Saturday, December 31, 2016

Dramatic Growth of Open Access December 31, 2016

Download data here


Arguably the best indicator of the global collaborative growth of open access, whether through archives or publications, is the ongoing impressive growth of what we can access through the Bielefeld Academic Search Engine, which surpassed two major milestones in 2016: over 100 million documents (about 60% open access) and 5,000 content providers. The growth rates (22% for documents, 27% for content providers) are particularly impressive given the high pre-existing content rate. This is amazing success not just for BASE, but for all of us. If you've published a thesis through an institutional repository that allows for metadata harvesting, or published an article in a journal that contributes article-level data for metadata harvesting, your contribution is reflected here. This is a meta-level indicator of our global success.

I've added a new metric for medical open access, a keyword search of PubMed for "cancer" for articles with no date limit, last 5 years, last 2 years, and last year, further limited to free fulltext to determine the percentage of items for which fulltext is available. This ranges from 26% overall (no date limit), to 40 - 44% for items published in the last 2 - 5 years, to 32% for articles published in the last year.

Also added this quarter: OECD iLibrary - with more than 11,000 free books, this one publisher's OA collection is nearly double the size of the 167 publishers included in the impressivley growing Directory of Open Access Books! arXiv, in addition to an over 10% growth rate last year, inspired the recent development of two similar services, socArXiv and bioRxiv, newly added to facilitate future growth tracking. The DOAJ get-tough inclusion policy and March 2016 major weeding means the DOAJ count for titles, countries and journals searchable at the article level are all down from last year, while articles searchable at the article level through DOAJ continued to show robust growth of 13%. DOAJ's quarterly growth is back to an impressive rate of just under 3 titles per day. RePEC surpassed a milestone of 2 million downloadable items this year, while Internet Archive surpassed 3 milestones: there are now more than 3 million video and audio recordings, and more than 11 million texts (the number of IA web pages archived is way down, by the billions - such a difference it strikes me as likely due to a glitch in counting, whether before or after). Recently Open Journal Systems announced that OJS is now used by more than 10,000 active journals which <>.

Kudos and thanks to everyone in the open access movement - every researcher, author, editor, publisher, archive manager, librarian, policy-maker, and activist who is making open access happen. What of 2017? My advice: let's remember the beautiful vision of the potential unprecedented public good of open access - forged not at a time of peace and certainty, but rather within months of the trauma of 9/11 - repeated below - and keep on making it happen.

BOAI vision:
An old tradition and a new technology have converged to make possible an unprecedented public good. The old tradition is the willingness of scientists and scholars to publish the fruits of their research in scholarly journals without payment, for the sake of inquiry and knowledge. The new technology is the internet. The public good they make possible is the world-wide electronic distribution of the peer-reviewed journal literature and completely free and unrestricted access to it by all scientists, scholars, teachers, students, and other curious minds. Removing access barriers to this literature will accelerate research, enrich education, share the learning of the rich with the poor and the poor with the rich, make this literature as useful as it can be, and lay the foundation for uniting humanity in a common intellectual conversation and quest for knowledge.

Selected numbers and growth by service:

Directory of Open Access Journals 

Highlights: in March 2016 DOAJ removed more than 3,000 journals, reflecting a new get-tough inclusion policy. All journals that had not gone through DOAJ's new application process were removed. As a result, in spite of robust quarter since the removal process, most of DOAJ's key data are lower at the end of 2016 than at 2015, with the exception of number of articles searchable through DOAJ which grew by 13%.
  • 9,455 journals (down from 10,963 in 2015, a 14% decrease. Note that this quarter DOAJ added 246 journals for a current growth rate of close to 3 titles per day).
  • 6,634 journals searchable at article level (down from 6,780 in 2015, a 2% decrease. Note that this quarter DOAJ increased the number of searchable journals by 217).
  • 2,400,258 articles (up 13% from 2,123,402 at the end of 2015, very impressive given the journal weeding process)
  • 128 countries (down from 136 at the end of 2016)
Electronic Journals Library
  •  55,562 journals that can be read free-of-charge (up from 51,983 at the end of 2017, a 7% growth rate)
OECD iLibrary  * (selected data points) (just added, no growth figures)
  • 11,050 e-book titles
  • 5,130 multilingual summaries
  • 5,200 working papers
  • 5 billion data points across 42 databases
Directory of Open Access Books
  • 5,602 books (up from 3,789 at the end of 2015, a 48% growth rate)
  • 167 publishers (up from 134 at the end of 2014, 33 publishers added, a 25% growth rate)

