Category Archives: Open Access topics

Where to be during OA week in the Research Triangle

From Rick Peterson, Deputy Directory of Duke’s Medical Center Library, comes this calendar of the events held at Duke and at UNC Chapel Hill for Open Access Week 2010:

Tuesday, 10/19 2-3:30pm Duke Breedlove Room, Perkins Library

Open Access at Duke:  Why here, why now?

Learn more about open access and how you can get more reach for your research.  Join colleagues for a short presentation and discussion about the new open access policy and support for it at Duke, and how it will impact you.

Speakers:  Paolo Mangiafico, Tim Pyatt, Kevin L. Smith, James Tuttle

Thursday, 10/21 9-11am Duke  Perkins Library, Room 217

Open Access Publishing

A panel will talk about their experiences with open access publishing and its impact on scholarly communications.

Speakers:  Melanie Dunshee, Duke Law Library; Mohamed Noor, Professor, Department of Biology; Mira Waller, Project Euclid; Bora Zivkovic, Scientific American; and Kim Steinle, Duke University Press.

Friday, 10/22 9:30 a.m. -5 p.m.  Duke Law School, Room 4047 [registration required]

Implementing the Durham Statement:  Best Practices for Open Access Law Journals

Sponsored by the Duke Law School J. Michael Goodson Law Library and the Harvard Law Library:  A Workshop aimed at student law review editors, designed to present and discuss best practices for law journals as increasing numbers move into electronic publishing.  The workshop is also open to law librarians, law review advisors, and all others interested in open access and legal publishing.  It will be webcast and promoted to all ABA-accredited law schools.  For more information and to register, please see the conference Web site: Registration is free, but required.

Monday, 10/18 10:30 – 12:00 a.m. in Wilson Library Pleasant’s Family Assembly Room UNC

“Visualizing Copyright: Debunking Open Access and Copyright Myths about Film and Visual Media.”

Monday, 10/18 1-2:30 p.m. in Wilson Library Pleasant’s Family Assembly Room UNC

UNC “Carolina Digital Repository: A collaborative and flexible model for the preservation of scholarly output”

Speakers: Erin O’Meara, Electronic Records Archivist, UNC and Michele Hayslett, Data Services Librarian, UNC

Tuesday 10/19 1-2:30 p.m. in 205 Undergraduate Library, UNC (for Library staff)

ISC webinar and discussion on “Broader Library Involvement in Building Programs—Librarian Training and Development” is part of a series on “Reshaping Scholarly Communications – Strengthening Programs through Collaboration” from the ARL/ACRL Institute for Scholarly Communications.  Join Library colleagues for webinar and discussion. For more information, please visit

Why Open Access is important to Duke

By Paolo Mangiafico

In the series of blog posts on open access over the past few weeks, leading up to international Open Access Week in late October, we’ve been writing about a number of different aspects of open access to scholarship, as a kind of introduction for those who may not be familiar with them. But why are we so interested in open access at Duke University? And what are we doing to promote open access here?

The key reason we’re interested in supporting more open access to scholarship is that it helps support the goals and values of universities, and Duke’s goals and values in particular. Duke’s strategic plan says that one of our key goals is to apply knowledge in the service of society. Currently, much of the knowledge produced by Duke faculty is published in venues with limited distribution and often very high subscription rates that preclude access by many who would benefit from reading it. Making the research freely available to anyone with Internet access helps to increase the potential number of readers, and opens up possibilities for more people to make use of and build on the research being done here.

We also expect to see benefits for the researchers themselves and the institution. Every author wants to be read, and hopes their work will be widely read and cited, and will be influential. Logically it makes sense, and there are a growing number of studies that indicate this, that research that is more broadly available is read more often and cited more often. So more openness helps increase the reach and impact of Duke scholarship, which not only helps contribute to the scholarly community and society overall, but also helps raise the profile of Duke scholars and Duke University.

We also recognize that the scholarly communications ecosystem is in transition, based partly on the wide availability of new technologies and partly on the changing methods and workflows of scholars, publishers, libraries, and the broader communities they serve. By supporting open access initiatives locally, we’re also contributing to more systemic changes in the scholarly communications ecosystem that may help it align better with the values of universities as noted above, and may also provide incentives for innovations that could enable new kinds of discoveries as well as help make the costs of supporting the ecosystem more sustainable. We recognize that these are things that Duke alone will not be able to change, but for broad change to happen many different actors will need to move in concert, take some risks, expend some resources, shift some incentives, realign some rewards.

