Open Access Directory, a Factual Wiki, Launched

The Open Access Directory, a Wiki for factual information (vs. narrative descriptions) about the open access movement has been launched.

Here's the press release:

Peter Suber and Robin Peek have launched the Open Access Directory (OAD), a wiki where the open access community can create and maintain simple factual lists about open access to science and scholarship. Suber, a Research Professor of Philosophy at Earlham College, and Peek, an Associate Professor of Library and Information Science at Simmons College, conceived the project in order to collect OA-related lists for one-stop reference and searching.

The wiki will start operating with about half a dozen lists—for example, conferences devoted to open access, discussion forums devoted to open access, and journal "declarations of independence"—and add more over time.

The goal is to harness the knowledge and energy of the open access community itself to enlarge and correct the lists. A list on a wiki, revised continuously by its users, can be more comprehensive and up to date than the same list maintained by an individual. By bringing many OA-related lists together in one place, OAD will make it easier for users, especially newcomers, to discover them and use them for reference. The easier they are to maintain and discover, the more effectively they can spread useful, accurate information about open access.

The URL for the Open Access Directory is oad.simmons.edu.

The wiki is represented by an editorial board consisting of prominent figures in the open access movement. The Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS) at Simmons College hosts and provides technical support to the OAD.

Editors and administrators

Robin Peek. Editor, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Library and Information Science, Simmons College
Athanasia Pontika. Assistant Editor, Doctoral Student, Graduate School of Library and Information Science, Simmons College
Terry Plum. Technical Coordinator, Assistant Dean for Technology and Director, Simmons College

Editorial board members

Charles Bailey. Publisher, Digital Scholarship
Leslie Chan. Program Supervisor for New Media Studies, University of Toronto Scarborough
Heather Joseph. Executive Director, Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC)
Melissa Hagemann. Open Society Institute
Peter Suber. Research Professor of Philosophy at Earlham College, Visiting Fellow at Yale Law School, and Senior Researcher at SPARC
Alma Swan. Key Perspectives Ltd
John Wilbanks. Vice President, Creative Commons

Read more about it at "Launch of the Open Access Directory."

Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography 2007 Annual Edition Published

The Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography 2007 Annual Edition is now available from Digital Scholarship.

Annual editions of the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography are PDF files designed for printing. Each annual edition is based on the last HTML version published during the edition's year.

The SEPB 2007 Annual Edition is based on Version 70 (12/18/2007). The printed bibliography is over 260 pages long. The PDF file is over 1 MB.

In addition to updated URLs, hundreds of additional URLs have been added to the SEPB 2007 Annual Edition. (The additional URLs will be added to Version 72 of the SEPB HTML edition.)

Vuze Issues Report on ISP Throttling

Vuze has issued a report (First Results from Vuze Network Monitoring Tool) analyzing the network management tactics of ISPs.

Here's an excerpt from the report:

We believe that there is sufficient data to suggest that network management practices that "throttle" internet traffic are widespread. At a minimum, more investigation is required to determine whether these resets are happening in the ordinary course of business or whether they represent the kind of throttling practices which target specific applications and/or protocols, harming the consumer experience and stifling innovation.

Read more about it at "Study: All Major Broadband Providers Disrupt P2P," "U.S. Senate Committee Tackles Net Neutrality Today," and "Vuze Says Some ISPs Abuse TCP Resets; Data Not That Clearcut."

E-Book Readers to Go: NCSU Libraries to Check Out Kindles and Sony Readers

Starting next week, the North Carolina State University Libraries will check out Kindles and Sony Reader Digital Books from its Learning Commons. Users will ask library staff to load desired e-books on the readers at check-out.

Read more about it at "Library to Offer New Reading Options."

Another interesting development is that the NCSU Libraries are supporting both Weblog (WolfBlogs) and Wiki (WolfWikis) services for NCSU community members.

