Re: Excerpts from FOS Newsletter

From: Peter Suber <>
Date: Thu, 14 Feb 2002 23:18:54 +0000

      Excerpts from the Free Online Scholarship (FOS) Newsletter
      February 14, 2001
      [passages in square brackets added by Stevan Harnad]

The next issue will come out after a longer interval than usual so that I
can take a four-day vacation next week.


The Budapest Open Access Initiative

Today marks the official launch of the Budapest Open Access Initiative
(BOAI), the most important FOS initiative in a long time. This is the
public statement and plan of action that emerged from the conference in
Budapest I attended in early December (and described briefly in FOSN
for 12/5/01). Between the conference and today, the participants have
been drafting the statement and a few other documents to accompany it.
I'm very pleased with the result and very proud to have played a role
in it. Let me give you a quick tour.

The drafters of BOAI represent many perspectives on FOS, many different
nations, and many different FOS initiatives. The experience around the
table came from university research, libraries, philanthropy, and
non-profit and for-profit publishing. You can find the individual
drafters and their affiliations at the bottom of the main document, so
I won't repeat them here. The first point to make, though, is that
while disagreements were plentiful, we all saw that agreements were
more basic than disagreements. This diverse group agreed on a common
plan to achieve FOS.

The initiative endorses the goal of "open access", the term used by
BOAI for what I tend to call free online access. BOAI calls for open
access to peer-reviewed research articles in all academic fields and
the preprints that might precede them. It can easily and naturally be
extended to all digital content that its authors consent to disseminate
without payment.

BOAI endorses two strategies to achieve open access, and supports
experiments with other strategies that might prove effective. The first
strategy is what Stevan Harnad calls self-archiving. Authors put
preprints in institutional or disciplinary archives that comply with
the protocols of the Open Archives Initiative. When their articles are
published in peer-reviewed journals, they also archive either the
refereed postprint or a list of corrigenda (differences between the
preprint and the postprint), depending on the journal's permission
policies. The second strategy is to launch a new generation of journals
committed to provide open access to all their contents. The two
strategies are not only compatible; they are complementary. Putting
them together creates synergy and the acceleration of parallel

Both strategies are sustainable in the long term. We know this because
providing open access costs much less than traditional forms of
dissemination and much less than the money currently spent on journal
subscriptions. The only problem is the transition from here to there.
The BOAI is especially promising because it understands this and
mobilizes the financial resources to help make the transition possible.
George Soros' Open Society Institute (OSI), which convened the original
meeting in Budapest, is committing one million dollars a year for three
years to BOAI, and recruiting other foundations to add their support to
the cause.

What makes BOAI special is the way it embraces different approaches and
combines principle, strategy, tested means to the desired end, and

I'm especially pleased with the BOAI's friendliness toward the many
players in the landscape and its focus on constructive steps toward the
goal. The BOAI doesn't demand that existing journals change their
prices or their access policies. We hope they will, and we will even
help pay the costs of converting to a different business model for
journals willing to change. But if not, we'll just pursue our goal
without their participation. BOAI doesn't call for boycotts of any kind
of literature, any kind of journal, or any kind of publisher. It
doesn't call for violations of copyright or even for changes in
copyright law. It doesn't demand, and needn't wait for, any changes
from publishers, markets, or legislation. Scientists and scholars have
all the means within their grasp. The BOAI calls on scientists and
scholars to take up these means and use them, and it invites the
cooperation of all those disposed to help.

My considered judgment is that the primary obstacle faced by BOAI,and
the FOS movement in general, is misunderstanding. Most of the
objections we hear (about copyright, about quality and peer review,
about financing...) are based on misunderstanding. That's good news
insofar as it means that most resistance will melt away when our ends
and means are properly understood. But of course it's bad news if our
efforts to date have not done more to clarify our ends and means. The
BOAI is taking steps to disarm as many objections as possible with a
detailed FAQ. Not everyone will read it, of course. But for those who
do, it will answer 95% of the questions, objections, and anxieties that
similar initiatives have provoked in the past. Of course, FAQ's don't
change the world, and we have other tools for changing the world. But
if our primary obstacle really is misunderstanding, then the FAQ is one
of our most potent tools.

HOW YOU CAN HELP. You can help the BOAI by signing it, persuading your
institution to sign it, and spreading the word about it. A signature
indicates a pledge of assistance and participation. If you [or your
institution] are willing to self-archive your own papers, or submit
them to open-access journals, help launch new open-access journals [or
archives], or any of a number of things listed at the site, then you
[or your institution] should sign. Signatures don't call on others to
act, but demonstrate that someone is acting. The growing list of
signatures is a measure of our strength.

