New NRC Study: BITS of POWER

Julian Humphries julian at UKANS.EDU
Thu Apr 10 14:20:56 CDT 1997

At 02:05 PM 4/10/97 -0400, James H. Beach wrote:
>Yesterday, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences announced the completion
>of a two-year study entitled: "Bits of Power: Issues in Global Access to
>Scientific Data."
>Pre-publication copies of Bits of Power are available from the National
>Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW, Lockbox 285, Washington, DC,
>USA. Telephone: (202) 334-3313 or 1-800-624-6242.  The cost of the report
>is $45.00 (prepaid) plus shipping charges of $4.00 for the first copy and
>$.50 for each additional copy.

Important note, this report is also available online from NAS Press
( at:

The current format is a bit slow, I expect they will offer a Acrobat or
HTML version shortly.  Several thousand books and reports are available
thru this service, check it out at

I highly recommend that anyone interested in Intellectual Property Issues
take a look at this report, there are significant forces at work both
nationally and internationally that want to commercialize (monopolize)
entire categories of digital resources.  Not only is WIPO a battlefront
(but one that has at least be recognized), but a new IP bill is slated to
be introduced in the House:  " the Chair of the Subcommittee, Rep. Coble
(R, NC) will introduce new database legislation  in May and hold hearings
in June.  Moreover, he publicly stated that he has found it difficult to
work with the research and library community on this issue (although
apparently he has only met with industry lobbyists thus far) and that he
won't let the Science Committee interfere with his committee's jurisdiction
on this matter."

Finally, new rules and regulations as part of the Uniform Commercial Code
look like that will be another point of attack by commercial publishing

All of this is going on in pretty high power environments and it is tough
for taxonomists to maintain much interest in what appears to be esoteric
areas.   However, this stuff will affect us, you might be surprised at the
impact it would have on science if Time-Warner bought all electronic rights
to Academic Press's archival holdings.

Julian Humphries
Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center
The University of Kansas
Lawrence, KS 66045
Phone: 913-864-3800
Fax:      913-864-5010

"What if this weren't a hypothetical question?"

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