3,000 repository milestone!!!
  • 3,285 repositories (up from 2,991 at the end of 2015, a 10% growth rate)
Registry of Open Access Repositories

  •  4,365 repositories (up from 4,147 at the end of 2015, a 5% growth rate)
Bielefeld Academic Search Engine 

100 million document milestone!!!
5,000 content providers milestone!!!
  • 103,090,961 documents (up from 84.25 million at the end of 2015, a 22% growth rate)
  • 5,023 content sources (up from 3,965 at the end of 2015, a 27% growth rate)

4 million article milestone!!!
  •  4.1 million articles (up from 3.7 million at the end of 2015, an 11% growth rate)
  • 2,326 journals actively participating in PubMedCentral (up from 2,021 at the end of 2015, a 10% growth rate)
  • 1,720 journals with immediate free access (up from 1,553 at the end of 2015, an 11% growth rate)
  • 1,426 journals with all articles open access (up from 1,331 at the end of 2015, a 7% growth rate)
  • 569 journals with some articles open access (up from 423 at the end of 2015, a 35% growth rate)
  • 1,219,224 preprints (up from 1,105,906 at the end of 2015, a 10% growth rate)
SocArXiv Preprints (launched December 7, 2016, inspired by arXiv)  **
  • 631 searchable preprints

(in beta December 31, 2016, inspired by arXiv) ***
  • 7,500 articles (based on "all articles" search, 750 pages X 10 articles / page)

2 million downloadable items milestone!!!
  • 2,021,534 downloadable items (up from 1,942,541 at the end of 2015, a 13% growth rate)
  • 803 total open access mandate policies (up from 762 at the end of 2015, a 5% growth rate)
Internet Archive

3 million milestones for video and audiorecordings!!!
10 million milestone for texts (now 11 million)!!!
  • 11 million texts (up from 8.8 million at the end of 2015, a 26% growth rate

 * OECD iLibrary statement on free-to-read (from About page):
All book and journal content is available to all users to read online by clicking the READ icon. Read editions are optimised for browser-enabled mobile devices and can be read online wherever there is an internet connection - desktop computer, tablets or smart phones. They are also shareable and embeddable.
The site also features content for all users to access and download such as the OECD Factbook, OECD Working Papers, Indicators, and more.
Subscribers benefit from full access to all content in all available formats.
** about SocArXiv (from the Dec. 7, 2016 launch announcement):
SocArXiv, the open access, open source archive of social science, is officially launching in beta version today. Created in partnership with the Center for Open Science, SocArXiv provides a free, noncommercial service for rapid sharing of academic papers; it is built on the Open Science Framework, a platform for researchers to upload data and code as well as research results
*** about bioRxiv (from about page):
bioRxiv (pronounced "bio-archive") is a free online archive and distribution service for unpublished preprints in the life sciences. It is operated by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, a not-for-profit research and educational institution. By posting preprints on bioRxiv, authors are able to make their findings immediately available to the scientific community and receive feedback on draft manuscripts before they are submitted to journals.
This post is part of the Dramatic Growth of Open Access series.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Dramatic Growth of Open Access September 30, 2016


There is plenty to celebrate for this year's Open Access Week October 24 - 31 everywhere! 

As of Oct. 6, 2016, a Bielefeld Academic Search Engine (BASE) search includes over 100 million documents! Globally the collections of open access archives are now collectively an order of magnitude larger than the 10 million articles and books claimed by Elsevier for Science Direct. Congratulations to BASE and everyone in the repositories movement that is making this happen!