If you have questions about BOAI, send them to me (peters [at]
and I'll try to answer them in the newsletter or the discussion forum.

BOAI Home page

What you can do to help
(Separate sections for reseearchers, universities, libraries, journals,
foundations, professional societies, governments,and citizens.)

(The FAQ and the list of ways you can help, above, will remain open to

See who has signed

Sign it yourself

Open Society Institute

* Postscript. I like the term "open access" and will start to use it
more often in the newsletter. It's not perfect, however. It's short but
not self-explanatory. We decided that this was better than a long
phrase that contained all the needed nuances. ("Free online access" is
more self-explanatory but still falls short; a truly self-explanatory
phrase would be very long.) The BOAI defines the term explicitly, which
frees it to trade off perspicuity for brevity. If the term and its
definition can spread, then we'll have a useful new tool for discussing
FOS issues. --Now all we need is a short term for the body of
literature to which this applies.

* PPS. The term "open access" is already spreading in this context. The
Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) supports
both free and affordable scholarly journals, and has now flagged the
free ones on its web list with a bright yellow "Open Access" icon.
SPARC is an institutional signatory of the BOAI, and SPARC's director,
Rick Johnson, is one of the BOAI drafters.

* PPPS. I expected to have no news accounts of BOAI to cite until the
next issue. But here are a few that just came out as I prepare to click

Declan Butler, Soros Offers Access to Science Papers (for Nature)

Ivan Noble, Boost for Research Paper Access (for BBC)

Michael Smith, Soros Backs Academic Rebels (for UPI)

[Alexander Grimwade, Open Societies Need Open Access (The Scientist) ]

[Denis Delbecq, L'abordage des revvues scientifiques (Liberation,
Paris) ]


More to come!


International Scholarly Communications Alliance

Eight major research library organizations from eight nations launched the
International Scholarly Communications Alliance (ISCA) on February
6. "Because the ISCA recognizes that both the publishing industry and the
research community are global, its members will concentrate on ways to
ensure open and affordable access to scholarship across national
boundaries. Its essential partnership will be with the scholar-author, the
key provider of the world's research."

ISCA members represent over 600 research libraries around the world, with
budgets over $5 billion (US), and serving more than 11 million faculty and
students. ICAS will act on behalf of all its members to promote
"necessary, practical and viable...initiatives to transform the scholarly
communication process". Its press release gives two examples. One is
SPARC and the other is self-archiving using OAI-compliant institutional



* In May, Lawrence Lessig plans to launch a project called Creative
Commons, which will offer free, flexible intellectual property licenses
designed to protect authors, promote sharing, and encourage the creativity
that has been stifled by copyright. The customizable licenses will protect
art, literature, scholarship, software, or music. The standard Commons
License will assign most of the author's rights to the public domain while
reserving others, such as the right to block the publication of altered,
misattributed, or commercial versions of the author's work. (PS: This is
very similar to the kind of license the Public Library of Science
recommends for scientific journal articles.) The project will also act as
a "conservancy" for this kind of content, and use its resources to protect
the reserved rights of the authors and creators. In this sense, the
Commons will use current copyright law to promote sharing and protect
rights, rather than work to reform copyright law. (In his books, Lessig
advocates significant copyright reforms, but this project doesn't
presuppose or lobby for those refoms.) The combination of licenses that
reserve enforceable rights and a committed organization to enforce them
should encourage more authors and creators to consent to the free online
distribution of their works.

News stories on the Creative Commons

The Creative Commons, beta site
(Thanks to Internet Law News.)

* The Science Société subcommittee on intellectual property of the French
Académie des Sciences has issued a public statement asking the European
Commission not to apply a May 2001 copyright directive to scientific
publications. A scientific publication like a journal article should be
treated differently from other literature because the author of the
scientific publication "ne cherche pas à tirer un avantage financier de sa
publication" (seeks no financial gain). Copyright law should recognize the
important difference between the two kinds of writing, and should recognize
that applying the rules of revenue-producing literature to donated
literature (e.g. by limiting copying) will actually hinder the
dissemination of the latter against the wishes of authors. To help readers
understand the issues, it refers them to the FOS debate in _Nature_ and the
Public Library of Science. The site includes a web form allowing others to
sign the statement.
(Thanks to Stevan Harnad.)

* Eprints v. 2.0 has now been released. Eprints is free software for
making OAI-compatible archives for self-archiving.

* Blackwell Synergy (369 science journals) has offered free online access
from its launch until now, to help potential buyers become familiar with
the service. The free trial period is now over. The only free services
left are searching and browsing tables of contents and abstracts, full-text
access to sample issues, and email delivery of tables of contents.

