Re: Excerpts from FOS Newsletter

From: Peter Suber <>
Date: Tue, 21 May 2002 22:09:49 +0100

Excerpts from Free Online Scholarship (FOS) Newsletter May 6, 2002 and
May 15, 2002

Open access helps the bottom line

Advanced searching with Google variations

Google is the second-most used search engine for chemistry research by
professional chemists, after ChemWeb (see FOSN for 2/25/02, 4/22/02).
Google's sorting algorithm and index size make it useful for serious
scientific research even in direct competition with searchable databases
dedicated to scientific content.

One of Google's smarter moves recently was to publish its API so that
programmers could build Google searching into their own programs. With a
few lines of code programmers can incorporate all the power of Google
into a program, and then with a few more lines tweak and vary this power
to suit their needs or visions. Some search innovations wouldn't work on
their own but would very well when added to the Google feature set. Some
innovations would work very well on their own but would work even better
when applied to Google's index of more then two billion continuously
refreshed web pages.

Google's decision to open its API will trigger an explosion of
creativity in search technology. If you have a special searching need
not met by existing search engines, it's likely that someone's
Google-variant will soon meet your need. If not, you can take a whack at
doing it yourself. Here are some of the Google-variants now online.

Google email interface, from CapeClear. (Send an email to <google [at]> with the search string in the subject line. CapeClear
software will send you back an email of the top 10 results.)

Google API Proximity Search (GAPS), from Staggernation (Find keywords within 1, 2
or 3 words of one another.)

Google API Relation Browsing Outliner (GARBO) (Enter a URL, get a collapsible
outline either of related pages or of pages linking to the URL.)

Google Web Search by Host (GWASH)
(Organizes results in a collapsing outline by host. Within each host it
seems to sort by Google's page rank.)

Home grown Google variants cannot be commercial, and cannot query the
index more than 1,000 times a day. Since Google is willing to terminate
service to entire domains when a user from the domain sends automated
queries to the index, this suggests that Google will give developers
using the API a privilege that it doesn't give to other users. If you
agree that processing FOS as data can provide services above and beyond
FOS itself (FOSN for 4/8/02), investigate what the Google API makes

Google's instructions for downloading and using its API

There will be endless Google variations as the word spreads, and I don't
plan to cover them all. After this list, which should stimulate your
imagination, I'll only cover new variations especially helpful to
serious scholarly research.

I haven't seen a page collecting links to Google variations. If you
have, let me know and I'll link to it here. Meantime, try one of these
links to find new variations.

ResearchBuzz by Tara Calashain
(Tara tracks Google variations. I learned about the three Staggernation
variations above from ResearchBuzz.)

SearchDay by Chris Sherman
(Chris also tracks Google variations as they appear.)

Google search for "google api"

* Postscript. This week AOL dropped Overture and adopted Google as its
default search engine. Overture invented the pay-for-rank business model
for search engines, which assumes that users are more interested in
shopping than research. Overture is the leading search engine with the
model, and Google is the leading search engine that has refused to adopt
it. From this point of view, the AOL decision is a victory for objective
searching over the commercial rigging of search results.



* The Open Society Institute (OSI) has announced a grant program in
which it will give $100,000 to help open-access journals publish
research by authors from 67 developing nations. The grants will defray
the costs of processing accepted articles for free online dissemination.
Peer-reviewed, open-access journals in any academic field are eligible
to apply. This is a pilot program "inspired by the principles of the
Budapest Open Access Initiative". Grants will be given in two waves.
Applications for the first wave are due by June 14, and for the second
wave by September 9.

* The Gates Foundation has given OCLC a $9 million grant to build a
technical support portal for organizations (like public libraries) that
provide open access to knowledge and information. The portal will focus
"managing hardware and software, implementing advanced applications,
training staff and patrons, and delivering digital library services." (Thanks to LIS News.)

* The _Human Nature Review_ (HNR) has created a free, customizable
Explorer toolbar for searching online science and scholarship. It comes
with codes for a large number of searchable databases and instructions
for adding new ones on your own. Among the codes provided are those for
PubMed, CogPrints, the MIT Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science, AnthroNet,
Natural Science Update, FindArticles, the Encylopedia Britannica, Noesis
(which I co-edit with Tony Beavers), and more than a dozen others. It
also includes a code for Scirus, which searches arXiv, BioMed Central,
and all Elsevier ejournals. Users can run searches on a single database
or across a list of databases.