In spite of a vigorous weeding process, new get-tough inclusion policy and negative growth in the past year in journal numbers, the Directory of Open Access Journals showed an amazing 11% growth in the past year in articles searchable at the article level - about half a million more articles today than a year ago. This past quarter DOAJ showed a healthy growth rate of 135 titles or added 1.5 titles per day.

For every journal added by DOAJ in the past quarter, another repository was added to the vetted OpenDOAR collection of repositories.

The Internet Archive now has more than 3 million audio recordings.

The Directory of Open Access Books added over 2 thousand titles in the past year for a current total of over 5,000 titles (60% annual growth rate) from 161 publishers (41% annual growth rate in publishers).

The number of journals actively contributing to PubMedCentral continues to show strong growth in every measure: there are 212 more journal active participants in PMC today than a year ago, a 10% growth rate; 170 more journals provide immediate free access, an 11% growth rate; 113 more journals provide all articles as open access, a 9% growth rate; and the number of journals with some articles open access increased by 123, a 31% growth rate.

Full data is available for download from here.

This post is part of the Dramatic Growth of Open Access series. 

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Dramatic Growth of Open Access June 30, 2016

Highlights this quarter include a new indicator illustrating that 42% of the cancer literature indexed by PubMed is available as free full-text within 3 years of publication; ongoing strong growth in open access archives and their content; milestone of over 10 million free texts for Internet Archive; a mix of negative growth reflecting clean-up at DOAJ and growth in articles searchable at the article level; over 50% annual growth at the Directory of Open Access Books; and concern noted about the apparent ongoing growth of Elsevier and what this might mean for open access.


New indicator : a search of the PubMed index for "cancer" for all articles and with limits by date of publication demonstrates that 42% of the cancer literature indexed in PubMed published in the last 3 years is available as free fulltext.  17% is available as free fulltext within 30 days of publication, 31% within one year of publication. With no date limits the overall percentage is 26% of the 3.3 million articles on cancer indexed by Pubmed.

Results of PubMed search for "cancer"
with limits by date of publication and free fulltext
  # of articles free fulltext % free fulltext
30 days 19,050 3,206 17%
60 days 32,562 6,540 20%
90 days 46,057 10,382 23%
180 days 85,913 23,421 27%
last 1 year 162,335 50,499 31%
last 2 years 323,252 126,867 39%
last 3 years 475,973 198,505 42%
no date limit 3,318,957 861,168 26%

Kudos to Internet Archive for exceeding 10 million free texts!

Ongoing strong open access archives growth is illustrated by OpenDOAR adding close to 200 repositories over the past year, a 7% growth rate and a total of over 3,000 repositories. The Registry of Open Access Repositories added 269 repositories over the past year, also a 7% annual growth rate for a total of over 4,000 repositories. The Bielefeld Academic Search Engine is now searching over 93 million documents from over 4,000 repositories. With growth of over 18 million documents over the past year (24% annual growth rate), it won't be long before BASE passes the 100 million milestone. arXiv grew by over 10% over the past year, adding over 100,000 documents for a total of 1.6 million.

The Directory of Open Access Books grew by over 50% in the past year for a total of close to 5,000 books from more than 150 publishers. 

In spite of overall negative growth reflecting a major "get-tough" clean-up project, the Directory of Open Access Journals' number of articles searchable at the article level which grew by 16% over the past year, over 300,000 more articles for a total of over 2.1 million articles. On May 9, DOAJ removed over 3,000 journals that had not filled out the new application form. Since that date, DOAJ has added 234 titles for a DOAJ growth rate of 4.5 journals per day. Watch for continuing strong growth in the next few quarters as DOAJ has hired a team of international ambassadors. 

The ongoing dramatic growth of Elsevier 

The Social Sciences Research Network (SSRN) is still included in the downloadable data.  I would like to note concern about its current and future open access status and commitment, particularly since it was recently bought by Elsevier, features the ad for "free subscriptions to more than 500 partner-sponsored abstracting e-journals [emphasis added]", (copied below for purposes of academic critique - please contact SSRN for other uses), the SSRN website indicates partnerships with providers of pay-per-view, and the message from chairman Michael Jensen on the Elsevier sale indicates that part of what is behind this is Elsevier's desire to expand into social sciences.

