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ICSTI: news items

  • To: epc@iucr.org
  • Subject: ICSTI: news items
  • From: Pete Strickland <ps@iucr.org>
  • Date: Tue, 20 Apr 2004 13:29:21 +0100
  • Organization: IUCr
Subject: Latest issue of ICSTI Forum

The latest issue of ICSTI Forum is now available from


Below is content information on this issue.

Introduction: ICSTI General Assembly and Public Conference
By Martin Smith, Chairman of FORUM Editorial Board, Inspec, UK

Serving Today's STM End Users
By Martin Smith, Chairman of FORUM Editorial Board, Inspec, UK

Open Access - Personal View
By Peter Gregory, Director of Publishing, Royal Society of Chemistry, 

Open Access Publishing Takes Off - The Dream is Now Achievable
By Tony Delamothe, Web Editor, BMJ.COM, and Richard Smith, Editor BMJ

The Promise and Peril of Open Access
By Lila Guterman

Subject: Proceedings from ICSTI's conference on Open Access

IOS Press has made the proceedings from ICSTI's conference on Open 
Access available on the Web at


Subject: Studies of lost links

>From Peter Suber's blog:

"John Whitfield, Web links leave abstracts going nowhere, Nature 428, 
592 (08 April 2004). (Access restricted to subscribers) Nature 
reports on recent studies documenting the impermanence of cited web 
resources. Jonathan Wren of Oklahoma showed that one-fifth of the web 
sites noted in Medline abstracts over a ten-year period had vanished. 
Robert Dellavalle's study of broken links in NEJM, JAMA and Science 
from 2003 is also mentioned (see earlier OAN posting,) with the 
author remarking: "Journals aren't doing anything to address the 
potential for electronic resources to disappear. ... It's amazing 
what doesn't exist ? one of my own articles on digital preservation 
isn't there any more!" Further, the article quotes arXiv's Paul 
Ginsparg, who maintains that external links in papers posted on the 
site are discouraged. Solutions are considered, including author's 
archiving web resources to which they link, perhaps through the 
Internet Archive. CrossRef is also suggested as a way to stabilize 

Subject: CENDI Report: Persistent Identifier White Paper

Below the Exective summary from CENDI's White Paper on Persistent 
Identifiers is given. CENDI is sending a copy of this paper to all of 
the working groups of the Interagency Committee on Government 
Information (ICGI), created in June 2003 to implement Section 207 of 
the EGovernment Act of 2002 
http://www.cio.gov/archive/e_gov_act_2002.pdf (Public Law 107-347, 44 
U.S.C. Ch 36). 

The ICGI has an extensive agenda to draft recommendations and share
effective practices for:
* Access to federal government information. 
* Dissemination of federal government information. 
* Retention of federal government information. 

The ultimate goal is to make it easier for all Americans to find and 
use the government information and services they need. There are 
currently three working groups: Categorization of Information Work 
Group, Electronic Records Policy Work Group, and the Web Content 
Management Work Group.

If anyone would like a copy of the full white paper, please let me 


As more U.S. federal government information is generated in digital 
form, it is increasingly important to develop a digital information 
infrastructure to ensure effective management and access.  A key 
component of this infrastructure is persistent identification of 
digital information resources.  Currently, many government resources 
do not have any uniform type of identification; individual agencies 
instead devise their own methods for naming sources such as internal 
reports, presentations, and other documents.  One exception is for 
information posted on agency World Wide Web sites.   These sites make 
use of Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) to identify specific Web 
pages and objects.  Unfortunately, this approach directly associates 
the name of the digital object with a physical location.  When the 
object is removed from its original location, the association between 
the name and the location of the object is “broken” and accessing the 
original name yields and error message.  Broken links are a major 
barrier to expanding electronic government, since citizens require 
consistent, reliable, and accurate access to government information 
on the Web. Current methods ensuring the association between the 
object and the name require maintenance, and if this is not performed 
consistently the association remains broken. Addressing this problem 
requires incorporating methods for creating and maintaining 
persistent identification as a key component of the Federal 
Enterprise Architecture.

Two primary persistent identifier applications have emerged: the 
Persistent URL (PURL) and the Handle System®.  Both systems are in 
use in the government and private sectors to enable Web applications 
to redirect users from the “persistent URL” to the current location 
of the object.  Handles and PURLs are globally unique and can support 
mechanisms such as OpenURL, which associates critical descriptive 
information (metadata) with identification to enable 
context-sensitive linking.  Handles are also supportive of a 
federated implementation, are independent of any physical location, 
and can resolve to multiple locations or multiple versions of an 
object.  The Handle System has been adopted by major publishers for 
persistent identification of commercially traded content through its 
implementation with the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) system.  
While most of today’s implementations of persistent identifiers use 
PURLs or Handles for document-like objects, there are a variety of 
other object types from events to agreements to data sets that could 
be managed using persistent identification schemes.  

Establishing methods for persistent identification of government 
resources requires extensive analysis of issues such as preferred 
identifier approaches, core metadata, identifier maintenance, and 
relationships with existing information management systems.  
Consideration must be given to all aspects of the government 
information life cycle from creation to long-term management and 
access to ultimate disposition, including permanent preservation.  
There is also potential impact on key federal information management 
requirements and directives such as A-130 and A-110.  For these 
reasons, a logical next step is the formation of a group under the 
E-government Interagency Committee on Government Information 
representing a variety of stakeholder groups to study the 
implementation issues, analyze costs and present recommendations.   

Subject: The (London, UK) Observer, Crispin Davis of Reed-Elsevier....

At this URL:


You will find an article by Crispin Davis CEO of Reed-Elsevier. It is 
written in response to an article in the same newspaper earlier which 
had argued that "scientific publishers had long used their 
stranglehold on the market to push up prices at the expense of 
underfunded academics"

Extracts from Davis' article:

"A policy of universal access to scientific material for the general 
public allows people to use ScienceDirect on site at university 
libraries. Any UK citizen can obtain a copy of an Elsevier article 
through the inter-library loan network or the British Library"

"In recent years, libraries have expressed concerns about the rising 
cost of journals, in part because university funding cuts have placed 
pressure on their budgets. In 2003, the top 100 US university 
libraries received 25 per cent less of their universities' budgets 
than in 1998. The situation is similar in the UK and elsewhere. At 
the same time, the cost of journal publishing increases each year, 
driven by the volume of research articles; the cost of investment in 
technology; higher archiving and usage costs; and inflation...... 
Since 1999, the list prices of Elsevier's journals have risen by 
around 6 per cent per year, which is well below the industry average. 
Over this period the volume of articles grew annually by 3-5 per 
cent, inflation increased by 1-2 per cent each year, and the number 
of articles downloaded doubled annually. Since 2001, the price of 
retrieving an Elsevier article in the UK has fallen 63 per cent from 
£4.70 to £1.70 and is expected to fall below £1 wi thin two years"

"In the centuries-old STM publishing industry, open access is a new 
movement. Like most scientific experiments, its benefits are being 
tested. Established publishers like Elsevier will observe and, as 
always, be ready to adapt and invest accordingly. Meanwhile, we will 
continue investing in the kinds of innovations that have so 
dramatically increased the productivity of researchers and that will 
continue to deliver better value for money for the libraries that 
serve them"


Best wishes

Peter Strickland
Managing Editor
IUCr Journals

IUCr Editorial Office, 5 Abbey Square, Chester CH1 2HU, England
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