Friday, February 15, 2008

Open Journal, Conference and Book Publishing

Kevin Stranack from the Public Knowledge Project (PKP), talked at the National Library of Australia today on open publishing. PKP are best known for their free open source Open Journal System (OJS) publishing software. But Kevin pointed out that they have produced other free software and do research on help academics communicate their work.

OJS is used around the world by universities, scientific societies and some commercial companies for producing academic journals (I used to set up the Australian Computer Society digital library). PKP have subsequently produced Open Conference Systems (OPCS) for doing the same thing for conferences and the Open Archives Harvester to collect together the indexes from such systems.

Most recently PKP have released an early beta of Lemon8-XML for converting Word Processing documents into neat XML formatted documents for publishing. This is more ambitious than systems such as the ANU Digital Scholars Workbench and USQ's Integrated Content Environment. Those systems will convert a word processing document which has been prepared using a supplied template which provides a preset structure for the document. PKP are aiming to be able to be able to work out the structure from the content of the document with no preset template. This would be very useful, if it could be done, but may prove impossible.

PKP are also planning to produce a system similar to OJS, but for the production of books. I asked Kevin about incorporating social networking for academic authors and he said there may be a small element of this in the book system. This would provide an author's workbench where the person preparing the book could keep their notes and involve collaborators.

Kevin showed some examples of OJS and OCS based publications, including some Australian ones. One which stood out is the The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning . Apart from the topic being of interest, the publishers practice what they advocate by providing the journal in audio format and a more accessible HTML, as well as the usual PDF. The audio appears to have been produced using text to speech software, but is of a much higher quality than the usual PC generated speech.

One area where it might be worth PKP applying their skills is to e-learning materials. There are some attempts to provide online directories of such materials, for example the Australian Government funded Learning Object Repository Network. However, these are isolated in their own separate repositories and mired in intellectual property issues. Using the open publishing approach to learning objects could make the much more widely used and turn e-learning from a hand crafting cottage industry into a real online innovation.

Another area for future research is to bring together the different types of publishing: journal papers, conferences, books and e-learning into one coherent whole. Ideally, the one tool should be able to be used to publish the same content, to suit these different formats.

PKP stand out by providing usable software backed by research and sustaining it over a long period. If you are thinking about doing academic publishing, or even commercial publishing, online then you should look at PKP's free tools.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Public Knowledge Project, 15 February 2008, Canberra

Recommended talk at the National Library of Australia, 15 February 2008, 12.30 pm in Canberra. Kevin Stranack is from the Public Knowledge Project at the Simon Fraser University, which produced the free Open Journal System publishing software which I used to set up the Australian Computer Society digital library:
It gives me pleasure to invite you to the next Digital Culture talk:
The Public Knowledge Project: Breaking Down the Barriers to Open Access
Kevin Stranack

Are you concerned about the spiraling costs of academic journals? Do you worry that access to critical research information is under threat? This presentation will describe the work of the Public Knowledge Project, and discuss some of the steps librarians and others in Canada, Australia, and other countries around the world are taking to confront the crisis in scholarly communication, and ensure that readers and authors remain connected.

A collaboration between the University of British Columbia, Stanford University, and Simon Fraser University's Library and Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing, the Public Knowledge Project has grown from a small research project into a global, community-based, open access publishing alternative, providing free, open source software for hundreds of researchers, editors, software developers, and librarians.

Kevin will be introduced by Chris Foster, Director Monographs Branch, National Library of Australia

The speakerKevin Stranack is a librarian with the Public Knowledge Project at the Simon Fraser University Library. He works with editors, publishers, software developers, and librarians in their use of open source software for open access publishing, and is the author of "OJS in an Hour", "OCS in an Hour", "Getting Found, Staying Found", and other documents published by the Project. Kevin is a frequent presenter at library and information technology conferences, including the Canadian Library Association, the British Columbia Library Association, the Charleston Conference, Access, BCNet, NetSpeed, and others.

Date: Friday 15 February 2008
Time: 12.30 to 13.30
Venue: Library Theatre
This talk is free and open to everyone. ...

Bobby Graham
Web Content Manager
Web Publishing Branch, IT Division
National Library of Australia

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Friday, February 09, 2007

ACS Digital Library now in Arrow Discovery Service

The ACS Digital Library papers are now included in the ARROW discovery service. Arrow provides an index to scholarly materials from Australian universities, professional, scientific and cultural organisations.

This includes papers such as Dr. Roger Clarke's "Key Aspects of the History of the Information Systems Discipline in Australia".

Arrow reads an OAI standard XML metadata file created by the ACS Digital Library. Thanks to the National Library of Australia for arranging this.