In addition to the SSRN buyout, as noted on my research blog Sustaining the Knowledge Commons, Elsevier is now the world's largest open access publisher as measured by number of fully open access journals.

Open access may resolve the access problem, however OA per se does not address the increasing commercialization of scholarly journal publishing and increasing market concentration that has been happening since the end of the second world war. The growing presence of large traditional commercial scholarly publishers in open access is something to watch, in particular because ongoing open access is likely not compatible with maximal profit-making.

As usual the full data is available for download from the DGOA Dataverse:

This post is part of the Dramatic Growth of Open Access series.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Canada's draft new action plan on open government 2016 - 2018

Following are my comments on Canada's draft new action plan on open government 2016 - 2018

Canada’s Draft New Plan on Open Government 2016-2018

Individual Comments by Dr. Heather Morrison

Kudos are in order to Canada’s government for global leadership, commitment, and swift moves by our new government to action, notably in the areas of commitment to open access and open data to both academic and government information, commitment to creation of a Chief Science Officer position, restoring the mandatory long form census, forthcoming free and more timely access to Statistics Canada data, and initiating electoral reform (to mention a few moves!). Following are my comments as an expert in the area of information policy, notably open access, intended to help strengthen a solid, ambitious but realistic draft plan. In the spirit of openness and transparency, note that I am a professor at the University of Ottawa’s bilingual School of Information Studies and I see career opportunities for our graduates and research opportunities for me arising from this plan and some of my suggestions.
Summary of key points
·       Reconsider centralization or the “one-stop” approach. Sometimes this is a good idea (one stop search for grants and contributions, single point of access to all geospatial data). However, centralization can also be a bottleneck and even a muzzling device. Decentralization with website and open data development in the hands of departmental experts who understand the information they are working with and how people will want to use it is probably in many instances the most effective means of providing open government information and data. I want my weather information directly from Environment Canada and my tax data directly from Canada Revenue Agency, not indirectly from a central service where staff are not likely to be experts in these areas.
·       Consider expanding information services to include reference service (professional service by intermediaries with understanding of information seeking behavior as well as government information), both through government and indirectly through libraries of all types (through advocacy for this role with key partners). This has the potential to provide better service and sometimes reduce cost. For example, in the area of Access to Information, overly broad requests may reflect lack of knowledge of the specific documents or data most likely to address a need. Direct communication with requestors may be the best means to hone requests.
·       Beware what I characterize as a blind spot of completely unrestricted re-use which could lead to intended consequences (for example effectiveprivatization of currently free public services). Impose reasonable expectations of behaviour by re-users that is in the public interest, and encourage development along these lines at the global level.  
·       Remember the vulnerable. Sometimes the best approach to open government is in-person offices. Open data and data visualization are a boon for those of who can see but a challenge for the visually disabled. Proactively address this challenge rather than waiting for complaints. Consider and consult First Nations peoples before releasing data about resources on their lands or lands that they depend on that could be exploited to their detriment.
·       Build in protection against the inevitable temptations of power and the understandable human tendency to want to look good. Access to Information – an effective means to demand information that the government does not choose to make open – will always be needed for really open government. I also recommend an arms-length approach to developing data visualization services, because it is easy to develop services that help people to see what we want them to see; our truth rather than the truth.
·       Considerable research is needed on how to go about meaningfully engaging a whole population in open dialogue and policy-making. This particular potential of open government will take an extended period of time for full development. This should be factored into assessment of progress.
·       Immediately apply principles and best practices of open dialogue and policy-making in trade treaty negotiations, beginning with the Trans Pacific Partnership.
·       Expand on corporate accountability through a review of legislation on corporations and consultations with the private sector, academics and other stakeholders to understand barriers to triple bottom line accounting (finance, people and environment) and propose solutions.
Detailed comments
Detailed comments are presented below in two sections, Overarching comments and specific comments on the draft plan.
Overarching comments
To centralize or not to centralize?
