80% of French research institute’s recent publications are OA

Ifremer, Over 80% of 2005-2008 Ifremer’s publications in Open Access, announcement, undated but apparently from 2008. Ifremer is the Institut français de recherche pour l’exploitation de la mer [French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea]. (Thanks to Morgane Le Gall.)

In August 2005, Ifremer launched its institutional repository, Archimer. This repository is now [offering] more than 3700 documents available for free on the Internet [including] more than 80% of [the] international publications co-written by Ifremer since the opening of the repository.

Indeed, since August 2005, Ifremer co-published 990 articles referenced in the Web of Science®. 812 of these 990 publications are freely available in Archimer, almost 82%.

Copyright rules applied to these 990 publications can be classified as follows:

  • 31 articles were [published] by publishers who were not yet listed on the website Sherpa/Romeo … and needed to be contacted,
  • 40 articles were [published] by publishers who forbade the registration of their publications in an Open Archive …
  • 177 articles were [published] by publishers that allow self-archiving of their own PDF files,
  • 742 articles were published by [publishers] that limited the right of self-archiving [to] the [author’s final manuscript]. The drafts of 613 of these 742 items were collected and recorded

This good result is linked to the involvement of the Ifremer library service in the operation of this archive. It is the library staff that ensures itself the preparation and registration of publications into Archimer: [Ed.: describes how library staff track, collect, and deposit publications.] …

Comment. It’s not completely clear to me, but I think the publications in question here were written by the institute staff, not institute grantees — i.e. intramural, not extramural, researchers. (I don’t know if the institute funds external researchers.)

See also our past post on Archimer.

Here comes OA

The November issue of Genome Technology contains a five-part cover story on OA by Meredith Salisbury.  Here are the articles, with GT’s own blurbs:

How Google Book Search will change

After announcing its settlement with publishers and authors, Google launched a page on The Future of Google Book Search.  Excerpt:

…It will take some time for this agreement to be approved and finalized by the Court. For now, here’s a peek at the changes we hope you’ll soon see.

  1. Book Search today
  2. How Book Search will change
  3. Three types of books
  4. The Book Rights Registry
  5. Libraries and universities
  6. Looking forward

From #2, How Book Search will change:

…Until now, we’ve only been able to show a few snippets of text for most of the in-copyright books we’ve scanned through our Library Project. Since the vast majority of these books are out of print, to actually read them you’d have to hunt them down at a library or a used bookstore….

This agreement will allow us to make many of these out-of-print books available for preview, reading and purchase in the U.S.. Helping to ensure the ongoing accessibility of out-of-print books is one of the primary reasons we began this project in the first place, and we couldn’t be happier that we and our author, library and publishing partners will now be able to protect mankind’s cultural history in this manner….

This agreement will create new options for reading entire books (which is, after all, what books are there for).

  • Online access

    Once this agreement has been approved, you’ll be able to purchase full online access to millions of books. This means you can read an entire book from any Internet-connected computer, simply by logging in to your Book Search account, and it will remain on your electronic bookshelf, so you can come back and access it whenever you want in the future.

  • Library and university access

    We’ll also be offering libraries, universities and other organizations the ability to purchase institutional subscriptions, which will give users access to the complete text of millions of titles while compensating authors and publishers for the service. Students and researchers will have access to an electronic library that combines the collections from many of the top universities across the country. Public and university libraries in the U.S. will also be able to offer terminals where readers can access the full text of millions of out-of-print books for free.

  • Buying or borrowing actual books

    Finally, if the book you want is available in a bookstore or nearby library, we’ll continue to point you to those resources, as we’ve always done.

International users

Because this agreement resolves a United States lawsuit, it directly affects only those users who access Book Search in the U.S.; anywhere else, the Book Search experience won’t change. Going forward, we hope to work with international industry groups and individual rightsholders to expand the benefits of this agreement to users around the world….

More comments on the Google-Publisher settlement

Here are some more comments from the press and blogosphere.

