Debate within library community over Google settlement

Paula J. Hane, Anti Google Book Settlement Organizations Band Together in Open Book Alliance, Information Today, August 27, 2009.

… At the end of July, The American Library Association (ALA), the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) sent a letter to the [U.S. Department of Justice]’s Antitrust Division, requesting it to advise the court presiding over the settlement to supervise the implementation of the [Google Books] settlement closely, particularly the pricing of institutional subscriptions and the selection of the Book Rights Registry board members.

These library associations have not joined the newly formed [Open Book Alliance]. According to Corey Williams, associate director for ALA’s Office of Government Relations, ALA leadership worked closely with its membership to shape its position on the settlement. … “We’ve already gone on record with the court,” she says. Commenting on the formation of the alliance, she added, “ALA is delighted that others are joining the debate. We encourage everyone who cares about the issues raised by the proposed settlement to weigh in with the court.”

The Urban Libraries Council (ULC) is the nonprofit membership organization serving the major public libraries located in urban and metropolitan areas throughout the U.S. On Aug. 19, the ULC submitted a statement urging the court to require that the parties involved “address the issues raised in this document before approving the proposed settlement.” The ULC concerns relate to access (one terminal per public library building is “admirable but not workable”), reader privacy, printing charges, and monopoly issues. CEO Susan Benton says the alliance certainly sounds of interest for the council’s concerns, but the ULC had not been approached about joining. …

N.B.: ALA, ACRL, and ARL are the members of the Library Copyright Alliance. Until recently, LCA membership included the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), the Medical Library Association (MLA), and the Special Libraries Association (SLA, now a member of the Open Book Alliance). According to an internal ACRL memo, the other associations quit LCA earlier this year, “citing the current economic climate”; ACRL subsequently joined.

Norman Oder, Margolis: ALA, Allies Should Request More Library Access in Google Settlement, Library Journal, August 25, 2009.

A veteran American Library Association (ALA) Councilor and longtime library executive has urged ALA and fellow library groups to more forcefully advocate that the pending Google Book Settlement offer increased library access to the book database, among other things.

Bernard Margolis, State Librarian and Assistant Commissioner for Libraries, New York State Library, shared an open letter following up on a letter sent to the Department of Justice by leaders of ALA, the Association of College and Research Libraries, and the Association of Research Libraries. “I want to urge your consideration of a stronger position reflecting both the critically important principles of access as well as the economic realities faced by your members (individual and institutional),” Margolis wrote.

He asked the leaders to consider conveying some settlement outcomes to the Department of Justice, including expansion of free Public Access Service (PAS) to school libraries, state libraries, and public law/medical/health libraries, as well as ensuring that the service is available throughout public libraries rather than limited to one terminal. (Google has said the latter is a minimum, but it would consider more.) …

Margolis, as have others, requested the Books Rights Registry—an independent, not-for-profit organization described in the settlement as representing “authors, publishers and other rightsholders”—be expanded, in this case to include library community and public representation. …

Norman Oder, PW Survey: Librarians On the Fence Regarding Google Settlement, Library Journal, August 20, 2009.

Just as library organizations have criticized the proposed Google Book Search settlement without formally opposing it, rank-and-file librarians are on the fence about the settlement, according to a new [unscientific] survey of stakeholders by Publishers Weekly. The magazine shared preliminary findings with the LJ Academic Newswire in advance of a cover story appearing August 24.

Some 225 librarians were surveyed, among a larger sample mainly drawing from the publishing industry. Regarding court approval of the settlement, 37% said they were unsure, while 29% supported the settlement and 21.5% said they opposed it.

Also, only 25% of librarians surveyed said they supported the initial lawsuits by publishers and the Authors Guild, while 25% opposed the filing. The rest had no opinion. …

See also our past post on the Open Book Alliance.

New Open Book Alliance criticizes Google settlement

Diverse Coalition Unites To Counter Google Book Settlement, Open Book Alliance, press release, August 26, 2009.

