OA collection of high-res photos

Large Photos of Famous Places and Landscapes Now Available Free Online, press release, March 3, 2009. (Thanks to ResourceShelf.)

No need to pay for a high resolution shot of the Eiffel Tower, Grand Canyon, Golden Gate Bridge or a lovely sunset. Shots of these and numerous other famous landmarks, cities and places from around the world are now available free at FreeLargePhotos.com.

More than 2,600 images sized 4MP or larger are available through FreeLargePhotos.com. The site’s developer and manager, Roy Tennant of Sonoma, Calif., said, “The photos are free to individuals for personal use, but if they are used on a web site a photo credit and a link to the web site are required.â€? Commercial interests are charged $50 a shot if an image is used to sell a product or to promote a business or organization.â€? …

The photographs are the work of Roy Tennant, Carol Bean, David Chudnov, Mike Kramer, Daniel Kunkel and Elena Tennant. …

New version of VITAL repository software

VTLS Announces the Release of VITAL 4.0, press release, March 10, 2009. (Thanks to Charles Bailey.)

VTLS is proud to announce the release of VITAL 4.0. VITAL is VTLS’ solution for today’s digital and institutional repositories. Designed to provide all functions of a repository VITAL provides capabilities to ingest, create, maintain, validate, uniquely identify, secure, preserve and export the contents of institutional collections. …

See also our past posts on VITAL: 1, 2, 3, 4.

OA journals around the world

Heather Morrison, Open Access Journals: Around the World, and Top OA Publishing Countries, The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics, March 10, 2009.

As of March 10, 2009, the journals listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals are published in 97 different countries!

The top 6 OA-journal-producing countries are:

  • U.S. – 858 journals
  • Brazil – 370 journals
  • United Kingdom – 326 journals
  • Spain – 233 journals
  • Germany – 152 journals
  • Canada – 113 journals …

Draft of Open Database License for comment

Open Database License Draft Available for Comments, Open Data Commons, February 27, 2009.

After more than a year of drafting and consultation with interested communities, especially Open Street Map, the current (beta) draft of the Open Database License (ODbL) was released for public comments today. We’re delighted to have reached this stage and welcome comments and suggestions from interested parties.

Comments are due by 23:59 GMT on 20 March 2009, with an expected launch of the completed ODbL on 28 March 2009. There is also:

Comment. The ODbL is, as Rufus Pollock describes it, the “Attribution, Share-Alike” data license. Compare the ODC’s Public Domain Dedication and Licence, its “no rights reserved” license.

See also our past posts on Open Data Commons.

Interview with Dean Giustini

Elizabeth Connor, Interview with Dean Giustini, Biomedical Branch Librarian at the University of British Columbia, Journal of Electronic Resources in Medical Libraries, January 2009. See also Giustini’s self-archived version. Abstract:

This interview with Dean Giustini of the University of British Columbia (UBC) describes his interest in various topics including Web 2.0, Web 3.0, grey literature, open access, and teaching and learning.

See also our past posts on Giustini.

Profile of Brewster Kahle

The internet’s librarian, The Economist, March 5, 2009.

For a man who has set himself a seemingly impossible mission, Brewster Kahle seems remarkably laid back. Relaxing in the black leather recliner that serves as his office chair, his stockinged feet wriggling with evident enthusiasm, the founder of the Internet Archive explains what has driven him for more than a decade. “We are trying to build Alexandria 2.0,â€? says Mr Kahle with a wide-eyed, boyish grin. …

Mr Kahle is an unostentatious millionaire who does not “wear his money on clothesâ€?, as one acquaintance graciously puts it. But behind his dishevelled demeanour is a skilled technologist, an ardent activist and a successful serial entrepreneur. Having founded and sold technology companies to AOL and Amazon, he has now devoted himself to building a non-profit digital archive of free materials—books, films, concerts and so on—to rival the legendary Alexandrian library of antiquity. …

He founded the non-profit Internet Archive and, with a former colleague, co-founded a firm called Alexa that tracks and analyses the paths people follow as they move around the web, in order to direct people with similar interests to relevant information. Amazon bought Alexa for an estimated $250m in 1999. Mr Kahle continued to work on Alexa until 2002, but then dedicated himself fully to the Internet Archive.

