Monthly Archives: March 2009

Update from Redmond – OREChem and Chem4Word

We are at the Microsoft External Research conference in Redmond, having spent 2 days on the OREChem project. I’ve been too busy to blog much as tomorrow we are presenting the MS-sponsored OREChem and Chem4Word projects for the first time.

OREChem is coordinated by Carl Lagoze (Cornell) and brings together Southampton, Indiana U, Penn State and Cambridge to develop an ORE RDF model for chemistry. We’ve been going 3 months and on Sunday it all stared coming together. I’ve worked with Soton and Indiana before, and it has been great to make new and excting links with PSU. Many of you will know them for CiteSeer and ChemXSeer but I hadn’t realised how well their information extraction techniques mapped onto ours. They’ve got some pretty smart stuff for extracting information from chemistry in PDF documents which maps directly onto OSCAR3+OPSIN and CML.

Chem4Word is an Add-In for Word2007 which provides semantic and ontological authoring for chemistry. It’s more powerful and flexible than standalone chemical editors (which have no knowledge of any document context, either structural or semantic). It’s been a real experience for us Java-types in Cambridge to be introduced to .NET, XAML, WPF, C#, etc. by the Redmond team of Alex, Lee, Savas, Pablo, Tola, Anthony and JimMcG. Joe’s picked it up well (and patiently guides me through the devlopment system (TFS)).

So we’ve arrived at the first stage – showing to a friendly community (MS External Reserach and many international collaborators). When C4W is released it will be Open Source and intended for collaborative devlopment of semantics chemistry – applications and content. We’ll keep you in touch – it should be fun.

“should theses be Open?”

Until now most theses reside in a dusty basement or on a supervisor’s shelf, but we are in transition to a world where all theses are -potentially – Openly visible to anyone. Surely this is a good idea.

In principle, of course, anyone can see my thsesis. It’s badly written and the examiners rightly gave me a terrible time, but all the work in it was eventually published in peer-reviewed journals. In those days corrections meant ripping the thesis apart and Tippexing or rebinding. At the distance of some decades I’m now very happy if Oxford wishes to digitize it and put it on the web. Linguists can use it a useful source of typos.

Do all academics feel that Open theses are a good idea?

Two recent anecdotes – paraphrased and anonymized:

Academic 1: “I wouldn’t want people to see our theses – many of them are of terrible quality”.

Academic 2: “I wouldn’t want anyone to see our theses – there are so many good ideas that we don’t want our competitors to see.”

This makes the case strongly that Open theses will improve quality and the dissemination of science.

libraries of the future – more feedback

I’m grateful to all those who have commented on my posts – from experience I know that most posts get few comments. There is also a considerable ground swell in Twitter and FriendFeed – I gather it’s not good practice to quote from those, but if you have logins then “library of the future” should get some useful threads.

My initial postings were intended to gather information for what I might use in my presentation. This type of exploration is very common in the scientific blogosphere and, indeed, many specialist sites have sprung up to help answer questions and provide links. So I thought it would be a reasonable thing to do in a field where I had but little learning. I got very little response indeed and this, in itself, is important – and potentially worrying. Not many scientists naturally approach librarians – or at least not a high percentage – and so the online approach is an important one – it’s a good antenna and concentrator – which indeed it has done.

Some people are upset by this process – along the lines of “what right has this guy to …”. That’s a natural response, perhaps, but the key challenge is to bridge gaps.

Among the feedback – thank you – is a long comment from

John MacColl

Peter

I will be at the Oxford meeting next week, and look forward to your contribution on the panel. The fact that you have used a blog in advance to garner ideas, while no one else on the panel has done the same, does tend to bear out Peter Morgan’s comment about communication habits. Librarians who are in leadership positions, and so able to make the sort of changes which are undoubtedly necessary, feature very little in the blogosphere. Those librarians and information professionals who are active there are usually not able to make the changes, but increasingly have influence upon the leaders, so there is hope! Of course, there may also be a professional cultural reason for this. Academic libraries manage knowledge in the round. They are essentially interdisciplinary. The librarians who manage them instinctively wait for ideas from all quarters before taking action – again, for reasons Peter mentions. I’m not sure they can continue to behave in this way, but I think it is a professional instinct. [...]

