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Archive for August, 2012

Ross Mounce’s Visualization of “Gold” Open Access Rights and Prices

Friday, August 31st, 2012

This blog highlights some splendid work done by Ross Mounce, one of our Panton Fellows. Ross actually started this before he applied to us, but he’s done and though a lot since so we can claim a little reflected glory.

The work is blogged at http://rossmounce.co.uk/2012/08/30/a-visualization-of-gold-open-access-options/ .

“To try and publicize the variety of Gold Open Access article publication options on offer, I’ve decided to create a visualization of the journal data that has previously been collected as part of my survey of ‘Open Access’ publisher licenses’ spreadsheet. ” [RM]. So the data can be found there.

For those who don’t know a scholarly publication with a major publisher is only readable if your library has a subscription (up to more than 10,000 USD/year for a single journal) or if you pay one-off fees (40 USD for one day for one article). This means that most of the world (including most people in the rich West) do not have access and normally suffer by remaining ignorant.

There are three main approaches to scholarly publishing:

  • Create and run publications with no charges for publication or reading “Sponsored Publication”. IMO this is what we should ultimately be aiming at but critics dismiss this as “Fairy Godmother”. There is after all 15 Billion USD spent by universities per year so some of this could be put to use. Nonetheless many journals work this way, but not normally large ones.
  • Make an agreement with a publisher that a copy of the article can be put on a permanent site (“Green”). This copy is not normally the final published article (“the PDF”) but something close. Publishers have no legal requirement to allow this and many don’t. The copies have to be mafde by the authors and many don’t take the trouble. Nonetheless some academics believe that by passges of years and campaigning they can force all academics to deposit green manuscripts.
  • Pay the publisher (APCs or Article Processing Fees) to make the final article publicly readable (“Gold”). There are two mechanisms:
  1. choose a journal where all artciles are Open Access. Examples of such are PLoS and BiomedCentral journals, Acta Crystallographica E, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics and many more. This is straightforward if there is a journal in your subject (though I and others questions the need for journals). You pay the price (NOT the cost) (AFTER the article is accepted, so not “vanity publishing”) and your article is published Openly. I have managed to do this for almost all my recent publications – but it costs money.
  2. Choose a “closed” journal, i.e. where most of the articles are not readable by the public and pay the journal APCs. This is “hybrid Gold”. For many scientists this is the only viable option, sinvce most of their natural outlets are closed. One obvious concern is that we are paying twice – once to publish and once for people to buy the journal (most of which is closed). The publishers assert that they lower their prices to account for this and although they don’t disclose accounts we trust them because publishers are by nature trustable, as are banks.

Before commenting on Ross’s data I’ll comment that there are no effective market forces for Gold. If I want to publish in Journal X I have to pay whatever the journal sets. This ranges (as Ross shows) from 160 USD for Acta Crystallographica E to 10,000 for Nature (not on the plot as it is in Nature statements rather than on the web page).

Those outside academia may well be baffled by a charge for 10,000 USD to publish a paper that an author has authored for free (authors are not paid and no-one says they should be) and academics have reviewed for free. You can buy a good used car for that. The journal incurs costs in managing the peer-review (but not normally doing it), making the journal look nice (which most people can do with Open tools for free), hiring lawyers to stop people copying articles, hiring web expets to build tools to stop people reading articles, hiring salespeople to persuade people to buy journals, and paying large dividends to shareholders.

So IMO and Ross’s it’s important to change the way we publish science so that everyone can read it.

INCLUDING MACHINES.

Because even if you can read an article you are normally explicitly debarred from using machines to read it, or especially lots of articles. I have argue that this is costing humankind huge amounts of lost value.

There is a formal way to ensure that machines ARE allowed to read articles, and that’s to add a licence explicitly allowing them to do this. The only well-known licences that are acceptable for this are CC-BY or CC0.

