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August 22 2013

Principes directeurs pour le Libre accès par l'UNESCO

Principes directeurs pour le Libre accès par l’UNESCO,537

L’UNESCO vient d’annoncer la traduction en français et en espagnol de son guide « Principes directeurs pour le développement et la promotion du LIBRE ACCÈS ». La version anglaise était disponible depuis 2012. Dans l’introduction, l’UNESCO donne son objectif : « La visée primordiale de toutes les actions de l’UNESCO dans le domaine du Libre accès est de faciliter la mise en place, dans ses États membres, d’un environnement propice au Libre accès, de telle façon que les fruits de la recherche soient publiquement accessibles à tous sur l’Internet. »

Neuf chapitres composent le guide :

Chapitre 1 : Développement du Libre accès à l’information et aux travaux de recherche scientifique
Chapitre 2 : Les modalités du Libre accès
Chapitre 3 : L’importance du Libre accès
Chapitre 4 : Les avantages du Libre accès
Chapitre 5 : Les modèles économiques
Chapitre 6 : Droit d’auteur et licence
Chapitre 7 : Stratégies de promotion du Libre accès
Chapitre 8 : Cadre général de la politique du Libre accès
Chapitre 9 : Résumé des principes directeurs

#openaccess #unesco

July 16 2012



Stevan Harnad, professor of electronics and computer science at Southampton University, said the government was facing an expensive bill in supporting gold open access over the green open access model.

He said UK universities and research funders had been leading the world in the movement towards "green" open access that requires researchers to self-archive their journal articles on the web, and make them free for all.

"The Finch committee's recommendations look superficially as if they are supporting open access, but in reality they are strongly biased in favour of the interests of the publishing industry over the interests of UK research," he said.

"Instead of recommending that the UK build on its historic lead in providing cost-free green open access, the committee has recommended spending a great deal of extra money — scarce research money — to pay publishers for "gold open access publishing. If the Finch committee recommendations are heeded, as David Willetts now proposes, the UK will lose both its global lead in open access and a great deal of public money — and worldwide open access will be set back at least a decade," he said.

Free access to British scientific research within two years | Science | The Guardian 2012-07-15
Reposted bypaket paket

May 30 2012

April 27 2012

Publishing News: Tor sets content free

Here are a few stories that caught my eye in the publishing space this week.

Tor breaks the stick

Tor-Forge-Logo.JPGJoe Wikert, O'Reilly GM and publisher, asked this week, "What if DRM goes away?" As kismet would have it, publisher Tom Doherty Associates, which publishes popular science fiction/fantasy imprint Tor under Macmillan, stepped up to drop DRM and find out. An announcement post on stated that by July, the company's "entire list of e-books will be available DRM-free." President and publisher Tom Doherty said for the announcement:

"Our authors and readers have been asking for this for a long time. They're a technically sophisticated bunch, and DRM is a constant annoyance to them. It prevents them from using legitimately purchased e-books in perfectly legal ways, like moving them from one kind of e-reader to another."

Author Cory Doctorow said the move "might be the watershed for ebook DRM, the turning point that marks the moment at which all ebooks end up DRM-free. It's a good day." Author Charlie Stross took a look at the big picture and what this might mean not only for the future of publishers, but for book retailers, supply chains and ebook reading technology. In part, he said the oligopoly may be in jeopardy:

"Longer term, removing the requirement for DRM will lower the barrier to entry in ebook retail, allowing smaller retailers (such as Powells) to compete effectively with the current major incumbents. This will encourage diversity in the retail sector, force the current incumbents to interoperate with other supply sources (or face an exodus of consumers), and undermine the tendency towards oligopoly. This will, in the long term, undermine the leverage the large vendors currently have in negotiating discount terms with publishers while improving the state of midlist sales."

Jeremy Trevathan, publisher at Tor UK's parent Pan Macmillan, told The Guardian that Macmillan has "no thought of extending [the drop of DRM] beyond science fiction and fantasy publishing. But it's in the air. We've not talked about this to other publishers, but I can't imagine they haven't been thinking about this, too."

