Re: Excerpts from FOS Newsletter

From: Peter Suber <>
Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2002 19:17:48 +0000

      Excerpts from the Free Online Scholarship (FOS) Newsletter
      January 8, 2002

Looking back at 2001

I haven't written a review of 2001 from an FOS perspective. It just didn't
occur to me to take notes toward such a project as the year unfolded and
now I'm too busy with 2002 news to go back. But here are some other
reviews of 2001 that might interest you.

Paula Hane from _Information Today_ reviews 2001 from the standpoint of
online information, including scholarly content.

Ellen Garner and the editors of _InformationWeek_ collect their best
stories of 2001.

Chris Sherman of _SearchDay_ reviews 2001 from the standpoint of search

Carl Kaplan reviews 2001 developments in internet law for the _New York Times_.
(Cited in the last issue of FOSN but repeated here)

Mike Goodwin from _IP Worldwide_ reviews 2001 from the standpoint of
intellectual property law.

The ACLU's Barry Stein is interviewed in _Wired_ about civil liberties in 2001.,1283,49317,00.html

The most FOS-relevant and personally gratifying item for this list is not
yet available. Péter Jacsó writes a column for _Information Today_, and
devotes his January column every year to cheers and jeers about news events
in the previous year. This year his column focuses on digital publishing,
and he singles out the FOS Newsletter for cheers. Unfortunately, his
column is one of the few articles in the January _IT_ that is not in the
free online edition. The print edition may come out any day now, or may
already have come out. But I'm living this year in rural Maine where no
newsstand or bookstore in a 50 mile radius sells _IT_. (I've checked.) I
*will* get the text, so you needn't send it to me, but it's ironic that
this is the first story I've ever wanted to cover in FOSN that I couldn't
cover from resources online or at hand. I hope to have excerpts of Jacsó's
column to share with you next week.

The January issue of _Information Today_

* Here are some articles looking in the other direction and anticipating
developments in 2002.

Michael Geist, author of BNA's _Internet Law News_, predicts the major
internet law news of 2002.

The _New York Times_ has a series of articles on "Trends To Watch", of
which two are relevant for us. Amy Harmon looks at the trends in copyright
and online privacy.

John Schwartz looks at the trends in threats, and responses to threats, to
the U.S. information infrastructure.


The American Geophysical Union has suddenly and significantly raised the
prices for the online versions of its journals. Librarians are starting to

AGU's explanation of its price hike

Library beefs on the liblicense discussion list

The Los Alamos National Laboratory Research Library Newsletter
recommendation to drop AGU journals


Another group that wants to give you money and shrink your audience

Knexa is a new online marketplace for buying and selling digital articles
and books. Authors set the prices on their works and would-be readers
either pay the price or make auction-like bids. Readers can browse through
the items for sale or ask a question and wait for an author to propose a
priced answer. Users can rate the selling authors and are encouraged to
base their purchases in part on these ratings. Knexa takes a 20%
commission on each sale.

Knexa home page

* Postscript. Knexa isn't the first service of this kind. (See e.g. Yaga,
described in FOSN for 12/19/01.) It's inconceivable that scholarly
literature in general will move to these bazaars. But is it possible that
they have the insidious potential to sap the tradition in which scholars
write journal articles for the sake of advancing research rather than
remuneration? Without this tradition, FOS is impossible. More important,
without this tradition, wide-ranging, fruitful inquiry is impossible. It's
fair to say that the tradition of donating journal articles arose not
because scholars put the public good above their own financial interests,
but because no one publishing a journal was in a position to pay for
contributions. Scholars continue to donate articles in part because it's
tradition, in part because no journals will pay, and only in small part
because this practice contributes to the public good. Moreover, scholars
tend to be impecunious. Putting these variables together, one has reason
to wonder whether these bazaars could chip away at this tradition by
offering cash instead of wider readership and impact. If you weren't
already a friend of FOS convinced that charging for journal articles clogs
the arteries of inquiry, would you be tempted?

* PPS. Knexa is a public company (ticker symbol KNX), but Bloomberg
Online, CNNfn, Motley Fool, and the Wall Street Journal have never heard of


WIPO turns to FOS for help

In the recent Vodafone cybersquatting case, the WIPO arbitrators went
beyond the evidence submitted by the two parties and consulted the Internet
Archive's Wayback Machine. The archive showed the accused squatter
squatting and angling for a buy-out, and on that basis the panel ruled
against her.

