Repository Interface for Overlaid Journal Archives: Results from an Online Questionnaire Survey

The RIOJA project has released Repository Interface for Overlaid Journal Archives: Results from an Online Questionnaire Survey.

Here's an excerpt from the "Introduction":

The Repository Interface for Overlaid Journal Archives (RIOJA) project (http://www.ucl.ac.uk/ls/rioja) is an international partnership of members of academic staff, librarians and technologists from UCL (University College London), the University of Cambridge, the University of Glasgow, Imperial College London and Cornell University. It aims to address some of the issues around the development and implementation of a new publishing model, that of the overlay journal – defined, for the purposes of the project, as a quality-assured journal whose content is deposited to and resides in one or more open access repositories. The project is funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC, http://www.jisc.ac.uk/) and runs from April 2007 to June 2008.

The RIOJA project will create an interoperability toolkit to enable the overlay of certification onto papers housed in subject repositories. The intention is that the tool will be generic, helping any repository to realise its potential to act as a more complete scholarly resource. The project will also create a demonstrator overlay journal, using the arXiv repository and OJS software, with interaction between the two facilitated by the RIOJA toolkit.

To inform and shape the project, a survey of Astrophysics and Cosmology researchers has been conducted. The findings from that survey form the basis of this report.

The project team will also undertake formal and informal discussion with publishers and with academic and managing members of editorial boards. The survey and supplementary discussions will help to ensure that the RIOJA outputs address the needs and expectations of the research community. Finally, the overall long-term sustainability of a repository-overlay journal will be assessed. The project will examine the costs of adding peer review to arXiv deposits, of implementing and maintaining the functionality which the survey shows to be most valued by researchers, and of providing long-term preservation of content, and will aim to identify and appraise possible cost-recovery business models.

The Texas Digital Library Repository Is Live

Although there appears to have been no formal public announcement about its roll out, the DSpace-based Texas Digital Library Repository is available.

The TDL Repository contains some initial materials (mainly ETDs and Seventeenth-Century News) from three of the four founding TDL members (Texas A&M University at College Station, Texas Tech University at Lubbock, and the University of Texas at Austin; there are no materials from the University of Houston) as well as from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Using Open Journal Systems, TDL also provides access to the Journal of Digital Information, which is supported by the Texas A&M University Libraries.

The Texas Digital Library Shibboleth Federation has made progress in providing Shibboleth access to TDL for three of the four founding members (the status as of August 2007 was: Texas A&M University at College Station: fully deployed, Texas Tech University at Lubbock: agreement reached, and the University of Texas at Austin: fully deployed; there was no activity at the University of Houston). Progress was also being made for Shibboleth access for Baylor University, Texas State University, and the University of North Texas.

Presentations from the SCOAP3 US Focal Meeting

SCOAP3 (Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics) has released presentations from its SCOAP3 US Focal meeting at the University of California at Berkeley.

Here is an excerpt from the announcement that lists the presentations:

To find out more about SCOAP3, see the About SCOAP3 page.

Acta Crystallographica Section E Adopts Author-Pays OA Model and Creative Commons License

The International Union of Crystallography has adopted a very modest publication fee ($150) to support open access to Acta Crystallographica Section E: Structure Reports Online. It has also put the journal under a Creative Commons Attribution License.

Read more about it at "Acta Crystallographica E is Open Access."

To Loan an Electronic Article from an Elsevier E-Journal, Print It, Scan It, and Send it with Ariel

Of late, there has been discussion on the Liblicense-L list about how libraries should go about performing interlibrary loan transactions for articles published in licensed e-journals.

Since, in the U.S., print journals are owned, are subject to the "first sale doctrine," and are covered by long-standing CONTU Guidelines, libraries have not had to generally grapple with complex ILL issues for them; however, e-journals from major publishers are licensed, licenses are publisher-specific, and the terms of the license agreements determine if and how ILL can be performed.

Elsevier has clarified for the list how articles from its e-journals should be handled: the article should be printed, and then "mailed, faxed or scanned into Ariel (or a similar system) as means of delivery to the borrowing library." (Ariel is an ILL system that is widely used by libraries to deliver digital copies of documents.)

To recap the Ariel workflow, the digital article should be printed and then it should be digitized for delivery via Ariel.

See the ScienceDirect Interlibrary Loan Policy for more details.

