Re: Excerpts from FOS Newsletter

From: Peter Suber <>
Date: Tue, 16 Apr 2002 00:18:22 +0100

      Excerpts from the Free Online Scholarship (FOS) Newsletter
      April 15, 2002

* This week a discussion thread started in the American Scientist
("September98") forum on the question whether the Open Archives Initiative
(OAI) is harmful to society publishers. Sally Morris for the Association
of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) argues that society
journals are not threatened when authors put their articles on their own
home pages, but that posting articles to OAI-compliant archives is
"considerably more alarming". The reason is that making the articles
"organized and cross-searchable" makes them excessively
accessible. Readers will bypass journals, which will make the journals
disappear along with all the "added value" they provide.

Sally Morris against the OAI

Stevan Harnad's reply to Morris

...Society journals would make two additional arguments at this point:
that the survival of journals is necessary for the survival of peer review,
and that society journals are not just commercial concerns, but that
their revenues subsidize the important activities of the professional
societies that stand behind them.

The answers to these additional arguments can be very brief. FOS doesn't
jeopardize peer review at all, but only peer review performed by priced
journals. If the objection shifts to the claim that journals must be
priced in order to have the means to support peer review, then the reply is
simply that the claim is false, as shown every day by a growing number of
journals in every discipline.

It's true that non-profit society publishers deserve more deference from
academics than for-profit publishers. Society publishers use any revenues
beyond expenses for valuable academic projects. But both kinds of
publisher erect price-barriers that limit access to research literature,
and therefore both impede the growth and circulation of knowledge. Both
compromise what is primary for academics in order to promote something
else, and it really doesn't matter much whether their alternative good is
secondary or tertiary.

As Edwin Shelock (past chair of the ALPSP) put it in the October 2001
_Learned Publishing_, learned societies should act less like commercial
publishers and more like their own members. "Are learned society
publishers so much part of commercial publishing now that they take the
same attitude to the potential disturbance of the business of publishing as
do the commercial publishers who are in it primarily to provide distributed
profit for their shareholders? Are the learned society publishers divorced
from their societies to the extent that they have a different agenda from
the society members?"

As the BOAI FAQ puts it, "We believe that the opportunity created by the
internet for open access to peer-reviewed research literature should be
seized even if the revenue from priced editions of this literature supports
good causes. If a significant public good can be made available free of
charge, then it shouldn't be priced simply to subsidize another good. If
the second good is worthy, there must be some other way to support it."



* As of April 21, my email host, Topica, is making ads mandatory for all
its newsletters. So I'm looking even harder for a new host that meets my
criteria. If I don't succeed, please forgive the ads while I continue to look.

Here are my criteria. I'd appreciate any recommendations other than Yahoo
(already ruled out for its privacy policy), and H-Net, JISC Mail, and the
University of Lund (already under investigation).

* Starting with this issue, I'll mark conferences that I've added since the
previous issue with two asterisks. (Thanks to Roger Fenton for the


* The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) has launched a
three-year scholarly communication initiative. "Broad goals of the
initiative include creating increased access to scholarly information;
fostering cost-effective alternative means of publishing, especially those
that take advantage of electronic information technologies; and encouraging
scholars to assert greater control over scholarly communications." More
details will be published in the May issue of _College and Research
Libraries News_.
(Thanks to the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog.)

* The Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) has issued a call to
for-profit and non-profit publishers to launch new open-access scholarly
journals. To make this easier for publishers, the Open Society Institute
(OSI) is providing funds to authors from 65 developing nations to publish
in open-access journals. OSI will announce more details soon.

* The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) and Dartmouth
University will create a Scholarly Communication Institute, thanks to a new
grant from the Mellon Foundation.

* The RDN family of academic subject portals or "hubs" has reached the
milestone of indexing 50,000 free online resources, all searchable from the
RDN front page.

* The University of Michigan will shut down its academic portal,, on June 30. The reason is simply cost. After June 30, UM
will beef up its web site and participate in uPortal (an emerging standard
for academic portals) and MIT's Open Knowledege Initiative.

* Version 2.0 of the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata
Harvesting is scheduled to be released on June 1.

* Ingenta has named the U.S. contingent to its advisory board. The new
members are Mary Case (Association of Research Libraries), Clifford Lynch
(Coalition for Networked Information), Andrew Odlyzko (University of
Minnesota), Carol Tenopir (University of Tennessee), and Mary Waltham
(Nature). A clear majority of the new advisory board is FOS-friendly.

Ingenta is a for-profit purveyor of scholarly journals, and this year
reports increased profits and profit margins.

* The Online Information Exchange (ONIX) is the international metadata
standard for electronic books, serials, and videos. The Digital Object
Identifier (DOI) is the international standard for uniquely identifying
electronic content. At the London Book Fair last month, the organizations
representing the two standards agreed to work toward easy interoperability
wherever they overlap.
(Thanks to Weekly.)

* The European Commission has launched Europe and Culture, a portal to free
online collections, activities, funding opportunities, news, and related
links on European culture.
(Thanks to Weekly.)

* The _Journal of Digital Information_ (JoDI) is conducting an online
survey. JoDi has been a free online journal since its launch. But a
couple of the survey questions (12-14) ask about the possibility of
instituting subscriptions. If you are a JoDI reader interested in keeping
it free, take the survey. It will accept responses until April 26.

