Archive for the 'Open Access' Category

A Simple Search Hit Comparison for Google Scholar, OAIster, and Windows Live Academic Search

Posted in Google and Other Search Engines, Open Access, Scholarly Communication on April 12th, 2006

Given that Windows Live Academic Search’s content is limited to computer science, electrical engineering, and physics journals and conferences, a direct comparison of it with other search engines is somewhat difficult.

Although its limitations should be clearly recognized, the following simple experiment in comparing the number of hits for Google Scholar, OAIster (a search engine that indexes open access literature, such as e-prints), and Windows Live Academic Search may help to shed some light on their differences. (Note that OAIster does not typically include content directly provided by commercial publishers, although it does include e-prints for a large number articles published in academic journals.)

The search is for: "OAI-PMH" (entered without quotes).

"OAI-PMH" being, of course, the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting. This is a highly specific search, where many, but not all, hits should fall within the subjects covered by Windows Live Academic Search. A major area that might not be covered is library and information science literature.

To get a better feel for the baseline published literature about OAI-PMH, let’s first do some searching for that term in specialized commercial databases.

  • ACM Digital Library (description): 51 hits.
  • Engineering Village 2 (description): 66 hits.
  • Information Science & Technology Abstracts (description): 36 hits.
  • Library Literature & Information Science Index/Full Text (description): 13 hits.

Now, the search engines in question (the links for the below search engine names are for the search, not the search engine):

So, what have we learned? Windows Live Academic Search has a somewhat higher number of hits than the selected commercial databases and, if adjusted downward for publisher versions only (see below), is on the high end. This suggests that it covers the toll-based published literature very well. However, it has a significantly lower number of hits than OAIster and Google Scholar, suggesting that its coverage of open access literature may be weaker than Google Scholar and it is quite likely weaker than OAIster.

Of the 74 hits for the "OAI-PMH" search in Windows Live Academic Search, 54 (73%) were "published versions" (i.e., publisher-supplied works); 20 (27%) were not (i.e., e-prints). Scanning the "Results by Institution" sidebar, it appears that 100% of OAIster’s 180 hits were from open access sources; I didn’t check them all. I didn’t try to break down the 542-hit Google Scholar search result, which has a mix of toll-based and open access materials, although it would be quite interesting to do so. It should be clear that a sample of one search term is a very crude measure (and that this posting won’t grace the pages of JASIST anytime soon).

Of course, this simple experiment tells us nothing about the presence of duplicate entries for the same work in search result sets, which could be important for a meaningful open access comparison. Consider, for example, this group of 11 hits for "A Scalable Architecture for Harvest-Based Digital Libraries—The ODU/Southampton Experiments" from the Google "OAI-PMH" search.

Nor does it tell us the number of items that are not journal articles (or e-prints for them) or conference papers.

An apples-to-apples comparison would adjust for useless duplicates and non-journal/conference literature. (But, of course, it would be quite useful if Windows Live Academic Search had non-journal/conference literature such as technical reports in it.)

However, given the small hit sets, it would not be impossible for someone else to do a deeper analysis on the duplicate entry question and some other tractable questions.

Windows Live Academic Search Is Up

Posted in Google and Other Search Engines, Open Access, Scholarly Communication on April 12th, 2006

The beta version of Windows Live Academic Search is now available: http://academic.live.com/. It appears to me that the system is under a very heavy load, so you may want to wait a bit before giving it a test drive.

The Windows Live Academic Search development team now has a Weblog. The official press release is now available. A list of participants in Microsoft’s MSN Search Champs V4, some of whom gave Microsoft detailed feedback about Windows Live Academic Search is also available.

Windows Live Academic Search Overview

The home page provides a search box, brief overview, an explanation of search results, and an FAQ.

The system’s indexed content is limited to Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, and Physics journals and conferences, including: "6 million records from approximately 4300 journals and 2000 conferences." Here is a list of works indexed. Relevance is determined by: (1) "quality of match of the search term with the content of the paper", and (2) "authoritativeness of the paper." Citation count is not being used in the ranking algorithm at this time.