But many publishers do not provide CC-BY even if authors have spent thousands of dollars. This is a unilateral decision by most publishers and IMO this is immoral, and unethical. There is no justification for this (it does NOT protect authors – scholarly norms do that). These lesser licences include CC-NC (“non-commercial”) and CC-ND (“no derivatives”). Many – including me – have argued that these are counter-productive to scholarship. The publishers include them for a variety of motives:

  • Lazineness, incomptence and ignorance. This is not excusable – after all we are paying publishers zillions – but it’s probably the easiest to change. So Ross’ plot is a reall opportunity to name-and-shame publishers who couldn’t be bothered to think about licences. The worst category on the diagram is “no clear licence” and we hope that many publishers will realise that by a simple process of adding a single phrase to their publication they culd whizz to the top.
  • A misguided idea that “non-commercial” is a good thing. It isn’t . Its main effect is to hit academics themselves (e.g. can’t use in books), small businesses, government (buying publications is a commercial act), etc. If you aren’t convinced we’ll help change your mind
  • A desire to milk the system for every last drop. Publishers want to retain the right to resell the paper and its diagrams as reprints, in books, etc. Free-to-read is not free-to-reuse
  • And other means of trying to control academics, libraries etc in a confusing and highly profitable market.

So armed with that, re-read Ross’ plot. “Good” is at the top “unacceptable” at the bottom. Some points will not be in the right place on the diagram. There are several reasons:

  • It’s often very difficult to find out theprice (e.g. when there are page charges and colour charges (coloured electrons cost more on the internet)).
  • Many publishers (especially those with society journals) have many different journals
  • There are special deals – if you belong to some institutions they get reduced author rates
  • The licence information is so badly written it’s impossible to work out what’s happening (answer, use a CC licence – either CC-BY or CC0)
  • Some publishers offer more than one licence. I can’t understand why – they should offer only the most liberal.

Then there is the question of ownership and copyright. But that’s another day.

The price axis is one of the areas we should be addressing. The price bears NO RELATIONSHIP to the cost (except for journals at the LH side the plot, like Acta Crystallographica E). It doesn’t COST Nature 10000 USD to publish an article that has been written and reviwed for free. It doesn’t COST Perrier umpteen dollars to fill a bottle with water that comes out of the ground. These are vanity prices, and academics don’t care as long as the taxpayer or students are paying for library bills.

 

But you form your own conclusions from the plot. Comment on this blog or Ross’ if you think data is wrong.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lee Dirks

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Lee Dirks died yesterday with his wife in a car accident in Peru:

http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2012/08/29/2-americans-peruvian-die-in-peru-highway-accident/

Many have already written about Lee today, e.g.: Savas Parastatidis
http://savas.me/2012/08/rip-my-friend-lee-dirks/

And John Wilbanks: http://del-fi.org/post/30531593681/remembering-lee-dirks

So I’ll try to add something different.

I met Lee about several years ago after Tony Hey moved to run Microsoft External Research. Lee was the person we immediately interacted with and who was the lynchpin of the relationship. Lee was fun, focused, dynamic, everywhere, with a huge involvement. He was the centre of any group. He was fun to listen to, relaxing, entertaining. You never felt stress when lee was around.

He made things happen. We worked together for three years on Chem4Word (http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/projects/chem4word/ ) and I think this is one of the many things that he would like to be remembered for:

The chemistry is important but it’s not the most important thing. The task was enormous; create a working, modern chemical authoring system for the Word/Net environment. By conventional methods it would never have happened. And indeed it started slowly, with Lee steering Microsoft to work effectively with an external group on – literally – a daily basis. But as we developed Lee was able to spot opportunities and change direction when it really mattered. And something that could never have been dreamt of at the start of the project – Lee steered it to being completely Open Source.

We had a lot of laughs – you cannot survive a project like that without them. And Lee was at the centre. For me, you are still with us.

Why is scientific data so badly communicated?

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Ross Mounce and I are starting to extract content (“content-mining”) from BMC journals. [Why BMC only? Because most of the other major publishers refuse to let us do it even when we subscribe.] [Why not PLoS? For technical informatics reasons which I have communicated to PLoS and which they have taken on board.]

