Sunday, September 30, 2007

Dramatic Growth of Open Access Series: September 30, 2007 Update


Open Access continues to show amazingly strong growth, in every measure tracked, in the 3rd quarter of 2007. Highlights: more than 100,000 new authors contribute to the Scientific Commons; OAIster increased by more than 42% over the past year, and E-LIS by 53%. The DOAJ now has 2,846 titles, and the DOAJ net growth rate is 1.2 titles per calendar day. The Electronic Journals Library includes more than 15,000 free journals, an increase of more than 2,000 titles over the past quarter. Even Highwire Free - where many free journals are embargoed - is showing steady growth in fully free sites. With 40 recent open access mandate policies (32 in place, 8 in development) so far, the dramatic growth of open access is certain to continue. RePEC, Research Papers in Economics, quietly passed a significant milestone this quarter, with more than half a million records (a little under 400,000 are free online). Congratulations, RePEC!


Open Access Journals
The Directory of Open Access Journals, a carefully vetted list of fully open access, peer-reviewed scholarly journals, lists a total of 2,846 journals, 445 more journals today than a year ago, a net growth rate of 1.2 titles per calendar day over the past year. The larger Electronic Journals Library lists over 15,000 titles, more than 2,000 added in the last quarter. Note: it is not clear whether this many more journals became free or open during this period, or if this was the number of journals that was discovered in this time frame. Even the Highwire Free site, where many of the free journals have embargo periods, is showing steady growth in the number of fully free sites, up 4 this period to 43.

Open Access Archives
More than 100,000 new authors
contributed to the Scientific Commons in this quarter, boosting the content of Scientific Commons by more than half a million items, to a current total of more than 16 million items. An OAIster search today encompasses close to 4 million items more than a year ago, a 42% increase in one year. E-LIS shows similarly strong growth, with an increase in content of more than 50% over last year, while the mature archives arXiv and RePEC continued with strong growth rates of 14% and 22% respectively. RePEC, Research Papers in Economics, quietly passed an important milestone, exceeding half a million records for the first time. Congratulations, RePEC! OPEN DOAR, the Directory of Open Access Archives, lists 950 archives, 41 more than in June 2007.

The strongest growth rates are shown by the institutions with open access mandates. Steven Harnad provides a summary and links to the data, along with the very important number of open access mandates: 40 (32 in place, 8 proposed), in his Success Rate of the Self-Archiving Mandates: Southamption ECS, on Open Access Archivangelism.

For more information:
Dramatic Growth of Open Access: Open Data Edition
Dramatic Growth of Open Access: Open Data Edition September 30, 2007
Dramatic Growth of Open Access Series

Stephen's Web

I just discovered Stephen's Web. Stephen Downes works for the National Research Council, specializing in online learning, content syndication, and new media.

Based on Stephen's home page statement, readers of The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics will want to read Stephen's web!

I want and visualize and aspire toward a system of society and learning where each person is able to rise to his or her fullest potential without social or financial encumberance, where they may express themselves fully and without reservation through art, writing, athletics, invention, or even through their avocations or lifestyle.

Where they are able to form networks of meaningful and rewarding relationships with their peers, with people who share the same interests or hobbies, the same political or religious affiliations - or different interests or affiliations, as the case may be.

This to me is a society where knowledge and learning are public goods, freely created and shared, not hoarded or withheld in order to extract wealth or influence. This is what I aspire toward, this is what I work toward

Here is a direct link to Stephen's Open Access Topic.

This post is part of the Canadian Leadership in the Open Access Movement series.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Libraries and Public Access to Information (CLA 1994)

From the Canadian Library Association's Information and Telecommunications Access Principles Position Statement, 1994:

The convergence of computers and high-speed telecommunication networks provides increased opportunity for public access to information and participation in the democratic processes of society. Conversely, access and participation could be reduced through the imposition of user fees and centralized control.

Librarians, libraries, and library organizations will work to assure the 'public good' is represented in all government and corporate initiatives for information dissemination and telecommunications policy. Co-operation with other organizations and public interest groups to protect social interests will strengthen the efforts of the library community.

Comment: this statement is very relevant in the context of the open access movement with its emphasis on public access to information, as well as the principles of the Public Knowledge Project.

This post is part of the Canadian Leadership in the Open Access Movement series.

Access to any or all sources of information - a matter of ethics (CLA 1976)

From the CLA Code of Ethics, 1976:

Members of the Canadian Library Association have the individual and collective responsibility to...

3. facilitate access to any or all sources of information which may be of assistance to library users

While open access to information online would not have been contemplated back in 1976, it is hard to see how this could be interpreted as anything other than a very strong endorsement of the philosophy of full and complete open access; not access to what we can afford, or access to back issues, etc., but rather an ethical obligation to facilitate access to "any or all sources of information".

This blogpost is part of the Canadian Leadership in the Open Access Movement series.

CLA commitment to "open availability to information" - from 1987

From the Canadian Library Association (CLA) Position Statement Citizenship Access to Information Data Banks - Right to Privacy, approved by Executive Council in 1987:

CLA has a commitment to the philosophy of "open availability to information as a tool of economic and social development".

