Thursday, February 9, 2012

Open Access

Am I a very linear person? Or just fixed in traditional ways of working? In anyway, the next topic down the list op Openness in Education topics, Open Access!

SPARC (2009) developed a neat little animation, explaining the principle of open access. It simply refers to free, unrestricted, online access to scholarly papers. It challenges the old business model where faculty hand over their writing to publishers for free, who then collect subscription fees from others to allow them access. At the time of creation of this animation, there were over 4200 peer-reviewed open access online journals.

For a more detailed description of what Open Access entails, have a look at Peter Suber's overview of open access (last updated in 2010.) In his definition, 'Open-access literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.' Not all open access literature goes as far as to lose the copyright restrictions. Suber therefore distinguishes between 'gratis open access' removing the price barrier only and 'libre open access' removing price barriers and at least some permission barriers as well. 

Suber states that open access is compatible to any other form of service associated with conventional scientific publications. The difference is that the bills are not being paid by the readers, thus not acting as a barrier to access. Open access literature can be peer-reviewed, copyrighted, be profitable, career advancing, be of quality and prestige, etc. 

Open access can be published in peer-reviewed online journals and in repositories. 

Global Open Access Portal
UNESCO hosts this portal to provide the necessary information for policy-makers to learn about the global OA environment and to view their country’s status, and understand where and why Open Access has been most successful.

I notice that The Netherlands are doing pretty well ... 

An impressive overview of funding mandates, thematic areas, key institutions, communities and contributors!

Heather Morrison approaches the economics of scholarly communications from a poetic viewpoint, as we can read on her blog. In the article of 31 December 2011, she looks back on a successful year for open access journals. The counter for refereed OA journals stops at 7,000. There are 32,000 free journals in total. In addition there are 2000 depositories linking to more than 30M articles, growing with 21K articles a day! The worlds largest journal, PLoS ONE, doubled their number of articles in a year. And Bielefeld University developed a search engine called BASE especially for academic open access web resources. 

(A Title-search for "Open Content" shows 111 results ...)

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