Re: FOS Newsletter Excerpts

From: Peter Suber <>
Date: Wed, 19 Dec 2001 19:30:44 +0000

      Excerpts from the Free Online Scholarship (FOS) Newsletter
      December 19, 2001


* _Cortex_, a journal of the nervous system and behavior, has just freed
its contents, making its online edition free of charge to all readers with
no enforced waiting periods. The new policy is the work of the new editor,
Sergio Della Sala. _Cortex_ still publishes a print edition with a
subscription fee, but to coincide with the new access policy it has reduced
the subscription price. The journal is betting that free online access
will not significantly diminish its revenues. If it does, then
non-subscribers may have to wait a few months after the print edition
appears before they have free online access. _Cortex_ is published by
Masson Italia, a for-profit publisher.

Cortex home page

Guest editorial ("Viewpoint") by Stevan Harnad on the occasion of the
change of policy

* BioMed Central will institute processing charges for articles starting on
January 1. The standard charge will be $500 per article, though it will be
waived for authors from developing countries and in cases of
hardship. (PS: See my thoughts on this funding model from FOSN for
9/6/01. My views haven't changed in substance since then, but in
temperature I've definitely warmed to the BMC model. If access is to be
free, then journal operating costs must be paid by knowledge producers or
third parties, not knowledge consumers. Or, funders should pay for
dissemination, not for access. Hence, BMC is on the right track, all the
more so for avoiding the term "author fees" for these processing charges.)

* Academic Press journal articles are now searchable through
Scirus. Scirus permits free full-text searching of texts that are not
available for free full-text reading or printing (see FOSN for 5/25/01).

* Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) has completed its "Scientific Century"
project, the retroactive digitization of its collected bibliographic
citations and abstracts. The CAS online database now contains 20.5 million
records from 1907 to the present. The new historical content is part of
the standard CAS license and is not separately available.

* _Nature_ and three other journals have pooled their contents to create a
free online collection of research papers and reviews reflecting 100 years
of research on cell division. The costs are being picked up by Boehringer
Ingelheim, a drug company. The site title, "Web Focus on Cell Division",
suggests that this may become a series with other installments or foci in
the future.

* The European Union has decided to levy a value added tax (VAT) on web
downloads. The primary target seems to be games, software, and
entertainment. But the language in the EU press release is unqualified and
might apply as well to scholarly articles that are (otherwise) free to
readers. If so, the EU will undermine FOS with its right hand while
supporting it (through many IST and CORDIS initiatives) with the left hand.

* The text-e online seminar has moved on to a new essay: The Future of the
Internet: A Conversation with Theodore Zeldin. The Zedlin essay will be
the subject of discussion until December 31.

* Summaries of the four major talks at the November Open Access Forum at
the British Library are now online.

* Most of the proceedings of the November ICOLC conference in Finland are
now online, with the rest to come soon. A large number of the papers are

* Charles W. Bailey, Jr. has put version 40 of his Scholarly Electronic
Publishing Bibliography online. The new version cites over 15,000
articles, book, and other resources on- and off-line.

* The University of Kansas Anschutz Library has launched AmDocs, a free
online archive of documents for the study of American history. It's
organized by chronological period.

* On October 10, the ACM launched the online version of Computing
Reviews. This is roughly for computer scientists what the Faculty of 1000
is for biologists (see FOSN for 11/16/01). The function is similar, to
guide working scientists through the wilderness of published research with
short reviews of the most notable new work, when these decisions are made
by a large community of experts hand-picked by the editorial board. The
print version of Computing Reviews is more than 40 years old, but has
definitely improved in its transition to the net. Registered users may
customize a page containing reviews of new articles in their
specializations and sign up for email notification of new articles as well
as new hits on stored searches. One puzzle: The site lists fairly steep
subscription prices, but I was able to get every service I tried for free.

* The European Union IST Programme has launched TREBIS (Trial and
Evaluation of a Biodiversity Information System). It's a free online
natural history museum using state of the art database and digital mapping
technologies. The trial version focuses on the natural history of the
Austrian state of Voralberg.