From Reyhan Harmanci at the San Francisco Chronicle:

…[Allen] Adler, of the [AAP] , compared the new independent, not-for-profit Book Rights Registry to the music industry’s American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), which monitors and compensates musicians for live and recorded performances of their music. "It’s the same concept – a central entity that protects rights holders through third-party licensing," he said….

San Francisco Electronic Frontier Foundation staff attorney Corynne McSherry said she is "still digesting" the agreement but had some early thoughts:

"I will tell you, frankly, that I kind of wish this case had gone to litigation. I think Google had a great fair-use defense," she said. "A ruling from the court would have been good for everyone. It potentially could have fostered other offerings, based on that legal certainty" if Google had won.

Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive, which is based at the Presido and has partnered with Yahoo, Microsoft and 135 libraries to create the Open Content Alliance, said the agreement moves libraries "toward a monoculture."

"One company is trying to be the library system," Kahle said, speaking of Google’s plans to create a subscription service for library collections. "This is not good for a society that is built on free speech. Let’s have the World Wide Web rather than the iTunes of books."

From Mathew Ingram at MathewIngram.com:

This settlement is a huge step forward for online and electronic access to books. As Google has repeatedly argued, this will make it substantially easier for authors and publishers to find, distribute and monetize out-of-print books — in effect, creating or enhancing a “long tail” for book publishing. It will also make it easier for people to purchase electronic books, and for libraries to provide electronic access to books in their collections for readers and researchers alike (as part of the settlement, Google will provide free access to millions of scanned books through public libraries and universities)….

From Mike Madison at Madisonian:

…Has Google backed away from an interesting and socially constructive fair use fight in order to secure market power for itself?  I wrote early on that I would be disappointed if Google didn’t see the case through to judgment, and at one level, yes, I am disappointed.

But there is a big silver lining for me.  The proposal offers a new and larger set of questions, questions that have surrounded Google generally for some time but that the proposal puts into more concrete focus:  Are we seeing the early stages of the beginning of the end of copyright law as we know it?  The “standard” account of copyright, if such a thing still exists, posits a statutory allocation of interests between authors and readers, followed by institutional arrangements in specific contexts (fair use, voluntary licensing, collective rights management, compulsory licenses) to tweak that allocation at the margin, where problems arise.  It has been my sense for some time that in many information policy debates, the default statutory arrangement no longer commands automatic attention as the presumptive center of the copyright universe.  Institutional and disciplinary interests and arrangements of various sorts (technical architectures, commercial enterprises, new institutions such as open source licensing and Creative Commons) have not displaced the statute entirely, but instead have begun to push the statute to a place where it negotiates for attention as a normative landmark.  Fighting over the scope of section 106 (the copyright owner’s exclusive rights) and section 107 (fair use) sometimes seems very 20th century.  I suspect that the Google Book Search settlement will reinforce and perhaps accelerate that trend….

From the University of Michigan in a press release (separate from the joint university press release):

Why does the University of Michigan support this settlement agreement?

On balance, we believe the agreement is consistent with the Library’s mission and serves the public interest by providing unprecedented access to these materials. The agreement offers our Library the opportunity to do the following:

  • Make it possible for our academic community to find and use the full text of millions of books online.
  • Protect our holdings against loss, damage, or deterioration. For example, in the event of a catastrophe such Hurricane Katrina, which destroyed thousands of volumes at New Orleans area libraries, we would have digital surrogates for print materials.
  • We can now more easily create a resource that academic researchers can use to perform large-scale analysis such as data mining or computational linguistics, analyses of a sort not be permitted through a generic web interface such as Google Book Search….

What does the settlement mean for the HathiTrust?

The HathiTrust has been designed first and foremost as a collaborative preservation archive for materials in libraries, and would have fulfilled this role, whether or not Google and its plaintiffs had settled their dispute. The agreement, nevertheless, permits the establishment of a library digital copy of works digitized by any or all libraries (not just Michigan) under the terms of the settlement. The HathiTrust will make it possible for libraries to collaborate in this critical work, providing a secure, stable and permanent home for digitized copies of library materials….