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Harvard offers up big data and open access research

Harvard University recently made a couple of notable moves to open up access to its data and research. Last week, Harvard's faculty and advisory council sent a memo to faculty members regarding periodical subscriptions. The memo opened: "We write to communicate an untenable situation facing the Harvard Library. Many large journal publishers have made the scholarly communication environment fiscally unsustainable and academically restrictive."

Ian Sample at The Guardian reported:

"According to the Harvard memo, journal subscriptions are now so high that to continue them 'would seriously erode collection efforts in many other areas, already compromised.' The memo asks faculty members to encourage their professional organisations to take control of scholarly publishing, and to consider submitting their work to open access journals and resigning from editorial boards of journals that are not open access."

This week, The New York Times (NYT) reported that "Harvard is making public the information on more than 12 million books, videos, audio recordings, images, manuscripts, maps, and more things inside its 73 libraries." Access to this volume of metadata is likely to fuel innovation for developers. The NYT report stated:

"At a one-day test run with 15 hackers working with information on 600,000 items, [David Weinberger, co-director of Harvard's Library Lab] said, people created things like visual timelines of when ideas became broadly published, maps showing locations of different items, and a 'virtual stack' of related volumes garnered from various locations."

The post noted the "metadata will be available for bulk download both from Harvard and from the Digital Public Library of America, which is an effort to create a national public library online."

News scoops for sale or rent

There also was a dustup in the news space this week. It began with Felix Salmon's post at Reuters suggesting the New York Times could rake in revenue by selling advance access to its feature stories to hedge funds. (This was all brought on by the newspaper's feature piece on a Wal-Mart bribe inquiry on a Saturday and the market response the following Monday.)

Salmon argued:

"The main potential problem I see here is that if such an arrangement were in place, corporate whistleblowers might be risking prosecution as insider traders. But I'm sure the lawyers could work that one out. The church-lady types would I'm sure faint with horror. But if hedge funds are willing to pay the NYT large sums of money to be able to get a glimpse of stories before they're made fully public, what fiduciary could simply turn such hedge funds away?"

GigaOm's Mathew Ingram posted a response from a journalism ethics standpoint:

"One of the things that bothers me about this idea is that I think there is still some kind of public-service or public-policy value in journalism, and especially the news — I don't think it is just another commodity that should be designed to make as much money as possible. And if the New York Times were to take stories that are arguably of social significance and provide them to hedge funds in advance, I think that would make it a very different type of entity than it is now. What if it was a story about a dangerous drug or national security?"

Salmon posted a follow-up argument, in part responding to Ingram:

"The journalism-ethics angle to this hasn't really been fleshed out, though. Mathew Ingram, for instance, says that if news is being put out in the public service, then it shouldn't be 'just another commodity'; if the NYT were to go down this road, then 'that would make it a very different type of entity than it is now.' It's all very vague and hand-wavey."

All three posts in this back-and-forth exchange (here, here and here) as well as the debate on Twitter that Ingram storified here are well worth the read.


March 21 2012


Consumers in the Information Society: Access, Fairness and Representation


Free ebook

Members of Consumers International (CI), the only global campaigning voice for consumers, came together from around the world to discuss and set an agenda for advocacy on these issues, at the first global summit Consumers in the Information Society: Access, Fairness and Representation held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 8 and 9 March 2012. This book contains the research reports and working papers presented at that conference.

#ebook #consumers #digitalrights #copyright

March 20 2012

Play fullscreen

Evolutionary biologist Michael Eisen made this t-shirt design in support of the Elsevier boycott.

Academic research is behind bars and an online boycott by 8,209 researchers (and counting) is seeking to set it free…well, more free than it has been. The boycott targets Elsevier, the publisher of popular journals like Cell and The Lancet,  for its aggressive business practices, but opposition was electrified by Elsevier’s backing of a Congressional bill titled the Research Works Act (RWA). Though lesser known than the other high-profile, privacy-related bills SOPA and PIPA, the act was slated to reverse the Open Access Policy enacted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2008 that granted the public free access to any article derived from NIH-funded research. Now, only a month after SOPA and PIPA were defeated thanks to the wave of online protests, the boycotting researchers can chalk up their first win: Elsevier has withdrawn its support of the RWA, although the company downplayed the role of the boycott in its decision, and the oversight committee killed it right away.

