Peter Murray-Rust Presentation on the Scientific E-Thesis

Peter Murray-Rust's presentation at Caltech on "The Power of the Scientific eThesis" is now available. (You may be asked to install an ActiveX control by MediaSite; you can run the presentation without it.)

Source: Smart, Laura J. "Peter Murray-Rust at Caltech." Repositories for the Rest of Us, 7 September 2007.

Hi Tech Companies Win House Patent Battle

In a big win for high technology companies, the House passed a bill that would limit patent litigation.

Here's an excerpt from "House Passes Bill to Curb Suits by Patent Owners":

The measure passed by the House would change the rules at the Patent and Trademark Office so patents would go to the first person to file an application, not necessarily the first inventor. . . . It would also allow third parties to introduce evidence against applications and would create a system, called post-grant opposition, to challenge new patents.

Source: Bloomberg News. "House Passes Bill to Curb Suits by Patent Owners." The New York Times, 8 September 2007, B4.

Is Net Neutrality Dead?: Ten Reasons That It Might Be

In "Ten Things That Finally Killed Net Neutrality," Declan McCullagh examines why the Net Neutrality movement has failed.

The culprits? The AT&T merger, the Bush administration, Congressional gridlock, the decline of the It's Our Net coalition, the FCC, lack of evidence of wrongdoing by broadband providers, and Nancy Pelosi, among others.

Source: McCullagh, Declan. "Ten Things That Finally Killed Net Neutrality." CNET News.Com, 6 September 2007.

LIFE (Life Cycle Information for E-Literature) Project

LIFE (Life Cycle Information for E-Literature) is a joint, JISC-funded project of the University College London Library Services and the British Library that is investigating life cycle issues involved in collecting and preserving digital materials.

Here's an excerpt from the home page:

The LIFE Project has developed a methodology to model the digital lifecycle and calculate the costs of preserving digital information for the next 5, 10 or 100 years. For the first time, organisations can apply this process and plan effectively for the preservation of their digital collections.

Currently the LIFE Project is in its second phase ("LIFE2"), an 18 month project running from March 2007 to August 2008.

Documentation from the first and second phases of the project is available.

The project has just established a weblog.

Amazon and Google E-Book Developments

Amazon is expected to release a wireless e-book reader this October called Kindle. It's anticipated to be priced in $400-$500 range.

Also in the fall, Google is expected to offer charged access to the complete contents of digital books, with pricing to be determined by publishers.

Source: Stone, Brad. "Are Books Passé? Envisioning the Next Chapter for Electronic Books." The New York Times, 6 September 2006, C1, C9.

ARL Changes Public Ranking Methodology

Beginning with the 2005–06 report, ARL is using an Expenditures-Focused Index instead of its traditional Membership Criteria Index in public ranking reports. The Chronicle of Higher Education has published the "Index of Expenditures at University Research Libraries, 2005-6" (requires subscription).

Here's an excerpt from the ARL Index page:

Starting with 2005–06 data, ARL is calculating an Expenditures-Focused Index as an alternative to the ARL Membership Criteria Index. The Expenditures-Focused Index replaces the public availability of the ARL Membership Criteria Index. The Expenditures-Focused Index is highly correlated with the Membership Criteria Index and less affected by changes in the collections variables. The methodology behind this new index is described by Bruce Thompson in his October 2006 paper, "Some Alternative Quantitative Library Activity Descriptions/Statistics that Supplement the ARL Logarithmic Index."

67 Plagiarized Papers from Turkey Removed from arXiv

The arXiv archive has removed 67 plagiarized papers, which were written by 15 Turkish physicists. Questions about the physics expertise of two of the authors emerged during their oral dissertation defenses, and the investigation widened from there.

Source: “Turkish Professors Uncover Plagiarism in Papers Posted on Physics Server.” The Chronicle of Higher Education News Blog, 6 September 2007.

Digital Scholarship Survey Results and Changes

Thanks to the 179 respondents who filled out the Digital Scholarship survey.

Asked the question "The following free digital publications are important sources of information for me," respondents' favorable ratings (five-point Likert Scale, with "Agree" and "Strongly agree" responses added together) were:

  1. Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography (established 10/96): 80.5%
  2. Open Access Bibliography: Liberating Scholarly Literature with E-Prints and Open Access Journals (established 3/05): 73.2%
  3. Scholarly Electronic Publishing Resources (established 9/97): 70.4%
  4. Open Access Webliography (established 8/05): 64.3%
  5. Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog (established 6/01): 59.2%
  6. DigitalKoans (established 4/05): 36.9%
  7. FlashBack (established 6/05): 19.5%

High levels of "Neither agree or disagree" responses for DigitalKoans (54.2%) and FlashBack (64.8%), combined with reader comments, suggested that readers were not as familiar with these publications as with the others.

The top-ranked publications in terms of continuation were: (1) Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography, (2) Open Access Bibliography, and (3) Scholarly Electronic Publishing Resources.

