ProQuest, U. of Michigan Library and Bodleian Libraries Provide 25,000 Early Modern Books as Open Access Text

It was announced this morning that the full text of over 25,000 titles from the database Early English Books Online (EEBO) are now freely available on the websites of the University of Michigan Library and Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries. There will no longer be any restrictions on sharing these files. They will be licensed under the Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0 1.0 Universal), which will be indicated in the header of each text. These 25,000 plus titles are the result of the longstanding Text Creation Partnership (TCP) to create standardized, accurate XML/SGML encoded electronic text editions. Boston College Library was one of the collective of 150 libraries worldwide that provided funding for the TCP Phase I.

NOTE: As BC Libraries have access to the EEBO database and was an EEBO-TCP Phase I partner, nothing about our EEBO access will change: we will still be able to access the TCP texts via EEBO and search the texts in the same way we have been doing for years.

Think You ‘Own’ What You ‘Buy’ on the Internet? Think Again

Yesterday Kyle K. Courtney, an attorney, librarian and copyright adviser for Harvard University working out of the Harvard Library Office for Scholarly Communication, published “Think You ‘Own’ What You ‘Buy’ on the Internet? Think Again” in Politico Magazine. He writes that when we click on the “buy now” icon prompting us to “buy” a song or e-book “we are no more buying those products than we are buying library books. And in many cases, their sellers retain the right to snatch them back from us anytime they like.”

We do not really own our electronic music, books and movies in the same way we do when we purchase physical books, CDs, records or DVDs. This disconnect strikes even the most technically savvy consumer, and invariably we realize the true frustration of our state of non-ownership. “Didn’t I click a ‘Buy’ button when I purchased this?” we ask.

At the heart of this disconnect is the intersection of copyright law and contract law in the digital consumer space, where consumers’ expectations are nullified by a four-page license agreement from an online music vendor (such as iTunes) to buy a 99-cent song that no one reads. When Amazon, iTunes or any digital retailer explicitly says “Buy Now” and the consumer clicks that “buy” button, there is a definite presumption of purchase, and, with that purchase, ownership. That presumption, however, is not reflected in reality.

In fact, clicking a “Buy Now” button means we are entering a contract governing a long-term relationship. Retailers can delete consumer content without warning. Under their setup, we can’t resell music tracks we’ve tired of or give them to a local charity, as you can with used books and records. Sometimes we can’t even transfer it between our own phones, tablets or computers.

For full article.

Scholarly Context Not Found: One in Five Articles Suffers from Reference Rot

According to an article published a few days ago in PLOS ONE, “Scholarly Context Not Found: One in Five Articles Suffers from Reference Rot,” an increase in deleted and moved links in scientific articles is resulting in serious reference rot.


The emergence of the web has fundamentally affected most aspects of information communication, including scholarly communication. The immediacy that characterizes publishing information to the web, as well as accessing it, allows for a dramatic increase in the speed of dissemination of scholarly knowledge. But, the transition from a paper-based to a web-based scholarly communication system also poses challenges. In this paper, we focus on reference rot, the combination of link rot and content drift to which references to web resources included in Science, Technology, and Medicine (STM) articles are subject. We investigate the extent to which reference rot impacts the ability to revisit the web context that surrounds STM articles some time after their publication. We do so on the basis of a vast collection of articles from three corpora that span publication years 1997 to 2012. For over one million references to web resources extracted from over 3.5 million articles, we determine whether the HTTP URI is still responsive on the live web and whether web archives contain an archived snapshot representative of the state the referenced resource had at the time it was referenced. We observe that the fraction of articles containing references to web resources is growing steadily over time. We find one out of five STM articles suffering from reference rot, meaning it is impossible to revisit the web context that surrounds them some time after their publication. When only considering STM articles that contain references to web resources, this fraction increases to seven out of ten. We suggest that, in order to safeguard the long-term integrity of the web-based scholarly record, robust solutions to combat the reference rot problem are required. In conclusion, we provide a brief insight into the directions that are explored with this regard in the context of the Hiberlink project.

The Digital Einstein Papers

einsteinOn 5 December Princeton University Press, in partnership with the Tizra digital publishing platform, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and California Institute of Technology, launched The Digital Einstein Papers. This is an open access site for the translated and annotated writings of Albert Einstein. Presently the site contains

5,000 documents covering the first forty-four years of Einstein’s life, up to and including the award of the Nobel Prize in Physics and his long voyage to the Far East. Additional material will be available on the website approximately eighteen months after the print publication of new volumes of The Collected Papers. Eventually, the website will provide access to all of Einstein’s writings and correspondence, accompanied by scholarly annotation and apparatus.