I am going to appeal frequently for like-minded people to form a community of Open Content Miners, so if you are interested, let us know.

Anyway we are going through BMC Evolutionary Biology and looking at data types. We are optimistic in general.

DISCLAIMER: I shall use examples from BMC because this is all I can access. I shall frequently be critical – BMC is no better or worse in most of these. My criticism of Elsevier, Wiley, Springer, Nature, RSC, ACS, etc. is an order of magnitude worse.

Anyway – here’s the first diagram I came across. I’ll say later HOW we extract, but for the moment look how badly the information is presented. That’s partly because of the slavery of the printed page (and “print” is the evil word because authors and publishers expect reader to print the page). Tell ME what you think is suboptimal about this figure (I have at least 3 complaints, some of which are very common). The diagram should scale to a size where the text is (just) readable.

UPDATE:

People have been reading this – I’d value your comments.

 

Let’s get rid of CC-NC and CC-ND NOW! It really matters

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Many people now feel that the CC-NC and CC-ND licences are counterproductive – I estimate that in “Open Access” alone this is costing >> 1 billion USD in forbidding re-use and general paralysing FUD. Here’s a great exposition of why we must reform CC licences NOW!

Note that in science there is additional argument and evidence (http://www.pensoft.net/journal_home_page.php?journal_id=1&page=article&SESID=&type=show&article_id=2189 ) and  Prof. Mike Carroll PLoS Biology, *Why Full Open Access Matters*, at

> http://www.plosbiology.org/article/info:doi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pbio.1001210.

 

Here’s Danny’s arguments – if you haven’t time just be convinced that CC-NC doesn’t work, stops the honest people working with material intended for them , is ambiguous, etc.

 

Danny Piccirillo

   

to Open

via: http://freeculture.org/blog/2012/08/27/stop-the-inclusion-of-proprietary-licenses-in-creative-commons-4-0/

 

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Students for Free Culture <webleader+rss-bot@freeculture.org>
Date: Mon, Aug 27, 2012 at 3:15 AM
Subject: [FC-discuss] Stop the inclusion of proprietary licenses in Creative Commons 4.0
To: discuss@freeculture.org

Over the past several years, Creative Commons has increasingly
recommended free culture licenses over non-free ones. Now that the
drafting process for version 4.0 of their license set is in full gear,
this is a “[a once-in-a-decade-or-more opportunity][1]” to deprecate the
proprietary NonCommercial and NoDerivatives clauses. This is the best
chance we have to dramatically shift the direction of Creative Commons
to be fully aligned with the [definition of free cultural works][2] by
preventing the inheritance of these proprietary clauses in CC 4.0′s
final release.

The concept of free culture has its roots in the history of free
software (popularly marketed as “open source software”), and it’s an
important philosophical underpinning to the CC license set. As with free
software, the word “free” in free culture means free as in freedom, not
as in price, but Creative Commons has not [set or adhered to any
standard or promise of rights][3] or taken [any ethical position][4] in
their support of a free culture. The definition of free cultural works
describes the necessary freedoms to ensure that media monopolies cannot
form to restrict the creative and expressive freedoms of others and
outlines [which restrictions are permissible or not][5]. Although
Creative Commons provides non-free licenses, the fact that they
recognize the definition reveals a willingness and even desire to
change.

Creative Commons started off by focusing much more on flexibility for
rightsholders, but since its early days, the organization has moved away
from that position. Several projects and licenses have been retired such
as the Sampling, Founders’ Copyright, and Developing Nations License.
It’s obvious that something like Founders’ Copyright which keeps “all
rights reserved” for 14 years (before releasing into the public domain)
is not promoting free culture. Giving rightsholders more options and
easier ways to choose what rights they want to give others actually
reinforces permission culture, creates a fragmented commons, and takes
away freedom from all cultural participants.

