Re: FOS Newsletter Excerpts

From: Peter Suber <>
Date: Fri, 14 Sep 2001 17:34:59 +0100

      The Free Online Scholarship (FOS) Newsletter
      September 14, 2001

Please let all of you and yours be alive and safe.

There are certain images from Tuesday that I will never get out of my
head. Sometimes they derail all productive thought, and sometimes they
energize. This issue of the newsletter arose from the spells of energy in
between the spells of numbness. I'd like to say that I got back to work to
avoid giving the attackers the victory of stopping me, but in fact this
issue is much more like a twitch, a product of involuntary energy. It's
here when you're ready, but I don't expect anyone to be ready.

Working for free online scholarship can support open societies that will
not threaten others even if they are intrinsically open to attack by
others. But unfortunately the connection is remote and indirect (more
below). So getting back to work for us does little to prevent future
attacks or help the victims of this one. We should take care of first
things first, but then we should get back to work. The consolation is that
when life returns to normal, it will be enriched by what we do, and doing
it despite the strife around us is a way of making peace.

If you need help finding a friend or relative, you've probably already
turned to the kinds of help that are available. If you aren't sure what's
available, here are two good lists:

The best source of post-attack news I've seen is a blog set up by (Hit Refresh on your browser every hour or so to get
the newest postings.)

There are lots of new discussion groups to share grief and support. Here's
one set up by Andy Carvin.

Not all of us made it. If you can, please donate money or blood.

These sites make credit card donations to the Red Cross easy.


Open societies and open scholarship

There are complex and subtle connections between the kind of open society
that is most vulnerable to acts of terror and the kind of open scholarship
that is the focus of the FOS movement and this newsletter. Open
democracies can limit scholarship to those who can afford to buy it. This
was the norm before the internet gave us a viable alternative, and it is
still the norm in most disciplines today. But the converse tends not to
hold. Societies that limit democracy in the name of security also tend to
regulate scholarship in the name of security. The February jailing of
Chinese scholar, Li Shaomin, for accepting Taiwanese funds to research
subjects politically taboo in China is only one recent example in a
dismally long list.

We should not confuse free as unpriced with free as uncensored. Open
societies can put a price on literature more consistently than they can
silence it. Leaving it uncensored is no barrier to charging money for
it. But putting it online free of charge is a barrier to censorship, even
if it is one that governments around the world are gradually learning to

The U.S. is an open democracy. It may fall short of your ideal of an open
democracy, and even its own. But when judged against past and present
democracies, rather than ideals, it is far to the open end. Yet the U.S.
has convicted 2600 Magazine for publishing source code and linking to web
sites that did the same. The U.S. is prosecuting Dmitri Sklyarov for
writing, discussing, and selling source code. Edward Felten may be
prosecuted for the same acts, and has yet to get a court to declare that he
had a First Amendment right to publish the fruits of his research.

It already seems that one response to the attacks on New York and
Washington will be the kind of diminution of liberty that facilitates law
enforcement, for example, more airport searches, more sidewalk face
scanning, more email eavesdropping, less strong encryption. If so, then
the U.S. will become a less open society. But it will not on that account
alone become less open with its scholarship.

So above all, let's not oversimplify. Open societies do not guarantee open
scholarship, and open scholarship does not guarantee open
societies. Within limits, each can take its lumps without the other
suffering. However, each is an important support, in a complex web of
support, for the other. Hence, they tend to thrive or suffer
together. Unfortunately, seeing them both compromised and limited is more
common than seeing both thrive. This is a reason for special vigilance in
the months to come.

Li Shaomin, Jailers Who Thrive on Silence

Declan McCullagh, Anti-Attack Feds Push Carnivore,1283,46747,00.html

Declan McCullagh, Congress Mulls Stiff Crypto Laws,1283,46816,00.html


PLoS aftermath

Arthur Graaff reported in the September 7 _Content Wire_ that the Public
Library of Science (PLoS) boycott did not materialize. Elsevier Science
CEO Derk Haank has asserted that there is no evidence that the boycott is
taking place.

* Postscript. Do you have any evidence to the contrary? If so, please let
me know about it or post it directly to our discussion forum.