But the fight for open access is just getting started.

Seem dramatic? Well, here’s a little test. Go to any of the top academic journals in the world and try to read an article. The full article, mind you…not just the abstract or the first few paragraphs. Hit a paywall? Try an article written 20 or 30 years ago in an obscure journal. Just look up something on PubMed then head to JSTOR where a vast archive of journals have been digitized for reference. Denied? Not interested in paying $40 to the publisher to rent the article for a few days or purchase it for hundreds of dollars either? You’ve just logged one of the over 150 million failed attempts per year to access an article on JSTOR. Now consider the fact that the majority of scientific articles in the U.S., for example, has been funded by government-funded agencies, such as the National Science Foundation, NIH, Department of Defense, Department of Energy, NASA, and so on. So while taxpayer money has fueled this research, publishers charge anyone who wants to actually see the results for themselves, including the authors of the articles.

Paying a high price for academic journals isn’t anything new, but the events that unfolded surrounding the RWA was the straw that broke the camel’s back. It began last December when the RWA was submitted to Congress. About a month later, Timothy Gowers, a mathematics professor at Cambridge University, posted rather innocently to his primarily mathematics-interested audience his particular problems with Elsevier, citing exorbitant prices and forcing libraries to purchase journal bundles rather than individual titles. But clearly, it was Elsevier’s support of the RWA that was his call to action. Two days later, he launched the boycott of Elsevier at, calling upon his fellow academics to refuse to work with the publisher in any capacity.

Seemingly right out of Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point, researchers started taking a stand in droves. And the boycott of Elsevier continues on, though with less gusto now that the RWA is dead. It’s important to point out though that the boycott is not aimed at forcing Elsevier to make the journals free, but protesting the way it does its business and the fact that it has profits four times larger than related publishers. The Statement of Purpose for the protest indicates that the specific issues that researchers have with Elsevier varies, but “…what all the signatories do agree on is that Elsevier is an exemplar of everything that is wrong with the current system of commercial publication of mathematics journals.”

The advantages of open access to researchers have been known for some time, but its popularity has struggled.

It’s clear that all forms of print media, including newspapers, magazines, and books, are in a crisis in the digital era (remember Borders closing?). The modern accepted notion that information should be free has crippled publishers and many simply waited too long to evolve into new pay models. When academic journals went digital, they locked up access behind paywalls or tried to sell individual articles at ridiculous prices. Academic research is the definition of premium, timely content and prices reflected an incredibly small customer base (scientific researchers around the globe) who desperately needed the content as soon as humanly possible. Hence, prices were set high enough that libraries with budgets remained the primary customers, until of course library budgets got slashed, but academics vying for tenure, grants, relevance, or prestige continued to publish in these same journals. After all, where else could they turn…that is, besides the Public Library of Science (PLoS) project?

In all fairness, some journals get it. The Open Directory maintains a list of journals that switched from paywalls to open access or are experimenting with alternative models. Odds are very high that this list will continue to grow, but how fast? And more importantly, will the Elsevier boycott empower researchers to get on-board the open access paradigm, even if it meant having to reestablish themselves in an entirely new ecosystem of journals?

As the numbers of dissenting researchers continue to climb, calls for open access to research are translating into new legislation…and the expected opposition. But let’s hope that some are thinking about breaking free from the journal model altogether and discovering creative, innovative ways to get their research findings out there, like e-books or apps that would make the research compelling and interactive. Isn’t it about time researchers took back control of their work?

If you are passionate about the issue of open access to research, you’ll want to grab a cup of coffee and nestle in for this Research Without Borders video from Columbia University, which really captures the challenge of transition from the old publishing model to the new digital world:

[Media: Michael Eisen, Open Access, YouTube]

[Sources: ChronicleThe Cost of KnowledgeLibrary JournalNYTimes]

January 05 2012

Strata Week: Unfortunately for some, Uber's dynamic pricing worked

Here are a few of the data stories that caught my attention this week.

