New Digital.Bodleian Website

bodleianEarlier this month Oxford’s Bodleian Library launched its new Digital.Bodleian website. This site includes over 100,000 images and covers a wonderfully diverse group of topics, e.g. medieval maps; botanical watercolors; 18th and 19th century children’s board games; Victorian playbills, handbills, postcards and posters; Greek and Hebrew manuscripts; Conservative Party election posters; paintings from 19th-century Calcutta; and much more.

There are few restrictions on the use of the digital images, once the use is non-commercial. From the press release:

Digital.Bodleian . . . allows users to download images for non-commercial use, make private notes and annotations, leave public comments on images and share images on social media. The resource is particularly suited to educational use as all images are available under an open license allowing for use in presentations, on virtual learning environments and on other non-commercial platforms.

National Library of Ireland Marks 200th Anniversary of Battle of Waterloo

waterlooThis years marks the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo where the Anglo-allied army under the Duke of Wellington defeated the French army under Napoleon Bonaparte. This was one of the most critical battles in European history.

To mark the anniversary the National Library of Ireland has made available over 300 digitized portraits of the Dublin-born Duke of Wellington and almost 100 digitized portraits of Napoleon. It also provides access to a selection of over 100 digitized prints relating to Waterloo.

Wikipedia as “bootlegger”

Wikipedia-logo-v2-enIn a new article, Amplifying the Impact of Open Access: Wikipedia and the Diffusion of Science, the authors analyze Wikipedia citations for presence of high impact journal articles and open access articles. Their conclusion:

We found that across languages, a journal’s academic status (impact factor) routinely predicts its appearance on Wikipedia. We also demonstrated, for the first time, that a journal’s accessibility (open access policy) generally increases probability of referencing on Wikipedia as well, albeit less consistently than its impact factor. The odds that an open access journal is referenced on the English Wikipedia are about 47% higher compared to closed access, paywall journals. More over, of closed access journals, those with high impact factors are also significantly more likely to appear in the English Wikipedia. Therefore, editors of the English Wikipedia act as “bootleggers” of high quality science by distilling and distributing otherwise closed access knowledge to a broad public audience, free of charge. Moreover, the English Wikipedia, as a platform, acts as an “amplifier” for the (already freely available) open access literature by preferentially broadcasting its findings to millions. There is a trade-off between academic status and accessibility evident on Wikipedias around the world.


Cambridge University Press Prevents Double-Dipping in New Open Access Subscription Policy

Cambridge University Press yesterday announced a new policy intended to prevent “double-dipping”, that is charging both authors and subscribers for Open Access journal content. The practice of double-dipping is disliked by many proponents and practitioners of OA who contend that publishers should not be paid twice, i.e. by the subscriptions paid by the university/college libraries as well as by authors who pay for their articles to be OA.

From CUP’s press release of 6 July, 2015:

Matthew Day, Head of Open and Data Publishing at Cambridge University Press, said; ‘We believe that double-dipping is wrong and we want to be clear about how we are preventing it.’

The new policy discounts 2016 subscription prices for journals that have received Open Access (OA) Article Processing Charges (APCs) from authors in the last full journal volume (that is, in 2014). If the fraction of OA articles in a journal was at least 5 per cent and the income from APCs was at least £5,000, then the Press is discounting renewed subscriptions by the lower of the percentage OA or the percentage APC income. All Open Access articles are included, except those in supplements published in addition to a volume’s subscription content. Subscribers already receiving a substantial discount on a journal’s subscription price, via a consortium package for example, will not receive an additional discount on their collection access fee as a result of these changes.

Mandy Hill, Managing Director of Academic, at Cambridge University Press, said; ‘We’ve previously had an anti-double-dipping policy in place, but this new policy is stronger and more transparent. It is an important part of how we serve the needs of the academic community.’

Critique of New Elsevier Policies

Elsevier announced new article self-archiving policies, in many ways more restrictive, under the promising banner: “Unleashing the power of academic sharing.

Many have since read the fine print and there has been angry backlash. Library Journal has a good analysis of the back and forth, in case you missed it as it unfolded.

Heather Joseph cuts to the heart of the matter:

“For us, the embargo period and the licensing issues are elements of the policy that are visible problems. But the revision of the policy itself was a troublesome move to our community…. The investment that we’ve made in repositories over the last decade is an important way for us to ensure that the academic community is asserting control over its own [intellectual property]. We’re producing these articles, we’re surfacing these ideas, and we’d like to have a say in how and when we share them with people.”

“Oligarchy” of Publishers

From CBC News — an interesting report on a new study just published in PLoS One about the academic publishing industry.

While traditional book and magazine publishers struggle to stay afloat, research publishing houses have typical profit margins of nearly 40 per cent, says Vincent Larivière, a researcher at the University of Montreal’s School of Library and Information Science.


What he and his collaborators found was that the five largest, for-profit academic publishers now publish 53 per cent of scientific papers in the natural and medical sciences – up from 20 per cent in 1973. In the social sciences, the top five publishers publish 70 per cent of papers.