**What’s wrong with NC and ND?**

The two proprietary clauses remaining in the CC license set are
[NonCommercial][6] (NC) and [NoDerivatives][7] (ND), and it is time
Creative Commons stopped supporting them, too. Neither of them provide
better protection against misappropriation than free culture licenses.
The ND clause survives on the idea that rightsholders would not
otherwise be able protect their reputation or preserve the integrity of
their work, but all these [fears about allowing derivatives][8] are
either permitted by fair use anyway or already protected by free
licenses. The [NC clause is vague][9] and survives entirely on two even
more misinformed ideas. First is rightsholders’ fear of giving up their
copy monopolies on commercial use, but what would be considered
commercial use is necessarily ambiguous. Is distributing the file on a
website which profits from ads a commercial use? [Where is the line
drawn][10] between commercial and non-commercial use? In the end, it
really isn’t. It does not increase the potential profit from work and it
does not provide any better protection than than Copyleft does (using
the ShareAlike clause on its own, which is a free culture license).

The second idea is the misconception that NC is anti-property or anti-
privatization. This comes from the name NonCommercial which implies a
Good Thing (non-profit), but it’s function is counter-intuitive and
completely antithetical to free culture (it [retains a commercial
monopoly][11] on the work). That is what it comes down to. The NC clause
is actually the closest to traditional “all rights reserved” copyright
because it treats creative and intellectual expressions as private
property. Maintaining commercial monopolies on cultural works only
enables middlemen to continue enforcing outdated business models and the
restrictions they depend on. We can only evolve beyond that if we
abandon commercial monopolies, eliminating the possibility of middlemen
amassing control over vast pools of our culture.

Most importantly, though, is that both clauses do not actually
contribute to a shared commons. They oppose it. The fact that the ND
clause [prevents cultural participants from building upon works][12]
should be a clear reason to eliminate it from the Creative Commons
license set. The ND clause is already the least popular, and
discouraging remixing is obviously contrary to a free culture. The
NonCommercial clause, on the other hand, is even more problematic
because it is not so obvious in its proprietary nature. While it has
always been a popular clause, it’s use has been in slow and steady
decline.

Practically, the NC clause only functions to cause problems for
collaborative and remixed projects. It prevents them from being able to
fund themselves and locks them into a proprietary license forever. For
example, if Wikipedia were under a NC license, it would be [impossible
to sell printed or CD copies of Wikipedia][13] and reach communities
without internet access because every single editor of Wikipedia would
need to give permission for their work to be sold. The project would
need to survive off of donations (which Wikipedia has proven possible),
but this is much more difficult and completely unreasonable for almost
all projects, especially for physical copies. Retaining support for NC
and ND in CC 4.0 would give them much more weight, making it extremely
difficult to retire them later, and continue to feed the fears that
nurture a permission culture.****

**Why does this need to happen now?**

People have been vocal about this issue for a long time, and awareness
of the problematic nature of ND and NC has been spreading, especially in
the areas of [Open Educational Resources][14] (such as OpenCourseWare)
and [Open Access to research][15]. With the percentage of CC-licensed
works that permit remixing and commercial use having [doubled][16] since
Creative Commons’ first year, it’s clear that there is a growing
recognition that the non-free license clauses are not actually
necessary, or even good.

Both NC and ND are incompatible with free licenses and many, if not the
vast majority, of NC and ND licensed works will not be relicensed after
CC 4.0, so the longer it takes to phase out those clauses, the more
works will be locked into a proprietary license. There will never be a
better time than this. Creative Commons has been shifting away from non-
free licenses for several years, but if it does not abandon them
entirely it will fail as a commons and [divide our culture][17] into
disconnected parts, each with its own distinct licence, rights and
permissions granted by the copyright holders who ‘own’ the works.

In December of 2006, Creative Commons implemented a subtle difference
between the pages for free culture and non-free licenses: green and
yellow background graphics (compare [Attribution-ShareAlike][18] to
[Attribution-NonCommercial][19]). This was also when they began using
license buttons that include license property icons, so that there would
be an immediate visual cue as to the specific license being used before
clicking through to the deed. In February of 2008, they began using a
seal on free culture licenses that said “[Approved for Free Cultural
Works][20]“, which was another great step in the right direction. In
July of this year, Creative Commons released a [completely redesigned
license chooser][21] that explicitly says whether the configuration
being used is free culture or not. This growing acknowledgement of free
vs. non-free licenses was a crucial development, since being under a
Creative Commons license is so often equated with being a free cultural
work. Now, retiring the NC and ND clauses is a critical step in Creative
Commons’ progress towards taking a pro-freedom approach.

