Presentations and notes from National Academies meeting on data

I attended and liveblogged the public sessions of the National Academies’ Board on Research Data and Information meeting (Washington, DC, January 29-30, 2009). Many of the presentations are also online.

Views of SCOAP3 from the U of Texas

Bavi Selk, Physicists push for free online journal access, Daily Texan, January 30, 2009.  Excerpt:

…[T]he plan has met skepticism from journal publishers as well as some scientists.

UT physics professor Charles Chiu said journals should be priced in the free market but the groupâ??s plan might be an improvement on the current system.

â??Certainly there is room in improving the present journal-publication system,â? he said. â??It is conceivable that [the group] may lead to an efficient program, which has the potential to win out in competing with the current system of journal publication. Personally, I am comfortable using either system.â?

[Joseph Serene, publisher and treasurer of the American Physical Society] said the plan was well-intentioned and the American Physical Society would participate if the consortiumâ??s organizers collect enough money. But he said he worries that some of the participating libraries and research groups might eventually pull out of the project, leaving the journals with no financial support.

â??If it comes unglued, getting the subscription money back would be a real challenge,â? he said….The American Physical Society is a nonprofit group, and Serene said the price increases of journals are probably coming from commercial publishers….

Serene said UT pays about $17,000 a year for an online-only subscription to the American Physical Societyâ??s seven major journals, which includes about 16,000 papers a year. He said that after adjusting for inflation, that price had remained basically unchanged since 2003.

Additionally, Serene said his society allows its contributors to publish their papers on openaccess Web sites like arXiv, a free database that hosts draft versions of scientific papers.

â??Most anybody who really wants to see a paper can see it,â? Serene said, though he added that access was more restricted in other fields like biomedicine.

â??Itâ??s the kind of thing that sounds wonderful,â? Serene said of the consortiumâ??s plan. â??Weâ??d all love if scientific literature could be open to everyone. But weâ??re concerned it may have stability problems.â?

Views of SCOAP3 from the U of Texas

Bavi Selk, Physicists push for free online journal access, Daily Texan, January 30, 2009.  Excerpt:

…[T]he plan has met skepticism from journal publishers as well as some scientists.

UT physics professor Charles Chiu said journals should be priced in the free market but the group’s plan might be an improvement on the current system.

“Certainly there is room in improving the present journal-publication system,” he said. “It is conceivable that [the group] may lead to an efficient program, which has the potential to win out in competing with the current system of journal publication. Personally, I am comfortable using either system.”

[Joseph Serene, publisher and treasurer of the American Physical Society] said the plan was well-intentioned and the American Physical Society would participate if the consortium’s organizers collect enough money. But he said he worries that some of the participating libraries and research groups might eventually pull out of the project, leaving the journals with no financial support.

“If it comes unglued, getting the subscription money back would be a real challenge,” he said….The American Physical Society is a nonprofit group, and Serene said the price increases of journals are probably coming from commercial publishers….

Serene said UT pays about $17,000 a year for an online-only subscription to the American Physical Society’s seven major journals, which includes about 16,000 papers a year. He said that after adjusting for inflation, that price had remained basically unchanged since 2003.

Additionally, Serene said his society allows its contributors to publish their papers on openaccess Web sites like arXiv, a free database that hosts draft versions of scientific papers.

“Most anybody who really wants to see a paper can see it,” Serene said, though he added that access was more restricted in other fields like biomedicine.

“It’s the kind of thing that sounds wonderful,” Serene said of the consortium’s plan. “We’d all love if scientific literature could be open to everyone. But we’re concerned it may have stability problems.”

EDINA launches an OA repository for geospatial data

ShareGeo launched, a press release from EDINA, January 28, 2009.  Excerpt:

A new geospatial data sharing facility has been released today which enables Digmap users to find and share geospatial datasets.

ShareGeo forms part of the EDINA Digimap suite of services….

ShareGeo is free to use for all Digimap users.

Use ShareGeo to contribute your own (derived or user-generated) geospatial datasets, or to download datasets that are already there for your research, teaching or personal use….