and from Christina Pikas who gives a long and useful summary of what science ULibrarians do:

So where to start? Libraries connect people to information. Librarians touch every bit of this by:

  • selecting information sources (books, journals, protocols, spectra/data collections) based on balancing
    • subject (and relationship of subj to organization’s research mission, vision, etc)
    • customer requests, discussions with customers, interlibrary loan requests
    • cost considerations
    • measures or indicators of quality
    • reviews
    • usage (global, local)
    • packages, special deals, consortial agreements, existing contracts that can’t be reduced
    • global statements from management on what you’re doing with electronic vs print or trying to build capacity or whatever
    • our professional expertise
    • government documents are just a class of their own
  • deselecting things (if only to send to off site storage)
  • selecting finding tools like research databases – which ones, and then also which platform (for example, you can get Inspec on maybe 10 different platforms like Web of Knowledge, EbscoHost, FirstSearch, Ovid, EngineeringVillage2), once again balancing
    • functionality
    • cost
    • consortial agreements
    • how far back it goes
    • if it’s standards compliant
    • if it can be searched using z39.50, if it’s open URL compliant, if it can be proxied — if it will talk to machines
  • negotiating access, negotiating licenses – here librarians are between corporate lawyers from the vendors and university lawyers, and also incorporating what they know about how the end users/customers actually need to use the stuff (like in course web sites or whatever), and ideological statements, and pressure from the selection folks to just get it done
  • picking the companies that distribute and help us manage journal subscriptions (did you know we don’t go directly to most journal publishers, but use a third party? we also use big distributors for books most of the time)
  • paying the bills and accounting for things, managing the acquisitions process
  • organizing information so that it can be found
    • cataloging books, journals – this is very complicated, also standards-based, and takes a lot to make sure that things can be found by people who need them
    • entering things into several content management systems – one that runs an open url referer (links you from a citation through to the full text), one that runs the web site, one that helps you track the licenses (some people manage to combine these things)
    • changing all of the urls all of the time when the #$%^ vendor updates their system or the @#$% publisher moves to a different vendor
    • see Catalogablog for some insight into being a cataloger at a research organization (small and not a university)
  • building tools to connect people to information
    • the online catalog, you know how it comes out of the box, right, needs lots of work
    • the open url referer SFX thing? oh, yeah, that needs to be customized
    • the web site? yep
    • the federated search? yep
    • who maintains the servers? do we pay the IT department, or do we have librarians with masters degrees swapping out broken drives – you’d be surprised!
    • usability testing
    • reviewing usage statistics, etc.
    • refer to Bibliographic Wilderness for some more on some of this category
  • teaching people how to help themselves
    • quick 30 minute classes on databases
    • teaching 1-3 credit “intro to” or “cheminformatics” or other classes
    • teaching a session of every section of every engineering 101 class in the university
    • consulting with individual students, faculty, staff, researchers on how to get what they need, keep what they find, and use it
    • creating screencast tutorials, handouts, self-paced online instruction
    • creating finding guides/pathfinders
  • managing the circulation of materials – including putting stuff on reserve for classes
  • collecting and preserving rare, special, or historical materials – everything from rebinding to specifying climate controls and security, to actually picking and using DRM, to licensing out materials
  • collecting, organizing, and providing access to the organizations knowledge – doing knowledge management and archiving
  • institutional repositories, well, see Caveat Lector
  • sitting at the reference desk and answering questions and generally dealing with the public – unjamming the copier, refilling the printer, fixing the public access computers, keeping track of the stapler, getting the roof leak fixed….
  • working as a consultant to departments and labs and groups and individual faculty on new projects, classes they might offer, assignments they might give
  • working with vendors to improve their offerings, and to learn about their new stuff
  • getting grants and working their own research projects to study how people use information, presenting to other librarians
  • management, hr, strategic planning, development
  • committees, lots of committees!

