More on the failure of ACS lobbying in Congress

More on the failure of ACS lobbying in Congress -
Bobby Pickering, US Congress fails to back ACS, Information World Review, June 16, 2005. Excerpt: 'The American Chemical Society has put a brave face on a snub it has received from the US Congress, which has refused to take its side in a dispute with the National Institutes of Health (NIH)....The ACS had hoped to put pressure on the NIH through Congressional supporters, but last week the House of Representatives' Appropriations Committee approved the annual NIH budget with only the slightest admonishment that both parties work together. The committee said it "urges NIH to work with private sector providers to avoid unnecessary duplication and competition with private sector chemical databases." The ACS declined the opportunity to speak to IWR this week, but issued a statement that it is "very pleased that the House Appropriations Subcommittee expressed concern about PubChem replicating private scientific information services. We will continue to work diligently with NIH toward a collaborative model and solution." Yet it is now difficult to see how it can develop a dialogue with the NIH and work towards a compromise solution, having already adopted such heavy-handed tactics. The ACS is noted for taking a bullish stance over the threat to its revenues from open access publishing. In December 2004, it filed a complaint in the US District Court of DC against Google for alleged trademark infringement of the CAS SciFinder Scholar brand and for "unfair competition". The US organisation is also under fire from some parts of the academic community for the levels of remuneration it awards employees. The not-for-profit organisation paid out 46% of its total expenses of $404m in salaries and fringe benefits last year, with its executive director receiving a total compensation package of over $1m.'
[Open Access News]

Paradigms in elearning

Paradigms in elearning -

Paradigms in E-Learning: "...the traditional model of online learning contains enough vestiges of traditional classroom and distance learning that it is begin to think that there's nothing really new happening here, that the use of computer technology does not really introduce any new affordances, doesn't really force us to reconceptualize what it is that we are doing, doesn't really offer, indeed, an alternative to what has gone before."
Comment: I think we are quite close to a reorganization of both learning and learning delivery models (i.e. classrooms). Lately, I've had several engaging conversations on the subject of how elearning is poised to break out of its current image. The issue isn't technology, as is often assumed. The real issue is that the world has changed, and at this point, technology-enabled learning most closely matches those changes. Rapid knowledge development requires a flexible and adaptive design and delivery model. Classrooms certainly have a role, but they need to be augmented/adjusted to reflect information flow. Again, it has nothing to do with technology or classrooms - it has to do with people being able to function in a similar manner and pace as the climate in which they live and work. Our existing educational models are creaking the weight of rapid change in the surrounding environment.


CSS: A Designer's Guide

CSS: A Designer's Guide - Whether you're a CSS adept who needs help remembering the 342 approved hacks, or a traditional print (or Dreamweaver) designer for whom CSS layout is scary and confusing, Charles Wyke-Smith's designer's guide to CSS has you covered. From [Edu_RSS]

Swedish Higher Ed group endorses Berlin3 recommendations

Swedish Higher Ed group endorses Berlin3 recommendations - The Association of Swedish Higher Education (SUHF) has issued a press release (June 14, 2005), recapping the Berlin3 recommendations and its own endorsement of them. (Thanks to Lars Bjornshauge.) [Open Access News]

NIH research will fight disease, feed PubChem

NIH research will fight disease, feed PubChem -
NIH creates nationwide network of molecular libraries screening centers. An NIH press release, issued today: 'The National Institutes of Health (NIH) today announced it is awarding $88.9 million in grants to nine institutions over three years to establish a collaborative research network that will use high-tech screening methods to identify small molecules that can be used as research tools. Small molecules have great potential to help scientists in their efforts to learn more about key biological processes involved in human health and disease. "This tremendous collaborative effort will accelerate our understanding of biology and disease mechanisms," said Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., NIH Director. "More importantly, it will, for the first time, enable academic researchers to explore novel ideas and enable progress on a broad front against human disease."...Data generated from the high-throughput assays conducted at the screening centers will be made available to researchers in both the public and private sectors through the PubChem database.'
[Open Access News]

