Friday, September 30, 2011

Dramatic Growth of Open Access September 30, 2011

Friends and implementers of open access around the world: we have outdone ourselves (again!). This quarter a number of initiatives have met or exceeded some interesting milestones. DOAJ is now over 7,000 journals, and still adding more than 4 titles per day. The Electronic Journals Library now lists more than 30,000 titles that are freely available. OpenDOAR now lists more than 2,000 repositories, and the BASE search engine searches more than 31 million documents in repositories. ROARMAP now lists a total of 300 open access mandate policies. Kudos to PMC for clearly posting pertinent data right on their website, and for growing the number of journals making all articles available OA by 19 to a new total of 635 - and for growing free fulltext at the rate of one per minute! Following are links to quick reference and full data versions, rationale and method, items of interest from this quarter, and noteworthy data from this quarter.

Quick Reference (for viewing)
Quick Reference and Full Data (this quarter only) for downloading
Dataverse - Full data (for downloading)
Rationale and method
Dramatic Growth of Open Access Series

Items of interest since June 30, 2011
The data
Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)
  • # journals 7,070
  • growth this quarter: 376 titles
  • # journals searchable at article level:  3,253
  • growth this quarter: 293
  • # articles searchable at article level:  637,427
  • growth this quarter: 51,900
Electronic Journals Library
  • # of journals that can be read free of charge:  30, 963
  • growth this quarter:  1,767
Highwire Press Free
  • # free articles 2,117,523
  • growth this quarter 964
  • # repositories 2,085
  • growth this quarter 105
Bielefeld Academic Search Engine (BASE)
  •  # documents 31,044,880
  • growth this quarter 2,133,615
  • # content providers 2,027
  • growth this quarter 137
  • # articles archived in PMC (from PMC website) 2,200,000
  • # journals that deposit all articles (from PMC website) 893
  • # journals that deposit NIH-funded articles (from PMC website) 296
  • # journals that deposit selected articles (from PMC website) 1,517
  • # journals actively participating in PMC (total minus predecessor minus no new content) 1,214
  • growth this quarter 38
  • # journals in PMC with immediate free access 746
  • growth this quarter 25
  • # journals in PMC with all articles open access 635
  • growth this quarter 19
  • # documents 704,659
  • growth this quarter 19,007
  • # of documents 1,085,000 25,000
  • growth this quarter 130,000
  • RePEC online (fulltext) 955,000
  • growth this quarter 30,000
  • # documents 12,319
  • growth this quarter 307
Open Access Mandate Policies based on ROARMAP
  • Sub-Institutional (was Departmental) 33
  • growth this quarter 0
  • Funder 52
  • growth this quarter 4
  • Institutional 132
  • growth this quarter 5
  • Multi-institutional 1
  • growth this quarter 0
  • Thesis 82
  • growth this quarter 2
  • Total 300
  • growth this quarter 11
  • Proposed Mandates 20

Friday, September 16, 2011

Storing all personal data for "security" purposes - some things to think about

Thanks to for alerting us to the problems with lawful access, anticipated to be part of an omnibus crime bill introduced by Harper's conservatives this coming Monday.

One aspect of lawful access expected to be included is a requirement for Internet Service Providers to retain personal data for delivery on request to law enforcement officials, with no requirement of a warrant.

There are many troubling aspects of this approach. One very troubling aspect of lawful access that I would like to highlight today is whether it is wise to assume that retaining large databases of personal information would ONLY be accessible by law enforcement officials. Wouldn't a database like this be handy for identity thieves? What about stalkers, spammers, hackers, con artists, or corporate espionage?  If we build it - a large database storage everything we do over the internet, designed for retrieval at an individual level - will they come?

No doubt efforts would be made to protect these databases - but if the information is designed to be retained to hand over for security reasons, then it seems reasonable to think that others will be able to figure out how to get at this information, too. It seems almost incomprehensibly foolish to even contemplate suggesting the creation of such databases late in the summer of the phone hacking scandal. Surely this has alerted enough of us to the dangers of not attending to our privacy in the electronic age that proceeding with such a plan would be political suicide? 