The NC and ND clauses not only depend on, but also feed misguided
notions about their purpose and function. With that knowledge, it would
be a mistake not to retire them. Creative Commons should not depend on
and nurture rightsholders’ fears of misappropriation to entice them into
choosing non-free CC licenses. Instead of wasting effort maintaining and
explaining a wider set of conflicting licenses, Creative Commons as an
organization should focus on providing better and more consistent
support for the licenses that really make sense. We are in the perfect
position to finally create a unified and undivided commons. Creative
Commons is at a crossroads.This decisive moment will in all likelihood
bind their direction either being stuck serving the fears that validate
permission culture or creating a shared commons between all cultural
participants.

We don’t want the next generation of the free culture movement to be
saddled with the dichotomies of the past; we want our efforts to be
spent fighting the next battles.****

**What should we do? **

There have been lots of discussions on the CC-license list about
promoting free culture licenses and discouraging proprietary ones. A
couple of proposals have been made to encourage the use of free licenses
over the non-free ones.

One is a rebranding of the non-free licenses. They could be
differentiated in a much more significant way than it currently is, such
as referring to NC and ND as the “Restricted Commons” or “Limited
Commons” or some variant thereof. License buttons could also be color
coded in the same way that license pages are (green for free culture
licenses, yellow for proprietary ones). Another proposal is to rename
NonCommercial to something more honest such as CommercialMonopoly.

While these proposals and other ideas are certainly worth supporting, we
should not lose sight on our ultimate goal: for Creative Commons to stop
supporting non-free licenses. We should not feel like this is impossible
to achieve at this point, as it will be much more difficult to do later.
More people than ever are starting to advocate against proprietary CC
licenses, and there is clear evidence and reasoning behind these
arguments. We have the power to prevent the inclusion of non-free
clauses in this upcoming version of the Creative Commons License set.

To join us in resisting the inclusion of proprietary clauses in CC 4.0,
there are a few important things you can do:

  * Send a letter to the [Creative Commons Board of Directors][22] about
your concerns.

  * Publish your letter or a blog post on the issue (and send it to the
list below)

  * Join the Creative Commons licenses development list to participate
in discussions of the 4.0 draft:
[http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/cc-licenses][23]

  * Contribute to the CC 4.0 wiki pages:
[http://wiki.creativecommons.org/4.0][24]

   [1]: http://governancexborders.com/2011/09/17/cc-global-summit-2011
-pt-iii-discussing-the-non-commmercial-module/

   [2]: http://freedomdefined.org/Definition

   [3]: http://mako.cc/writing/toward_a_standard_of_freedom.html

   [4]: http://mako.cc/copyrighteous/20040917-00

   [5]: http://freedomdefined.org/Permissible_restrictions

   [6]: http://freedomdefined.org/Licenses/NC

   [7]: http://robmyers.org/2010/02/21/why_nd_is_neither_necessary_nor_s
ufficient_to_prevent_misrepresentation/

   [8]: https://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/26549

   [9]: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13556_3-9823336-61.html

   [10]: http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/cc-
licenses/2005-April/002215.html

   [11]: http://robmyers.org/2008/02/24/noncommercial-sharealike-is-not-
copyleft/

   [12]: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110704/15235514961/shouldnt-
free-mean-same-thing-whether-followed-culture-software.shtml

   [13]:
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Licensing/Justifications

   [14]: http://kefletcher.blogspot.com/2011/10/why-not-nc-non-
commercial.html

   [15]: http://www.plosbiology.org/article/info:doi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal
.pbio.1001210

