Blogues

More on patientINFORM

More on patientINFORM - Laura Landro, The Informed Patient: New Help Making Sense of Medical Research, Wall Street Journal, June 15, 2005 (accessible only to subscriber). Excerpt: 'In the most ambitious effort yet to disseminate information about medical studies, a consortium of medical-journal publishers and patient-advocacy groups is unveiling a Web site to help consumers navigate the often bewildering world of health research. The objective of the new site, patientINFORM.org, is to present the most up-to-date and important research available about the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. The site will offer free access to selected medical-journal articles, and provide plain-language explanations of what the studies mean, how they compare with what's already known, and how patients should weigh them in making treatment decisions. The three groups involved in the patientINFORM project -- the American Cancer Society, the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association -- represent conditions that account for nearly two out of every three deaths in this country, and more disease groups may join. To select studies for the site, the groups will review hundreds of published medical studies each month from more than two dozen publishers whose journals include the New England Journal of Medicine and the Annals of Internal Medicine. They will use their own experts to interpret the research in lay language for consumers, and then along with the interpretations, the site will provide free access to the original journal studies that are otherwise available only by subscription. One major publication, the Journal of the American Medical Association, has elected not to provide free content on the site, but the disease groups still expect to independently publish summaries of JAMA research. The site, which is still in a pilot phase, will begin posting study findings next month.' (Thanks to Nick Manetto.)

(PS: patientINFORM provides OA to lay summaries or translations of research articles, not OA to research articles themselves. It's a valuable service but it does not make OA to research articles less necessary or less urgent.)

[Open Access News]

More on Canadian copyright reform

More on Canadian copyright reform -
Jack Kapica, Patents, copyright and signals from the sky, Globe and Mail, June 14, 2005. More on Canadian copyright reform, focusing on the consequences for academics. Excerpt: 'Word has it that the revised copyright bill has been formulated with an awful lot of input from Canadian subsidiaries of U.S. corporate interests, pushed further along by an insistent U.S. ambassador. It might make music-sharing illegal, but it's more likely to enrage the academic community, which will find itself incapable of photocopying documents or quoting from them for a much longer period of time than before, unless they are willing to pay their owners a lot of money first. Even with the current law, it's next to impossible to make money in academic publishing. The big worry is that our most important intellectual property might get crushed in the rush to satiate the corporate desire for ever-greater profits from their intellectual property. The principle of protecting one's intellectual property is a good one, but the tough U.S. law has actually thrown the relationship between fair use of intellectual property and rewarding its owners seriously out of balance.'
[Open Access News]

OA in Austria

OA in Austria -
Turnovsky, Petra, Die Open Access – Bewegung und ihre Rezeption an wissenschaftlichen Bibliotheken in Österreich, a Master's thesis from the Donau-Universität Krems, 2004. In German but with this English-language abstract: 'As a reaction to the serials crisis a movement has formed, which aims at open and charge free access to scientific literature in the internet. Open Access can be achieved by selfarchiving or by open access journals, which are financed by author payments. This master thesis provides a survey about the current state of the art of the movement, about the different conditions in the scientific disciplines and the networked initiatives. The situation is considered from the libraries' point of view, focusing on science libraries in Austria. The instruments for retrieval were identified as a week point. An additional obstacle for Open Access is the importance of the citation rate when scientific publications are evaluated. Due to the installation of e-print-servers a new assignment for libraries has developed.' (Thanks to Archivalia.)
[Open Access News]

Swiss national librarian on competition from Google

Swiss national librarian on competition from Google - Marie-Christine Doffey is the new director of the Swiss National Library. Here's how she responded to an interviewer who asked about competition from Google. 'We have been watching [Google] very closely. European libraries discussed the plan and France intervened. A number of European countries also reacted and a large-scale digitization programme is being launched. The Google announcement was beneficial in that it made European libraries take a stance on digitization. What Google is trying to do is very interesting. But it's a very ambitious project – they're talking about 18 million digitized documents – and that raises a number of questions such as what type of documents will be digitized, how will copyright problems be resolved and how will the data be stored?...Google has power behind it. It is a competitor in terms of finance, technology, response to users' needs and anticipation of user demand. It is a competitor simply because we will never be able to launch new projects on such a large scale. On the other hand, we can draw inspiration from Google too and see what we can do better.' (Thanks to LIS News.) [Open Access News]

India permits larger foreign investment in Indian science journals

India permits larger foreign investment in Indian science journals - T. V. Padma, India opens door to foreign science magazines, SciDev.Net, June 14, 2005. Excerpt: 'The Indian government has announced measures that should make it easier for foreign science publications to publish local editions. On 1 June, it announced that certain publications produced by Indian media groups could be funded entirely by foreign investment....Previously, foreign investment in non-news publications was capped at 74 per cent, a limit set in June 2002 when the then National Democratic Alliance government opened Indian print media to foreign investment. "The change from 74 to 100 per cent investment does not reflect a mere incremental change in numbers: rather it signifies that a new set of rules are in place which will help foreign science magazines set up Indian editions," says Rajesh Kochhar, director of the National Institute of Science, Technology and Development Studies. The change will not affect Indian research journals much because the government publishes them, points out an official from the National Institute of Science Communication and Information Research....Meanwhile, most Indian science enthusiasts — scientists, students or policymakers — often have to share a sole institutional copy of a foreign science journal or magazine, or use websites offering free access to research papers from the West to catch up on research news.' [Open Access News]

Academic Commons launches new beta ...