So whatever the rough edges this is helping to start public discussion. Since at Oxford the panel is expected to answer questions I’m ready for some to be thrown.#

OREChem

I will start to widen out from the library of the future  and bring in chemistry and eScience. Librarians should not switch off as the topics are very relevant. Several in our group are off to Redmond – to two official meetings and other informal meet-ups. I’ll blog (or twitter/FF about these as we go).

The first meeting is OREChem, sponsored by Lee Giles Dirks from Microsoft External Research and PI’ed by Carl Lagoze from Cornell. Lee is part of Tony Hey’s empire in MSR and has responsibility for Scholarly publication and education. There is a good coherence and overlap between the projects and we are  committed to these being Open.

OAI-ORE (Open Archives Initiative Protocol – Object Exchange and Reuse) is brought to you by the people that brought you OAI-PMH – Carl and Herbert. One of the tricky problems on the web is being able to access a bounded set of information on the web. For example if you go to this blog address and download it, what do you get. I actually don’t know and I expect it’s a mess. This isn’t a new problem, and the hypermedia gurus have been active for decades – when I started SGML I spent many hours trying to understand “Bounded Object Sets” and “architectural forms”.

ORE tackles this problem in the context of research and scholarship. It can be used for anything, but the thrust is on making web resources for digital libraries, research laboratories, etc. I have the honour of being on the ORE advisory board MSR and I’d urge you to get involved. MSR are backing ORE and as an exemplar have applied this to chemistry, in OREChem. Here we are showing how to create bounded web resources in a context of linked data. I’ll write more later, but to put a marker down we have transformed CrystalEye into RDF and will be working over the weekend to agree what the best approach to ORE-ifying it is. I’ll leave you with Carl’s recent paper (The oreChem Project) …

The oreChem Project:
Integrating Chemistry Scholarship with the Semantic Web

Carl Lagoze
Information Science, Cornell University
lagoze@cs.cornell.edu

The oreChem project, funded by Microsoft, is a collaboration1 between chemistry scholars
and information scientists to develop and deploy the infrastructure, services, and
applications to enable new models for research and dissemination of scholarly materials in
the chemistry community. Although the focus of the project is chemistry, the work is being
undertaken with an attention to general cyber infrastructure for eScience, thereby enabling
the linkages among disciplines that are required to solve today’s key scientific challenges
such as global warming. A key aspect of this work, and a core aim of this project, is the
design and implementation of an interoperability infrastructure that will allow chemistry
scholars to share, reuse, manipulate, and enhance data that are located in repositories,
databases, and Web services distributed across the network.

The foundations of this planned infrastructure are the specifications developed as part of
the Open Archives Initiative‐Object Reuse and Exchange (OAI‐ORE) [9] effort. These
specifications provide a data model [8] and set of serialization syntaxes [10‐12] for
describing and identifying aggregations of Web resources and describing the relationships
among the resources that are constituents of aggregations. The OAI‐ORE specifications are
firmly grounded in the Web architecture [6] and in the principles of the semantic web [4, 7]
and the Linked Data Effort [3]. The relevant connections of the OAI‐ORE specifications to
mainstream Web and Semantic Web architecture include:

  • All aspects of data model are expressed in terms of resources, representations, URIs,
    and triples.
  • The fundamental entity in the data model, the Aggregation, is a resource without a
    Representation (a “non‐document” resource). This paradigm is similar to the
    manner in which real‐world entities or concepts are included in the Web via the
    mechanisms proposed by the Linked Data Effort [3],
  • The description of an Aggregation, a Resource Map, is a separate Resource, which is
    accessible via the URI of the Aggregation using the mechanisms defined for Cool
    URIs [15].
  • The result of an HTTP access of a Resource Map URI is a serialization of the triples
    describing the Aggregation. This serialization may be in any of the OAI‐ORE
    serialization syntaxes: RDF/XML [2], RDFa [1], and Atom [14] (triples can be
    extracted from this via an OAI‐ORE defined GRDDL‐compliant XSLT script).