Uber's dynamic pricing

Uber logoMany passengers using the luxury car service Uber on New Year's Eve suffered from sticker shock when they saw that a hefty surcharge had been added to their bills — a charge ranging from 3 to more than 6 times the regular cost of an Uber fare. Some patrons took to Twitter to complain about the pricing, and Uber responded with several blog posts and Quora answers, trying to explain the startup's usage of "dynamic pricing."

The idea, writes Uber engineer Dom Anthony Narducci, is that:

... when our utilization is approaching too high of levels to continue to provide low ETA's and good dispatches, we raise prices to reduce demand and increase supply. On New Year's Eve (and just after midnight), this system worked perfectly; demand was too high, so the price bumped up. Over and over and over and over again.

In other words, in order to maintain the service that Uber is known for — reliability — the company adjusted prices based on the supply and demand for transportation. And on New Year's Eve, says Narducci, "As for how the prices got that high, at a super simplistic level, it was because things went right."

TechCrunch contributor Semil Shah points to other examples of dynamic pricing, such as for airfares and hotels, and argues that we might see more of this in the future. "Starting now, consumers should also prepare to experience the underbelly of this phenomenon, a world where prices for goods and services that are in demand, either in quantity or at a certain time, aren't the same price for each of us."

But Reuters' Felix Salmon argues that this sort of algorithmic and dynamic pricing might not work well for most customers. It isn't simply that the prices for Uber car rides are high (they are always higher than a taxi anyway). He contends that the human brain really can't — or perhaps doesn't want to — handle this sort of complicated cost/benefit analysis for a decision like "should I take a cab or call Uber or just walk home." As such, he calls Uber:

... a car service for computers, who always do their sums every time they have to make a calculation. Humans don't work that way. And the way that Uber is currently priced, it's always going to find itself in a cognitive zone of discomfort as far as its passengers are concerned.

Strata 2012 — The 2012 Strata Conference, being held Feb. 28-March 1 in Santa Clara, Calif., will offer three full days of hands-on data training and information-rich sessions. Strata brings together the people, tools, and technologies you need to make data work.

Save 20% on registration with the code RADAR20

Apache Hadoop reaches v1.0

Hadoop logoThe Apache Software Foundation announced that Apache Hadoop has reached v1.0, an indication that the big data tool has achieved a certain level of stability and enterprise-readiness.

V1.0 "reflects six years of development, production experience, extensive testing, and feedback from hundreds of knowledgeable users, data scientists, and systems engineers, bringing a highly stable, enterprise-ready release of the fastest-growing big data platform," said the ASF in its announcement.

The designation by the Apache Software Foundation reaffirms the interest in and development of Hadoop, a major trend in 2011 and likely to be such again in 2012.

Proposed bill would repeal open access for federal-funded research

What's the future for open data, open science, and open access in 2012? Hopefully, a bill introduced late last month isn't a harbinger of what's to come.

The Research Works Act (HR 3699) is a proposed piece of legislation that would repeal the open-access policy at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and prohibit similar policies from being introduced at other federal agencies. HR 3699 has been referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

The main section of the bill is quite short:

"No Federal agency may adopt, implement, maintain, continue, or otherwise engage in any policy, program, or other activity that

  • causes, permits, or authorizes network dissemination of any private-sector research work without the prior consent of the publisher of such work; or
  • requires that any actual or prospective author, or the employer of such an actual or prospective author, assent to network dissemination of a private-sector research work."

The bill would prohibit the NIH and other federal agencies from requiring that grant recipients publish in open-access journals.

Got data news?

Feel free to email me.


