Archive for the 'Open Access' Category

Why Digital Copyright and Net Neutrality Should Matter to Open Access Advocates

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, Net Neutrality, Open Access on February 26th, 2008

It is highly unlikely that open access would have emerged if the Internet did not exist. The Internet makes the low-cost worldwide distribution of e-prints and other digital documents through institutional and disciplinary repositories possible, and it significantly lowers the cost of publishing, which makes open access journals possible. Open access in a print-only or proprietary network environment would require significant subsidies. The relative cost of providing open access on the Internet is trivial.

It would be a mistake to assume that the Internet will remain as we know it. With the rise of digital media, powerful interests in the music and film/television industries have become alarmed about file sharing of their content, and they have lobbied legislatures across the globe to stop it through restrictive copyright legislation and technological measures.

Since open access doesn't deal with popular music, film, or television, why should open access advocates care? The answer is simple: restrictive measures are unlikely to make fine-grained distinctions about content. New copyright measures won't exempt scholarly material, and new Internet traffic shaping or filtering technologies won't either.

Open access materials won't be limited to simple text documents forever: digital media and data sets will become increasingly important. These files can be large and increase network load. Digital media files may include excerpts from third-party copyrighted material, which are utilized under fair use provisions. Will filtering and traffic shaping technologies exclude them or will they be the inadvertent victims of systems designed for an entirely different purpose?

Even simple text documents will be governed by restrictive copyright laws and subject to potential copyright filtering mechanisms.

For example, the Tennessee State Senate is considering a bill (SB 3974) that would require every higher education institution to "thoroughly analyze its computer network, including its local area and internal networks, to determine whether it is being used to transmit copyrighted works" and to "take affirmative steps, including the implementation of effective technology-based deterrents, to prevent the infringement of copyrighted works over the school's computer and network resources, including over local area and internal networks."

You'll note that the bill says "transmit copyrighted works" not "transmit digital music and video works." Does this mean that every digital work, including e-prints and e-books, must be scanned and cleared for copyright compliance? That is unlikely to be the real intent of the bill, but, if passed, it will be the letter of the law. Why couldn't academic publishers insist that digital articles and books be vetted as well?

Net neutrality and digital copyright legislation are issues that should be of concern to open access advocates. To ignore them is to potentially win the battle, but lose the war, blind-sided by developments that will ensnare open access materials in legal and technological traps.

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    Indiana University Libraries Publish Open Access Journal

    Posted in E-Journals, Open Access, Publishing, Scholarly Journals on February 22nd, 2008

    The Indiana University Libraries have announced that they are publishing Museum Anthropology Review in partnership with Editor Jason Baird Jackson, associate professor in the IU Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology.

    Here's a description of the journal from its Submission Information page:

    Museum Anthropology Review (MAR) is an open access journal whose purpose is the wide dissemination of articles, reviews, essays, obituaries and other content advancing the field of material culture and museum studies, broadly conceived.

    Read more about it at "Editorial: Museum Anthropology Review Joins IUScholarWorks at the Indiana University Bloomington Libraries, Switches to Open Journal Systems" and "IU Bloomington Libraries Publish Their First Electronic Journal, Showcasing Faculty Partnerships."

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      TRLN (Triangle Research Libraries Network) Members Join the Open Content Alliance

      Posted in Digitization, E-Books, Mass Digitizaton, Open Access, Public Domain on February 20th, 2008

      TRLN (Triangle Research Libraries Network) has announced that its member libraries (Duke University, North Carolina Central University, North Carolina State University, and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) have joined the Open Content Alliance.

      Here's an excerpt from "TRLN Member Libraries Join Open Content Alliance":

      In the first year, UNC Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University will each convert 2,700 public domain books into high-resolution, downloadable, reusable digital files that can be indexed locally and by any web search engine. UNC Chapel Hill and NCSU will start by each hosting one state-of-the-art Scribe machine provided by the Internet Archive to scan the materials at a cost of just 10 cents per page. Each university library will focus on historic collection strengths, such as plant and animal sciences, engineering and physical science at NCSU and social sciences and humanities at UNC-Chapel Hill. Duke University will also contribute select content for digitization during the first year of the collaborative project.

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        ARL Publishes NIH Public Access Policy Guide

        Posted in Copyright, E-Prints, Open Access, Publishing, Scholarly Journals, Self-Archiving on February 18th, 2008

        The Association of Research Libraries has published "The NIH Public Access Policy: Guide for Research Universities."

        Here's an excerpt from the press release:

        The new NIH Public Access Policy, which becomes effective April 7, 2008, calls for mandatory deposit in PubMed Central of peer-reviewed electronic manuscripts stemming from NIH funding. The change from a voluntary to mandatory policy creates new expectations, not just of funded investigators, but also of the grantee institutions that support those investigators.