* The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Deutsche
Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) are jointly funding projects in international
digital libraries research, and invite proposals. Letters of intent are
due by July 1, and full proposals are due by August 1.

* In the April 10 _Chronicle of Higher Education_, Vincent Kiernan reports
on how link rot (the death of web links over time) undermines online
education. Two researchers at the University of Nebraska have studied this
problem and conclude that links on course sites have a half-life of 55
months. That means that about half will die in the first 55 months, half
of the survivors in the next 55 months, and so on. One remedy the authors
propose is for scholarly societies to host permanent archives of commonly
used course materials.

PS: The _Chronicle_ story suggests that the Nebraska study is the first of
its kind. But OCLC has had similar data on its web site since at least
January (when I covered it in FOSN for 1/23/01). What's especially
interesting is that the OCLC data support the 55 month half-life figure.
(Scroll to bottom table.)

* The March/April issue of _Ariadne_ is now online. It contains several
FOS-related articles:

Stephen Pinfield, Mike Gardner, and John MacColl, "Setting Up An
Institutional E-print Archive"
(The experience of the Universities of Edinburgh and Nottingham.)

Ronald Milne, "The 'Distributed National Collection' Access, and
Cross-sectoral Collaboration: the Research Support Libraries Programme"

Suzanne Dobratz, Friederike Schimmelpfennif, and Peter Schirmbacher, "The
Open Archives Forum"

Andy Powell and Liz Lyon, "The JISC Information Environment and Web Services"

Robert Baxter, Frances Blomely, and Rachel Kemsley, "The AIM25 Project"

Simon Jennings and Philip Pothen, "News from the Resource Discovery Network"

Roddy MacLeod, "EEVL-ution To A Portal"
(On the EEVL mathematics and CS portal.)

* In the Spring issue of _Progressive Librarian_, Dorothy Warner asks why
we should keep works in print once they are archived on the web. The
answer is the uncertainty of long-term digital preservation. Warner
reviews recent writings, standards, and initiatives addressing the problem.
(Thanks to New Breed Librarian.)

Jon Johansen and the other DeCSS programmers won one of this year's three
Pioneer Awards from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

If you plan to attend one of the following conferences, please share your
observations with us through our discussion forum. (Conferences marked by
two asterisks are new since the last issue.)

* Copyright in the Private Sector: An Engine of Free Expression or a Tool
of Private Censorship?
New York, April 15

* Licensing Electronic Resources to Libraries
Philadelphia, April 15

** Biomedical Information on the Internet
London, April 15

* Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) Task Force Meeting
Washington, D.C., April 15-16

* United Kingdom Serials Group Annual Conference and Exhibition
University of Warwick, April 15- 17

* Conference on Computers, Freedom, and Privacy
San Francisco, April 16-19

* EDUCAUSE Networking 2002
Washington, D.C., April 17-18

* Museums and the Web 2002
Boston, April 17-20

* Legal Guidelines for Use of Intellectual Property in Higher Education
Oneonta, NY, April 19

* OCLC Institute. Steering by Standards. (A series of satellite
OAIS, April 19. Metadata standards in the future, May 29.

** Digital Landscapes: A forum to discuss the concepts of fair use, free
speech, copyright control, and government enforcement in the digital age
Stanford, April 20

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

* Current Awareness Services on the Net
Toronto, April 22 - June 3

** Workshop on the 6th Framework Programme
Barcelona, April 23

* DAI Institute on The State of Digital Preservation: An International
Washington, D.C., April 24-25

* CLIR Sponsors' Symposium: New Challenges, New Solutions: Libraries for
the Future
Washington, D.C., April 26

* The European Library: The Gate to Europe's Knowledge: Milestone Conference
Frankfurt am Main, April 29-30

* WebSearch University
Stamford CT, April 30 - May 1; Washington DC, September 23-24; Chicago,
Octeober 22-23; Dallas, November 19-20.

* Council of Science Editors Annual Meeting
San Diego, May 4-7

* Pacific-Asia Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining
Taipei, May 6-8

* DLM-Forum 2002. Access and Preservation of Electronic Information. Best
Practices and Solutions.
Barcelona, May 7-8

** NISO/DLF Workshop on Standards for Electronic Resource Management
Chicago, May 10

* ContentWorld 2002 [mostly for commercial content]
San Jose, California, May 13-16

** Copyright for Beginners [among librarians and information professionals]
London, May 15

* National Conference for Digital Government Research
Los Angeles, May 19-22

* Libraries in the Digital Age 2002
Dubrovnik, May 21-26

* CAiSE '02. Advanced Information Systems Engineering
Toronto, May 27-31

* Workshop on Personalization Techniques in Electronic Publishing on the
Web: Trends and Perspectives
Malaga, Spain, May 28

* Society for Scholarly Publishing (AAP)
Boston, May 29-31

* Off and Wall and Online: Providing Web Access to Cultural Collections
Lexington, Massachusetts, May 30-31

** Multimedia Content and Tools: Towards Information and Knowledge Systems
London, May 30-31

* Advancing Knowledge: Expanding Horizons for Information Science
Toronto, May 30 - June 1

* Electronic Theses and Dissertations 2002
Provo, Utah, May 30 - June 1


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).

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Peter Suber

Copyright (c) 2002, Peter Suber
Received on Tue Apr 16 2002 - 00:19:38 BST

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