Archive for September, 2004

“opportunities abound”

Friday, September 10th, 2004

Herbert Van de Sompel, Sandy Payette, John Erickson, Carl Lagoze, and Simeon Warner, Rethinking Scholarly Communication: Building the System that Scholars Deserve, D-Lib Magazine, September 2004. Excerpt:

There is growing dissatisfaction with the established scholarly communication system. This dissatisfaction is the result of a variety of factors including rapidly rising subscription prices, concerns about copyright, latency between results and their actual publication, and restrictions on what can be published and how it can be disseminated. The result is a global debate on how to remedy the system’s deficiencies, and that debate has inspired concrete initiatives aimed at reforming the process. These are concerned mainly with access issues and seek to alleviate two longstanding problems. The first, known as the “serials crisis,” addresses the often prohibitive prices of journal publications that impede access to scholarly materials. The second, known as the “permissions crisis,” addresses the restrictions on use of publications once access has been obtained. The “Open Access” movement focuses primarily on these two problems with two different strategies. The self-archiving school strives for a scholar’s right to make traditional journal publications freely available in an open repository. The journal-reform school promotes the emergence of new types of journals that are free at the point of use.

While the open availability of the results of scholarly endeavors is indeed of fundamental importance to the future of scholarship, it is only one dimension of how the scholarly communication process can be transformed. As Geneva Henry has observed, opportunities abound in the world of 21st century publishing and the discussion on transforming scholarly communication must move beyond the debate of subscription-based vs. open access publication. […]

Our vision is based on our belief that the future scholarly communication system should closely resemble—and be intertwined with—the scholarly endeavor itself, rather than being its after-thought or annex. We consider in this article the aspects of the established system that constrain the scholarly endeavor. Based on those considerations, we describe the desired technological characteristics of a future system of scholarly communication. We argue for a scholarly communication system composed of an interoperability substrate allowing flexible composition of the value-adding services that up to now have been vertically locked in the journal publication milieu. In this loosely coupled system, the units of scholarly communication (i.e., data, simulations, informal results, preprints, etc.) could follow a variety of scholarly value chains in which each hub provides a service such as registering results, certifying their validity, alerting scholars to new claims and findings, preserving the scholarly record, and ultimately rewarding scholars for their work.

Hat tip to Peter Suber for this one.

Collaborative Research Grants

Friday, September 10th, 2004

The National Endowment for the Humanities announces the November 1, 2004 receipt deadline for applications for Collaborative Research Grants. NEH Collaborative Research Grants provide support for a team of two or more scholars to pursue original research that significantly adds to knowledge and understanding in the humanities. Eligible projects include, but are not limited to, interpretive work in the humanities; conferences on topics of major importance in the humanities that will benefit ongoing research; archaeology projects that interpret and communicate the results of fieldwork; translations into English of works that provide insight into the history, literature, philosophy, and artistic achievements of other cultures; and research that uses the knowledge, methods, and perspectives of the humanities to enhance understanding of science, technology, and medicine. The tenure period is from one year to three years, the earliest beginning date is July 2005, and awards normally range from $25,000 to $100,000 per year. For application materials and information, please go to http ://

New look for a familiar tool

Friday, September 10th, 2004

The Audio-Visual Survey for Classics, published every other year in Classical World, is now available at the Stoa.

“Digital Information Will Never Survive by Accident?

Thursday, September 2nd, 2004

Neil Beagrie, British Library, in an interesting interview:

In the right conditions papyrus or paper can survive by accident or through benign neglect for centuries or in the case of the Dead Sea Scrolls for thousands of years. It takes hundreds of years for languages and handwriting to evolve to the point where only a few specialists can read them. In contrast, digital information will never survive and remain accessible by accident: it requires ongoing active management… As the volumes, heterogeneity, and complexity of digital information grows this requirement for active management becomes more challenging and more critical to a wider range of organisations… The threat is very real and insidious and will eat away at the future of our cultural heritage, knowledge economies, and information society if we fail to address it.