FOS Newsletter, 12/5/01
Dec 05, 2001 09:56 PST
Welcome to the Free Online Scholarship (FOS) Newsletter
December 5, 2001
Budapest FOS conference
On December 1-2 I attended a small, intense, productive, and very enjoyable
conference in Budapest to map strategies for achieving FOS world-wide. The
conference was hosted by the Open Society Institute (OSI), which supports
this newsletter with a grant. Formally around a table and informally at
meals and in walks along the Danube, we talked and talked and talked about
our separate FOS initiatives, how they could achieve synergy and assist one
another, how OSI could assist us, and how to accelerate progress for
all. We're still at work on a product of the conference, which I'll be
able to describe more fully when it's ready for the public.
The conference was deeply gratifying for several reasons. It was
gratifying that a major foundation was committed to the FOS cause and had
brought us together to work out a common strategy. It was gratifying to
find that we could agree on a path forward. It was gratifying to be thrown
together with this bunch of knowledgeable and hard-working people. We were
able to put aside the burden of informing newcomers and answering critics
--the walking FAQ problem-- and enjoy the company and unique perspectives
of like-minded activists from around the world. We were able to presuppose
esoteric knowledge and jump-start deep and fruitful conversations. We were
able to draw on the wide experience in the room to examine FOS obstacles in
detail and take their true measure. We are able to meet people whose work
we had long admired. We made many new friends. We juiced our confidence
that FOS is inevitable.
The trip took four days out of my news-gathering schedule. I'm about half
caught up and have decided to draw the line here for this issue. By next
week's issue should I should be back up to date. I'm eager to tell you the
rest of the conference story, but first I have to carve out some time for
the conference homework. To be continued.
The living dead problem
In the November 27 _Los Angeles Times_, David Colker points out that
sensitive information removed from the web to keep it from terrorists is
still available in many web archives (e.g. the Wayback Machine) and search
engine caches (e.g. Google's).
David Colker, The Web Never Forgets
Chris Sherman deserves credit for making the same point as early as October 9.
The difficulty of total deletion of net content is only a problem for
information that lends itself to abuse, like open discussions of security
gaps at nuclear power plants. But for valuable content like FOS, it's a
boon. The difficulty of total deletion is really a proof-of-concept for
LOCKSS (Lots of Copies Keeps Stuff Safe), a strategy for long-term
preservation that systematically caches content in a self-correcting P2P
network. See FOSN for 6/25/01.
The difficulty of total deletion has one more benefit for FOS. If you put
an unrefereed preprint of your work on the web, well before the moment when
you might assign the copyright to a journal, and then later publish a
revised or unrevised version in a journal, the journal may ask you to
remove the preprint from the web. You needn't comply; but even if you try
to do so, the preprint will almost certainly survive in some freely
accessible form. A recent thread of the September98 forum discussed the
effect of this phenomenon on copyright negotiations.
Thread name, "Copyright: Form, Content, and Prepublication Incarnations"
(The topic is more explicit later in the thread than earlier.)
Two courts put copyright ahead of the freedom to publish research
On November 28, Edward Felten lost his suit to overturn parts of the DMCA,
and immediately appealed the decision to the Second Circuit Court of
Appeals. Felten seeks a declaratory judgment that he has a First Amendment
right to publish his encryption research, and that any statute to the
contrary (in this case the anti-circumvention provision of the DMCA) must
be struck down as unconstitutional.
Felten lost because the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)
has said in public that it would not sue him for publishing his
research. However, before the RIAA made these public statements, an RIAA
lawyer threatened to sue Felten in writing. Felten didn't go to court
because the lawyer's letter was more credible than the RIAA public
statements, but because scholars in his position shouldn't have to
guess. Moreover, scholars shouldn't have to ask the entertainment industry
to make public statements before they feel free to exercise their First
Declan McCullagh, Code-Breakers Go To Court
Robert Lemos, Court dismisses free-speech lawsuit
EFF archive on the Felten case
FOSN back issues on the Felten case
Before you get too optimistic about Felten's appeal, the Second Circuit
Court of Appeals, where Felten's appeal will be heard, just decided that
2600 Magazine had no First Amendment right to publish the source code to
DeCSS, a program to bypass encryption on DVD's. This decision was also
handed down on November 28.
The court made the important concession that source code is "speech"
protected by the First Amendment. But it held that the DMCA
anti-circumvention clause is a "content-neutral" regulation of speech, and
is therefore subject to a less hostile level of scrutiny from courts. This
enabled the court to rule that the anti-circumvention clause survives the
relevant level of scrutiny. (PS: Is this prohibition really
content-neutral if it picks out all and only those compilable texts
enabling users to circumvent copyright protection schemes?)