From Neil Netanel at Balkinization:

…[C]opyright holders will have the right to opt-out of the Project for any given book, but the default rule will be that Google may display 20% of the text of copyrighted out of print books and may sell access to viewing the entire text online. Google will also continue to be able to display and make available for user download the full text off public domain books in response to user’s search queries. However, Google will no longer display short snippets of copyrighted books that remain in print without first obtaining copyright holder permission. Portions larger than short snippets of such books will also be made available for display, online viewing, and download per agreement with each copyright holder. (The settlement agreement actually uses the term "commercially available" rather than "in print," suggesting that books that are made available solely online, such as through Amazon.com’s Kindle Books service, will be deemed to be "in print" for purposes of the settlement.)…

So in many ways the proposed settlement is a win-win-win-win (for Google, the copyright holders, the libraries, and the public). But there are some causes for concern as well. Perhaps most importantly, the settlement leaves undecided the issue of whether Google’s scanning of the entire books and display of snippets is a fair use. Many observers, including me, believed that the courts would ultimately hold that it is a fair use, and thus set important precedent establishing that such "transformative uses" of copyrighted works — uses that serve the shared goals of copyright and the First Amendment — do not infringe copyright. Google’s settlement for a $125 million payment and abandonment of its fair use defense (as well as its agreement to stop displaying short snippets of copyrighted in print books without obtaining copyright holder permission), may well leave others in a far weaker position to enter the market for online book searches and digital archives and may make it more difficult to claim that such uses of books do not harm a potential licensing market, which claim carries considerable importance for successfully asserting fair use. The proposed settlement also provides that Google may not enjoy the benefit of developments in fair use doctrine that bear on its Book Search Project, so Google has no incentive to support other book archive and search services’ fair use claims….

[T]he bottom line is that Google is left with a de facto monopoly over this "universal library" service and, as I have discussed in a recent article, potential competitors face a higher barrier to entry than if Google had fought and prevailed on fair use (or if Congress enacts a statutory license for such uses)….

From Chris O’Brien at the Mercury News:

When I heard Google had settled its feud with book publishers, I knew exactly whom I wanted to call first: Brewster Kahle, the digital librarian who is the founder of the Internet Archive….

Kahle, who was also critical of the [Google] plan, helped put together the Open Content Alliance, a competing venture of libraries and tech companies such as Yahoo that sought to scan millions of books and make them available for free.  Google’s plan was to build a new kind of bookstore. Kahle and the alliance want to build a new kind of library….

[H]ad [the settlement] changed Kahle’s view of Google’s program?  Nope.

"When Google started out, they pointed people to other people’s content," Kahle said. "Now they’re breaking the model of the Web. They’re like the bad old days of AOL, trying to build a walled garden of content that you have to pay to see." …

But Kahle and the Open Content Alliance have a better vision….[It] is trying to determine how to create digital copies of in-copyright works that you can "borrow" for a limited time for free, in the same way you check out a book from the library today….

From Wade Roush at xconomy:

…[The settlement] promises to free Google to move forward with its ambitious library digitization effort, which will put a vast collection of literature at the fingertips of students, researchers, and at least a few public library patrons. It should also placate the Chicken Littles in the publishing industry, who have spent years using every available means, including the Google lawsuit itself, to obstruct the sharing of knowledge enabled by the digital revolution.

But for readers —the group whose interests are closest to my own heart, and the only major class of stakeholders in the lawsuit whose interests weren’t being protected by a team of well-paid attorneys— the Book Search settlement contains some major disappointments….I’m saddened by the gap between the level of open access to literature that was considered possible when Google first launched its project to digitize millions of library books and what we’re probably going to get as a result of this agreement.

Specifically, the settlement seems to put an end to hopes that the Google Library Project would result in widespread free or low-cost electronic access to books that are out of print but have not yet passed into the public domain….

It quickly became clear that the plaintiffs in the lawsuits would sooner see out-of-print books remain in limbo forever than sacrifice one penny of potential profit to Google….