Academic Commons launches new beta ... - The Academic Commons has launched a new beta site based on Drupal. It looks great and I'm looking forward to see how they progress.
[Educause]

Blogs in Education

Blogs in Education - This page is designed to provide you some resources if you want to get started using blogs for yourself or with your students. The use of blogs in instructional settings is limited only by your imagination. Blogs in Education... [Teaching an Developping Online]

Major implementation of .LRN Open Source CMS

Major implementation of .LRN Open Source CMS - Just to follow up on last week's posts concerning adoption of some open source apps that have been unfairly dissed as not being 'enterprise ready,' this news story from the .LRN site reports that The Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED) is moving their approximately 200,000 students onto the .LRN platform. [Edu_RSS]

Putting scientic results into the public domain

Putting scientic results into the public domain - Henrik Egelyng, Evolution of capacity for institutionalized management of intellectual property at international agricultural research centers: A strategic case study, CheckBiotech.org, June 14, 2005. Excerpt: 'In contrast to the IP offices of private companies and semipublic entities, the objective of IRRI's [International Rice Research Institute's] IP administration was not to preserve the legal identity of innovations as intellectual property. On the contrary, for IRRI-generated innovations, the objective was to ensure that these innovations were put into the public domain. IRRI's policy on intellectual property combines IP provisions with provisions dealing with access to germplasm. Emphasizing free availability of germplasm and information, inventions, and biological material developed at IRRI, the policy provides for any necessity to seek IP protection in order to secure the availability of advanced biological technologies or materials to developing countries....Some universities around the developing world remain strictly public-sector institutions, providing public goods in the classical sense of the word and bringing their science to the public domain. To such a university, the term protection would mean to protect an innovation from being appropriated by any single private-sector or semipublic interest wishing to patent it. Universities in this category are found all over the world. However, there are probably far fewer such universities in this category today than just five years ago. The objective of any IP administration in this structural setting is not primarily a defensive one, with a view to destroy the novelty of innovations. Instead, the overriding objective is to bring new knowledge to the public domain based on scientific (rather than legal) criteria and merits. The editors are scientists, not lawyers. If an organization such as IRRI were to institute a defensive publication unit (DPU), contrary to the scientific journals in which the findings of IRRI researchers are reported, publications coming out of a DPU would not be edited by scientists and their peers. The staff of a DPU would collaborate with IP professionals not with a view to scientific merit, but rather to provide the specific details required to effectively make IRRI innovations prior art. The objective of a DPU would thus be to make enabling disclosures of IRRI science outputs, thereby making sure that IRRI outputs remain available in the public domain rather than being appropriated by others.' [Open Access News]

Making legacy databases OAI-compliant

Making legacy databases OAI-compliant - Francis Jayakanth has been working on making legacy databases OAI-compliant. In February 2005 he finished a six-month Fulbright fellowship at Old Dominion University (supervised by Mohammad Zubair and Kurt Maly) focused on an OAI-compliant version of UNESCO's CDS/ISIS database for managing textual data. Quoting Jayakanth (personal correspondence): 'We have devised two approaches - Static and Dynamic, to make CDS/ISIS databases OAI-compliant. In the static approach, the database records are exported on to a file. This file is then converted to static repository xml file. This xml file can be ingested in to the Kepler system, a light-weight, self contained OAI-compliant tool for the individuals. Or, the xml file could be made OAI-compliant through the intermediation of static repository gateway. The static approach has found a mention in the above mentioned UNESCO's site. Since the static repository has certain limitations, we came out with the dynamic approach. This approach required developing a gateway program. This gateway program will accept OAI requests and translate the requests to corresponding search expression for the CDS/ISIS database, carry out the search, and translate the resulting set to xml format. The advantage of the dynamic approach over the static is that there is a real time interaction with the CDS/ISIS databases. We have set up a sample harvesting service for a few sample CDS/ISIS/isis databases using the Arc software....The metadata from sample CDS/ISIS databases were were harvested in...real-time, using the gateway software developed for the purpose.' (PS: Kudos to Jayakanth and the whole ODU team for this useful work.) [Open Access News]