The WIPO decision in the Vodafone case

WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) home page

The Internet Archive's Wayback Machine

* Postscript. This story isn't strongly FOS-related but I'm fascinated by
it for several reasons. First, I'm pleased to see arbitrators use
relevant, admissible evidence even when the parties didn't submit it --i.e.
to see good judges make up for bad lawyering. Second, I'm pleased to see
critical evidence come from a free online web archive. Third, I love the
irony in the fact that a WIPO panel, which has good reason to deplore the
Wayback Machine, has found it so useful. Defenders of the copyright
industry, like WIPO, might well deplore the Wayback Machine precisely
because it gives free online access to content, like old newspaper stories,
for which publishers would like to charge access fees (see FOSN for
11/9//01). Of course, the fact that one WIPO panel found the Wayback
Machine useful in this case doesn't mean that another WIPO arm won't to try
to unplug the Wayback Machine in future proceedings.



* A Canadian company, UFIL Unified Data Technologies, claims that the
Resource Description Framework (RDF) violates one of its patents, and is
taking steps to enforce its patent. The FOS connection: RDF is crucial
for the harmony of different metadata vocabularies, for the machine
readability of metadata, and for the semantic web. The future of
interoperable FOS archives will be put in jeopardy if they must either do
without RDF or pay royalties for using it.,4586,5101214,00.html

* The working draft of XML 1.1 has been released.

See Leigh Dodds' survey of opinion on 1.1.

* The Society of American Archivists has established a Task Force on
Electronic Publishing.

* The European Standards Organizations have agreed to make all their
standards freely available online.

The standards themselves

* GetInfo is a new portal and document delivery service for German science
and technology. While the corporate framework has been established, the
service itself won't launch until later this year. GetInfo asks authors to
deposit their preprints in its database. For users, searching may be free
but access to full-text will not be free. (PS: Imagine an arXiv that
charged for full-text access. Is it too late to derail this train?)

* B-Bop has released Xfinity Author wX version 2.1, software to convert MS
Word documents to XML. It uses the formatting and semantic information
coded in Word style sheets as the basis for the XML metadata elements.

* Google has enhanced phrase searching by adding a wildcard that can stand
in for whole words.

* Search Engine Watch wants you to vote in the 2001 Search Engine Watch
Awards. The web site gives no voting deadline.

* Declan Butler, European Correspondent for _Nature_, is looking for
responses by libraries and foundations to BioMed Central's decision to
charge processing fees for most of the articles it publishes (FOSN for
12/19/01, 12/26/01, 1/1/02). If you represent a library or foundation,
send your thoughts directly to <d.butler [at]>.


In other publications

* In the January 7 _Salon_, Katharine Mieszkowski tells the very
interesting story of how Google and some of its geeky net detectives
tracked down all the pieces of the usenet archive it now has online (see
FOSN for 12/12/01).

* In a January 5 editorial in _BMJ_ (formerly _British Medical Journal_),
Richard Smith reports that the free online version of BMJ has "many more
readers" than the print edition. Clearly this doesn't undermine print
sales: Smith reiterates BMJ's commitment to provide free online access to
all its contents. In fact, the print BMJ is a subset of the online BMJ,
rather than the other way around. The BMJ web site contains free full-text
back to 1994. "The future is not 'paper or electronic' but 'paper and
electronic'." The only thing missing from Smith's editorial is an
explanation of how BMJ balances the books while giving away its content
online. If other journals could see the explanation, and not just the
example, then they might be persuaded to follow suit.

Postscript. It appears that BMJ has discovered that free online access
adds more print sales than it subtracts, or at least that print sales
suffice to subsidize free online access with some profit left over. If so,
this is especially important because this phenomenon has been well-attested
for books but not yet for journals. The National Academy Press (NAP), the
Brookings Institute, MIT Press, Illinois, and Columbia are among the book
publishers that have confirmed this phenomenon for books. In FOSN for
7/17/01 and 7/31/01, I speculated that the difference between books and
journals for this purpose was that researchers with free online access to
journal articles have no need for print copies, or can print their own off
the web, but those with free online access to books may have several
reasons to want a print copy as well. If BMJ has discovered that journal
publishers benefit from FOS as much as book publishers do, it would be very
important to see a more detailed explanation, something analogous to NAP
Director Michael Jensen's account of why NAP profits by giving away its
books online.

* In the January 4 _Salon_, Jeffrey Benner shows that many universities
would rather profit from software developed in their labs than advance
research. One fascinating example directly concerns the origin of the
internet. In 1992, the University of California at Berkeley released its
version of Unix and TCP/IP into the public domain. These technologies were
already in growing use but previously required small fees. The free
versions rapidly accelerated the growth of the internet. Bill Hoskins,
director of Berkeley's Office of Technology Licensing, says that if the
question came up today, Berkeley would sell the rights to a corporation in
exchange for royalties. Benner's article is about software but it has many
implications for scholarship. Quoting Larry Smarr, professor of CS at U.C.
San Diego: "Some universities are dead set against giving away [source
code]. But I don't think universities should be in the moneymaking
business. They ought to be in the changing-the-world business, and open
source is a great vehicle for changing the world." Quoting Rebecca
Eisenberg, professor of law at the University of Michigan: "You can make a
clear case that research is being slowed by intellectual property
claims." Quoting Ian Foster, a computer scientist at Argonne National
Labs: "I believe that in almost all cases, the interests of science and
society alike are best served by free distribution of software produced in
research labs and universities. Unfortunately, there are still
institutions that place significant obstacles in the way of researchers who
wish to follow this path. Agencies funding research could help things by
making strong statements in favor of open source, so that this is the norm
rather than the exception."