* The European Union's 5th Framework Programme has launched VRCHIP (Virtual
Reality Cultural Heritage Information Portal), a free online archive of
Knutsford, England, with a virtual reality interface. "Users will navigate
their way around the virtual towns and through time and, with sound and
animation of vehicles, machinery and life providing realism, become
immersed in an environment which enhances the learning experience."

* INTERGRAF (the International Confederation for Printing and Allied
Industries) is conducting an online questionnaire on the future of print
--or rather 12 questionnaires for people with any of 12 different
perspectives on the question. Click on your primary job description and
you'll receive the questionnaire matching your position.

* The DNER Journals Working Group has created the first of a series an
online surveys to help it understand the serials requirements of higher
education institutions in the UK. The current survey asks about journals
not currently available through JISC licensing agreements. Replies will be
collected until December 24.

* The Canadian National Archives has put up an online questionnaire to help
with its Accessible Archives project. The project is to make the National
Archives more accessible online, and the questionnaire will help it meet
user priorities. Non-Canadians are welcome to fill out the
questionnaire. Replies will be accepted until March 2, 2002.

* The U.S. General Services Administration is redesigning the FirstGov
website. It has issued a public call for comments, suggestions, and bids
on running usability tests.

* In the January 2002 issue of _Learned Publishing_, there are several
FOS-related articles:

Peter Fox takes a closer look at what it will cost to preserve electronic
journals for the long term.

Andrew Odlyzko argues that scholarly communication is evolving rapidly
while scholarly journals are evolving slowly. If present trends continue,
then "print [journals] will be eclipsed" and non-traditional channels for
scholarly communication will replace journals. Recent data undermine the
early fears that internet growth will cause information overload and
industry hopes that scholarly journals are not substitutable. "To stay
relevant, scholars, publishers and librarians will have to make even
greater efforts to make their material easily accessible."

Joost Kircz outlines how scientific papers might evolve when released from
the constraints of print. He argues for a "different granularity" in which
the components of a modular publication might be separately and more
specifically peer-reviewed, have their own metadata (allowed by the DOI
standard), perhaps their own URLs, and their own sections in a modular
abstract. Relationships between published components, represented by
hyperlinks, can make significant contributions to knowledge in their own right.

David Goodman describes Princeton's two-year experience receiving some
major journals only in electronic form. It has been so positive that
Princeton plans to expand the program, at least when the financial savings
is significant and when the publisher can provide "effective guarantees of
continuing access". In practice this has five dimensions: (1) providing
near 100% uptime, (2) allowing long-term retention of purchased issues
without new payments, and (3) assuring that rights will not be revoked e.g.
if the publisher is sold, (4) offering long-term digital preservation and
access, and (5) offering "very long-term" preservation and access, probably
in some non-electronic form.

Diana Rosenberg describes the INASP program, African Journals Online, which
provides free online access worldwide to abstracts and tables of contents
of scholarly journals published in Africa. She argues that the program is
inexpensive to maintain, once set up, but that it is only one step toward
the wider use of African journals outside Africa.

* In the December issue of _RLG DigiNews_ editor Anne Kenney interviews
Robin Dale (from RLG) and Meg Bellinger (from OCLC) on the RLG-OCLC
collaborative digital archiving initiatives.

* Also in the December _RLG DigiNews_, Margaret Hedstrom and Clifford Lampe
assess emulation and migration as two strategies for long-term digital
preservation. In their user test, they found no significant differences in
user satisfaction, object performance, or ease of use between the two

* In the December _D-Lib Magazine_ there are several FOS-related articles:

Christophe Blanchi and Jason Petrone propose a distributed interoperable
metadata registry. They argue that conversion middleware makes a single
syntax unnecessary and therefore is maximally accommodating to new forms of
metadata and minimally restrictive on compatibility.

Stephen Pinfield describes how officials at the University of Nottingham
studied arXiv and its use by physicists. Their purpose was to create an
institutional eprints archive at Nottingham with their eyes open to the
many issues it would raise --technical, economic, academic, legal, and
managerial. While there are differences between a disciplinary archive and
an institutional archive, much of the experience of the former is
transferrable to the latter. By summarizing the arXiv study, Pinfield has
given other institutions a shortcut to creating their own archives.