We’re not just supporting open access at Duke, in other words – we’re also supporting the open access movement. At the same time we want to be cautious that any disruptions are not destructive to things that still have value, so the steps we’re taking are carefully considered, developed through discussions and collaborations with key stakeholders at Duke and our partners, and with an eye on the effects of our actions as they play out.

In an interview with last spring (from which some of the above text is taken) I expanded on a number of these issues, and refer you to that for more discussion about why open access is important to Duke and to scholarship more broadly.

What are the things we’re doing now to help promote more open access at Duke?

A growing list with details is available at the Open Access at Duke web site but, in brief, here are the key initiatives:

– adoption of a policy that sets the default to open access for all peer-reviewed journal articles published by Duke faculty. Kevin Smith will be writing more about the policy in this space soon, and for now you can learn more from these articles from Duke Today around the time of the policy’s discussion and adoption in spring 2010.

– removing barriers to publication in open access journals by providing financial support to Duke authors through a fund aligned with the Compact for Open Access Publishing Equity (COPE). More details about Duke’s COPE program are available via this news story from earlier this week about the launch of the fund and from the Duke COPE web site.

– providing open access to legal scholarship via the Duke Law School’s Scholarship Repository, and open access journals, and advocating for new access models via the Durham Statement on Open Access to Legal Scholarship and the work of the Center for the Study of the Public Domain.  An event titled “Implementing the Durham Statement: Best Practices for Open Access Law Journals” is scheduled for Open Access Week.

– support for open access awareness and participation by the Medical School’s library guides to Open Access and  NIH Public Access policy, as well as through their organization of Open Access Week activities.

– making open access the default for theses and dissertations by Duke graduate students, via the Graduate School’s ETD program and the DukeSpace repository.

And in development are a program to support open access journals published by members of the Duke community (using the Open Journal System platform) and explorations of more open educational resources (see the discussions from the spring Center for Instructional Technology Showcase and “edupunk” Jim Groom’s blog post about Duke) as well as broader accessibility to datasets produced in Duke research.

If you’re at Duke, we hope you’ll join us at the Open Access Week events being held on campus (see the sidebar of the Open Access at Duke web site page for details) to learn more and show your support for open access, and if you’re not at Duke, look for OA week events near you, many of which are listed on the Open Access Week site.

Open Access, NIH Style

From Virginia Carden, Administrative Research Librarian, Duke Medical Center Library:

The NIH Public Access Policy was conceived as a way to ensure the public’s access to published research results and increase the research impact of NIH funding.  With the increasing costs of journal subscriptions, many researchers, as well as patients and members of the general public were finding it more and more difficult to have access to articles on cutting edge research in medicine and science.   The Public Access policy requires that NIH research-results, funded with tax payer dollars are available to clinicians, researchers, patients, and others across the United States and the globe.

Starting April 7, 2008 all NIH-funded investigators were required to have a copy of their accepted and peer-reviewed manuscript submitted to PubMed Central, the National Library of Medicine’s full-text database.  In addition, the manuscript becomes available to the public as soon as possible but no later than 12 months after the journal article is published.   Duke has a website that provides more details about the policy as well as resources to help Duke authors comply with the requirements. There are now thousands of freely accessible articles in the PubMed Central database as a result of this policy.

So what is the difference between open access and public access?  Public access primarily focuses on information and publications funded with tax-payers’ dollars by local, state and national government agencies.  In the case of the NIH policy, only those journal articles, whose research has been funded by the government, become publicly accessible, while the rest of the content may never be freely accessible.

What next?

Now Congressional leaders, as well as librarians, scientists, and consumers are considering whether other federal agencies should follow the NIH public access model.  Several bills have been introduced over the past few years along with a roundtable and hearing to explore the issues.  Here are other sites you can visit to learn more about public access activities at the national level:

For more information, see the Open Access at Duke web site.Open Access logo, designed by PLoS

Funding and Author Support for Open Access

By Adonna Thompson, Assistant Director of Duke Medical Center Library for Archival Collections and Services

In a previous post we discussed the different models for open access, which provided examples of the partnerships and relationships between authors and publishers. It also touched on funding models. In this post I hope to give the reader with a more in-depth understanding of funding issues by providing links to relevant articles, websites, and additional resources.

