Thursday, April 19, 2012

DOAB: Directory of Open Access Books

DOAB (Directory of Open Access Books) has recently been created. The primary aim of DOAB is to increase discoverability of OA books. DOAB is a service of OAPEN Foundation, an international initiative dedicated to Open Access monograph publishing, based at the National Library in The Hague.

The press release (12 April, 2012):
OAPEN is pleased to announce the launch of the Directory of Open Access Books (, a discovery service for peer reviewed books published under an Open Access license. DOAB provides a searchable index to the information about these books, with links to the full texts of the publications at the publisher’s website or repository.

The primary aim of DOAB is to increase discoverability of Open Access books. Academic publishers are invited to provide the metadata of their Open Access books to DOAB. These metadata will be harvestable in order to maximize dissemination, visibility and impact. At the start of the service there are just over 20 publishers participating with about 750 Open Access books and new publishers and books will be added in the next few days. Publishers who wish to participate in DOAB can find more information here. DOAB is launched in a Beta version to enable feedback from users and to further develop the service. We hope to considerably increase the number of publishers and OA books in DOAB in the coming months and thereby create a valuable resource for the scholarly community and interested public.

The Directory of Open Access Books is provided by OAPEN Foundation in cooperation with SemperTool. OAPEN Foundation is an international initiative dedicated to Open Access monograph publishing, based at the National Library in The Hague. DOAB was developed in close cooperation with Lars Bjørnshauge and Salam Baker Shanawa (director of SemperTool), who were also responsible for the development of the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).

For more information, please contact Eelco Ferwerda, director of the OAPEN Foundation,, +31(0)629565168.

Google Scholar Metrics

The new Google Scholar Metrics service includes ranking of open access subject repositories such as ArXiv, SSRN and RepEc.
This article explains the advantages of using the h-index method of ranking over the impact factor, and the virtues of the new Google Scholar Metrics:
The main flaw with the impact factor is that it is basically an arithmetic mean and, consequently, sensitive to outliers. Like a megastar that pulls all the lesser celestial bodies towards itself, one highly influential paper can draw the impact factor closer to its own citation count. This could give a distorted sense of the importance of the journal publishing the paper if its other contributions were largely forgettable. Suppose that in the current calendar year, the journal's one-hit wonder had 200 citations and its remaining 10 articles no citations. This would give the journal an impact factor of 18.2, suggesting, misleadingly, that articles it distributed typically receive 18 citations per year. Contrast this with the journal's h-index of 1, an accuracte reflection of the number of highly-cited articles the journal had published.

Another advantage of Scholar Metrics is its inclusion of web repositories like the Social Science Research Network and arXiv, where authors can make manuscripts or published articles available to the web community at no cost to themselves or their readers. By making it into the top 10 of the h-index ranking, these repositories demonstrate the importance of open access and early views in strengthening a publication's sway.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Economist on Taxpayer Access

How will we know when Open Access reaches a tipping point and becomes a mainstream movement? Maybe when the mainstream media takes up the cause.
This article in the Economist, makes the case for taxpayer access well:

Open Sesame
When research is funded by the taxpayer or by charities, the results should be available to all without charge
PUBLISHING obscure academic journals is that rare thing in the media industry: a licence to print money. An annual subscription to Tetrahedron, a chemistry journal, will cost your university library $20,269; a year of the Journal of Mathematical Sciences will set you back $20,100. In 2011 Elsevier, the biggest academic-journal publisher, made a profit of £768m ($1.2 billion) on revenues of £2.1 billion. Such margins (37%, up from 36% in 2010) are possible because the journals’ content is largely provided free by researchers, and the academics who peer-review their papers are usually unpaid volunteers. The journals are then sold to the very universities that provide the free content and labour. For publicly funded research, the result is that the academics and taxpayers who were responsible for its creation have to pay to read it. This is not merely absurd and unjust; it also hampers education and research.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Recent (March 29) testimony to the Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology seems to have re-drawn the battle lines over open access mandates, with one side touting the reintroduction of the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA), and the other claiming that the existing provision for an executive branch working group in the America COMPETES Act of 2010 works, and should be left alone.