This post is a part of the Canadian Leadership in the Open Access Movement series.

Open Access Fun Guerrilla Activism, or How to Hijack an STM Conference

If you want to know how to get your open access message across at that STM conference, read up on the techniques of master OA guerilla Graham Steel as reported on McBlawg blog.

Graham attended the Neuroprion 2007 conference recently in Edinburgh, on an impressively low budget, with a personal mission to raise awareness about open access and OA archiving to the delegates present.

With over 800 delegates, one-on-one promotion was out of the question, so Graham employed a combination of techniques including wearing OA t-shirts: Research Made Public, I'm Open and PLoS One, flyers, postcards, and brochures, distributed through a rapid dissemination-and-vanishing act.

As for one-on-one discussions, Graham reports: Of those that I was able to discuss OA/IR’s with, almost all of the feedback was positive in nature. I was easily able to respond to any less positive feedback.

I'm taking notes, and keeping on eye on our innovative OA activist Graham Steel, Co-Founder, CJD Alliance.

WIPO Launches New Agenda on IP and Development

WIPO, the World Intellectual Property Organization, has a launched a new agenda on IP and Development, according to Intellectual Property Watch.

The Friends of Development are: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Iran, Kenya, Peru, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uruguay and Venezuela.

If your country is not on this list, please ask them to consider joining.

Non-governmental organizations that played a key role include IFLA, the International Federation of Library Associations.

Peter Suber comments:

This is important. WIPO controls the direction of copyright and patent law worldwide, and the development agenda converts the WIPO mission from knee-jerk maximalism to something much closer to balance.

Thanks to Peter Suber on Open Access News for the tip; please see his blogpost for some useful tips.

This post is part of the Creative Globalization series.

Friday, September 28, 2007

From interlibrary loans to institutional repository department: a natural transition

When articles are open access, there is no need for interlibrary loan (ILL). There should be, globally if not at every individual library, an inverse relationship between the amount of open access, and the demand for interlibrary loan. That is, the more open access peer-reviewed articles there are, the less need there is for ILL.

This frees up funds (from ILL charges), and staff time. Freed-up funds can be redeployed to offset article processing fees and subsidies for faculty OA publishing.

The greatest savings in staff time will be experienced by the largest research libraries with the biggest collections, as these libraries are the biggest net lenders.

It makes sense, then, to consider whether the staff that are currently involved in interlibrary loans, could be retrained for the work needed for the institutional repository. In my opinion, staff who are proficient at interlibrary loans, have an important skill set to bring to the institutional repository. These staff are accustomed to working with documents, and faculty members, on a one-on-one basis, paying careful attention to metadata and quality control with documents sent electronically.

Working in an area where activity and needs are decreasing is depressing; working in an area that is emerging and increasing in activity is energizing. A well-planned ILL to IR transition just might mean a library will have increasing staffing available for the IR in a pattern that somewhat reflects the shifting needs. More importantly, approaching the transition in this thoughtful manner could mean potentially substantial benefits in staff morale and positive organizational culture.

This post is a part of the Transitioning to Open Access Series.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Canadian Journal of Sociology Goes OA

Dr. Kevin Haggerty, incoming Editor of the Canadian Journal of Sociology, has written an eloquent Editorial: Change and Continuity at the Canadian Journal of Sociology/Cahiers canadiens de sociologie explaining some changes at this well-established journal, begun in 1975 by a group of 5 sociologists at the University of Alberta, and presently considered a premiere publication venue, well-cited with global readership. All changes are motivated by "a desire to ensure that the journal's reputation for excellent scholarship are maintained and advanced".

The most major of these changes is a shift from a print /subscription model to an electronic-only, fully open access model, using the Open Journal Systems (OJS) software, hosted by University of Alberta Libraries.

It is very much worth reading this article for the well-articulated reasons presented by Dr. Haggerty for the move to open access. One reason is greater impact for authors, by reaching a wider global community of scholars, policymakers, and activists. Because it makes research available to the public, open access also advances efforts to nurture a form of public sociology, according to Dr. Haggerty.

The electronic-only format permits editorial decisions to be made independently from financial considerations. The number and length of articles accepted for publication, for example, can be made entirely on the basis of merit, and not on the basis of the cost of printing the article. While no change is anticipated in the number of articles published, there will be more opportunity to publish discussion and debate.

Electronic-only has environmental advantages, as well as enhanced functionality.

Dr. Haggerty talks candidly about the agony of the economic decision. Subscription revenue has been the major source of funding for the journal, even though most of the subscription revenue was taken up in the expense of printing, subscription management and postage. Canada's Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) has emerged as a strong supporter of open access publishing, a significant enabler and support for this move.

Many thanks to Dr. Haggerty and the Canadian Journal of Sociology for yet another outstanding example of Canadian Leadership in the Open Access Movement.

Thanks also to Pam Ryan at OA / UA Open Access Publishing Information for the University of Alberta Community.

[The University of Alberta is my alma mater, and U of A librarian OA heroes, Pam Ryan and Denise Koufougiannakis, are former classmates].

Monday, September 17, 2007

PRISM: not ready for peer review

According to Peter Suber on Open Access News, PRISM, the latest anti-OA lobbying campaign launched by a branch of the Professional and Society Publishers (PSP) branch of the Association of American Publishers, has made some changes to their website.

No wonder! This is a grassroots campaign that isn't exactly taking off. The "About PRISM" page says who PRISM was established by, but lists no specific endorsements.

This is in contrast, of course, to the numerous public non-endorsements and statements of non-affiliation, including:

the request by Rockfeller University Press publicly asking for a disclaimer on the PRISM website saying that this does not reflect the views of all AAP members, including Rockefeller;

Cambridge University Press's Stephen Bourne wrote: heard about PRISM launch for the first time last week, from which you will understand that Cambridge University Press has in no way been involved in, or consulted on, the PRISM initiative (thanks to Peter Murray-Rust).

one of the authors whose work was cited on the original site post, Rick Anderson publicly stated his Nonaffliation with PRISM,

a message that received a reply from the President of the American Association of University Presses, Sandy Thatcher, who stated that "Interestingly, PRISM does NOT link to my paper in Learned Publishing on open access or to the AAUP Statement on Open Access of which my paper is an expansion. Therein lies a mystery.... (especially since Penn State is a member of PSP, though I do not endorse everything that PSP initiates, including PRISM). From: Liblicense.

Will there be a mad rush to endorse the newly revised PRISM site? Hmmm, let's see:

From the PRISM welcome page:
PRISM expresses concerns about the unintended consequences of unfunded government mandates
Any publisher that signs on to this one is biting the hand that feeds them!. Publishers benefit enormously from the privilege of being able to earn a little profit from the results of research funded by the public, for the public interest. Not only that, the US National Institutes of Health is already paying substantially for publishing charges, to the tune of $30 million per year or an average of close to $500 per article, and may be paying more than enough already to fund a fully open access publishing system for NIH-funded research. For details, see my blogpost, NIH Public Access Policy: is the funding for an OA Transition Already There?

Would the PRISM New Approaches page pass peer review? Not at my journal!*
Each year, more than a million peer-reviewed articles are published in some 16,000 scholarly journals managed by over 2,000 scientific, technical and medical (STM) publishers, both commercial and not-for-profit.

The PRISM New Approaches page fails to mention that
1. there are now over 2,800 fully open access peer-reviewed journals, and that new titles are being added to the Directory of Open Access Journals at the rate of more than one per calendar day.
2. many journals are providing free access to back issues of journals, a New Approach that many of the members of the PSP division themselves are doing
3. If over a million peer-reviewed articles per year are involved in total, then the 60-65,000 produced thanks to NIH-funded research forms less than 1% of the total. Not exactly a risk undermining the very fabric of the system of independent, formal peer-reviewed publication, is it?

While the polemic is somewhat less in the latest PRISM effort, the same fundamental errors are there. For details and more links, see Peter Suber's blog.

Thanks, for noting the changes, Peter! It is important to keep track of previous versions, and how they relate to the advice provided by PR pitbull Eric Dezenhall.

* Partnership: the Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research, for which I serve as Editor, Theory / Research.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

60% OA Track Record for Successful Grantees

Is there a correlation between an author's open access track record and success in obtaining grant funding? Some analysis of recent grant awards by Jim Till in the blogpost Better Access to Cancer Care in Canada found that 60% of articles recently published by successful CIHR grant applicants were freely available. This is less than the 100% OA we would like to see, and Jim muses about how to move toward 100%. From my perspective, another very interesting perspective emerging from this analysis is that
there appears to be a very high percentage of spontaneous open access provision by successful grantees, not only before the CIHR Open Access Policy came into effect, but even before it was announced.

While this sample is too small to be considered conclusive proof, this data may suggest a trend that would be worth exploring. There are several factors which seem likely to create a correlation between authors' tendencies towards providing open access to their work, and success in obtaining grant funding. These include the preference of funding agencies for open access, differential accessibility of previous research to grant reviewers, the open access citation advantage (OA articles are more likely to be cited more), and the open access quality bias (the best works by the best authors are more likely to be made openly accessible, whether by the authors or their funders).

People's Open Access Education Initiative

The People's Open Access Education Initiative aims, according to their website, are to:

Help to build Public Health capacity in low- to middle-income countries, using open education resources freely available on the Internet

This education will involve partnerships and collaboration across the global and digital divides, and will be both credible and affordable

” A learning resource that is freely available, which makes use of already established material and seeks to modify it appropriately for local use”

The People's Open Access Education Initiative is a grassroots movement which anticipates a decentralized, volunteersourcing approach, building on the open source and open access philosophies and resources to overcome barriers to educational efforts in developing countries, with the aim of eventually developing a People's Open Access University.

Thanks to John Dada, Fantsuam, Nigeria.

This post is part of the Creative Globalization Series.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

UN Declaration on Rights of Indigeneous Peoples passes, despite Canada's opposition

Kudos to the United Nations General Assembly for passing a Declaration on Rights of Indigeneous Peoples, despite Canada's opposition, as explained in this BBC Article.

As for Canada - excuse me, who are you representing?

According to this article in the Toronto Star, Canada Ripped for Opposing UN Declation: In fact, documents released to Amnesty International under the Access to Information Act show that the government fought the declaration despite advice from its own officials in Foreign Affairs, Indian Affairs and National Defence, all of them urging its support.

The Union of BC Indian Chiefs on August 30 published an Open Letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper: Support UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigeneous Peoples.

As a Canadian and professional librarian with significant involvement in information policy at a national level, I am not aware of any public consultation.

This statement by Canadian Ambassador McNee to the UN General Assembly is posted on the Government of Canada website. McNee says: Canada has been very clear in proposing that further negotiations take place in an open and transparent process with the effective involvement of indigenous peoples.

Ambassador McNee, if you believe in an open and transparent process with the effective involvement of indigenous peoples - why is there no link to the Union of BC Indian Chiefs Open Letter on this issue?

If our government is not listening to its own staff, Canada's indigeneous peoples, or consulting with Canadians on this issue, who are they representing, exactly? Perhaps it is time we started asking these questions. Here is a link to how to Contact your Government.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Housekeeping: links to posts on CIHR policy

Here is a link to a blogpost collecting links to posts on CIHR on IJPE

Michael Geist: New Research Policy a Victory for Open Access

In The Toronto Star, Monday, September 10, 2007, article by Michael Geist, New Research Policy a Victory for Open Access (Blog version).

The new policy – the first of its kind for Ottawa's three major research granting institutions that dole out hundreds of millions of dollars each year – will revolutionize access to health research by mandating that thousands of articles published each year be made freely available online to a global audience.

The policy will help ensure that 5 per cent of the world's health research scholarship – tens of thousands of articles (CIHR funds approximately 5,000 researchers annually producing as many as 30,000 articles) – are generally freely available. This benefits the researchers, whose work becomes more widely read and cross-referenced, as well as the general public.

...The CIHR policy is likely to place renewed pressure on the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the federal government's two other major granting councils to follow suit.

[Inaction to date] may change as new Industry Minister Jim Prentice focuses on Canadian economic competitiveness and fiscal responsibility. With the health field now leading the way, Canadians may at long last gain open access to the world-class research they have funded, while the publishing industry adapts to the new realities of access to research.

British Columbia Library Association Congratulates CIHR on Open Access to Research Outputs Policy

The British Columbia Library Association congratulates the Canadian Institutes of Health Research on the newly announced Open Access to Research Outputs policy. Here is an excerpt from the letter from BCLA President Deb Thomas to CIHR President Alan Bernstein, September 10, 2007, which can be downloaded from

As you yourself note in the press release, results of this policy will accelerate the understanding of human health and disease, and leverage the Canadian health research dollar.

This will also mean expanded access to health research across the country, and around the globe. Physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals outside the major centres will have access to this literature, increasing their ability to provide evidence-based care. Smaller colleges will be better equipped to train new nurses. These are just a couple of examples of the benefits that will accrue from this wonderful policy.

This policy will, in many respects, be seen as a model for other funding agencies. One major strength, as stated in the policy, is that “Grant recipients are now required to make every effort to ensure that their peer-reviewed publications are freely accessible through the Publisher's website (Option #1) or an online repository as soon as possible and in any event within six months of publication (Option #2).

Option # 1 combined with clarification that article processing fees for open access are eligible as expenses under the Use of Grant Funds, is an exceptionally strong statement of support for this model from a public funding agency. This enables researchers to move quickly and easily into the optimum dissemination mode, full, immediate open access.

Option # 2, self-archiving for free access within 6 months of publication, illustrates flexibility and will assist researchers in fields with publishers less ready or willing to move forward with transitioning to open access. Language is this section is more than generous to the publishing community.

Another area of leadership is the statement that the policy will be reviewed on an annual basis. This is wise, as changes in scholarly communications are very much evolving, and the statement of expectation of annual review demonstrates a commitment to ongoing change. This is important, as it supports ongoing change in scholarly communications

Heather's comments: I am proud to be a member of the British Columbia Library Association, and of the Information Policy Committee whose mission includes open access! Kudos and thanks to my colleagues for their support for open access. This letter encapsulates what I see as the key strengths of the CIHR policy: very strong support for open access, particularly full open access publishing which is the preferred option and can, if desired, be supported economically by researchers through use of grant funds; flexibility and a commitment to review at this time of transition.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Dramatic Growth of Open Access: Inclusion Criteria


The most common question about my Dramatic Growth of Open Access Series is: why is my open access service not included? This blogpost explains the inclusion criteria for Dramatic Growth. It would not be possible to include every open access service, not even every truly great open access service, for reasons of human limitations. A collaborative approach to expanding Dramatic Growth through disciplinary or geographic subsets would be welcome. Services included in Dramatic Growth are those that most closely reflect the overall growth of OA (e.g. total number of OA articles or journals), the largest open access archives, and a few services that reflect the author's own discipline and geographic region (which could be moved into one or more subsets). One factor is considering inclusion in Dramatic Growth that your favorite open access service might wish to consider: how easy is it to determine the quantity of open access in your service? A prominent, frequently updated count of articles or journals included in your service, particularly if these can be limited to OA, tips the balance in your favor.


The quick answer to why not every OA service is included in DOAJ, is that there are simply so many open access services that it beyond the author's ability to highlight each and every one, regardless of merit. There are more than 800 repositories, more than 2,800 fully open access journals, more open access portal services than I likely know about. The number of services selected for Dramatic Growth reference must be limited, reflecting my own human limitations, and also for the benefit of readers, as attempting to cover all of the numbers would be overwhelming.

The ideal numbers would look something like:

  • All peer-reviewed journal articles produced in the world, in this quarter and for all time
  • How many are open access (broken down by definitions, i.e. full, immediate OA, delays - by how much, almost OA but not quite by the BOAI definition, and so forth).

There is no way that I am aware of to obtain directly and precisely any of these numbers; all measures are somewhat indirect. If I'm missing something, please let me know. Therefore, I seek the best indirect measures possible.

The largest repository metasearch tools (OAIster, Scientific Commons)are the best indicators of the open access portion of the equation. This is an imperfect measure, since both include other types of materials besides fully open access, peer-reviewed journal articles. However, this is a substantial portion of the content of both, so it is reasonable to assume this as a rough measure of the growth of open access.

The largest open access archives (PubMedCentral, arXiv, and RePEC), are tracked. arXiv and RePEC provide an important measure of the growth rates of mature archives.

To measure open access publishing, the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is selected for two reasons. Most importantly, the DOAJ vetting process and the fact that DOAJ is very well-known, so that inclusion in the list is actively sought by OA publisher, means a fairly accurate measure of the growth of OA journals.

The other factor is that DOAJ posts an accurate, up to date count of journals and new titles which is prominent and easy to find on their website. When selecting other services for inclusion in Dramatic Growth, this is a key factor, that is, how easy is it to figure out how much content is in the service, and perhaps more importantly, how much of the content qualifies as open access? This is one of the reasons why Highwire Free is included, even though many of the titles are embargoed; Highwire Free provides a count on their website.

Some of the services included in Dramatic Growth are included primarily because they represent the author's own discipline and geographic area (E-LIS and the CARL Metadata Harvester). If a collaborative approach to Dramatic Growth were developed, splitting off disciplinary and geographic subsets, these services might move to these sections. There are advantages to including some services such as these in the overall Dramatic Growth, however, as they provide some contrast with other services. For example, E-LIS is a much newer archive than PMC, arXiv, or RePEC, so provides a useful illustration of the difference in growth curve between new and mature archives.

Many thanks to those who join me in the awesome task of chronicling the Dramatic Growth of what, in my opinion, is one of the great moments of history, the rise of open access, whether through reading or providing suggestions for improvement. The next edition of this quarterly series is scheduled for September 30.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

More kudos for CIHR!

The Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) has issued a press release welcoming the new policy that encourages open access to Canadian Research, downloadable from What's New at CARL / Quoi de neuf À l'ABRC.


“CARL welcomes the new CIHR policy “stated Carolynne Presser, Chair of the CARL Scholarly Communication Committee. “We would prefer to see full and immediate public access to all CIHR-funded research. However this is a step in the right direction.”

“The new Policy should mean that all Canadians – the general public, healthcare practitioners and researchers - will enjoy increasing free access to publicly-funded Canadian health research through the Internet” noted CARL President, Ms. Leslie Weir. “It is encouraging to see CIHR’s commitment that ‘timely and unrestricted access to research findings is a defining feature of science, and is essential for advancing knowledge and accelerating our understanding of human health and disease.’ CARL looks forward to working with CIHR to implement the Policy and to make it a success for other funding agencies to follow.” contribue aux kudos pour CIHR avec Santé : recherche canadienne libre. Merci, Olivier Charbonneau! est un resource exceptionelle sur droits d'auteur et access libre.
English: adds to the kudos for CIHR with Health: free Canadian research. Thanks, Olivier Charbonneau! (free culture Canada) is an exceptional resource on copyright and open access.

An article in Research Information, Canada Institutes Champion Open Access, hails the CIHR policy of Open Access to Health Research Publications. Other articles of interest: Open Access Debate Gets Personal (on PRISM), and Open Access Community Condemns PRISM.

Hat tip to Peter Suber on Open Access News for the latter.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Kudos for CIHR Open Access to Research Outputs Policy

Jim Till has blogged some of the early kudos to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Access to Research Outputs Policy on Be Openly Accessible or Be Obscure. If you have blogged your own kudos, let us know! To comment on Jim's blog, you need to register; this does not take long.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

DOAJ: strong growth, and understanding the numbers

The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is a list of peer-reviewed, fully open access journals. DOAJ's clearly defined vetting process makes it attractive as a means of measuring open access publishing. DOAJ numbers, over the past couple of years, have consistently indicated strong growth in fully open access journals (for details, see The Dramatic Growth of Open Access Series). An examination of DOAJ titles by start year as of today indicates strong, continuing addition of recent new titles (e.g. 289 with a start date of 2005, 311 with a start date of 2004). This blogpost explores this recent data, links to an open data edition, talks about factors to consider in interpreting data derived from DOAJ, and disproves a conclusion reached by Sally Morris, former Chief Executive Officer of the Association for Learned and Society Scholarly Publishing (ALPSP).