The court also ruled that sites that knowingly link to other sites
containing the source code are as unlawful as sites that publish the code
themselves. This upholds the strongest "guilt by linking" decision to
date. (For more on the legality of linking, see FOSN for 6/1/01.)
If you think you've read contradictory news about this case, you're almost
right. On November 1, a California court upheld the right to publish the
DeCSS source code and to link to other sites doing the same. (See FOSN for
11/9/01.) There are two reasons why the November 1 case doesn't help 2600
Magazine. First, it vindicates Andrew Bunner, not 2600 Magazine. Bunner
had been separately prosecuted for publishing the DeCSS code on his
site. Second, it was decided by a California state court (interpreting
federal law), not a federal court. Since the issues in the case are
federal law issues, the federal verdict will trump contrary state verdicts.
Evan Hansen, Ban on DVD-cracking code upheld
John Schwartz, 2 Copyright Cases Decided in Favor of Entertainment Industry
(On both the DeCSS and Felten cases.)
Declan McCullagh, Copyright Law Foes Lose Big
(On both the DeCSS and Felten cases.)
Decision of the federal appeals court against 2600 Magazine, November 28, 2001
Decision of the California court for Bunner, November 1, 2001
EFF archive on the DeCSS cases
Stefan Bechtold, The [Legal] Link Controversy Page
(Last updated in September but still valuable.)
FOSN back issues on the DeCSS cases
* Postscript. In related news, Dmitry Sklyarov's trial has been set for
FOSN back issues on the Sklyarov case
* JournalSeek and LinkOpenly will merge into a new service called
LinkFinderPlus. The result is a library-based (as opposed to
publisher-based) reference linking system. LinkFinderPlus is based on
* The Canadian National Site Licensing Project (CNSLP) is an unusual and
award-winning national consortium to bargain down the price of licences to
priced online journals. (See FOSN for 9/14/01.) CNSLP met in late
November to discuss expanding the scope of its activities.
* On November 28, BioOne announced the first 15 consortial subscriptions
since its launch nine months ago. BioOne aggregates 46 influential,
peer-reviewed online science journals and makes them available at a low,
competitive price. (This announcement from SPARC, one of BioONe's founding
organizations, is not yet on the web at SPARC or BioOne. Sorry I can't
give you a link.)
* On November 28, ISI announced the official launch of its Web of Knowledge
service, a very unfree library of online science and related tools.
* On November 28, _The Dismal Scientist_ from economy.com left the FOS
domain and began charging a subscription. The new price is $16.95 a
month. (PS: Giving the monthly rather than the yearly price is a strategy
that I associate with K-Mart for making its TVs and riding mowers seem more
affordable than they really are. Will economists fall for it?)
* You've probably heard that British Telecommunications (BT) claims a
patent on the hyperlink, filed in the U.S. in 1976 and granted in
1989. Last December it showed that it was willing to defend the patent in
court by suing Prodigy, the first U.S. commercial ISP. The recent news is
simply that this case hasn't gone away yet. The next pre-trial hearing on
the case has been set for February 11-12, 2002, in a federal district court
in New York.
* The International Digital Electronic Access Library (IDEAL) has announced
that eight African nations (Sudan, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique,
Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia) have acquired the reduced-rate national
license it offers through Academic Press. Some of the nations are
receiving financial help for the license from the International Network for
the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP).
* At the conclusion of its November conference in Qatar, the World Trade
Organization issued a statement asserting that public health supersedes
intellectual property rights. The intent is clearly to increase the
accessibility of medicines, and therefore pertains more to patents than
copyrights. But the statement's language is intriguingly general. The
WTO's new TRIPS agreement (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property
Rights) "does not and should not prevent Members from taking measures to
protect public health." If we read this principle as extending to
copyrights, then it might imply e.g. that a licensee of ScienceDirect may
share articles on medical research with non-licensees in developing
countries. Does anyone know of a test case in the pipeline?
Paul Blustein, Getting WTO's Attention
* FractalEdge Technology has released a program to organize a large
collection of information as an image-map with a quasi-fractal
structure. Mouse rollovers highlight different aspects of the collection's
structure. When you click on a piece of exposed structure, its
sub-structure opens for further browsing, and so on and so on as far as the
collection reaches. A compact and elegant way to organize very large
Example at work, organizing the books for sale at The Book Place
* A new technology called Network Diversity can transmit information
securely without encryption. The basic trick is to divide the data into
packets so small that each represents less than a single character, and
then to send the packets over different networks. The motivation was not
that hackers were breaking encryption but that encrypted files took too
long to transmit. Files secured with the new technology transmit even
faster than the unsecured version of the same files. Network Diversity is
made by Amino Communications.
Amino's press release on Network Diversity
Postscript: This won't replace the encryption of ebooks sitting on ebook
readers, since there is no transmission involved. So it won't affect DMCA
anti-circumvention problems. But it could streamline secure transmissions
enough to make it an attractive way to authenticate articles in online
journals. It will also survive any regulation of encryption currently
contemplated by Congress.