Our initial work in the oreChem Project is the design of a graph‐based object model that
specializes the core OAI‐ORE data model for the chemistry domain. This model builds on
the centrality of the molecule, or chemical compound, in the record of chemistry
scholarship. In the nature of a relational database key, a molecule or compound, identified
in a universal manner [13], forms the central hub for linkages to other entities such as
investigations, experiments, scholars, and processes related to that molecule. We are then
using this model to design interfaces and APIs to exchange molecular information and their
relationships among distributed repositories, services, and agents.

We are demonstrating this infrastructure by adapting a number of existing chemistry data
repositories2 to the APIs and models. We are also further populating these repositories by
developing and refining automated techniques for retrospectively extracting chemical
information and interlinking chemical data from existing chemistry research corpora.

Following this we will develop and deploy a number of tools, such as chemical structure
searching, over the repositories that have been adapted to the infrastructure. In the latter
stages of the project, we will extend the retrospective data extraction techniques with active
“in the lab” capture of chemistry data, and the addition of that “in‐process” data to the
knowledge network defined by the infrastructure data model.

Ultimately, we envision that this common data model, interchange protocols, and suite of
data extraction and data capture tools will enable an eChemistry Web – a semantic graph
with embedded subgraphs representing molecules which are then interrelated to
publications that refer to them, experiments that work with them, the context of these
experiments, the researchers working with these molecules, annotations about publications
and experiments, and the like. A particularly interesting aspect of this semantic graph is the
manner in which it mixes data, publication artifacts, and people – providing an informationrich
social network built around the notion of object‐centered sociality [5]. In the latter
phases of the project we hope to build innovative analysis tools that will extract new
“scientometric” information and knowledge from the eChemistry Web.

Our work in the oreChem Project and, in particular, our design of the interoperability
infrastructure, is being undertaken with the recognition that chemistry, like any scholarly
discipline, is not an island, but has complex linkages to scholarship in other disciplines and
into related activities such as education, and in fact to the general network‐based
information environment. By basing our work on OAI‐ORE, we hope that the
interoperability paradigm designed for oreChem will coexist with similar work in other
disciplines and in fact with the general Web information space and its ubiquitous search
tools, services, and applications.

1 Collaborators in the oreChem Project are University of Cambridge (Peter Murray Rust, Jim
Downing), Cornell University (Carl Lagoze, Theresa Velden), University of Indiana (Geoffrey
Fox, Marlon Pierce), Penn State University (C. Lee Giles, Prasenjit Mitra, Karl Mueller),
PuBChem (Steve Bryant), and University of Southampton (Jeremy Frey, Simon Coles).

2 These repositories include CrystalEye, 100,000 molecules and 100,000 fragments from
crystal structures with full crystallographic details and with 3D coordinates; SPECTRaT,
open theses with molecules; Pub3D, MMFF94‐optimized 3D structures for PubChem
compounds; ChemXSeer, an integrated digital library and database allowing for intelligent
search of documents in the chemistry domain and data obtained from chemical kinetics;
eCrystals, high level crystal structures and processed x‐ray diffraction data; and R4L,
experimental spectroscopic and analytical chemical data.

library of the future – update

Two quick updates:

EPSRC anti-grant proposal (“targeted disincentives”)

I knew about the following, but now that Nature has reported it I can blog it with thorough anecdotal background. (BTW Nature plays a very useful role in scientific journalism and was a conduit when we were trying to raise awareness in the ACS – NIH – Pubchem affair). I won’t reproduce it all here as it’s c*p*r*ght…

UK funding ban sparks protests

EPSRC slammed for excluding some grant applicants.

British scientists are campaigning against a plan to bar hundreds of unsuccessful grant applicants from making funding bids in the following year.

The rule, announced by the government’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) on 12 March, aims to reduce the pressure on an overloaded system that currently peer reviews all grant applications.