Free Online Plagiarism Sources

Most cheating services charge money; that's the point. But
gives away its term papers for free. What makes schoolsucks so
philanthropic? The answer seems to be its founder's contemptuous attitude
toward education. His web site was inspired by the "mediocrity" he
discovered as a journalism student. [Insert punchline here.]

Laurie Flynn, The Wonder Years: Homework is Free Online

* Postscript. FOS makes cheating easier for the same reason that it makes
research easier. But it also makes cheating roughly as easy to detect as
it is to commit. So bright cheaters will not plagiarize from FOS sites that
their teachers can search for free. But not all cheaters are
bright. There are many kinds of short-sighted students who steal from
sources their teachers can easily consult. Some want to get caught (they
were pressured into their major by a parent). Some are weak of will (their
plagiarism is more about impulse than cunning). Some are dim (proved e.g.
by plagiarizing from another student in the same course in the same year or
from their teacher's own articles).

* PPS. The managers of plagiarism sites call them "research" sites. (And
in class they were just "resting their eyes".) Plagiarism sites make bad
research sites. They don't have the breadth, depth, quality, or timeliness
needed for real research, and they usually cost more money than real
research. But research sites function perfectly well as plagiarism sites,
at least for students writing on advanced topics. If this is a problem,
then it's one shared by all literature (print or online, free or priced),
and one that affects FOS less than priced and password-protected scholarship.


Beyond DMCA

The Security Systems Standards and Certification Act (SSSCA) is the next
chapter of U.S. copyright law, if Fritz Hollings and the Senate Commerce
Committee have their way. The SSSCA would prohibit the sale of computer
equipment that does not contain federally approved security
technologies. (Old equipment would be grandfathered in.) It would also
prohibit removing security measures from computer equipment and
distributing copyrighted material with their security measures
disabled. The last two offenses would be felonies punishable by up to five
years in prison and half a million dollars in fines.

Quoting Jonathan Potter, executive director of the Digital Media
Association: "It's about as egregiously an anti-technology bill, in its
draft form, as anything I've ever seen. It would have the United States
government approving or disapproving every semiconductor, every server and
essentially any digital information technology device prior to coming to

Quoting Preston Padden, executive VP of the Walt Disney Company: "This is
an exceedingly moderate and reasonable approach."

Declan McCullagh, New Copyright Bill Heading to DC,1283,46655,00.html

Declan McCullagh, Hollywood Loves Hollings' Bill,1283,46671,00.html

Robert Lemos, Draft bill calls for gov't copyright standard,4586,5096838,00.html

Working draft of the SSSCA (August 6)

Declan McCullagh's page on the SSSCA

Declan McCullagh's politech mailing list

Anti-SSSCA petition


Digitizing newspapers

Historians will hit the mother lode when more newspapers digitize their
back issues and put them online. The National Newspaper Association (NNA)
and some corporate partners have undertaken to digitize 20,000 U.S.
newspapers, some going back to the 17th century. The digital collection
will be called America's Chronicles (see FOSN for 7/10/01). The project
was to have been officially launched at the NNA's Milwaukee convention
September 12. But after the New York and Washington attacks, the NNA
cancelled the convention. When I hear that the project has launched, I'll
publish a notice here.

The online newspapers will be scanned images, not digital texts. But
apparently users will be able to search full-text, even across the
collection of papers. Readers will also get all the flavor of the original
fonts and illustrations.

The online collection will start out free of charge, and phase in
micro-payments at a later date. The price structure has not yet been
determined. The $100 million tab for digitization will be paid by
corporate donors.

America's Chronicles

National Newspaper Association

* Postscript. The New York Times is not part of the America's Chronicles
project, but is digitizing its back issues on its own. This week it put
its Civil War issues (1860-1866) online.



* According to the 2000 ISI Citation Reports, _Organic Letters_ has
surpassed _Tetrahedon Letters_ in impact. This is significant because
_Organic Letters_ is a two-year-old journal launched by the American
Chemical Society and SPARC in response to the exorbitant subscription
prices charged by other journals of organic chemistry. _Tetrahedon
Letters_ was its closest commercial rival and, at 41 years old, much better
established. (PS: This news shows many things. Price and impact are not
directly correlated. Journals cannot use high impact factors to justify
high prices. Libraries, here coordinated by SPARC, have the power to bring
down prices without dropping first-rate journals in favor of second-rate

* Two experts on network security have taken their professional work off
the internet, fearing prosecution in the wake of the Dmitri Sklyarov arrest
and the legal threat hanging over Edward Felten. Fred Cohen and Dug Song
both fear that the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) could be
construed to prohibit their scientific publications and software. (PS
bottom line: The DMCA and the practice of federal prosecutors are now
inducing self-censorship in prudent scientists.)