October 27 2011

September 29 2011

Four short links: 29 September 2011

  1. Princeton Open Access Report (PDF) -- academics will need written permission to assign copyright of a paper to a journal. Of course, the faculty already had exclusive rights in the scholarly articles they write; the main effect of this new policy is to prevent them from giving away all their rights when they publish in a journal. (via CC Huang)
  2. Good Faith Collaboration -- a book on Wikipedia's culture, from MIT Press. Distributed, appropriately, under a Creative Commons Non-Commercial Share-Alike license.
  3. The Local-Global Flip -- an EDGE conversation (or monologue) by Jaron Lanier that contains more thought-provocation per column-inch than anything else you'll read this week. [I]ncreasing efficiency by itself doesn't employ people. There is a difference between saving and making money when you're unemployed. Once you're already rich, saving money and making money is the same thing, but for people who are on the bottom or even in the middle classes, saving money doesn't help you if you don't have the money to save in the first place. and The beauty of money is it creates a system of people leaving each other alone by mutual agreement. It's the only invention that does that that I'm aware of. In a world of finite limits where you don't have an infinite West you can expand into, money is the thing that gives you a little bit of peace and quiet, where you can say, "It's my money, I'm spending it". and I'm astonished at how readily a great many people I know, young people, have accepted a reduced economic prospect and limited freedoms in any substantial sense, and basically traded them for being able to screw around online. There are just a lot of people who feel that being able to get their video or their tweet seen by somebody once in a while gets them enough ego gratification that it's okay with them to still be living with their parents in their 30s, and that's such a strange tradeoff. And if you project that forward, obviously it does become a problem. are things I'm still chewing on, many days after first reading.
  4. Trolled by Gerry Sussman (Bryan O'Sullivan) -- Bryan gave a tutorial on Haskell to a conference on leading-edge programming languages and distributed systems. At one point, Gerry had a pretty amusing epigram to offer. "Haskell is the best of the obsolete programming languages!" he pronounced, with a mischievous look. Now, I know when I’m being trolled, so I said nothing and waited a moment, whereupon he continued, "but don’t take it the wrong way—I think they’re all obsolete!"

February 04 2011

Four short links: 4 February 2011

  1. Access to Knowledge in the Age of Intellectual Property (MIT Press) -- with essays by knowledgeable folks such as Yochai Benkler, Larry Lessig, and Jo Walsh. Available as open access (free) ebook as well as paper. I love it that we can download these proper intellectuals' intellectual property. (via BoingBoing)
  2. AwesomeChartJS -- Apache-licensed Javascript library for charting. (via Hacker News)
  3. Be Open from Day One -- advice from Karl Fogel (author of the excellent Producing Open Source Software, which O'Reilly publishes) for projects that think they may some day be open source: f you’re running a government software project and you plan to make it open source eventually, then just make it open source from the beginning. Waiting will only create more work. (via timoreilly on Twitter)
  4. MALLET -- open source (CPL-licensed) Java-based package for statistical natural language processing, document classification, clustering, topic modeling, information extraction, and other machine learning applications to text.

December 29 2009

Four short links: 29 December 2009

  1. Turning The Page Online -- historic science books in high-resolution online. Hookes Micrografia was the first view of the microscopic world, and his astonishingly detailed and beautiful illustrations are there to view and print.
  2. Detailed Psychology of Trolls -- You might be surprised to learn that Trolls readily engage in long debates with fellow Trolls - people, that is, whom they know to be perverse and cunning conversation hackers. Apparently, this does not detract them from wasting hours on fruitless debates that are blatantly rigged and full of sophistry. Few Trolls would be happy with debating only fellow Trolls (semi-literate teenagers and hard-boiled fundamentalists are so much tastier - even though they, too, might be trolling you). Yet most of them, every once in a while, enjoy having an absurd argument with another pig-head. Good on the "know your enemy" basis. (via MindHacks)
  3. Theme Issue -- a Royal Society publication ran a special open access issue focusing on "personal perspectives of the life sciences", where top scientists write about what they think is important. It's good to see more toes dipped into open access, but I'd love to see more journals (particularly those of professions and associations) move to an entirely open access model. (via SciBlogs)
  4. Invent Your Own Computer Games with Python (2ed) -- free ebook that teaches how to program in Python, using games as the motivating examples. Nominally for 10-12 year old children, but (naturally) accessible to adults too. I have not read it, but approve of the attempt.

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