But by 24 March, more than 1,200 protesters had signed an online petition (http://tinyurl.com/cvyexx) demanding that the policy be repealed. “The feeling in the community is that it is draconian and deeply unfair,” says Philip Moriarty, a physicist at the University of Nottingham, UK. He and other scientists contacted by Nature say they will refuse to review their colleagues’ work under such a system.

Science-funding experts think that the strategy is unique among UK, US and European funding bodies. “We could not do it in the United States. It would be very contentious,” says Antonio Scarpa, director of the Center for Scientific Review at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. Frank Wissing, life-sciences programme director at Germany’s science funding agency, the DFG, adds that its committees have never discussed a ban on unsuccessful applicants.

“It is the chemists who are mostly complaining, and it is the chemists who produce most of the applications that fail.”

The EPSRC says that scientists will not be allowed to apply for research funding for 12 months if, in the past 2 years, they have had three or more proposals ranked in the bottom half of a funding prioritization list, and also have less than 25% of all their proposals funded in that time.

[...]

Chemists are most likely to be affected by the policy, says David Reid, head of marketing and communications for the EPSRC, because they tend to submit larger numbers of smaller, short-term proposals compared with other subject areas. Some funding areas with a focus on chemistry have seen success rates fall as low as 15%.

“It is the chemists who are mostly complaining, and it is the chemists who produce most of the applications that fail,” says Wakeham.

Tom Welton, head of chemistry at Imperial College London, echoed the feeling of many chemists contacted by Nature, calling the move a “knee-jerk bureaucratic response”. “We are appalled by the lack of consultation,” adds Joe Sweeney, an organic chemist at the University of Reading, UK.

Reid concedes that the EPSRC did not consult widely on the specifics of the policy. But he argues that a 2007 consultation by Research Councils UK, an umbrella group for the country’s research funding councils, had found that some academics supported the idea of targeted disincentives to improve success rates.

PMR: Although I am a chemist I shall try to take a wider view. I have sat on grant-awarding panels – including (joint) EPSRC ones -  and sifted through mountains of applications and I think what is described here is unacceptable whatever numbers you put in the equation.  If someone has a new idea, whatever their past track record, it deserves consideration. One way we did this was to require preliminary proposals on <= 2 sides of epaper. That allows for fairly rapid screening – we went through hundreds. But to condemn peope for life is unacceptable – criminals don’t suffer that. (And, in passing, they mention a figure of 25% – four strikes and you are out – when I was in my first job I used to paper the wall with grant rejections.)

Mentoring could be a good idea. Part of the life-blood of a University is to bring in grants and if a University thought like a commercial organization it would put more effort in helping scientists find grant opportunities, prepare them, help them with the submission systems, negotiate the contracts through contract and tech transfer (where many grants fall down), etc. But I suppose leaving scientists to work it out for themselves is good training for real life…

The EPSRC is also the most resistant of the UK research counciles to Open Access (please correct me but they are the only one not to require Open publication from grantees. They subscribe to the “level playing field” policy – do nothing). That means it will also be difficult to get them into the increasing need to make research data Open.

library of the future? – librarian of the future!

I particularly appreciate the post below. It may have taken some courage to write, and if so well done and in any case many thanks. I have no idea what I shall say at Oxford but I hope to reproduce this post.

Jennifer says:

Peter, I’ve been reading your posts on libraries/librarians of the future and want to thank you for shaking me out of a comfort zone which it’s so easy to fall into. I understand your need to encourage debate among ULibrarians, but as an LIS student who is halfway through her program and interested in medical/science librarianship, I can’t help but see your provocative statements as a call to students like me who need to be better aware of the profession we’re walking into. I realize that may not have been your intended audience, but the “librarians of the future” who are being educated as we speak would do well to hear what you’ve been saying. I’ve tagged your blog for a class Twitter account and I’m hoping that others in my class are taking the time to read what you wrote and be shaken out of a comfort zone too. What I’m trying to get at is that I think having ULibrarians as your audience is limiting. Challenge the ones who are coming into the field and still starry-eyed enough to consider change that meets the needs of our clients/users/patrons.

