Twitter & the Pew Internet Project 2009

Mary-Doug and I finished writing our Twitter article about three weeks ago, but I am concerned that it is quickly going out of date. Yesterday, the Pew Internet group just released a report entitled “Twitter and status updating” by Amanda Lenhart and Susannah Fox (the latter on my Twitter feed)….

Potential Savings and Benefits of Open Access For the UK

In this JISC report, Houghton et al. estimate that the UK could save around £80 million per year by shifting from toll access to open access publishing or £115 million per year by moving from toll access to open access self-archiving. The greater accessibility to research could result in an additional £172 million worth of benefits per year from the government and higher education sector research alone.

Economic Implications of Alternative Scholarly Publishing Models: Exploring the costs and benefits

Authors: John Houghton, Bruce Rasmussen and Peter Sheehan, Victoria University and Charles Oppenheim, Anne Morris, Claire Creaser, Helen Greenwood, Mark Summers and Adrian Gourlay, Loughborough University
Publication date: 27 January 2009
Publication Type(s): Reports
JISC theme(s): Information environment
Programmes: Repositories and Preservation programme

Press Release (JISC-ANNOUNCE)

January 27th, 2009: Sharing research information via a more open access publishing model would bring millions of pounds worth of savings to the higher education sector as well as benefiting UK plc. This is one of the key findings from a new research project commissioned by JISC.

Professor John Houghton from the Centre of Strategic Economic Studies at Melbourne’s Victoria University and Professor Charles Oppenheim at Loughborough University were asked to lead research that would throw light on the economic and social implications of new models for scholarly publishing.

The research centred on three models which include:

– Subscription or toll access publishing which involves reader charges and use restrictions;

– Open access publishing where access is free and publication is funded from the authors’ side; and

– Open access self-archiving where academic authors post their work in online repositories, making it freely available to all Internet users.

In their report, Houghton et al. looked beyond the actual costs and savings of different models and examined the additional cost-benefits that might arise from enhanced access to research findings.

The research and findings reveal that core scholarly publishing system activities cost the UK higher education sector around £5 billion in 2007. Using the different models, the report shows, what the estimated cost would have been:

– £230 million to publish using the subscription model,

– £150 million to publish under the open access model and

– £110 million to publish with the self-archiving with peer review services

plus some £20 million in operating costs if using the different models.

When considering costs per journal article, Houghton et al. believe that the UK higher education sector could have saved around £80 million a year by shifting from toll access to open access publishing. They also claim that £115 million could be saved by moving from toll access to open access self-archiving.

In addition to that, the financial return to UK plc from greater accessibility to research might result in an additional £172 million per annum worth of benefits from government and higher education sector research alone.

JISC’s Chair Professor Sir Tim O’Shea said, “The argument for moving from more traditional subscription or toll-based publishing to a model that allows for greater accessibility and makes full use of the advances in technology cannot be ignored. This report shows there are significant savings to be made and benefits to be had.”

“JISC will work with publishers, authors and the science community to identify and help to remove the barriers to moving to these more cost-effective models,” he added.

Sir Mark Walport, Director of the Wellcome Trust, commended the report and added that, “as a research funder that provides additional funds to its grantholders to meet the cost of open access publishing, I am delighted that this report vindicates this approach and shows that the benefits of enhanced accessibility outweigh the costs of supplementing research funds with ‘author-pays’ open access publishing fees”.

Professor Ian Diamond, speaking on behalf of Research Councils UK said,”RCUK welcomes this substantial and interesting report. It will be of great use to the Research Councils as we develop our future policies in relation to publishing and in particular open access.”

Download full report

Library of Congress (LOC) Joins Twitter

A number of librarians, library, archival and information organizations (see VPL) are taking notice of Twitter. Today, it’s the Library of Congress – Twitter. No word yet out of the Library and Archives Canada though here is the Nova Scotia Archives. Long seen as an innovator, here’s the twitter feed…

Ranking Web of World Repositories

Re-posting of announcement by Isidro Aguillo of Webometrics University Rankings to the American Scientist Open Access Forum.

The January edition of the Ranking Web of Repositories has just been published

The number of repositories is growing fast worldwide but still many of them do not have their own domain or subdomain, and for this reason it is not possible to add them into our analysis. Some institutions maintain several databases with completely different URLs which penalize the global visibility they have.

We are still unable to add usage/download statics but there are many initiatives already working on standardization of the collecting methods, so we expect that global data should be available soon.