Annual paperback editions were of interest to 33.5% of respondents (both "agree" categories) for the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography and the 30.1% of respondents for the Open Access Bibliography. The acceptable price range was most frequently between $30 and $50.

Based on this survey and on use data (which does not always correlate well with the survey), I'm making the following changes:

  • Flashback has been discontinued. I'll cover a few of the most interesting items in regular DigitalKoans postings.
  • The Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog will be published monthly instead of biweekly.
  • Version two of the Open Access Webliography will be written.
  • A print-on-demand edition of the 2007 annual version of the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography will be published. (The HTML SEPB version and Scholarly Electronic Publishing Resources will continue to be published quarterly and they will continue to be freely available).

I'll take the high level of interest in the Open Access Bibliography under advisement. Like SEPB, the OAB is a major undertaking. It took nine months of more than full-time effort to write a draft for submission and a considerable amount of follow-up time to finalize it for publication.

Finally, a clarification. Some readers apparently assume that the above digital publications have been the result of a team effort. With the exceptions of the Open Access Webliography (which has a co-author), the Open Access Bibliography PDF file, and prior use of UH search engines for SEPB/SEPW, this has never been true. In addition to content creation, I have done all of the related Web and other digital production work myself, including creating and maintaining the Digital Scholarship site.

Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog Update (9/5/07)

The latest update of the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog (SEPW) is now available, which provides information about new scholarly literature and resources related to scholarly electronic publishing, such as books, journal articles, magazine articles, technical reports, and white papers.

The Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog will now be published on the first Wednesday of each month unless otherwise noted.

Especially interesting are: "Collaboration: Paradigm of the Digital Cultural Content Environment," "Digital Object Identifiers and Their Use in Libraries," "'Doing Much More Than We Have So Far Attempted'," Faculty Attitudes and Behaviors Regarding Scholarly Communication: Survey Findings from the University of California, Institutional Repositories: Content and Culture in an Open Access Environment, "Online Information Drives Growth," Peer Review: The Challenges for the Humanities and Social Sciences, Unlocking the Potential through Creative Commons: An Industry Engagement and Action Agenda, and "Will Open Access Undermine Peer Review?"

Web/Web 2.0 Resources and Tools

Here’s a list of a few Web/Web 2.0 resources and tools that developers may find useful.

AONS: Scanning Repositories for Obsolete Digital Formats

The APSR AONS II project has released a beta version of the Automatic Obsolescence Notification System (AONS).

Here's an excerpt from the announcement on apsr_announcements:

Users can register with the service by providing a URL to a repository's format scan summary. The AONS service will display the summary and allow a repository manager to compare the formats of items in their repository with information from format registries such as PRONOM and Library of Congress. These registries flag any formats that are likely to become obsolete. Repository managers can then make curation decisions about any items at risk, such as upgrading their formats.

By downloading and installing an AONS locally, an institution can also take advantage of a pilot risk metrics implementation. . . .

The AONS software is the result of the AONS II project funded under APSR and developed by David Pearson, David Levy and Matthew Walker from the National Library of Australia (NLA) with an administrative user interface developed by David Berriman at ANU.

The software is able to be downloaded from Sourceforge at and a mailing list is also available for support and feedback. As this is a beta release we welcome feedback to the Sourceforge mailing list to inform our testing which will continue until mid-September.

Please try out the pilot service by sending an email to to register with the service, and tell us which institution you are from. . . .

PRISM Controversy Recap

While the Association of American Publishers' Partnership for Research Integrity in Science and Medicine (PRISM) initiative didn't get a warm welcome from library and open access bloggers, it certainly got a heated one.

Peter Suber has pointed out a few of the more incisive responses: "Andrew Leonard on PRISM," "Has PRISM Violated Copyright?," "John Blossom on PRISM," "More Comments on PRISM [1]," "More Comments on PRISM [2]," "More on PRISM [1]," "More on PRISM [2]," "More on PRISM [3]," "More on PRISM [4]," "Much More on PRISM," and "Stevan Harnad on PRISM." As usual, Suber's own analysis is one of the most cogent: "Publishers Launch an Anti-OA Lobbying Organization." Matt Hodgkinson's post, "PRISM Are Scum," offers another link roundup. Rick Anderson, a frequent critic of the open access movement, disclaimed any affiliation with PRISM in a 8/30/07 liblicense-l message after the organization included his "Open Access: Clear Benefits, Hidden Costs" paper in its In the News: Articles page.

Jonathan A. Eisen, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California at Davis, said the following in his "Calling for a Boycott of AAP—Association of American Publishers" posting:

I think academics and the public need to fight back against this attempt to mislead the public about the issues surrounding Open Access publishing. And one way to fight back is to recommend that the members of AAP drop out or request termination of the PRISM effort. So here is a list (see below for the full list) with links of the members of AAP. If you are involved or have connections to any of these groups, consider writing or calling them and suggesting they reconsider involvement in AAP. Look, for example at all the University presses. If they do not back out of PRISM we should consider launching a boycott of AAP members.

So far, no official PRISM response to this tsunami of criticism that I'm aware of.