Monday, June 30, 2008

The Dramatic Growth of Open Access: June 30, 2008

Update July 6: please note corrections. Growth for this quarter and this year are higher than originally reported!

Highlights: the growth of open access continues to amaze! The Directory of Open Access Journals added 750 new titles over the past year, a rate of increase of 2 titles per calendar day. This is close to double the growth rate of 1.2 titles per calendar day as reported in June 2007. OAIster recently passed a significant milestone, the 1,000th repository harvested. OAIster added close to 5 million items over the past year, for a growth rate of 30%. A Scientific Commons search now encompasses close to 20 million items.

PubMedCentral is showing early signs of success of the new NIH mandate policy. 466 journals now participate voluntarily in PMC (up from 410 in March); of these, 355 or 75% provide immediate free access. There is a marked increase in the percentage of NIH-funded items that are freely available shortly after publication (30, 60, or 90 days after publication). For example, the percentage of NIH-funded articles freely available within 30 days of publication has increased 50%, from 6 to 9%. (Thanks to Jim Till for the earlier data and search strategy). This remarkable increase in free access immediately or soon after publication is important because it exceeds expectations. NIH allows up to 12-month embargo, but clearly not everyone is interested in taking advantage of this generosity.

RePEC and E-LIS have had strong growth over the past year, each increasing by about 25%. The only negative is Highwire Free, which grew slightly overall but lost one fully free site, producing a small but rare negative growth number. Björk Roosr, and Lauri presented an important study at the ELPUB conference, reporting that close to 20% of the world's peer-reviewed literature published in 2006 is freely available, whether published as open access or self-archived by the author.

The Open Data Edition of Dramatic Growth can be found here. A plain data version (without quarterly growth) is available here - note the second sheet which has data on PMC titles. A list of journals participating in PMC and analysis by time of free access is available here. If anyone would like to collaborate on these documents (even just to be able to download them), please let me know. Update July 2nd: excel versions are now available to download from the Dataverse Network.


Directory of Open Access Journals
DOAJ added 179 titles this quarter, a slight decrease from the first quarter, or 750 over the past year, a growth rate of 22%. DOAJ is adding new titles at the rate of 2 titles per calendar day, up from the average of 1.4 reported for last year. The number of DOAJ journals providing searching at the article level has increased, as has the number of articles which can be searched through DOAJ.

OAIster now includes 16.9 million records, added more than 1.3 million records this quarter, close to 5 million over the past year, for a very strong growth rate of close to 30 %. the 1,000 repository on June 28, 2008

Scientific Commons now includes over 19.5 million items, and added more than 1.4 million records and over half a million authors this quarter, for a strong growth rate of more than 20% over the past year.

ELPUB article Björk, Bo-Christer; Roosr, Annikki; Lauri, Mari (2008) Global annual volume of peer reviewed scholarly articles and the share available via different open access options, ELPUB2008. Openness in Digital Publishing: Awareness, Discovery and Access - Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Electronic Publishing held in Toronto, Canada 25-27 June 2008 / Edited by: Leslie Chan and Susanne Mornatti. ISBN 978-0-7727-6315-0, 2008, pp. 178-186 ELPUB 2008

Jim Till. More baseline data from pubmed. Be Openly Accessible or Be Obscure.

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

NSERC Open Access Policy in Development: update

More on the open access policy in development at Canada's National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC); a presentation by NSERC's Denis Leclerc's to the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) AGM, May 15, 2008, on the NSERC Open Access policy in development is available at: (thanks to Kathleen Shearer).

OA is seen as a global trend. Governments, universities, and research funding agencies have developed or committed to open access policies. Publishers are adjusting, by experimenting with OA publishing and permitting author self-archiving. The status quo is not an option; there are profound negative consequences to not having an open access policy. The plan is to present an OA policy to NSERC by March 2009. Overall, the policy is likely to be similar to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) policy, with some important innovations under consideration. One very innovative idea under consideration is the possibility of negotiating consortial arrangements with publishers to cover article processing fees, possibly working cooperatively with libraries. This is a gem of an idea. Bringing the library subscription purchase together with article processing fees is the best possible way to avoid double dipping (publishers receiving revenue for both subscriptions and article processing fees) in the short term, and for facilitating full-scale transition to open access in the longer term. Also noteworthy is that NSERC is contemplating investment in infrastructure, to support local publishing and repository development, and that the need for enforcement of an OA policy is being addressed early on.