   [16]: https://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/28041

   [17]:
http://www.freesoftwaremagazine.com/articles/commons_without_commonality

   [18]: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

   [19]: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

   [20]: https://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/8051

   [21]: https://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/33430

   [22]: mailto:Hal%20Abelson%20%3Chal%40mit.edu%3E%2C%20Glenn%20Otis%20
Brown%20%3Cgotisbrown%40gmail.com%3E%2C%20Michael%20Carroll%20%3Cmcarrol
l%40wcl.american.edu%3E%2C%20Catherine%20Casserly%20%3Ccathy%40creativec
ommons.org%3E%2C%20Caterina%20Fake%20%3Ccaterina%40caterina.net%3E%2C%20
Brian%20Fitzgerald%20%3Cbrian.fitzgerald%40acu.edu.au%3E%2C%20Davis%20Gu
ggenheim%20%3Cakhawkins%40mac.com%3E%2C%20Joi%20Ito%20%3Cjoi%40ito.com%3
E%2C%20Lawrence%20Lessig%20%3Clessig%40pobox.com%3E%2C%20Laurie%20Racine
%20%3Cracine%40lulu.com%3E%2C%20Eric%20Saltzman%20%3Cesaltzman%40pobox.c
om%3E%2C%20Annette%20Thomas%20%3CAnnette%40macmillan.co.uk%3E%2C%20Molly
%20Van%20Houweling%20%3Cmsvh%40pobox.com%3E%2C%20Jimmy%20Wales%20%3Cjwal
es%40wikia.com%3E%2C%20Esther%20Wojcicki%20%3Cesther%40creativecommons.o
rg%3E%2C%20

   [23]: http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/cc-licenses

   [24]: http://wiki.creativecommons.org/4.0

URL: http://freeculture.org/blog/2012/08/27/stop-the-inclusion-of-proprietary-licenses-in-creative-commons-4-0/
_______________________________________________
Discuss mailing list
Discuss@freeculture.org
http://lists.freeculture.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
FAQ: http://wiki.freeculture.org/Fc-discuss

 


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#vivo12 my talk “Reclaim Our Scholarship”

Friday, August 24th, 2012

“Power corrupts; Powerpoint corrupts absolutely” (Tufte)

My talk is through HTML links – you need to be on the web.

Reclaim Our Scholarship

[was: Bottom-up collaborations in the Internet Age]

VIVO12, Miami, US

Peter Murray-Rust, Unilever Centre for Molecular Sciences Informatics, University of Cambridge

Themes

  • Restrictive practices in #scholpub are costing billions
  • The direct fruits of science are denied to 99% of the human race – everywhere. The “scholarly poor”
  • Most scientific data (80%+) is lost. Much of the rest is walled up by publishers
  • The only answer is REAL OPEN.
  • Individuals and small groups can change the world
  • VIVO could be a key point in this change

Text for today – from SciVal (Elsevier) flyer
… “[In VIVO] [Elsevier] combine rich Scopus(R) publication histories, your institution’s own content and individual researcher data in semantic form, and share this information as linked open data.”

PMR mission – to create robots to liberate all published factual scientific content. “liberation software”

addendum
Zookeys CC-NC

#vivo12 What I might be going to say

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

IMPORTANT – INCLUDES INSTRUCTIONS FOR #VIVO12 DELEGATES

I am at the #vivo12 conference in Miami – VIVO (http://vivoweb.org/ Connect/Share/Disover) and will give the plenary lecture tomorrow. I have been given free rein and originally called this “Bottom-up collaborations in the Internet Age” or something. I’ll review some of the things that make collaboration work and the converse (there is of course no absolute recipe for success).

I haven’t prepared anything and don’t know what I shall say. This is deliberate.

I want to get a feel for the delegates and also for the potential for future action. The delegates seem to be (roughly in order):

  • University librarians
  • University techies
  • University managers
  • Commercial vendors into universities

VIVO seems to be very University-centric. I’m going to change my title to:

“Reclaim our scholarship” – and I’ll blog more on that later.