Information feudalism in the US and Australia

Information feudalism in the US and Australia -
Ronald Sackville, Cultivating the Creative Commons, On Line Opinion, June 15, 2005. Reflections of an "old-fashioned, even Luddite" Australian judge on his country's retroactive extension of the term of copyright under pressure from the United States. Excerpt: 'Even from [my] limited perspective, it is impossible to avoid being struck by how rapidly (to use the words of Peter Drahos and John Braithwaite in their book Information Feudalism) there has been a transfer of knowledge assets from the intellectual commons into private interests....Despite the [U.S.] Supreme Court's ruling [in Eldred v. Ashcroft] and the willingness of Australian negotiators to accept the position of the US, it is extremely difficult to understand the policy justification for a further extension of the term of copyright, let alone the application of the extension to subsisting copyright....In his dissenting opinion in Eldred v Ashcroft, Justice Stevens, in words that echo the famous speech given by Lord Macaulay in 1841, pointed out that: Ex post facto extensions of copyright result in a gratuitous transfer of wealth from the public to authors, publishers and their successors and interests. The real sting in the tail of this comment is that for the most part, beneficiaries of the extension will not be authors or even the original publishers, but commercial entities which acquired the rights long before the extension....There are many commentators who have appreciated - in the words of James Boyle - that we are in the middle of the “second enclosure movement”, which he sees as exemplified by the recognition of patent rights in human genes. Peter Drahos and John Braithwaite draw a parallel between medieval feudalism and what they describe as "information feudalism". Under the earlier variety, a lord of the manor exercised not only private power by virtue of his ownership of land, but public power, though a system of manorial taxes, courts and prisons. In the modern form of feudalism, the transfer of intellectual commons has been to media conglomerates and integrated life sciences corporations, rather than to individual scientists and authors. The effect of this, they argue, is to raise levels of private monopolistic power to dangerous global heights, at a time when States, which have been weakened by the forces of globalisation, have less capacity to protect their citizens from consequences of the exercise of this power.'
[Open Access News]

Another TA editorial on OA

Another TA editorial on OA - Peter Hernon and Candy Schwartz, Open access to research, Library & Information Science Research, Spring 2005. An editorial. Not even an abstract is free online for non-subscribers. [Open Access News]

Blender - Open Source 3d Rendering Software

Blender - Open Source 3d Rendering Software -

http://www.blender3d.com/cms/Home.2.0.html

I've noticed a number of folks picking up on Inkspace, a new open source SVG editor, and rightly so - the development of open source apps that are not infrastructural or aimed back at the development community itself is exciting and growing at an incredibly rapid pace. But frankly I was still blown away to come across Blender, an open source 3-D rendering program, as I hadn't expected to find this level of sophistication in this type of application available as open source quite yet.

A quick read of the software's history offers an explanation and is a fascinating case study - the software has been around for some time, and the rights and code were bought by a group of ex-employees and enthusiasts after a public fund-raising campaign explicitly so it could be released as open source. And their e-shop offers another vision of how, given the low overheads now to create online stores and create products on demand, open source projects can create small revenue streams to fund at very least expenses like website hosting and bandwidth costs. - SWL

[EdTechPost]

An intro to OA you may not need

An intro to OA you may not need - Marydee Ojala, Open Access: Open Sesame or Opening Pandora's Box? EContent, June 14, 2005. Excerpt: 'Primarily, OA focuses on peer-reviewed, scholarly literature. Philosophically, the open access concept is relatively straightforward. It's all about scholarly literature being freely available to other scholars in order to facilitate scholarly communication and enhance scholarly research. The preponderance of "scholarlies" in that sentence was intentional. Think of open access as an alternative publishing mechanism for scholarly literature. It attempts to circumvent the high subscription prices traditionally associated with this publishing niche, particularly for scientific and technical journals. It also seeks to accommodate the natural desire of academicians to share their research with others and to build upon what their colleagues are discovering. In that sense, it's like an "Open Sesame" to scholarly literature for both the academic research community and ordinary people.'

(PS: This is a primer that tries to correct misunderstandings. However, it has an irritating number of misunderstandings of its own. OAIster, not OAI, is based at the University of Michigan. I write SOAN and do not merely edit it. OA is not a kind of business model; it's a kind of access compatible with many different business models. Gold or full-OA journals do not all charge processing fees; fewer than half of them do. Authors don't need the permission of publishers to link to articles. The limitations on search engines are not lmitations on OA. Ojala does not explain the analogy to opening Pandora's box and even distances herself from it by conceding, as a backhanded compliment, that OA "may not contain the multitude of human ills". So why bring it up?)

[Open Access News]

EFF Legal Guide for Bloggers

EFF Legal Guide for Bloggers -

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has created a legal guide for bloggers. Of interest to Kairosnews readers might be the FAQ on intellectual property and the FAQ on privacy (that one might be especially helpful for teachers who are using weblogs in their courses).

Via Copyfight.

[Kairosnews]
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