Re: Excerpts from FOS Newsletter

From: Peter Suber <>
Date: Mon, 29 Apr 2002 20:32:13 +0100

      Excerpts from the Free Online Scholarship (FOS) Newsletter
      April 29, 2002

The Poincaré conjecture

The Poincaré conjecture is unusual in several respects. First, it's on
every shortlist of the most famous and difficult unsolved problems in
mathematics. Second, the Clay Mathematics Institute has offered a $1
million prize for a proof of the conjecture. Third, a serious assault on
the problem is now taking place in a free online preprint archive.

Martin Dunwoody, a mathematician at Southampton University, posted a
tentative proof of the conjecture to the Southampton Pure Mathematics Group
Preprint Archive. Dunwoody has revised his text several times as readers
found flaws in his proof and as he found solutions. When I last visited,
he was up to version 8, and wrestling with a difficulty pointed out by
Warwick mathematician Colin Rourke.

Despite the setbacks and fixes, the evolving proof is generating
excitement. Arthur Jaffe, president of the Clay Institute, called
Dunwoody's work "the first serious effort" on any of the institute's seven
prize-winning problems. Mathematician Ian Stewart calls Dunwoody's proof
"the first good shot at this problem in years."

>From an FOS point of view, this is an experiment in putting unfinished
work on an open-access preprint server, updating the work in response to
criticism, harnessing informal peer review to improve a result before
submitting it to formal peer review, and letting the world watch every step
free of charge.

If Dunwoody never quite fixes the leaks in his proof, he will still have
proved the utility of free online preprint archives in gathering relevant
expertise and focusing it on an important scientific problem. If his proof
succeeds, then it will count not only as the world's first proof of the
Poincaré conjecture, but as an elegant new proof of the FOS Quality
Theorem, which asserts that first-rate science and scholarship do not
depend on the medium (print or electronic) or cost (priced or free) of the
channel of distribution.

Martin Dunwoody, "A Proof of the Poincaré Conjecture?"

Southampton Pure Mathematics Group Preprint Archive

The Clay Mathematics Institute
(The CMI list of seven "Millennium Problems" was announced in 2000 as a
deliberate echo of Hilbert's famous list of 23 in 1900.)

Background on the Poincaré conjecture

AP story on Dunwoody's proof

* BioMed Central offers to handle the infrastructure for editorial groups
wanting to launch their own free online peer-reviewed journals in
biomedicine. Since November 2001, BMC has launched five new journals and
has 29 in preparation.

New and forthcoming journals from BMC

Starting a new journal with BMC

* The Open Archives Initiative (OAI) and the Dublin Core Metadata
Initiative (DMCI) have announced an XML schema for unqualified Dublin Core
metadata. The new schema was developed to use with the OAI Protocol, and
will facilitate the declaration of modular metadata components.

* Six more major regional library networks have signed up with ebrary to
deliver its online content. Ebrary allows users to read full-text books
and articles for free, but charges to copy or print them.

Ebrary now offers the option of flat-fee pricing. Students, faculty, and
other library patrons at institutions paying an annual fee based on FTEs
may copy and print as much they like with no further charges.
(Not yet on the ebrary site.)

Finally, ebrary has launched a page for individuals who don't have ebrary
access through libraries. This is the easiest path to free online reading
of the ebrary collection of full-text books and articles.

* Free access to Computing Reviews ends on May 1. Computing Reviews is to
computer science roughly what Faculty of 1000 is to biology (FOSN for

* The University of Glasgow has created a web site, "Create
Change: Challenging the Crisis in Scholarly Communication". It contains
an institutional eprints archive, a description of the serials crisis,
alternatives to commercial publication, advice to individual academics, an
FAQ, and a discussion forum.

Glasgow's Create Change pages

Glasgow's eprints service

* The University of Nottingham has also launched an eprints archive. In
addition to the university's research papers, the site contains information
and advice for faculty on eprints, copyright, and open access.