MY PRESENTATION – PLEASE READ

I have requested a second screen. It will be smaller and dedicated to one task – a twitter stream or twitterwall. This is so everyone can see what others are saying about the issues I raise and also me. The tweets represent the collective electronic consciousness of the delegates AND also those “listening” from outside. It can be extremely effective. In this way we get our message out, get feedback, talk to ourselves, etc.

If you’ve never used twitter (and some delegates haven’t – no shame in that) go to https://twitter.com/ and get yourself a username and password. If you don’t want to sign up to yet-another-social-networking-site there is no shame. Be aware that the whole world can read what you write. So be careful – people have been prosecuted for libel or harassment. But most people use it every day without problems. Use the string “#vivo12″ in your posts as then everyone here will get it in the stream. If you want to try, connect today and give it a try. [It also interacts with other social media such as googleplus and facebook].

The tweets (only those with #vivo12) will be exposed as they come in. This gives a way for:

  • Making comments on what I present
  • Broadcasting what I present to the outside world
  • Broadcasting your comments to the outside world
  • Getting comments from the outside world. People outside might wish to raise issues for me/us to comment on (we have 15 mins discussion).

Twitter is ephemeral (though National libraries, I think, archive tweets). There is a tool http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Storify – it would be great to have a volunteer storify the session since there will be no video recording (I might record myself audio). Storify would then allow an editor to build their own account of what I said, how you responded, where we ended up. You do not have to agree with me (many already don’t!).

 

Please comment on this – you may have ethical views on Twitter/Storify. The technical issues – we hope – will be small although the bandwidth is somewhat variable. Please try not to download movies during my presentation.

More later I hope.

Skolnik Symposium ACS 2012 #skolnik2012

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Henry Rzepa and I are running the ACS Herman Skolnik award symposium tomorrow in the Philadelphia Convention Centre. We intend that this is inclusive and so will be running a twitterfall or similar so we can keep in touch with each other and also with the outside world. We also shall have some external presentations (at least 2 and maybe 4 – we shan’t know till tomorrow). We also have 2 demo sessions.

Therefore the primary coordination will be twitter on #skolnik2012. All internal audience will have wi-fi access (we are assured).

The plan is the following:

  • There is unlikely to be time for questions within the speaker’s 15 minutes (Henry and I get a huge 20 mins!). Handovers will be rapid and slick.
  • If you have in the internal or external audience a question or discussion point tweet it during or after the speaker.
  • We (or the speaker) will try to announce each speaker on the Tweet stream
  • If you are a speaker, use Twitter to answer your questions after your presentation.
  • Speakers may wish to post URLs on Twitter rather than expecting people to copy them.
  • There won’t be a video or audio stream so audience please comment on what is happening.
  • The chair will be RUTHLESS and switch you off when your time is up.

Speakers have been asked to keep the changeovers quick – so no need to spend time on lengthy anecdotes, etc.

[I haven't yet decided what to say, so I'll post that tomorrow.]

AnimalGarden present “The Chemical Chinese Room” at the American Chemical Society meeting

Friday, August 17th, 2012

Henry Rzepa and I have been awarded the Herman Skolnik award of the ACS and will be running a 1-day symposium next week. In my own talk (20 mins) I’ll be looking to the future under the theme “Can we build artificially intelligent chemists?” 3 minutes of this has been hijacked by #animalgarden who have adapted John Searle’s idea of the “Chinese Room” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_room to chemistry.

Here’s Frog and Zog asking Magic Chemical Panda a chemical question and getting an answer.

Who is MCP? What does he look like?

All will be revealed next Tuesday.

Meanwhile here’s a question for anyone:

“What’s the biggest current obstacle to creating artificial intelligent chemistry?”

Please make suggestions. The answer may surprise you.

Fee-free scholarly publishing

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

A short crowded blog post. I’m off the the ACS shortly and then to VIVO and am concentrating on presentations. Hope to blog those in the normal way.