For more information see Einstein Papers Project.

The Impact of Open Textbooks on Secondary Science Learning Outcomes

It is well-known that the cost of many k-12 textbooks is extremely high and, consequently, constitute a serious financial burden for numerous pupils and their families. Not surprisingly the Open Educational Resources (OER) movement whose goal is to increase the usage of freely available teaching, learning and research materials is growing in importance and popularity. Such free resources might be textbooks, modules, videos, software, tests and a variety of other openly accessible course materials.

Recently T. Jared Robinson, Lane Fischer, David Wiley, and John Hilton III published the article “The Impact of Open Textbooks on Secondary Science Learning Outcomes” in Educational Researcher, 2014 43: 341. This article discussed the educational outcome of the usage by 4,183 students and 43 teachers from the Nebo School District in Utah of open science textbooks.

Given the increasing costs associated with commercial textbooks and decreasing financial support of public schools, it is important to better understand the impacts of open educational resources on student outcomes. The purpose of this quantitative study is to analyze whether the adoption of open science textbooks significantly affects science learning outcomes for secondary students in earth systems, chemistry, and physics.

This study uses a quantitative quasi-experimental design with propensity score matched groups and multiple regression to examine whether student learning was influenced by the adoption of open textbooks instead of traditional publisher produced textbooks. Students who used open textbooks scored .65 points higher on end-of-year state standardized science tests than students using traditional textbooks when controlling for the effects of 10 student and teacher covariates. Further analysis revealed statistically significant positive gains for students using the open chemistry textbooks, with no significant difference in student scores for earth systems of physics courses. Although the effect size of the gains were relatively small, and not consistent across all textbooks, the finding that open textbooks can be as effective or even slightly more effective than their traditional counterparts has important considerations in terms of school district policy in a climate of finite educational funding.


Digital Libraries + Hybridity: An Interview with Clifford Wulfman

wulfmanThe website dh+lib (where the digital humanities and librarianship meet) recently published Digital Libraries + Hybridity, a thought-provoking interview with Clifford Wulfman, Coordinator of Library Digital Initiatives at the Firestone Library at Princeton University and consultant to Princeton’s new Center for Digital Humanities. In the interview Wulfman talks about his work and training, digital libraries, digital humanities, alt-ac (“alternative academic” careers), and the future of digital collections.

Gates Foundation adopts OA Policy


_bill_melinda_gates_foundation_logo From Science Insider:

Breaking new ground for the open-access movement, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a major funder of global health research, plans to require that the researchers it funds publish only in immediate open-access journals. 

The policy doesn’t kick in until January 2017; until then, grantees can publish in subscription-based journals as long as their paper is freely available within 12 months. But after that, the journal must be open access, meaning papers are free for anyone to read immediately upon publication. Articles must also be published with a license that allows anyone to freely reuse and distribute the material. And the underlying data must be freely available.

The Gates Foundation will also pay the author fees charged by many open-access journals.

IMF: Data is a public good


From Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund

We very much recognize the importance of data as a public good. In this context, we are upgrading our data platforms and improving the way we distribute data and statistics to our membership throughout the world. …

Much of our data is already freely available. This is especially true of the data that supports our main forecasts for the global economy in the World Economic Outlook. 

And I have an important announcement to make—starting January 1, 2015 we will provide all our online data free-of-charge to everyone.

Online Exhibition: The 1916 Rising: Personalities and Perspectives

DublinIt is likely that the centenary of the 1916 Easter Uprising in Ireland will be commemorated with a number of traditional and online exhibits. However, the National Library of Ireland already has an excellent online exhibition in place, The 1916 Rising: Personalities and Perspectives. This exhibition uses contemporary books, newspapers, photographs, drawings, proclamations and manuscripts, almost all from the collections of the National Library, to focus upon those who set the stage for the events of Easter Week 1916: the seven signatories of the proclamation, the others executed in the aftermath of the Rising, the casualties and the survivors. Over 500 images have been selected for study and analysis.

Data Sharing Data

dataglobe An interesting post in the Scholarly Kitchen blog reports on one data sharing survey and links to another. There is a lot of material to digest here and recommendations regarding how to increase data access.

While public access to research articles is a fact of life for much of the scholarly community, access to research data – while a top priority for many governments and other funders, who see it as the key to future economic growth – remains a challenge. There are many reasons for this, both practical (eg, lack of infrastructure) and professional (eg, lack of credit, getting scooped). The publishing community can and does already help with the former, for example through support for NISO, CrossRef, CODATA, and other organizations and, increasingly, the development of data sharing and management solutions. Resolving the professional issues, however, will almost certainly require action by research funders and institutions.