For an account of Nottingham's experience setting up this archive, see this
article by Stephen Pinfield, Mike Gardner, and John MacColl from the
March/April _Ariadne_ (FOSN for 4/15/02).

==> Does your university have an eprints archive for the research output of
its faculty? Eprint archives use free software, are easy to set up,
greatly amplify the readership and impact of every participating author,
and directly help readers around the world.

* A very good discussion is taking place in a thread of Ann Okerson's
LibLicense list on the true costs of publishing electronic journals.

* OAIster has put online a short summary of the results of its user
survey. OAIster digs content out of the deep internet and makes it
OAI-compliant and searchable (FOSN 3/4/02). Highlight: online journals
were both the most-sought online resource and the least-found.

* Flipper is a new search engine of the deep internet. The deep internet
consists of databases not crawled by traditional search engines. By most
estimates, it's more than 500 times larger than the surface internet, and
most online academic content resides there.

Press release on the launch of Flipper

* The abstracts of the papers given at the United Kingdom Serials Group
conference (Warwick, April 15-17) are now online. Many are
FOS-related. The UKSG announced its 2002 International Research Awards at
the conference, but I haven't yet been able to find an online list of the

* The presentations from the EUSIDIC conference (Paris, March 11-12) are
now online.
(Thanks to Weekly.)

* _Technological Innovation and Intellectual Property Newsletter_ is a new,
free online periodical. The inaugural issue is now online.
(Thanks to Red Rock Eater.)

* JISC is conducting a survey evaluating its Legal Information Service. It
welcomes responses until May 10.

* The EU's CORDIS (Community Research and Development Information Service)
has created an online survey for its users. CORDIS provides free online
access to EU-funded research.

* Phyllis Sweeney is conducting a survey on the use of online resources for
teaching rather than research.

* The 2002 ALPSP Awards for learned and professional publishing will be
given in September. Nominations and applications are due by May 31.

* The National Science Foundation has been investigating the
cyber-infrastructure that will best support science. It has completed some
draft recommendations for which it now seeks public comment. It would like
comments by May 1, so that it can complete the final version of the report
by early June.

* The Council of Europe (COE) has drafted a Declaration on Freedom of
Communication on the Internet. It welcomes public comments until May
1. Send comments to <media [at]>.
(Thanks to Internet Law News.)

The COE has also drafted questions about freedom of expression on the
internet to be debated at a May 14 hearing.
(Thanks to Politech.)

* The May/June issue of _CLIR Issues_ is now online. It contains the
following FOS-related articles.

"Mellon Foundation to Support Scholarly Communication Institute"
(Excerpts from the press release.)

Abby Smith, "The Cost of Providing Access"
("Access" here means long-term access to digital content. Smith argues
that long-term access and preservation costs are core business expenses of
libraries, analogous to insurance.)

* On April 24 the ALPSP published a report on authors' and readers' views
of electronic research publication. The web site contains a summary of the
findings (HTML) and the key statistics (PPT), but the full report is only
available in print ($100 for the first copy, $50 each for additional
copies). The report is based on a survey of 14,000 academics from all
disciplines and many countries, with a 9% response rate. From the online
summary: "[M]ost want electronic journals to be free in the future....It
is salutary to discover how little they value the various additional
features which publishers add to electronic journals, with the notable
exception of citation linking...." The print edition contains not only the
data and its analysis, but the verbatim comments of the respondents to
several open-ended questions.