Following several requests we now show two global Rankings. One that covers all repositories as was shown in previous editions (Top 300), and a new one that focus only on Institutional Repositories (Top 300 Institutional).

There is a minor change regarding the calculation of the number of rich files as in this new edition we are again using formats other than pdf (doc, ppt, ps) to obtain the data. Contrary to the methodology we used to make the other Rankings, the figures for rich files are combined and not treated individually.

The French HAL central repository, and its subsets like INRIA, Social Sciences and Humanities (HAL-SHS) or IN2P3, are at the top of the institutional repository list.

Important repositories like PubMedCentral, CiteSeerX and Smithsonian/NASA Astrophysics Data System, do not use standard suffixes to design their contents (e.g. papers in acrobat format with file names which extension is not .pdf). This is a bad practice as it reduces the visibility of these documents to the search engines.

Our policy is not to include collectors or metarepositories, with one exception, which is DiVa, the interface that the Uppsala University provides to more than 20 Nordic repositories. Many of these institutions do not have their own systems but link their contents to the DiVa portal. Unfortunately, this means that many of the papers are under different domains and hence they do not contribute to the DiVa’s rank.

Isidro F. Aguillo
Cybermetrics Lab
Albasanz, 26-28, 3C1. 28037 Madrid. Spain
Ph. 91-602 2890. Fax: 91-602 2971
isidro.aguillo —

The Basement Interviews by Richard Poynder

The following is re-posted from Bloomsbury Academic.

The Basement Interviews by Richard Poynder

Common Knowledge, Common Good:
Architects and Advocates of the Free Knowledge Movement

“A few years ago I could see an increasing number of “free” and “open” movements beginning to develop. And while they all had different aims, they appeared to represent a larger and more generalised development than their movement-specific objectives might suggest.

“Indeed, I felt that they looked set to exemplify the old adage that the sum of some phenomena is always greater than the constituent parts. But if that was right, I wondered, what was the sum in this case?

“I was also intrigued as to why they were emerging now. For while it was apparent that these movements Â? including Open Source and Free software, Creative Commons, Free Culture, Open Access, Open Content, Public Knowledge, Open Data, Open Source Politics, Open Source Biology, and Open Source Journalism etc. Â? all owed a great debt to the development of the Internet, it was not clear to me that the network was the only driver.

“The genesis of the Free Software Movement, for instance, could be said to lie in the specific culture of the Artificial Intelligence Lab at MIT in the 1970s, rather than the Internet. And at that time software programs were still generally written as part of large-scale centralised projects, and distributed on floppy disks or tapes. So I suspected that the Internet was not a sufficient explanation on its own.

“Additionally, I was curious about the individuals who had founded these movements: What had motivated them? Why did they feel so passionate about the cause that they had adopted? What did they think the various movements had in common (if anything) with one another? What was the big picture?

“All in all, it seemed to me to be good material for a book; a book that I envisaged would consist primarily of a series of Q&A interviews with the key architects and advocates of what I had come to call the Free Knowledge movement Â? people like John Perry Barlow, John Gilmore, Michael Hart, Richard Stallman, Eric Raymond, Linus Torvalds, Jay Rosen, Lawrence Lessig, Joe Trippi, Harold Varmus, Vitek Tracz, Stevan Harnad, Paul Ginsparg, Cory Doctorow, Yochai Benkler, Richard Jefferson, Michel Bauwens etc.

“I eventually started publishing the interviews on my blog, as The Basement Interviews. And much to my pleasure I began to receive positive feedback almost immediately. I also felt the big picture was beginning to emerge, although the project remains ongoing for now.

“Many of those who have contacted me have urged me to seek out a publisher. A publisher, they insist, would be able to market the interviews in ways that Â? whatever the advantages of self-publishing on the Web Â? I was not able to do. Besides, they added, it would be great to have access to a print copy of the collected interviews.

“Others were less sure. As one reader who emailed me put it, “Now the interviews are in the blogosphere they will surely find their own audience.”