Negative consequences to NSERC of not having an OA policy - from Denis Leclerc's presentation:
- NSERC-funded researchers are in a policy vacuum as to their own responsibilities when engaging in multi-funder collaborations (collaborators may be subject to OA).
- Possible risks: where original/raw data is not openly available for scrutiny, scientific misconduct may be facilitated.
- NSERC may be vulnerable to criticism regarding accountability to taxpayers.
- Missed opportunity to further demonstrate societal impact and relevance, as well as potential additional means to measure and monitor scientific output from funded research.
- Missed opportunity with respect to the 5th goal of NSERC`s Strategic Plan - To increase the visibility of Canadian NSE research in Canada and worldwide.
Conclusion: the Status Quo is not an option

Options being explored range from policy to institutional repository development. Particularly noteworthy is the idea of negotiating consortial deals with publishers, perhaps working cooperatively with university libraries to cover author OA charges, funding for infrastructure development, including support for local publishing, and enforcing / monitoring adherence to policy.

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

Ontario Institutes of Cancer Research: Official Announcement

The Ontario Institutes of Cancer Research (OICR) Open Access Policy will give researchers worldwide immediate access to OICR data (from Portal 2:3, the OICR Newsletter).

Text of the announcement:

The Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) is taking the lead in 2008 and making the research it funds available to the public through an open access policy that takes effect July 1. OICR’s policy, “Access to Research Outputs,” provides the guidelines for OICR’s scientists when they publish their work and describes the institutional repository where all publications from OICR scientists will be deposited for public accessibility.

The policy, which builds on the policy in place at the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), requires OICR researchers to provide unrestricted access to their publications within six months of publishing, either through self-archiving of the journal article in the OICR Institutional Repository or through publication in open access journals. The large majority of publishers already offer such accessibility within their copyright agreements.

“The main reason behind implementing an open access policy at OICR is that it allows the world to read OICR’s published papers and to benefit from the research funded by the Ontario government,” says Francis Ouellette, OICR’s Associate Director of Informatics and Biocomputing and a key member of the panel tasked with developing this policy for OICR. “It is important for people to know that what we do here at OICR is important and relevant, and they can do that by reading the papers that our researchers publish.”

Open access publishing has gained increasing attention and support over the past decade with the growth of the Internet and digital publishing. In addition, an increasing number of research institutions like OICR, as well as funding agencies like CIHR, have adopted open access policies to ensure publicly funded research is made freely available to the public.

Ouellette says researchers are starting to recognize that open access publishing and repositories greatly expand readership not only within the international research community itself, but also among the public.

“The average person knows how to use a basic search engine and knows how to find information and articles that are relevant to their disease,” Ouellette says. “If they have open access to research publications, even if they can’t fully understand the content, they can take that paper to their physician and ask about the disease. Open access empowers patients and their families – and since the research at OICR is publicly funded, they should have access to it.”

Ouellette feels that in addition to federal funding agencies, it is up to organizations like OICR who are developing new policies to lead the way and prove that open access can work.

“OICR has developed a very important policy for the open accessibility of its research output,” Ouellette says. “I think it will become a model policy for the Canadian research community.”

For details as released by Francis Ouellette at the ELPUB conference, and my comments, please see this IJPE post.

Congratulations once more to OICR for a very progressive policy that is indeed a model in many respects, and a fine example of Canadian Leadership in the Open Access Movement.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Three forthcoming OA policies announced at ELPUB in Toronto

Three new open access policies were announced by Canadians at the ELPUB 2008 conference in Toronto last week.

Stanford Faculty of Education
John Willinsky, in his home town of Toronto, announced the Stanford Faculty of Education unanimous OA mandate, as detailed by Peter Suber on Open Access News. What was most remarkable about John's announcement is the ease of the decision - the question was raised about whether Stanford's Faculty of Education should adopt a policy similar to Harvard's, and the answer was yes!

Comment: watch for more and more reports along these lines - institutional OA policies that come much, much easier than earlier victories. Why? Thanks to these early victories, we have models. Harvard did not have the Harvard OA mandate to refer to - but now, all of us do!

National Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)
Kathleen Shearer, research associate at the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL), talked about an open access policy in the works at Canada's NSERC, one of Canada's three major federal funding agencies, anticipated for March 2009. The NSERC policy is likely to resemble that of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, with expectation of OA within 6 months of publication via OA publishing (preferred and encouraged) or self-archiving. Kathleen stressed that OA policies need to be accompanied by strong implementation strategies, and that libraries have a key role to play in OA education, advocacy, and infrastructure.