The draft plan refers in several places to centralization (single portal, one-stop etc.). I recommend re-thinking of the benefits of centralization versus decentralization. Sometimes, centralization can result in streamlining of access for the citizen; commitment 11, one-stop access to data on grants and contributions is a good example of this.  However, centralization can also be a bottleneck or even a muzzling device. Weather information is both interesting and important to the public. To have the best information on whether a potentially dangerous storm is headed in my direction, I look to the experts at Environment Canada to post what they know as soon as they possibly can. Sending information to a central service would simply create delays and likely impede good decision-making by Canadians. Governments create different departments for good reasons. The type of information provided and how it is best structured to be understood by the public will vary with the type of information. When it’s time to reconcile my taxes I want a website that is under the control of the best experts in taxation and web development for this type of information. I note below particular sections of the plan where I see centralization as beneficial or problematic.
What’s missing?
Reference and information literacy services are needed (directly through government and indirectly through libraries) and would reduce in some cases reduce the workload.
As a professor in the area of information studies, former practicing professional librarian and researcher in the areas of open access, open government, and access to information, I have had many discussions with students, experts, and government staffers who provide services such as responding to ATI requests about the challenges and opportunities. In my professional opinion, the Government of Canada could provide better service, sometimes at lower cost through a kind of service akin to the tradition of library reference services. For example, one of the reasons ATI requests can seem to be “frivolous and vexatious” appears to be that people request very large amounts of information because they do not have sufficient understanding of government operations to know what to ask for. Having a professional serving in an intermediary role who understands both information seeking behaviour and the kind of information that is held by government would likely be more efficient in many cases.
Helping people find the information they need (reference services) and providing education on how to understand the need for information, find, evaluate and effectively use it (information literacy), is a traditional role of public, school, corporate and academic libraries.
Recommendation: work with Library and Archives Canada and open government representatives at all levels (municipal, provincial, global) to advocate for an emerging role for libraries of all types in the areas of open government and incorporate professional information services within government departments.
Openness and transparency in trade treaty negotiations
Moving towards openness and transparency in government while at the same time failing to engage with citizens on trade agreements that will impact our jobs, communities, and businesses, is moving in opposite directions at the same time. Recommendation: extend open dialogue to trade treaty negotiations, beginning with the Trans Pacific Partnership.
Open government and access to government services for people with disabilities
Open data and the potential for data visualization offer tremendous potential for the advancement of Canadian society and should be embraced. However, the formats also create new challenges for people with disabilities such as print disabilities. Recommendation: address these challenges proactively through working with groups representing disabled communities and show global leadership in advocating for technological solutions to facilitate equitable open government.
Consider restrictions on access to data to avoid harm to vulnerable groups
The plan appropriately recognizes the need to consider the protection of personal privacy in the release of open data. I recommend that potential harm to vulnerable groups be another consideration in deciding whether data should be released. For example, data about valuable exploitable resources on lands our First Nations peoples own or depend on should not be released without consultation with the peoples who would be affected.
Specific comments on the draft plan
Introduction – Towards an Open and Transparent Government
Re third bullet: “a review of the Access to Information Act, and efforts to accelerate and expand initiatives to help Canadians easily access and use open data, by the President of the Treasury Board working with the ministers of Justice and Democratic Institutions”
Suggestion: split into 2 bullet points to avoid confusion because Access to Information and open data initiatives are two very different types of activities.

The Open Government Partnership
Re: the fifth grand challenge, “Increasing corporate accountability”: measures that address corporate responsibility on issues such as the environment, anti-corruption, consumer protection, and community engagement.
Comment: addressing this challenge would be a golden opportunity to begin to address the limitations of the corporate sector’s single bottom line focus on profit, financially defined. This draft plan is weak in this sector and I would like to see expansion of commitments in this area. Some suggestions:
·       Review legislation on corporations and other businesses to recognize triple bottom line accounting (financial, social, environment)
·       Develop a consultation process with citizens, civil society organizations, academics and business to uncover challenges to corporate accountability and draft solutions

IV. A. Open by Default
Re: Third paragraph, “Being “open by default” also means allowing Canadians to more easily access government services through a single online window [emphasis added]”.
Recommendation: change this sentence to “Being “open by default” also means allowing Canadians to more easily access government services through effective access mechanisms designed to facilitate accountability on service delivery [emphasis added]”.
Comments: see “to centralize or not to centralize” above.