* Microsoft has released version 2.0 of its ebook reader. It has multiple
levels of security (all of which have been broken), multiple highlight
colors, and a new navigation tool called Riffle Control. With a physical
book you can eyeball the number of pages and open to a page roughly 65%
into the book. Riffle Control lets you do the same thing with a mouse
click on a marked bar.

* The International Digital Electronic Access Library (IDEAL) has been
licensed to all 64 Canadian universities. IDEAL is a collection of
(unfree) online journals and databases in the STM fields. This is the
first nationwide license for IDEAL sources.

* At its annual dinner on September 12, the Association of Learned and
Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) announced the 2001
ALPSP/Charlesworth awards (See FOSN for 7/10/01.) The Nature Publishing
Group won for learned journals. SPARC won for service to non-profit
publishing. See the ALPSP web site for the other four awards.

* What if thousands of people in a large city read the same book at the
same time, and wore a lapel pin to encourage spontaneous conversations
about the book? This wonderful idea is taking life in Chicago, Seattle,
Boise, Buffalo, and Rochester. --I know that this has only a tenuous
connection to FOS (would a city ever read John Stuart Mill's _On
Liberty_?), but after Tuesday you may long, as I do, for forms of communal
conversation wider than the line at the post office and deeper than online


New on the web

* On September 10, England's Resource Discovery Network (RDN) launched its
Physical Sciences Information Gateway (PSIGate). RDN is a series of
disciplinary hubs linking to free content in those disciplines.

* On September 10, York University launched the History and Theory of
Pschology E-Print Arvchive (HTP Prints). This is an OAI-compliant archive
for psychology and the history of psychology inspired by arXiv and CogPrints.

* The _American Scientist_ E-Print Discussion Forum moderated by Stevan
Harnad now has a mirror. The forum is probably the oldest, most active,
and most comprehensive devoted to FOS issues. You may know it under the
name, September98Forum. The forum will soon have a second mirror at the site.

Original forum site

Mirror at Harnad's Southampton site

* Paul Mennega has launched the Project Gutenberg Reader, an innovative
ebook web site that brings the interface options of an ebook reader to HTML
texts and ordinary browsers. Think of it as an open version of what
normally uses encrypted files on dedicated hardware. The Gutenberg Reader
lets users control font style and size, add bookmarks, and take advantage
of many different navigation options. It also lets users search for ebooks
by title, author, user rating, or date added to the system. It works with
any HTML text, though it was inspired by the huge archive of online
full-text books at Project Gutenberg. The texts are free and the reader is

Project Gutenberg Reader

Project Gutenberg

* Recall that Dmitri Sklyarov's software to break the encryption on Adobe
ebooks was legal in Russia, where it was written. Sklyarov was only
arrested because he presented his ideas, and distributed his software, in
the U.S., where the DMCA is the law. (The DMCA anti-circumvention clause
criminalizes the manufacture of technologies to bypass copy-protection on
copyrighted works.) On August 31, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
issued a statement warning Russian programmers that they may be arrested
under the DMCA while in U.S. territory even if Sklyarov himself is
acquitted. Here's the original Russian statement with an unofficial
English translation.

* Australia's Radio National broadcast a story on FOS ("Knowledege
Indignation: Road Rage on the Information Superhighway") on August 8. The
station web site now has a transcript of the broadcast and links to the
RealAudio sound file. The show was produced by Stan Correy.

* In August, the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR)
launched a new journal, CLIRinghouse. It has tables of contents and
abstracts online for free, but not full-text. The first issue contains
articles on online learning, digitization budgets, deciding what to
digitize, and drawing together those who should decide how to build a
digital collection.


Share your thoughts

* The Linking and Exploring Authority Files (LEAF) project would like
representatives of archives, libraries, and museums to fill out its user
survey on how your institution deals with name authority files. Today
(September 14) is the last day to submit comments.