Ontario Institute of Cancer Research
Francis Ouellette of the Ontario Institute of Cancer Research announced that an OICR Policy on Access to Research Outputs is nearing completion and details will be released within the next couple of weeks, adapted from the CIHR's Open Access policy document. An OICR institutional repository will be established, and OICR funded scientists will be expected to deposit peer-reviewed journals articles in the IR as soon as they are accepted for publication, and made freely accessible within 6 months of publication. OICR encourages publication in fully open access journals, and has plans for a fund for direct reimbursement of OA article processing fees for OICR-funded research, up to a maximum of $3,500 if the first, last or corresponding author is funded by the OICR. It is assumed that if scientists belonging to multiple institutions are contributing to a publication, they will share proportionately the cost of publication. Researchers are also expected to immediately deposit publication-related resesarch data into a publicly accessible database.

Comments: Kudos to OICR and the open access policy team, chaired by Jim Till. OICR funds about 60 principal investigators at about $75 million per year, and is in a growth process; in the next few years, OICR is expected to grow to about 120 principal investigators. While OICR follows the CIHR open access policy, clarification of expectation of access via a reprint request button for articles embargoed beyond six months is an important improvement. The optional OA-publication-specific funding is a welcome addition which will really help in the transition to open access. The maximum limit of $3,500 is very generous, more than most current OA article processing fees and even to cover even the researcher with a major breakthrough with an article well-suited for the very highest end journals in scholarly publishing.
Note: watch for OA policies at other Canadian provincial funding agencies - discussions are underway!

Could Canada become the first country in the world to mandate that all publicly funded research be open access? That day is not yet here - but with these announcements and more to come, it might not be long...

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

Monday, June 23, 2008

University of Calgary funds Open Access Authors Fund

Thomas Hickerson, Vice-Provost Libraries and Cultural Resources and University Librarian, University of Calgary has just announced a new Open Access Author's Fund.

Text of the announcement:

University of Calgary professors and graduate students will now have access to a $100,000 Open Access Authors Fund designed to increase the amount of publicly available research.

The new fund, announced today by Thomas Hickerson, Vice-Provost, Libraries and Cultural Resources and University Librarian, is the first of its magnitude in Canada.

“I am proud that the University of Calgary is taking leadership in this movement to increase the worldwide accessibility of cutting-edge research,” said Hickerson (left).

The new fund will provide U of C faculty and graduate students with financial support to cover Open Access author fees. Open Access publishing is a rapidly expanding development in the exchange of research information. An increasing number of academic journals make research literature openly available via the internet without the restrictions on authors and without the high costs to users imposed by traditional subscription-based publications.

This new publishing model does, however, often require that authors pay fees contributing to the costs of publication. With the establishment of this new fund, researchers at the University of Calgary will have the freedom to exercise their own choice in publishing decisions. Open Access publishing is emerging as the best hope for a sustainable and responsible course of action for the future of scholarly communication.

“The Open Access movement is a significant initiative in bringing our research activity more quickly and broadly to the awareness of the scholarly community and to the public at large,” said Dr. Rose Goldstein, Vice-President, Research. “The establishment of this fund by Libraries and Cultural Resources is a crucial development for our faculty and graduate students.”

Open Access publishing allows authors to retain copyright control over their work and promotes broad educational use of the latest information. Open Access is also a key means by which university research can serve the larger community, providing public access to the new findings in everything from cancer treatment to global warming.

Comment: The key to a long-term, sustainable open access future is transitioning economic support from subscriptions to open access. Kudos to the University of Calgary for taking an early leadership step in the right direction.

Thanks to Andrew Waller. This post is part of the Canadian Leadership in the Open Access Movement Series.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Richard Poynder interviews Leslie Chan

The University of Toronto's Leslie Chan is one of the Canadian early leaders in the open access movement, recognized around the world (and here at home) for his work on open access, particularly for the developing world through his work as Associate Director of Bioline International.

Richard Poynder's interview ofLeslie Chan in Open and Shut is well worth reading, both to learn about Leslie Chan and for some interesting perspective on open access, scholarship and the developed and developing worlds.

Thanks to Peter Suber on Open Access News for the tip and a useful excerpt. My recommendation, though, is to read the original.

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

Saturday, June 14, 2008

STM Issues Statement on Digital Copyright Exceptions: A Great Case for Author's Rights!

The International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers has just issued several statements on digital copyright exceptions.