Canadian Civil Society Communique

Canadian Civil Society Communique -
Canadian Civil Society organizations preparing for WSIS II drafted and yesterday released the Canadian Civil Society Communiqué. Excerpt: 'This consensus statement was adopted by Canadian civil society groups representing a diverse range of peoples, backgrounds, expertise, and perspectives. The group of 200 people met in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, on 13-15 May 2005 at a conference entitled "Paving the Road to Tunis," organized by the Canadian Commission for UNESCO...The purpose of the meeting was to canvass the views of the civil society organizations in Canada on the Plan of Action that emerged from Phase I of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Geneva and the prospects for Phase II in Tunis. [PS: WSIS Phase I endorsed open access.]...We firmly maintain that democracy is reliant on an informed citizenry and civil society that has access to the data, information, knowledge and technology necessary to keep governments accountable....The Canadian government through its policies, programs and the working principles of its bodies and agencies, should provide example of no-cost, open and usable access to data, information and knowledge, created through the use of public resources. This should include providing access to primary data, to knowledge repositories, and to archives and other sources, at no cost and providing the means to ensure effective and widely available use of these resources....The Information Society should foster an environment of transparency and access among all levels of government, civil society and the public, including access to raw and geospatial framework data....Raw data from statistical, health, environmental and mapping agencies should be made available at no cost to citizens, civil society organizations, and to primary and secondary schools for non-commercial research purposes....[I]ntellectual property rights must balance the rights of creators with the rights of users. Copyright law must not create overly restrictive legal barriers to the fair use, access and copying of information....Canadian Civil Society supports Free, Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) and innovative intellectual property initiatives, such as Creative Commons, that enable users to have free access to, and build upon, existing tools and creations.'
[Open Access News]

OA to Canadian research data

OA to Canadian research data -
David F. Strong and Peter B. Leach, National Consultation on Access to Scientific Research Data, National Research Council Canada, January 31, 2005. The final report of a government task force. Excerpt: 'The objectives of the National Consultation on Access to Scientific Research Data (NCASRD) are to recommend to Canada’s primary research funding agencies and organizations the actions necessary to maximize, through open access, the research and economic value, and public benefit of data gathered at public expense, as well as actions to preserve historically significant data as an historic record, and as a scientific and cultural asset for current and future research. The recommendations in this Report aim to generate workable solutions to the technological, institutional, cultural, legal, financial and behavioural barriers to such access....The NCASRD has been commissioned to recommend actions that only apply to digital data. We have excluded consultation on the issue of open access to research findings and published research results, even though the publication of results is often closely linked to open access to scientific research data. The issue of open and possible free access to research results and scientific papers is highly contentious but should become the focus of a dedicated national consultation in the near future....However, in the more restricted area of access to data [as opposed to literature], this discussion has reached sufficient intensity to warrant the signing of the International Declaration on Access to Research Data from Public Funding by most developed nations [including Canada], committing them to a more open data access regime....Our Vision of the research world in 2020: Canada is the centre of a global knowledge grid. It has become the desired nation with which to partner in research, because of its national system of open access to research data. Through this system and the collaborative culture it has generated, Canadian creativity and innovation are best in class worldwide. Open, but secure, access to powerful and globally assembled data has transformed scientific research. Researchers routinely analyze problems of previously unimaginable complexity in months, rather than decades, leading to revelations of knowledge and discovery that have enriched quality of life, transformed healthcare, improved social equality, provided greater security, broadened decision perspectives for social, environmental, and economic policy and advancement, and transformed the advancement of human knowledge....While Canada will not be alone in experiencing such a surge of innovation, the integrated strategy that we are recommending, and the early adoption of open access as a national priority, will guarantee Canada’s leadership position among research-intensive countries.' (Thanks to Richard Ackerman.)
[Open Access News]

More on the Bielefeld resolution

More on the Bielefeld resolution -
Uni Bielefeld gegen Zugangsbeschränkungen: Open Access immer mehr verbreitet, med information, Number 3/4, 2005. An unsigned survey of recent OA developments in and out of Germany.
[Open Access News]

Yahoo offers free searching of priced content

Yahoo offers free searching of priced content - Elinor Mills, Yahoo ramps up 'deep Web' search effort,, June 15, 2005. Excerpt: 'While most search engines crawl the Web and troll freely accessible sites, they cannot get into much of the so-called deep Web, vast amounts of data stored within paid and password-protected sites. Yahoo Search Subscriptions will allow search access to seven different subscription Web sites simultaneously....Yahoo users will be able to get access to,, The New England Journal of Medicine, Forrester Research, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers [and others]. LexisNexis, Factiva and the Association of Computing Machinery subscription Web sites are expected to be added in coming weeks. Users of Yahoo's service must have subscriptions at the targeted sites to access the information, said Tim Mayer, director of product management at Yahoo Search....Yahoo users can add any or all of the subscription sites to their preferences on the search page and search for results from only the subscription sites, or have the subscription results appear along with results from the rest of the Web, he said.'