* In the May 2 _BBC News_, Mark Ward describes how grid computing is
helping astronomers. Astrogrid is a unified front end to the many
astronomical archives and data sets now online, and a channel to cope
with the voluminous data generated by digital telescopes and other
instruments. For example, the Visible & Infrared Survey Telescope for
Astronomy (Vista) will generate 100 GB of data every day. Astrogrid
makes different archives and data sets interoperable through its own
metadata standard. The result is that astronomers have access to x-ray,
radio, magnetic, infra-red, and optical data on a given celestial
object, even if these data must be gathered from different online

* In the April 28 _Heise Online_, Stefan Krempl describes the Math-Net
Page initiative from the International Mathematics Union (IMU). A
Math-Net Page at a university math department web site hosts links to
faculty and their online papers in a standardized way that facilitates
the collection of the linked pages by special software run by the
Math-Net portal. The goal is to produce a free online archive of world
mathematical literature, by encouraging mathematicians to post their
papers to their department sites and encouraging departments to post
Math-Net Pages. Krempl closes with a summary of major FOS initiatives
from arXiv and the Public Library of Science to the Budapest Open Access
Initiative. (The article is in German.) (Thanks to

IMU press release on Math-Net Pages (in English, undated)

IMU statement endorsing open access, May 2001 (in English)

Nila A. Sathe and two co-authors, "Print versus electronic journals: a
preliminary investigation into the effect of journal format on research

St=E9fan Darmoni and five co-authors, "CISMeF-patient: a French
counterpart to MEDLINEplus"

Dale Flecker wrote the chapter on preserving digital journals.

* In FOSN for 4/22/02, I cited the February issue of the _ARL Bimonthly
Report_ without a URL because the issue was not online at that time. But
it's online now. (While dated February, this issue appeared in April.)
The issue is devoted to open access and contains the following pieces:

Mary Case, "Promoting Open Access: Developing New Strategies for
Managing Copyright and Intellectual Property"

Peter Suber, "Where Does the Free Online Scholarship Movement Stand
Today?" (Reprint of my April
editorial for _Cortex_.)

The Budapest Open Access Initiative (full statement and excerpts from
its FAQ) ("The [BOAI] FAQ is one of
the most usefully linked documents your [ARL] editors have ever
discovered on the Web.")

Welcome to the Free Online Scholarship (FOS) Newsletter May 15, 2002

* Richard Stallman told me that he sees no good reason to use the GPL or
copyleft for scientific journal articles (see FOSN for 2/6/02). GLP
makes more sense for software manuals or textbooks, where new
developments create a need to modify the original text. But articles
that report the result of an experiment, or the observations of a
scientist, should not be modified.

"Protecting the Information Commons: Asserting the Public Interest in
Copyright Law and Digital Infrastructure"

Scott Burnell's UPI story about the conference

Budapest Open Access Initiatve


Why FOS progress has been slow

The information commons conference made me think, again, about why
progress in the FOS movement has been slow. Progress in achieving FOS
has been accelerating, especially in the past two years. But compared to
the rate permitted by our opportunities, progress has been slow. All the
means to this end are within the control of scientists and scholars
themselves and don't depend on legislatures or markets. We needn't wait
for anyone to become enlightened except ourselves. So what is slowing us

Scientists and scholars voluntarily submit their work to journals that
do not pay royalties. They can self-archive their preprints and some
form of their postprints without copyright problems. If they submit
their work to an open-access journal, then they can publish in a
peer-reviewed journal, face no copyright problems, and still get open
access to their work. So here are authors who consent to dispense with
payment, who face no economic loss (and much intangible gain) for
allowing the free distribution and copying of their work, and who face
no copyright barriers in authorizing open access. Yet open access to
science and scholarship is expanding much more slowly than it could. The
other movements represented at the conference face more vexing problems
than we do: either flat-out copyright (or patent) barriers, or lack of
consent from the rightsholders, or both. So if our case is the easy
case, why is it so hard?

Stevan Harnad calls this question the *big koan*. Here's a whack at an
answer. There is no single cause of scholarly sluggishness on FOS, but
here are some of the factors that certainly play a role.

(1) Unlike librarians, scholars tend not to understand the serials
pricing crisis. They tend not to understand the licensing and copyright
(contractual and statutory) problems that are laid on top of exorbitant
prices to make library access to journals so difficult. They tend not to
understand the economics and technology of journal publishing. I don't
blame them much. I had to take a large detour from my own research
interests to gain the degree of understanding I have now. Scholars are
focused on the fascinating first-order problems that attracted them into
their disciplines (FOSN for 4/8/02), and their talent is to concentrate.
But while their focus on other problems is understandable, they
aggravate this problem by ignoring it. These are smart people, yet they
still tend to say, "Don't fix what isn't broken," rather than "Which
solution is best?"