These are disturbing statements. Clearly some of the very wealthy and highly profitable companies behind the STM - noted for their anti-OA lobbying efforts - have plans to make every effort to influence copyright laws, at an international level, for their own private benefit, and to limit uses of material made available through library subscription, both through influencing law and through influencing licensing practise.

One of the disturbing elements of the STM statement is its complete lack of recognition of authors, as well as other contributors to scholarly publishing.

For example, the STM statement says: "For example, journal articles, academic treatises and textbooks are published by STM publishers for the very purpose of contributing to scholarly communication and education", and talks about libraries as consumers with no mention of the scholars that write the journals articles and perform the peer review free of charge, nor the contributions of those who fund the research and/or pay the salaries of the researchers.

Disturbing as this is, there is a bright side: this is the best case for author's rights I have seen so far! Libraries should post this prominently on their scholarly communications websites. When scholars are giving away their copyright, they should be aware of who they are giving it to.

STM response to Science Foundation Ireland OA policy consultation: critique

Thanks to Peter Suber for pointing to, and commenting on, the STM anti-OA response to the Science Foundation Ireland's open access policy consultation. As usual, I agree with Peter's thorough and thoughtful comments, and would like to add that there is a serious factual misstatement in the STM response (a claim that only 30 journals make articles freely available after an embargo period; the evidence suggests that the actual number is hundreds or thousands of journals).

Excerpt from the STM Comments.

"An alternative route to open access involves making the article freely available online following publication after some embargo period, typically six, twelve or more months in duration. This approach assumes that an article has little value after its embargo period. For the vast majority of journals this is a dangerous and fallacious assumption. Data from the DC Principles Group of Publishers shows that only about 1% of active learned journals have business models that allow this approach: even in this small group of titles very few indeed, 0.1% (30 journals) make content available by the embargo period in SFI’s draft policy." No citation provided.

Here is what the DC Principles group says on the DC Principles website:
Principle 3. As not-for-profit publishers, we have introduced and will continue to support the following forms of free access:
* The full text of our journals is freely available to everyone worldwide either immediately or within months of publication, depending on each publisher’s business and publishing requirements.

If the DC Principles Group is making back issues of their journals freely available, and they are not the only ones to do this - how many journals are there?

Here are a few indications of what the numbers might actually be:

There are more than 3,400 fully open access journals listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals. DOAJ is a vetted list which includes only fully open access, peer reviewed journals. The Electronic Journals Library is a more inclusive list, including journals with free back issues; Electronic Journals Library lists over 18,000 free journals. Highwire Press lists 42 completely free sites, and 249 sites with free back issues. Over 400 journals make their articles freely available in PubMedCentral; as of March 2008, 321 made these articles freely available immediately on publication. For the analysis, see this post on IJPE.

In sum, while I don't have the exact figures for how many journals make back issues freely available, clearly the numbers are in the hundreds (Highwire, PubMedCentral), or thousands (Electronic Journals Library) - not just 30!

Put yourself in the patient's shoes: no embargoes to medical research

One of the side-benefits of medical research is that businesses get to profit from some of the money spent on research. This is a fine thing, but it is essential to remember that this is not the point.

There are those in the open access movement who are very sensitive to the desires of publishers to retain revenues, and willing to compromise by allowing for embargo periods before open access. This is generous, but my plea is to please remember the point of medical research: preventing and alleviating human suffering.

For anyone considering whether an embargo period on open access is fair, or how long an embargo period is fair, please put yourself in the patient's shoes.

Imagine that you are in your own living room, talking with your loved one who has just received a diagnosis of a terminal or very serious illness, that cannot be treated with yesterday's treatments.

If a new treatment or cure is made possible with money paid for by your tax dollars, how long do you think you, your loved one and your health care providers should wait to read the results?

If a new line of research has opened up that shows some promise of a new treatment, how long should we hold off on making the results available to all researchers so that everyone available and interested can build on what has been done, and advance our knowledge towards the cure?

For more of my writings on this topic, please see In Lieu of Flowers: An Open Letter to the American Association of Cancer Research and Open Access: to Help the Helpers.

Knowledge, Now! Or why we cannot afford embargoes

Through open sharing and knowledge and a collaborative rather than competitive approach, the world's researchers came together to map the human genome within a few short years; an advance that would have taken decades, if not centuries, pursuing more traditional approaches to science.

We humans have other problems to resolve, and we need to figure them out quickly. One is global warming. Figuring out how to slow or reverse the trend is an urgent need. We need to find environmentally friendly ways of producing and consuming energy, and the sooner the better. In our globalized world, we need to learn how to live together in peace.

