Re: FOS Newsletter Excerpts

From: Peter Suber <>
Date: Thu, 6 Dec 2001 02:21:15 +0000

      Excerpts from Free Online Scholarship (FOS) Newsletter
      December 5, 2001

Budapest FOS conference

On December 1-2 I attended a small, intense, productive, and very enjoyable
conference in Budapest to map strategies for achieving FOS world-wide. The
conference was hosted by the Open Society Institute (OSI), which supports
this newsletter with a grant. Formally around a table and informally at
meals and in walks along the Danube, we talked and talked and talked about
our separate FOS initiatives, how they could achieve synergy and assist one
another, how OSI could assist us, and how to accelerate progress for
all. We're still at work on a product of the conference, which I'll be
able to describe more fully when it's ready for the public.

The conference was deeply gratifying for several reasons. It was
gratifying that a major foundation was committed to the FOS cause and had
brought us together to work out a common strategy. It was gratifying to
find that we could agree on a path forward. It was gratifying to be thrown
together with this bunch of knowledgeable and hard-working people. We were
able to put aside the burden of informing newcomers and answering critics
--the walking FAQ problem-- and enjoy the company and unique perspectives
of like-minded activists from around the world. We were able to presuppose
esoteric knowledge and jump-start deep and fruitful conversations. We were
able to draw on the wide experience in the room to examine FOS obstacles in
detail and take their true measure. We are able to meet people whose work
we had long admired. We made many new friends. We juiced our confidence
that FOS is inevitable.

The trip took four days out of my news-gathering schedule. I'm about half
caught up and have decided to draw the line here for this issue. By next
week's issue should I should be back up to date. I'm eager to tell you the
rest of the conference story, but first I have to carve out some time for
the conference homework. To be continued.


The living dead problem

In the November 27 _Los Angeles Times_, David Colker points out that
sensitive information removed from the web to keep it from terrorists is
still available in many web archives (e.g. the Wayback Machine) and search
engine caches (e.g. Google's).

David Colker, The Web Never Forgets

Chris Sherman deserves credit for making the same point as early as October 9.

The difficulty of total deletion of net content is only a problem for
information that lends itself to abuse, like open discussions of security
gaps at nuclear power plants. But for valuable content like FOS, it's a
boon. The difficulty of total deletion is really a proof-of-concept for
LOCKSS (Lots of Copies Keeps Stuff Safe), a strategy for long-term
preservation that systematically caches content in a self-correcting P2P
network. See FOSN for 6/25/01.


The difficulty of total deletion has one more benefit for FOS. If you put
an unrefereed preprint of your work on the web, well before the moment when
you might assign the copyright to a journal, and then later publish a
revised or unrevised version in a journal, the journal may ask you to
remove the preprint from the web. You needn't comply; but even if you try
to do so, the preprint will almost certainly survive in some freely
accessible form. A recent thread of the September98 forum discussed the
effect of this phenomenon on copyright negotiations.

Thread name, "Copyright: Form, Content, and Prepublication Incarnations"
(The topic is more explicit later in the thread than earlier.)


* JournalSeek and LinkOpenly will merge into a new service called
LinkFinderPlus. The result is a library-based (as opposed to
publisher-based) reference linking system. LinkFinderPlus is based on
OpenURL metadata.

* The Canadian National Site Licensing Project (CNSLP) is an unusual and
award-winning national consortium to bargain down the price of licences to
priced online journals. (See FOSN for 9/14/01.) CNSLP met in late
November to discuss expanding the scope of its activities.

* On November 28, BioOne announced the first 15 consortial subscriptions
since its launch nine months ago. BioOne aggregates 46 influential,
peer-reviewed online science journals and makes them available at a low,
competitive price. (This announcement from SPARC, one of BioONe's founding
organizations, is not yet on the web at SPARC or BioOne. Sorry I can't
give you a link.)

* On November 28, ISI announced the official launch of its Web of Knowledge
service, a very unfree library of online science and related tools.

* The International Digital Electronic Access Library (IDEAL) has announced
that eight African nations (Sudan, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique,
Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia) have acquired the reduced-rate national
license it offers through Academic Press. Some of the nations are
receiving financial help for the license from the International Network for
the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP).

* At the conclusion of its November conference in Qatar, the World Trade
Organization issued a statement asserting that public health supersedes
intellectual property rights. The intent is clearly to increase the
accessibility of medicines, and therefore pertains more to patents than
copyrights. But the statement's language is intriguingly general. The
WTO's new TRIPS agreement (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property
Rights) "does not and should not prevent Members from taking measures to
protect public health." If we read this principle as extending to
copyrights, then it might imply e.g. that a licensee of ScienceDirect may
share articles on medical research with non-licensees in developing
countries. Does anyone know of a test case in the pipeline?