It may surprise you that, as a writer, I’m on Google’s side in this dispute. But my point of view is that decent writers can always find ways to get paid for their work. They shouldn’t have to leech off the people who have the vision and the expertise to bring out the latent value in the world’s common heritage of information. More generally, I continue to be astonished by the hostility so many writers and publishers display toward Google, which, to my mind, is the best thing to happen to intellectuals since the First Amendment….

And there’s another provision of the settlement that spells out, to me, just how parsimonious the plaintiffs’ attitude really is. Under the agreement, the authors and publishers give Google permission to provide every public library in the United States with free access to the books database. That sounds great, on the surface….But…[i]f you read the agreement, you’ll see that it restricts each public library to exactly one Google terminal….

That, to me, about sums it up. Even in this digital age, the organizations representing authors and publishers are saying that free access to out-of-print books should be restricted to people who can a) make the physical journey to a library and b) beat their neighbors to the computer room.

There’s something fundamentally medieval about the philosophy that seems to have guided the plaintiffs through the entire Google lawsuit: namely, that profits can only be protected by imposing scarcity. One gets the sense that if they could, the authors and publishers who sued Google would do away with libraries altogether—and that the bloody Internet would be next on their list. Fie on Google, fie!

From Dugie Standeford at Intellectual Property Watch:

…The deal has implications outside the US, said UK intellectual property lawyer Laurence Kaye. It “shows that Google’s activities beyond pure search are within the boundaries of copyright and sets the scene for more licensing deals,” he said. These could be “machine-to-machine” direct licences such as those under the Automated Content Access Protocol (ACAP), arrangements between individual content owners and Google, licences granted by collecting societies, or something else, Kaye said.

“It’s a good day for copyright,” Kaye added.

ACAP Chair Gavin O’Reilly welcomed the settlement, saying it “paves the way for all rights holders, regardless of their chosen business model or rights management systems, to get the appropriate reward for their efforts – while at the same time ensuring the widest possible access.”

The agreement shows that it is possible for industries with diverging interests in the digital environment to find mutually beneficial solutions, said a spokesman for the European Commission Information Society and Media Directorate-General. Consensus is a key element of the Commission’s content online initiative, he said….

From Stanford University in a press release:

Stanford has joined with the University of Michigan and the University of California in supporting a proposed legal settlement that could allow their libraries to digitize millions of books through the Google Book Search project….

“With other libraries, those of the University of California and the University of Michigan, we have been negotiating for almost two years with Google and the plaintiffs to shape this agreement for the public good,” said Michael A. Keller, Stanford university librarian, director of academic information resources, founder and publisher of HighWire Press and publisher of Stanford University Press….

“I think this proposed settlement will break the logjam that has locked up orphan works for so many years,” said Walter Hewlett, a former trustee and member of Stanford’s ad hoc committee on the Google Book Search project….

While the universities have not unanimously agreed to all aspects of the proposed settlement, they believe it is favorable overall to the principles and intentions that led them to join the program….

The project would create a first-ever database of both in-copyright and out-of-copyright (public domain) works on which scholars can conduct advanced research (known as “the research corpus”). For example, a corpus of this sort would allow scholars in the field of comparative linguistics to conduct specialized large-scale analysis of language, looking for trends over time and expanding our understanding of language and culture.

The project also would enable the sharing of public domain works among scholars, students and institutions. Not only would scholars and students at other universities be able to read these online, but this would make it possible to provide large numbers of texts to individuals wishing to perform research….

EU strengthens its support for OA

EU supports open access to scientific and scholarly information, an announcement from SURF, October 29, 2008.  Excerpt:

The European Commission has thrown its weight behind the movement to make science and scholarship more transparent and socially responsible. The European Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Poto?nik, supports the call for open access, which will make scientific and scholarly information freely available via digital storage areas (“repositories”) on the Internet. SURF has been pressing for open access since 2004 and actively promotes this development in the Netherlands. Mr Poto?nik has now written to SURF’s director, Wim Liebrand, telling him that the Commission will encourage all recipients of EU subsidies to make published scientific/scholarly articles available to the public. This will prevent similar research being duplicated, thus saving researchers time and resources. Mr Liebrand is extremely gratified by the EU’s support: “After years of verbal support for the idea that the results of publicly financed research should also be publicly accessible, the EU is now actually taking steps to make that idea a reality.”

