Saturday, March 31, 2007

Dramatic Growth of Open Access: March 31, 2007 Update and Open Data Edition

The Dramatic Growth of Open Access is now available in an Open Data Edition. Complete data is now kept in the Open Data edition, while The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics edition focuses on commentary.

Open access continues to grow dramatically, both open access publishing and open access archiving.

Most notable this quarter are indicators of growth in open access archiving.

OAIster, a union catalog of digital resources provided by the University of Michigan, achieved an important milestone this quarter, exceeding the 10 million item mark. OAIster also features a new, more user-friendly search interface. More OAIster statistics, including impressive growth in search rates and the global distribution of OAIster repositories, are available. OAIster has added more than a million items, and 34 new repositories, just this quarter. Way to go, OAIster!!

The Registry of Open Repositories (ROAR) now includes 862 repositories, more than OAIster's 762. ROAR contains a wealth of statistical information and charts, although the author has not discovered an easy means of calculating the total number of items and/or fulltext in the ROAR repositories.

The Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) Metadata Harvester grew by 20% this quarter (just under 5,000 items), for an amazing annual equivalent rate of 80%.

and E-LIS each grew by 10% this quarter, for an annual equivalent of 40%. Highwire Press Free Online Articles was not far behind, with an 8% growth or annual equivalent of 32%.

The growth rate of the large, well-established archives (arXiv and RePEC) was lower, in percentage terms, as expected.

The Directory of Open Access Journals added 104 titles this quarter, a rate of more than 1 per calendar day. This is a slightly slower growth rate than last year's 1.5 per calendar day.

Previous issues of the Dramatic Growth of Open Access:

Early figures are from my preprint, The Dramatic Growth of Open Access: Implications and Opportunities for Resource Sharing, Journal of Interlibrary Loan, Document Delivery & Electronic Reserve, 16, 3 (2006), and my updates:
Dec. 31, 2005 Update and 2006 Predictions
March 31, 2006 Update.
June 30, 2006 Update.
September 2006 Update.
Dramatic Growth December 2006 & Predictions for 2007

Monday, March 26, 2007

Coming April 24: the IDRC Digital Library

Update May 9, 2017: the URL for the IDRC Digital Library is now

Canada's International Development Reearch Centre / Centre de Reserches pour le Développement International (IDRC/CRDI) is a Canadian Crown corporation that works in close collaboration with researchers from the developing world in their search for the means to build healthier, more equitable, and more prosperous societies (from the IDRC/CRDI website).

IDRC/CRDI will be launching its institutional repository, called the IDRC Digital Library, on April 24, with over 8,500 open access documents, and 20,000 bibliographic records to other research outputs, backed by document delivery service by the IDRC Library. Full text content will grow as new research outputs are collected under open access agreements and as IDRC/CRDI Library continues to license content already in the collection.

Kudos and thanks to IDRC/CRDI and Marjorie Whalen, Director, Research Information Management Service Division, IDRC/CRDI, for yet another example of Canadian Leadership in the Open Access Movement.

Details follow, in a post first sent by Majorie Whalen to an Open Access and Development discussion list, reposted on the Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics with permission. The original purpose of this post was to explain why it makes sense to launch a repository with a mix of full text open access and contents for which only bibliographic records are available, at least so far.

IDRC will be launching its institutional repository, called the IDRC Digital Library, on April 24. Our support to Open Access and our plans to develop such a repository were announced in November 2005 and supporting statements in our various policies and partner agreements are now in development. IDRC funds researchers in developing countries to pursue research that will alleviate poverty in their own countries. The IDRC Library Archives has collected the outputs of this research for the 35+ years that IDRC has been in existence. Dissemination and sharing of these research results have always been a core activity of the library and the open access protocols and new technologies are now enabling us to take this to new levels.

The stated goals of the IDRC Digital Library are to make IDRC-funded research results freely accessible in order to contribute to the public debate on development issues, to strengthen the overall scientific and research capacity of IDRC’s partners, and to give a stronger voice to southern researchers, facilitating southern contributions to global debates, and finally to support the broader global movement to remove economic, social, and geographic barriers to the sharing of knowledge.