Koninklijke Bibliotheek to Preserve Portico E-Journal Archive

Koninklijke Bibliotheek will preserve a dark copy of Portico's archive of digital journals in its e-Depot service.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

Portico and the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, the National Library of the Netherlands (the KB), are pleased to announce they have reached an agreement for an off-line copy of the Portico archive, which exceeds 6 million articles and 60 million files, to be held for safekeeping by the KB. Through its e-Depot program the KB has demonstrated its role in the vanguard of digital preservation. Placing a Portico-owned copy of the archive, in a secure access- and climate-controlled facility operated by the KB is one component of the replication strategy Portico is implementing to ensure the safety and security of the archive upon which a growing, international community relies. This arrangement also illustrates one way in which organizations internationally recognized for their digital preservation obligations and expertise can cooperate to form a strong, supportive network to safely preserve digital materials.

Here's a description of e-Depot from its home page:

The e-Depot is a digital archiving environment that ensures long-term access to digital objects which would otherwise be threatened by rapidly evolving software and hardware platforms as well as media decay. It is the dedicated archiving environment for the KB’s national electronic deposit collection. In addition, it will include the Dutch web archive and digitised master images. In line with the international nature of information provision, the KB has extended its e-Depot services to publishers worldwide. The e-Depot is supported by sustained research and development efforts geared towards maintaining the integrity of stored digital objects.

Here's a description of Portico from its "About Portico" page:

Portico began as the Electronic-Archiving Initiative launched by JSTOR in 2002 with a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to build upon The Foundation's seminal E-Journal Archiving Program. The charge of the Electronic-Archiving Initiative was to build a sustainable electronic-archiving model, and for more than two years, project staff worked on the development of necessary technology and engaged in extensive discussions with publishers and libraries to craft an approach that balances the needs of publishers and libraries while generating sufficient funding for the archive. In 2004, the Electronic-Archiving Initiative became a part of Ithaka Harbors, Inc., a non-profit organization with a mission to accelerate the productive uses of information technologies for the benefit of higher education around the world. Building upon extensive input gathered from commercial and not-for-profit publishers and guidance offered from libraries at a range of small, medium and large academic libraries, an electronic archiving service, known as Portico, was developed. Portico was launched in 2005 with additional support from JSTOR, Ithaka, The Library of Congress, and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Indiana University Libraries Publish Open Access Journal

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."

JISC E-Journal Archive Registry Study

JISC has released "Scoping Study for a Registry of Electronic Journals That Indicates Where They Are Archived."

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

The research and especially the interviews have confirmed the assumption behind the project that there is a need for more information, and more easily accessible information, about where e-journals are archived. However, what has also emerged strongly is that this issue cannot be considered in isolation, either from the overall context of relationships within the scholarly communication system, nor from other initiatives being undertaken to improve information flows e.g. in relation to the transfer of journal titles between publishers. . . .

Librarians felt that they were most likely to consult a registry in situations where they were considering taking out or renewing a subscription; considering cancellation of a print subscription in favour of an e-only subscription; contemplating relocating or discarding print holdings. The vast majority of potential users of such a registry would be library staff in university and national libraries, though organisations licensing e-journals on behalf of the library community would also be likely to use the registry to check compliance with licence conditions.

One of the key benefits of a registry is perceived to be the exposure of gaps in archive provision. This was identified by all types of stakeholder: librarians would want to be alerted to risks to any of their holdings; publishers who are making provision would like to see their efforts recognised and pressure placed on publishers who are not making satisfactory arrangements; archive organisations would also benefit as that effect fed through to more demand for their services.

The drawbacks to a registry as a solution to the acknowledged information gap were mainly seen as ones of practicality (keeping the information accurate and up to date), trust (especially whether a national solution is appropriate, and conversely whether an international solution is feasible) and sustainability of the funding model. Other solutions were suggested, mainly involving either WorldCat or ERM vendors such as Serials Solutions. The latter were also suggested as a complementary part of a solution involving, but not limited to, a registry.

Digital Video on JoVE (Journal of Visualized Experiments)

In a digital video from the Google Tech Talks series, Moshe Pritsker, Editor-in-Chief of JoVE (Journal of Visualized Experiments), discusses that video-based journal.

Here's an excerpt from the abstract:

Contrasting the rapid advancement of scientific research itself, scientific communication still heavily relies on traditional print journals. Print journals however, lack the necessary characteristics to allow enable an effective transfer of knowledge, which is significantly impeding scientific progress. Addressing this problem, the Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE, www.jove.com) implemented a novel, video-based approach to scientific publishing, based on visualization of experimental studies. Created with the participation of scientists from leading research institutions (e.g. Harvard, MIT, and Princeton), JoVE provides solutions to the "bottleneck" of the contemporary biological research: transparency and reproducibility of biological experiments. JoVE has so far released 9 monthly issues that include over 150 video-protocols on experimental approaches in developmental biology, neuroscience, microbiology and other fields.

