Freedom in all manners
Free access is what scientific researchers ask for. But just
few electronic publications are taking care of the request.
Valparaiso - 2nd of October - Giving sequence to the program, an
extremely important question for electronic scientific publications
is the free access of its data. This was the central subject of
the third day of the ICSEP.
First of all, Michael L. Nelson (firstname.lastname@example.org), professor assistant
of the Department of Computer Science of the Old Dominon University,
presented the participants the Open Archieves Initiative Protocol
will be Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH).
The system can be defined as a simple but powerful mechanism for
the interoperability of digital libraries (DL). The OAI already
influences the strategy of development of national libraries within
the United States and Europe.
Version 2.0 of the system offers new facilities to users and reduction
of the errors and inoperability detected on previous versions.
With the use of the OAI, the functions of the DL can be divided
in two groups:
- Data suppliers
- Service suppliers
With the use of Harvesting metadata, the user can construct their
proper virtual library and continue looking articles for the database.
Each node is kept independently. "And from the moment where
you construct your metabase, you can personalize it for a service
supplier", affirmed Nelson.
Since its initial protocol, OAI does not offer barriers for different
types of archives to be placed in the metadata base.
In the same protocol it was determined to use HTTP base and XML
reply and Dublin Core (www.dublincore.org).
The version 2.0 that it is available in the market since July of
2002, still works (for relief of the users) six verbs and Dublin
Core. However, it had an improvement of project XML, had been removed
the ambiguities, implanted more exclusive options, with clear separations
between rules and responsibilities. "The bad news is that this
version is not compatible with the previous one", alerted Nelson.
Used verbs for OAI:
From a version to another one, Nelson believes that the protocol
obtained a great advance. Clearer definitions between protocol and
peripherals had been elaborated, with implement of guidelines more
extensive. They have gotten a clear separation between OAI and HTTP.
Nelson also described the advances of resumption Token in version
2.0 that allows OAI operator OAI to know any possible error happening
to the system.
To find more about OAI functioning, the speaker give the addresses
of the National Advisory Committee will be Aeronautics (naca.larc.nasa.gov)
or Scirus (www.scirus.com) or my.OAI (www.myoai.com).
What does the OAI mean for the authors? "Nothing, with properly
operation. The authors must not notice the system working",
Nelson answers. And to publishers? "Everything - the development
of new tools extends the capacities of science dissemination of
Version 2.0 of the OAI can offer systems for the creation of virtual
libraries with more tools. Some of then, the librarians still do
Economy for free
Offer full free access to data and publish new scientific studies
24 hours after its approval. This is the base of the Journal of
Biological Chemistry (JBC - www.jbc.org).
To explain how they had reached this goal, Charles Hancock (email@example.com),
executive manager of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular
Biology, told the history of the vehicle's creation.
The JBC achieves are total free on Internet. "Of course they
depend on the infrastructure of each country, but we work to place
a scientific article on-line in up to 24 hours", initiated
When the journal begun, the JBC team edited the scientific studies
to fit them into an electronic text standard (objective). However,
as per the users regards about incomplete data, they decided to
publish full articles. "We created then a parallel service
to the JBC that is Fast Print (PIP - Papers in Press), integrated
with the periodical", Hancock explained. The PIP publishes
the approved papers, in a full form, without revision in 24 hours.
After that, the article follows normal text revision and publication
"We also have e-mail alerts", said Hancock.
The speaker affirmed that the electronic publication is sustainable.
First, because the system allows reduction on production costs.
"With the on-line submission, we had an economy of USS 30,000
in our expenditures, including staff reduction and postal rates",
In 1997, journal board decided to give free access to JBC complete
achieve. Since then, they established that on January 1st of each
year, all data accepted the year before must be in the Internet
on its final revised format. Up to 2003, JBC will be able to offer
access from 1905 archives up to 2002.
The speaker gave examples of how a total electronic journal can
be supported and kept its free access. "The foundations involved
with dissemination of knowledge support are the first alternative,
but I also do not see any problem with private companies advertising.
The print journals use it."
Another source of income is the paid signatures of libraries and
information centers. Speaking of that, Hancock explained about the
Electronic Information for Libraries, a project sponsored by Soros
Foundation that offers free data to developing countries libraries.
There are 62 countries on this program. "We are not losing
signatures, therefore these countries would not pay of it anyway.
To tell you the truth we amplified our chances to get one or two
private signatures coming from these locations", complete.
The user's opinion
The concern regarding to the user opinion is the first rule for
any electronic publication. And there is nothing better than bring
one of them to explain their point of view. That was the mission
of René Mendez (firstname.lastname@example.org),
from the European Southern Observatory.
"Scientific inquiries are based on questions about facts and
phenomena. The first thing that a researcher must know is if that
question was already made, if there was a previous investigation
and which are the adjacent topics to the subject. Give those information
to scientist is the role of electronic scientific publications",
summarized Mendez. As more efficient, fast and complete data offered,
the better will be the final result to world science.
Recognizing the effort of the scientific electronic publication
editors, Mendez demonstrated in real time the rapidity and efficiency
search on Internet in contraposition with the print search.
He also standed out the importance of free access of scientific
An interesting challenge pointed by Mendez is the data storage.
Working as an astronomist, he needs to visualize large high resolution
images. "Journals could offer as service (paid) a storage data
system, as many digital data will hardly fit in the researcher's
hardware. Moreover, it is common that the articles published on
different scientific articles journals had no interoperability.
This could be changed."
SciELO and OpenArchieves
Carlos Enrique Marcondes (email@example.com),
professor of the Departamento de Ciência da Informação,
da Universidade Federal Fluminense, locked up the morning of quarrels
presenting the SciELO methodology.
The system allows the implementation of digital libraries with complete
texts of scientific publication collections. Many SciELO gateways
are in operation in Brazil, Latin America, the Caribbean and Spain.
The SciELO plays a very important role disseminating worldwide the
scientific and technique literature published in the developing
countries, increasing its visibility.
The system uses data-base technology ISIS, a program first developed
by UNESCO and that today is the base of several structures for information
systems and science, technology and medicine networks in developing
Following, Marcondes explained a pilot-project interrelating system
ISIS with the initiative of OpenArchieves. As Michael Nelson had
previously explained, the objective of OpenArchieves is to provide
the interoperability between electronic documents in web. On a site
with this technology, the scientific publisher has more developed
storage, preservation and access tools to digital documents.
Marcondes concluded is necessary to evaluate the system in real
Until now, the ISIS/OpenArchieves showed a great chance for the
developing countries. "I would like to remember that the development
of the SciELO/OAI was possible because we had free programs of searching
tools to work with. This means that we need politics that allow
developed countries to offer tools to developing countries identify
and to provide its proper initiatives." The pilot-project SciELO/OAI
can be followed on www.scielo.br/oai/scielo-oai.php.