First, you were exactly the audience I intended – thoughtful, constructive and prepared to speak your mind. I’m writing for anyone who happens across my blog or gets it relayed – not just ULibrarians. I’ll reply as if you and your fellow students are early in your career…

Young people are the future. Probably the most exciting part of my year is when we get ca 5 undergraduate students into our lab for the summer and they work on speculative projects for 2-3 months. Their enthusiasm and lack of perceived practice is a major strength. Nothing is impossible. They explore the future for us and much of what they have started has turned into more mature approaches.

Whatever a medical librarian is now it will be different in 5 years time. So you have to practice change on a daily basis. I know nothing of your course (and don’t want to intrude) but if it lets you and your colleagues explore new areas in a communal way go for it. In chemistry some of us have been building virtual worlds in Second Life – maybe there already is an equivalent for medicine – if not maybe it needs creating.

The new web is particularly important for medicine, which affects everyone’s lives. Many/most people will consult the web before they consult a physician. That is the patient’s medical library of the future. Find out how it works, see what you can do to build it, change it, etc. Medicine is particularly challenging because trust and quality are critical as lives depend on it.

Are you familiar with Medline and Pubmed? This is where the world’s primary reports of medical science appear. It’s overwhelming – thousands of new articles a day. We have to work out how to manage it to our advantage.

library of the future – feedback 3

Hello Peter,

I think there are a number of reasons why librarian response has been muted. Like the others, I think its because of the question you asked: “Who are the librarians of the future?” At the risk of over-generalizing, librarians tend to think of the progressions of their field as occurring through organizations as opposed to through individuals. There’s no ‘i’ in library, so to speak.

That being said, I know a number of “librarians for the future”. One of them is Dan Chudnov, who – with others – developed the COinS convention to embed bibliographic metadata in HTML. He is also responsible for unAPI which I believe you are already familiar with. I particularly am fond of his credo: help people build their own libraries.

Another reason perhaps why there hasn’t been as much response as you had hoped is that libraries are grappling with their futures in their own constituencies. We are sadly feudal bunch in many ways. But that doesn’t mean we are indifferent to our future. For my own library-territory (academic libraries in Ontario, Canada), I helped write a report on developing a better platform for research needs called Scholr 2.0

Like William Gibson sort of said, the work towards the future library is here – its just not evenly distributed. Or, in this case, concentrated.

PMR: Thanks. I used the word “librarian” as well as library because of an initial suggestion from the blogosphere. It also helped to make it more personal and to highlight the fact that indivdiuals could make their own contribution.

I am not familiar with COinS or unAPI. Wikpedia has nothing on the former and any entries on unAPI are 18 months old, so is it used? I am a typical person who knows nothing in today’s world unless it’s thrust upon them. I spent a little time (<= 5 mins, my maximum) on both sites but couldn't get a grip on either. That either means they aren't being used or, if they are and are successful, need more marketing to expose them. It's not easy, but it's necessary.

future of the library – slaying vampires

Yesterday was a very reassuring day. I had 4 important, carefully argued and presented comments, all of which deserve a full post. Here is Gaynor Backhouse, writing for JISC as a future watcher. (BTW I think libraries should look closely to JISC as a key part of the future – they have a strong message).

You’ll need to read Gaynor’s piece to understand the title. I’ll emphasize that fantasy – or virtual – worlds are part of the future of information. The culture is deeply ingrained into so much of our practice and has informed the emerging generation of tools and communities. Yes, we need heroes … and there is always “Conan the librarian”.

Gaynor Backhouse says:

I don’t know if this is of any use for your talk in Oxford, but the JISC Libraries of the Future campaign has just published this piece (http://librariesofthefuture.jiscinvolve.org/2009/03/25/holding-out-for-a-hero-technology-the-future-and-the-renaissance-of-the-university-librarian/) that they commissioned from me earlier this year. I don’t tweet, but happy to discuss if you think there’s anything interesting there.