* ContentGuard has launched version 2.0 of XrML (eXtensible rights Markup
Language), which is designed to integrate DRM protection with data
files. Now that 2.0 is finished, ContentGuard plans to turn over control
of the language to a yet-unnamed international standards organization.
XrML press release
XrML home page
Postscript: ContentGuard claims that XrML is the only rights language
currently at work in DRM software. This seems to be a dig at XMCL, another
variant XML with the same purpose (see FOSN for 11/2/01). There's probably
a difference in the specs, but without looking too closely the main
difference seems to be that XrML is supported by Microsoft and XMCL is
supported by RealNetworks, Adobe, IBM, Sony, Sun, and the usual gang of
giants fighting for their lives against Microsoft. Since both languages
will be turned over to international standards organizations, the question
for both groups is how far the international bodies are above market
pressures and how far they might be willing to blend concepts from the
separate approaches. The question for FOS is how to prevent these
DRM-mutants from infecting the XML standard.
XMCL home page
PPS. In November the Open Digital Rights Language Initiative released
version 1.0 its language, which will require no licensing payments. This
culminates a six-month series of sub-1.0 releases.
New on the net
* The International Coalition of Library Consortia (ICOLC) has revised its
guidelines for measuring the usage of online resources. It's the first
revision of its guidelines since November 1988.
ICOLC has also revised its statement on selecting and buying electronic
information. The revised version includes an update on licensing
ejournals. This is the first revision since March 1998.
* The proceedings of the Science and Technology Libraries Section of the
August IFLA conference at Cornell University are now online.
* If you want to write your own taxonomy software (see FOSN for 11/2/01,
11/9/01) or just understanding better how it works, these white papers from
Quiver should help.
* Florida Atlantic University has put up a web page comparing the costs of
journals and databases to luxury items like cars and houses.
See Brown University's similar page on outrageous journal prices.
Recall Cornell's Sticker Shock page (FOSN for 8/16/01)
Share your thoughts
* How would you use a digital library on gender and science, what criteria
should guide its development, and are you willing to help? If you're
interested, answer these survey questions for the Gender and Diversities
* The eVALUEd project is conducting a literature review on the evaluation
of digital libraries and would like your pointers to relevant literature
and related projects.
* The Media Access Project (MAP) is working to prevent monopolies from
growing up in the cable industry. If you are a content producer with a
horror story you'd like the FCC to hear, then MAP would like to hear from you.
* If you're worried about harm to the free internet, either from terrorists
or from governments fighting terrorists, here are some initiatives that can
use your help. I'll add more in future issues as I find more.
National Emergency Technology Guard (NetGuard): a proposed volunteer
force, to be debated in Congress in December
Open Anti-Virus: an open-source, non-censoring platform for data security
In other publications
* An article forthcoming in the January 2002 _Portal_ is excerpted in the
October-November _SPARC E-News_. Lance Lugar and Kate Thomes survey the
ways that ARL member libraries use their web sites to help patrons
understand the controversies affecting access to scholarly literature. No
one doubts that ARL is a champion of free and affordable online access,
especially through SPARC and CNI. However, the survey shows that the "ARL
libraries do not make widespread, extensive use of their capacities for web
publishing to present the issues of scholarly communication to their patron
* The December 3 issue of ISI's _InCites_ computes England's percentage of
the world's published papers in 22 scientific fields and its national
citation impact in the same fields. (PS: Next, tenure will depend on
one's national impact factor.)
* In the December _Journal of Electronic Publishing_ (JEP), Charles Bailey
tells the 10-year story of the evolution of his huge and useful Scholarly
Electronic Publishing Bibliography.
* Also in the December _JEP_, John Willinsky and Larry Wolfson argue that
the pain of the serials crisis has not sufficed to usher in widespread FOS,
but that if we add a new generation of services to index online journals,
we may create a "tipping point" that will accelerate progress. Online
indices have the potential to surpass existing indices and full-text search
engines in precision, consistency, completeness, integration (one-stop
shopping), and of course in cost. Willinsky and Wolfson back this up with
an extensive survey of the weaknesses of the existing body of indices.
* Also in the December _JEP_, Mike Sosteric, Yuwei Shi, and Olivier Wenker
issue a call to arms to fight for FOS. A key breakthrough, they argue,
will be the shift from paper-first journals to electronic-first
journals. To prepare a document first for print and then for the web
requires unnecessary DTD's and effort, while new tools make the reverse
path highly efficient. The authors include a detailed account of how two
organizations, ICAAP and BlueSky, implement electronic-first publishing and
how much it can reduce journal operating costs.