Of course, until recently, research outputs were not captured with Open Access in mind and more distantly, were captured only in hard copy format. In developing our institutional repository, it is our view that a comprehensive collection of development research conducted over the past 35 years makes a valuable contribution to the global research community even if much of it will be represented by a bibliographic record (backed up by document delivery by the IDRC Library). IDRC has always maintained the position as well that the results of the research it supports is owned by the researcher and permissions to digitize and post on an open access platform must be obtained from the authors or institutions holding the copyright.

The IDRC Digital Library will be launched on April 24 with over 8500 full-text documents including IDRC publications and documents as well as licensed research from our research partners. This will be complemented by bibliographic records of approximately 20,000 additional research outputs providing a comprehensive collection of IDRC-supported research. Full-text content will grow as new research outputs are collected under open access agreements and as we continue to license content already in our collection.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Opening Up Research: Start Before the Beginning

The new technologies, the electronic medium and the world wide web, are making it possible to open up access to the peer-reviewed literature, to everyone with an internet connection.

These same technologies enable us to do much more. Peer review is an important element of ensuring quality in the scholarly literature, and will continue to be so for some time into the future.

However, there is a very great deal more that we can do by working together collaboratively, as peers, than critiquing an article that is basically a finished work.

We can work together throughout the process of research, beginning before the beginning of the formal research phase.

One of the most important things I learned about research in library school is the importance of focusing on the research question. For a beginning (and terrified) researcher, there is a temptation to start with the methods that seem the most doable, like citation analysis or surveys, then decide what can be done with them. Fortunately for me, my research methods professor, Dr. Alvin Schrader of the University of Alberta, taught us in some depth, both theoretically and one-on-one as we worked through our first research projects, how to focus on the research question. That is, start your research by figuring out: What is it that we need to know?.

The time to begin to consult your peers is not after the research project is complete, and the article handed in for consideration for publication. The most important time to talk with your peers may be before you even begin the research. The most important answers (research results), may be the answers to the most important questions.

With thanks to a friend for asking interesting questions that got me thinking.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

European Commission: Update and Reflection

Earlier this year, IJPE readers were invited to sign the Petition to the European Commission for Guaranteed Public Access to Publicly-Funded Research Results. The petition attracted over 19,000 signatures, and was presented at a meeting in Brussels on February 25, 2007, to European Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Potočnik. As Richard Poynder points out, many of the signatories will be hard to ignore. The Petition itself was created by 4 national research funding agencies, and SPARC Europe; the petition was signed by senior representatives of more than 1,000 education, research, and cultural organizations; research organizations; and thousands of researchers, academics, and librarians from across Europe and around the world.

Janez Potočnik,European Commissioner for Science and Research, in his Open ing Remarks to the February 15, 2007 Brussels meeting, referred to the petition and its over 19,000 signatories and talked about "the input this conference will produce for the future policy on scientific publishing in the European Research Area.

Vivian Reding, in her Closing Address at the Brussels meeting, talks about loss of access to information as the reason for slipping into the Dark Ages, in a talk that very much supports open access in principle. Librarians may be interested to note that Vivian also highlights the need for preservation. Some important interim steps are announced, particularly significant funding for infrastructure relating to open access (repositories, preservation). Researchers will be able to make use of grant funds to pay for article processing fees of open access publishers, a welcome move, in my opinion, that will help to advance the transition to open access. Moral support is offered for experimentation towards open access, and movement away from the polarization of debates surrounding open access is encouraged.

In summary, while many of us would have loved to have seen an open access mandate announced at Brussels, policy development will take a little longer. On reflection, it is not surprising that an organization with as broad a portfolio as the European Commission, did not come to the meeting with the strong mandate policy warranted by the Petition which was only presented AT the meeting.

As usual, Peter Suber provides a succinct overview and well-written comments, in the March 2007 SPARC Open Access Newsletter. Thanks for the links, Peter!

Freelance journalist Richard Poynder has written an in-depth analysis, Open Access: the War in Europe. Poynder's article (full version, page 8) includes a great summary of the Petition for Guaranteed Public Access to Publicly-Funded Research Results.

Any opinion expressed in this post is that of the author alone, and does not reflect the opinion or policy of BC Electronic Library Network or Simon Fraser University Library.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Chemists Without Borders Open Access Open Source Series

** with apologies for cross-posting **

Any assistance in promoting this series of free events would be most appreciated. Please feel free to forward this message to any parties for whom it might be of interest.