Librarians, legal scholars, authors, publishers, and technology companies today announced the formation of a coalition – the Open Book Alliance – that will counter the proposed Google Book Settlement in its current form. …

“Just as Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press more than 700 years ago ushered in a new era of knowledge sharing, the mass digitization of books promises to once again revolutionize how we read and discover books,” said Open Book Alliance co-chairs Peter Brantley and Gary Reback in a blog post. “But a digital library controlled by a single company and small group of colluding publishers would inevitably lead to higher prices and subpar service for consumers, libraries, scholars, and students.”

“The public interest demands that any mass book digitization and distribution effort be undertaken in the open, grounded in sound public policy, and mindful of the need to promote long-term benefits for consumers rather than those of a few commercial interests,” continued Brantley and Reback.

Brantley is a director of the non-profit Internet Archive and Reback is a noted antitrust attorney who serves of counsel at the firm Carr & Ferrell, LLP.

The Open Book Alliance will work to inform policymakers and the public about the serious legal, competitive, and policy issues in the settlement proposal. Members of the Alliance include:

See also our forthcoming follow-up post for more on the Open Book Alliance.

Study of foundations’ open content policies

Phil Malone, An Evaluation of Private Foundation Copyright Licensing: Policies, Practices and Opportunities, report by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, August 2009. From the executive summary:

Private foundations fund and support the creation of a wide range of work products,
ranging from books, articles, reports, and research summaries to educational materials and
textbooks to photographs, works of visual art, films, videos, and musical compositions and
recordings to software code, computer programs and technical systems to many, many
others. Foundations seek to achieve the most impact and the greatest good with the money
they invest. Doing so often depends on ensuring the broadest dissemination and greatest,
most productive and innovative use, reuse and redistribution of the many works they
support. …

This project, a joint effort of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard
University, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The Ford Foundation and the Open
Society Institute, with funding from Hewlett and Ford, undertook to examine the copyright
licensing policies and practices of a group of twelve private foundations. In particular, it
looked at the extent to which charitable foundations are aware of and have begun to use
open licenses such as Creative Commons or the GPL. We surveyed foundation staff and
leaders and examined a number of examples where foundations have begun to take
advantage of new licensing models for materials and resources produced by their own staff,
their consultants and their grantees. …

Currently, three of the twelve foundations surveyed expressly require their grantees to
use open licenses for the works they create; two others strongly encourage the use of such
licenses. At the same time, an increasing number of foundations and other organizations
that fund scholarly research and publications are encouraging grantees to make their work
product available for free in online, digital archives or repositories, though not always with
the full benefit of open licenses. In addition, a number of foundations are major supporters
of a critical new initiative to create large networks of free and open educational resources
(OER) online, usually with by a commitment to some form of open licensing of most of the
content.

Based on the survey results, foundation experiences and extensive additional research,
the project identified a variety of benefits that the use of open content licenses can bring to
foundations and their charitable goals. It also evaluated possible drawbacks and concerns
that open licenses might present in certain situations. The project sought to develop an
analytical framework and set of factors that foundations can use to begin considering when
and where the use of open licenses would further their mission and their day to day work
and where such licenses might not be useful or appropriate. …

Taking advantage of these opportunities and beginning to obtain many of the benefits
will not require foundations to immediately alter their existing licensing policies or practices.
Rather, any approach can be incremental, beginning with internal discussions and careful
consideration of the possible benefits and potential drawbacks of open licenses in a
foundation’s particular situation and fields. That analysis is likely to flow naturally into
valuable outreach: conversations with partners and grantees about licensing options,
benefits and objections. Program officers ordinarily are in excellent positions to raise these
issues with grantees, and the resulting conversations may identify areas where open licensing
by the foundation and/or its grantees would be immediately beneficial and create little
objection or burden, as well as other areas where greater adjustments need to be made or a
more nuanced approach may be required. …

The Report concludes with a series of recommendations designed to help motivate and
facilitate foundations to begin to examine their own licensing needs and practices. These
recommendations include steps to raise awareness and develop intentionality in the
foundation sector generally as well as steps for individual foundations to engage in their own
consideration and evaluation of the appropriateness of open licensing in the context of their
particular programs and grantees. …

Streamlining IR deposit to facilitate OA

Gerd Stumme, PUMA – Project on Academic Publication Management started on August 1st, BibSonomy Blog, August 26, 2009.

