Archive for December, 2006

That’s All Folks (for This Year)

Posted in Announcements, General on December 22nd, 2006

This year’s been a total bummer. Hopefully 2007 will be better.

Blogging resumes the week of 1/8/07.

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    Will Self-Archiving Cause Libraries to Cancel Journal Subscriptions?

    Posted in E-Journals, E-Prints, Institutional Repositories, Libraries, Open Access, Publishing, Scholarly Communication on December 21st, 2006

    There has been a great deal of discussion of late about the impact of self-archiving on library journal subscriptions. Obviously, this is of great interest to journal publishers who do not want to wake up one morning, rub the sleep from their eyes, and find out over their first cup of coffee at work that libraries have en masse canceled subscriptions because a "tipping point" has been reached. Likewise, open access advocates do not want journal publishers to panic at the prospect of cancellations and try to turn back the clock on liberal self-archiving policies. So, this is not a scenario that any one wants, except those who would like to simply scrap the existing journal publishing system and start over with a digital tabula rosa.

    So, deep breath: Is the end near?

    This question hinges on another: Will libraries accept any substitute for a journal that does not provide access to the full, edited, and peer-reviewed contents of that journal?

    If the answer is "yes," publishers better get out their survival kits and hunker down for the digital nuclear winter or else change business practices to embrace the new reality. Attempts to fight back by rolling back the clock may just make the situation worse: the genie is out of the bottle.

    If the answer is "no," preprints pose no threat, but postprints may under some difficult to attain circumstances.

    It is unlikely that a critical mass of author created postprints (i.e., author makes the preprint look like the postprint) will ever emerge. Authors would have to be extremely motivated to have this occur. If you don’t believe me, take a Word file that you submitted to a publisher and make it look exactly like the published article (don’t forget the pagination because that might be a sticking point for libraries). That leaves publisher postprints (generally PDF files).

    For the worst to happen, every author of every paper published in a journal would have to self-archive the final publisher PDF file (or the publishers themselves would have to do it for the authors under mandates).

    But would that be enough? Wouldn’t the permanence and stability of the digital repositories housing these postprints be of significant concern to libraries? If such repositories could not be trusted, then libraries would have to attempt to archive the postprints in question themselves; however, since postprints are not by default under copyright terms that would allow this to happen (e.g., they are not under Creative Commons Licenses), libraries may be barred from doing so. There are other issues as well: journal and issue browsing capabilities, the value-added services of indexing and abstracting services, and so on. For now, let’s wave our hands briskly and say that these are all tractable issues.

    If the above problems were overcome, a significant one remains: publishers add value in many ways to scholarly articles. Would libraries let the existing system of journal publishing collapse because of self-archiving without a viable substitute for these value-added functions being in place?

    There have been proposals for and experiments with overlay journals for some time, as well other ideas for new quality control strategies, but, to date, none have caught fire. Old-fashioned peer review, copy editing and fact checking, and publisher-based journal design and production still reign, even among the vast majority of e-journals that are not published by conventional publishers. In the Internet age, nothing technological stops tens of thousands of new e-journals using open source journal management software from blooming, but they haven’t so far, have they? Rather, if you use a liberal definition of open access, there are about 2,500 OA journals—a significant achievement; however, there are questions about the longevity of such journals if they are published by small non-conventional publishers such as groups of scholars (e.g., see "Free Electronic Refereed Journals: Getting Past the Arc of Enthusiasm"). Let’s face it—producing a journal is a lot of work, even a small journal that only publishes less than a hundred papers a year.

    Bottom line: a perfect storm is not impossible, but it is unlikely.

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      Journal 2.0: PLoS ONE Beta Goes Live

      Posted in E-Journals, Open Access, Publishing, Scholarly Communication on December 21st, 2006

      The Public Library of Science has released a beta version of its innovative PLoS ONE journal.

      Why innovative? First, it’s a multidisciplinary scientific journal, with published articles covering subjects that range from Biochemistry to Virology. Second, it’s a participative journal that allows registered users to annotate and initiate discussions about articles. Open commentary and peer-review have been previously implemented in some e-journals (e.g, see JIME: An Interactive Journal for Interactive Media), but PLoS ONE is the most visible of these efforts and, given PLoS’s reputation for excellence, it lends credibility to a concept that has yet to catch fire in the journal publishing world. A nice feature is the “Most Annotated” tab on the home page that highlights articles that have garnered reader commentary. Third, it’s an open access journal in the full sense of the term, with all articles under the least restrictive Creative Commons license, the Creative Commons Attribution License.

      The beta site is a bit slow, probably due to significant interest, so expect some initial browsing delays.

      Congratulations to PLoS on PLoS ONE. It’s journal worth keeping an eye on.

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        Certifying Digital Repositories: DINI Draft

        Posted in Disciplinary Archives, Institutional Repositories, Open Access on December 20th, 2006

        The Electronic Publishing Working Group of the Deutsche Initiative für Netzwerkinformation (DINI) has released an English draft of its DINI-Certificate Document and Publication Services 2007.

