Friday, January 26, 2007

On the opposition to open access

The following message was posted to a number of listservs in Canada. OA Librarians in other countries might wish to alert local librarians about the issue of media slant. Please feel free to use portions of this message and customize for the local situation if you would like; e.g., you might want to replace the Canadian LIS OA journals with ones that your own colleagues will be familiar with.

An article in Nature on Wednesday, January 24, by Jim Giles, PR's "pit bull" takes on open access, reveals that the American Association of Publishers hired the "pit bull of public relations", Eric Dezenhall, as a consultant on strategies to oppose the open access movement.

According to Nature, "The consultant advised them to focus on simple messages, such as "Public access equals government censorship". He hinted that the publishers should attempt to equate traditional publishing models with peer review...."

When assessing arguments against open access, it is important to consider where the messages are coming from. Dezenhall's previous clients include the former Enron chief and, according to Business Week, Exxonmobile (to criticize the environmental group Greenpeace).

Equating public access with government censorship is absurd. There are many open access publishers (including CACUL, with their Occasional Papers Series, and Evidence Based Librarianship, which members of CLA's own EBL Interest Group are very much involved in) who perform peer review. The Directory of Open Access Journals currently lists over 2,500 fully open access, peer-reviewed journals, and the numbers are growing rapidly.

In addition to fully open access journals, there are many journals which allow authors to retain copyright so that they can self-archive their works for open access, and also many which have hybrid open access models.

For those who do not have access to Nature, there is an excerpt on Open Access News, at:

Open Access News also details follow-up articles (in the Chronicle of Higher Education and Washington Post), as well as comments from bloggers.

My own comment, Stop fighting the inevitable - and free funds for OA!
focuses on the substantial funds spent by publishers to lobby against open access ($300,000 - $500,000 for this one consultation alone; Elsevier's lobbying budget in the U.S. alone is in the millions annually).

Heather Morrison

This post reflects my personal opinion only and does not represent the opinions or policy of the BC Electronic Library Network or the Simon Fraser University Library.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

OAIster reaches 10 million records

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - OAIster Reaches 10 Million Records.

We live in an information driven world, one in which access to good information defines success. OAIster's growth to 10 million records takes us one step closer to that goal.

Developed at the University of Michigan's Library, OAIster is a collection of digital scholarly resources. OAIster is also a service that continually gathers these digital resources to remain complete and fresh. As global digital repositories grow, so do OAIster's holdings.

Popular search engines don't have the holdings OAIster does. They crawl web pages and index the words on those pages. It's an outstanding technique for fast, broad information from public websites. But scholarly information, the kind researchers use to enrich their work, is generally hidden from these search engines.

OAIster retrieves these otherwise elusive resources by tapping directly into the collections of a variety of institutions using harvesting technology based on the Open Archives Initiative (OAI) Protocol for Metadata Harvesting. These can be images, academic papers, movies and audio files, technical reports, books, as well as preprints (unpublished works that have not yet been peer reviewed). By aggregating these resources, OAIster makes it possible to search across all of them and return the results of a thorough investigation of complete, up-to-date resources.

Ann Devenish, Publication Services Project Manager at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, notes that Harvesting by OAIster is a primary selling point when we talk to scientists and researchers about the visibility, accessibility, and impact of their contributions in an institutional repository. From their own experiences they know that a search using one of the popular search engines can bring back thousands (if not, millions) of results which will require careful and time-consuming screening, with no guarantee that they will ever get to the content they seek. A search of OAIster, across hundreds of open and scholarly archives and millions of records, brings back results with the key metadata elements that allow for quick identification of, and easy navigation to, the content they seek.

OAIster is good news for the digital archives that contribute material to open-access repositories. [OAIster has demonstrated that] OAI interoperability can scale. This is good news for the technology, since the proliferation is bound to continue and even accelerate, says Peter Suber, author of the SPARC Open Access Newsletter. As open-access repositories proliferate, they will be supported by a single, well-managed, comprehensive, and useful tool.