BibSonomy technology will be used in a project that fosters the open access movement and a better support of the researchers publications work. The project “PUMA – Academic Publication Management” is funded by the German Research Foundation DFG and has been started on August 1st, 2009. PUMA is a joint project of the University Library and the Knowledge & Data Engineering Group of the University of Kassel. …

Even though many researchers support the open access movement in principle, they often do not contribute their publications to the institutional repository of their university. Key reasons are that they do not see an immediate benefit from this additional effort, and that the upload is not integrated in their usual work flow. PUMA aims therefore for an integrated solution, where the upload of a publication results automatically in an update of both the personal and institutional homepage, the creation of an entry in BibSonomy, an entry in the academic reporting system of the university, and its publication in the institutional repository. At the time of upload, meta data from several data sources (SHERPA/RoMEO list, online library catalogue, BibSonomy) will be collected automatically in order to support the user. Further, PUMA aims to provide a publication management platform for all researchers and students to be used on a daily basis, which reduces not only the open access publication effort but also the effort to manage one’s own publications. …

As a showcase, PUMA will be integrated with the open access repository platform DSpace, the libary system PICA, the Typo3 content management system, and BibSonomy. The system is open for adaption to other standard systems. The project results will be published as open source software. …

Call for OA to paleo data

Fossils for All: Science Suffers by Hoarding, editorial, Scientific American Magazine, September 2009.

… [F]ossil hunters often block other scientists from studying their treasures, fearing assessments that could scoop or disagree with their own. In so doing, they are taking the science out of paleoanthropology. …

The scientists who expend the blood, sweat and tears to unearth the remnants of humanity’s past deserve first crack at describing and analyzing them. But there should be clear limits on this period of exclusivity. Otherwise, the self-correcting aspect of science is impeded: outside researchers can neither reproduce the discovery team’s findings nor test new hypotheses.

In 2005 the National Science Foundation took steps toward setting limits, requiring grant applicants to include a plan for making specimens and data collected using NSF money available to other researchers within a specified time frame. But paleoanthropologists assert that nothing has really changed. And according to Leslie Aiello of the Wenner-Gren Foundation, a major source of private funding for anthropological research, both public and private funding agencies typically lack the resources to enforce access policies, if they have them at all.

Ultimately, the adoption of openaccess practices will depend in large part on paleoanthropologists themselves and the institutions that store human fossils—most of which originate outside the U.S.—doing the right thing. But the NSF, which currently considers failure to make data accessible just one factor in deciding whether to fund a researcher again, should take a firmer stance on the issue and reject without exception those repeat applicants who do not follow the access rules. The agency could also create a centralized database to which researchers could contribute measurements, observations, high-resolution photographs and CT scans—a GenBank for paleoanthropology. And journals could require that authors submit their data prior to publication, as they do with authors of papers containing new genetic sequences. …

OATP via Twitter

The Twitter account for the OA tracking project (OATP) is now working.

I tried to launch it on August 9, using RSStoTwitter, but never got it to work.  At first I thought the reason was that DDoS attacks had forced Twitter to close parts of its API.  While that may have been the initial cause, RSStoTwitter has since shut down.

The new, successful Twitter version of the OATP feed uses TwitterFeed instead.  (Thanks to Charles Bailey for the suggestion.)

Apologies.  When I was trying to diagnose the problem with the first Twitter version of the OATP feed, I created a second, personal Twitter account, and used it to play with several RSS-to-Twitter options.  When I finally got one to work, I forgot to kill it for 12 hours or so, leading a surprising number of people to think they could monitor the OATP feed by following my personal Twitter account.  But I’ve killed it now.  If you want to use Twitter to track the OATP feed, follow the OATP Twitter account.  If you’re still following my personal Twitter account, don’t expect many tweets.

