Re: The new interface
On 25 Sep 2007, at 13:34, Chad Davis wrote:
> Missing 'priority' field in BibTeX export:
> User's containing an underscore not searchable:
These two issues look like simple bugs which have crept into the
release unintentionally. We'll take a look at them this afternoon and
get them fixed as soon as possible.
> Sharing PDFs in a non-open group:
> Articles that I post to the group do not show uploaded PDFs.
> Collaboration would be enhanced if other group members also had
> access to uploaded files, as I often make comments directly on the
> PDFs by marking them up with Acrobat Pro. Is there a way, within
> copyright law, to permit other group members (and only them) to
> view (and modify/re-upload) my uploaded PDFs? Does this only work
> for non-open groups? If so, is there a way to simply change an
> already-existing group from "open" to "private"?
I would absolutely *love* to do this. We're using CiteULike groups
internally to share references and I personally find it hugely
infuriating that we can't even share the PDFs on our own site.
The slight reticence is that all four of us in the office are in
agreement that it would be nice to be able to spend as little time as
possible locked up in gaol for copyright violations, and are treading
While anyone who's worked in a university knows that PDFs are
constantly emailed around department members, they are still
copyrighted material and we do need to play by the rules.
Some interesting points to note are:
a) As a website operating and hosted in London, we are governed by
the local legislation ("Copyrights, Designs and Patents Act 1998")
rather than the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (although the
jurisdiction of some of these US laws seems to be widening by the day).
b) While sites like YouTube exploit the fact that the DMCA requires
the copyright holder to identify unlawful copies of the work on the
Internet and issue a take-down notice (and thus they do rather well
out of re-broadcasting things like episodes of "The Daily Show"),
this is probably irrelevant for CiteULike. Firstly, as discussed,
that particular piece of legislation does not apply. Secondly, what
Google can achieve with armies of copyright lawyers is in a different
league that what CiteULike can argue. Thirdly, this just isn't an
approach we want to take: we're just not that revolutionary. We're
interested in working with publishers to promote their work in a more
meritocratic manner rather than exploiting obscure quirks in the law
to fight them (any publishers reading this need not get twitchy!).
c) There are parallels to this in the music industry. Sites like
<http://anywhere.fm>, <http://last.fm>, and <http://pandora.com>
cater for pretty much the problem of sharing music within groups of
people. Presumably this works because they are classed as radio
stations, but I'm not sure how this is applicable to CiteULike and
the problem of PDF sharing.
If anyone has any expertise in this area then I'd be grateful for any
advice you might be able to give (either on the list or privately via
email). In particular, if any publishers have any views on what the
likely concerns from the industry would be then I'd be interested to
There is, perhaps, scope for trying to do something which would suit
all parties. If we accept that lots of university email is of the
form "Have you seen this? [pdf attached]", and the corollary that
university research groups currently pool resources using other
technologies too (intranets, etc), then it might be interesting to
see if there's an argument enabling such a facility in CiteULike.
What might work in the publishers' favour is that if they are
interested in knowing how many people are reading their content
(which they blatantly are - it is a factor in determining the price
and profitability of the publication). If there's some mechanism
whereby publishers could start to know more accurately how many
people are reading their content (we could give them aggregate
statistics) then this might actually help them understand the people
who're currently emailing PDFs to each other a bit better.
The benefit to the end user is fairly obvious. The pain of having to
to negotiate paywalls while trying to work at home, together with the
incessant fiddling with your computer's network settings to persuade
the server that it's part of the university network could be
eliminated. Interesting new features like "search the full text off
all the articles your group has read" could be introduced. It just
makes for a more productive and hassle-free research environment.
That's what CiteULike is all about and, in an ideal world, is the
thing we should be doing.
In the meantime, I can think of far better ways of spending the
forthcoming autumn days than going to court to defend myself for
intellectual property theft, so we'll hang fire for now. It's
definitely worth starting the debate though, so please do let me know
if you have any thoughts on this.