WTO statement

Paul Blustein, Getting WTO's Attention

PPS. In November the Open Digital Rights Language Initiative released
version 1.0 its language, which will require no licensing payments. This
culminates a six-month series of sub-1.0 releases.

ICOLC has also revised its statement on selecting and buying electronic
information. The revised version includes an update on licensing
ejournals. This is the first revision since March 1998.

* The proceedings of the Science and Technology Libraries Section of the
August IFLA conference at Cornell University are now online.

* Florida Atlantic University has put up a web page comparing the costs of
journals and databases to luxury items like cars and houses.

See Brown University's similar page on outrageous journal prices.

Recall Cornell's Sticker Shock page (FOSN for 8/16/01)

* An article forthcoming in the January 2002 _Portal_ is excerpted in the
October-November _SPARC E-News_. Lance Lugar and Kate Thomes survey the
ways that ARL member libraries use their web sites to help patrons
understand the controversies affecting access to scholarly literature. No
one doubts that ARL is a champion of free and affordable online access,
especially through SPARC and CNI. However, the survey shows that the "ARL
libraries do not make widespread, extensive use of their capacities for web
publishing to present the issues of scholarly communication to their patron

* The December 3 issue of ISI's _InCites_ computes England's percentage of
the world's published papers in 22 scientific fields and its national
citation impact in the same fields. (PS: Next, tenure will depend on
one's national impact factor.)

* In the December _Journal of Electronic Publishing_ (JEP), Charles Bailey
tells the 10-year story of the evolution of his huge and useful Scholarly
Electronic Publishing Bibliography.

* Also in the December _JEP_, Mike Sosteric, Yuwei Shi, and Olivier Wenker
issue a call to arms to fight for FOS. A key breakthrough, they argue,
will be the shift from paper-first journals to electronic-first
journals. To prepare a document first for print and then for the web
requires unnecessary DTD's and effort, while new tools make the reverse
path highly efficient. The authors include a detailed account of how two
organizations, ICAAP and BlueSky, implement electronic-first publishing and
how much it can reduce journal operating costs.

* Also in the December _JEP_, Marshall Poe describes why online publishing
will save the specialized monograph. You'll enjoy his funny, first-person
account of an experiment with informal peer review, the public domain,
Printing Service Providers (PSP's), and print-on-demand.

* In the December 1 _Econtent_, Martin White analyzes the serials pricing
crisis for an audience of commercial publishers. For example, as journal
prices rose, "[t]he publishers were in an enviable position, as journals
are not substitutable." Or, "[t]he problem is that no one walks into a
library and asks for all the Elsevier journals on hypertension. They want
all the journals on hypertension." Or, "[l]ibraries are very keen to have
[the data generated by publishers], since it would enable them, for the
first time, to have reliable usage statistics on which to base their
cancellation policy. For obvious reasons, publishers are unwilling to
release this information!"

* In the November issue of the _High Energy Physics Libraries Webzine_
(HEPLW), Guenther Eichhorn gives a comprehensive tour of the NASA
Astrophysics Data System, a major source of FOS in astronomy and astrophysics.

* Also in the November _HEPLW_, Jean-Blaise Claivaz, Jean-Yves Le Meur, and
Nicholas Robinson describe a method worked out at CERN to automate the
extraction of structured citations from full-text documents. This should
be seen in the larger context of automating the extraction of metadata from
arbitrary resource files and automating retroactive reference linking
within a set of arbitrary resources.

* Chris Ridings has written the most detailed account I've seen of Google's
algorithm for computing page-rank.

At the same time, Google is planning to tweak its algorithm to allow user
ratings to affect page-rank.,4586,5099968,00.html

Download the 1.1.51 beta of Google's new toolbar which lets you rate pages
(IE users only).

* In the last issue I reported that University of California libraries
received a Mellon grant to study how users respond when they have online
access, and not print access, to selected journals. But I linked to a news
story which didn't in turn link to the study. Here's the home page for the


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

* Online Information 2001
London, December 4-6

* Second Meeting of the Centre for Educational Technology Interoperability
Standards (CETIS) Educational Content Special Interest Group (EC SIG)
Luton, December 7

* The Electronic Library: Strategic, Policy and Management Issues
Loughborough, December 9-14

* 4th International Conference of Asian Digital Libraries
Bangalore, December 10-12

* Moving Beyond the Catalog: Bibliographic Access in a Web World
Worcester, Massachusetts, December 11

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

* Book Tech 2002
New York, February 11-13

* 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

* 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

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


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
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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 Thu Dec 06 2001 - 02:22:28 GMT

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