Scholars tend to notice that there are access problems to journal
literature when their own library doesn't carry a journal they need, or
when nearby libraries will not send a copy by inter-library loan because
they don't have permission to copy the electronic edition which has
replaced their print edition. But when scholars run into access
barriers, they are slow to realize that these are systemic, not the
isolated misfortunes of researchers with abstruse topics.

There are many good introductions to the dimensions and details of the
problem. Here's one of the best.

(2) There are several myths and misunderstandings about FOS. The three
most common and inimical are that FOS bypasses peer review, that it
costs money that cannot be found, and that it violates copyright. If
true, these myths would make FOS undesirable, impractical, and illegal.
But all three are false, as you know if you've been following this
movement for any length of time. If you are new to the issues and
haven't already read their full refutation, here are two sources. (scroll to the middle) (especially the section
on open access)

(3) Scholars want to publish in prestigious journals, most of which are
still priced and printed. Open-access journals can be as prestigious as
any (see e.g. BMJ). But most open-access journals are new and it takes
time for new journals to gather prestige, even if their quality is
impeccable from the start. The solution is not to talk authors out of
their preference for prestige, but to create more open-access journals,
staff them with first-rate editors, and give them time.

(4) Scholars have a conflict of interest in their roles as authors and
as readers. As authors, they want prestigious journals which for the
time being are mostly priced. But as readers they want free online
access to full-text articles. In this conflict, authors prevail over
readers because authors decide where to submit their articles. For a
growing number of authors who realize that open-access journals give
them a much wider audience and give their research much greater impact,
these benefits outweigh prestige. But there are still many who don't
realize that their favorite priced, printed, and prestigious journals
have a smaller audience than open-access journals. When this sinks in,
and especially when the prestige of open-access journals grows to match
their quality, then the conflict will disappear and it will be clear
that both authors and readers will benefit from open access. But this
will take time.

(5) Insofar as authors are forced by career pressures to choose a
priced, printed journal over an open-access journal, then the academic
reward system is also a part of the problem. Hiring and tenure
committees that don't give due weight to free online peer-reviewed
journals, regardless of their quality, make it too risky for untenured
scholars to become part of the solution. Ironically, junior faculty who
face these pressures are the most clued-in and most eager to realize the
full potential of the internet.

(6) It is still much more the rule than the exception for journals to
demand that authors transfer their copyright. But giving a journal the
copyright to an article gives it the authority to decide whether access
to the article will be closed or open. Since most journals are priced,
most will limit access to paying customers. Priced journals wouldn't be
access-barriers if they didn't have the authority from copyright to
decide whether to permit open access.

(7) The transition to open access faces certain obstacles. Priced
journals want their revenue, either as profit or to minimize their
losses. Open-access journals must persuade a variety of institutions
(universities, libraries, foundations, governments) to accept a novel
funding model. Even if paying for dissemination costs much less than
paying for access, the novelty is a ground for hesitation and the new
expense may fall where no expense fell before. I've argued that the
transition to an open-access funding model may even create a prisoner's
dilemma (FOSN for 1/1/02).

(8) There are three vicious circles here that affect journal funding,
author incentives, and author opportunities. The first is the prisoner's
dilemma in the transition from the old funding model to the new. By
paying for the dissemination of articles rather than access to them,
universities will realize significant savings. But they may not be able
to afford dissemination fees until they can stop paying access fees, and
they can't stop paying access fees until the dissemination fee business
model has generally prevailed.

The second vicious circle is that prestige is an important incentive for
authors to submit their articles to certain journals, but new
open-access journals can only gain prestige if they can give authors an
incentive to submit their articles. The third vicious circle is simply
that progress has been slow. This means that there are still
comparatively few open-access journals where authors can submit their
work, and there are still comparatively few institutional eprint
archives offering open access to the research output of their faculty.
Finally, I'd like to emphasize that these are explanations for the slow
rate of change, not grounds for pessimism. Explaining why the chicken is
on this side of the road doesn't mean that it can't walk to the other
side. There are many grounds for optimism; just look at the back issues of

this newsletter. * Postscript. The beauty of open access makes it
obvious, and its obviousness makes it beautiful. Whichever way one
approaches it, one will be puzzled why it hasn't spread like fire. It's
even more puzzling because open access to scientific and scholarly
journal articles is the low-hanging fruit of the larger open-access
movement. It's a much easier case than open access to other kinds of
digital content, such as software, music, film, or non-academic
literature, because scientists and scholars willingly relinquish payment
in order to publish their research, advance their careers, and
contribute to knowledge.