It is understandable that publishers accustomed to a subscriptions approach to disseminating information worry about whether open access will impact their revenues - whether these are needed revenues, or hefty profits. It is generous that many in the open access movement are more than willing to compromise, to agree to embargoes or delays on open access.

However, we cannot afford embargoes. The point of scholarly research is advancing knowledge. In the course of pursuing knowledge, money is spent. Some will profit by this, whether they sell laboratory equipment, or publish the results of research. This is a fine thing, but it is not the point. If the lab finds a better way of doing research and no longer needs to purchase an outdated piece of equipment, would we say that the lab must continue doing research the old way, to keep the equipment-makers in profits? Of course not!

Please stand against the Canadian DMCA!

Following is my letter to Joyce Murray, MP, Vancouver Quadra, with copies to Jim Prentice, Minister of Industry, Josée Verner, and Stephen Harper, Prime Minister, with respect to the recently introduced Bill C-61, also known as "the Canadian DMCA". For more info and action steps, please see Michael Geist. The Canadian Library Association opposed Bill C-61.

As a constituent, prolific author and creator, and professional librarian with expertise in the area of information policy, I am very concerned about Bill C-61 and the lack of public consultation on this important policy matter, and request your most vigorous opposition to the Bill.

Copyright law should balance the rights of creators and consumers, and reflect the public interest, not just the commercial marketplace.

Contemporary copyright law should reflect contemporary society, a society where the circle of creators is expanding to include everyone, and where free sharing of knowledge is rapidly becoming a norm, as exemplified by such phenomena as Wikipedia, the popular flickr, the blogosphere, and in academia and education, the growing trends towards open access and open education.

Canadian copyright reform should reflect this trend toward sharing which favors the growth of democracy, culture, and education. For example, it would be timely to eliminate Crown copyright in favor of public domain for government documents.

Our schools should not need an exemption to provide copies of work made freely available over the internet. This (free sharing) should be the default for all works made available in this manner, unless the copyright owner has taken measures to clearly indicate that the work is not free for sharing.

The technological protection measures provisions render all the otherwise beneficial aspects of the bill meaningless. It should not be illegal to circumvent technological protection measures that prevent legal use. Indeed, it should be illegal to implement technological protection measures to prevent legal use.

Democracy requires public consultation. The WIPO treaty should first be introduced and debated in parliament before any attempt is made to draft a bill to implement its provisions. The public should be invited to participate in discussion before a bill of this nature is even drafted. Bill C-61 should be immediately withdrawn in favour of a public consultation on copyright.

It is good that the rights of libraries to send interlibrary loans directly to patrons via electronic means is recognized. When a library does send an interlibrary loan to a patron, it is reasonable to expect that the item will be for that individual's use only.

However, it is not reasonable to demand that the item be printed by the individual within 5 days. This is not in step with current reality, where many are deliberately not printing information for environmental reasons; it also discriminates against anyone without ready access to a printer. This provision also discriminates against smaller and poorer libraries, that will not have the means to purchase technologies to enforce this provision.


Heather Morrison
The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

CLA / ABC Position Statement on Open Access for Canadian Libraries

The CLA / ABC Position Statement on Open Access for Canadian Libraries, approved by the CLA Executive on May 21, 2008 has just been posted to the CLA website.


Whereas connecting users with the information they need is one of the library's most essential functions, and access to information is one of librarianship's most cherished values, therefore CLA recommends that Canadian libraries of all types strongly support and encourage open access.

CLA encourages Canadian libraries of all types to:

* support and encourage policies requiring open access to research supported by Canadian public funding, as defined above. If delay or embargo periods are permitted to accommodate publisher concerns, these should be considered temporary, to provide publishers with an opportunity to adjust, and a review period should be built in, with a view to decreasing or eliminating any delay or embargo period.

* raise awareness of library patrons and other key stakeholders about open access, both the concept and the many open access resources, through means appropriate to each library, such as education campaigns and promoting open access resources.

* support the development of open access in all of its varieties, including gold (OA publishing) and green (OA self-archiving). Libraries should consider providing economic and technical support for open access publishing, by supporting open access journals or by participating in the payment of article processing fees for open access. The latter could occur through redirection of funds that would otherwise support journal subscriptions, or through taking a leadership position in coordinating payments by other bodies, such as academic or government departments or funding agencies.

* support and encourage authors to retain their copyright, for example through the use of the CARL / SPARC Author's Addendum, or through the use of Creative Commons licensing.