Scholars will find that searching in OAIster can provide better results than searching in web search engines. Roy Tennant, User Services Architect at the California Digital Library, offers an example: In OAIster I searched roma and 'world war,' then sorted by weighted relevance. The first hit nailed my topic, the persecution of the Roma in World War II. Trying 'roma world war' in Google fails miserably because Google apparently searches 'Rome' as well as 'Roma.' The ranking then makes anything about the Roma people drop significantly, and there is nothing in the first few screens of results that includes the word in the title, unlike the OAIster hit.

OAIster currently harvests 730 repositories from 49 countries on 6 continents. In three years, it has more than quadrupled in size and increased from 6.2 million to 10 million in the past year. OAIster is a project of the University of Michigan Digital Library Production Service.

For more information about University of Michigan's OAIster Project, visit, or contact Kat Hagedorn at

Congratulations & thanks to the University of Michigan's OAIster/ Metadata Harvesting Librarian Kat Hagedorn and OAIster.

This post reflects my personal opinion only and does not represent the opinions or policy of the BC Electronic Library Network or the Simon Fraser University Library.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

World's biggest open access english language journals portal

Open J-Gate describes itself as the "World's largest open access english language journals portal". Unlike DOAJ, which is limited to peer-reviewed journals, Open J-Gate includes both peer-reviewed journals and professional and industry journals - a total of 3,933 journals, as of January 20, 2007.

In addition to this substantial content and frequent updating, About Open J-Gate reveals a number of search features that might appeal to librarians, such as:

Well designed journal classification
All journals are classified in a three-level hierarchical system to provide for better relevancy in search results.

Table of Content (TOC) Browsing
Users can browse the TOC of latest issue and the back issues.

Easy-to-Use search functionalities
Database allows various search options for the user�s convenience. The subscriber can search by Title, Author, Abstract, Author's Address/Institution, Keywords, etc.

This post reflects my personal opinion only and does not represent the opinions or policy of the BC Electronic Library Network or the Simon Fraser University Library.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

New OA journal: International Journal of Contemporary Iraqi Studies

From Juan Cole:

The URL is:

Registration needed but seems to be fully OA.

Details of first issue:

The first issue of the International Journal of Contemporary Iraqi Studies is up on the Web and freely accessible. There are several good articles. The table of contents is:

The Islamist imaginary
Islam,Iraq,and the projections of empire
Authors: Raymond W. Baker

Media and lobbyist support for the US invasion of Iraq
Authors: Janice J. Terry

Beating the drum:Canadian print media and the build-up to the invasion of Iraq
Authors: Tareq Y. Ismael

The United States in Iraq:the consequences of occupation
Authors: Stephen Zunes

Toward regional war in the Middle East?
Authors: Richard Falk

Reconstructing the performance of the Iraqi economy 1950-2006: an essay with some hypotheses and many questions
Authors: Roger Owen

This post reflects my personal opinion only and does not represent the opinions or policy of the BC Electronic Library Network or the Simon Fraser University Library.

Petition for OA to publicly-funded research in Europe

Please sign the petition for OA to publicly-funded research in Europe - either individuals or organizations can sign, and it's easy & online. For details about the initiative, see Open Access News.

This post reflects my personal opinion only and does not represent the opinions or policy of the BC Electronic Library Network or the Simon Fraser University Library.

Release Your Research, Increase Your Impact

From the University of Alberta Libraries News page:

The University of Alberta Libraries is pleased to present Open Access: the Sea Change in Scholarly Publishing, a forum with Dr. John Willinsky on Tuesday, March 20, 1:30pm at the Myer Horowitz Theatre.

Dr. Willinsky proposes that current changes in scholarly publishing are poised to increase the global circulation of knowledge, while improving its scholarly and public quality. He will discuss ways in which the publishing choices that faculty and graduate students make can extend the contribution and reach of their work. He will also highlight the Open Journal Systems software, a system which can reduce the economic and energy demands of journal publishing, while adding to the rigor and coherence of the academic enterprise.