Recent data, DOAJ titles by start year
2006 and 2007 are not presented here. Please see explanation below.
2005: 289
2004: 311
2003: 278
2002: 281
2001: 295
2000: 269
1999: 155
1998: 151
1997: 154
1996: 112
1995: 77
1994: 28
1993: 27
1992: 11
1991: 14
1990: 19

For full data, see the Open Data Edition.

How to Interpret Data from DOAJ

Start Year
The start year in DOAJ is the first year articles are available as OA, not the first year the journal started. An older journal which converts, but does not have older copies online, will have a different start date in DOAJ than the first year of publication.

Recent start years are always likely to be understated
New titles must be identified by DOAJ, or present themselves to DOAJ. Also, DOAJ is a vetted list. New titles are only added after they have gone through this process, to ensure that the title is indeed open access and meets peer-review or equivalent quality control status, and after enough articles are published to warrant inclusion. What this means for DOAJ numbers: recent title figures will always be understated. Many journals begun in 2006 have not yet gone through a full year of publishing, and these titles will not have completed the DOAJ vetting process. The current year will always be understated, for this reason and also because, until the year is complete, new journals are likely to start. In interpreting numbers, it is also important to remember that the list vetting process involves people - at DOAJ, and at the journals, too. People have been known to go on holidays! If short-term growth dips a little at DOAJ, it most likely means that someone is on vacation.

For the record and for the sake of completeness, new title starts in 2006 and 2007 as of September 5, 2007:
2007: 74
2006: 190

DOAJ start years are subject to change
This may be counterintuitive: due to changes in open access status, or digitization of back issues, DOAJ start years are likely to change. For example, if ten journals begun in 1956 were to convert to OA with their full run of journals, the start year count for 1956 would jump to 11 from its current 1. Journals that no longer meet the DOAJ criteria and are weeded from the list will cause a drop in their start year count.

This explains how Sally Morris, based on research conducted in the early part of 2005, came to the erroneous conclusion that OA journal start-ups had peaked in 2001, with slightly fewer than 180 journals counted. Sally and her group of volunteers counted only 80 journals in DOAJ with a start-up year of 2004, and concluded that OA journal start-ups had dropped. At the time of counting, journals that had started in 2004, and some in 2003, are likely to have still been unknown to DOAJ, or not yet completed the vetting process.

Here are some other ways to illustrate how erroneous this conclusion (OA journal publishing peaked in 2001, and has since declined) was:

At the time of counting early in 2005, Sally reports that there were 1,443 journals then listed in the DOAJ. As of today, there are 2,842, nearly twice as many. This illustrates an increasing trend towards OA publishing, not a decline.

The year 2004,the low point on Sally's chart, is today's apparent peak. Sally and her group counted about 80 journals in DOAJ with a start year of 2004; today, DOAJ records 311 journal start-ups in 2004, nearly 5 times more than at the time of Sally's count. This illustrates two things: my point that titles in recent years will always be understated in DOAJ, and also that OA start-ups at the time of Sally's study were not declining, but rather increasing.

2004, incidentally, is not only higher in journal titles in DOAJ now than it was in Sally's chart; it is higher than a higher figure for 2001; there are now 295 journals in DOAJ with a start year of 2001, more than a hundred more than there were in Sally's count.

Sally Morris' conclusions and data can be found in the Personal View (not peer reviewed) article, When is a journal not a journal? in the subscription-based Learned Publishing Vol. 19:1, January 2006.

This post is part of the Dramatic Growth of Open Access Series

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Jim Till: Be Openly Accessible - or Be Obscure

Now that the Canadian Institutes for Health Research's Open Access to Research Outputs Policy Announcement has been released, it is high time to celebrate the Chair of the CIHR Advisory Committee on Access to Research Outputs, one of Canada's most noteworthy open access advocates, Dr. Jim Till.

Formerly a member of the Open Access News team when it was a group blog, Jim is now the author of one of the most thoughtful and thought-provoking blogs on open access on the web: Be Openly Accessible or Be Obscure. What I love about Jim's blog - aside from the delightful name, and wonderful concept - is that his posts are original works, often profound reflections and new perspectives on open access. Jim's work has inspired and sharpened my own thinking on topics such as the economics of article processing fees. Jim often points to particular articles, that are OA - or not, and what the consequences are. If you read my writings often, you may have noticed phrases such as unless you're aiming for obscurity creeping in; definitely an influence!

Jim's first foray into public open access advocacy was in 2000, when he wrote this message to The American Scientist Open Access Forum, where he muses about the difference in self-archiving behavior between physicists and the biomedical community. In this message, Jim expresses thanks to my colleague Peter Singer for his provocative article in CMAJ, and for pointing me toward this forum.

Jim's participation in The American Scientist Open Access Forum led to an invitation to publish in a toll-access journal, Learned Publishing, on the topic of self-archiving. This was also his first experience with self-archiving, of the article, Predecessors of preprint servers, Learned Publishing 2001; 14(1): 7-13, available OA in arXiv (with the permission of Learned Publishing).

Jim's first experience with open access publishing came earlier, however, with the article Peer Review in a Post-Eprints World: A Proposal, in the Journal of Medical Internet Research. This article explores the possibilities the internet and archives open up for new, and perhaps better, means of peer review, such as combining a system of informal comments with formal commissioned review. I believe Jim was, and is, on to something here. Not long ago, I spoke to an author who had recently published in physics, who described the process of self-archiving the preprint in arXiv. Because arXiv is so well read, the author had received such significant, substantial input before the article was even submitted for publication, that the formal peer review process went very smoothly indeed.

The desire to move forward with these new potentials made possible by the internet is part of what I think Dr. David Lipman meant when he spoke about the pent up energy for change in the interview reported earlier on IJPE.

Before we get to unleash this energy, though - before we get to play and discover, we need to move forward with developing and implementing strong open access policies. Jim has already accomplished far more than most of us; prior to CIHR, Jim was instrumental in the development of the Open Access Archive of the Canadian Breast Cancer Research Alliance (CBCRA).

For everything that you have done and continue to do, Jim - thanks, and I look forward to that next blogpost on Be Openly Accessible or Be Obscure.

This post is part of the Canadian Leadership in the Open Access Movement series.

Canada's CIHR: 31st to Adopt a Green OA Self-Archiving Mandate

Stevan Harnad on the CIHR Policy, from the American Scientist Open Access Forum and Open Access Archivangelism

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) has just announced the official adoption of the Green Open Access Self-Archiving Mandate it had proposed last year.

This is the 31st Green OA Mandate adopted worldwide, but the 1st in North America. (Indeed, only one North American University - l'Universite du Québec à Montréal - has signed the Berlin Declaration.)

In all, 14 departmental and university self-archiving mandates plus 17 funder mandates have so far been adopted worldwide. In addition, 2 large multi-university mandates (Brazil and Europe) are in the proposal stage, as are 4 proposed funder mandates (two of them in the US and very big).

The UK is still substantially in the lead for OA mandates adopted, but if the pending US and European mandate proposals are adopted, OA will have prevailed unstoppably worldwide.

The next big growth area will be the sleeping giant of university Green OA mandates, fueled by both the OA movement and the Institutional Repository movement. The UK universities and the European ones are moving in concerted directions here. Time for US university provosts (who signed in support of the FRPAA Green OA mandate proposal) to go into action too!

Stay tuned

Stevan Harnad

Heather's comment: a number of organizations and individuals in Canada have signed the Budapest Open Access Initiative. Thanks to Jean-Claude Guédon on the Am Sci Forum for the reminder. The Canadian Library Association has signed both Budapest and Berlin, and recently adopted a strong OA policy of its own.

Open Access Policy: let's put the public good first!

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Access to Research Outputs Policy is exemplary in its strong support for immediate open access, whether through OA publishing or self-archiving. This is not the clear mandate that we would like to see, but it is a important step forward, and an important contribution to the debate.

One weakness of this, and other OA policies both existing and in development, from my point of view, is the acceptance of embargo (delay) periods to accomodate for-profit publishers.

Since when does public policy put profits first - in this case, before the advances in research that can improve our health, the rights of taxpayers to maximum benefit from their investment?

Do we shy away from public policies requiring building developers to make buildings accessible to the disabled, earthquake-proof, or asbestos-free, out of fear of diminishing the profits of developers?

Another strength of the CIHR policy is the call for annual review. Let us hope that OA activist Dr. Jim Till continues in his role as Chair. Already, here is my suggestion for the first review: brook no delay - require immediate OA!

For more commentary and links, please see my blogpost Canadian Institutes of Health Research: Policy on Access to Research Outputs

Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Policy on Access to Research Outputs

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) has just announced their Policy on Access to Research Outputs. Français.

Under this new policy, as of January 1, 2008, grant recipients must make every effort to ensure that their peer-reviewed research articles are freely available as soon as possible after depositing the article in an archive, such as PubMed Central or an institutional repository, and/or by publishing results in an open access journal. A growing number of journals already meet these requirements and CIHR-funded researchers are encouraged to consider publishing in these journals...grant recipients are now required to deposit bioinformatics, atomic, and molecular coordinate data, as already required by most journals, into the appropriate public database immediately upon publication of research results.. Researchers are encouraged to make use of the SHERPA RoMEO Publisher Copyright Policies and Self-Archiving service to determine whether publishers policies are compliant with the policy, and the policy clarifies that article processing fees for open access publishing are an eligible expense under the Use of Grant Funds.

