Current estimates are that 90% of all email traffic is unsolicited bulk email, or spam. Another report suggests that spam costs US businesses up to $17 billion in lost productivity and anti-spam efforts, notwithstanding the widespread use of spam filters. One threshold challenge is that not all unsolicited email is illegal. Courts have recognized that the First Amendment protects the right to advertise goods and services. Virginia's statute covered commercial and noncommercial spam. The court noted that most of the statutes existing today, including the federal CANSPAM Act passed in 2004, are targeted toward commercial spam only. Several other states have anti-spam proposals pending.
InformationToday 17 www.infotoday.com December 2008 So knowing how editorial boards work Focus on Publishing and being a researcher in scholarly jour- nals in particular, I was surprised when With Growth Comes Growing Pains I was invited—as apparently were thou- sands of others—to join Scientific Jour- nals International (SJI), which seeks to by ROBIN PEEK | However, I am no longer referring to not be purchasing the BioMed Central’s publish journals under an OA model. But OA as a movement. It has achieved its (BMC) OA journals if they were not well- it wouldn’t matter if they were trying to O pen access (OA) had quite a good own momentum. Returning run and well-respected. launch a toll-access journal under the year in 2008. The first interna- to any pre-OA time just won’t same approach. tional Open Access Day was held happen. But it was inevitable The Cost of on Oct. 14, sponsored by Scholarly Pub- that new issues would emerge lishing and Academic Resources Coali- as OA matured—issues that Good Journals The number of tion (SPARC), Public Library of Science involve the newcomers them- One fundamental question (PLoS), and the Students For Free Cul- selves. When OA was still an remains: Do we need more jour- OA journals is ture. The event demonstrated that OA inchoate movement (before we nals or can we sustain more increasing, both had crossed into every continent and is even called it OA), I knew the than we have? Good journals now a multigenerational process. folks who were participating require good editors, editorial in new and toll The National Institutes of Health’s in its formation. Now, with the Robin Peek boards, referees, and a flow of access to OA. mandate is triggering a sharp uptick in groundswell of interest, the quality papers. If a young jour- submissions, despite continuing objections names that might flicker on my screen are nal has any chance of gaining traction in from the publishing lobby. The number of unknown or unmeasured. But at times, I the marketplace, it has to have an editor OA journals is increasing, both in new and am unsettled or even startled by the paths who is committed to its well-being and who Engaging Secret Editors toll access to OA. Institutional reposito- that some of these players have chosen can also gather a board to add reputation SJI espouses a “quadruple-blind” peer- ries are also increasing (625 institutional to follow. Of particular concern is the and editorial assistance to the project. The review system, a model that has never and 109 cross-institutional, to date). The management of some of the OA journals relationship between the editor and the before appeared in the scholarly commu- 41st Harvard OA mandate passed, and that are now appearing. Without ques- editorial board is a critical one, and it is nication literature. To achieve this, the other major institutions began to follow tion, we have already seen that OA jour- industry practice that members of an en- company won’t reveal who its editors are (57 institutional and funder mandates nals can be well-managed as toll-access tire board submit their resignations when so that they can’t be influenced. But that have been adopted to date, with 11 more journals, whether they operate by charg- an editor resigns so that a new editor can pending). And these are all good things. ing a fee or not. Springer would certainly build a board of his or her choosing. (continued on page 18) Internet Waves Legal Issues Sunlight Disinfects Anti-Spam People often shade the truth, conve- by SHIRLEY DUGLIN KENNEDY | Legislation Setbacks niently omit edgy details, or lie outright, O nce upon a time, I was a young which is why we’re big on background reporter. Now I am a middle- checks. What starts out as a light feature aged news researcher. To put it about the friendly neighborhood barber by GEORGE H. PIKE | Not All Spam Is Illegal mildly, the news business has changed turns into something else entirely when we I over the decades in between. check the sex offender registry n the fall, I gave a report on email One threshold challenge is that not all And I could use too many col- and find out that we’re dealing at a University of Pittsburgh fac- unsolicited email is illegal. Courts have rec- umn inches here bemoaning with Chester the Molester. ulty meeting. Among the statistics ognized that the First Amendment protects and/or defending all these We’re spoiled here in Florida, I reported was that in March 2008, the the right to advertise goods and services. changes. But that wouldn’t be which is a state with open rec- University of Pittsburgh email servers While the protections on this form of “com- productive or highly original, ords. All official records are eas- received 505 million email mercial free speech” are not as since so many media critics ily accessible on the open web, messages. Of that number, expansive as noncommercial and apologists do this on an which is not to say that individ- more than 410 million mes- speech, absolute bans on com- ongoing basis. uals with money and/or clout sages were spam. That’s for mercial email may not be legal. What hasn’t changed about can’t “make things go away.” just one modest email domain This was recently demon- the news business is the quest Shirley Duglin Kennedy But you have to check it out. for 1 month. strated when the Virginia Su- for truth and accuracy. I’m proud But every once in a while, Actually, that number is preme Court struck down that to say that at least it hasn’t changed in an individual is appointed or elected to a not too surprising. Current state’s anti-spam statute be- the little corner of the media world where “
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