Saturday, September 03, 2011

A scholar's notes: illustrating the value of re-use

As I work on notes for my dissertation, it occurs to me that the way I tend to work is one example of the benefits for scholars (authors and readers, citers and cited alike) of reuse / derivatives of scholarly information. An example: today I am carefully reading an important article for my area by noted scholar David Prosser. As I read, I create notes and occasionally cut and paste potentially interesting quotes into my notes. Sometimes, there is a footnote, and I find that it is useful to cut and paste the footnote citation for ready reference later on. I may or may not ever use the quote, or if I use the material I may paraphrase rather than quote, however either way my ability to take notes in this way facilitates my work on my dissertation in a way that increases the likelihood of my citing the author and journal (Serials) correctly. This approach seems highly likely to increase the accuracy of my subsequent work (a hypothesis that someone might wish to test?). Increasing accuracy of citations seems highly likely to save the time of reviewers, readers, and librarians downstream, as it takes less time to track down correct citations than wrong ones (another hypothesis that someone might wish to test).

Here is an illustration of this "scholar's interim derivative":

“These issues led a study commissioned by the European Commission in 2006 to conclude that “the market under consideration is very far away from the ‘ideal perfectly competitive private market’ that has been celebrated ever since Adam Smith (1776)”.3” p. 61

3. Study on the Economic and Technical Evolution of theScientific Publication Markets in Europe, 2006: (accessed 21 January 2011).

From: Prosser, D. (2011). Reassessing the value proposition: First steps towards a fair(er) price for scholarly journals. Serials, 24(1), 60-63. doi:10.1629/2460. Retrieved September 3, 2011 from

Okay, now back to my note-taking! Cross-posted from my doctoral webpage.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Full open access to scholarly monographs - suggesting a local library consortial approach

Frances Pinter (Bloomsbury Press) released a provocative 8-minute video suggesting a full flip to open access complete with CC licensing for scholarly monographs, and initiating the discussion with a vision of a global library consortial approach to payment for production of all scholarly monographs (or perhaps all of Bloomsbury's production?). What really caught my eye in this is the acknowledgement that production costs account for a third of the cost of producing a scholarly monograph. With this model, there would be room for publishers to earn additional revenue through print sales and/or added value e-versions.

This is a great start to an interesting and important conversation. The current model for scholarly monographs just isn't working. As library budgets are increasingly caught up in journal big deals, there is less and less money for monograph purchases; diminishing circulation means fewer copies from which to recoup costs, resulting in a negative spiral not unlike the serials crisis. For an excellent and in-depth examination of scholarly monographs publishing in the U.S. and the U.K., see Thompson (2005).
My perspective is that the overall approach is a great starting-point for discussion, but not practical at a global level. What I would suggest instead is a regional approach to library consortia funding scholarly monographs for full open access on a production basis. There are several benefits to this approach:
  • vastly expanded access to scholarly monographs as compared with the current system
  • avoids the problems associated with currency fluctuations - the local payers (libraries) pay in local currency
  • minimizes issues associated with the vastly unequal wealth of the world. Local payers in wealthy countries pay relatively high rates, local payers in developing nations pay appropriate rates for their region
  • payment on production rather than purchase can highlight the relationship between high quality and economic efficiency
My recommendation would be to simultaneously at least begin to address some of the factors currently pushing scholars towards overproduction of scholarly monographs, such as the push for some scholars to publish two books rather than one as described by Harley et al.

Here is my vision for what might be doable, inspired by Pinter's video:  if libraries could collaborate to fund a scholarly monograph publishing system at one third of the current system, and if we could furthermore work with scholars towards a healthier scholarly communication system favoring appropriate publication over quantity of publication, then perhaps we could fund a system at perhaps one sixth of what libraries currently collectively pay that would be a very great deal more effective - free access to everyone with an internet connection, no crazy copyright restrictions, full searchability, and value added services thanks to publisher partners.

[Disclosure:  I work for BC Electronic Library Network, a regionally based library consortium].


Harley, D., Acord, S. K., Earl-Novell, S., Lawrence, S., & King, C. J. (2010). Assessing the future landscape of scholarly communication: An exploration of faculty values and needs in seven disciplines. UC Berkeley: Center for Studies in Higher Education. Retrieved from

Pinter, F. (2011). Libraries, publishers, consortia. [Video/DVD] YouTube: Bloomsbury Press. Retrieved September 1, 2011 from 

Thompson, J. B. (2005). Books in the digital age : The transformation of academic and higher education publishing in Britain and the United States. Cambridge: Polity.

Cross-posted to my doctoral webpage.