Information & Resources
* Recent Update: WILU presentation slides
What is Open Access (OA)?
“Open Access is free, unrestricted access to high-quality, peer-reviewed scholarship over the Internet.”
- SPARC (The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition)
For a broader, more conceptual understanding of OA, take a look at this concept map created by librarian Laura Briggs.
Advantages of OA
- toll-free access to scientific and scholarly information
- increased visibility and higher citation rates for publications
- good find-ability via search engines and reference services
- participation in all the benefits of digital publications (e.g. no space limitations, incorporation of other materials)
- internationalization of science and scholarship
- greater research efficiency through early discussion of research results
- availability of research results to application- oriented target groups and the general public
(from Open-Access.net Flyer on OA)
OA Support in Canada
A few facts and figures
- 21 consortium libraries in Canada have been working to create Synergies, a digital publishing service providing online access to research in the social sciences and humanities. (See also: Canadian Social Science and Humanities Online Journal Publishing, the Synergies Project, and the Creation and Representation of Knowledge.)
- In November of 2009 the University of Calgary’s Student Union passed a resolution to support OA.
- As of early 2011, 32 Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) member libraries have institutional repositories, while two more are under development.
- On May 28, 2008, the Canadian Library Association (CLA) Executive Council officially accepted a position statement asking that all libraries in Canada support OA.
- In September of 2007 the Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR) introduced a policy requesting that researchers make every effort to publish their funded research in OA venues. Funding agencies SSHRC and NSERC have been exploring similar initiatives.
How Librarians Can Help
Support OA Within Librarianship
|Stay informed. There are a number of great forums on the Internet that discuss current issues and developments in OA in Canada and around the world. These include The OA Librarian blog, the Open Access Directory (OAD) and Peter Suber’s Open Access News blog (discontinued January 2010).|
|Publish in OA Journals that support library and information science.Examples include:|
|Make a case for your library to create and help maintain an institutional repository (IR). This is a place where a university’s scholarly output can be archived and gain greater recognition.|
|Help establish a mandatory OA policy at your institution.This raises awareness and helps ensure scholarly output finds its way into OA venues (e.g., IRs).|
|Consider cancelling proprietary journals that cannot justify their high costs. See:The solution to the ‘serials crisis’ on campus by Michael Eisen.|
|Negotiate with vendors for full access to journals and databases for walk-in users. This supports librarians’ overall commitment to information sharing and inclusiveness.|
Promote OA to Researchers and Students
|Celebrate Open Access Week (Oct. 24-30, 2011).Set up information booths, host guest speakers and provide info about OA on your library’s Web site. Visit openaccessweek.org for more information, downloadable resources and merchandise.|
|Help to set up and host OA Journals.To facilitate this, consider using Open Journal Systems, an open source journal management and publishing system developed here in Canada.|
|Discuss OA resources in instruction sessions and at the reference desk.Have students compare OA journals with subscription journals and personal and commercial Web sites to further information literacy skills.Also make sure to teach students about things like peer review, pre-prints, post-prints, self-archiving and institutional repositories.|
|Foster Student Engagement.
Tell students about OA initiatives that encourage their support, including:
|Create OA Research Guides.Explain what OA is, why it’s important and where to find it. Red Deer College (my creation), Concordia and Dalhousie offer great examples of such guides. Also include OA resources in subject guides (e.g., the RDC Library Nursing guide– scroll down).Furthermore, include information about things like copyright (see SHERPA/RoMEO) and different methods of publishing OA content (e.g., self-archiving and OA journals). For example, check out McMaster’s Publishing in OA Journals FAQ, which I created while a co-op student there.|
|Help users deposit their research into IRs.Send emails to scholars at your institution asking that they deposit their research into the IR.Provide these scholars with information about author’s rights and the SPARC author addendum (a legal modifier to publisher’s agreements allowing authors to keep key rights to their work) as well as SHERPA/RoMEO(a listing that provides information about major publisher’s copyright agreements). Furthermore, offer to help scholars put their research into the IR and, where applicable, provide them with contact information for your library’s scholarly communications librarian for further assistance.|
|Include relevant OA resources in library catalogues.To find thousands of OA journals for inclusion, search the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)|
- Declarations & Statements
- Find OA Journals and Repositories
- My OA Projects
- OA Movement News & Information
- OA Publishing
- OA Week Resources
- Student Support for OA
- Twitter Feeds
Declarations & Statements
- Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities: This internationally recognized declaration resulted from a conference on OA held at the Max Planck Society in Berlin, Germany in 2003. Since then, hundreds of organizations (including universities, museums, libraries and scholarly societies) have signed on to the declaration, which supports a strong commitment to OA.
- Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing: This range of principles drawn together at a meeting in 2003 at the US-based Howard Hughes Medical Institute provide concrete steps that publishers, scholars, research organizations and librarians can take toward OA.
- Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI): This initiative arose from a meeting held in Budapest in 2001 that brought together leading OA supports. It is recognized as the first major declaration supporting OA, defining OA as research literature free of price or permissions and based on OA journals and repositories.
- CLA Position Statement: In May of 2008 the Canadian Library Association (CLA) Executive Council officially
accepted a position statement on Open Access that called for librarians’ widespread support of OA.