        The ARL guide, "The NIH Public Access Policy: Guide for Research Universities," includes the following sections:

        • Policy Overview
        • Institutional Responses
        • Retaining Rights
        • How to Deposit
        • Resources

        The guide focuses on the implications of the NIH policy for institutions as grantees, although some information for individual investigators is included and links to further details are provided. The guide is helpful to a range of campus constituencies that may be involved in implementing the new policy, including research administrators, legal counsel, and librarians.

        In addition to compliance concerns, the guide also considers the benefits of the new policy and institutions' opportunities to build on the policy requirements by seeking additional rights for using funded research to address local needs.

        Reflecting the dynamic nature of campus implementation activities, the guide will be updated as more campuses release plans, resources, and tools that can serve as models for their peers.

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          Presentations from the Open Access Collections Workshop

          Posted in Copyright, Digital Repositories, E-Journal Management and Publishing Systems, Institutional Repositories, Open Access on February 18th, 2008

          Presentations from the Open Access Collections workshop are now available.

          Here are selected presentations:

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            VALA 2008 Presentations

            Posted in Digital Repositories, Institutional Repositories, Open Access on February 15th, 2008

            Presentations from the VALA 2008 conference are now available.

            Here's a selection of presentations:

            Michelle McLean has blogged a number of VALA 2008 sessions in Connecting Librarian postings.

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              A Review and Analysis of Academic Publishing Agreements and Open Access Policies

              Posted in Author Rights, E-Prints, Open Access, Publishing, Scholarly Journals, Self-Archiving on February 10th, 2008

              The OAK (Open Access to Knowledge) Law Project has published A Review and Analysis of Academic Publishing Agreements and Open Access Policies.

              Here's an excerpt from the "Conclusion and Next Steps":

              The review of publishers’ open access policies and practices found that:

              • the majority of publishers did not have a formal open access policy;
              • only four of the total sample of 64 publishers surveyed had a formal open access policy;
              • 62.5% of the publishers were able to provide sufficient information to enable them to be “colour classified” using the SHERPA/RoMEO colour classification system to denote levels of open access;
              • using the SHERPA/RoMEO colour classifications:
                • 25% of the surveyed publishers were “green” (permitting archiving of the pre-print and post-print versions of published articles);
                • 4.7% were “blue” (permitting archiving of the post-print version);
                • 6.25% were “yellow” (permitting archiving of the pre-print version);
                • 26.6% were “white” (archiving not formally supported).
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                SPARC Author Rights Forum Established

                Posted in Author Rights, Open Access, Publishing, Scholarly Communication, Self-Archiving on February 5th, 2008

                The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition has established a new mailing list: the SPARC Author Rights Forum.

                Here's an excerpt from the press release:

                SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) has introduced a new discussion forum on the topic of author rights. The SPARC Author Rights Forum provides a private and moderated venue for academic librarians to explore copyright and related issues in teaching and research—especially questions arising from the development of digital repositories and recent public access mandates.

                The SPARC Author Rights Forum has been established to support educational outreach to authors on issues related to retaining their copy rights. Topics relevant to the list include, but are not limited to:

                • Ensuring copyright compliance with public access policies, including the new National Institutes of Health mandate
                • Rights of faculty under copyright and contract law
                • Availability and use of author addenda
                • Working with publishers to secure agreements to retain needed rights
                • Experiences in developing institutional copyright policies and educational programs

                The list will focus primarily on the U.S. and Canadian legal environments, though members of the international community are welcome to join. Educators, researchers, policy makers, librarians, legal counsel, and all who have an interest in responsible author copyright management are encouraged to contribute. The SPARC Author Rights Forum is moderated by Kevin Smith, J.D., Scholarly Communications Officer for Duke University Libraries.

                List membership is subject to approval and posts are moderated for appropriate topical content. To request membership in the SPARC Author Rights Forum, send any message to

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                  E-Print Preservation: SHERPA DP: Final Report of the SHERPA DP Project

                  Posted in Digital Curation & Digital Preservation, Digital Repositories, DSpace, E-Prints, EPrints, Fedora, Institutional Repositories, Open Access on January 31st, 2008

                  JISC has released SHERPA DP: Final Report of the SHERPA DP Project.

                  Here's an excerpt from the "Executive Summary":

                  The SHERPA DP project (2005–2007) investigated the preservation of digital resources stored by institutional repositories participating in the SHERPA project. An emphasis was placed on the preservation of e-prints—research papers stored in an electronic format, with some support for other types of content, such as electronic theses and dissertations.

                  The project began with an investigation of the method that institutional repositories, as Content Providers, may interact with Service Providers. The resulting model, framed around the OAIS, established a Co-operating archive relationship, in which data and metadata is transferred into a preservation repository subsequent to it being made available. . . .

                  The Arts & Humanities Data Service produced a demonstrator of a Preservation Service, to investigate the operation of the preservation service and accepted responsibility for the preservation of the digital objects for a three-year period (two years of project funding, plus one year).