After kicking off a discussion of publishing models on the [GOAL] mailing list with the traditional Green/Gold/Hybrid approaches I suggested that we should be looking at a “Fee-free” model. This isn’t new and it’s not my idea. Here’s Peter Suber reviewing the situation:

See William Walters and Anne Linvill (August 2010):  ”While just 29 percent of OA journals charge publication fees, those journals represent 50 percent of the articles in our study.”

http://crl.acrl.org/content/early/2010/09/14/crl-132.abstract

So there are large numbers of journals that charge nothing to authors and nothing to readers. And they want to remain that way. The problem is that the volume of articles is largely free-supported. We thus have a strange paradox:

  • Lots of small journals prosper without charging excessive fees
  • The large journals charge more, rather than less.

The reason is that there is a vanity market. Fee-supported journals have to argue they produce a better product. And the only product that differentiates them is the market for glory. We hear mantras such as “Researchers must be able to publish where they want.”

Why? If the article is worth reading it will be found. The journal is now primarily a glory label – used not for the excellence of the contents but as an artificial market to determine career progression and funding in universities.

The economic cost of an article is about 250 USD. (Acta Crystallographica do it for 150 USD). Anything higher than that is either inefficiency or sheer profit.

[Stop ranting, PMR and get to the point…]

The point is that lots of people want to create [e-only] publications without these artificial commercial constraints. So we’ve agreed to explore how this can be done, on the OKF’s open Access list (where open Access always means BOAI-compliant). http://lists.okfn.org/pipermail/open-access/2012-August/000788.html summarises the discussion.

We want to collate information on what works at present. And summarize it so that would be “publishers” can build on the work of others. We are envisaging a “Handbook of fee-free Open Access publishing” which helps people explore sustainable models.

One of the really valuable things about fee-free publishing is that no-one is in it for the money. So the “predatory Open Access” publishers – who publish low quality or even pirated OA material – have no place. There’s no pressure on people to find fees up front. There’s no pressure on libraries – everything is free.

If Steve Coates can get 250,000 people to build a fee-free map of the world, why can’t we do it for scholarly pub. Why do editors have to come from academia? Why do we have to stick with the outmoded “journal” when we have all the tools to manage articles more productively. (If people want journals they can collect together the free material however they want). If the arXiv can manage papers for (I think) 7 USD we don’t need to charge 10000 USD as Nature does. That’s for the glory.

And let’s remember that university libraries take > 10,000,000,000 USD every year from taxpayers and students to pay for journal subscriptions. And only 1 % of the population can read it. If the fee-free community had 1% of this (100 million USD) and distributed it between – say – 1,000 fee-free startups – just to get them going we would see some fantastic developments. So libraries, shouldn’t you be looking to create something new rather than simply fuelling the old, inefficient and avaricious?

Anyway – please join the discussion on open-access. You won’t get shouted down with political Open Access slogans.

PROGRESS (two areas I have been urging on this blog)

  1. Glad to see OCLC releasing a part of Worldcat under a libre licence (ODC-BY)
  2. http://eu.wiley.com/WileyCDA/PressRelease/pressReleaseId-104537.html Wiley have changed their “Fully Open Access” model to one that really is BOAI-compliant (CC-BY). Well done Wiley. Other publishers, be brave – it won’t hurt and may gain you some credit.

 

 

 

Is this paper Open Access?

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

I have been sent a PDF of which I reproduce the front matter. Is it “Open Access”? Note that if I get the answer wrong I might get lawyers’ letters accusing me of copyright theft, breach of contract, etc. Note that I personally an unable to answer some of these questions authoritatively (To avoid typing here is the metadata:

NeuroImage Volume 51 Issue 1 15 May 2010, Pages 91–101

 

There are some subsidiary questions:

  • Can I post it on the web? For commercial use? For any use?
  • Is it Green? Or Gold? BOAI compliant? Or something else? How did you tell?
  • Is it gratis? Is it libre? If so what permissions have been relaxed?
  • Can I send someone a copy? Anyone? Or just a non-commercial?
  • Does its location affect whether it is Open Access?
  • Has someone paid for Open Access? Would their funders be satisfied?