University of Florida Has Digitized 1.7 Million Pages, over 100,000 in Last Month Alone

The University of Florida Digital Library Center has announced that it has digitized over 1.7 million pages, with about 100,000 pages being added in the last month alone. Their digitization statistics are available online. (Thanks to Open Access News.)

Read more about it "100,000 Pages a Month."

Further Coverage about and Commentary on the Georgia State Digital Copyright Lawsuit

Here's a selection of recent news articles and Weblog postings about the Georgia State copyright infringement lawsuit. See my prior postings for further information about the suit ("Georgia State Copyright Infringement Suit Coverage and Commentary" and "Georgia State Sued by Three Publishers for Alleged Digital Copyright Infringement in E-Reserves, Course Management, and Other Systems").

"Academic Publishers Sue US Uni over Digital Course Material"

It is an estimate that electronic course packs now constitute half of all syllabus reading at American colleges and universities. . . . Cambridge University Press, for example charges 17 cents a page for each student for electronic use, and generally grants permission for use of as much as 20 percent of a book.

"Copyright Suit Tests How Much Is Too Much"

Indeed, the complaint notes that the three plaintiffs have published more than 100 books and monographs authored by GSU professors. That GSU is a nonprofit institution shouldn't have any bearing on how much unauthorized copying it can do, Smith [Frank Smith, Cambridge University Press] says.

"We're a nonprofit," he points out. "I assume they wouldn't want their classes flooded with students who weren't paying tuition, but you could say there's no extra cost to filling another desk. I'm sure they would resist that, and I could see why."

"Publishers vs Academics"

The educational area is one where courts have traditionally afforded a greater degree of leeway in fair use and even the plaintiff's lawyer has to admit that he can't find a law or binding precedent stating how much digital copying would be "not too much." It seems likely that if the case ever makes it as far as a decision that decision would be appealed. My personal opinion is that they'll work out a settlement before it gets that far—neither side wants to see a precedent set that would go against them. Plus there's a core reality that academic publishers and educational institutions exist in a kind of death-grip dependency that would harm both if it was violently broken.

"Publishing Group Hires Qorvis for Lawsuit Messaging"

The Association of American Publishers hired Qorvis to handle messaging for three academic publishers' copyright lawsuit against Georgia State University.

"Suing Georgia"

So, . . . what's left if you really, really, really believe that educators ought to be able to use whatever they need to and want to use in their classrooms without worrying about what it costs or whether it's fair use?

Consumer resistance, or OA.

"Temperance Is a Virtue"

If that case every reaches the stage of arguing the fair use defense, I hope the court will look very hard at the second fair use factor—the nature of the copyrighted work. Previously, the action on this factor has been minimal and has largely focused on published versus unpublished works and how much originality is necessary for "thick" or "thin" protection. But the economics of a particular segment of publishing, especially one as dysfunctional as scholarly publishing, ought to be considered when analyzing fair use, and factor two is a good place to do that. If the system is structured in a way that undermines the whole incentive purpose of copyright, as I have argued the scholarly publishing is, factor two, which really focuses on the expectations of creators of different types of works, should strongly favor an expansive application of fair use.

"What Does the Lawsuit against Georgia State Mean?"

There are a number of possible outcomes in this case. Settlement is possible. The complaint itself is somewhat vague in its details; while specific examples are provided for some of the allegedly infringing uses, the publishers provide no specific details or examples of professors linking to course material from their open web pages, or any information about specifically infringing behaviors within the course management system. Although it claims the copying is in excess of what is permitted as fair use, the publishers do not offer a specific discussion of what it considers to be the bounds of fair use, nor does it adequately define course packs, nor offer any interpretation of the cited cases against copy shops, other than to broadly claim that they act as guiding precedence.

Report Released: Strategies for Open and Permanent Access to Scientific Information in Latin America

CRIA has released Strategies for Open and Permanent Access to Scientific Information in Latin America: Focus on Health and Environmental Information for Sustainable Development, a report about the 2007 workshop of the same name.