Dr. Willinsky’s award-winning Public Knowledge Project is the world’s leading open source software for journal publishing, and his recent book The Access Principle (MIT Press, 2006) has won this year’s Blackwell Award for Scholarship. He is Pacific Press Professor of Literacy and Technology at the University of British Columbia and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Registration is free and open to all.

Thanks to Pam Ryan

This post reflects my personal opinion only and does not represent the opinions or policy of the BC Electronic Library Network or the Simon Fraser University Library.

Friday, January 12, 2007

New OA Journal: International Journal of Education Policy and Leadership

The International Journal of Education Policy and Leadership (IJEPL) is a joint publication of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University, and the College of Education and Human Development at George Mason University.

The mission of IJEPL: IJEPL seeks to build bridges between researchers, policymakers, and practitioners by enriching the policy and leadership knowledge base, and promoting exploration and analysis of policy alternatives.

IJEPL's Open Access Policy: By virtue of their appearance in this open access journal, articles are free to use, with proper attribution, in educational and other non-commercial settings 90 days after initial publication. Copyright for articles published in IJEPL is retained by the authors, with first publication rights granted to the journal.

Articles are published individually as they complete the peer review process.

Thanks to Simon Fraser University Library's Percilla Groves, and Dan Laitsch of the SFU Education Department. IJEPL is published using the free, open source Open Journal Systems (OJS) software.

This post reflects my personal opinion only and does not represent the opinions or policy of the BC Electronic Library Network or the Simon Fraser University Library.

New OA Journal: Child Health and Education/ Santé et Éducation de l'Enfance

Child Health and Education/ Santé et Éducation de l'Enfance is a new open access journal, from Simon Fraser University.

Child Health and Education: An Interdisciplinary Journal provides an international forum for publishing empirical, theoretical, and methodological articles, papers, essays, and reviews that contribute to improving the lives of young children and their families.

Child Health and Education: An Interdisciplinary Journal was made possible through the support and guidance of:

* SFU Serial Publications Fund
* Public Knowledge Project at SFU
* Graphically Speaking Services Inc. (Website design services)

Authors publishing in Child Health and Education retain copyright. Child Health and Education is published using the free, open source Open Journals Systems (OJS) software.

Thanks to Percilla Groves.

This post reflects my personal opinion only and does not represent the opinions or policy of the BC Electronic Library Network or the Simon Fraser University Library.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Open Access Research (OAR): Call for Papers

Open Access Research (OAR), is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal that will enable greater interaction and facilitate a deeper conversation about open access, including topics such as:

open access journals
institutional support for open access
open access publishing services and software
open access repositories (both institutional and subject-based)
electronic theses and dissertations
the impact of open access on scholarly research and communications.

If you are engaged in research relating to open access, or if you have an article in mind, please contact us. OAR's first issue will be in August, 2007 and will subsequently be published three times a year. Submissions received by March 31, 2007 will be considered for the August issue; subsequent submissions will be considered for future issues.

Send inquiries to:

William Walsh
Head – Acquisitions
Georgia State University Library
100 Decatur St. SE
Atlanta, GA 30303

Editors-in-Chief: John Russell (University of Oregon), Dorothea Salo (George Mason University), William Walsh (Georgia State University), Elizabeth Winter (Georgia Institute of Technology). Please see our website for a full list of editors and editorial board members. Open Access Research is published by the Georgia State University Library using Open Journal Systems ( software.

[Disclosure: I am on the Editorial Board].

This post reflects my personal opinion only and does not represent the opinions or policy of the BC Electronic Library Network or the Simon Fraser University Library.

First International PKP Scholarly Publishing Conference Call for Papers: Deadlines

** with apologies for cross-posting **

The final deadline for the call for papers has been extended to Wednesday, February 7th. Preliminary review of abstracts will begin on January 15th. Those who are intended to take advantage of the extra time for developing a proposal may wish to submit a preliminary proposal by January 15th. The Open Conference Systems abstract submission process makes it very easy for the author to modify an initial proposal. If you are submitting a preliminary proposal, please include a note to this effect with the abstract.