Geospatial datasets in a number of formats (raster, vector and tabular) can be contributed for anywhere in the world. A minimal amount of metadata is required for each dataset….

Licensing restrictions may apply to some datasets, so for example if a dataset is derived from Ordnance Survey data, only Digimap users registered for the Digimap Ordnance Survey collection will be able to access it….

PS:  ShareGeo is the successor to EDINA’s GRADE (Geospatial Repository for Academic Deposit and Extraction).  See our past posts on GRADE and EDINA’s other geospatial projects.

EDINA launches an OA repository for geospatial data

ShareGeo launched, a press release from EDINA, January 28, 2009.  Excerpt:

A new geospatial data sharing facility has been released today which enables Digmap users to find and share geospatial datasets.

ShareGeo forms part of the EDINA Digimap suite of services….

ShareGeo is free to use for all Digimap users.

Use ShareGeo to contribute your own (derived or user-generated) geospatial datasets, or to download datasets that are already there for your research, teaching or personal use….

Geospatial datasets in a number of formats (raster, vector and tabular) can be contributed for anywhere in the world. A minimal amount of metadata is required for each dataset….

Licensing restrictions may apply to some datasets, so for example if a dataset is derived from Ordnance Survey data, only Digimap users registered for the Digimap Ordnance Survey collection will be able to access it….

PS:  ShareGeo is the successor to EDINA’s GRADE (Geospatial Repository for Academic Deposit and Extraction).  See our past posts on GRADE and EDINA’s other geospatial projects.

Wikileaks will create OA for 10,000 CRS reports

Clay Shirky reprints a message from the Wikileaks announcement list:

Wikileaks to release nearly 10,000 Congressional Research Service reports

Wikileaks has obtained nearly 10,000 US Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports which it is preparing for publication. The CRS spends around $100M a year preparing high quality reports for members of Congress and Congressional committees. When members feel publication of a report is in their political interest, they are released. Alternatively reports that are not viewed as politically favorable are kept from the public eye….

Comment.  This is excellent news.  It’s not the first project to provide retroactive OA to CRS reports, but it’s probably the largest.  I don’t say "retroactive and unauthorized OA" because CRS reports are uncopyrightable from birth, and no permission or authority is needed.  All that is needed is to get one’s hands on a copy.  For details on the other CRS OA projects, and background on the quality and access barriers to CRS reports, see our past posts.

Wikileaks will create OA for 10,000 CRS reports

Clay Shirky reprints a message from the Wikileaks announcement list:

Wikileaks to release nearly 10,000 Congressional Research Service reports

Wikileaks has obtained nearly 10,000 US Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports which it is preparing for publication. The CRS spends around $100M a year preparing high quality reports for members of Congress and Congressional committees. When members feel publication of a report is in their political interest, they are released. Alternatively reports that are not viewed as politically favorable are kept from the public eye….

Comment.  This is excellent news.  It’s not the first project to provide retroactive OA to CRS reports, but it’s probably the largest.  I don’t say "retroactive and unauthorized OA" because CRS reports are uncopyrightable from birth, and no permission or authority is needed.  All that is needed is to get one’s hands on a copy.  For details on the other CRS OA projects, and background on the quality and access barriers to CRS reports, see our past posts.

Overview of OA, especially in Australia

Arthur Sale, Beyond Open Source, a slide presentation at Free as in Freedom (Hobart, Tasmania, January 20, 2009).  (Thanks to Dorothea Salo.)

Abstract:   The Open Source movement, of which Linux is a shining example, is a showcase of how accessibility makes for excellence. A parallel thrust is currently being conducted in the research institutions and the publishing industries of the world to create Open Access to the worldâ??s publicly funded research. Arthur Sale will trace the origin of the movement, its economics and the forces holding it back, and where we are now, particularly in Australia. Open Access, or OA, has very many more active participants than Open Source, and many more nay-sayers, cautious Scrooges, and ignorant people. The struggle is titanic â?? the benefits equally large!