Read more about it at "Workshop Report: Strategies for Open, Permanent Access to Scientific Information."

EDUCAUSE Podcast on P2P File Sharing: "Don't Download This Panel"

EDUCAUSE has released a podcast on P2P file sharing called "Don't Download This Panel." The podcast is from a panel discussion about the topic at the EDUCAUSE 2008 Western Regional Conference.

The speakers are:

  • Greg DePriest, Vice President, Technology Policy, NBC Universal
  • Kenneth C. Green, Founding Director, The Campus Computing Project
  • Fred von Lohmann, Senior Staff Attorney, Electronic Frontier Foundation
  • Session moderator: Kent Wada, Director, IT Strategic Policy, UCLA

National Endowment for the Humanities High Performance Computing Initiative Launched

The National Endowment for the Humanities' Office of Digital Humanities has announced the Humanities High Performance Computing Initiative.

Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

As you may have seen in today's Chronicle of Higher Education, the NEH has just announced our new Humanities High Performance Computing initiative—HHPC for short. Our goal is to start a conversation about how high performance computers—supercomputers—can be used for humanities research. We are working with colleagues at the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation to provide you with information on how high performance/grid computing and data storage might be used for work in the humanities. We are also announcing a new grant competition with DOE to award time and training on their machines. I urge you to check out our HHPC Resources page for more information.

Here's an excerpt from the Humanities High Performance Computing Resource page:

So what do we mean by "HHPC?" Humanities High-Performance Computing (HHPC) refers to the use of high-performance machines for humanities and social science projects. Currently, only a small number of humanities scholars are taking advantage of high-performance computing. But just as the sciences have, over time, begun to tap the enormous potential of HPC, the humanities are beginning to as well. Humanities scholars often deal with large sets of unstructured data. This might take the form of historical newspapers, books, election data, archaeological fragments, audio or video contents, or a host of others. HHPC offers the humanist opportunities to sort through, mine, and better understand and visualize this data.

Interview with Microsoft's Pablo Fernicola about Article Authoring Add-in for Microsoft Office Word 2007

Jon Udell has posted an interview ("Word for Scientific Publishing") with Pablo Fernicola, a Microsoft Group Manager, about the Article Authoring Add-in for Microsoft Office Word 2007 (see my prior posting "Microsoft Developing Authoring Add-in for Microsoft Office Word 2007 with NLM DTD Support"). (Warning: there is a very annoying Silverlight download pop-up that obscures part of the post.)

Udell has also posted a screencast of Fernicola demonstrating the add-in ("Pablo Fernicola Demonstrates the Word Add-In for Scientific Authors").

CrossRef and iParadigms to Launch Scholarly Plagiarism Analysis Service

CrossRef and iParadigms will launch CrossCheck in June, which will allow publishers to analyze content in both publisher systems and Internet Web sites in order to identify works that may have been plagiarized.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

CrossRef is partnering with iParadigms, LLC to offer its members—leading scholarly and professional publishers—the opportunity to verify the originality of works submitted for publication using the iThenticate service to check against a vast database of proprietary as well as open web content. Until now, there was no automated way to check submissions against previous publications because the published literature had not been indexed and "text fingerprinted" for this purpose. The CrossCheck database will include the full-text journals of leading academic publishers, and is expected to grow very rapidly over the coming months as CrossRef member publishers sign up for the service.

CrossCheck will be available to all CrossRef members who opt to contribute their content to the database. To use the service publishers will need to integrate the checking tool into their editorial processes and develop suitable policies and guidelines. CrossRef is working with iParadigms, member publishers, and editorial system software producers on appropriate technical information and guidelines for CrossCheck.

JorumOpen, UK Repository for Creative Commons Licensed Educational Materials, Announced

JISC has announced JorumOpen, a national repository of open access educational materials under Creative Commons licenses.

Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

It was announced today that Jorum, the UK national repository for learning and teaching materials funded by JISC, is to offer open educational resources. This will make it easier for lecturers and teaching staff to share and re-use each other's teaching resources. JorumOpen—as it will be called—will also provide a showcase for UK universities and colleges on the international stage. . . .

Jorum is managed jointly by EDINA and Mimas, the two National Academic Data Centres funded by JISC at the Universities of Edinburgh and Manchester. During the first phase of Jorum's development, the focus has been on building a system that safeguards investment in digital learning resources and offers controlled access to licensed materials. The result is a service that supports access to over 2,500 learning resources for download for direct use in the classroom and within virtual learning environments (VLEs).

Through the development of JorumOpen, lecturers and teachers will be able to share materials under the Creative Commons licence framework: this makes sharing easier, granting users greater rights for use and re-use of online content and easier to understand. Importantly, it does not require prior registration. As a result availability is global as well as across UK universities and colleges. JorumOpen will run alongside a 'members only' facility, JorumEducationUK, that will support sharing of material just within the UK educational sector; this will be available only to registered users and contributors, as is currently the case.

Open Access to High-Energy Physics Journals: Greater Western Library Alliance Expresses Interest in SCOAP3 Project

The Greater Western Library Alliance, a consortium of 31 research libraries, has expressed interest in the SCOAP3 project. The Greater Western Library Alliance joins a growing list of U.S. institutions interested in the SCOAP3 project.

Here's an excerpt from Towards Open Access Publishing in High Energy Physics: Executive Summary of the Report of the SCOAP3 Working Party that explains the project:

The proposed [SCOAP3] initiative aims to convert high-quality HEP journals to OA, pursuing two goals:

  • to provide open and unrestricted access to all HEP research literature in its final, peer-reviewed form;
  • to contain the overall cost of journal publishing by increasing competition while assuring sustainability.

In this new model, the publishers’ subscription income from multiple institutions is replaced by income from a single financial partner, the "Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics" (SCOAP3). SCOAP3 is a global network of HEP funding agencies, research laboratories, and libraries. Each SCOAP3 partner will recover its contribution from the cancellation of its current journal subscriptions. This model avoids the obvious disadvantage of OA models in which authors are directly charged for the OA publication of their articles. . . .

In practice, the OA transition will be facilitated by the fact that the large majority of HEP articles are published in just six peer-reviewed journals from four publishers. Five of those six journals carry a majority of HEP content. These are Physical Review D (published by the American Physical Society), Physics Letters B and Nuclear Physics B (Elsevier), Journal of High Energy Physics (SISSA/IOP) and the European Physical Journal C (Springer). The aim of the SCOAP3 model is to assist publishers to convert these "core" HEP journals entirely to OA and it is expected that the vast majority of the SCOAP3 budget will be spent to achieve this target. The sixth journal, Physical Review Letters (American Physical Society), is a "broadband" journal that carries only a small fraction (10%) of HEP content; it is the aim of SCOAP3 to sponsor the conversion to OA of this journal fraction. The same approach can be extended to another "broadband" journal popular with HEP instrumentation articles: Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research A (Elsevier) with about 25% HEP content.

Creative Commons Statement of Intent for Attribution-ShareAlike Licenses Made Official

The draft designation for the Creative Commons Statement of Intent for Attribution-ShareAlike Licenses has been removed, and the document is now the official explanation of the goals of this group of licenses.

Read more about it at "Creative Commons Statement of Intent for Attribution-ShareAlike Licenses Released."

Georgia State Copyright Infringement Suit Coverage and Commentary

Here's a selection of news articles and Weblog postings about the Georgia State copyright infringement lawsuit.