Interface

The interface has the following key features:

  • Search box: My understanding is that all MSN search commands work, but I have not tested this.
  • Slider bar: Expands or restricts the amount of information shown for each hit in the search results (left side of screen).
  • Search results:
    • Author and title information in hits are linked (blue links).
    • Other hit links include search the Web for the item, CiteSeer citations (if available), show abstract, and hide abstract (grey links).
  • Sort by: You can sort search results by relevance, date (oldest), date (newest), author, journal, and conference. The last three sorts provide a header that precedes the listed search results: for example, John Doe (2).
  • "+add to Live.com": Adds the search to your Windows Live page. Three clickable buttons appear above the stored search on that page: Web, News, Feeds. When one is clicked, the search is repeated in the appropriate information source (e.g. RSS feeds).
  • Preview pane: The right side of the screen is used to display the fielded abstract, BibTex formatted abstract, or EndNote formatted abstract.

Highlights from the Home Page FAQ

  • More content?: "We are not ready to provide a detailed timeline on when we will have a comprehensive index by subject."
  • OpenUrl: "You will be able to click on the link to your library Open URL resolver to determine the availability of full text access."
  • Preferences: "While the version of Academic search does not have a preference page, future versions will have that functionality."

Highlights from Windows Live Academic Information: Librarians

  • OpenURL: "If Academic search can identify that a user is affiliated with your institution, appropriate search results will be accompanied by a link to your OpenURL resolver vendor. We request that you work with your link resolver company and give them permission to provide the necessary information about your institution to us."
  • RSS feeds for searches: "When a new article related to that search is posted, they [researchers] are alerted instantly via an RSS feed."

Highlights from Windows Live Academic Information: Publishers

  • Participation: "Talk to Crossref about the Crossref/Academic search partnership to receive information on the program and instructions on how to initiate participation."
  • Search Results: "Therefore, search results from journals that are indexed from publishers and are published articles will always be marked ‘Published Version’. This ensures that users know which result is the official version. If there are many instances of the same article (from other sources such as a web-crawl), we will always link the search result heading to the version on the publisher’s site."
  • Abstract information: "We require that non-subscribers at least see an abstract of the paper when they land on your site from our search results page." However, it also says:

    "Academic search provides for three levels of display in the preview pane:

    • Full abstract
    • First 140 characters from abstract
    • Nothing from the abstract

    Publishers can choose any of these options for their content."

Microsoft’s Windows Live Academic Search

Posted in Emerging Technologies, Google and Other Search Engines, Open Access, Scholarly Communication on April 10th, 2006

Microsoft will be releasing Windows Live Academic Search shortly (I was recently told Wednesday; the blog buzz is saying tomorrow).

As is typical with such software projects, the team is doing some last minute tweaking before release. So, I won’t try to describe the system in any detail at this point, except to say that it integrates access to published articles with e-prints and other open access materials, it provides a reference export capability, there’s a cool optional two-pane view (short bibliographic information on the left; full bibliographic information and abstract on the right), and it supports search "macros" (user-written search programs).

What I will say is this: Microsoft made a real effort to get significant, honest input from the librarian and publisher communities during the development process. I know, because, now that the nondisclosure agreement has been lifted, I can say that I was one of the librarians who provided such input on an unpaid basis. I was very impressed by how carefully the development team listened to what we had to say, how sharp and energetic they were, how they really got the Web 2.0 concept, and how deeply committed they were to creating the best product possible. Having read Microserfs, I had a very different mental picture of Microsoft than the reality I encountered.

Needless to say, there were lively exchanges of views between librarians and publishers when open access issues were touched upon. My impression is that the team listened to both sides and tried to find the happy middle ground.

When it’s released, Windows Live Academic Search won’t be the perfect answer to your open access search engine dreams (what system is?), and Microsoft knows that there are missing pieces. But I think it will give Google Scholar a run for its money. I, for one, heartily welcome it, and I think it’s a good base to build upon, especially if Microsoft continues to solicit and seriously consider candid feedback from the library and publisher communities (and it appears that it will).

Open Source Software for Publishing E-Journals

Posted in E-Journal Management and Publishing Systems, E-Journals, Open Access, Open Source Software, Scholarly Communication on April 6th, 2006

Want to publish an open access journal, but you don’t want to license a commercial journal management system, develop your own system, or to do it all by tedious HTML hand-coding? Here’s summary information about two existing open source e-journal management systems (and one emerging system) that may do the trick.

