• Lists Related to The Open Access Movement
  •  Lists Related to

    The Open Access Movement

    Formerly called Lists Related to The Free Online Scholarship Movement.

    I stopped updating this page on April 30, 2008, and copied most of its lists to the Open Access Directory (OAD), a wiki where they are now open for community editing. —Peter Suber.

    This file is a storeroom with as many shelves as I care to add. It's a place where I can organize sites, ideas, and some interesting patterns in the history of the open access movement. My Timeline of the open access movement and my list of What you can do to promote open access belong here, but because of their size I've given them pages to themselves. If you can add to these lists, or correct any mistakes in them, please send me an email.

    Also see my blog, newsletter, and

    writings on open access .

    Peter Suber

    Last revised April 30, 2008.


    Disciplinary differences relevant to open access

    Discussion forums devoted to open-access issues

    Incomplete realizations of open access

    Institutions that support open access

    Journal declarations of independence

    Open-access archives and repositories

    Open-access policy statements by learned societies and professional associations

    Tools to support online archives and journals

    University actions for open access or against high journal prices

    What you can do to help the cause of open access

    Lists maintained by others

    Disciplinary differences relevant to open access

    Here I'm collecting the differences among the disciplines relevant to the realization of open access. Most economic differences among the disciplines belong on this list, but not all the relevant differences are economic. This list is intended to answer the question, "Why won't we make progress toward open access in all disciplines at the same rate?"

    I'm retroactively looking for online sources to document some of these differences and would welcome link suggestions.

    In no particular order.

    1. Some have superb print indices, online indices, or search engines, and some don't.

    2. Some have an established culture of preprint exchange, and some don't.

    3. The literature in some fields is pure text, perhaps with an occasional table or illustration, while in others it relies heavily on images or even multi-media presentations.

    4. In some (the sciences), journal literature is the primary literature, while in others (the humanities) journal literature only reports on the history and interpretation of the primary literature, which lies in books.

    5. In some fields, both truth and money are at stake in the results reported in scholarly literature, while in others, only truth is at stake.

    6. In some fields (some of the sciences), most published research is funded, while in others (the humanities and many sciences) very little is.

    7. In some disciplines (the sciences), the cost of research is greater than the cost of publication, while in others (the humanities), the reverse is true.

    8. In some disciplines (the sciences), the demand for articles drops off more sharply after they are published, while in others (the humanities) it declines slowly and sometimes even grows. This affects whether a journal would lose subscribers and revenue by offering open access after an embargo period of a certain length.

    9. In some fields, most journal publishers are for-profit corporations, while in other fields most are non-profit universities, libraries, or professional societies.

    10. In some fields (the humanities), nearly all publishing researchers are employed by universities, while in others (the sciences) the fraction is significantly smaller.

    11. In some fields, the sets of journal readers and journal authors are nearly identical or overlap significantly, while in others they overlap only slightly.

    12. In some fields, the need for copy editors is greater than in other fields (i.e. to compensate for language deficiencies in submissions by non-native speakers, to minimize academic obscurities for a less specialized audience, or simply to present a clearer and more professional text).

    13. In some fields, more cutting-edge research is presented first in conferences than in journals and in other fields the reverse is true.

    14. In some fields, research will be impeded if access to journal literature is not timely, while in others timeliness matters much less.

    15. In fields with higher rejection rates (social sciences and humanities), the cost of peer review per accepted paper will be higher than in fields with lower rejection rates (the natural sciences).

    16. In most fields, the author of an article is the copyright holder for everything in the article and can consent to open access for all of its contents. In other fields (e.g. art history), scholarly authors will want to include images under copyright by others, have to seek permissions, and may fail for some, fail for all, be delayed in trying, or have to pay permission fees. (Note that permission to reproduce images for open-access publication will be harder to obtain than permission for traditional publication.)

    17. In some fields, the average set of differences between submitted preprints and edited postprints is small. In others it is large. When large, the cost of publication is higher, unless all the editing is done by volunteers, and the freely archived preprint is a less adequate substitute for the postprint.

    18. In some fields (like medicine) many journals still use the

    Inglefinger Rule , which tends to inhibit preprint archiving. Most fields that once used the rule have stopped using it.

    19. Journals in some fields and specializations can attract advertising, in adequate or significant amounts, while journals in other fields and specializations cannot.

    20. Some fields are small enough (in practitioners and journals) that nearly every researcher has university-subsidized access to nearly every journal in the field (astrophysics is an example), while in larger fields (like biology) even researchers at wealthy universities don't have access to a significant range of the literature in their field.