Correction: U. Tampere Policy Merely A Request, Not A Mandate


Correction: Finland’s U. Tampere’s OA self-archiving policy was erroneously listed as a mandate. It is not. It is merely a request, not a requirement. As such, it is likely to fail, just as the first version of the NIH Public Access Policy failed, for its first two years, while it was just a request (5% compliance), until it was upgraded to a requirement, whereupon it became successful (over 60% compliance within a year, and growing).

ROARMAP Full list of mandates

FINLAND OA Policy:
University of Tampere

Institution’s OA Eprint Archives:

http://tampub.uta.fi/english/index.php
http://acta.uta.fi/english/
http://tutkielmat.uta.fi/index_en.php

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

On 17 November 2008 the Rector set up a work group to prepare for the parallel depositing of research publications, the aim being to improve the open access to research publications at the University of Tampere. Led by Vice-Rector Arja Ropo, the work group completed its proposal on 30 March 2009 and on 31 March 2009 submitted its proposal to the Rector.

The University of Tampere offers its researchers an opportunity to improve the open access to and visibility of their publications by offering them a publication channel for parallel depositing and the necessary support.

According to the proposal of the work group the Rector would:

? request researchers working at the University as of 1 January 2011 to deposit copies of their research articles accepted for publication in scientific journals in the institutional repository provided by the University of Tampere and

? encourage researchers to deposit copies of their publications in the University?s repository before the decision comes into force.

Research articles refers in this Decision to single articles to be published in scientific refereed journals, in the University?s own publication series, in conference publications or other compilations. The final publisher?s version of the article should be deposited in the repository or then the author?s last version of the article revised in response to referees? comments (according to the publisher?s policy).

The University of Tampere hereby undertakes to provide researchers with the support services required for parallel depositing. The University of Tampere will endeavour to improve publication information systems and to design the process of depositing in a researcher-centred manner.

In addition to the research articles referred to in the Decision, other kinds of publications which may be stored in the open depository provided by the University of Tampere include popular articles, other published written texts, serial publications of University departments, teaching material and, if the publication agreements allow, also monographs.

The decision can be viewed at http://www.uta.fi/kirjasto/palvelut/decision_OA.pdf

At present publications can be deposited in the Tampub repository. When the Rector?s Decision comes into force on 1 January 2011 it is planned to store publications in the open repository of the University Alliance Finland (http://www.yliopistoallianssi.fi/alliance.html).

University’s doctoral dissertations are deposited in the Acta (http://acta.uta.fi/english/).

Master’s and licentiate theses are deposited in the Thesis (http://tutkielmat.uta.fi/index_en.php).

The open repositories of the University of Tampere are maintained by the Tampere University Library.

Japanese national library to digitize books; distribution uncertain

Japanese e-library project could lose out to Google Book Search without government flex, editorial, The Mainichi Daily News, July 23, 2009.

… Japan’s National Diet Library (NDL) is also accelerating the digitization of its book collection. The move follows a recent revision to Japan’s Copyright Law, allowing the NDL to digitize books without right-holders’ permission, as well as a large budget increase for digitization of books under the supplementary budget.

However, one needs to obtain permission from individual right-holders before publicizing digitized books online in Japan. …

Online distribution for a fee has already become common in the music industry. It is hoped that the Japanese government will flexibly proceed with legal revisions so as to facilitate online distribution of books’ content in Japan, including the e-library project.

Copyright law and online books, editorial, The Japan Times, August 23, 2009.

… In Japan, the Copyright Law was revised June 12, enabling the National Diet Library to digitize its books. The fiscal 2009 supplementary budget allocates ¥12.6 billion for digitizing about 920,000 titles or about one-fourth the books owned by the library in one to two years’ time.

But the National Diet Library has to negotiate with copyright holders and publishing houses on the extent to which the digitized titles should be made available. The publishing industry fears that if the titles go online, the industry will suffer. As the Diet library director Mr. Makoto Nagao said, the library and the publishing industry should create a system that will enable their coexistence and co-prosperity, and contribute to enhancing Japan’s cultural level.