[Tdwg-guid] Demise of Phyloinformatics journal

Chuck Miller Chuck.Miller at mobot.org
Fri Nov 24 20:52:51 CET 2006

What is the obligation of a publisher when it decides to cease to exist?  Should it take steps to ensure the availability of its completed publications?  If not, then what?  If the publications just disappear, then no DOI can fix it.  The fact that Internet Archive has a copy is a fortunate accident and possibly the fall-back for these situations. 
Does anyone know who was the publisher of Phyloinformatics?  Why did the journal go offline?


From: tdwg-guid-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu on behalf of P. Bryan Heidorn
Sent: Fri 11/24/2006 12:21 PM
To: tdwg-guid at mailman.nhm.ku.edu; Taxacom
Subject: Re: [Tdwg-guid] Demise of Phyloinformatics journal

The problem and solution has less to do with the Internet and more to 
do with institutional longevity.
The permanence of paper has less to do with acid free paper and more 
to do with the relative permanence of the institutions that house 
them. Most paper documents over a hundred years old have been lost 
forever because there were no permanent institutions to hold them 
until the advent of public and academic libraries. Papers in 
individual scientists collections are discarded when they die. War 
and economic upheavals left paper in rain and fire. It is foolhardy 
to assume that what is on paper is safe.

We know that dissemination of information in electronic form is must 
more economical than paper dissemination. The issue is development of 
proper institutions with adequate stable funding to develop and 
maintain copies into "perpetuity". Commercial publishers, are clearly 
not the answer for preservation. Corporations and publishers go out 
of business all the time. It is only because libraries kept paper 
copies that we still have a record.

Digital preservation and access problems exist for all sciences and 
government documents so there is no need to the biodiversity 
community to go it alone on this. We are just in the beginning of the 
digital publishing history and have not yet established adequate 
preservation mechanisms within libraries to handle data curation, 
preservation and access in all the situations where it is necessary. 
There are projects underway world wide to address this issue. In the 
United States the Library of Congress The National Digital 
Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program http:// <http:///> 
www.digitalpreservation.gov/ is one example. The U.S. Government 
agency the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) http:// <http:///> 
www.imls.gov/ began grant programs to train librarians and museum 
curators in digital librarianship and most recently in digital data 
curation http://www.imls.gov/applicants/grants/
21centuryLibrarian.shtm is addressing the education issues. The 
University of North Carolina http://www.ils.unc.edu/digccurr2007/
papers.html and the University of Illinois http://sci.lis.uiuc.edu/
DCEP/ have begun working on best practices and education. This week 
say the successful Data Curation Conference (DCC) in Glasgow, 
Scotland http://www.dcc.ac.uk/events/dcc-2006/. DCC will be running 
"Long-term Curation and Preservation of Journals"
31 January 2007. (as an aside, at DCC conference I saw results of a 
survey in "Attitudes and aspirations in a diverse world: the Project 
StORe perspective on scientific repositories" Graham Pryor, 
University of Edinburgh http://www.dcc.ac.uk/events/dcc-2006/
programme/presentations/g-pryor.ppt that more scientists trusted 
publishers to save their digital documents than their home 
institutions and libraries! It is clear that scientists are generally 
not trained in economics and that the information technology 
management of many institutions must be abysmal!

We need something like to 5 institution rule for distribution to 
apply for digital documents. Digital documents need to be replicated 
as well for both access and preservation. Institutions like the 
Internet Archive help with some of the current problems. 
Institutional Repositories (IR) are another. Many universities and 
libraries world wide are beginning these. It is authors' 
responsibility  to deposit their publications in these institutions 
and to support their creation. JSTOR and other institutions also 
exist. They all have their weaknesses and additional research, 
development and funding is needed to adequately address the issues. 
Also, all journals need to be managed using good data curation 
principles but al too often the publishers in spite of best 
intentions are not educated in such issues.

Digital publishing of taxonomic literature are not the full answer 
for current poor dissemination of taxonomic literature. The deposit 
of a published name in five institutions is a preservation rule, not 
a dissemination rule.  We hurt science and human health is we do not 
at the same time address the information access issue.  We need to 
aspire to better dissemination and preservation. Electronic 
publishing will help but only if appropriate institutions in place.

On the smaller issue, DOIs for publications, electronic or paper is a 
no-brainer. URLs were never designed to be permanent. URLs were 
designed to be reused and be flexible. With DOIs we can place the 
same paper in multiple digital or physical locations and reliably 
find copies.

Bryan Heidorn
   P. Bryan Heidorn    Graduate School of Library and Information 
   pheidorn at uiuc.edu   University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign MC-493
   (V)217/ 244-7792    501 East Daniel St., Champaign, IL  61820-6212
   (F)217/ 244-3302    https://netfiles.uiuc.edu/pheidorn/www

On Nov 24, 2006, at 9:54 AM, Renato De Giovanni wrote:

> Rod,
> Thanks for sharing with us the information. I already imagined that
> things like that could happen, but it's always better to argue having
> real examples.
> Anyway, just in case someone reading the story decides to blame URLs,
> I just wanted to say that in my opinion the main issue here is not
> the technology or the GUID format being used. It's the business model
> and the management strategy.
> I can easily imagine similar things happening to DOIs, LSIDs or other
> kinds of issued GUIDs if the institution(s) behind them simply
> disappear.
> Best Regards,
> Renato
> --
> IT Researcher
> CRIA - Reference Center on Environmental Information
> http://www.cria.org.br/
> On 24 Nov 2006 at 13:37, Roderic Page wrote:
>> The Open Access web-only journal "Phyloinformatics" seems to have
>> disappeared, with the Internet address http:// <http:///> 
>> www.phyloinformatics.org
>> now up for sale. This means the articles have just disappeared!
>> There weren't many papers published, but some were interesting and 
>> have
>> been cited in the mainstream literature.
>> This also illustrates the problems with linking to digital resources
>> using URLs, as opposed to identifiers such as DOIs. With the loss of
>> the domain name, this journal has effectively died.
>> A sobering lesson...
>> Regards
>> Rod
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