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ICSTI: news items

  • To: epc@iucr.org
  • Subject: ICSTI: news items
  • From: Pete Strickland <ps@iucr.org>
  • Date: Wed, 5 May 2004 13:55:16 +0100
  • Organization: IUCr
Subject: The Scientist: Quick peer review for $125

At  this URL:

<URL: http://www.biomedcentral.com/news/20040420/02 >

There is an interesting sort of alternative method of Open Access.
Subject: Summary of submission on digital preservation

From Peter Suber's blog;

The UK Parliament's enquiry on scientific publications heard from Lynne 
Brindley the CEO of the British Library:

Robert Walgate, UK risks 'losing science data', The Scientist, April 22, 2004. 
Summarizing yesterday's session of the UK inquiry, emphasizing the testimony 
on long-term access and preservation. Excerpt: "Lynne Brindley, chief 
executive of the British Library, sought the support of the UK House of 
Commons Select Committee for Science and Technology yesterday (April 21) for 
a £12 million, 2-year investment at the library, to create a long-term 
national depository for digit al scientific information and 
publications....The lack of a public record is also inhibiting the 
development of digital publications, said Brindley.... Ian Gibson, chairman 
of the committee and MP for Norwich North, read out a submission from the 
University of East Anglia: 'Not only is the university restricted in giving 
access to its neighboring research, professional, and educational concerns, 
but also in our regional role as a major source of scientific information for 
the public. This goes against the government's desire to make science and its 
workings more open and available to the public. In hard copy, you have equal 
access provided you understand it; online presupposes privileged access.' 
'That's what we've been saying,' said witness Frederick Friend, consultant to 
UK academia's Joint Information Systems Committee. 'The answer to my mind is 
open-access publication? I'd urge the committee to recommend to the 
government that in any publicly funded research, the articles! based upon 
that research be freely accessible over the Internet.' "

The Scientist link: http://www.biomedcentral.com/news/20040422/04/
Subject:New Wellcome Trust study on Journal Business Models

At this URL: http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/en/1/awtpubrepcos.html

You will find the pdf file of a Wellcome trust report on business models for
journals. I haven't read it yet, but I have seen comment that Wellcome have
found that 30% savings can be made with OA.
Subject: Information today - letter to the Editor

I mentioned a while ago that Richard Poynder had written an article on Open 
Access for Information Today. As might have been expected Stevan Harnad 
reacted by writing a letter to the Editor of Information Today and Richard 
has responded to the letter as follows:-

"I thank Stevan for his comments. My understanding is that Stevan believes OA 
could be adequately achieved if researchers self-archived their published 
papers and publishers downsized to a peer-review role only. I doubt this is a 
likely scenario.

Firstly, today's commercial journal publishers will surely exit the market if 
their profits fall dramatically, which the above scenario implies. 
Presumably, they would be replaced by new OA publishers, but in a disjointed 
fashion. Secondly, given the significant budgetary pressures that librarians 
face, they will meanwhile continue to cancel journal subscriptions.

Self-archiving, therefore, will likely prove a temporary phenomenon, as we 
undergo a transition from conventional to OA publishing. During the 
transition, it will become more difficult for researchers to find the papers 
they need, since increasingly they will find themselves behind a subscription 
firewall. The papers may also be "out there somewhere" on the Web, but 
finding them could be challenging. Valuable as services like OAIster are, 
they cannot (yet) match products like ScienceDirectâ€"particularly given the 
varied nature of the content. OAIster today covers just 277 institutions and 
publishes a warning about duplicate items and dead links.

The challenge, therefore, will lie in managing the transition, which is why 
the Select Committee would do well to discuss self-archiving.

With regard to the legality of researchers self-archiving papers where 
copyright has been assigned to the publisher and permission to self-archive 
unforthcoming from that publisher, Stevan is probably referring to the "pre- 
print/corrigenda" strategy. I doubt any publisher would sue, but I am not 
aware that this has been tested in the courts.

I think many researchers do view self-archiving as a form of civil protest. 
Based on public statements from libraries like Harvard, Cornell, and 
Stanford, many librarians clearly see journal subscription cancellation in 
that light.

Indeed, librarians will be puzzled by Stevan's assertion that they cannot 
cancel journals unless their users no longer need access. They may also 
resist his claim that the journal-pricing problem is separate from the 
research-access problem. I fear that the greatest casualty of the scholarly 
publishing crisis will be the traditional goodwill between librarians and 

The whole sequence can be found at: 

and another article by Richard Poynder on the UK House of Commons Inquiry is 


called "U.K. Academics and Librarians Disagree Over Open Access Publishing"

Subject: INASP to be established as an interdisciplinary body

The International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications 
(INASP) is a programme established by the ICSU Advisory Committee on the 
Dissemination of Scientific Information (CDSI). Since its inception in 1998, 
INASP has grown into a large and important programme with funding from 
multiple donors and a staff of nine. At its meeting in September 2003, the 
Executive Board decided to establish INASP as an Interdisciplinary Body and 
to request ratification of this decision by the 28th General Assembly.

The INASP will be registered as a charity in the UK, The Executive Board has 
appointed trustees for the INASP company with Robert Campbell (UK) as 
Chairman. The Deputy Executive Director participated in the first meeting of 
the INASP trustees in February.


Best wishes

Peter Strickland
Managing Editor
IUCr Journals

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