- Declarations in Support of OA: A long list of further statements and declarations in support of OA from around the world.
Find OA Journals and Repositories
- Canadian Institutional Repositories: A listing of all Canadian Academic Research Library (CARL)-members’ IRs.
- Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ): An extensive directory of scholarly OA journals from around the world.
- Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR): This is an authoritative directory of academic, OA repositories worldwide.
- Concordia’s OA Research Guide: Features information on OA, why it is important and where to find OA resources.
- Dalhousie University Libraries’ OA LibGuide: Provides links to information about publishers’ policies, research funders’ policies, copyright and OA journal directories as well as details about how Dalhousie scholars may contribute to Dalspace, Dalhousie’s IR.
- RDC Library Open Resources LibGuide: Includes links to, and information about, a range of “open” resources including OA journals, copyright-friendly media, open education teaching objects and open source software.
My OA Projects
- Exposing Open Access (PDF). Self archived; first runner-up in the Canadian Library Association Student Essay Contest. This paper calls for librarians’ increased commitment to promoting OA resources to library users. More info here. March 2009.
- The Open Access Librarian: Educating and Advocating for Change (PDF). MLIS Individual Study, The University of Western Ontario. August 2009. This essay explores OA support in Canada. It acknowledges strong support of OA publishing initiatives and principles by academic librarians, and provides recommendations as to how they can do more to ensure students know about these resources.
- Publishing in Open Access eJournals (PDF). Library pathfinder created for a course on open source software at the University of Western Ontario. May 2009.
- Open Access. FAQ on publishing scholarly journal articles in open access publications that is targeted toward scholars at McMaster University Library. March 2009.
- The Open Access Librarian: Educator or Advocate? (PDF). Slides from a roundtable presentation I delivered to McMaster University Library staff that questioned librarians’ approach to OA, be it one of educator, advocate, or both. April 2009.
- Open Access Week and Beyond (PDF). Pamphlet (PDF). OA Week Resource Guide (coming soon; PDF). Poster presented at the Ontario Library Association Super Conference 2010, Toronto, ON that called upon more academic librarians to promote OA to students. February 2010.
OA Movement News & Information:
- OA Librarian blog: A blog that provides OA resources that is compiled by and geared toward librarians.
- Open Access News blog: A comprehensive archive of developments in the OA movement up until January 2010. It is written by Peter Suber.
- Open-Access.net: Based in Germany, this is an information platform on all things OA with a European slant.
- Open Access Directory: This incredibly informative wiki offers a compendium of lists about all things relevant to OA. It is maintained by the OA community at large.
- SPARC Open Access Newsletter and Forum: This monthly newsletter written by Peter Suber offers news and analysis of the OA movement. The forum is a place for subscribers to post relevant questions and comments. Subscription is free.
- Public Knowledge Project: This partnership among Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia, the Simon Fraser University Library, the School of Education at Stanford University, and the Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing at Simon Fraser University is dedicated to improving the quality and reach of scholarly research. It does so through both research and software development. These developments include Open Journal Systems, an open source journal management and publishing system.
- Online Guide to Open Access Journals Publishing: Produced by Co-Action Publishing and Lund University Libraries Head Office, this guide provides practical advice about producing OA journals.
- SHERPA/RoMEO Listing: This listing provides information about major publisher’s copyright agreements. It’s a very valuable resource for authors wishing to provide their previously published research in an OA venue.
- SPARC (Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition): This coalition is an alliance of academic and research libraries from around the world that are committed to correcting imbalances in scholarly publishing.
OA Week Resources
- Openaccessweek.org: This site provides all the information you need to know about Open Access Week. It also features free, downloadable resources and affordable merchandise that will help make your OA Week celebrations a success, including fliers, posters, stickers, t-shirts and buttons.
- The SPARC Store: Includes stickers, guides, tool kits, buttons, and brochures on OA and the state of scholarly publishing more broadly. Many resources are available to download for free.
Archive of OA Week Initiatives (Worldwide):
- Open Access Directory: Wiki that includes links to OA Week web sites produced by institutions around the world since the event began in 2008.
Student Support for OA
- Free Culture: Students for Free Culture ISFC) is made up of young people committed to the free culture movement, which includes a commitment to pushing for public access to knowledge. They currently have more than 40 university and college chapters around the world.
- Open Students: This is a blog that aims to bring together and educate students in support of OA research publishing. Unfortunately, it has not been updated recently. Hopefully it starts back up.
- The Right To Research Coalition: This SPARC-sponsored Web site features information about OA for students and means through which they can get involved in the OA movement. It includes: The Student Guide to Opening Access to Research and Student Statement on the Right to Research
- AMSciForum: Open Access advocate & scholar Steven Harnad’s Twitter
- mbeisen: Biologist at UC Berkeley & HHMI; open access advocate and co-founder of Public Library of Science
- mgeist: Keep up with Canadian copyright by following Micheal Geist’s Tweets
- Open Access Hulk: Open Access news as delivered by the Hulk
- OA Tracking Project: Track OA developments in real time.
- SPARC NA: Feed for the Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition
Page last updated: May 17, 2012