There are roughly two kinds of higher-hanging fruit: (1) open access
through copyright reform, and (2) open access through the consent of
authors who are not yet consenting. If we can we roll back recent
copyright extensions, that would move many copyrighted works into he
public domain. If we can restore the first-sale doctrine, then libraries
may purchase digital content and not just license it, and may then
provide open access to the copies they purchase. If open-access to
novels really provides a net boost to the sales of their print editions
(FOSN for 4/22/02), or if open access to digital music gives a net boost
to the sales of the same music on priced CD's (FOSN for 5/6/02), then
more novelists and musicians may be persuaded to consent to open access.

We know why these two kinds of open access are distant prospects:
copyright reform is hard, and persuading profit-seeking creators to
consent to open-access is hard. But our case is the low-hanging fruit.
Even if it's not easy to pick, it's easier. Right? So why hasn't
progress been faster?

What's your answer to the big koan? If my answer is incomplete, what am
I leaving out?

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

* SPARC has entered a partnership with BioMed Central (BMC), in which it
will help BMC ensure long-term free online access to its line of 50
journals in biomedicine. BMC is committed to open access to all its
journals now and in the future, regardless of the future circumstances
or ownership of BMC itself. In its press release, SPARC praised BMC for
its commitment to open access to scientific research, its bold business
model, and its concern for sustainability.

* The National Institutes of Health has become an institutional member
of BMC. This is the latest in a series of important scientific
institutions which have endorsed BMC's business model, which provides
open access for readers and asks authors or their sponsors to bear the

* Perseus is now an OAI service provider. Perseus is a free online
archive of digital texts from Ancient Greece and Rome, and more recently
from other cultures and periods.

* The Open Archives Initiative (OAI) has released the beta of version
2.0 of its protocol for metadata harvesting. It is now available for
downloading. The OAI metadata harvesting protocol is the standard for
interoperable FOS archives.

* FAIR has announced its winning applicants (see FOSN for 1/23/02). FAIR
is JISC's Focus on Access to Institutional Resources, a program to
support access to institutional content in higher education. FAIR will
fund 14 projects. X4L
has also announced its winning applicants (see FOSN for 1/23/02). X4L is
a JISC program to develop and repurpose digital content for teaching
and learning at the university level. X4L will fund 22 projects.

* The Research Libraries Group (RLG) has released a new version Eureka,
which uses OpenURL to provide context-sensitive links to materials held
by the user's library. Eureka uses RLG databases and OpenURL to digital
resources licensed by a client libraries.

* NASA has put online the proceedings of the Workshop on Experimental
OAI-Based Digital Library Systems (Darmstadt, September 8, 2001).

* The National Centre for Science Information and the Indian Institute
of Science have put online the proceedings of their workshop on
Developing Digital Libraries using Open Source Software (April 15-20,
Bangalore). The workshop focused on two open source packages, Eprints
and Greenstone.

* The Resource Discovery Network (RDN) conducted a user survey from
September 2001 to February 2002. The main question was how users
evaluated its quality. RDN has now posted the results online.

* The EC's Interactive Electronic Publishing sector is calling for
scholars interested in contributing to a study, "Future of Electronic
Publishing Towards 2010". The deadline for tenders is June 17.

* In the May 13 _Wall Street Journal_ Phyllis Plitch profiles Pamela
Samuelson, a crusader for copyright reforms that will support an
information commons and the public domain.,,SB1020884132662876320,00.html
(WSJ is normally closed to non-subscribers, like me, but this article is

* In the April 29 _Times Online_, Jim McCue describes the problem of
archiving the internet: its large size, its continuous change and
growth, the ephemeral nature of much of its content, and (as always)
copyright. The story is based on an interview with Lynne Brindley, chief
executive of the British Library. With the help of IBM, The British
Library is starting an experiment to archive British content.,,7-281852,00.html (Thanks to


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.)

* 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

* Online Submission and Peer Review. Sponsored by the Journals Committee
of the Professional & Scholarly Publishing Division of the AAP. New
York, 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

** Applications of Metadata. Sponsored by the Electronic Publishing
Specialist Group of the British Computer Society. London, May 29

* 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

** Delivering Content to Universities and Colleges: The Challenges of the

New Information Environment. Sponsored by JISC, PA, and ALPSP. London, June 21

* 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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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 Tue May 21 2002 - 22:09:49 BST

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