Update. Also see Gary Price's good article on the service in today's SearchDay. Excerpt: 'I'm sure Yahoo's new service will draw comparisons with Google Scholar. However, at this time, most of the Yahoo material (with the exceptions of ACM and IEEE) appears to be current events, news, and business oriented rather than scholarly or peer-reviewed. It's also interesting to see Yahoo work with not only publishers but also with content aggregators like Factiva and LexisNexis. That said, I'm sure Google Scholar will be offering access to more of this type of content in the future and very likely has deals with some of the same aggregators and publishers that Yahoo does. Likewise, I wouldn't at all be surprised to see more peer-reviewed/scholarly material in Yahoo. Yes, competition is a good thing for the searcher....Let's keep our fingers crossed and hope Yahoo decides to take all of this a step further and work with database providers so that the premium content that many people have access to FOR FREE via their local public, university, or corporate library (aka institutional subscriptions) becomes more easily accessible for these people. If you're unclear about what I'm talking about, many public libraries offer free access (for personal use) to fee-based databases from your home or office, such as I covered here recently. Google Scholar has already made some strong inroads in this area. Remember, these days the world of the library and librarian extends beyond the four walls of the library building.'

[Open Access News]

Silkworm to improve access to library content

Silkworm to improve access to library content -
Silkworm is a new initiative from Talis to make library content more visible and accessible. Since the Silkworm site doesn't explain the service very well, see the Silkworm white paper (June 13, 2005) or Paul Miller's long blog posting (June 16) about it. Excerpt from the white paper: 'Project Silkworm is based on the concept that library vendors must now collaborate in order to begin to deliver better services. This focus on participation (of both vendors and users) permeates the whole project and is captured in four key values: [1] Sharing and community over duplication and isolation, [2] Reuse over reinvention, [3] Openness and interoperability over exclusivity, [4] Experimentation over certainty....Currently, the library market is structured in a high cost way with many vertical vendors and little horizontal specialisation. It will be too expensive for each player to provide an all-encompassing experience and the market should not have to bear the weight of each vendor duplicating this. Vendors will therefore need to work together. Indeed, it's the sign of any mature market that a horizontal structure is required to lower the total costs for all....The Talis Research Group has spent considerable time investigating possibilities for helping libraries to make content more visible and accessible to all and to give users the same quality experience they currently enjoy elsewhere. Under the banner of Project Silkworm, Talis has begun to create a Web 2.0 service-orientated network platform designed to discover, share and consume content that is currently hidden from the web. The platform can be considered as a coordination and access layer sitting above the hidden web that allows hidden web content to participate in the Web 2.0 paradigm and new applications to be built that have powerful architectures of participation to enhance the experience of users....The key aim of Project Silkworm is to remove the technical and cost barriers to building applications that share and use content....The multiple silos of content in the library and information world, and the potentially high cost of exposing them, is preventing the creativity, value creation and fantastic user experiences that should be possible today. The limitations of the situation are increasingly worrying as it becomes clear that the value that can be unlocked by breaking down the barriers between islands of information and making content work in many new and different ways is enormous.'
[Open Access News]

New JISC funding for institutional repositories

New JISC funding for institutional repositories -
Today JISC announced a £4m funding program for institutional repositories throughout the UK. From the press release, Sharing knowledge, widening access: 'A repository is a digital store of principally research outputs and journal articles, but also potentially a wealth of other information, created by teachers, academics and researchers and made openly available to all who wish to access them. Their great advantage is that they enable the free sharing of information, encouraging collaboration and the widespread communication of UK education and research activity. In its 2004 report Scientific Publications: Free for All? the House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology hailed the creation of institutional repositories as a means of making research articles more freely available. Furthermore, it specifically praised JISC’s work in exploring new models for accessing and sharing such resources. Building on these and other recent developments, the twenty-three projects within the Digital Repositories programme will explore the many cultural, technical and management aspects of creating and managing institutional and other repositories. Although the development of repositories has up to now focussed largely on making accessible the outputs of the research community, this new programme will develop the concept still further by encouraging the growth of repositories for learning materials, data and much else.'
[Open Access News]

More on Grey Lit in institutional repositories

More on Grey Lit in institutional repositories -

The text of a presentation which I gave yesterday at the American Society for Engineering Education's annual meeting is now available. In addition to Grey Literature there are some observations about the nature of early adopters of the IR technology.

Porter, George S. and Ramachandran, Hema (2005) Opening the Vaults of Academe. In: ASEE National Conference, Engineering Libraries Division, 11-16 June 2005, Portland, OR.