    21. In some fields, mostly in the sciences, journal impact factors are well known and important in author decisions about where to submit work and university evaluations of faculty. In some fields, esp. in the humanities, they are not.

    Discussion forums devoted to open-access issues

    Here I'm limiting the list to discussion forums centered on OA issues or where OA discussions are frequent and welcome. There are many

    forums on related issues such as digital libraries, electronic publication, and online education.

    1. American Scientist Open Access Forum (aka AmSci Forum, September98 Forum) from

    American Scientist . Moderated by Stevan Harnad.

    2. BOAI Forum . The forum associated with the Budapest Open Access Initiative . Moderated by Peter Suber.

    3. Economics of Open Access . Moderated by Alastair Dryburgh.

    4. Eprints Community. The forum associated with the eprints archiving software.

    5. OAI-Eprints list from the Open Archives Initiative .

    6. Open Data from SPARC. On open access to data. Moderated by Peter Murray-Rust.

    7. Ozeprints . On OA archiving developments in Australia. Moderated by Belinda Weaver. To subscribe, send an e-mail to

    listserv@library.uq.edu.au with the message 'subscribe ozeprints' in the body of the message.

    8. PLoS Community Boards from the Public Library of Science .

    9. ScholComm from the American Library Association . On scholarly communication.

    10. SSP-L from the Society for Scholarly Publishing.

    11. SPARC-IR from SPARC . On institutional repositories.

    12. SPARC Open Access Forum (SOAF) from SPARC . Formerly called the FOS Forum. On open-access developments broadly construed, especially issues raised by the SPARC Open Access Newsletter or Open Access News blog. Moderated by Peter Suber.

    Incomplete realizations of open access

    By incomplete realizations of open access I mean steps in the right direction that do not go all the way, half-measures, compromises, or hybrid models that only partially fulfill the promise of open access. From one point of view, they count as progress and deserve support. From another point of view, they attempt to satisfy users with something less adequate and thereby delay true open access. Many journals that take these steps are experimenting and over time take further steps toward full open access.

    I hope that friends of open access will (1) advocate full open access and do what they can to implement it, (2) encourage experimentation for those not yet willing to implement it, and (3) praise steps that make access easier and wider even if they stop short of full open access.

    1. online but not free, perhaps even expensive

    2. online, not free, but affordable

    3. free and online but only citations, abstracts, or tables of contents, not full-text

    4. free online preprints (in a preprint archive or at the author's home page) but not free online postprints

    5. free online preprints (at the journal site) from the moment of submission or acceptance, but free online postprints only some time after print publication

    6. free online special issues but not free online regular issues

    7. free online searching but not free online reading

    8. free online reading but not free copying or printing

    9. free online reading but other uses limited to "fair use" (or "fair dealing")

    10. free online reading, printing etc. but only one article at a time, hence not free or efficient crawling

    11. free and online but only for the text, not for charts, illustrations, multi-media addenda, data sets, and so on.

    12. free and online but only for the current issue, not back issues

    13. free and online but only for back issues, not the current issue

    14. free and online for all issues but only some number of months after toll-access publication

    15. free and online for all issues but only for a limited time (introductory offers)

    16. free and online but only after an article has been accepted and before it is published

    17. free and online but only for registered users, even if registration is free

    18. free and online but only for editor-selected articles from the toll-access edition or only for a supplement to the toll-access edition (this can produce true OA for the selected articles)

    19. free and online but only for author-selected and prepaid articles from the toll-access edition (this can produce true OA for the selected articles)

    20. free online access for some readers (e.g. those paying society dues, those employed by a certain institution, those living in a certain country), but not for all internet users

    Institutions that support open access

    I don't want to get into the business of listing individual institutions. But here are some clusters of institutions that support open access. This way of doing it makes the list far from complete but easier to maintain. It's a start.

    Contributors to the Open Content Alliance .

    Foundations willing to pay processing fees charged by OA journals

    Institutional members of BioMed Central

    Institutional members of Public Library of Science

    Institutional participants in the

    Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing

    Institutional signatories of the

    Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities

    Institutional signatories of the

    Budapest Open Access Initiative

    Institutional signatories of the

    Declaration of Institutional Commitment to implement open-access policies on campus.

    Members of Alliance for Taxpayer Access .

    Members of the Information Access Alliance

    Members of the International Scholarly Communications Alliance

    University signatories to the

    Institutional Self-Archiving Policy Registry

    Journal declarations of independence

    By a journal declaration of independence, I mean the resignation 

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