Essentially, they’ve become an oligarchy, Larivière and co-authors Stefanie Haustein and Philippe Mongeon say in a paper published last week in the open access, non-profit journal PLOS ONE.

How copying promotes creativity


Jonathan Band makes some interesting observations in this post about film score composer Michael Giacchino (Jurassic World):

Giacchino told NPR how he became obsessed with Steven Spielberg films as he was       growing up:

“When I wasn’t able to get myself to a theater to re-watch, you know, E.T. for the hundredth time, or Raiders of the Lost Ark, or Star Wars, the only way to relive those movies was to listen to the soundtrack.” When he did go to the theaters, Giacchino would sneak in tape recorders so he could listen to the soundtracks later. “I still have all those cassettes,” he says. “I would just listen to Raiders of the Lost Ark over and over and over.”

Band points out:

But imagine a budding filmmaker who wants to study the various film and narrative techniques used in Jurassic World. Because of the studios’ windowing strategy, a DVD of the film probably would not be available for at least 120 days. Until then, the filmmaker might not be able to rely on fair use to make his own copy. 18 U.S.C. § 2319B, which imposes felony penalties on the use of an audiovisual recording device to make a copy of a motion picture in a motion picture exhibition facility, does not recognize fair use as a defense.

Image: By FabSubeject (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

UCL Launches UK’s First Fully OA University Press

UCLUniversity College London (UCL) has announced the launch of UCL Press, the UK’s first fully Open Access university press. The primary focus of the press will be scholarly monographs, textbooks and journals. Three inaugural monographs have just been published: Temptation in the Archives by Lisa Jardine,Treasures from UCL by Gillian Furlong and The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology: Characters and Collections by Alice Stevenson. All of UCL Press’s titles are freely available to download in open access digital editions.

From the 27 May press release: “The founding ethos of UCL Press builds upon UCL’s wider commitment to communicating and engaging with the world. Open Access ensures academic research is accessible to everyone, as all publications are freely available online with no payment restrictions.”

“Humanities Unbound: Supporting Careers and Scholarship Beyond the Tenure Track”

In “Humanities Unbound: Supporting Careers and Scholarship Beyond the Tenure Track”, an article in the latest issue of Digital Humanities Quarterly, Katina Rogers writes that humanities graduate programs should broaden their content. She argues cogently that as tenure track positions continue to shrink more and more Humanities doctoral graduates will work at careers other than the professoriate. Consequently, in addition to the traditional academic content, doctoral programs should include training in such 21st century skills and literacies as project management, collaboration, communication, technical fluency, and an understanding of organizational structures. Such knowledge

is critical to ensuring continued rigorous and creative research and other work products. Remaining wedded to outmoded systems, including a model of apprenticeship in higher education that reinforces the false assumption that professorship is the only meaningful career for humanities doctoral recipients, does a tremendous disservice to all individuals and organizations that benefit from humanistic perspectives. It is essential that humanities programs begin to equip graduate students for varied career paths and deep public engagement, while also emphasizing the value of working in a range of sectors beyond the tenure track. Professorships should not be seen as the sole prestigious career for humanists; instead, any intellectually rewarding role that contributes to society should be seen as a tremendously successful outcome. The time is ripe for prestige to be measured not only by tenure track placement rates, but also through the many other careers that graduates choose to pursue, and ways that those paths positively benefit the broader ecosystem of our shared cultural heritage.

Digital Public Library of America: Exhibitions

DPLAThe online exhibitions are a particularly interesting feature of the Digital Public Library of America. These exhibitions, all of which focus on a specific aspect of US history, include: Women with Wings: American Aviatrixes; Indomitable Spirits: Prohibition in the United States; Staking Claims: The Gold Rush in Nineteenth-Century America; Bread and Roses Strike of 1912: Two Months in Lawrence, Massachusetts, that Changed Labor History; The Show Must Go On! American Theater in the Great Depression.

The most recent exhibition is titled Building the First Transcontinental Railroad. This exhibition explores the construction of the first Transcontinental Railroad and its impact on American westward expansion. It is divided into five themes: History; Human Impact; Changing the Landscape; A Nation Divided; A Nation Transformed.

Exhibition’s Introduction:

As the United States began the most deadly conflict in its history, the American Civil War, it was also laying the groundwork for one of its greatest achievements in transportation. The First Transcontinental Railroad, approved by Congress in the midst of war, helped connect the country in ways never before possible. Americans could travel from coast to coast with speed, changing how Americans lived, traded, and communicated while disrupting ways of life practiced for centuries by Native American populations. The coast-to-coast railroad was the result of the work of thousands of Americans, many of whom were Chinese immigrant laborers who worked under discriminatory pressures and for lower wages than their Irish counterparts. These laborers braved incredibly harsh conditions to lay thousands of miles of track. That track—the work of two railroad companies competing to lay the most miles from opposite directions—came together with the famous Golden Spike at Promontory Summit in Utah on May 10, 1869.