Funding is a major issue when it comes to publishing within, and sustaining an open access model. Open access journals don’t charge subscription or access fees to users, but publishing does cost money. So, who should pay?  The Compact for Open-Access Publishing Equity or COPE provides insight and a possible solution to this issue:

Josh Hadro states the problem succinctly in his Library Journal article, “Five Universities Sign Open Access Funding Compact.”

“It’s hard to bootstrap a new industry model into existence, even in the best of times. And no matter how compelling its conceptual underpinnings may be, open access publishing is subject to the same economic realities as any other kind of publishing.“

So far, it appears that the most viable and sustainable model for funding open access publishing is through institutional support.  The challenge has been, and will continue to be, getting buy-in from our institutions.  Though, several major research institutions and organizations have signed the compact for open-access publishing equity and this is a large step in helping to create a sustainable business model for open access.

Articles and Resources:

ARL:  Reshaping Scholarly Communication

Funding Scientific Open Access

PLoS Biology – Essay: Funding the Way to Open Access

Society for Scholarly Publishing – the scholarly kitchen blog:

Why the Open Access Financial Model Will Continue to Transmogrify

PLoS Biology – Perspective Article: Institutional Open Access Funds: Now Is the Time

BioMed Central’s major funders of biomedical research

The economics of open access

When we talk about the economics of open access, the conversation usually begins with the high cost of traditional journal subscriptions.  For a nice summary of the argument that the economics of journal pricing is out of control, this portion of the ACRL toolkit on scholarly communications is an excellent resource.  But that is only the beginning of the discussion.  There is a lot more to say about open access economics.

One great source to grasp the nuance of the issues is a 2009 issue of the journal Economic Analysis and Policy, which itself made the transition from toll access to open availability under a Creative Commons Attribution license.  A special issue of the journal was dedicated to the economics of open access; the full contents are linked to this blog post, which make finding them much easier.

I can especially recommend the first two articles in this special issue of EAP.  John Willinsky does an excellent job in “The Stratified Economics of Open Access” of analyzing traditional publishing market segments and looking at how each is experimenting with open access.  Conley and Wooders, in “But what Have you Done for me lately,” ask the very basic questions about what publishing an academic article should cost and what the most economically efficient model for scholarly communications might look like.

As I said, the conversation usually begins with high journal prices.  Open access is not a solution, per se, to the problem of journal costs, but it is a solution to the access problem that is created by skyrocketing prices.  For most academic authors, the issue of how much publishing really costs and how much of a university’s budget is actually going into shareholder value at Elsevier or Informa is very much secondary.  Their concern is how to get their work into the hands of those who need it and might be able to use it.  High subscription costs prevent that access and thus reduce the impact of scholarly work.  That is the problem that new models of distributing scholarship, most of which are forms of open access, can solve.

As Conley and Wooders’ article makes clear, open access is not free in the sense of being without any costs, although consumers of open access articles do get the information they need without charge.  Open access models are really about ways to streamline and redistribute the costs of publication so as to solve the access problem that is becoming so severe in the traditional system.

When we talk about the economics of open access, there are two factors that we should not forget.  First, the are costs, known as lost opportunity costs, associated with traditional publishing that are recaptured by open access.  Every time a researcher or teacher cannot get to the information she needs to do her work, or must obtain it by labor-intensive means like interlibrary loan or direct contact with the author, time and knowledge, which are both worth money, are wasted; open access reduces that loss.  Second, open access provides the benefit of greater impact to the scholarly authors of articles made accessible through the various OA models.  This benefit for the authors, like the benefit to the reader of quick and toll-free access, increases the overall value of research.  When we examine the economics of open access, the increased value of the research itself must be part of the equation.

For more information, see the Open Access at Duke web site

Faculty support for Open Access scholarship

As we publish a series of posts in this space about open access in preparation for Open Access Week from October 18 through 24, it seems like a good time to interrupt ourselves and note three recent articles in which faculty authors express support, in a variety of ways, for open access to scholarship.