HyperJournal

  • "HyperJournal is a software application that facilitates the administration of academic journals on the Web. Conceived for researchers in the Humanities and designed according to an intuitive and elegant layout, it permits the installation, personalization, and administration of a dedicated Web site at extremely low cost and without the need for special IT-competence. HyperJournal can be used not only to establish an online version of an existing paper periodical, but also to create an entirely new, solely electronic journal."
  • Overview
  • Documentation
  • Download

Open Journal Systems, Public Knowledge Project

  • "Open Journal Systems (OJS) is a journal management and publishing system that has been developed by the Public Knowledge Project through its federally funded efforts to expand and improve access to research. OJS assists with every stage of the refereed publishing process, from submissions through to online publication and indexing. Through its management systems, its finely grained indexing of research, and the context it provides for research, OJS seeks to improve both the scholarly and public quality of referred research."
  • Open Journal Systems (Overview)
  • FAQ
  • OJS Technical Reference
  • Download

DPubS (Digital Publishing System), Cornell University Library (In development)

  • "DPubS’ ground-breaking software system will enable publishers to cost-effectively organize, deliver, present and publish scholarly journals, monographs, conference proceedings, and other common and evolving means of academic discourse."
  • About DPubS
  • FAQ

Postscript: Peter Suber suggests adding several other software packages, including:

  1. ePublishing Toolkit
  2. SciX Open Publishing Services (SOPS)

Scholarly Communication Web Sites and Weblogs at ARL Libraries (Version 2)

Posted in ARL Libraries, Open Access, Scholarly Communication, Webliographies on April 3rd, 2006

This posting updates and considerably expands my earlier "Scholarly Communication Web Sites at ARL Libraries" posting.

It presents a list of scholarly communication Web sites and Weblogs at the academic member libraries of the Association of Research Libraries. Web sites and Weblogs were identified using separate Google "site:" searches for the exact phrases "scholarly communication" and "open access." Search results were then scanned to identify Web sites or Weblogs that appeared to be intended as the main library’s primary means of communicating to the university community about scholarly communication and/or open access issues. Conferences, presentations, newsletter articles, symposiums, and similar materials were excluded, as were Web sites or Weblogs at branch libraries. Searching was limited to the first few pages of search results.

Additions and corrections are welcome. Use the "Leave a Comment" function for this.

All Sections and Subsections of the Open Access Bibliography Now Linked

Posted in Bibliographies, Digital Scholarship Publications, Open Access, Scholarly Communication on March 25th, 2006

There is now a link to each section and subsection of the HTML version of the Open Access Bibliography: Liberating Scholarly Literature with E-Prints and Open Access Journals.

For example:

4 Open Access Journals

4.1 General Works
4.2 Economic Issues
4.2.1 General Works
4.2.2 BMJ Rapid Responses about "Author Pays" May Be the New Science Publishing Model
4.3 Open Access Journal Change Agents
4.3.1 SPARC
4.4 Open Access Journal Publishers and Distributors
4.4.1 BioMed Central
4.4.2 Public Library of Science
4.4.3 PubMed Central
4.4.3.1 General Works
4.4.3.2 Science Magazine dEbate on "Building a GenBank of the Published Literature"
4.4.3.3 Science Magazine dEbate on "Is a Government Archive the Best Option?"
4.4.3.4 Science Magazine dEbate on "Just a Minute, Please"
4.4.3.5 Other
4.5 Specific Open Access Journals
4.5.1 Journals in the Directory of Open Access Journals
4.5.2 Pioneering Free E-Journals Not in the DOAJ
4.5.3 Other
4.6 Research Studies

The table of contents in the home page of the bibliography has a complete set of links for all sections and subsections of the document.

The Web page for each major section of the bibliography has links to the subsections (if present) at the start of the page.

HTML Version of the Open Access Bibliography

Posted in Bibliographies, Digital Scholarship Publications, Open Access, Scholarly Communication on March 22nd, 2006

An HTML version of the Open Access Bibliography: Liberating Scholarly Literature with E-Prints and Open Access Journals (OAB) is now available.

The HTML version of the book was created from the final draft using a complex set of digital transformations. Consequently, there may be minor variations between it and the print and Acrobat versions, which are the definitive versions of the book.

The OAB provides an overview of open access concepts, and it presents over 1,300 selected English-language books, conference papers (including some digital video presentations), debates, editorials, e-prints, journal and magazine articles, news articles, technical reports, and other printed and electronic sources that are useful in understanding the open access movement’s efforts to provide free access to and unfettered use of scholarly literature. Most sources have been published between 1999 and August 31, 2004; however, a limited number of key sources published prior to 1999 are also included. Where possible, links are provided to sources that are freely available on the Internet (approximately 78 percent of the bibliography’s references have such links).