The most famous part of the archive is the Wayback Machine (its name inspired by the WABAC machine in the 50-year-old television cartoon featuring Rocky and Bullwinkle). This online attic of digital memorabilia stores copies of internet sites so that people can see, for example, what economist.com looked like in January 1997. …

In addition to this archive of web pages there is also an audio library with more than 300,000 MP3 files, a moving-images archive with more than 150,000 films and videos, and a live-music archive with recordings of more than 60,000 concerts. All the collections are available free to anyone with internet access, each gathering its own set of fans. …

But all these things are steps towards Mr Kahle’s wider goal: to build the world’s largest digital library. He has recruited 135 libraries worldwide to openlibrary.org, the aim of which is to create a catalogue of every book ever published, with links to its full text where available. To that end, the Internet Archive is also digitising books on a large scale on behalf of its library partners. It scans more than 1,000 books every day, for which the libraries pay about $30 each. (The digital copy can then be made available by both parties.) …

Mr Kahle is taking a very long-term view. Universal online access to all knowledge may not be “a goal that is going to be finished in our lifetime,� says Mr Kahle. “But if you pick a goal far enough out, people can align to it. I am not interested in building an empire. Our idea is to build the future.�

See also our past posts on:

Podcast interview with OCLC VP

JISC, OCLC’s Vice President talks libraries, the future and learning, podcast (24:17), March 9, 2009.

… In this podcast interview OCLC’s Vice President Karen Calhoun talks to Robert Haymon-Collins, JISC’s Director of Communications and Marketing, to discuss what her organisation does in the field of providing digital content for learning and research, and how improved access to this well-catalogued knowledge can help improve the student experience – a key theme of this year’s JISC conference. Calhoun also clarifies OCLC’s recent proposed policy changes concerning the use of OCLC records, an issue that has generated lively debate within the library and information communities both in the UK and further afield.

See also this announcement:

… Calhoun says: ‘Libraries have the opportunity now…to support new forms of scholarly information dissemination through the open access movement, through repositories, and in a number of ways but this means of course adopting technologies and approaches that require the interfaces between the scholarly community and libraries to be much tighter and more interactive.’

In tune with the findings of the recent JISC-commissioned report on Open Access publishing, Calhoun believes that a cultural shift is needed, away from finding research value merely in the creation and control of data. She says: ‘We need to transition to making the value come from the exchange and the linking of data.’ …

Slowdown in STM market will encourage move to OA

Archan Venkatraman, STM growth takes hit, Information World Review, March 9, 2009.

The European scientific, technical and medical information market grew 4.5% in 2008, its weakest year-on-year figure since 2001, according to the latest IRN Research report. But the market remains upbeat, and focused on consolidation and flexibility to survive the downturn. …

Robert Parker, managing director for publishing at Research Councils UK, was also optimistic about the sector. He said the large European STM players had enough reserves to see them through lean times.

He added: “The emerging methods of information output and sharing, such as open access and social networking, will also have an impact on the role of leading players as they will increasingly embrace these new models to maintain their market share.â€? …

New network on research, education, and business

A new knowledge network devoted to the changing role of information in scholarly research, higher education and business practice, announcement posted to SPARC-OAForum, March 7, 2009.

Knowledge & Library Services at Harvard Business School and the Library at Copenhagen Business School are launching an international network of professionals interested in understanding the changing role of information (both tacit and explicit)– its creation, management, dissemination and use– in scholarly research, higher education and business practice. The primary goal of the network is to identify and discuss important emerging trends in a forum composed of subject matter experts from a variety of disciplines.

The network is called the “Global Knowledge Exchange Network� (GKEN). Its members will select areas of interest and form groups to address them. As a start, we have proposed four areas: Scholarly Communications and Open Access, Research Metrics, Cyberinfrastructure and Information Behavior. Each group is expected to identify developing trends within its subject, discuss them among its members, write trend briefings and, finally, predict the likelihood of the trends using prediction markets. Given the interaction, we expect that each member will gain and create significant new knowledge.

