullText]

September 15, 2005

Boston Library Consortium Helps Authors Retain Rights

"The Boston Library Consortium has adopted an Agreement to Extend Author’s Rights (available in Word or PDF formats) and plans to use it on member campuses to educate faculty about their rights and help them retain the rights they need to authorize OA. Like the SPARC Author's Addendum, the Agreement is a carefully drafted amendment to a standard copyright transfer agreement. (Thanks to Heather Morrison.)

Excerpt from the Agreement: 'The parties agree that wherever there is any conflict between this Amendment and the Publication Agreement, the provisions of this Amendment are paramount and the Publication Agreement shall be construed accordingly....Once the Article has been published by Publisher, the Author shall also have all the non-exclusive rights necessary to make, or to authorize others to make, the final published version of the Article available in digital form over the Internet, including but not limited to a website under the control of the Author or the Author’s employer or through any digital repository, such as MIT’s DSpace or the National Library of Medicine’s PubMed Central database.'

Excerpt from the BLC announcement: 'The agreement [was] initially developed by MIT, a Consortium member....This tool will be used by member libraries to raise author awareness on their respective campuses. This document, offered as an attachment, will provide an easy way for authors to secure their rights. The BLC will work with its members to encourage use of this document. Board President Cathy Norton notes: “This will show our solidarity with our authors and help them gain control of their intellectual property rights in the digital library. The Consortium’s adoption of this agreement demonstrates to libraries and publishers that we care about the output of our institutions by preserving it at the local level and making it openly accessible for students and researchers.” The Consortium is an association of 19 academic and research libraries founded in 1970. Members include: Boston College, Boston Public Library, Boston University, Brandeis University, Brown University, MIT, Marine Biological Lab/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Northeastern University, State Library of Massachusetts, Tufts University, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, University of Massachusetts Boston, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, University of Massachusetts Lowell, and University of Massachusetts Medical Center, University of Connecticut, University of New Hampshire, Wellesley College, and Williams College.' "

Source: Peter Suber post at Open Access News Blog (9/06/2005 ) [FullText]

September 12, 2005

US Department Store Joins Scholars and Libraries to Free up Orphan Works

"Matthew Hirsch, Commons cause, San Francisco Bay Guardian, September 7-13, 2005. Excerpt:

Techies are forging some strange alliances to enlarge the public domain....A Wal-Mart representative came to Berkeley last month as an envoy of culture and democracy. Seriously. In a federal hearing that could help determine the future availability of art and literature to the public, a Wal-Mart rep named Joe Lisuzzo called on Congress to rewrite copyright law so that more creative works can enter the public domain. Specifically, Lisuzzo and Wal-Mart are pushing the government to change the way it deals with "orphan works," which are described by the US Copyright Office as "copyrighted works whose owners are difficult or even impossible to locate." Orphan works can be literally anything from an old film clip to a line of computer code to a haiku scribbled on the back of a napkin. As the law stands, anyone who wants to reproduce an orphan work or tweak it into some novel creation (à la sound collagists Negativland) has to hunt down the copyright holder for permission or risk getting sued. At the Aug. 2 hearing, held in a conference room at UC Berkeley's Boalt Hall law school, Lisuzzo encouraged the feds to make it easier for folks to use orphan works. Talk about strange bedfellows: In this particular battle Wal-Mart is on the same side as librarians, intellectuals, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an activist group that spends much of its time wrangling with big corporations....So why the hell is Wal-Mart involved in this discussion?...Lisuzzo says the company is itching to make copies of old photos for customers but can't do so unless the customers can prove they own the rights to those pics. "We're in a situation as a retailer where we'd like to do nothing more than take their money, but we can't because of our policy and the law," Lisuzzo testified at the Berkeley hearing. "

Source: Suber, Peter. Wal-Mart joins scholars and libraries to free up orphan works. OANews Blog (7 Sept 2005) [FullText]

September 09, 2005

About the Institutional Repositories & Research Assessment (IRRA) Project

The Institutional Repositories & Research Assessment (IRRA) project has added a useful "about" page. Excerpt:
Research assessment is a complex activity involving decisions made by researchers, research managers, administrators, institutional committees, and Vice Chancellors. The final submissions will be transmitted through a set of web services to HEFCE, collated and passed on to 25 discipline-specific panels, who then need to refer back to the evidence originally submitted by the individual researchers to be able to form their judgements. The process by which six years of research output for each institution are selected to field the strongest possible set of submissions across a whole institution will involve a complex set of political and pragmatic trade-offs, informed by what-if analyses of the submissions and complicated by the need to second-guess the criteria of the various assessment panels. An Institutional Repository (IR), as a managed collection of its institution's research outputs clearly has a place to play in at least part of this process, however it is played out.

Source: P Suber. About the IRRA project. OANews Blog (6 September 2005) [FullText]

September 06, 2005

Open Access at the University of Utah

Open Access, Salt Lake Tribune, September 5, 2005. An unsigned news story. Excerpt:

The University of Utah is working to give the public access to new research, often taxpayer-funded, without hefty subscription costs. [1] The Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences and J. Willard Marriott Libraries are building a free Internet repository for U. studies. Because many publishers have relaxed copyright laws, researchers also can store their final manuscripts in the electronic archive. [2] The libraries have purchased memberships in open access journals, to encourage U. researchers to publish in them. [3] The Eccles Library encourages [NIH-funded] faculty to submit electronic versions of their final manuscripts to PubMed Central, published by the National Library of Medicine, which releases research after publication.

PS: On the first of these: It's not in the power of publishers to relax copyright laws. For preprint archiving, no publisher cooperation is required. For postprint archiving, publishers have relaxed their demands in the copyright transfer agreement. [See earlier Israel Scholar Scrolls postings for examples of Science, Nature and Elsevier policies]

Source: P Suber. OA at the U of Utah. OANews (6 September 2005) [FullText]