STARGATE Report Investigates Issues with Software to Support Harvesting for Publishers without OAI-PMH-compliant Repositories

The JISC-funded extension of the STARGATE project has released the STARGATE Extension Final Report.

Here's an excerpt from the original STARGATE project page that explains its goals:

The Centre for Digital Library Research (CDLR) at of Strathclyde set out to implement a low-tech solution to OAI-based disclosure for small publishers. Their STARGATE project was based on the 'static repositories' model for using OAI-PMH . . . Instead of building an OAI-compliant repository, a publisher builds a static repository, effectively an XML file of the relevant metadata on an accessible server. A separate static repository gateway handles the technical aspects of making the metadata available for harvesting, i.e. the complexity is shifted away from the publisher.

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

The extension has produced a functional branded gateway that the publishing community can use to explore the use of static repositories. It will be maintained for the next year. The gateway is available at http://stargate.cdlr.strath.ac.uk/gateway/.

The project concludes that although functional the software is not suitable for deployment by a novice user. It is also effectively still in at the beta stage of development and it has only been used in a limited number of settings.

The project further suggests that the creation and maintenance of gateway(s) within the publishing community may be more suitably carried out in the same way that DOI and Purl provision is offered through a third-party service provider willing to work with developing open source software. Any deployment of a gateway by JISC to support wider participation in static repositories should also engage with the gateway software developers.

Biomedical Digital Libraries and BioMed Central Part Company

According to "Biomedical Digital Libraries Moves to Open Journal Systems," Biomedical Digital Libraries will no longer be published by BioMed Central because "BMC's author payment model had become untenable for most of the authors wishing to publish in the journal." In the future, the journal will be published using Public Knowledge Project's Open Journal Systems without author fees.

BioMed Central has an article-processing charges waiver policy with case-by-case basis review, and it also offers a variety of article-processing charges discounts. It is not clear why these cost-reduction mechanisms did not meet author needs.

Is the End of the Print Journal Near?: New ARL Report Examines This Issue

The Association of Research Libraries has published The E-only Tipping Point for Journals: What’s Ahead in the Print-to-Electronic Transition Zone.

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

The role of the printed journal in the institutional marketplace faces a steep decline in the coming 5 to 10 years. Print journals will exist mainly to address specialized needs, users, or business opportunities. Financial imperatives will draw libraries first—and ultimately publishers also—toward a tipping point where it no longer makes sense to subscribe to or publish printed versions of most journals.

Publishers will be driven to rationalize their investments in declining print revenue streams and to finance investments in e-publishing infrastructure and emerging opportunities. Some will be faster to do so, such as those already straining from the cost burden. Others will be slower, such as those with a self-supporting base of individual subscribers or significant advertising revenue from print.

A new focus will emerge on productivity in scholarly communication. Experiments will explore new business models and new ways of conducting and facilitating research. Along the way, vexing issues such as those surrounding assurance of long-term access to the scholarly record will continue to be sorted out and perhaps even solved.

JISC Academic Database Assessment Tool: Compare E-Resource Access Capabilities across Vendors

The free JISC Academic Database Assessment Tool allows users to compare journal title lists, journal database capabilities, and e-book database capabilities for selected e-resource products and systems. For example, the user can compare the functionality of ebrary with that of NetLibrary.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

With so many products offering a huge diversity and wealth of information, it can be difficult for librarians to know what resources they should be investing in. The Academic Database Assessment Tool provides access to detailed information and title lists for major bibliographic and full text databases. It also delivers key service information for database and e-Book content platforms. This enables librarians to quickly compare and contrast key items to assist in the purchase decision process. These include: a list of titles included in each database; search features available; linking methods e.g. full text linking; metadata standards and methods of access provided to these resources e.g. IP access, Athens or Shibboleth.

Prompted by the strong support from university librarians in the UK, a prototype version of this tool was launched at the end of 2006. Sponsorship from IBSS, Thomson Scientific, Elsevier and ProQuest means that this tool has been further developed from the beta stage of its development and continues to remain freely available.

As the information for this tool has been provided directly by the relevant content suppliers and publishers, librarians will have the opportunity to access the latest information on the resources they already subscribe to. Librarians can subscribe to the email altering service notifying them when suppliers update their listings.

SPARC/ACRL Explore Sustainability Issues with Three Open Access Journal Publishers

SPARC and ACRL have released podcasts/transcripts of interviews about sustainability issues with Bryan Vickery (BioMed Central), Mark Patterson (Public Library of Science), and Paul Peters (Hindawi Publishing Corporation). It has also released a matrix that analyzes the responses of these OA journal publishers about sustainability issues.