Please join Chemists Without Borders for a special series of teleconference meetings on Open Access and Open Source. For more background, please see the link from the Chemists Without Borders website to the Open Chemistry Position Statement.

Thursday, April 5 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time / Noon Eastern Time
Heather Joseph: Federal Research Public Access Act

Heather Joseph, Executive Director, Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), will talk about the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA). FRPAA is anticipated to be re-introduced this spring. The purpose of this bill is to require all U.S. Federal research granting agencies with portfolios of over $100 million (11 agencies altogether) to develop policies requiring open access to the results of the research they fund. FRPAA has been endorsed by many higher education leaders and the Alliance for Taxpayer Access. Chemists Without Borders is a member of the Alliance for Taxpayer Access; should we support FRPAA?
More information about FRPAA can be found on the SPARC website, at:

As the Executive Director of SPARC, Heather Joseph is very involved in advocacy for FRPAA. Before joining SPARC, Heather worked for many years in the publishing industry, and was formerly Executive Director of the BioOne publishing cooperative.

Thursday, June 7, 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time / Noon Eastern Time
Peter Suber: Open Access Questions & Answers
Peter Suber, Open Access Project Director, Public Knowledge Project, author of Open Access News, at:
Peter Suber, one of the world's leading academics in the area of open access, will join Chemists Without Borders for a question and answer session on any aspect of open access.

Thursday, September 6 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time / Noon Eastern Time
Jean-Claude Bradley: Open Source Chemistry
Chemists Without Borders' own Jean-Claude Bradley, Coordinator for E-Learning at the College of Arts and Sciences at Drexel University, will talk about the Useful Chemistry approach to open source chemistry, founded by Bradley.
More information about Useful Chemistry is available at:

Chemists Without Borders: participation in this special series is the same as for regular teleconferences. Watch for a reminder. Not a member? No problem - contact us and let us know you would like to participate. There is no charge, other than regular long distance rates, to join the teleconference.

Heather Morrison
Member, Chemists Without Borders

Chemists Without Borders has no affiliation with BC Electronic Library Network or Simon Fraser University Library. My participation in this group is as an individual open access advocate only.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Publishing software, publisher independence, and open access

As posted for discussion to the Society for Scholarly Publishing list:

Within the past few years, there have been some very interesting advances in publishing software.

One example is the free, open source Open Journal Systems, and low-cost hosting and technical support solutions. As one example, the not-for-profit Scholarly Exchange offers one free year of hosting and support, then $750 US per year from the second year.

A software package such as Open Journal Systems automates much of the more routine work of coordinating peer review and editing.

For those not familiar with this kind of software, here is a perspective on how it works, and what it does:

I serve as Editor, Theory / Research for Partnership: the Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research. We use Open Journal Systems as our platform. Authors, peer-reviewers, and editors register themselves, in a process that takes only a few minutes. Articles are electronically submitted; before submission, the author goes through a checklist to ensure that the paper, citations, etc., are in the correct format. I have access to my editorial workspace from anyplace with an internet connection. My workplace lists all the articles in my area, with quick information about status. For example, I can see at a glance which articles need peer review assignment, which reviews are due soon, or are overdue. Assigning a peer reviewer from the pool involves a click of a button; a second click initiaties an e-mail contact with the potential reviewer. When my work is completed, the article disappears from my workspace.

These advances in technology have some important implications.

A few years ago, it would have been very difficult for the small publisher or association to set up their own online publishing. Now, it is easy. This means that journals, associations, and publishers, have much greater ability to be independent in the electronic environment.

This also facilitates open access publishing, by making it possible to publish very high quality electronic journals, at very low cost.

For more information:
Open Journal Systems
Scholarly Exchange
Partnership: the Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research

I would be interested in hearing about other publishing platforms, publisher independence, and open access, on or off list.

Any opinion expressed in this e-mail is that of the author alone, and does not reflect the policy or opinion of BC Electronic Library Network or Simon Fraser University Library.

This post is part of the Transitioning to Open Access series.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Polimetrica Publishing Open Access Manifesto

Polimetria Publishing has just published their Open Access Manifesto

Polimetrica Publisher works from a simple premise: that for a better future of the people it's possible to disseminate the knowledge by publishing innovative books freely accessible to anyone in the world who might be interested.

