Friday, May 28, 2010

Publishing in Open Access Education Journals: The Authors' Perspectives

In the April, 2010 issue of Behavioral & Social Sciences Librarian Bryna Coonin and Leigh M. Younce authored the article "Publishing in Open Access Education Journals: The Authors’ Perspectives". The Abstract:
Open access publishing is now an accepted method of scholarly communication. However, the greatest traction for open access publishing thus far has been in the sciences. Penetration of open access publishing has been much slower among the social sciences. This study surveys 309 authors from recent issues of open access journals in education to determine why they choose to publish in open access journals and to gain insight into the ways publishing practices within the discipline itself impact the willingness of authors to engage in open access publishing.
From the Conclusion:
Scholars work and teach in institutions, but the vitality of their scholarly lives is derived from the reception of their work by peers within their disciplines. The education researchers surveyed confirmed that peer review is of primary importance in their publishing activity. Among education researchers, though, the impetus to share the fruits of research with the practitioner community is historically strong. Open access publication enhances the options for accomplishing this.

There remains some confusion regarding the issue of electronic journal versus print publishing. For subject liaisons discussing open access publishing with faculty, it may be important to establish that the concept of open access is not the same as a format change from print to electronic. Another potential source of confusion is self-archiving. A major trend within the scholarly communication arena, self-archiving appears to respond to somewhat different stimuli than the impulse to engage in OA publishing. Liaison librarians working with faculty on these issues cannot assume that participation in one of these activities automatically implies interest in the other.

Increasingly, open access overall represents a leading edge in scholarly publishing rather than the “fringe.” However, an understanding (and acceptance) of open access journal publishing as a viable outlet for scholarly publishing is still quite dependent on the research and publishing cultures within the disciplines. It may be helpful for liaison librarians to keep in mind that issues concerning open access crystallize at different times for different individuals. For some, clarification develops as scholars become more aware of scholarly communication generally. Others may give the matter little or no thought until open access is discussed in a forum within their narrow discipline, among colleagues they hold in high regard.

. . . . Advocacy for open access is the ideal, but such a stance may not be possible for every subject liaison. Increasing awareness of open access among our academic faculty, however, remains an important and reasonable goal for librarians. Increasing one's own awareness and knowledge of the relevant trends, coupled with patience, is recommended.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Hathi Trust

The Hathi Trust, a shared digital repository, has about 6 million fully digitized volumes in its collection. This corresponds to well over 2,000,000,000 pages. A little under 1.2 million of the 6 million volumes are open access, i.e. in the public domain. Click FAQs to learn more about the Hathi Trust and its project to archive vast amounts of digital content.

To search the collection click here.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Nature Publishing Offering Open Access Options for More Journals

Nature Publishing Group (NPG) has just announced the addition of seven more journals to its list of of titles offering an open access option, bringing the total to 25 for this publisher. Authors can choose to publish their articles as open access by payment of an article processing charge (APC). APC charges vary according to the selectivity of the journal; more information can be found on each journal page. The new titles include American Journal of Gastroenterology, Bone Marrow Transplantation, Gene Therapy, International Journal of Obesity, Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism, Oncogene, and Leukemia. Authors are offered a choice of licenses (including one allowing for derivative works), as well as immediate and permanent public access to the final published version of their paper on and in PubMed Central and the rights to self-archive the final published version of their paper for public access immediately upon publication. Nature's self-archiving policy provides for authors publishing in any of the 43 Nature titles to comply with funder mandates.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Campus-based Open-access Publishing Funds

Some commercial academic journal publishers will allow open access to articles if the author pays a fee up front. SPARC®, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, is urging academic institutions to support the creation of special funds for paying such fees. Understandably, this approach raises a number of questions which SPARC attempts to answer.

For example:

For administrators:
1. Why might my institution start an open-access fund?
2. How do faculty members feel about these issues?
3. My institution is considering the creation of an open-access fund. What guidance can SPARC provide?
4. What types of charges should an open-access fund cover? Who within my institution should be eligible for these funds?
5. Doesn’t covering the publication fees to traditional subscription-based journals that offer an open-access publishing option amount to double payment?
6. Does spending money on a single author’s publishing take away from the broader acquisition funding of my institution?