First International PKP Scholarly Publishing Conference
Vancouver, July 11-13, 2007

The Public Knowledge Project at the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University is pleased to announce that the first international PKP conference will be held from July 11-13, 2007 in
Vancouver. The conference will provide opportunities for those involved in the organization, promotion, and study of scholarly communication to share and discuss innovative work in scholarly publishing, with a focus on the contribution that open source publishing technologies (such as Open Journal Systems) can make to improving access to research and scholarship on a global and public scale. The conference will appeal to all those with an interest in the future of scholarly publishing community: software developers and technical support specialists; journal publishers, editors, and staff; librarians; and researchers in scholarly publishing.

Abstract Deadline (required): January 15, 2007
Paper and PowerPoint Submission (desired but not required for public posting): July 1, 2007
This conference, which uses Open Conference Systems developed by the Public Knowledge Project, enables participants to submit abstracts online at

Presentations can include:
* Single papers (abstract max of 500 words)
* Multiple paper sessions (overview max of 500 words)

Call for Papers Announcement
The conference stream for those involved in the practices and study of journal publishing will focus on the following themes and topics:
* Scholarly publishing in developing countries;
* Open access and the academy: reforming and opening the peer review process, implications for academic freedom;
* New journals, new models: the how and why of starting a new journal, new economic models for old journals, encouraging open
data and related practices;
* Promotion and growth: building readership, authorship, and reviewership; open access is public access - challenges and benefits;
* Improving the features and design of publishing software

The conference stream for librarians and information specialists will focus on the following themes and topics:
* The role of libraries in supporting and developing emerging or alternate forms of scholarly communication, e.g., the library as publisher, implications for collections budgets and policies;
* Incorporating and supporting open access publications as part of current collections and related services;
* Using PKP software and related open source tools in libraries, e.g., "best practices" or case studies.

The conference stream for open source software developers and other technical experts working with PKP software will address the
* Understanding and working with PKP software and its "plug-in" architecture;
* Building a PKP developers' community including software contributions and collaborative projects;
* PKP software development priorities and plans.

Emerald's turn at hybrid OA

I'll keep this short as the news is three days old and has already been caught by the ever-reliable Peter Suber on his blog (
Anyway, Emerald has announced a trial hybrid OA program for their engineering journals, called Emerald Asset. The most interesting thing about Emerald Asset is that no fee is requested from accepted authors; in return for having their articles made openly accessible, authors "will be asked to submit a summary of their research findings highlighting their practical application. "

The announcement from Emerald can be found at

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Karger introduces "Author's Choice"

Joining the bandwagon, Karger has just announced its own hybrid journal trial program, entitled "Author's Choice". Under Author's Choice, articles in eight journals can be made OA for a cost of $2,500 US. The journals for which this applies are:

Cytogenetic and Genome Research
Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders
Developmental Neuroscience
European Neurology
Medical Principles and Practice
Neurodegenerative Diseases

Author's Choice is described as a "trial model". This is likely why only eight of Karger's approximately 85 journals are included in the program.

No mention was made in the announcement of a corresponding reduction in subscription costs (maybe this will come later, after the "trial" period).

The $2,500 US payment is in addition to "any standard charges for supplementary pages, color images etc. which may apply".

More information about Author's Choice can be found on the Karger site at Peter Suber has also blogged this at
(I blog in his shadow...)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Out of the cataloguing business..into Digital Strategies

McMaster University Library is Getting out of the Cataloguing Business...and into several interesting new areas. There will be several new librarian positions - the most interesting, from an OA Librarian perspective, is:

Digital Strategies Librarian: This position will be responsible for developing our digital library program; building our digital infrastructure; assisting with implementation of an institutional repository; and developing strategies to align us with programs at the provincial and national level such as Alouette.

Cataloguers will be moving into "tiered reference".

Thanks to McMaster University Librarian Jeffrey Trzeciak

This post reflects my personal opinion only and does not represent the opinions or policy of the BC Electronic Library Network or the Simon Fraser University Library.