Commitment 1: Enhance Access to Information
It is good to see a commitment to updating the Access to Information Act. Open government will never replace the need for a mechanism for citizens to effectively demand access to information. Government by definition holds power, and power inevitably will attract those who wish to pursue personal gain through corruption. Also, mistakes and poor decisions or even good decisions that did not produce the expected results cannot always be avoided. There will always be a temptation for government staff as well as elected representatives to open or close, highlight or suppress information based on whether it makes the government look good. If you don’t want to release a piece of information it’s all too easy to perceive a request for the information as “frivolous and vexatious”. An important strength of the action plan is “giving the Information Commissioner the power to order the release of government information”.
Re first bullet: “Making government data and information open by default, in formats that are modern and easy to use;”
Suggestion: add a second and third bullet to address the ongoing need for ATI and to streamline the process through the provision of reference services:
·       Providing easy-to-use, cost-free mechanisms for requesting any information that is not open by default;
·       Develop professional intermediary services to help requestors identify with precision the information required
Comment: re the second suggested bullet, see the section “reference and information services” above.

Commitment 2: Streamline Requests for Personal Information
Re: How it will be done – line 2: “a simple, central website [emphasis added] where Canadians can submit requests to any government institution”.
Suggest change to: “a simple, central website where Canadians can submit requests to any government institution to supplement requesting services that are most efficiently handled by the collecting department”.
Comment: see the section “to centralize or not to centralize?” above

Commitment 3: Expand and Improve Open Data
Re: 5th milestone: “Improve Canadians’ access to data and information proactively disclosed by departments and agencies through a single, common online search tool [emphasis added]”
Suggest change to “Improve Canadians’ access to data and information proactively disclosed by departments and agencies through departmental websites as well as a single, common online search tool”
Comment: see the section on “to centralize or not to centralize” above.

Commitment 4: Provide and Preserve Open Information
Re: Milestone 4: “Update Library and Archives Canada’s online archive of the Government of Canada’s web presence to ensure Canadians’ long-term access to federal web content”.
Recommendation – add a Milestone: consult with academic experts and Library and Archives Canada to develop a plan, recommendation and funding analysis to capture Canadian content on the web.
Comment: I applaud the addition of this milestone, but would note that we need to capture Canadian content on the web in general, not just federal web content. Currently, some of this content is voluntarily captured by Internet Archive, however I think Canadians have a duty to take this on ourselves, for profound social, legal and cultural reasons. Material that until recently was produced in print and often archived and preserved by libraries and archives is increasingly available only online and risks being lost, sometimes after only a short period of time.

Commitment 7: Embed Transparency Requirements in the Federal Service Strategy
Re first Milestone “Development a Government and Canada Clients-First Service Strategy that aims to create a single online window [emphasis added] for all government services”.
Suggest change to: Development a Government and Canada Clients-First Service Strategy that aims to create a efficient and effective online access [emphasis added] for all government services through a departmental or centralized online window, whichever is most effective for citizens”.
Comments: see to centralize or not to centralize above.

Commitment 8: Enhance Access to Culture & Heritage Collections
Re: “The Government of Canada will expand collaboration with its provincial, territorial, and municipal partners and key stakeholders to develop a searchable National Inventory of Cultural and Heritage Artefacts to improve access across museum collections”.
Comment / question: how does this relate to Library and Archives Canada’s Building a Canadian National Heritage Digitization Strategy?

