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PubSCIENCE Discontinued; Removal of Dept. of Ed Web Pages

An FYI from the American Library Association.  The Moderators

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 12 Nov 2002 16:52:43 -0500
From: ALAWASH E-MAIL <ALAWASH@alawash.org>
To: ALA Washington Office Newsline <ala-wo@ala1.ala.org>
Subject: INFO/PubSCIENCE Discontinued; Removal of Dept. of Ed Web Pages

ALAWON: American Library Association Washington Office Newsline
Volume 11, Number 89
November 12, 2002 

In This Issue: 
[1] PubSCIENCE is discontinued
[2] ALA Questions Removal of U.S. Department of Education Web Pages
from Public Access

[1] PubSCIENCE is discontinued

As of November 4, 2002, the Department of Energy has discontinued
PubSCIENCE. While there were only 7 comments in favor of ending
PubSCIENCE, there were nearly 240 public comments, many from librarians
and other PubSCIENCE users, pressing for continuance of the indexing
service.  Negative comments generally originated from members of the
information industry and some publishers.  This group has, since 2000,
targeted PubSCIENCE because they perceive it to be in competition with two
private sector indexes-Scirus (owned by Reed Elsevier) and Infotrieve.  
Scirus and Infotrieve currently provide no cost indexing services to the
public.  However, this could change to a fee-based subscription service at
any time.

PUBScience is a web-based tool publicly available to access articles
published in peer-reviewed journals without "wading through multiple
websites, publications and references."  In our ALAWON dated September 4,
2002, ALA reported on the threats to PUBScience and asked for public
comment (http://www.ala.org/washoff/alawon/alwn1170.html).

ALA submitted comments to the Department of Energy, arguing that
PubSCIENCE should be preserved and continued (see comments at
http://www.ala.org/washoff/pubscience.pdf).  Threats to PubSCIENCE became
louder in August, but there was no advanced warning of the shutdown this
week.  ALA and others had asked for an additional comment period and
notice in the Federal Register to no avail.

When it was inaugurated in October 1999, R.L. Scott, OSTI Associate
Manager for Initiatives, Planning and Development, described the service
as a "unique partnership between the Federal government and the
public/private journal publishers; a partnership focused on enabling good
science by providing access to peer-reviewed scientific and technical

Unfortunately, unless a search of the OSTI web site is performed, most
references to the existence of PubSCIENCE have disappeared due to a web
site "reorganization."

ACTION NEEDED:  Library supporters are asked to write to their
congressional representatives and senators as well as the White House
asking for this important indexing service to be reinstated.  Talking
points for your letters are available in the text of the September 4
ALAWON previously mentioned.  Comments from OSTI Director Walter Warnick,
at the inauguration of PubSCIENCE in October 1999, are also pertinent:  
"We have a responsibility to the Dept. of Energy scientific community to
make the results of government R&D accessible while reducing required
resources and minimizing taxpayer expense. We are accomplishing that goal
with PubSCIENCE. Partnering with the Government Printing Office extends
PubSCIENCE benefits to the scientific community at-large and the public."

For further information contact Patrice McDermott (pmcdermott@alawash.org)
or Lynne Bradley (lbradley@alawsh.org) at the ALA Office of Government

[2] ALA Questions Removal of U.S. Department of Education Web Pages
from Public Access

As part of ALA's ongoing work to ensure permanent public access to
government information, the American Library Association joined several
other groups, including the National Education Association, the American
Educational Research Association and the National Knowledge Industry
Association, to request information about the U.S. Department of
Education intentions to reorganize and/or remove key public web pages. 
Among various stakeholders, there has been continuing discussion, and
some confusion, about the Department's newly stated policies that many
key web pages would be removed.  The ongoing transition to a Bush
Administration is the first such transition since the World Wide Web was
created and used for major electronic access to government information. 

The letter raises concerns about a) long term access to information
removed from the U.S. Department of Education web site and whether such
removed information is being preserved or archived; b) problems with
removing access to research, data, and other digests of information that
otherwise have been publicly available, irrespective of administration;
and c) the importance of including librarians and researchers in making
decisions regarding public access during such a transition.  


A copy of the letter is available in pdf format at

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