Dubbed “Netflix for researchers” by ReadWriteWeb, DeepDyve has expanded from deep web search of STM literature to an article rental service: for $.99 an article, you can have read access for 24 hours. Will researchers go for it? Even independent researchers can frequently gain access to literature through the interlibrary loan service of their public library. Will those connected with a well-stocked research library pony up for convenience if they want something not otherwise immediately available at their desks? Whether or not this particular venture succeeds, it’s illustrative of the trend away from ownership to access for everything from purses to cars (see Bag Borrow or Steal and ZipCar respectively) and it opens up discussion on the market worth of a journal article. See analysis by Phil Davis at the Scholarly Kitchen.
On June 15, I heard Dr. Siva Vaidhyanathan give the keynote address at the 2006 SUNYLA conference. (Vaidhyanathan is a professor of communications at NYU; you can read more about him, and hear the correct pronunciation of his name, at his blog, sivacracy.net.) He discussed Google’s Book Search initiative and its implications for libraries, copyright law, and even the future of web searching. He noted that while debate about what Google is doing is often portrayed as two-sided, the situation is more complicated.
While Vaidhyanathan could be described as often on the “copyleft” (my description, not his), he is not supportive of Google’s initiative as far as it involves copyrighted works. For one thing, he is not optimistic that they will win. Google’s case will be heard by a court that is usually favorable to copyright owners–the 2nd Circuit, if I remember correctly. If the case does go Google’s way, Vaidhyanathan believes it is likely that Congress will step in. Will the case eventually have repercussions for web searching in general? Will the effect be the overturning of precedent that allows search engines to display thumbnails and snippets of web pages in their search results?
By way of conclusion, Vaidhyanathan noted that Google’s project is the human genome project of intellectual property, and he believes that there should be a comparable public initiative. The tragedy is that some people think there’s no need for an initiative because Google is already doing it. His hope is that Google will back off the digitization of copyrighted works and instead make a statement about the current state of copyright law.
- A Risky Gamble with Google by Siva Vaidhyanathan, in the Chronicle of Higher Education, volume 52, issue 15 (subscription required, or look for access via ProQuest, EbscoHost databases, or LexisNexis Academic Universe)
- Is Google Book Search “Fair Use”? by Lawrence Lessig, at YouTube
Bonus: For an interesting take on copyright in the print world, look for the 6/19 New Yorker article, “The Injustice Collector,” about the grandson of James Joyce.