RAE software for Open Access repositories

January 30, 2006 at 9:11 am | Posted in Institutional Repositories, RAE | Leave a comment

The Institutional Repository and Research Assessment has released a test version of its EPrints and DSpace RAE Software.

“The software to allow EPrints and DSpace institutional repositories to be used for RAE 2008 is now available in Bronze release form … It is now being made available to the UK academic community for repository managers to gain the experience of fitting it into their Institutional RAE processes.”

More evidence of the formal role that repositories will play in providing showcases for institutions’ research.

(Via Open Access News.)

Book publishing in the digital age

January 24, 2006 at 10:05 am | Posted in E-Books, Monographs | Leave a comment

The Bookseller (19 January 2006) has an edited version of a speech given by HarperCollins chief executive Victoria Barnsley at the London Business School’s media summit. Excerpts:

“HarperCollins Worldwide has announced plans to create a global digital warehouse for our titles, which search engines will be able to visit by means of an index. This will enable us to meet the demands of the digital age while retaining control of our own digital files and thereby our intellectual property.”

“It’s by this kind of thinking that I hope publishing will take advantage of the fact that it’s rather late to the digital party. We might not’ve been catapulted into it as abruptly as the music industry, but it will fundamentally change our business, and we need to be as prepared as possible.”

“Whether the genuinely user-friendly e-book is developed this year (and Sony has come pretty close), or in 20 years — the internet is fundamentally changing the relationship between authors, readers and content.”

Electronic textbooks

January 19, 2006 at 4:36 pm | Posted in E-Books, Libraries | Leave a comment

Cambridge University Library Readers’ Newsletter 32 (January 2006) reports thus:

“Electronic versions of over one hundred of the most frequently used titles in college libraries are now accessible to all members of the University through web links in the Newton catalogue and from a dedicated page on the supplier’s website. The agreement with NetLibrary, the e-content division of OCLC, has been negotiated by the Cambridge Colleges’ Libraries’ Forum … This initiative is being tackled by college libraries as part of the solution to the problem of providing resources despite restricted space and budgets, and is targeted at meeting undergraduate demand for key texts in all subjects taught in the Tripos. The collection has been formed following negotiation by NetLibrary with the five publishers whose titles are most frequently borrowed from college libraries.”

OA in the humanities

January 18, 2006 at 5:05 pm | Posted in Open Access, Preprints | Leave a comment

OA as instrumental good, Open and Shut, December 22, 2005: “Historically, Open Access (OA) has been viewed as primarily an issue for researchers in the sciences. Today, however, there is a growing debate about its relevance to the humanities. So when last week the Princeton/Stanford Working Papers in Classics (PSWP) site was launched it seemed an ideal opportunity to discuss OA in the context of the humanities with Josiah Ober, the professor of classics at Princeton who, in collaboration with Stanford’s Walter Scheidel, created PSWP.” Excerpts of the interview follow:

Q: Certainly OA today is mainly viewed as a science issue. Why do you think that is so, and do you think that in the long term OA has less, the same, or perhaps even more relevance to the humanities than to the sciences?

A: Humanities scholarship is a small area compared to natural science scholarship. Humanities work tends to be comparatively low-cost (few big labs or big grants) and individually authored. OA’s immediate benefits are perhaps harder to measure in the humanities than in the sciences. OA for humanities is still something of a ‘green field.’

Q: You are perhaps aware of the growing trend for science research funders to request/require that their grantees make their papers available on the Web (not least the National Institutes of Health’s policy on Enhancing Public Access to Archived Publications Resulting from NIH-Funded Research). Can you see a logic for funders in the humanities adopting a similar approach, or is funding in the humanities sufficiently different that such an approach may not be appropriate?

A: Humanities funding is mostly personal grants for leave time to individuals, and humanists still tend to publish a lot of books. So I would guess that this sort of requirement would be unlikely in the near term.

Q: Certainly there are calls for this in the UK. The draft proposal from Research Councils UK (Access to Research Outputs), for instance, proposes mandating all publicly-funded researchers, including those in the humanities, to self-archive their papers on the Web. It’s not yet clear what the final RCUK policy will be, but do you think this is how the future will look: that in the way that researchers have been required to ‘publish or perish’ they will find themselves also being required to ensure that their papers are freely available to all on the Web?

A: My guess is that it will increasingly be the case that material that is not web accessible will be less likely to be consulted or cited, and that this will in turn result in a lot of pressure on authors and publishers to find ways to make academic work web accessible.

Q: Finally, do you think that OA is ‘inevitable and optimal’ as OA advocates often put it? If so, what are the compelling reasons for arguing that that is the case in the area of the humanities in general, and in classics in particular?

A: Inevitable is a strong word and one I tend to avoid when speaking of social phenomena, like politics, economics, or OA. I think that there will be strong pressure for more OA over time, as students and scholars become more and more used to doing their research online. Optimal must of course depend on implementation.