* In the January issue of _Information Today_, Stephanie Ardito describes
the "moral rights" that have grown up alongside copyright. This legal term
of art is misleading because in some countries moral rights are bona fide
legal rights written into statutes or treaties and enforceable in
courts. Moral rights give authors the right to claim authorship over their
own works and to restrain the publication of improperly cited or mutilated
versions of their works, even if they have no copyright. Ardito argues
that the U.S. needs moral rights legislation to protect authors after the
Supreme Court's June decision in Tasini (see FOSN for 7/17/01).

* Also in the January issue of _Information Today_, Paula Hane summarizes
the proceedings of the Internet Librarian 2001 conference in Pasadena.

* In the December 24 _InformationWeek_, Rick Whiting describes an
experiment at the University of Illinois at Chicago to enable huge
databases to swap huge data files without an FTP bottleneck to slow them down.

* Lois Schultz maintains an index of free online archives of sheet music.

* The First Report of the Working Group on Communications in Physics was
put online in July 2001. This is a set of recommendations from a working
group of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) on the
online accessibility of physics articles. Section 5 of the report makes a
point I haven't seen made elsewhere: strict enforcement of copyright laws
to impede access to online physics articles "may threaten the right
recognized by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in its article
27.1, [providing] access to culture, education, information and scientific
research." (Does anyone know whether the IUPAP has adopted these
recommendations, or whether any court has ever ruled that the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights trumps national and international copyright laws?)


My list of FOS policy statements by learned societies and professional
associations has grown to eight statements. I'm sure there are more out
there. If you belong to a society or association that has taken a stand on
FOS issues, please send me the URL of its public statement and I'll add it
to the list.



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

* Intellectual Property Rights in the Knowledge-Based Economy$file/sixthagenda.pdf
Stanford, January 9-10

* Mathematical Challenges in Scientific Data Mining
Los Angeles, January 14-18

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

* Electronic Texts in the 21st Century (another forum at the ALA Midwinter
New Orleans, January 18-23

* Changing Business Models for Journal Publishing
London, January 24

* Intellectual Property and New Business Creation from Science and Technology
Oxford, January 27 - February 1

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

* International Conference on Bioinformatics 2002: North-South Network
Bangkok, February 6-8

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

* Kongress für digitale Inhalte
Wiesbaden, February 7-8

* Book Tech 2002
New York, February 11-13

* ICSTI Seminar on Digital Preservation of the Record of Science
Paris, February 14-15

* Conference on Intelligent Text Processing and Computational Linguistics
Mexico City, February 17-23

* Wissensmanagement im universitären Bereich
February 19-20

* Symposium on Foundations of Information and Knowledge Systems
Schloß Salzau, February 19-23

* Fifth International Publishers Association Copyright Conference
Accra, Ghana, February 20-22

* Integrating _at_ Internet Speed: Strategies for the Content Community
[conference on reference linking]
Philadelphia, February 24-27

* Getting your message across: How learned societies and other
organizations can influence public and government opinion
London, February 25

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

* A Symposium on the Research Value of Printed Materials in the Digital Age
College Park, Maryland, March 1

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

* 17th ACM Symposium on Applied Computing. Special tracks on Database and
Digital Library Technologies; Electronic Books for Teaching and Learning;
and Information Access and Retrieval
Madrid, March 10-14

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

* EUSDIC Spring Meeting. E-Content: Divide or Rule
Paris, March 11-12

* Knowledge Technologies Conference 2002
Seattle, March 11-13

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

* International Conference on the Statistical Analysis of Textual Data
St. Malo, 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

* Electronic Publishing Strategy
London, March 22

* European Colloquium on Information Retrieval Research
Glasgow, March 25-27

* 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

* International Learned Journals Seminar: We Can't Go On Like This: The
Future of Journals
London, April 12

* SIAM International Conference on Data Mining
Arlington, Virginia, April 11-13

* Creating access to information: EBLIDA workshop on getting a better deal
from your information licences
The Hague, April 12

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

* 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
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FOS home page, general information, subscriptions, editorial position

FOS Newsletter, subscriptions, back issues

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Guide to the FOS Movement

Peter Suber

Copyright (c) 2002, Peter Suber
Received on Tue Jan 08 2002 - 19:18:24 GMT

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