“What do you think? I’d be interested to hear. I’d also be interested for suggestions as to who is missing from my list of interviewees. Who else, that is, do you think of as a key architect or advocate for the Free Knowledge movement that has not been mentioned here? I can be contacted at

“Further details about The Basement Interviews can be accessed here

“The interviews thus far can be read by clicking on the links below:”

     1. Michael Hart, the founder of Project Gutenberg
     2. Richard Stallman, the founder of the Free Software movement
     3. Eric Raymond, a co-founder of the Open Source Initiative
     4. Jay Rosen, a leading proponent of Open Source journalism
     5. Lawrence Lessig, the founder of the Free Culture movement
     6. Cory Doctorow, a cyber activist and specialist in copyright and digital rights management
     7. Vitek Tracz, the first Open Access publisher
     8. Harold Varmus, a Nobel laureate, a co-founder of the Public Library of Science, a former director of the US National Institutes of Health and now one of the co-chairs of the Council of Advisors on Science and Technology in the Obama administration.
     9. Richard Jefferson, the leading advocate for the Biological Open Source Movement
    10. Stevan Harnad, the self-styled archivangelist
    11. Peter Suber, the de facto leader of the Open Access movement
    12. Michel Bauwens, the creator of the Foundation for P2P Alternatives

Richard Poynder writes about information technology, telecommunications, and intellectual property. In particular, he specialises in online services; electronic information systems; the Internet; Open Access; e-Science and e-Research; cyberinfrastructure; digital rights management; Creative Commons; Open Source Software; Free Software; copyright; patents, and patent information.

Richard Poynder has contributed to a wide range of specialist, national and international publications, and edited and co-authored two books: Hidden Value and Caught in a Web, Intellectual Property in Cyberspace. He has also contributed to radio programmes.

EPSRC: 7th and Last UK Research Council Now Mandates Open Access Too

UK’s 21st Green OA Mandate, Planet’s 62nd
(Via Peter Suber’s OA News)

Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (ESPRC) (UK funder-mandate)

Institution’s/Department’s OA Eprint Archives

Institution’s/Department’s OA Self-Archiving Policy

The independent study commissioned by Research Councils UK was completed in late 2008. The findings from the study are now being taken forward by the Cross-Council Research Outputs Group and will be used to inform future policy on open access. EPSRC Council agreed at its December meeting to mandate open access publication, but that academics should be able to choose whether they use the green option (ie, self-archiving in an on-line repository) or gold option (ie, pay-to-publish in an open access journal). Further details will be published in spring 2009.

The fundamental importance of capturing cited-reference metadata in Institutional Repository deposits

On 22-Jan-09, at 5:18 AM, Francis Jayakanth wrote on the eprints-tech list:

“Till recently, we used to include references for all the uploads that are happening into our repository. While copying and pasting metadata content from the PDFs, we don’t directly paste the copied content onto the submission screen. Instead, we first copy the content onto an editor like notepad or wordpad and then copy the content from an editor on to the submission screen. This is specially true for the references.

“Our experience has been that when the references are copied and pasted on to an editor like notepad or wordpad from the PDF file, invariably non-ascii characters found in almost every reference. Correcting the non-ascii characters takes considerable amount of time. Also, as to be expected, the references from difference publishers are in different styles, which may not make reference linking straight forward. Both these factors forced us take a decision to do away with uploading of references, henceforth. I’ll appreciate if you could share your experiences on the said matter.”

The items in an article’s reference list are among the most important of metadata, second only to the equivalent information about the article itself. Indeed they are the canonical metadata: authors, year, title, journal. If each Institutional Repository (IR) has those canonical metadata for every one of its deposited articles as well as for every article cited by every one of its deposited articles, that creates the glue for distributed reference interlinking and metric analysis of the entire distributed OA corpus webwide, as well as a means of triangulating institutional affiliations and even name disambiguation.

Yes, there are some technical problems to be solved in order to capture all references, such as they are, filtering out noise, but those technical problems are well worth solving (and sharing the solution) for the great benefits they will bestow.

The same is true for handling the numerous (but finite) variant formats that references may take: Yes, there are many, including different permutations in the order of the key components, abbreviations, incomplete components etc., but those too are finite, can be solved once and for all to a very good approximation, and the solution can be shared and pooled across the distributed IRs and their softwares. And again, it is eminently worthwhile to make the relatively small effort to do this, because the dividends are so vast.

I hope the IR community in general — and the EPrint community in particular — will make the relatively small, distributed, collaborative effort it takes to ensure that this all-important OA glue unites all the IRs in one of their most fundamental functions.

(Roman Chyla has replied to eprints-tech with one potential solution: “The technical solution has been there for quite some time, look at citeseer where all the references are extracted automatically (the code of the citeseer, the old version, was available upon request – I dont know if that is the case now, but it was in the past). That would be the right way to go, imo. I think to remember one citeseer-based library for economics existed, so not only the computer-science texts with predictable reference styles are possible to process. With humanities it is yet another story.”)

Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum