White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Proposes Revisions to U.S. Government’s Governing Document on Information Resources

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has recently proposed — for the first time in 15 years — revisions to U.S. Government’s governing document — Circular No. A-130 — on information resources — please see here.

Public comments were requested — please see here.

Please see here, herehere and here for coverage of/reporting on/criticism regarding the proposal.

Cross-posted at Law Library Blog.

New Report: “A Comparison between US and EU Data Protection Legislation for Law Enforcement”

Please see this report, “commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department
for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE
Committee [Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs],” here.

From the Executive Summary of the report:

Generally, it can be concluded that the EU data protection framework in the law enforcement sector is shaped by comprehensive data protection guarantees, which are codified in EU primary and secondary law and are accompanied by EU and ECtHR case law. In contrast, US data protection guarantees in the law enforcement and national security contexts are sector specific and are therefore contained within the specific instruments which empower US agencies to process personal data. They vary according to the instruments in place and are far less comprehensive.
Above all, constitutional protection is limited. US citizens may invoke protection through the Fourth Amendment and the Privacy Act, but the data protection rights granted in the law enforcement sector are limitedly interpreted with a general tendency to privilege law enforcement and national security interests. Moreover, restrictions to data protection in the law enforcement sector are typically not restricted by proportionality considerations, reinforcing the structural and regular preference of law enforcement and national security interests over the interests of individuals. Regarding the scope and applicability of rights, non-US persons are usually not protected by the existing, already narrowly interpreted, guarantees. The same is true with regards to other US law. When data protection guarantees do exist in federal law, they usually do not include protection for non-US persons.

Max Planck Digital Library Open Access Policy White Paper: “Disrupting the subscription journals’ business model…”

Disrupting the subscription journals’ business model for the necessary large-scale transformation to open access

A Max Planck Digital Library Open Access Policy White Paper

Published: 28 April 2015
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17617/1.3
License: CC-BY 4.0, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Authors: Ralf Schimmer¹, Kai Karin Geschuhn¹, Andreas Vogler¹
Contact: schimmer@mpdl.mpg.de

¹ Max Planck Digital Library, Amalienstraße 33, 80799 München, Germany


This paper makes the strong, fact-based case for a large-scale transformation of the current corpus of scientific subscription journals to an open access business model. The existing journals, with their well-tested functionalities, should be retained and developed to meet the demands of 21st century research, while the underlying payment streams undergo a major restructuring. There is sufficient momentum for this decisive push towards open access publishing. The diverse existing initiatives must be coordinated so as to converge on this clear goal. The international nature of research implies that this transformation will be achieved on a truly global scale only through a consensus of the world’s most eminent research organizations. All the indications are that the money already invested in the research publishing system is sufficient to enable a transformation that will be sustainable for the future. There needs to be a shared understanding
that the money currently locked in the journal subscription system must be withdrawn and repurposed for open access publishing services. The current library acquisition budgets are the ultimate reservoir for enabling the transformation without financial or other risks. The goal is to preserve the established service levels provided by publishers that are still requested by researchers, while redefining and reorganizing the necessary payment streams. By disrupting the underlying business model, the viability of journal publishing can be preserved and put on a solid footing for the scholarly developments of the future.

Long-Standing Rise in Economic Inequality in the United States along with Failure to Create Jobs

The Washington, DC-based http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Think_tank Center for Economic and Policy Research earlier this year issued:

Failing on Two Fronts: The U.S. Labor Market Since 2000 (January 2015) by John Schmitt

From the Introduction:

For almost four decades and by almost all available measures, economic inequality has been increasing in the United States. For a portion of this period, the United States could console itself, in part, by celebrating its success as a “jobs machine.” Indeed, the two issues were often linked in the standard economics account of the post-Reagan era: widening wage inequality rewarded the skills of those at the top, while providing job opportunities for those at the bottom. In countries where inequality did not increase, the story went, employment suffered.1 But, for almost 15 years, that story has not held. The U.S. jobs machine has broken down. The employment-to-population rate at the peak of the business cycle in 2007 was substantially lower than it had been at the peak of the preceding business cycle in 2000. The employment rate has barely increased in the five years since the official end of the “Great Recession” in the summer of 2009. And almost the entirety of the decline in the unemployment rate since 2010 is the result of workers giving up on job search rather finding new jobs.

The long-standing rise in inequality, now joined by an extended period when the economy has been unable to generate jobs for the country’s growing population, constitutes a deep failure on two fronts: steeply rising inequality combined with a poor employment performance. This paper argues that a key driver of both of these developments is conscious economic policy, with a particularly important and under-appreciated role for macroeconomic policy. The paper first demonstrates the remarkable “flexibility” of U.S. labor markets relative to the situation in other rich economies. The paper then links this policy-induced flexibility to high and rising inequality and shows that such flexibility ceased long ago to contribute –if it ever did– to greater job creation.

The recent experience of the United States stands as a sober warning for European economies seeking to escape from their own immense employment problems.

Statement for the Record: Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community

The U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services has recently (February 26, 2015) made available

Statement for the Record: Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community

of the Director of National Intelligence.

University of North Texas (UNT) Annual Open Access Symposia: 2015 Symposium “Open Access and the Law”

The University of North Texas (UNT), in furtherance of its commitment to the global open access movement, sponsors an annual symposium on Open Access.

Please see here for information about previous years’ events, speakers and presentations.

The 2015 symposium’s theme is “Open Access and the Law.”

The scheduled dates of the 2015 symposium — at the UNT Dallas College of Law — are Monday-Tuesday, May 18-19, 2015.

It will open on Monday evening May 18th with a reception.

Substantive programs will then take place the following day.

Speakers will include individuals working on the authentication of electronic legal materials as well as on institutional repositories.

More information on the 2015 symposium will become available soon.

Cross-posted at Law Library Blog.

New Email-Alerts System from U.S. Library of Congress for Tracking Legislative Action on Congress.gov

Earlier this month the U.S. Library of Congress made available — on Congress.gov — “a new optional email-alerts system that makes tracking legislative action even easier.”

Please see the explanatory news release “Congress.gov Offers Users New Alert System” of 5-Feb-2015 here.

Legal Affairs Committee of Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly States that Mass Surveillance Practices “Endanger Fundamental Human Rights”

A new report of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), Council of Europe states that the mass surveillance practices disclosed by US whistleblower Edward Snowden “endanger fundamental human rights.”

The report is here.

Please see the accompanying press release here.

“PubAg,” User-Friendly Search Engine, Debuts at the U.S. National Agricultural Library

The U.S. National Agricultural Library (NAL) has debuted PubAg, a user-friendly search engine, which provides “enhanced access” to the public to search for and obtain research published by scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The NAL is part of USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS).

Please see here for the USDA’s press release about PubAg.

Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) Posts New, 3-Year [2015-2017] Strategic Plan

Please see the January 7, 2015 post:

What’s Ahead for DPLA: Our New Strategic Plan

The full plan is:

DPLA: Digital Public Library of America: Strategic Plan: 2015 through 2017

For more information about the DPLA, which launched officially on April 18, 2013, please see — among other things — here and here.