Brewster Kahle on Libraries Going Open

Brewster Kahle's "Libraries Going Open" document provides some details on where the Internet Archive and the Open Content Alliance are going with projects involving mass digitization of microfilm, mass digitization of journals, ILL of scanned out-of-print books, scanning books on demand, and other areas.

Co-Action Publishing News: One Journal Converts to OA and a New OA Journal Is Launched

Co-Action Publishing has announced that, starting in January 2008, the Swedish Nutrition Foundation's Scandinavian Journal of Food & Nutrition will become an open access journal and be renamed Food & Nutrition Research. Co-Action Publishing also announced the launch in the first quarter of 2008 of a new open access journal, Ethics & Global Politics. Both journals will be under Creative Commons licenses.

A Closer Look at OncologySTAT: Elsevier's Version of Open Access?

In a prior posting, I discussed Elsevier's release of OncologySTAT. In this one, I'll take a closer look at the system.

It appears that OncologySTAT permits registration by any type of user. As noted previously, it gathers fairly detailed registration information.

Is it an open access system? Let's look at it from the point of view of Peter Suber's' Open Access Overview. The barrier of registration exists, but the system removes price barriers. Since it doesn't change the underlying copyright terms of the included journals, it doesn’t remove permission barriers. However, as Suber states:

While removing price barriers without removing permission barriers is not enough for full OA under the BBB definition [see this explanation], there's no doubt that price barriers constitute the bulk of the problem for which OA is the solution. Removing price barriers alone will give most OA proponents most of what they want and need.

Moreover, some major open access advocates, such as Stevan Harnad, argue that free access is sufficient.

How is OncologySTAT funded? Here's an excerpt from the About OncologySTAT page:

OncologySTAT is commercially supported by online advertising, sponsorship, and educational grants. Individual access to OncologySTAT is free, based on users registering with the site.

The Advertise page offers a more detailed description of advertising options:

OncologySTAT offers an array of online advertising and sponsorship opportunities including:

  • Run-of-Site Online Advertising
  • Targeted Online Advertising: Behavioral, Contextual or Keyword
  • E-Newsletters: OncologySTAT InfoBLAST weekly e-newsletter
  • 27 Cancer-Type Sponsorships (Breast, Lung, Prostate, etc)
  • Banners, Spotlights, Skyscrapers, Keyword Search
  • iPanels – Interactive expandable ad units
  • Section and Content Sponsorship (Video, Chemotherapy Regimens, Article Downloads, etc.)
  • MicroSites: custom branded content/advertorial
  • Interactive live and on-demand Webinars

Here's what Suber says about ways that open access journals can be funded (italics added):

OA journals pay their bills very much the way broadcast television and radio stations do: those with an interest in disseminating the content pay the production costs upfront so that access can be free of charge for everyone with the right equipment. Sometimes this means that journals have a subsidy from the hosting university or professional society. Sometimes it means that journals charge a processing fee on accepted articles, to be paid by the author or the author's sponsor (employer, funding agency). OA journals that charge processing fees usually waive them in cases of economic hardship. OA journals with institutional subsidies tend to charge no processing fees. OA journals can get by on lower subsidies or fees if they have income from other publications, advertising, priced add-ons, or auxiliary services.

OncologySTAT is unusual in that the journals it covers also remain available under free-based, restricted-use licenses and as print subscriptions. However, if anyone can obtain free access though registration, is this a significant issue or an artifact of an older business model?

It appears that OncologySTAT is a limited open access experiment embedded in a larger conventional fee-based, restricted-access publishing model.

It will be interesting to see how OncologySTAT affects library subscriptions to these expensive medical journals. Cancellation decisions will be influenced by how permanent OncologySTAT appears to be: it will be more tempting to cancel subscriptions if the system shifts into a more permanent mode. Since there appears to be no change in underlying digital preservation arrangements, cancellation decisions will also be affected by how strongly libraries are committed to the long-term access to and preservation of these journals vs. short-term access to them. An immediate, massive rush to cancellation doesn't seem highly probable, and consequently OncologySTAT is more likely to add revenue than subtract it.

Elsevier Experiments with Free, Ad-Sponsored Access for Oncologists

Reed Elsevier has launched OncologySTAT, which offers oncologists free access to its medical journals in exchange for registration. Users will also have access to summaries of relevant research published elsewhere. Elsevier plans to support the service with online ads and the sale of mailing lists.