* Thomas Walker has put online the powerpoint version of the paper he
delivered at the April 12 ALPSP conference in London. His paper describes
the experience of the Florida Entomological Society in giving free online
access to its journal papers. From 1994-2000 it charged authors nothing
for this service, and since 2001 has charged a fee paid by authors or their
sponsors. The fees have not deterred submissions; on the contrary, they
are at record levels. Moreover, the fees not only offset the costs of
providing online access, but made print subscription prices unnecessary as

* Maureen Spencer and two co-authors have posted to the web the results of
their study on the use of online rather than paper sources of English
judicial opinions. Legal researchers find online sources extremely useful
even when courts will not accept the citation of online sources in official
documents. Today English lawyers use online sources much more extensively
than English law students, perhaps because access to them is so
expensive. Law students need training with online sources to be prepared
for legal practice in the age of the internet and to discriminate the more
reliable sources from the less reliable. Finally, "cost is a significant
deterrent" to the wider use of online court reporters. (PS: The U.S. was
in a similar position a few years ago. But the federal government and all
the states have created free online access to recent statutes and judicial
opinions, even if they can't use the enhanced, copyrighted versions of the
major legal publishers. The frontier now consists of older laws, smaller
jurisdictions like towns and counties, and lesser legal sources like
pleadings and briefs.)

* The Knowledge Conservancy is a non-profit corporation whose mission is to
acquire copyrights to cultural, historical, and scientific works (by
donation from their owners or by purchase with donated funds), and to make
these works available online free of charge and assure their long-term
preservation. It seeks donated content, donated funds, and members.

* The Digital Library of the Commons is an OAI-compliant archive of papers
on the economics of "common pool resources". (PS: While FOS repositories
are often called an "intellectual commons", this site uses the term
"commons" to refer more narrowly to rivalrous resources for which one
person's use subtracts from another's. FOS is nonrivalrous --not because
it is free, but because it is digital.)


* In my last issue (and in several issues before that) I said that the
National Academy Press provides free online access to "all" its
books. David Goodman writes that NAP makes an exception for its Joseph
Henry Press titles, "which are a
little more popular and suitable for sale by conventional bookstores. Most
of these are not online." Thanks, David.


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.)

* 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

** Open Archives Forum Workshop
Pisa, May 13-14

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

** A Day in the Life of an [Electronic] Journal Publisher
Chichester, May 16

** Shaping the Network Society: Patterns for Participation, Action and Change
Seattle, May 16-19

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

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

** Taking the Plunge: Moving from Print to Electronic Journals
London, May 22

* 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

* Fair Use Seminar
Portland, Oregon, May 30

* Off the 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

** International Association of Technological University Libraries Annual
Conference: Partnerships, Consortia, and 21st Century Library Science
Kansas City, June 2-6

** Digital Behavior: European Forum on Digital Content Creation,
Management, and Distribution
Cologne, June 4-8

** DELOS Workshop on Evaluation of Digital Libraries: Testbeds,
Measurements, and Metrics
Budapest, June 6-7

** Social Implicatoins of Information and Communication Technology
Raleigh, North Carolina, June 6-8

** Electronic Resources and the Social Role of Libraries in the Future
Sudak, Ukraine, June 8-16

** First International Semantic Web Conference
Sardinia, June 9-12

** Frontiers of Ownership in the Digital Economy: Information Patents,
Database Protection and the Politics of Knowledge
Paris, June 10-11

** IASSIST 2002: Accelerating Access, Collaboration, and Dissemination
June 10-15

** The Commons in an Age of Globalisation. Ninth Biennial Conference of
the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, June 17-21

** Informing Science and IT Education
Cork, June 19-21

** 8th International Conference of European University Information Systems
Porto, June 19-22

** Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers: Exploiting the Online Environment for
Maximum Advantage
Birmingham, June 20-21

** Transforming Serials: The Revolution Continues
Williamsburg, Virginia, June 20-23

** Choices and Strategies for Preservation of the Collective Memory
Bolzano, Italy, June 25-29

** CIG Seminar: REVEALed: The Truth Behind the National Database of
Resources in Accessible Formats
London, June 26

** 4th International JISC/CNI Conference
Edinburgh, June 26-27

** Digitisation Summer School for Cultural Heritage Professionals
Glasgow, June 30 - July 5


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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Peter Suber

Copyright (c) 2002, Peter Suber
Received on Mon Apr 29 2002 - 20:32:54 BST

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