                  The most notable development of the Preservation Service demonstrator was the creation of a reusable service framework that allows the integration of a disparate collection of software tools and standards. The project adopted Fedora as the basis for the preservation repository and built a technical infrastructure necessary to harvest metadata, transfer data, and perform relevant preservation activities. Appropriate software tools and standards were selected, including JHOVE and DROID as software tools to validate data objects; METS as a packaging standard; and PREMIS as a basis on which to create preservation metadata. . . .

                  A number of requirements were identified that were essential for establishing a disaggregated service for preservation, most notably some method of interoperating with partner institutions and he establishment of appropriate preservation policies. . . . In its role as a Preservation Service, the AHDS developed a repository-independent framework to support the EPrints and DSpace-based repositories, using OAI-PMH as common method of connecting to partner institutions and extracting digital objects.

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                    Columbia University and Microsoft Book Digitization Project

                    Posted in E-Books, Google and Other Search Engines, Mass Digitizaton, Open Access, Public Domain on January 29th, 2008

                    The Columbia University Libraries have announced that they will work with Microsoft to digitize a "large number of books" that are in the public domain.

                    Here's an excerpt from the press release:

                    Columbia University and Microsoft Corp. are collaborating on an initiative to digitize a large number of books from Columbia University Libraries and make them available to Internet users. With the support of the Open Content Alliance (OCA), publicly available print materials in Columbia Libraries will be scanned, digitized, and indexed to make them readily accessible through Live Search Books. . . .

                    Columbia University Libraries is playing a key role in book selection and in setting quality standards for the digitized materials. Microsoft will digitize selected portions of the Libraries’ great collections of American history, literature, and humanities works, with the specific areas to be decided mutually by Microsoft and Columbia during the early phase of the project.

                    Microsoft will give the Library high-quality digital images of all the materials, allowing the Library to provide worldwide access through its own digital library and to share the content with non-commercial academic initiatives and non-profit organizations.

                    Read more about it at "Columbia University Joins Microsoft Scan Plan."

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                      REPOMAN-L (Institutional Repository Managers' Mailing List) Launched

                      Posted in Digital Repositories, Institutional Repositories, Open Access on January 25th, 2008

                      Richard Griscom, University of Pennsylvania, and Leah Vanderjagt, University of Alberta, have launched REPOMAN-L (Institutional Repository Managers' Mailing List).

                      Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

                      We have created REPOMAN-L (Institutional Repository Managers' Mailing List) as an open forum for the discussion of issues, great and small, that confront repository managers. We hope that you will subscribe and participate enthusiastically, and use this list for problem-solving and sharing of advice; for example:

                      • to poll the group on practices at their institutions
                      • to ask about any aspect of development from policy to outreach
                      • initiatives to software evaluation
                      • to share links to useful tools and references
                      • to explore rationale around decisions you're making about your repository. . . .

                      The list is purposefully unaffiliated with any institution, initiative, repository software platform, or conceptual idea such as open access; the list would of course not exclude discussion of these areas, but we ask subscribers to consider initiating these discussions on lists set up specifically for the topics and then bring summaries of relevance to this list.

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                        Are There 200,000 "Duplicate" Articles in Journals Indexed by Medline?

                        Posted in Open Access, Publishing, Scholarly Communication, Scholarly Journals on January 24th, 2008

                        Based on a recent study published in Nature, it is possible that there may be as many as 200,000 duplicate articles (either articles that were published in multiple journals or plagiarized) in journals indexed by Medline. To conduct the study, Mounir Errami and Harold Garner utilized the eTBLAST software to analyze samples of Medline article abstracts in order to estimate the prevalence of duplicate articles.

                        Duplicate detection is an issue of great concern to both publishers and scholars. The CrossCheck project is allowing eight publishers to test the duplicate checking as part of the editorial process in a closed-access environment. In the project's home page, it states:

                        Currently, existing PD [plagiarism detection] systems do not index the majority of scholarly/professional content because it is inaccessible to crawlers directed at the open web. The only scholarly literature that is currently indexed by PD systems is that which is available openly (e.g. OA, Archived or illegitimately posted copies) or that which has been made available via third-party aggregators (e.g. ProQuest). This, in turn, means that any publisher who is interested in employing PD systems in their editorial work-flow is unable to do so effectively. Even if a particular publisher doesn't have a problem with plagiarized manuscripts, they should have an interest in making sure that their own published content is not plagiarized or otherwise illegitimately copied.

                        In order for CrossRef members to use existing PD systems, there needs to be a mechanism through which PD system vendors can, under acceptable terms & conditions, create and use databases of relevant scholarly and professional content.

                        Open access advocates have pointed out that one advantage of OA is that it allows the unrestricted analysis and manipulation of the full text of freely available works. Open access makes it possible for all interested parties, including scholars and others who might not have access to closed duplicate verification databases, to conduct whatever analysis as they wish and to make the results public without having to consider potential business impacts.

                        Read more about it at: "Copycat Articles Seem Rife in Science Journals, a Digital Sleuth Finds" and "How Many Papers Are Just Duplicates?"

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