Here's an excerpt from "A Medical Publisher’s Unusual Prescription: Online Ads":

. . . Reed Elsevier executives hope that OncologySTAT.com users will be an attractive target for advertisers, providing a model for an array of portals they could set up for health care professionals. Future sites may focus on specialties like neurology, psychiatry, cardiology and infectious diseases, company officials said. . . .

Monique Fayad, an Elsevier senior vice president, said the total online advertising market was growing “in double digits” and added, “We expect it will be a $1 billion opportunity within the next two years.” . . .

Source: Freudenheim, Milt. "A Medical Publisher’s Unusual Prescription: Online Ads" The New York Times, 10 September 2007, C1, C5.

Athabasca University Establishes AU Press, an Open Access Publisher

Athabasca University has established AU Press, which will publish open access books, journals, and other digital publications.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

AU Press, Canada’s first 21st century university press, is dedicated to disseminating knowledge emanating from scholarly research to a broad audience through open access digital media and in a variety of formats (e.g., journals, monographs, author podcasts).

Our publications are of the highest quality and are assessed by peer review; however, we are dedicated to working with emerging writers and researchers to promote success in scholarly publishing.

Our geographical focus is Canada, the West, and the Circumpolar North, and we are mandated to publish innovative and experimental works that challenge the limits of established canons, subjects and formats. Series under development in several subject areas will promote and contribute to specific academic disciplines, and we aim to revitalize neglected forms such as diary, memoir and oral history.

At AU Press, we also publish scholarly websites with a particular focus on distance education and e-learning, labour studies, Métis and Aboriginal studies, gender studies and the environment.

BioMed Central Replies to Yale

On Sunday, DigitalKoans reported that Yale had canceled its BioMed Central membership. Today, BioMed Central has replied to the Yale posting about that decision.

Here's an excerpt from the BioMed Central posting:

The main concern expressed in the library's announcement is that the amount payable to cover the cost of publications by Yale researchers in BioMed Central's journals has increased significantly, year on year. Looking at the rapid growth of BioMed Central's journals, it is not difficult to see why that is the case. BioMed Central's success means that more and more researchers (from Yale and elsewhere) are submitting to our journals each year.


An increase in the number of open access articles being submitted and going on to be published does lead to an increase in the total cost of the open access publishing service provided by BioMed Central, but the cost per article published in BioMed Central's journals represents excellent value compared to other publishers.

The Yale library announcement notes that it paid $31,625 to cover the cost of publication in BioMed Central's journals by their authors in 2006, and that the anticipated cost in 2007 will be higher. But to put this into context, according to the Association of Research Library statistics, Yale spent more than $7m on serial subscriptions. Nonetheless, we do recognize that library budgets are very tight and that supporting the rapid growth of open access publishing out of library budgets alone may not be possible. . . .

If library budgets were the only source of funding to cover the cost of open access publication, this would be a significant obstacle. Fortunately, however, there are other sources of funding that are helping to accelerate the transition to open access. . . .

The Wellcome Trust report estimated that on average the cost associated with publishing a peer-reviewed research article is less than $3000, and further estimated that this represented only 1-2% of the typical investment by a funder in carrying out the research that led to the article. It is not surprising therefore, that major biomedical research funders such as NIH and HHMI now encourage open access publication, and are willing to provide financial support for it. BioMed Central's list of biomedical funder open access policies provides further information.

Authors may, of course, pay articles from their own grant funds, and around half of articles published in BioMed Central journals are indeed paid for in this way. However, relying on authors to pay for the cost of open access publication themselves puts open access journals at a significant disadvantage compared to traditional journals, which are supported centrally through library budgets, and so are often perceived to be 'free' by authors.

That is why BioMed Central introduced its institutional membership scheme, which allows institutions to centrally support the dissemination of open access research in the same way that they centrally support subscription journals, thereby creating a 'level playing field'.

In order to ensure that funding of open access publication is sustainable, we have encouraged institutions to set aside a small fraction of the indirect funding contribution that they receive from funders to create a central open access fund.

Over the last several months, BioMed Central has hosted workshops on the issue of sustainable funding for open access at the UK's Association of Research Manager's and Administrators annual conference and at the Medical Library Association's meeting in Philadelphia [see report]. Further such workshops are planned.

In this way, by helping research funders, administrators, VPs of research and librarians to work together to provide sustainable funding channels for open access, we aim to "provide a viable long-term revenue base built upon logical and scalable options", as called for in statement fromYale's library. . . .

We look forward to working with librarians and research administrators at Yale to develop a solution that will make it as easy as possible for Yale's researchers to continue publish their open access research articles in BioMed Central's journals.