Recently the Associated Press and British Movietone, two of the world’s largest newsreel archives, uploaded over one million minutes of digitized film footage to YouTube. This incorporates about 550,000 video stories dating from 1895 to the present day. Alwyn Lindsey, AP’s director of international archive said: “The AP archive footage, combined with the British Movietone collection, creates an incredible visual journey of the people and events that have shaped our history.” Among this massive treasure trove of newsreels one may view footage of the Titanic leaving Belfast Lough in 1912; the bombing of Pearl Harbor; V E Day in London, 1945; futuristic and outlandish fashions for brides from 1966; broadcast of the release of Nelson Mandela from prison, 1990; as well as thousands of other news stories, both serious and light. One may search for footage through Youtube itself or through the Associated Press and British Movietone own YouTube channels.
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.
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.
In Spring 2014 the Nature Publishing Group (NPG) and Palgrave Macmillan conducted an Author Insights survey. A couple of days ago they made the survey’s data publicly available “in order to achieve greater understanding between authors, funders and publishers, particularly with regard to open access.” 30,466 researchers participated in the survey.
From the press release:
The survey reveals authors’ views on a diverse range of topics, including how authors make publishing decisions, funding availability and reasons for choosing open access as a publishing route. It is available to view and download via a CC BY license on figshare, along with a short summary pulling out the highlights.
Sam Burridge, Managing Director Open Research NPG/Palgrave Macmillan said: “To celebrate Open Access Week, we’re releasing our internal dataset via figshare for anyone to view, download and analyse. As far as we know, this is the first time that a publisher has made the detailed results of a survey of this size and scope completely open.
“It’s vital that decision-making in the academic publishing community is evidence-based, which is why we’re making this data open access. We believe it will contribute to an increased understanding of the real issues in academic publishing, and we encourage researchers to dig into this data and use it to help inform our community.”
Key findings from the survey include:
- 1 in 5 (20%) science authors and 1 in 10 (12%) HSS authors do not know if their main funder requires them to publish open access
- A significant number of authors are unaware of the requirements of even the largest OA funders with long-established mandates.
- For example, 17% of Wellcome Trust and 25% of NIH-funded authors do not know if their funders have OA requirements
- 40% of science authors and 54% of HSS authors who have not published open access say that ‘I am concerned about perceptions of the quality of OA publications’
The article “Open Access To Research: An Ideal Complicated By Reality” appeared in Forbes on 29th July. Though the authors support open access and the new Obama-administration policy, details of which are to be announced in August, they point out that some kinds of research conducted at university, “primarily government-funded classified research and some industry-sponsored research—do not always appear in scientific publications and are sometimes at odds with the ideal of transparency and open communication of knowledge”.
Transcribe Bentham is a collaborative transcription initiative whose goal is to digitize and make available digital images of the unpublished manuscripts of Jeremy Bentham (1748 – 1832), the utilitarian philosopher. The project is based at University College London. There are 60,000 papers written by Bentham in UCL’s library but several thousands of these papers, potentially of immense historical and philosophical importance, have yet to be transcribed and studied. By transcribing this material for the first time, two important tasks will be accomplished:
- making Bentham’s thought accessible to the world at large
- and helping UCL’s Bentham Project, which was founded in 1959 to produce the new, authoritative edition of the Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham.
Anyone can participate in this project. “You do not need any specialist knowledge or training, technical expertise, or historical background: just some enthusiasm (and, perhaps, some patience).”
Volunteers are asked to encode their transcripts in Text Encoding Initiative (TEI)-compliant XML. The project managers realize that this may seem off-putting to some volunteers. Accordingly, in an attempt to make the addition of mark-up as straightforward as possible they have created the ‘Transcription Toolbar’. Instead of typing the tags oneself, simply clicking on a button will generate the required piece of mark-up.
For more information see the Transcribe Bentham website.
Richard Poynder interviews Fred Friend “on the state of Open Access: Where are we, what still needs to be done?”
Friend has little time for hybrid journals:
The concept of hybrid subscription/APC-paid gold OA journals looked attractive when they first appeared but the model has not been implemented widely. Even ignoring suspicions of “double-dipping”, the model has suffered from the flaws in both the subscription and APC-paid models. Rather than overcoming the flaws in the subscription model, hybrid journals have added to those flaws the flaws in the APC-paid model.
In principle hybrid journals could have assisted in a transition to an individual-article publishing model, but the continuing publisher accounting model by journal title rather than by individual article has rendered hybrid journals ineffective as a mechanism for change. Journal titles are a convenient way of grouping related articles but are not a good basis for cost-effective business models.
Friend’s expectations for OA in 2013:
Obviously more growth in OA content and commitment, but perhaps even more important are the stories we are beginning to hear of the value of sharing research and teaching resources freely across the world.
Open access is good in itself, but the real benefit from the ability of researchers, teachers and learners to share content without financial, legal or technical barriers lies in the intellectual, economic and social growth which results from that sharing.
The British Library has digitized 253 Renaissance festival books (selected from over 2,000 in the BL’s collection) that describe the magnificent festivals and ceremonies that took place in Europe between 1475 and 1700 – marriages and funerals of royalty and nobility, coronations, stately entries into cities and other grand events. The books are presented in their original languages, and include bindings, preliminary material, title pages and dedications. The texts are fully searchable using a wide range of search terms, covering such areas as participants (named in the titles of the books), places, topics, bibliographical details, and elements of the visual and performing arts.
The following museums are included in the study:
• British Museum, London
• Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis
• J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
• Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles
• Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
• Morgan Library and Museum, New York
• National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
• Victoria and Albert Museum, London
• Walters Art Museum, Baltimore
• Yale Center for British Art, New Haven
• Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven
From the Report’s Executive Summary:
This report describes the current approaches of 11 art museums in the United States and the United Kingdom to the use of images of works of art that are in their collections and are in the public domain. Each approach is slightly different. By presenting the thought processes and methods used in these institutions, this report aims to inform the decision making of other museums that are considering open access to images in their collections.
Following are the key findings presented in this report:
• Providing open access is a mission-driven decision.
• Different museums look at open access in different ways.
• Internal process is important.
• Loss of control fades as a concern.
• Technology matters.
• Revenue matters less than many institutions think it does.
• Change is good.
UNESCO is making its publications open access, that is freely available to anyone with internet access.
Extracts from Press Release:
UNESCO will make its digital publications available to millions of people around the world free-of-charge with an open license. Following a decision by the Organization’s Executive Board in April, UNESCO has become the first member of the United Nations to adopt such an Open Access policy for its publications. The new policy means that anyone will be able to download, translate, adapt, distribute and re-share UNESCO publications and data without paying.. . .
Starting from July 2013, hundreds of downloadable digital UNESCO publications will be available to users through a new Open Access Repository with a multilingual interface. All new publications will be released with an open license. UNESCO will also seek ways to apply it retroactively, i.e. to works already published.. If UNESCO enters into special agreements with publishing partners the Open Access policy need not apply. Co-publishers will be strongly encouraged to adhere to the requirements of the new policy.
By championing Open Access for its publications, UNESCO reinforces a fundamental goal of an Intergovernmental Organization – to ensure that all the knowledge it creates is made available to the widest possible audience.