Hussein Suleman and Edward Fox propose to build on the success of the
Dublin Core and the Open Archives Initiative to create a framework for
open, interoperable, and extensible digital libraries. Basically they
propose that digital libraries should become OAI-compliant archives or
networks of OAI-compliant archives. Their contents and services can then
be shared through the OAI interface. What's "contentious" about the
proposal, the authors admit, is that it requires extending the OAI standard
a bit. Because the standard's simplicity is a major cause of its wide
adoption, any new complexity will be resisted. They argue that this
extension is tolerable because it will remain separable from the original
standard, and justified by the higher levels of library integration it will

Greg Karvounarakis and two co-authors describe RQL, their declarative query
language for RDF metadata. Such a query language has been a missing link
in the evolution of the semantic web.

Xiaoming Liu describes his DP9 software, which makes OAI-compliant archives
crawlable by major search engines like Google (see FOSN for 11/26/01).

* The December issue of _Vine_ is devoted to ebooks and ejournals. Several
articles are FOS-related, but unfortunately only the table of contents and
some very short abstracts are freely available online.

* In the last issue I reported that the DLF had commissioned Outsell, Inc.,
to study the information needs and usage patterns of university students
and faculty. Because other Outsell studies are neither free nor online, I
expressed the hope that DLF had reserved the right to make this report
public when it was finished. Dan Greenstein, Director of the DLF, writes
to assure me that, indeed, DLF will provide free online access to the
report and will deposit the underlying data with the ICPSR. At the same
time he included the URL for the original grant proposal to the Mellon
Foundation, which is funding the Outsell report.

Declan McCullagh and Ben Polen, A Call to End Copyright Confusion,1283,49201-2,00.html

* Cheryl Martin maintains Psyche Matters, a free online collection of
bibliographies and full-text papers in psychoanalysis.

* The proceedings from the January 2000 ICSTI workshop in Paris on digital
archiving ("Bringing Issues and Stakeholders Together") are now online.


If you plan to attend one of the following conferences, please share your
observations with us through our discussion forum.

* Academic Institutions Transforming Scholarly Communications (SPARC/ARL
Forum at the ALA Midwinter Meeting)
New Orleans, January 18-23

* High Quality Information For Everyone And What It Costs
Bielefeld, February 5-7

* E-volving Information futures
Melbourne, February 6-8

* ICSTI Seminar on Digital Preservation of the Record of Science
[No web site yet, but for registration info contact Barry Mahon, <icsti
Paris, February 14-15

* Electronic Journals --Solutions in Sight?
London, February 25-26

* International Spring School on the Digital Library and E-publishing for
Science and Technology
Geneva, March 3-8

* Database and Digital Library Technologies (part of the 17th ACM Symposium
on Applied Computing)
Madrid, March 10-14

* Digitization for Cultural Heritage Professionals: An Intensive Program
Chapel Hill, North Carolina, March 10-15

* Computers in Libraries 2002
Washington D.C., March 13-15

* The Electronic Publishers Coalition (EPC) conference on ebooks and
epublishing (obscurely titled, Electronically Published Internet
Connection, or EPIC)
Seattle, March 14-16

* Internet Librarian International 2002
London, March 18-20

* New Developments in Digital Libraries
Ciudad Real, Spain, April 2-3

* The New Information Order and the Future of the Archive
Edinburgh, March 20-23

* International Conference on Information Technology: Coding and Computing
Las Vegas, April 8-10

* NetLat and Friends: 10 Years of Digital Library Development
Lund, April 10-12

* Information, Knowledges and Society: Challenges of A New Era
Havana, April 22-26


The Free Online Scholarship Newsletter is supported by a grant from the
Open Society Institute.


This is the Free Online Scholarship Newsletter (ISSN 1535-7848).

Please feel free to forward any issue of the newsletter to interested
colleagues. If you are reading a forwarded copy of this issue, you may
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FOS home page, general information, subscriptions, editorial position

FOS Newsletter, subscriptions, back issues

FOS Discussion Forum, subscriptions, postings

Guide to the FOS Movement

Peter Suber

Copyright (c) 2001, Peter Suber
Received on Wed Dec 19 2001 - 19:32:09 GMT

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