* Canada is considering legislation comparable to the U.S. DMCA, including
the controversial anti-circumvention clause under which Dmitri Sklyarov was
arrested. The Canadian Intellectual Property Policy Directorate has
solicited public comments on the legislation and will accept them only
until September 15 (tomorrow).

(I know that the deadlines are very short for the last two items. That's
why I posted them to the discussion forum earlier in the week.)

* The College of Staten Island Library is conducting a survey on the use of
ebooks, especially in research. It will welcome comments until October 15.

* If you're a subscriber to _Content Intelligence_, you're invited to fill
out a reader survey. There seems to be no deadline.

* The Medical Library Association seeks nominations for its annual Louise
Darling Medal for Distinguished Achievement in Collection Development in
the Health Sciences. It will accept nominations until November 1.

* JISC is soliciting proposals to develop and contribute collection-level
content to the Archives Hub service. It will accept proposals until
November 7.


In other publications

* The National Academy Press (NAP) publishes all 2,100 of its books both in
print and online. What's more, access to the online copies is free of
charge. (See FOSN for 4/12/01.) It has always claimed that the free
access to the online copies stimulated sales of print copies more than it
depressed them. Writing for the NAP in the September 14 _Chronicle of
Higher Education_, Michael Jensen reiterates this conclusion for a doubting
world. It is all the more striking because in the year just ended, most
non-profit book publishers did poorly; by contrast, NAP is having a record
year in sales. Jensen reports that other presses which have tried the
experiment (Brookings Institute, MIT Press, Illinois, Columbia) have
experienced similar results. Jensen also offers his analysis of why free
online books stimulate rather than kill the market for priced print books.

* In the September 13 _New York Times_, Katie Hafner describes research on
ants suggesting that packet-switching networks can be made even more
efficient at exchanging information. If true, this could improve connect
and download times without improving the hardware infrastructure.

* You knew that paid placement distorts search engine results. That's why
GoTo (now called Overture) is a search engine for consumers, not
researchers. But did you know that Inktomi search engines have allowed
corporate partners to boost the placement of their clients and blacklist
their competitors? In the September 12 _Search Engine World Quarterly_,
Brett Tabke lays out the evidence. (PS: In light of this, and the
movement toward paid placement, when would you trust a search engine for
critical research? Would it have to make the scope of its index and its
relevance or sorting algorithm public? Would it have to be open
source? Would it be enough if it were made by scholars for scholars?)

* The September 10 _Chronicle of Higher Education_ contains an interview
with Katherine Hayles (Professor of English at UCLA), who believes that
putting fiction online and taking advantage of the possibilities of
hypertext change its nature. (PS: This makes sense. What are the
analogous changes to online, hypertext non-fiction?)

* Also in the September 10 _Chronicle_, Andrea Foster describes Rep. Rick
Boucher's criticism of the DMCA. Boucher is a Democrat from Virginia who
argues that the DMCA tilts too far in favor of copyright holders and does
not sufficiently respect fair-use rights, reader rights, and First
Amendment rights. He is preparing an "inventory of concerns" about the
DMCA, in preparation for a bill to amend the DMCA, and expects to finish it
by January.

* In the September 7 _BizReport_, Steven Bonisteel summarizes a recent
Ipsos-Reid report finding that Canadians want their internet content free
and will be reluctant to pay for it. The report apparently focuses on news
and entertainment, not scholarship.

* In the September issue of _Information Today_, Péter Jacsó reviews the
Joint Conference on Digital Libraries held June 24-28 in Roanoke,
Virginia. The conference was sponsored by the ACM and IEEE.

* The results of the ALPSP/EASE survey on peer review from November 2000 is
now online at the ALPSP web site. Among the results: only 40% of
peer-reviewed journals surveyed practice blind review. 12% do not conceal
the names of referees when sharing the assessments with authors. 15%
assess the quality of the referees' assessments. Most journals either do
not compensate referees or do so only with a printed acknowledgment.

* Anthony Watkinson's substantial report on print and electronic monograph
publishing is now online at the UK Publishers Association (PA). He argues
that the decline in supply and demand we see with specialized print
monographs can be reversed by turning to electronic publication.
(Attention PA: Do your URLs, here and next, have to be this long?)