[Open Access News]

Grey literature in institutional repositories

Grey literature in institutional repositories - The Summer issue of The Grey Journal is devoted to grey literature in institutional repositories. Unfortunately, only the TOC is free online for non-subscribers. Here are the primary articles:
  • Julia Gelfand, 'Knock, Knock’: Are Institutional Repositories a Home for Grey Literature?
  • LeRoy J. LaFleur and Nathan Rupp, Making Grey Literature Available through Institutional Repositories
  • Marie-France Claerebout, Grisemine, A Digital Library of Grey University Literature
  • Andrea C. Japzon and Nikkia Anderson, Wallops Island Balloon Technology: Can't see the Repository for the Documents
  • Elly Dijk, Sharing Grey Literature by using OA-x
  • José Manuel Barrueco and Thomas Krichel, Building an Autonomous Citation Index for Grey Literature: RePEc, The Economics Working Papers Case
[Open Access News]

More on ACS v. PubChem

More on ACS v. PubChem -
Eric Wills, American Chemical Society Lobbies Against a Free NIH Database That It Sees as a Competitor, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 16, 2005 (accessible only to subscribers). Excerpt: 'A bitter squabble over [PubChem's] alleged duplication [of the ACS's Chemical Abstracts Service or CAS] has intensified in recent weeks, as Congress considers whether to cut money appropriated for PubChem. The possibility of such a cut alarms many scientists, who see PubChem as a valuable new resource....PubChem was created by putting into a central database publicly available data from academic institutions and government entities like the NIH and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Recently, some public companies have also donated data....Francis S. Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at the NIH...likens the overlap between PubChem and the chemical society's database to that of textbooks sharing an index....Other scientists think a bit of rivalry is not such a bad thing. Christopher A. Reed, a professor of inorganic chemistry at the University of California at Riverside and a member of the [ACS], said, "A little healthy competition would probably do [the society] good."...Also hovering over the PubChem debate is the larger issue of whether the government should publish data that are not the result of its own research. Ms. [Madeleine] Jacobs [Dxecutive Director of the ACS] wonders about the ominous consequences if the NIH " the funder, creator, developer, disseminator, and archivist of all literature and databases." Dr. Collins said the scope of that question is too broad. "Precompetitive data, data of fundamental significance that doesn't justify strong intellectual-property protection or secrecy, this is data that wants to be public," he said. Scientists have reached a "pretty strong" consensus about this issue, he said. That government support for PubChem is under debate at all has angered some scientists, including Richard J. Roberts, a 1993 Nobel laureate in medicine. He recently pulled out of a conference sponsored by the chemistry society to protest its stance on PubChem. "Most databases benefit from government subsidies at one point or another," he said. Indeed, grants from the National Science Foundation helped start the society's database of chemical abstracts. "We live in a society that values openness, values transparency," he said. "I think the biologists...have done a much better job of promulgating those core values of society as a whole than have the chemists."...Thus far, the lobbying against PubChem has had little tangible effect. When budget writers in the U.S. House of Representatives released a draft this month of the NIH's appropriations bill for 2006, they decided not to call for a cut in funds for PubChem. Instead, the bill, which is to be considered today by the House Appropriations Committee, encourages the NIH to work with the chemical society to ensure that there would be no "unnecessary duplication or competition."'
[Open Access News]

Patent reform could delay research publications

Patent reform could delay research publications -
Goldie Blumenstyk, University Researchers Worry as Pressure Builds in Congress to Reform the Patent System, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 16, 2005 (accessible only to subscribers). Excerpt: 'Congress is undertaking what may be the biggest overhaul of the United States patent system in more than 50 years, and the changes could significantly alter how colleges and universities publish their research and turn their inventions into commercial products. At least one official whose institution is a leader in patenting, Carl E. Gulbrandsen, says some of the proposed changes would be "a step backward for university patenting and commercialization efforts." Mr. Gulbrandsen, managing director of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, criticizes a proposal to switch to a European-style or Japanese-style system, which awards patents to the person who is the first to file for a patent, rather than the person who can prove that he or she was the first to actually make the invention. Such a policy shift, he says, could force universities into "a race to the patent office" whenever researchers develop something that could be patentable. And unless Congress agrees to preserve the current system's grace period, which ensures that inventors can publish their findings without jeopardizing their eligibility to also receive a patent, he and others worry that the change could result in universities' either filing for fewer patents or feeling greater pressure to have researchers file for patents before they make their findings public. In the United States, an invention disclosed at a meeting or in a publication can still be patented, as long as the patent application on it is filed within one year of the disclosure.'
[Open Access News]
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