Mr Poto?nik also speaks highly of the powerful open access initiatives by Knowledge Exchange, the European partnership of national education and research institutions, which resulted in the Berlin Declaration, a widely supported call for public availability of publically financed research results. The European Commission has taken the petition to heart and the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (“FP7”) includes a pilot project for open access. The programme obliges researchers to make the results of subsidised research available via a digital repository. The pilot project is evidence of the European Commission’s commitment to making the results of research carried out within FP7 available as widely and effectively as possible with the aim of achieving the optimum impact both inside and outside the world of science and scholarship.

The Commission is also helping to build up the infrastructure for providing access to scientific/scholarly information. Examples of this action include financing infrastructural projects such as DRIVER (Digital Repository Infrastructure Vision for European Research) and a variety of studies to examine the effect of new business models for scientific publication. Mr Poto?nik concludes that the Member States intend formulating joint policy on access to scientific/scholarly information….

Comment.  As SURF says, the EU announced a pilot OA project in August 2008.  What it didn’t mention is that the pilot project mandates OA for only 20% of the EU’s research budget for 2007-2013.  That’s why it matters that Poto?nik told Liebrand that "the Commission will encourage all recipients of EU subsidies to make published scientific/scholarly articles available to the public" (emphasis added).  The other good sign here is Poto?nik’s public statement that "Member States intend formulating joint policy on access to scientific/scholarly information".

More on journal secrecy and vaporware

Robin Peek, Maturing of Open Access: With Growth Comes Growing Pains, preprint of a column forthcoming in the December issue of Information Today.  Posted October 30, 2008.  Excerpt:

Open access (OA) has had quite a good year….

Still, with maturity it was inevitable that new issues would emerge….

Of particular concern is the management of some of the young OA journals who are now appearing. Without question we have already seen that OA journals can be as well managed as the toll-access journals, whether they operate charging a fee or not. Springer would certainly not be purchasing the BMC journals, which are OA, if they were not well run and well respected….

Good journals require good editors, editorial boards, referees, and a flow of quality papers. If a young journal has any chance to gain traction it has to have an editor that is committed to its well-being and who also can gather a board that will add their reputation and editorial assistance to the project….

So…I was shocked when I was invited — as were, apparently, casts of thousands – to join an undertaking called Scientific Journals International (SJI)….SJI espouses a “quadruple-blind” peer review system….To achieve this the editors will not be revealed by this company so that they can’t be influenced (what does that mean, bribery or maybe legal threats? I don’t know.) That is not how the academic game is played. Editors become editors of journals because of the prestige; it’s not something they won’t tell someone about. “I just became editor of this journal, but it’s a secret, don’t tell anyone.” …

Another practice that [some of] these new journal publishers (SJI and others) engage in that they purport to publish, say, “100 journals” but when you visit the web site the majority are mere placeholders with notes like “coming soon” (or even “consider adding your content here.”) …I hope the day does not come when I must review a promotion report and find the candidate associated with a false front of a journal.

Yes there are people who sign up for these new up-start editorial boards and I am sure for lots of reasons. OA is now cool these days and some may feel they are genuinely helping the cause….

Of course there are people who will sign up for almost anything to pad a vita….

A journal should not be considered “published” until it has actual content. And a proposed journal that does not get any content for a year should be dismantled and its editorial group disbanded for failing to deliver. Further if there was no content then there was no journal and it should be stricken from one’s vita. If you never reviewed an article, solicited an article, or even had an editorial board meeting, you have not been on an editorial board; to say otherwise is a falsehood. Maybe that’s what “quadruple blind” peer review was meant to blind us all to.