If you are interested in participating, please email Gosia Stergios

Toward standards for article usage statistics

PIRUS — Publisher and Institutional Repository Usage Statistics: Final Report, report, January 2009. (Thanks to Charles Bailey.) From the executive summary:

The aim of PIRUS (Publisher and Institutional Repository Usage Statistics) was to develop COUNTER-compliant standards and usage reports at the individual article level that can be implemented by any entity (publisher, aggregator, repository, etc.,) that hosts online journal articles and will enable the usage of research outputs to be recorded, reported and consolidated at a global level in a standard way. …

See also our past post on PIRUS or our past posts on COUNTER (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9).

Expanding access to OA content in developing countries

Liz Allen, Expanding the outreach of PLoS content in the developing world, Public Library of Science, March 6, 2009.

… We brainstormed the possibility of setting up quick to download mirror sites in various locations …

PLoS has been working with AED-SATELLIFE for a several years, providing them with content that they disseminate to health care workers using largely non web based techniques such as PDA’s, email chat forums and newsletters. Nearly 100,000 individuals in 120 countries share knowledge and build healthier communities thanks to their work. They have been using the freely accessible online research and magazine articles from PLoS Medicine in their e-newsletter called HealthNet News available to those who live in developing countries only.

Now, we’ve decided to work more closely together and bring another of our journals, PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases into the mix. In addition, we’re going to be giving advance notice of upcoming articles to them so that they can pick the most appropriate content to share in their forums, both an overview of the article in plain English and a link to the full text of the whole article (available at no charge thanks to Open Access). We’re promoting the new arrangements in their forums and hope that the additional content that we provide will stimulate debate and improve health care outcomes on the ground. …

Charlotte Webber, BioMed Central undertakes large fundraising drive for Computer Aid in 2009, BioMed Central Blog, February 24, 2009.

As part of our ongoing commitment to promoting open access in the developing world, BioMed Central has teamed up with Computer Aid International to support research in Africa. We have chosen to support Kenyatta University in Nairobi to help local scientists conduct vital research directly relevant to local problems in one of the poorest parts of Africa. Many of the university’s academics have been published in open access journals, including those from BioMed Central.

In common with most African universities, however, Kenyatta cannot afford new computers – meaning that academics cannot get the access time that they need for researching and preparing papers. We’re partnering with Computer Aid International, who provide affordable professionally refurbished PCs to the developing world, to resolve this problem.

We aim to raise £10,760 in order to provide a container of 225 PCs to the university – enough to give all research departments their own dedicated suite of computers and guarantee that the university’s 720 research staff all get the IT access that they need. …

You can make a contribution to this project today – in return for your support we promise to let you know how your money is spent and update you on progress of the project. …

Campaign for OA to UK tax-funded research

Free Our Books is a new campaign for OA to taxpayer-funded research in the UK, to be launched at the Internet For Activists conference (London, March 14, 2009).

… We, the citizens, through the state, pay for the production of academic books and research papers twice, first through salaries and research grants, and second through the purchase of books and journal subscriptions. This is how the the most fundamental principles of academia, to study and to share its findings, are obstructed, and its operation is made far more expensive and cumbersome. Good news is that this has been partially recognised and Research Councils UK (RCUK) has pushed hard (2005) in the direction of both mandatory self archiving (2006) of all research outputs and open access in general.

When it comes to books, the argument, however, isn’t as simple and as straight forwad as in the case of Guardian’s campaign Free Our Data – whose name we’re reusing. Nor has it been problematised widely, like it has been in the case of journals and RCUK recommendations. Significant contribution of editors, subeditors, proofreaders and other working on texts being produced (wages) and personal gain of authors of best selling works (share of sales) complicates the issue. In short, open access and self-archiving of publicly funded books, whose importance for social sciences and humanities is enormous (unlike in physics and maths) is yet to be widely discussed and there aren’t immidiately obvious solutions visible. That is, unless we treat books, as we think we should, as just another form of research output – both when funded directly by one of RCUK councils, or by the individual universities. …

The direct goal of the campaign is to have electronic copies of all the majority publicly funded research, including all books and journal papers, available to citizens free of charge online.

