Sunday, May 20, 2007

Does Open Access correlate with quality and recency?

A recent study by the Publishing Research Consortium (PRC) postulates that the most prominent (and thus most citable) authors are more likely to make their articles available in an OA model, and that they are more likely to do so with their most important (and thus most citable) articles. (Executive Summary, 5B).

The PRC also postulates that there is an Early View effect with open access articles, which relates only to articles posted before final publication, and suggests that the period between the early posting of an article (either pre-print or post-print) and the appearance of the cognate published journal article allows for earlier accrual of citations.

If these postulations are correct, this is good news for open access, readers, and authors!

Readers will have yet another way to sort through all of the research literature that is being produced nowadays. If one does not have time to read everything, then start with open access resources. Not only are they easier to access, they may be higher quality and more important too.

For authors, what this would mean is that taking advantage of the OA impact advantage means getting your article OA as soon as possible, particularly as a preprint. If correct, this would be strong evidence that embargoes on open access are a serious disadvantage to researchers.

Whether or to what extent these hypotheses are correct is a matter I will leave for the experts in this area. From my perspective, I would not underestimate the impact of open access per se, even aside from these other factors which could be partially responsible for the OA impact advantage. After all, in order to read an article, build on the work and thus cite it, one does need to be able to read the article in the first place. OA expands readership; hence, it seems illogical in the extreme to think there would not be a correlation between OA per se and impact advantage.

To review the PRC literature review, go to

Friday, May 18, 2007

Is Peer Review necessary?

The focus of the open access movement is opening up access to the scholarly, peer-reviewed journal article.

Open access is one of many changes or potential changes to scholarly communications in the era of the world wide web. It is important not to mix things up (conflate them); but it is also important to remember that the web has opened up the potential of scholarly communications in many ways, at all once.

One of the other possibilities for scholarly communications is peer review reform. For a thought-provoking exploration of this topic and some of the alternative to peer review, please see Olivier Ertzscheid's blogpost, Faut-Il Tuer Le Pair? (in french).

Sunday, May 13, 2007

pc4peace and freegeek

Some initiatives that definitely fit in with poetic economics!

pc4peace is seeking ways to bring computers to people in developing countries who need them, beginning with Cambodia. If you have the means to help pc4peace - please do!

Free Geek helps the needy get nerdy - and recycles computers, too.

Many thanks to everyone at pc4peace and Free Geek and similar organizations - for everything you do!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Open Access Class

This weekend I'm teaching a Class on Open Access at the University of British Columbia's School of Library, Archival and Information Studies (SLAIS). Here is a link to the course blog.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Open Data for the Layperson

Looking for short presentations or a brief explanation of open data for the layperson?

Here is a fantastic 20-minute YouTube video that vividly illustrates, not only its topic, but also the value of open data for everyone:
Hans Rosling, Professor of International Health at Sweden's Karolinska Institutet, demonstrating how 30 years of historic changes have exploded conventional wisdom about the developing world, at:

Thanks to Peter Suber of Open Access News, who points out that the powerful software used in the presentation, Gapminder, has since been bought by Google.

Descriptions of Canadian data sites can be found at:

Examples of data sets that could be of interest to laypersons:
Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System
Canadian Bird Trends
CADRMP Adverse Reaction Database
National Climate Data and Information Archive
Ontario Sport Fish Contaminant Monitoring Program
(Thanks to Alison Ball)

In the UK, the Guardian has been running a Free Our Data campaign for the last year.
(Thanks to Peter Morgan).

Wikipedia has a reasonably accessible entry on Open Data (thanks to Peter Murray-Rust).

If you agree that freeing our data just makes sense for researchers, and for the public, please join us on the SPARC Open Data Forum, moderated by Peter Murray-Rust (where these tips were first shared).

If you know of more great resources to illustrate open data to anyone - please post a comment!