* Innovative Interfaces has released Metasource, a suite of tools to help
libraries manage their digital collections.

* ISI has adopted SmartLogik to be its cross-archive search
engine. SmartLogik tools create a uniform interface for proprietary and
public (free) databases.

SmartLogik/ISI press release

SmartLogik home page

* The UK Data Archive at the University of Sussex has officially launched
Qualidata, "a national service for the acquisition, dissemination and
re-use of social sciences qualitative research data". The site has been
online in a beta form since October 2000 while building its collection of
(Thanks to the Manchester Metropolitan University Library.)

* A report on the January 20 NISO/BISG conference on Archiving Electronic
Publications is now online at the NISO web site. The report includes links
to the major presentations at the conference.

* The EU's Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS)
provides free online access to EU-funded research. It oversees FP5 and its
many FOS and FOS-related programs. CORDIS is looking for experts to
evaluate proposals. If you're willing to serve, fill out this web form.
(Thanks to Weekly.)

* NSF and JISC are jointly funding a series of partnerships between US and
UK institutions to develop digital resources for the classroom. The
project will fund about four partnerships for three years at about £500,000
per team per year. If your institution would like to participate and needs
a partner, fill out the project's web form.

* In the February 5 _Planet eBook_, Sam Vaknin gives a useful overview of
DOI's, including multiple resolution, the new DOI-EB (ebook) standard, and
their implications for DRM technology and ecommerce.

* In a January 29 posting to arXiv, Carl Lagoze and 14 co-authors describe
the core components of the NSDL architecture, focusing on how the
architecture supports multiple layers of interoperability (see FOSN for
1/23/02). In a January 30 posting, David Fulker and Greg Janée describe
the technical scope and functional model of the NSDL architecture. NSDL is
the National SMETE Digital Library (SMETE = Science, Mathematics,
Engineering and Technology Education), a very large free online archive of
science now under construction by the NSF. (Lagoze et al.) (Fulker and Janée)
(Thanks to the Scout Report.)

* In a recent article in _The Craft_, Timothy McGettigan argues that it is
author inertia, not journal inadequacy, that keeps more scholars from
submitting their articles to electronic journals. One lesson he draws is
that the FOS movement is better off recruiting young scholars who
understand the advantages of open access and stop wasting energy trying to
convert those who resist, "especially those well-situated within the print
publishing hierarchy".

* In the discussion forum this week, there are threads on the Derk Haank
interview in _Information Today_ and my interpretation of it, and on the
use of copyleft in science.

FOS discussion forum
(Anyone may read; only subscribers may post; subscription is free.)



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

* Society for Scholarly Publishing, Top Management Roundtable. Successful
Publishing in the Global Environment.
Washington, D.C., February 13-14

* 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

* Digital Libraries and Copyright
Lansing, Michigan, February 20

* 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

* [Public lecture], Will Thomas and Ed Ayers, "The Next Generation of
Digital Scholarship: An Experiment in Form
Washington, D.C., February 27

* Meeting of the Digital Preservation Coalition
London, February 27

* 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

* Search Engine Strategies
Boston, March 4-5

* Redefining [Digital] Preservation (ARL and the University of Michigan)
Ann Arbor, Michigan, March 7-8

* Towards an Information Society for All
Berlin, March 8-9

* 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

* Digital Resources and International Information Exchange: East-West
March 15 (Washington DC), 18 (Flushing NY), 20 (Stamford CT)

* Internet Librarian International 2002
London, March 18-20

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

* Institute of Mueum and Library Services. Building Digital Communities
Baltimore, March 20-22

* Advanced Licensing Workshop
Dallas, March 20-22

* Electronic Publishing Strategy
London, March 22

* OCLC Institute. Steering by Standards. (A series of satellite
Cyberspace. OAI, March 26. OAIS, April 19. Metadata standards in the
future, May 29.

* WebSearch University
San Francisco, March 25-26; Stamford CT, April 30 - May 1; Washington DC,
September 23-24; Chicago, Octeober 22-23; Dallas, November 19-20.

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

* e-Content: Discovering and Delivering Value
Toronto, 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

* Copyright Management in Higher Education: Ownership, Access and Control
Adelphi, Maryland, April 4-5

* Global Knowledge Partnership Annual Meeting
Addis Ababa, April 4-5

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

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

* E-Content 2002 (on ebooks)
London, April 11

* 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

* Licensing Electronic Resources to Libraries
Philadelphia, April 15

* 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

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

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


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

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Guide to the FOS Movement

Sources for the FOS Newsletter

Peter Suber

Copyright (c) 2002, Peter Suber
Received on Thu Feb 14 2002 - 23:19:57 GMT

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