"Coursepack Sharing: An Idea Whose Time Has Come?": John Mark Ockerbloom, who maintains The Online Books Page, looks at the suit from an open access point of view. He says:

But in a world that's brought us global content sharing systems like Flickr, CiteULike, and PubMedCentral, it's not that much of a stretch to imagine systems that would let instructors provide and share open access course readings more readily. A well-designed, browsable and searchable repository of such readings could provide a convenient way for professors to upload, organize, and disseminate open coursepacks for their students ("Just go to the OpenCoursePacks website, and type in the name of my course", they could say). The same site could also let profs could tag, annotate, and recommend their readings, thereby making it that much easier for other professors to find and include suitable open access content in their own coursepacks. With a good design, and suitable scale and interest, a coursepack sharing site could make a lot more good instructional material widely and freely used and shared.

"Georgia State Sued For Copyright Infringement": Information Media Partners supports the suit and provides an interesting comment about publishers' fear of entering the "valley of death" of the print-to-electronic transition.

"Oxford, Cambridge and Sage Sue Georgia State": Paul N. Courant, University Librarian and Dean of Libraries at the University of Michigan, reacts to the suit. In summary, he says:

Things have come to a pretty pass when academic institutions sue each other over academic matters. Even if the publishers prove to be right on the merits, the lawsuit ought to be the last resort, and student use of academic materials produced by academic institutions ought be priced at something like marginal cost, rather than at the price that maximizes profit. And one wonders why three rich and distinguished institutions would go after an urban university that is much less well-resourced.

"A Press Revolt against E-Packet Practices": Andy Guess' Inside Higher Ed article overviews the suit, provides background information about prior communications between GSU and the plaintiff’s law firm, notes that the suit indicates that the e-reserves system wasn't restricted access until after a complaint to the university, and includes a call from Kenneth C. Green, director of the Campus Computing Project, for a iTunes-like system for scholarly material.

"Publishers Sue Georgia State for Copyright Infringement": Calvin Reid's Publisher's Weekly article overviews the suit and includes comments by Patricia Schroeder (AAP President and Chief Executive Officer), Allan Adler (AAP Vice President, Legal and Governmental Affairs), and Niko Pfund (Oxford University Press Vice President).

"Publishers Sue Georgia State University Over E-Reserves": Andrew Albanese's Library Journal article overviews the suit and includes comments by Pfund as well as a useful brief recap of prior e-reserves disputes and resolutions. (For more background, see Albanese's 2007 article "Down with E-Reserves: Confusing, Contentious, and Vital, E-Reserves Fuel Higher Education—And an Ongoing Copyright Battle.") Albanese notes that the "suit offers a remarkably detailed view of what the plaintiffs believe to be infringing activity at GSU, including specific examples of uses it considers to be well beyond the scope of fair use and a detailed appendix of alleged infringed materials."

"Trying to Sue State U": Kevin Smith, Scholarly Communications Officer at Duke University, analyzes the suit, weaving in an analysis of a recent case of state sovereign immunity and copyright infringement (discussed here in "Copyright Infringement Liability of State Employees"). In summary, Smith says:

A little bit of attention to the economics of scholarly publishing quickly undermines the claim in this complaint that, without permission fees for electronic reserves, the incentive system of copyright will be undermined. No monetary incentive currently exists for the vast majority of academic publishing, from the point of view of faculty, yet academics keep writing. There is no evidence at all that this well of free content will suddenly go dry if publishers are not able to collect an additional income stream from that well. If this suit goes forward in spite of sovereign immunity, that should be the issue on which the court focuses its attention.

For further reactions, see Jennifer Howard's "Librarians React to Lawsuit Against Georgia State U."

Copyright Infringement Liability of State Employees

Analyzing Mary Minow's "District Court Invalidates Portion of Copyright Act as Unconstitutional; Holds State University and Employee Immune from Claim for Copyright Infringement," copyright expert William Patry has written a timely summary of the copyright infringement liability that state employees face in light of the state sovereign immunity doctrine ("State Sovereign Immunity and State Employees"), and Georgia Harper has commented on his analysis ("Another Attention Getter on the Campus Infringement Front").