HTML Version of "What Is Open Access?"

Posted in Announcements, Open Access, Scholarly Communication on February 20th, 2006

An HTML version of my "What Is Open Access?" preprint is now available. This version includes additional links in the body of the document that make it easier to quickly access related information about OA concepts, documents, or systems. While it makes many footnote links available in the body of the document (as well as new ones), it is not an attempt to replicate all footnote links in it.

This paper presents a more nuanced, contemporary view of open access than my "Key Open Access Concepts" excerpt from the Open Access Bibliography: Liberating Scholarly Literature with E-Prints and Open Access Journals; however, it had to be very compact to meet the publisher’s needs, and it omits some topics discussed in the earlier document.

Those wanting a more in-depth recent treatment might want to try the first half of my "Open Access and Libraries" preprint, which covers much of this material more fully as a preliminary to discussing the relationship between open access and library functions and operations. However, the "What Is Open Access?" paper reflects some changes in my thinking about OA not found in "Open Access and Libraries."

A PDF version of "What Is Open Access?" is also available, which is more suitable for printing and reading offline.

"What Is Open Access?" will appear in: Jacobs, Neil, ed. Open Access: Key Strategic, Technical and Economic Aspects. Oxford: Chandos Publishing, 2006. It is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.

"What Is Open Access?" Preprint

Posted in Announcements, Open Access on February 12th, 2006

A preprint of my book chapter "What Is Open Access?" is now available. This chapter provides a brief overview of open access (around 4,800 words). It examines the three base definitions of open access; notes other key OA statements; defines and discusses self-archiving, self-archiving strategies (author Websites, disciplinary archives, institutional-unit archives, and institutional repositories), and self-archiving copyright practices; and defines and discusses open access journals and the major types of OA publishers (born-OA publishers, conventional publishers, and non-traditional publishers). It will appear in: Jacobs, Neil, ed. Open Access: Key Strategic, Technical and Economic Aspects. Oxford: Chandos Publishing, 2006. It is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.

Open Access Bibliography Author and Title Indexes Are Now Available

Posted in Bibliographies, Digital Scholarship Publications, Open Access, Scholarly Communication on February 6th, 2006

Author and title indexes for the Open Access Bibliography: Liberating Scholarly Literature with E-Prints and Open Access Journals are now available.

These indexes, which include complete references, were initially generated in EndNote, then refined through a lengthy production process using several text editing programs to produce the final HTML files.

"Open Access and Libraries" Preprint

Posted in Announcements, Open Access, Scholarly Communication on January 9th, 2006

A preprint of my forthcoming book chapter "Open Access and Libraries" is now available.

The preprint takes an in-depth look at the open access movement with special attention to the perceived meaning of the term “open access” within it, the use of Creative Commons Licenses, and real-world access distinctions between different types of open access materials. After a brief consideration of some major general benefits of open access, it examines OA’s benefits for libraries and discusses a number of ways that libraries can potentially support the movement, with a consideration of funding issues.

It will appear in: Jacobs, Mark, ed. Electronic Resources Librarians: The Human Element of the Digital Information Age. Binghamton, NY: Haworth Press, 2006.

Postscript: A new preprint is available. I have added more content specific to the impact of OA on electronic resources librarians’ jobs and an appendix on the Creative Commons. Also, I have added another way that OA can save libraries money. I’ve changed the above link to the new preprint; the old one is still available; however, I would recommend reading the new one instead.

Post-PostScript: Having two versions of the preprint available has caused some confusion, so I have taken down the earlier version.

Open Access Bibliography and The Access Principle Discount at Amazon

Posted in Announcements, Bibliographies, Open Access, Scholarly Communication on December 12th, 2005

Amazon is offering the Open Access Bibliography: Liberating Scholarly Literature with E-Prints and Open Access Journals and John Willinsky’s insightful The Access Principle: The Case for Open Access to Research and Scholarship together for a discounted price of $68.07 (vs. the normal $79.95). See the OAB Amazon record for the link. (Note: By my request, I do not profit from sales of the print version of the OAB; all proceeds go to ARL to subsidize the print version.)


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