For authors
1. How do I know if my institution has an open-access fund for its authors? If my institution does not have an open-access fund, with whom should I speak to encourage the creation of one?
2. If my institution were to have an open-access fund, how does the reimbursement/payment process typically work?
3. To what journals can I submit under this policy?
4. Where can I find a list of open-access journals to which I might apply these funds?
5. If I publish my paper with the assistance of my institution's open-access fund, am I restricted from posting it elsewhere on the Web?

The full guide to creating this kind of funding is available.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Over 5,000 Journals now in

A new milestone was announced on 10 May: there are now more than 5000 journals in the Directory of Open Access Journals. Over 2000 of the journals are searchable at article level and very soon the figure for the articles searchable will be more than 400,000.

Monday, May 10, 2010

University Leaders Support Free Access to Publicly Funded Research

27 university presidents, provosts, and research vice presidents recently signed an open letter in support of FRPAA (the Federal Research Public Access Act (S.1373 and H.R.5037)). The letter is posted on the website of the Office for Scholarly Communication, Harvard University Libraries. Extracts:
The United States Congress will have the opportunity to consider the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA). FRPAA would require Federal agencies whose extramural research budgets exceed $100 million to develop policies ensuring open, public access to the research supported by their grants or conducted by their employees. This Bill embodies core ideals shared by higher education, research institutions and their partners everywhere. The Bill builds upon the success of the first U.S. policy for public access to publicly funded research – implemented in 2008 through the National Institutes of Health – and mirrors the intent of campus-based policies for research access that are being adopted by a growing number of public and private institutions across the nation.

We believe that this legislation represents a watershed and provides an opportunity for the entire U.S. higher education and research community to draw upon their traditional partnerships and collaboratively realize the unquestionably good intentions of the Bill’s framers – broadening access to publicly funded research in order to accelerate the advancement of knowledge and maximize the related public good. By ensuring broad and diverse access to taxpayer-funded research the Bill also supports the intuitive and democratic principle that, with reasonable exceptions for issues of national security, the public ought to have access to the results of activities it funds. . . .

As scholars and university administrators, we are acutely aware that the present system of scholarly communication does not always serve the best interests of our institutions or the general public. Scholarly publishers, academic libraries, university leaders, and scholars themselves must engage in an ongoing dialogue about the means of scholarly production and distribution. This dialogue must acknowledge both our competing interests and our common goals. The passage of FRPAA will be an important step in catalyzing that dialogue, but it is not the last one that we will need to take.

FRPAA is good for education and good for research. It is good for the American public, and it promotes broad, democratic access to knowledge. While it challenges the academy and scholarly publishers to think and act creatively, it need not threaten nor undermine a successful balance of our interests. If passed, we will work with researchers, publishers, and federal agencies to ensure its successful implementation. We endorse FRPAA’s aims and urge the academic community, individually and collectively, to voice support for its passage.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Earlier this week Library Journal reported that the Internet Archive (IA) are making one million books available to blind, dyslexic, and print impaired people:
Some 340,000 works held by the IA have been converted to the DAISY talking book format, while the others are simply openly accessible editions available via the Open Library, an IA project that aims to create a web page for every book. . . .

Though the IA is synonymous in many circles with the public domain, this effort defines a broader purview. The project stems from an exception to the U.S. code concerning copyright that allows works to be copied for the purpose of making a work accessible.

The works will be made available to qualifying readers officially registered with the Library of Congress’s National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS). . . .

[A]s IA founder Brewster Kahle told LJ, the project entails a new scale of offerings, more than doubling the number of works available in a single place.

It dovetails with IA's large-scale scanning efforts and the the Open Library's goal to make works and bibliographic data as openly available as possible. In addition, with the inclusion of popular and other in-copyright materials, the IA can offer print impaired users beyond the more limited selection of accessible works currently available.

"We're taking the [IA's] mass digitization project, and reformatting it for the print disabled," Kahle said. But it also works the other way around: the more books added and converted to the DAISY format, the more raw material to work with in building a robust platform for the Open Library, both in terms of the works themselves as well as bibliographic data to work with.

May SPARC Open Access Newsletter

Peter Suber has published the May 2010 issue of the SPARC Open Access Newsletter.