Notable Quotes from the Press Release:
Timely and unrestricted access to research findings is a defining feature of science, and is essential for advancing knowledge and accelerating our understanding of human health and disease," stated Dr. Alan Bernstein, President of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. "With the development of the internet it is now feasible to disseminate globally and easily the results of research that we fund. As a publicly-funded organization, we have a responsibility to ensure that new advances in health research are available to those who need it and can use it - researchers world-wide, the public and policy makers.

This open access policy will serve as a model for other funding agencies, said Dr. James E. Till of the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto [Chair of the Task Force that developed this policy]. The policy will leverage taxpayers' investment by accelerating research and by fostering its broader application.

Strengths of this policy include strong support for immediate open access, and support for open access publishing, including economic support for article processing fees. Traditional subscription-based journals can easily comply with the policy through an enlightened self-archiving policy, as the vast majority of journals also do, and making this clear through the Sherpa Romeo list. Another area of strength is the expectation of no more than 6 months delay before open access.

Kudos to the CIHR, President Dr. Alan Bernstein and Task Force Chair Dr. Jim Till for yet another stellar example of Canadian Leadership in the Open Access Movement.

Update 10:30 a.m. - Peter Suber's comments, from:
Open Access News:

* This is a major policy with a major loophole: “Publications must be freely accessible within six months of publication, where allowable and in accordance with publisher policies.” The exception swallows the rule. Any publisher who doesn't want OA within six months, or ever, can easily block it, and CIHR invites them to do so. But for that, the policy would be exemplary: the mandatory terms, the reasonably short embargo, the equal standing of central and distributed repositories, the willingness to pay publishing fees at fee-based OA journals, the OA data policy, and the implicit sanction for non-compliance.
* The draft policy released last October did not contain this loophole. On the contrary, it said that “A publisher-imposed embargo on open accessibility of no more than 6 months is acceptable.” BTW, it also implemented the dual deposit/release strategy (or what Stevan Harnad calls immediate deposit / optional access), requiring immediate deposit and permitting delayed OA. But CIHR dropped that too from the final version of the policy.
* The Wellcome Trust and several of the Research Councils UK have found an elegant way to close the loophole the CIHR that left open: they require OA archiving on a certain timetable, as a condition of funding, and take advantage of the fact that researchers sign funding contracts before they sign copyright transfer agreements with publishers. In short, they require grantees to live up to their funding contracts and, therefore, to transfer copyright on their funded work, if at all, only subject to the terms of the prior funding contract. If a publisher is unwilling to let the author comply with the funding contract, the author must look for another publisher. I do hope the CIHR will move in this direction at its next policy review, and close or at least shrink the gigantic loophole in the present policy.

Update 10:54 - Michael Geist's comments - see original by clicking on Michael Geist for links:

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the federal government's health research granting agency, today unveiled a new open access policy for research it funds beginning in 2008. According to the new policy, researchers will be required to make every effort to ensure that their peer-reviewed publications are freely accessible through the Publisher’s website or an online repository within six months of publication. Critics will rightly note that the policy is not iron-clad - publication in an online repository is conditional on the publisher's policy. Accordingly, if a publisher refuses to allow researchers to post their articles, the researcher does not violate the grant requirements by not posting. This leaves publishers with a measure of control, though a growing number of them do permit this form of archiving (database of publisher policies here).

While it is tempting to say that this does not go far enough, it is an exceptionally important development for open access in Canada.
First, even with its faults, the policy will help ensure that five percent of the world's health research scholarship - tens of thousands of articles (CIHR funds approximately 5,000 researchers annually producing as many as 30,000 articles) - are generally freely available.

Second, this is the second stage in the CIHR's move toward open access. Clinical trial data is already made available online and the granting council supports expenses related to open access publishing. As the global move toward open access accelerates, it is well positioned to do more.

Third - and perhaps most important - it places renewed pressure on SSHRC and NSERC, the other two major granting councils, to at least match CIHR. The same principles apply - taxpayer funded research should be made available to the public that pays the bills and with CIHR now on board, it is now clearly time for the other two councils to adopt open access policies.

Heather's comments:
The loophole mentioned by Peter Suber is indeed there, however I think it is important not to overlook some very strong points in this policy, even with the loophole. Grant recipients are directed to the SHERPA RoMEO list, which will need to add a category for CIHR compliance. It seems obvious to me that only publishers allowing immediate self-archiving, or within 6 months at most, will be eligible for the check mark beside CIHR compliance. Or, am I missing something?

An important contribution here is the strong emphasis on immediate open access, or no more than a six month delay at maximum; a refreshing change from recent debates, which suggest that a 12 month delay is acceptable.

My personal opinion is that NO delay is acceptable. This research is paid for by the Canadian taxpayer; in order to see that we all receive maximum impact for our research dollar, we should insist on immediate OA. This is well within our rights; the contributions from the taxpayer and other Canadians (directly through research funding, indirectly through support for universities and student tuitions) are far more substantial than those of the publishing industry, important though the latter are. The rights of the public good and the major payers for the research should prevail.

The CIHR policy does not demand immediate OA, but strongly supports it. My opinion remains that this is a strong policy, which other funders should see as a model, particularly for support for immediate OA, stating that delay should be no more than 6 months at most, and for clarifying support for OA publishing.