Mita says:

Some excerpts

One of the good things about working for JISC is that you often find yourself in interesting, but unexpected, places. In 2006 I found myself at a JISC Open Access conference in Oxford and as I have an abiding passion for libraries I inveigled my way into a group of librarians who were all talking about the changes facing their sector. At the time, TechWatch had just published a report on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), and one of the surprising conclusions was that libraries’ position as early adopters of RFID put librarians in a unique position to have a positive impact on the long-term development of the technology. More than this, the report argued that this influence could extend beyond efforts to develop interoperability and data standards, to address more general issues that are ‘in the public good’, such as privacy. So at the time of the conference I was brimming with enthusiasm for what I saw as a kind of renaissance for the role and significance of the librarian.

Unfortunately, I was in a minority of one. The general consensus seemed to be that, by and large, librarians conform to what has become almost a personality stereotype: kind, gentle custodians of books. Certainly not the type to want to assume the billowing mantle of public sector superhero. This surprised and worried me. It surprised me because I had thought that the increasing importance of the role of technology would have shaken things up a little and challenged the more traditional view of roles; it worried me because if it were true, then the future would be a difficult place for librarians to continue to demonstrate the value of their professional skills.

PMR: This is exactly what I was hoping for when I asked for revolutionaries. It would have been difficult to take this idea forward, but then most good and productive ideas are difficult. It’s excetly the sort of thing that JISC is looking for in its rapid innovation stream. See if it works. If it doesn’t it hasn’t cost much in the grand scheme of things – a week’s pension for Fred the Shred. Academia has such a central position in today’s knowledge economy but only if we have entrepreneurs. The good news is that you can get things off the ground with just a handful of people and a few laptops – as our ex-postdocs at Timetrics are doing.

Now if, at this point, the urge to retreat to the safety of the stacks overwhelms you, I would ask you to hang back, just a while longer. Being the agent of change, albeit a powerful position to be in and perhaps an unwanted responsibility, could have its advantages. Whilst it means that you have to take control and set the agenda, perhaps more importantly, for people with orderly minds, it means you get to do the job properly. In the library of the future this could be a key differentiator. Why, after all, should Google have a monopoly on organising the world’s information? But in order to flourish in an increasingly techno-political world it will be necessary for libraries and librarians to not so much defend a corner as come out fighting. Perhaps, like Rupert Giles, it might even be necessary to spill a little demon blood.

PMR: Exactly what I had wanted – I have only part of the message – the rest needs to come from you.

ACS Open Choice allows full re-use

Robert Kiley (Wellcome) has – in very timely fashion – answered the discussion about ACS and the NIH policy:

ACS Open Choice articles – now in PMC and UKPMC

Papers published by the American Chemical Society (ACS) under their Open Choice option are now available in PMC and UKPMC. Currently around 110 papers – drawn from 20 ACS journal titles – are now freely available. These papers can be found by running the following search on UKPMC:

ACS Author Choice [filter]

All future papers published under this model will be made available through these repositories at the time of publication.

ACS Open Choice articles are fully open access in the sense that the licence [PDF link] allows users – for non-commercial research and education purposes – to “access, download, copy, display and redistribute articles as well as adapt, translate text and data mine the content….”

This model meets the requirements of the Wellcome Trust – and the other funders in the UKPMC Funders Group.

The important thing – and I believe it’s new – is that this policy allows full re-use (for non-commercial use) of the material. Although I have some reservations about NC use I welcome the policy as stated by Robert. That means that the ACS is prepared to publish Open Access material if the author/funder pays – which is all that everyone has been asking for.

I am not surprised that Rich finds it confusing. There has been so much misinformation and disinformation that you need to be a Robert Kiley or Peter Suber to know the precise position. But here we are at a situation where everyone seems to have what they want.

  • The ACS gets paid to publish high quality papers.
  • Wellcome (or NIH) pays to get its research disseminated to everyone
  • The whole world can read the research – and thereby up the citation count.
  • The ACS gets paid by subscribers

If alien landed from a foreign planet, I couldn’t explain to them what all the fuss is about… Why should the ACS lobby to terminate a process in which it already participates?