So I’d say that OA is a very good bet, and stands to be a lot closer to optimal than any prior information regime I know of.

Humanists, whose work can be made readily accessible across disciplinary lines (in a way that is more difficult for highly mathematical fields), are likely to benefit disproportionately from OA — and should, therefore, have every reason to support it.”

UC’s eScholarship Repository

January 18, 2006 at 4:21 pm | Posted in Institutional Repositories, Open Access | Leave a comment

Richard Poynder, Changing the paradigm, Open and Shut, January 18, 2006. An interview with Catherine Candee, director of publishing and strategic initiatives in the Office of Scholarly Communication at the University of California in which she outlines her vision of the future of scholarly publishing — a world in which universities would retain ownership of their scholarly output, and make it freely available on the Web via a network of institutional repositories like the eScholarship Repository (UC). Some excerpts follow:

RP: Your job grew out of the so-called scholarly publishing crisis did it?

CC: Very much so. We faced a situation in which spiralling serials costs were literally killing the University of California. Today we spend about $27 million a year on licensed content … In 2000, for example, we launched the eScholarship program, which was created to exploit technologies that can help us reduce the cost of scholarly materials, especially journals….The journal pricing issue drove us in the library to seek new solutions; but it wasn’t journal pricing that drove faculty to try new things.

RP: What is the likely timing for a decision [on the recent white papers proposing various OA-related policies for the U of California]?

CC: As I understand it, the aim is to get things passed and through the system before next fall.

RP: If it does go ahead would you envisage a postprint mandate following behind it?

CC: Yes.

RP: Looking to the future, how important do you think institutional repositories will prove to be in the scholarly publishing process and will they be seen as an alternative to the traditional system or as an adjunct?

CC: In the short term I think they will be quite important. I don’t see them as a replacement but, as I mentioned, I really think we are heading towards a layering of services, where an awful lot of raw content will be managed more responsibly by universities, and publishers and aggregators will develop all kinds of services to add value to that content.

(Via Open Access News.)

Copyright and Creative Commons licensing

January 17, 2006 at 2:56 pm | Posted in Copyright, Creative Commons | Leave a comment

In The Ideas Interview (Guardian, 16 January 2006) John Sutherland interviews Lawrence Lessig about copyright, Creative Commons, and the public domain. More than 45 million Creative Commons licences have now been adopted worldwide.

“Creative Commons content is not technically in the public domain because it’s all copyrighted content that’s licenced. But it is effectively, at least for some uses, in the public domain. A creator, or a teacher, or a student who wants access to content doesn’t have to worry about being a law violator just because they want to access, or use, or distribute remixed content. And the critical thing is that we do this by getting agreement from the creators. We’re not taking anything from anyone.”

“The public domain has been so important historically in fuelling the spread of culture and keeping competition up and prices down. But copyright terms have recently been extended so repeatedly – Europe is now adopting a life plus 70 [years] term – and the US has extended the terms of existing copyrights 11 times in 40 years. So there’s this ever-increasing pressure to expand the term of copyright. That’s great for the 1% of creative work that continues to have any commercial life more than 10 years after its initial publication. But for the other 99%, all the copyright system does is lock it down and make it inaccessible.”

See also creativecommons.org/

DOAJ now lists 2000 open-access journals

January 13, 2006 at 4:19 pm | Posted in Journals Publishing, Open Access | Leave a comment

The Directory of Open-Access Journals
now includes entries for 2000 titles. Not surprisingly the majority of titles are scientific and medical, but there are more than 100 in the fields of language, literature, and linguistics.

(Via Peter Suber.)

Blackwell and society journal publishing

January 12, 2006 at 4:16 pm | Posted in Electronic Publishing, Journals Publishing, Learned Societies | Leave a comment

John Blossom observes in Shore News Commentary that “it’s not the best of times for independent scholarly journal publishers, a fact that keeps them moving towards distributors with more marketing and distribution savvy.” Blackwell have announced 39 new publishing partnerships and 59 journal titles added to its list for 2006. Six hundred and sixty-five societies now partner with Blackwell (Blackwell Publishing Press Room)

With major players keen to grow their lists and independent societies worried about the impact of online publishing (and, of course, open access) I suspect this is likely to be a growing trend.

(via Peter Suber.)

The future of the scholarly monograph: MLA’s panel on tenure

January 12, 2006 at 11:41 am | Posted in Electronic Publishing, Monographs | Leave a comment

A special panel of the MLA is looking at ways to overhaul tenure. Early reports indicate a proposed move away from insistence upon publication of a monograph, and a recognition that print publication should not necessarily be regarded as having higher status than online publication.

Report and some interesting comments at:

Inside Higher Ed :: Radical Change for Tenure


January 12, 2006 at 11:07 am | Posted in Welcome | Leave a comment

The main purpose of this blog is to keep MHRA Committee members informed of developments in the field of publishing, especially as regards online publishing, open-access, and print-on-demand. Discussion is encouraged through the use of the Comments facility.

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