Currently only one issue of the Australasian Journal of Information Systems is available. We are working on getting about 1,500 papers from Australasian Journal of Information Systems and Conferences in Research and Practice in Information Technology into the system.

ps: How to do this was set a an assignment question for ANU IT for E-Commerce (COMP3410/COMP6341) Question 1, August 2006. But the students had to work it out from first principles, whereas I just used a open source package <>. ;-)

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Petition on Open Access to European Research

Yesterday I signed the Petition for guaranteed public access to publicly-funded research results on behalf of the ACS:
This petition is directed to the European Commission. Its goal is to endorse the recommendations made in the Study on the Economic and Technical Evolution of the Scientific Publication Markets of Europe in full, in particular to adopt the first recommendation A1 as a matter of urgency.

"I urge decision-makers at all levels in Europe to endorse the recommendations made in the Study on the Economic and Technical Evolution of the Scientific Publication Markets of Europe in full, in particular to adopt the first recommendation A1 as a matter of urgency.

Name: Tom Worthington FACS HLM
Position: Chair of the Scholarly Publishing Committee
Country: Australia
Organisation/affiliation: Australian Computer Society
Recommendation A1. Guarantee Public Access To Publicly-funded Research Results Shortly After Publication:
Research funding agencies have a central role in determining researchers’ publishing practices. Following the lead of the NIH and other institutions, they should promote and support the archiving of publications in open repositories, after a (possibly domain-specific) time period to be discussed with publishers. This archiving could become a condition for funding. The following actions could be taken at the European level: (i) Establish a European policy mandating published articles arising from EC-funded research to be available after a given time period in open access archives, and (ii) Explore with Member States and with European research and academic associations whether and how such policies and open repositories could be implemented."

From: Study on the Economic and Technical Evolution of the Scientific Publication Markets of Europe, European Commission, Directorate-General for Research, January 2006

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Open Archives Initiative XML Interface

The Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) allows a digital repository to export metadata and data using XML. As an example the ACS Digital Library has as its OAI address: <>. I registered this with the RoAR Eprints archive. By just supplying the OAI address for the digital library, the the archive system was able to extract information needed to register it.

If you just type the OAI address into a web browser you get an error message in return. An application such as the Open Archives Initiative - Repository Explorer is needed to send queries in the correct format and interpret the XML sent back. A simple example is the query for the repository to identity itself <>. The reply is:
Repository NameACS Digital Library
Base URL
Protocol Version2.0
Earliest Datestamp2006-12-05T00:40:05Z
Deleted Record Handlingno
Other Information
scheme: oai
delimiter: :
The request <> returns what formats the data is available in:



List sets <> lists the publciations in the repository:

Australasian Journal of Information Systems

set description: dc: description:

set description: dc: description:
AJIS Featured Theme

set description: dc: description:
Articles ...

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Monday, December 18, 2006

Australian government open access policy for research publishing

It appears the Australian government is to adopt an open access policy for research:
AUSTRALIA has taken a great leap towards research results being freely available to all, supporters of the open access movement say.
The Australian Research Council and the National Health and Medical Research Council - with total annual grants worth more than $1billion - are about to announce their first open access policies. ...
From: "ARC sold on open access to research", Bernard Lane, The Australian, December 13, 2006.
This followed a submission to the ARC by Professor Arthur Sale FACS, which I signed on behalf of the ACS (along with other organisations).

The ACS Digital Library uses the repository format which Professor Sale proposed to the ARC for distributing research results. This will therefore will be one of the first Australian systems outside a university to implement the policy. Larger universities are building their own digital repositories to hold research results, but the smaller ones may not have a suitable system.

Also the Productivity Commission has just released a draft report on the value to the Australian economy of such research:
"There may be a case for providing universities with some additional funding to demonstrate promising technologies so they can be more easily transferred to businesses. However, there are several options for supporting such transfer that do not involve a new dedicated funding stream."
From: Public Support for Science and Innovation, ARC, 2006.
To help make research accessible to business, I got the editor of JRPIT to put the more practical articles in the front of the journal and the scientific ones (with equations) at the back. The new AJIS is businesses orientated.

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Publishing Conferences and Journals Together

The editor of the ACS's conference proceedings series pointed out that the terms "Journal" and "Issue" used in the OJS system are inappropriate for publishing conference proceedings. So I generalised the words in the ACS Digital Library to be suitable for conferences as well as journals.

The OJS software uses a localization file "locale/en_US/locale.xml" as detailed in the technical manual. So I modified the localization file to replace the words everywhere in the system:

* "View Journal" with "View"
* "Current Issue" with "Current"
* "By Issue" with "By Volume Issued"
* "Journal Help" with "Help"
* "Other Journals" with "Other Publications"
* "My Journals" with "My Publications"
* "Journals" with "Publications"
* "Open Journal Systems" with "ACS Digital Library" for first one (on top of home page) then "OJS" for the others.

For more detailed customization OJS uses PHP and Smarty templates. But I hope to avoid changing them.

In theory we could use the companion to the OJS called the "Open Conference Systems" as that is designed for conferences. But it is intended for one off conferences, not series with more than 60 volumes like CRPIT. So it will be easier to further customize OJS.

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