B. Fiscal Transparency
Re: second paragraph, “…the government will provide Canadians [emphasis added] with the tools they need to visualize spending data and compare fiscal information across departments, between locations, and over time”.
Suggested change to “…the government will develop an arms-length service to provide Canadians with the tools they need to visualize spending data and compare fiscal information across departments, between locations, and over time and encourage all members of the open government partnership to do likewise”.
Comment: it is fairly easy for an interested party to set up visualization tools to “help” people see things like financial data from a particular perspective. This can be deliberate or reflect unconscious biases. For example, to help people understand tax data, one can choose from a number of different potential comparison points. The tax freedom date approach showing how long it takes an average Canadian to work to pay taxes before they get to keep money is a good choice for people ideologically opposed to taxation and seeking tax breaks. In contrast, those of us who think public health care is the right way to go both for social and financial reasons tend to see data demonstrating the lower per-capita health spending in Canada as compared to countries with private health care as an obvious and important way of demonstrating the truth. A government that has succeeded in lowering corporate taxes by two-thirds and does not want public critique creeping into public budget discussions might be tempted to present budget data showing how little is gained by a small to medium increase in the existing corporate tax rate and avoid historical comparisons. A government determined to reserve the corporate tax rate cuts would likely emphasize historical comparisons.

Commitment 10: Increase Transparency of Budget Data and Economic and Fiscal Analysis
Re: “The Government of Canada will provide access to the datasets used in the Federal Budget each year in near real time [emphasis added]”.
Suggested change (addition) to: “The Government of Canada will provide access to the datasets used in the Federal Budget each year in near real time starting with Budget 2017 and will explore the feasibility of providing as many of these datasets as possible in advance of the release of the budget.
Comment: near real time datasets to help Canadians understand the budget would be a major leap forward, however in the long term for Canadians to have meaningful input into the budget process and parliamentarians to have full information for decision-making purposes, we have to have access to the datasets before the Budget is developed. One thought is that after Budget 2017 the datasets identified for release could be prioritized for timely open data release after that point in time.

Commitment 11: Increase Transparency of Grants and Contributions Funding
Re: “one stop access”: in this instance centralized access makes a lot of sense!

C. Innovation, Prosperity, and Sustainable Development
Re: “Making government data and information openly available to Canadians without restrictions on reuse [emphasis added]”…
Suggested change to: “Making government data and information openly available with minimal restrictions on reuse and the expectation of reuse in the spirit of the public good…”
Comments: although the spirit of “no restrictions” is one that I agree with, a major positive change, and internationally embraced by open government advocates as consensus, this is an area where in my professional opinion too open an approach invites problems as well as benefits for the social good. For example, as contributors to the Social Sciences Research Network (SSRN) recently discovered, their free sharing of their work in what they thought of as an open access archive enabled not only open access but also the sale of SSRN to the world’s largest commercial scholarly publisher, Elsevier, a corporation that benefits from a profit rate of about $1 billion US a year (39%) profit based primarily on toll access and that has incentive to create new locked-down services. I believe this is an early indication of a potential danger of open data that is too open. For example, in the case of government data, too open an approach to data release could result in effective privatization of public services. “Without restrictions on reuse” is so broad that it can include charging for services, paying Internet service providers to have for-pay services prioritized over free public services, making the latter less useful, and using profits to lobby against funding for free public services that profitable commercial re-users are likely to see as competition.
Open data should be open to anyone, not just Canadians. In order to have the full benefit of open access to government data we need to be able to use data from any jurisdiction and compare data across jurisdictions.

C. Innovation, Prosperity, and Sustainable Development
Re – second paragraph: “the Government of Canada will be building strategic partnerships with other governments at the provincial, territorial, and municipal level, to support the development of common standards and principles for open data”.
Comment: good idea, but add the global level; this will be necessary to create innovations that work across jurisdiction and allow cross-jurisdictional comparison.

Commitment 14: Increase Openness of Federal Science Activities (Open Science)
Comments: kudos, this is great to see!!! Note that the granting councils already have policies on open access to research outputs and digital data management strategies. With respect to open access to documents, it might be worth looking at the tri-agency policy. With respect to digital data management strategies, there are important differences between government data, collected by the government for purposes of public policy, typically collected by government staff in the course of their employment and originally owned and controlled by the government, and academic research data which frequently involves third parties such as research subjects and third party organizations (e.g. police data is important to criminologists, business data to business researchers). Here I see many more issues arising from opening of data and I recommend separate treatment of academic research and government data.