Comment: congratulations and thanks to the Canadian Library Association for yet another example of Canadian Leadership in the Open Access Movement, my fellow members of the CLA Open Access Task Force, and everyone else who has helped with open access developments at CLA over the years.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Free government pubs, from the BC Legislative Library

From Jane Taylor, Director, BC Legislative Library:

If you haven't seen it already, have a look at our new web catalogue at

* Follow the Checklist link to the British Columbia Government Publications Monthly Checklist to have a look at these new features:

* You can now go straight from the Checklist to the full text, either to our downloaded copy, or to the original government website if it's still active.

* You can print a PDF version of individual Checklist issues.

* You can sign up for an RSS feed to alert you about new issues.

* Issues back to November 1990 are included. Just note that back issues may contain out-of-date information for addresses, prices and government weblinks.

* You can now download MARC records using Z39.50. Click on the tab for instructions.

* As of April 1st this year, the Library has over 12,000 downloaded BC government publications available through the catalogue, and if we discover electronic versions of older ones, we will download them and add the URLs to our bibliographic records.

Many thanks to Jane Taylor and the BC Legislative Library for yet another example of Canadian Leadership in the Open Access Movement

Friday, June 06, 2008

Canadian Association of Research Libraries calls for Canadian OA Mandate

From Open Access News (ps=Peter Suber)

CARL calls for Canadian OA mandate

The Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) has released its April 2008 submission on Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada’s Advantage to the Canadian House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology.   (Thanks to the INIST Libre Accès blog.)  Excerpt:

There is a real opportunity for Canada to join a worldwide movement to improve the accessibility of research results, and increase the research impact of federal investments....


That all granting councils and funding agencies implement policies that require their funded researchers make their research publications available free of charge....

That the Canadian government invest in the development of a digital repository infrastructure to support access to research data and publications....

PS:  In two past posts (one, two) I've blogged  six other pro-OA submissions to the same committee.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Author's Rights Negotitations: Research Ideas

Open Access, and particularly open access policies, creates opportunities for researchers to rethink about their copyright, and seek to retain their rights when they publish in scholarly journals. Here are some ideas for small, doable research projects that could be very helpful to advance our understanding about progress on Author's Rights. If you are considering such research, please consider openly posting your work on the web (with links from the Open Access Directory). This could, in my opinion, facilitate ad hoc collaborations. Others could comment on your research methodology even before you start, and/or others could do research using the same set of questions / approach elsewhere, so that results can be compared.

Following is a recent contribution I've made to the Open Access Directory:

A small study could help to get started on understanding what is happening around author's rights. For example, interview researchers in one or a few departments at one university about their experiences with seeking more rights than what a standard contract allows. How many have sought additional rights? What methods did they use - one-on-one negotiations, author's addenda? What were the results? The recent requirement policy of the US NIH means that there are likely many US authors with recent experiences in this area. A qualitative study of this nature could provide a great set of questions to follow up with a survey approach. The ideal would be a survey representative of all researchers everywhere - a smaller sample would be very useful, though. If anyone tries this, please write up your research methodology and post a link under Research in Progress - this would greatly facilitate ad hoc collaborations. Someone else might use your survey questions!

Open Access Permissions: Research Idea

A simple way to obtain a rough measure of permissions or full OA (the element of open access that goes beyond free to read, to providing permission to reuse the material in a variety of ways, from downloading and redistributing (including, or not including, commercial re-use), to making derivatives), is to review the DOAJ journals and note which journals use Creative Commons licensing, which license, and which ones use which license. It would be helpful to follow the DOAJ Subject lists for this, as there could be disciplinary differences, and also to note the publishers. BMC uses CC-BY, for example, and is a large enough publisher to impact the percentage of journals using CC-BY in biomedicine. It would be a good idea to download the DOAJ title list on a particular date, and work with that. Otherwise, the ongoing dramatic growth of DOAJ will mean your title list will keep changing as you research.

For a smaller but useful study, just look at one of the DOAJ subject areas, or a few very different subject areas to get some idea of the range. This could be useful information in and of itself, and/or as a pilot project for a larger study.

It is important to note that lack of CC licensing does NOT mean that a journal is not willing to provide permissions-OA, only that the journal has not expressed permissions-OA in this manner.

Another interesting research question would be whether DOAJ journals that are not using Creative Commons licensing consider their journals to be providing some aspect of permissions OA. A survey approach, working cooperatively with DOAJ to distribute the survey to DOAJ journals, might be workable.

I just contributed this idea to the Journal Business Models section of the Open Access Directory.