Open Access Publishing
Open Access is defined by Peter Suber as "free, immediate, permanent, full-text, online access, for any user, web-wide, to digital scientific and scholarly material, primarily research articles published in peer-reviewed journals. OA means that any individual user, anywhere, who has access to the Internet, may link, read, download, store, print-off, use, and data-mine the digital content of that article. An OA article usually has limited copyright and licensing restrictions." Ref 1 For more information see either the Wikipedia OA article or the ARL "Framing the Issue: Open Access" document. Another excellent OA overview article is provided by Peter Suber.
The Directory of Open Access Journals provides a list of international open access journals. A compliment to this list is the List of Predatory Journals -- which lists questionable journals - both commercial and open access in nature.
See the Open Access Timeline. An interactive page shows an exhaustive history of the Open Access movement, with key dates and events from the 1970s to the present day.
A short but accurate description of the recent impacts on commercial publisher packages by Open Access journals.
Open: The Philosophy and Practices that are Revolutionizing Education and Science, edited by Rajiv Jhangiani and Robert Biswas-Diener.
How do I find out more about Open Access?
Open Access Explained! -- a short and entertaining video outlining some of the key issues in Open Access.
The Case for Open Access Publishing at UNC Charlotte -- a short video explaining the Berlin Declaration and the sustainability concern.
Video about paywall blockage (The Business of Scholarship) due to the protection of outrageous profit margins.
Read about activities related to International Open Access (OA) Week. The 2014 theme was "Generation Open," focused on the impact that students and early career researchers can have in shaping the Open Access movement.
Fair Use Week is a site created by ACRL to highlight the latest news about fair use considerations.
Open Access Discovery Tools
There are several browser extensions or plug-ins you can install that will search compiled collections of open access articles, as well as search the internet for an open access version of a desired article.
A significant development is the move by Harvard University to assume responsibility for author rights.
This suite of Open Access pages has been created to keep our population informed of events and initiatives in this area.
SXU should educate our faculty about OA issues at Harvard and elsewhere, and attempt to have our faculty take a more active role in the dissemination of their scholarship. We will be increasing our outreach to our faculty during the next few months in order to better understand the special interests and develop a summary of possible actions.
The library has a responsibility to inform the administration and faculty about how these "disruptive influences" might change other elements within the scholarly communication system. How will peer review be supported and who will be paying? What is the value of content added by publishers - such as copy editing, language correction, linking capabilities, and image manipulation? What is the value of commercial indexing tools compared to free tools such as Google Scholar and ingenta (e.g. enhanced metadata, controlled vocabulary/ontologies)? How does OA affect the revenue streams of scholarly societies who subsidize other activities beyond the essential peer review?
Open access is an inevitable factor in the changing scholarly communication system; we must represent the interests of multiple populations as we redesign the entire scholarly network. Faculty members must be well informed about the costs and long-term implications of continuing untenable journal subscription inflation and the various business models available to support the required peer review process. Only then will faculty authors, editors, teachers, and readers work together with librarians and other stakeholders to change their behaviors and develop a cost-effective peer review network. Administrative and society based support will be required to balance the conflicting interests of many faculty within the present community.
Definitions to Clarify Related Terminology
“Open Access is the free, immediate, online availability of research articles, coupled with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment. Open Access ensures that anyone can access and use these resources – to turn ideas into industries and breakthroughs into better lives." – SPARC
“Open Education encompasses resources, tools and practices that are free of legal, financial and technical barriers and can be fully used, shared and adapted in the digital environment. Open Education maximizes the power of the Internet to make education more affordable, accessible and effective” – SPARC
“Open Educational Resources are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and repurposing by others. OER include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge.” – William & Flora Hewlett Foundation
Open and affordable are also not the same. All that is open is affordable, but not all that is affordable is open. Steven Bell of Temple University gave a webinar for the CARLI membership this past May, “Is that OER? Making Sense of the Current Textbook Affordability Landscape."
There are misperceptions about open resources. SPARC released on Wednesday, OER Mythbusting. This publication states that it “addresses the top seven myths about OER in North American higher education, as voted on my more than 100 faculty, librarians, students and other members of the OER community.”
Underlying Support Models
In addition to protests, some alternatives to traditional journal publishing are being developed. The Public Library of Science, provides free reading, but the costs of peer review and publishing (distribution) is charged to the authors. Other manuscript repositories, such as the physics (and some additional disciplnes) preprint server arXiv, let users read and publish for free, but don't provide any form of peer review.
Another initiative that holds some promise is the Open Journal Systems (OJS), a journal management and publishing system that has been developed by the Public Knowledge Project through its federally funded efforts to expand and improve access to research. OJS assists with every stage of the refereed publishing process, from submissions through to online publication and indexing. This has resulted in significantly reduced author charges, and might be a pltform that could operate on other types of revenue streams such as grant funding, direct federal subsidies, and association fees.
Send any comments or concerns to David Stern, Library Director, at stern @ sxu.edu or phone (773) 298-3350.