In brief, the approach is simultaneous publication of a free online version of a book and a paid print version of a book.

What an enlightened idea!

A number of the publishers who oppose open access have spoken on the topic. By all means, let's hear more from the open access publishers, and those who support open access to the extent that they can.

Congratulations to Polimetrica Publishing.

Publisher Best Practices - or Not...

Previously I had identified Haworth Press as a role model for enlightened practices for self-archiving authors. Now that they have announced that they are asking authors to transfer copyright even before peer review, in my assessment, Haworth is no longer a role model. Thanks to Charles Bailey for the alert.

There are a great many options for open access for librarians. The Directory of Open Access Journals lists 71 fully open access, peer reviewed LIS journals.

Newer open access journals, such as Partnership: the Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research , may not yet be included in DOAJ. We welcome articles for our peer-reviewed sections Theory/Research, Innovations in Practice, and Conference Spotlight. International submissions are welcome. (I am the Editor, Theory/Research).

Some LIS publishers are excellent role models for the green, or self-archiving approach, allowing full green (preprint, postprint, no delay), and allowing authors to retain copyright as well. Examples include the Association of College and Research Libraries, and Charleston Advisor.

With all of these open access options, no librarian needs to select a publisher who insists on copyright transfer before peer review.

The views expressed in this post are mine alone; they do not reflect the opinion or policy of BC Electronic Library Network, Simon Fraser University Library, or any organization named herein.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Housekeeping: new RSS feed

For those who like to track The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics, please note that there is a new address for RSS subscription:, as well as a new e-mail subscription option.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

University Presses, open access, and internal reallocation of funds

According to the recent American Association of University Presses Statement on Open Access, AAUP members are experimenting with open access.

Near the end of this statement, AAUP says:
Presses can exist in a gift economy for at least the most scholarly of their publishing functions if costs are internally reallocated (from library purchases to faculty grants and press subsidies).

AAUP is saying what I, and other librarians, have been saying for some time. There is more than enough money in the system to pay for full open access; we just need a little creativity to figure out a different way to get the money to where it needs to be. This is supported by William Walter's study, which showed that the vast majority of university libraries would clearly save money by shifting from subscriptions to open access by article processing fees.

It makes sense for academic libraries to shift from purchasing academic works, whether journals or monographs, to supporting the publishing of academic works for everyone. AAUP points out that relying on local funding only could result in disparities for authors; a good point, and one that could be remedied by libraries working together in consortia for building collections through supporting publishing, just as we now work together in consortia for building collections through licensing.

AAUP, it seems, is ready and willing to begin talking about how to transition. Fellow librarians - are we?

Upated (correction to William Walter's name) March 19, 2007

This post is part of the Transitioning to Open Access series.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Scenarios about paying for OA

Jim Till has nicely summarized some of my recent writings on article processing fees for open access on his blog, Be Openly Accessible or Be Obscure. For Jim's own comments, related links, and discussion, please see Jim's blog.

Jim's summary of my comments is copied here, for completeness of my Transitioning to Open Access Series:

In a message on the subject “Re: Failing business models“, posted to the American Scientist Open Access Forum on February 24, 2007, Heather Morrison outlined two scenarios. In Scenario A, a funding agency permits the budget of a research grant to include funds that may be used for the dissemination of research results, “let’s say $3,000“. The grantee may choose to use these funds in various ways. They may be used for the payment of the OA publication fee or APF (article processing fee) for an OA journal (or for OA articles in a “hybrid” journal, in which only some of the articles are OA) . Or, they may be used in other ways, such as to cover at least some of the costs of attending a conference to present a paper on the outputs of the research. She predicts that Scenario A would result in “competition in the scholarly publishing industry, and ultimately better quality services at lower prices“.

In Scenario B, grantees don’t need to make such choices. Instead, the funding agency permits the $3000 to be used to pay APFs for OA, but these funds cannot be used for other purposes. She notes that “For many publishers, this amount is higher than true costs of publishing an online open access article, and allows for double-dipping (revenue from both subscriptions and processing fee charges)“. She predicts that Scenario B may lead to increasing inefficiencies in the scholarly publishing industry, and an upward spiral in APFs.

Thanks for the summary, Jim!

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