Here's an excerpt from Harper's post:

His [Patry's] commentary, and the commentary to which he points at the Stanford Fair Use blog [Minow's commentary], both make the distinction which can be sort of confusing, that even though sovereign immunity protects individuals acting in their official capacity, when they have acted in a way that is illegal, they are going to get stripped of the character of "acting within official capacity," Basically, you can't be acting officially if you are breaking the law. It can't be the official act of the state to break the law. Isn't logic great?

"Institutional Repository Checklist for Serving Institutional Management"

Leslie Carr, Wendy White, Susan Miles, and Bill Mortimer have deposited a for-discussion draft of the "Institutional Repository Checklist for Serving Institutional Management" in OR08 Publications repository.

Here's the abstract:

This document is a For Discussion draft that came from the Research Assessment Experience session of the EPrints User Group at Open Repositories 2008. Comment is invited from managers of all repository platforms to share experience of the demands of the processes involved in supporting research assessment at an institutional level. The aim of institutional repositories has focused on serving the interests of faculty—researchers and teachers—by collecting their intellectual outputs for long-term access, preservation and management. However, experience shows that in order to attain the engagement of the faculty, it is necessary to obtain the support of the institutional management. But in order to gain management support, a repository has to demonstrate a measureable and effective contribution to current management agendas and concerns—e.g. research management or research assessment. Such contributions are achievable, but only if the repository fulfils a number of criteria that are in addition to its usual library-faculty roles. This document lists the success criteria as distilled from the authors' recent experience.

ALCTS Preservation and Reformatting Section Publishes Digital Preservation Definition

The Preservation and Reformatting Section of the Association for Library Collections & Technical Services, a division of the American Library Association, has published its formal definition of digital preservation.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

The definition was developed to promote an understanding of digital preservation within the library community, as well as our allied professions and the user communities we exist to serve. This definition is presented to mark our current understanding of digital preservation and encourage further development of these ideas.

This definition grew out of a conversation held at the Digital Preservation Discussion Group at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in 2007. An ad hoc task force crafted language that was shared with a number of constituencies during the spring and early summer of 2007. The definition was discussed and approved by the PARS Executive Committee during the 2008 Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia. The ALCTS Board of Directors approved it during Midwinter, and the definition was presented to and accepted by Council as an informational document. The definition is being incorporated into the forthcoming revision of the current ALA Preservation Policy currently being undertaken by PARS.

The working group studied a number of resources to familiarize itself with the critical elements of digital preservation identified by a broad selection of individuals and agencies. These ideas were cast into language that speaks to a wide variety of stakeholders while also being consistent with the core preservation concepts that have developed in the library and archival communities.

The core concepts are presented in a short, medium and long version to accommodate a variety of needs. The long version includes a number of currently accepted best practices but is not intended to be an exhaustive list. As more is learned about implementing digital preservation programs, the definitions should be reviewed and revised on a regular basis.

The definition will be reviewed and updated as needed.

OCLC Announces Digital Archive Service

OCLC has announced the availability of a Digital Archive service.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

The service provides a secure storage environment for libraries to easily manage and monitor master files and digital originals. The importance of preserving master files grows as a library's digital collections grow. Libraries need a workflow for capturing and managing master files that finds a balance between the acquisition of both digitized and born-digital content while not outpacing a library's capability to manage these large files. . . .

The Digital Archive service is a specially designed system in a controlled operating environment dedicated to the ongoing managed storage of digital content. OCLC has developed specific systems processes and procedures for the service tuned to the management of data for the long term.

From the time content arrives, the Digital Archive systems begin inspecting it to ensure continuity. OCLC systems perform quality checks and record the results in a "health record" for each file. Automated systems revisit these quality checks periodically so libraries receive up-to-date reports on the health of the collection. OCLC provides monthly updated information for all collections on the personal archive report portal.