* Peter Sowden's 2001 Update to the UK Publishers Association compendium of
data on university library spending on books and journals is now
online. Among the report highlights: in 1998-99, compared to the year
before, journal spending increased by 9.1% while journal prices rose by
9.5% (showing that cancellation is one method for coping with
inflation). Spending on electronic sources rose by 21.5%, while spending
for print books rose by only 1.5%.$FILE/ULspend2001.PDF

* Similarly, Karen Wiesner has updated her July 2000 report on the
acceptance rates at a large number of ebook publishers. The numbers
support her conclusion that the common perception that "epublishers accept
anything" is a myth.

* In an August 27 article at _TrendSiters_, Sam Vaknin traces the fall of
p-zines and the rise of some of the electronic supplements and alternatives
that are transforming them.

In another August 27 article at the same site, Vaknin argues that libraries
"failed...spectacularly to ride the tiger of the internet" and now compete
with it.


Subscribing options reduced

My host for the newsletter and discussion forum,, no longer
allows list-owners like me to add new members. This means that I cannot,
on my own say-so, subscribe even those who consent to subscribe. In the
past I had this option and I used it often for those of you who asked to
join the list. In the future, subscribers must sign themselves up. Topica
is making the change in order to assure ISPs that all Topica email (350
million pieces per month) comes from opt-in users. This is a good cause,
and it should prevent the newsletter from being blocked by ISP spam filters
that block mass mailings from hosts that cannot provide this 100% opt-in
assurance. I'm sorry to lose the flexibility to make life easier for
subscribers, but I hate spam enough to want to cooperate with its total



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

* DELOS Workshop on Interoperability in Digital Libraries
Darmstadt, September 8-9

* Experimental OAI Based Digital Library Systems
Darmstadt, September 8

* Preserving Online Content for Future Generations
Darmstadt, September 8

* International Autumn School on the Digital Library and E-publishing for
Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics
Geneva, September 9-14

* Digital Libraries: Advanced Methods and Technologies, Digital Collections
Petrozavodsk, September 11-13

* The Fundamentals of Digital Projects (Illinois Digitization Workshop)
Urbana, Illinois, September 20

* Intellectual Property and Multimedia in the Digital Age: Copyright Town
New York, September 24; Cincinnati, October 27; Eugene, Oregon, November 19

* Steal This Session: The Digital Millennium Copyright Act Great Debate
(part of the 2001 Seybold Summit)
San Francisco, September 26

* Digital Resources for Research in the Humanities
Sydney, September 26-28

* EBLIDA Workshop on the Acquisition and Usage of Electronic Resources
The Hague, September 28

* Exploring an Interface Between Cultural Heritage, Net Art, and State of
the Art Projects
Copenhagen, October 3-5

* Summer School on the Digital Library 2001: Electronic Publishing
Florence, October 7-12

* IT in the Transformation of the Library
Milwaukee, October 11-14

* Collections & Access for the 21st Century Scholar: A Forum to Explore
the Roles of the Research Library
Washington, D.C., October 19-20

* International Conference on Dublin Core and Metadata Applications 2001
Tokyo, October 22-26

* e-Book Lessons: From Life-Cycle to User Experiences
Waltham, Massachusetts, October 23

* Copyright Issues in the Electronic Age
Waltham, Massachusetts, October 29

* Paperless Publishing: Peer Review, Production, and Publication
Waltham, Massachusetts, October 30

* The XML Revolution: What Scholarly Publishers Need to know
Waltham, Massachusetts, November 1

* Information in a Networked World: Harnessing the Flow
Washington D.C., November 2-8

* Electronic Book 2001: Authors, Applications, and Accessibility
Washington D.C., November 5-7

* Content Summit 01
Zurich, November 7-9

* Internet Librarian 2001
Pasadena, November 6-8

* First Annual Meeting of the Text Encoding Initiative Consortium
Pisa, November 16-17


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

Please feel free to forward this newsletter to interested colleagues. If
you are reading a forwarded copy of this issue, you may subscribe yourself
by signing up at the FOS home page or the FOS Newsletter page.

FOS home page, general information, subscriptions, editorial position,
feedback form

FOS Newsletter, subscriptions, back issues

FOS Discussion Forum, subscriptions, postings

Guide to the FOS Movement

Peter Suber

Copyright (c) 2001, Peter Suber

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Received on Fri Sep 14 2001 - 17:57:20 BST

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