Mandatory self-archiving at the time of publishing is one way to achieve this.

Physics and maths research communities have made huge steps in this direction (arxiv.org) in regard to journal publishing, which is their most important publishing form …

We have a unique historic chance of reversing the trend of privatization of publicly funded knowledge production. Our strongest arguments are public funds behind our work and our departments and collective work within them. …

In UK, we can use the experiences of Free Our Data campaign. Most importantly, we need to get our institutions to commit to a self-archiving policy. On the Europeran level, we should sign the EC petition [supporting a policy] which mandates open access self-archiving …

(Thanks to infinite thØught.)

OA and the business of academic publishing

Glenn S. McGuigan and Robert D. Russell, The Business of Academic Publishing: A Strategic Analysis of the Academic Journal Publishing Industry and its Impact on the Future of Scholarly Publishing, Electronic Journal of Academic and Special Librarianship, Winter 2008. (Thanks to Michael Nielsen.) Abstract:

Academic libraries cannot pay the regularly escalating subscription prices for scholarly journals. These libraries face a crisis that has continued for many years revealing a commercial system that supports a business model that has become unsustainable. This paper examines the “serials crisis,� as it has come to be known, and the economics of the academic journal publishing industry. By identifying trends within the industry, an analysis of the industry is undertaken using elements of the five forces framework developed by Michael Porter. Prescriptions are offered concerning what can be done and what should be done to address this problem.

From the body:

… A more radical initiative for the academic libraries would be to strongly support the open access (OA) movement for disseminating scholarly works via the internet. …

The expansion of online OA publishing for academic journals could have enormous long term consequences for the academic publishing industry. Just as the emergence of WIKIs [sic] and blogs greatly expanded opportunities for social and political commentary, the production and distribution of scientific knowledge could be greatly enhanced by the emergence of online OA journals. Not only would publication of scholarly articles be facilitated, but opportunities for serving on editorial boards would also be greatly expanded. The broader opportunities for publishing and editorial review offered by OA journals could contribute to the end of the Babylonian priesthoods that characterize the editorial review boards of too many of the most prestigious academic journals and lead to a flowering of innovation and knowledge creation among academic researchers.

The expansion OA publishing would have the advantage of facilitating the emergence of smaller, more specialized academic journals. As has been discussed, these journals are often squeezed out of library budgets by the burgeoning costs of the larger journals published by for-profit firms. OA publishing offers a low cost alternative for producing specialized journals as well as providing easy access to potential readers anywhere in the world.

The proliferation of online OA journals in combination with aggressive consortia licensing would significantly alter the current business model of academic journal publishing. The creation of OA electronic journals is a form of entry into the academic publishing industry. By multiplying the number of journals available not under the control of for-profit publishers, OA publishing would increase competition within the industry as well as increase the bargaining power of academic libraries and faculty authors. As the use of e-journals becomes more accepted, traditional publishers would most likely be forced to change their role. Rather than acting as oligopolists that profit by controlling access to a small number of prestigious journals, they may be forced to act as agents of the libraries, negotiating with journal providers and packaging e-journals as requested by the libraries. The publishers would retain a degree of bargaining power based on their control of the larger, more prestigious journals. Their power, however, would be lessened by the unbundling of the electronic and bound journals as well as the increased opportunity of faculty to publish in alternative electronic journals.

In order for the new business model to work, four conditions must be present: (1) academic libraries must be prepared to make the leap to primarily online sources for much of their current serials collection; (2) faculty must accept the new online journals as valid sources for new knowledge as well as credible outlets for their own scholarly work; (3) the new electronic journals must implement a credible review process and form high quality editorial review boards, and; (4) colleges and universities must accept the new electronic journals as valid in their promotion and tenure process. Although the technology exists to make online OA journals a reality, the cultural changes in the value system of the professoriate and academic administrators required to change the business model of academic publishing may prove to be a difficult challenge. …