Commitment 15: Stimulate Innovation through Canada’s Open Data Exchange (ODX)
This is a great initiative, but this is where building in the concept of free reuse in the context of commitment to the public good (see C above) is important to avoid the potential privatization of free public services.

Commitment 20: Enable Open Dialogue and Open Policy Making
Re: Milestone 1 “Promote common principles for Open Dialogue and common practices across the Government of Canada to enable the use of new methods for consulting and engaging Canadians”.
Comments: I think that this is a great idea, but the potential of Web 2.0 to facilitate open dialogue and open policy making is in its infancy. Consider that we are still working towards universal basic literacy centuries after the invention of the printing press. I think that considerable research into how to use the web for open dialogue and policy making is needed, and how to engage citizens who may not have access to the web or are otherwise unlikely to use this means of participation. Perhaps this could be one of the upcoming challenge areas for the granting councils? (Disclosure: if this happens I might apply for such a grant). 

Commitment 22: Engage Canadians to Improve Key Canada Revenue Agency Services
Re: 3rd milestone: “Engage with indigenous Canadians to better understand the issues, root causes, and data gaps that may be preventing eligible individuals from accessing benefits.”
Recommendation: add a strong, specific commitment to increase the number of indigenous Canadians receiving benefits or perhaps a specific type of benefit to which they are entitled.
In conclusion, please consider these detailed comments as input intended to improve a solid plan ambitious plan by a new government that already deserves kudos for swift action in a number of important areas. Thank you for the opportunity to provide these comments, and to be actively engaged in the preceding in-person and online consultation processes.
Respectfully submitted,
Dr. Heather Morrison
Assistant Professor
École des sciences de l'information / School of Information Studies
University of Ottawa
The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics
Sustaining the Knowledge Commons
Heather dot Morrison at

June 23, 2016

Monday, April 11, 2016

Dramatic Growth of Open Access March 31, 2016


Update April 12: congratulations to Bielefeld Academic Search Engine (BASE) - and all of the contributing repositories - now over 90 million documents.  On the Global Open Access List, BASE's Dirk Pieper estimates that 60% of the content is open access.

There are now 150 publishers of peer-reviewed open access books listed in the Directory of Open Access Books, publishing more than 4,400 open access books. 620 books were published in this quarter alone, a 16% increase in just this quarter. The Directory of Open Access Journals has been adding titles at a net rate of 6 titles per day, 540 journals added this quarter for a total of over 11,000 journals. This is the highest DOAJ growth rate since this series started!

Bielefeld Academic Search Engine repositories collectively added more than 4.7 million documents this quarter for a total of just under 89 million documents.

SCOAP3 nearly doubled in size this past year (87% annual growth) for a total of 4,690 documents. arXiv grew by over 107,000 documents to over 1.1 million documents during the same time frame.

Internet Archive is likely to be featured in the next issue as it is currently edging towards a milestone of 10 million free texts.

The number of journals actively participating in PubMedCentral, making all content immediately freely accessible, and making all content open access, continues to grow. Meanwhile at PubMed a transition in indexing practice (from manual to automatic) means that a search for NIH-funded articles in the last 90 days significantly underreports results (1,402 NIH funded articles in the past 90 days compared with a range of 7,846 - 19,790 with a 90-day search limit for NIH funded article since 2008). Without the indexing, it is not possible to determine the percentage of full text. Here's hoping the automated indexing process results in a catch-up soon; it doesn't matter very much if the statistics for this series fall a bit behind, but people rely on this indexing to search for medical information.

The Electronic Journals Library added 3,612 journals that can be read free-of-charge in the past year, for a total of 52,000 journals, a 7% growth rate.

This post is part of the Dramatic Growth of Open Access series. Open data can be downloaded from the Dramatic Growth of Open Access dataverse.