Digital Archimedes manuscript released libre OA

The Walters Art Museum, host of the Archimedes Palimpsest — a manuscript of treatises by Archimedes of Syracuse — posted its digital images of the manuscript online on October 29, 2008. The images and supplementary information are OA and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license. See also the announcement. (Thanks to Glyn Moody.)

Comment. It’s fuzzy whether the scans are copyrightable anyway (see Bridgeman v. Corel). But it’s a good gesture regardless.

Costs of limiting PubMed searches to Free Full Text

Mary M. Krieger, Randy R. Richter, and Tricia M. Austin, An exploratory analysis of PubMed’s free full-text limit on citation retrieval for clinical questions, Journal of the Medical Library Association, October 2008.  Abstract:  

Objective:  The research sought to determine (1) how use of the PubMed free full-text (FFT) limit affects citation retrieval and (2) how use of the FFT limit impacts the types of articles and levels of evidence retrieved.

Methods:  Four clinical questions based on a research agenda for physical therapy were searched in PubMed both with and without the use of the FFT limit. Retrieved citations were examined for relevancy to each question. Abstracts of relevant citations were reviewed to determine the types of articles and levels of evidence. Descriptive analysis was used to compare the total number of citations, number of relevant citations, types of articles, and levels of evidence both with and without the use of the FFT limit.

Results:  Across all 4 questions, the FFT limit reduced the number of citations to 11.1% of the total number of citations retrieved without the FFT limit. Additionally, high-quality evidence such as systematic reviews and randomized controlled trials were missed when the FFT limit was used.

Conclusions:  Health sciences librarians play a key role in educating users about the potential impact the FFT limit has on the number of citations, types of articles, and levels of evidence retrieved.

Comment.  In short, work for OA but don’t assume that all valuable literature is already OA. 

OA journal launches repository for article-related datasets

The Optical Society of America has launched a repository to host datasets associated with articles published in its journals, including the OA journal Optics Express. OSA is calling the initiative “Interactive Science Publishing” (“ISP”). See this email from M. Scott Dineen:

The Optical Society has just started to use a DSpace-based system to host datasets associated with peer-reviewed journal articles. The OSA “MIDAS” system was launched with the help of [the National Library of Medicine] and Kitware, Inc., on a DSpace platform. Our first articles with datasets were published earlier this month with 3D image data (TIFF stacks, RAW, DICOM, and similar formats). …

Our first special issue of Optics Express with associated datasets is available here.

See also the September 30, 2008 press release announcing OSA’s partnership with NLM. From the press release:

… The joint OSA/NLM pilot ISP project will publish three to four focus issues in OSA journals in 2008 and 2009 with articles that include large datasets as primary components. The articles will be open access, as will tools for viewing and analyzing the datasets. The articles and data will be published in OSA’s journals, but will also be deposited in PubMed Central, NIH’s free digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature.

See also the project’s wiki.


  • There are two parts here: MIDAS, the DSpace-based repository software, and the OSA ISP software, used for viewing the files downloaded from MIDAS.
    • MIDAS is based on FOSS, including DSpace, but based on Kitware’s product page, there doesn’t seem to be any plan to release MIDAS as open source. (DSpace’s license doesn’t have a copyleft clause that compels derivative software to be free.)
    • OSA’s ISP software, which is only available for Windows and Mac OS, doesn’t seem to be open source, either. In fact, the gratis version offers only limited functionality; from the FAQ:

      Access to full OSA ISP authoring functionality is freely available for 30 days following activation. After 30 days, the software reverts to reader mode. In reader mode, one can interactively view data associated with OSA ISP articles but cannot load other data or use the authoring tools.

      However, the FAQ also says it’s not necessary to use OSA’s ISP software:

      We recommend use of the free OSA ISP software for viewing ISP image datasets. … However, the source data as provided by the author is available in the MIDAS repository and can be loaded into any capable software application. …

  • As to the data themselves, here are the terms of use:

    … You may use the datasets for research purposes, provided that Author(s) are given proper credit as the source of the data, in a manner consistent with generally accepted scientific principles. …

Update. See also Kitware’s press release on the ISP software.