For users of CONTENTdm, OCLC's digital collection management software for libraries and other cultural heritage institutions, the Digital Archive service is an optional capability integrated with various workflows for building collections. Master files are secured for ingest to the Digital Archive service using the CONTENTdm Acquisition Station, the Connexion digital import capability and the Web Harvesting service.

For users of other content management systems, the Digital Archive service provides a low-overhead mechanism for safely storing master files.

Comcast and Pando Networks Want to Create P2P Bill of Rights and Responsibilities

Comcast and Pando Networks have announced that they want to create a P2P Bill of Rights and Responsibilities. The announcement was greeted with skepticism by some net neutrality advocates.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

Comcast Corporation and Pando Networks, Inc. announced today they will lead an industry-wide effort to create a "P2P Bill of Rights and Responsibilities" (BRR) for peer-to-peer (P2P) users and Internet Service Providers (ISPs). The two companies plan to collaborate and engage with industry experts, other ISPs and P2P companies, content providers and others to set a framework for the BRR that can serve as a best practice. The purpose would be to clarify what choices and controls consumers should have when using P2P applications as well as what processes and practices ISPs should use to manage P2P applications running on their networks. For example, P2P users should have the right to control their computers’ resources when using P2P applications.

In addition, Comcast and Pando plan to conduct a test of Pando Network Aware™ P2P technology on Comcast’s fiber-optic network. The purpose of the test will be to capture and analyze the data flow associated with downloading a file using Pando’s P2P application. These tests, along with tests Pando will conduct on a variety of other ISP networks, including cable, DSL, fiber and wireless, will measure things like performance, speed, distance and geography as well as the bandwidth consumption impact to the ISP. Comcast, Pando and the P4P Working Group plan to publish the results of these tests so other ISPs can benefit from understanding how P2P applications might be optimized for traveling over different types of networks in different environments and geographies.

Today’s announcement builds on Comcast’s March 27th announcement to collaborate with BitTorrent and the broader Internet and ISP community to more effectively address issues associated with rich media content and network capacity management. It also builds on Pando’s recent announcements of its P4P test results which demonstrated Pando’s ability to reduce network congestion and speed content delivery by routing P2P traffic more effectively across cable, DSL, and fiber broadband networks.

The Pando test will provide additional data to help Comcast migrate to a protocol-agnostic network management technique by the end of this year. The arrangement is yet another example of how these technical issues can be worked out through private business discussions and without the need for government intervention.

Read more about it at "But Why Do We Need a P2P Bill Of Rights in the First Place?"; "Comcast Calls for 'P2P Bill of Rights'"; "Comcast Loves File Sharing, Honest!"; "Comcast to Spearhead Creation of P2P Bill of Rights"; "Comcast Wants to Be the Net's Judge, Jury, and Executioner"; and "Public Knowledge Calls Comcast-Pando Proposal 'Ludicrous'."

Association of American University Presses Issues Press Release Supporting Digital Copyright Lawsuit against Georgia State

The Association of American University Presses has issued a press release supporting the digital copyright lawsuit against Georgia State University (see "Georgia State Sued by Three Publishers for Alleged Digital Copyright Infringement in E-Reserves, Course Management, and Other Systems.")

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

In today's universities, it is increasingly rare for students to buy assigned books at the campus bookstore or purchase coursepacks at the local copyshop. Instead, professors often distribute assigned course readings electronically through digital course management, e-reserves, or similar systems. While many universities seek legally required permissions, others do not and simply distribute substantial excerpts from books and journals without permission or compensation. This has become a significant problem for university presses, who depend upon the income due them to continue to publish the specialized scholarly books required to educate students and to advance university research.

Against this backdrop, three scholarly publishers, Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, and Sage Publications, have recently filed suit against Georgia State University officials, citing a pattern of illegal distribution of copyrighted book and journal content through digital course management and similar systems controlled by Georgia State. The Association of American University Presses supports the difficult decision made by Cambridge and Oxford, both AAUP members, to take this action—particularly in light of its broad concerns for the critical role that university presses, which are non-profits, play in the world of university instruction and scholarly communications.