        It outlines criteria for repository author support; indexing; legal aspects; long-term availability; logs and statistics; policies; security, authenticity and data integrity; and service visibility. It also provides examples.

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          Test Driving the CrossRef Simple-Text Query Tool for Finding DOIs

          Posted in Metadata, Open Access on December 20th, 2006

          CrossRef has made a DOI finding tool publicly available. It’s called Simple-Text Query. You can get the details at Barbara Quint’s article "Linking Up Bibliographies: DOI Harvesting Tool Launched by CrossRef."

          What caught my eye in Quint’s article was this: "Users can enter whole bibliographies with citations in almost any bibliographic format and receive back the matching Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) for these references to insert into their final bibliographies."

          Well not exactly. I cut and pasted just the "9 Repositories, E-Prints, and OAI" section of the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography into Simple-Text Query. Result: error message. I had exceeded the 15,360 character limit. So, suggestion one: put the limit on the Simple-Text Query page.

          So them I counted out 15,360 characters of the section and pasted that. Just kidding. I pasted the first six references. Result?

          Alexander, Martha Latika, and J. N. Gautam. “Institutional Repositories for Scholarly Communication: Indian Initiatives.” Serials: The Journal for the Serials Community 19, no. 3 (2006): 195-201.
          No doi match found.

          Allard, Suzie, Thura R. Mack, and Melanie Feltner-Reichert. “The Librarian’s Role in Institutional Repositories: A Content Analysis of the Literature.” Reference Services Review 33, no. 3 (2005): 325-336.

          Allen, James. “Interdisciplinary Differences in Attitudes towards Deposit in Institutional Repositories.” Manchester Metropolitan University, 2005.

          Reference not parsed

          Allinson, Julie, and Roddy MacLeod. “Building an Information Infrastructure in the UK.” Research Information (October/November 2006).

          Reference not parsed

          Anderson, Greg, Rebecca Lasher, and Vicky Reich. “The Computer Science Technical Report (CS-TR) Project: A Pioneering Digital Library Project Viewed from a Library Perspective.” The Public-Access Computer Systems Review 7, no. 2 (1996): 6-26.

          Reference not parsed

          Andreoni, Antonella, Maria Bruna Baldacci, Stefania Biagioni, Carlo Carlesi, Donatella Castelli, Pasquale Pagano, Carol Peters, and Serena Pisani. “The ERCIM Technical Reference Digital Library: Meeting the Requirements of a European Community within an International Federation.” D-Lib Magazine 5 (December 1999).

          Reference not parsed

          Hmmm. According to Quint’s article:

          I asked Brand if CrossRef could reach open access material. She assured me it could, but it clearly did not give the free and sometimes underdefined material any preference.

          Looks like the open access capabilities may need some fine tuning. D-Lib Magazine and The Public-Access Computer Systems Review are not exactly obscure e-journals. Since my references are formatted in the Chicago style by EndNote, I don’t think that the reference format is the issue. In fact, Quint’s article says: "The Simple-Text Query can retrieve DOIs for journal articles, books, and chapters in any reference citation style, although it works best with standard styles."

          Conclusion: I play with it some more, but Simple-Text Query may be best for conventional, mainstream journal references.

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            JSTOR to Offer Purchase of Articles by Individuals

            Posted in E-Journals, General, Publishing on December 19th, 2006

            Using a new purchase service, individuals will be able to purchase JSTOR articles for modest fees (currently $5.00 to $14.00) from publishers that participate in this service. JSTOR describes the service as follows:

            An extension of JSTOR’s efforts to better serve scholars is a new article purchase service. This service is an opt-in program for JSTOR participating publishers and will enable them to sell single articles for immediate download. Researchers following direct links to articles will be presented with an option to purchase an article from the publisher if the publisher chooses to participate in this program and if the specific content requested is available through the program. The purchase option will only be presented if the user does not have access to the article. Prior to completing an article purchase users are prompted to first check the availability of the article through a local library or an institutional affiliation with JSTOR.

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              INASP Journals to Be Included in CrossRef

              Posted in E-Journals, General, Scholarly Communication on December 19th, 2006

              International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP) has announced that its journals will be included in the CrossRef linking service.

              In an INASP press release, Pippa Smart, INASP’s Head of Publishing Initiatives, said:

              For journals that are largely invisible to most of the scientific community the importance of linking cannot be overstressed. We are therefore delighted to be working with CrossRef to promote discovery of journals published in the less developed countries. We believe that an integrated discovery mechanism which includes journals from all parts of the world is vital to global research—not only benefiting the editors and publishers with whom we work.

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                New Mailing List About the Audit and Certification of Digital Repositiories

                Posted in Disciplinary Archives, Institutional Repositories on December 19th, 2006

                The MOIMS-Repository Audit and Certification BOF mailing list (Moims-rac) has been established to foster the development of an ISO standard for the audit and certification of digital information repositories.

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