The European Commission (EC) has adopted a ‘Communication on Copyright in the Knowledge Economy’ aiming to tackle the important cultural and legal challenges of mass-scale digitisation and dissemination of books, in particular of European library collections. The Communication was jointly drawn up by Commissioners Charlie McCreevy and Viviane Reding.
Digital libraries such as Europeana will provide researchers and consumers across Europe with new ways to gain access to knowledge. For this, however, the EU will need to find a solution for orphan works, whose uncertain copyright status means they often cannot be digitised. Improving the distribution and availability of works for persons with disabilities, particularly the visually impaired, is another cornerstone of the Communication.
Commissioners McCreevy and Reding stressed that the debate over the Google Books Settlement in the US once again had shown that Europe could not afford to be left behind on the digital frontier.
The Communication addresses the actions that the EC intends to launch: digital preservation and dissemination of scholarly and cultural material and of orphan works, as well as access to knowledge for persons with disabilities. The challenges identified by the EC stem from last year’s public consultation on a Green Paper, the EC’s High Level Group on Digital Libraries and the experiences gained with Europeana.
The EC will now hold talks to find viable solutions for simple and cost-efficient rights clearance covering mass-scale digitisation and the online dissemination of library collections still protected by copyright. This concerns both out-of-print works and orphan works.
The digitisation and dissemination of orphan works pose a particular cultural and economic challenge. The absence of a known rightholder means that users are unable to obtain the required authorisation. The EC will now examine this phenomenon more in detail via an impact assessment. The aim is for an EU-wide solution to facilitate the digitisation and dissemination of orphan works and the establishment of common 'due diligence' standards to recognise orphan status across the EU.
In addition, a stakeholder forum on the needs of disabled persons, in particular visually impaired persons, will examine policy responses, including ways to encourage the unencumbered EU trade of works in accessible formats.
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The UK’s Wellcome Trust has called for greater transparency among publishers to counter the argument that access fees are being paid twice - once through subscriptions and again through publication fees. The call comes as the Trust announces a further £2 million to fund open access (OA) publication fees for its researchers over the next 12 months. The funds are part of the ongoing commitment to ensuring that the results of all Trust-funded research are made freely available online.
Since 2005, the Wellcome Trust has made it a condition of funding that researchers are required to make any Trust-funded publications available within six months through life sciences online archive, UK PubMed Central (UKPMC). The Trust will meet publication costs where the publisher agrees to make articles freely available through UKPMC at the time of publication and to license these works in a way that facilitates re-use, subject to proper attribution.
In recent months, however, concern has been expressed by the research community that publishers are using OA fees as an additional revenue stream without making a concerted effort to adapt their business models. In other words, access fees are being paid twice, through subscriptions and through publication fees.
UKPMC is currently being developed with the aim that it becomes the information resource of choice for the UK biomedical and health research communities. The development programme is managed by the British Library in consultation with UKPMC funding organisations and the academic community.
Key developments include providing the functionality - through text and data mining technologies - to integrate research articles with a range of other online sources. These include gene, protein and chemical compound databases. There is also an effort to integrate a range of bibliographic databases - including Medline, Patents and Agricola - into a single, seamless discovery tool. The new UKPMC site will go live early in 2010.
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Scientific information services provider FIZ Karlsruhe, Germany, and Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS), a division of the American Chemical Society, recently signed an agreement to further strengthen a partnership that began in 1983 with the foundation of STN International. STN International is an online service for patent and research information.
The recently concluded collaboration agreements cover two new areas - indexing of scientific literature for CAS databases and customer training and support for CAS databases on STN. FIZ Karlsruhe will now also be a significant contributor to the production of the chemistry database, Chemical Abstracts (CA), and a partner in improved customer support for those databases on the STN online system.
Beginning January 2010, a team of scientists at FIZ Karlsruhe will perform value-added indexing of selected literature documents, according to the conventions used by CAS to make the information accessible within the CAS databases. In addition, FIZ Karlsruhe will assume additional responsibilities in marketing of the CAS databases. The company’s experts will provide training and support to STN customers in all German-speaking countries.
FIZ Karlsruhe joins a global network of scientists whose expertise contributes to CAS database building. Teams of scientists in Ohio, India, China, Japan and elsewhere constitute the principal contributors to this more than 100 year-old resource.
SpringerWienNewYork, part of STM publisher Springer Science+Business Media, Germany, and e-publishing technology solutions provider Versita, Poland, have announced a collaboration for the distribution, marketing and sales of STM journals of Central European societies and other institutions. With this move the companies seek to further strengthen their journal co-publishing partnership in Central European countries.
This partnership expands the existing long-term cooperation between Springer and Versita. It combines Springer’s extensive international marketing and distribution system with Versita’s relationships with scholars and scientific institutions in Central European countries. The SpringerWienNewYork/Versita partnership aims to support the global dissemination of Central European research results.
Versita publishes its own and third party scholarly journals across many disciplines, addressed to the global science community, with the intention to promote best research carried out in Central and Eastern Europe. The company also provides scientific content publishers with electronic publishing technology solutions such as MetaPress and Editorial Manager.
Medical scientific publisher Informa Healthcare, UK, has announced the inclusion of the journal Toxicology Mechanisms and Methods in the US National Library of Medicine's MEDLINE Index. Maintained by the US National Library of Medicine, MEDLINE (Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System Online) is a premier bibliographic database containing more than 16 million journal article citations. The journal is joining a host of other Informa titles on the bibliographic database.
Published nine times per year in simultaneous print and online editions, Toxicology Mechanisms and Methods (TXM) is currently listed in Thomson ISI Journal Citation Reports. The journal posted an increase in Impact Factor in 2009. Indexing in MEDLINE will help to further raise the visibility of this internationally-respected journal.
TXM publishes original research on subjects dealing with the mechanisms by which foreign chemicals cause toxic tissue injury. Chemical substances of interest include industrial compounds, environmental pollutants, hazardous wastes, drugs, pesticides and chemical warfare agents. The journal's scope spans from the effects on single molecules to the consideration of evidence in order to establish regulatory policy. In addition, the journal addresses aspects of the development and application of new and existing laboratory methods, techniques and equipment.
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Printing and publishing services provider The Sheridan Group, US, and Stanford University’s HighWire Press have announced the availability of a new service, Sheridan Custom Publishing Direct, on select HighWire-hosted publications. The service allows readers to create their own customised content collections for downloading or print-on-demand.
With Sheridan Custom Publishing Direct, readers can select articles and build their own custom publications, organised according to their needs. Links to the service can be found in several locations within the publication - the issue TOC, at the article abstract level or within the online publication’s own search results.
Readers have the option to order print copies of their publication, or download an electronic version via a straightforward, secure e-commerce system. The easy-to-use interface lets users search and select directly from multiple points of content. New content is immediately available to readership. Publisher-compiled collections can also be offered to purchasers in order to actively market popular content.
Earlier this year, the service was selected for installation at the American Society for Horticultural Science’s recent editions of the Journal of ASHS, HortScience and HortTechnology.
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