The basic legal issue in the suit, namely whether permissions are required for course materials, was forcefully addressed in Basic Books v. Kinko's Graphics Corp. (1991), which held that the coursepacks sold by Kinko's required the payment of permissions fees to publishers, and that the reproduction of a single chapter was "quantitatively [and] qualitatively substantial" under the Copyright Act. While AAUP respects the doctrine of fair use, which permits spontaneous and limited uses of copyrighted material for instruction, it is clear that universities need to seek permission for more regular and substantial uses of excerpts in coursepacks and other assigned reading. That the delivery method for coursepacks is digital rather than print-on-paper does not change the nature of the use or the content, and such uses are governed by the same legal principles established in earlier cases.

University presses are non-profits that operate on very thin margins, and their primary audience is the university community. Indeed, although university presses comprise only a small segment of the market, they supply a very significant proportion of the books and journal articles taught and read in universities, particularly in graduate and upper-level undergraduate courses. . . .

University presses also serve a critical role for universities by providing faculty with a platform to publish their research, a role central to scholarship and the tenure system. . . .

Many universities have understood these realities and have promulgated strong institutional policies on the digital use of copyrighted materials. Over the last two years, publishers have had productive discussions with several universities including Cornell, Syracuse, Marquette and Hofstra, all of whom have recently adopted sound copyright policies about the use of digital course materials. Several mechanisms currently exist for universities to obtain clearance for the use of these materials, whether through individual publishers or the Copyright Clearance Center. While many universities have adopted a centralized approach and treated electronic course materials as they do paper, Georgia State has flatly rebuffed repeated attempts by publishers to work toward an acceptable university policy and has continued to foster a system of widespread copyright abuse.

The decision to file a suit is never easy, and always a last resort. It is particularly painful for non-profit publishers to sue a university, even if in this situation it was unavoidable. "It feels like suing a member of the family" said AAUP Executive Director Peter Givler. "Unfortunately, the alleged infringement is like stealing from a member of the family."

Georgia State Sued by Three Publishers for Alleged Digital Copyright Infringement in E-Reserves, Course Management, and Other Systems

Backed by the Association of American Publishers, Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, and SAGE Publications have sued Georgia State University alleging "systematic, widespread and unauthorized copying and distribution of a vast amount of copyrighted works" via GSU's e-reserves, course management, and other systems.

The suit "seeks injunctive relief to bring an end to such practices, but does not seek monetary damages." The defendants named in the suit are the GSU President, Provost, Dean of Libraries, and Associate Provost for Information Systems and Technology.

Read more about it at "Publishers Sue Georgia State on Digital Reading Matter" and "Publishers Take Action against Georgia State University Copyright Infringement."

Going Up: Serials Prices Increase 9% to 11% in 2008

Library Journal has published "Periodicals Price Survey 2008: Embracing Openness."

Most of the narrative discusses open access developments. The news on toll-access serials remains grim:

Prices of subscription-based journals increased nine to ten percent in 2008, driven by an extremely weak dollar. Non-U.S. titles in the humanities and social sciences increased even more (11 percent), because publishers in these disciplines tend to price in native currencies, driving U.S. prices up when those currencies are converted to dollars. The sciences, on the other hand, are dominated by large European publishers that price in U.S. dollars, reducing the volatility of prices and keeping price increases in foreign scientific journals under nine percent. Given the continuing slide of the dollar, expect increases in 2009 to approach ten percent overall.

As usual, the article includes detailed tables packed with serials cost information.

Average subscription prices in some high-ticket disciplines include: Chemistry, $3,490; Physics, $3,103; Engineering, $1,919; Biology, $1,810; and Technology, $1,776; and Astronomy, $1,671.

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