* Also in the December _JEP_, Marshall Poe describes why online publishing
will save the specialized monograph. You'll enjoy his funny, first-person
account of an experiment with informal peer review, the public domain,
Printing Service Providers (PSP's), and print-on-demand.
* In the December 1 _Econtent_, Martin White analyzes the serials pricing
crisis for an audience of commercial publishers. For example, as journal
prices rose, "[t]he publishers were in an enviable position, as journals
are not substitutable." Or, "[t]he problem is that no one walks into a
library and asks for all the Elsevier journals on hypertension. They want
all the journals on hypertension." Or, "[l]ibraries are very keen to have
[the data generated by publishers], since it would enable them, for the
first time, to have reliable usage statistics on which to base their
cancellation policy. For obvious reasons, publishers are unwilling to
release this information!"
* In the November 27 _Wired News_, Karlin Lillington interviews Lawrence
Lessig and other copyright critics on the growing copyright stranglehold on
culture and creativity.
* Does opening up the review of public school textbooks from a small board
of state-paid reviewers to the general public increase or decrease the
power of extremist groups to push their ideologies? Michael Quinn Sullivan
reports in the November 15 _Houston Chronicle_ that in Texas, so far, it
seems to decrease it.
* In the November issue of the _High Energy Physics Libraries Webzine_
(HEPLW), Guenther Eichhorn gives a comprehensive tour of the NASA
Astrophysics Data System, a major source of FOS in astronomy and astrophysics.
* Also in the November _HEPLW_, Jean-Blaise Claivaz, Jean-Yves Le Meur, and
Nicholas Robinson describe a method worked out at CERN to automate the
extraction of structured citations from full-text documents. This should
be seen in the larger context of automating the extraction of metadata from
arbitrary resource files and automating retroactive reference linking
within a set of arbitrary resources.
* In a November conference paper now online, Peter Haddad argues that
libraries should catalog digital resources and integrate them into their
overall collections. In addition to helping users, this effort by
individual "hybrid libraries" will help develop a national infrastructure
for information services. "My advice would be to continue to create the
data that outlives changing rules and transient library management
* The October issue of _ASSIGN_ (a journal for social science librarians)
is devoted to ebooks. Only the table of contents and one of the 11
articles is available online.
* Chris Ridings has written the most detailed account I've seen of Google's
algorithm for computing page-rank.
At the same time, Google is planning to tweak its algorithm to allow user
ratings to affect page-rank.
Download the 1.1.51 beta of Google's new toolbar which lets you rate pages
(IE users only).
* In the summer issue of _The Journal of Academic Media Librarianship_,
Champa Jayawardana, K. Priyantha Hewagamage, and Masahito Hirakawa describe
tools for personalizing a learning environment within a digital library.
* In the last issue I reported that University of California libraries
received a Mellon grant to study how users respond when they have online
access, and not print access, to selected journals. But I linked to a news
story which didn't in turn link to the study. Here's the home page for the
* When Google started indexing Word, Excel, PowerPoint, RTF, and PS files
recently (see FOSN for 11/2/01), it started shining a public light on
confidential information like passwords and credit card numbers, and
spreading format-dependent viruses.
If you plan to attend one of the following conferences, please share your
observations with us through our discussion forum.
* Online Information 2001
London, December 4-6
* Second Meeting of the Centre for Educational Technology Interoperability
Standards (CETIS) Educational Content Special Interest Group (EC SIG)
Luton, December 7
* The Electronic Library: Strategic, Policy and Management Issues
Loughborough, December 9-14
* 4th International Conference of Asian Digital Libraries
Bangalore, December 10-12
* Moving Beyond the Catalog: Bibliographic Access in a Web World
Worcester, Massachusetts, December 11
* Academic Institutions Transforming Scholarly Communications (SPARC/ARL
Forum at the ALA Midwinter Meeting)
New Orleans, January 18-23
* Book Tech 2002
New York, February 11-13
* International Spring School on the Digital Library and E-publishing for
Science and Technology
Geneva, March 3-8
* Database and Digital Library Technologies (part of the 17th ACM Symposium
on Applied Computing)
Madrid, March 10-14
* Computers in Libraries 2002
Washington D.C., March 13-15
* The Electronic Publishers Coalition (EPC) conference on ebooks and
epublishing (obscurely titled, Electronically Published Internet
Connection, or EPIC)
Seattle, March 14-16
* Internet Librarian International 2002
London, March 18-20
* The New Information Order and the Future of the Archive
Edinburgh, March 20-23
The Free Online Scholarship Newsletter is supported by a grant from the
Open Society Institute.
This is the Free Online Scholarship Newsletter (ISSN 1535-7848).
Please feel free to forward any issue of the newsletter to interested
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FOS home page, general information, subscriptions, editorial position
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Guide to the FOS Movement
Copyright (c) 2001, Peter Suber
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