The most extensive and most provocative of these faculty comments about open access is the article by Professor Gloria Origgi about the responsibilities of scholars and the changing world of access.  The focus of her essay seems to be the need to move past the slow and antiquated system of traditional scholarly publishing.  There is a rather tongue-in-cheek post about her article called “Let’s Stop Publishing Research Papers” in a Chronicle of Higher Education blog, and the full paper, titled “Epistemic Vigilance and Epistemic Responsibility in the Liquid World of Scientific Publications,” is here (abstract is freely available while access to the full paper requires a subscription).

A recent blog post by Duke’s Cathy Davidson extends the discussion of open access publication, without actually mentioning the term, as she considers whether blogs should “count” in tenure and promotion reviews. Davidson’s conclusion, that blogging is a kind of “service” that is indeed a valuable part of the review of the work of scholars, is, to me, a new perspective on an often-debated topic that really advances the conversation.

Finally there is this short and simple appeal from law professor Rebecca Tushnet asking candidates for academic jobs to post their work in an openly accessible forum in order to make life easier for hiring committees.  Tushnet is not advocating for radical change in the academic job market, as Origgi and Davidson arguably are, but simply wants aspiring scholars to use the available means of digital access to make it easy for those who must evaluate them to find it.

For more faculty comments about the benefits of open access, see the short videos embedded in this web page on Open Access at Duke University.

Open Access and the Metrics of Scholarly Impact

By Paolo Mangiafico

No one likes to be judged, and there are plenty of reasons to be wary of quantitative metrics being used to try to paint a complete picture of the value of an individual’s work. Yet things like publication and citation counts, “impact factors” of particular journals, the amount of grant dollars a researcher is bringing in, and other measures you can easily ascribe a number to are commonly used to gauge research activity and impact.

New methods and venues for publishing scholarship and tracking how it’s being used have kept the debate bubbling on how research impact can or shouldn’t be measured.  To get a sense of some of the issues, you could start by reading a piece titled “Scholars Seek Better Metrics for Assessing Research Productivity” from the Chronicle of Higher Education last year or the Nature special section on Metrics from earlier this year, including the comments from readers at the end of some of these articles.

This post isn’t going to wade into that broad debate. Since the focus of this series of blog posts is open access, let’s look at how open access is affecting metrics that are commonly used now (specifically, citation counts) and how open access might become the basis for new ways of measuring scholarly impact.

For some years now, the Open Citation Project has been maintaining a bibliography of studies measuring the effect of open access and downloads (‘hits’) on citation impact.  This bibliography has links to and summaries of studies going back about a decade, as well as rebuttals and debates about some of them. In general most of the studies tend to show that, compared to toll-access venues, making publications available via open access leads to greater impact, as measured by number of citations. In an earlier blog post on open data, I mentioned a study that showed similar effects for the data underlying the publications.

Some publishers are now providing metrics on use of and references to research on an article-by-article basis. For example the Public Library of Science journals provide article level metrics that include pageviews and downloads, citation counts from scholarly literature, social bookmarks, blog references, and comments, notes and ratings on articles in the PLoS site. Clearly, any such metrics cannot stand on their own as a pure indicator of value, but a basket of these indicators can provide a more comprehensive picture of trends around how research is being used and referenced.

Metrics like these are likely to become increasingly important as new models for scholarly publishing, including open access, become more common. In an opinion piece from 2007 in the Chronicle of Higher Education titled “The New Metrics of Scholarly Authority” Michael Jensen ruminated on how scholarly metrics and judgments about authority and value are changing in a world of information abundance, due to new technologies and publishing modes. He argues that “authority 3.0” will be based on a variety of heuristics computed through openly available data. He concludes by saying

“… if scholarly output is locked away behind fire walls, or on hard drives, or in print only, it risks becoming invisible to the automated Web crawlers, indexers, and authority-interpreters that are being developed. Scholarly invisibility is rarely the path to scholarly authority.”

For more information, see the Open Access at Duke web site.Open Access logo, designed by PLoS

Models for open access — many flavors

By Karen Grigg, Associate Director of Collection Services at the Duke Medical Center Library:

Open Access comes in a variety of flavors.  The two main types of open access are that of open access journals and self-archiving methods

Open Access journals are those that are freely available to the end-user.  Since the reader does not pay for content, costs must be subsidized by the author or the institution. Along with publication fees, submission fees are sometimes charged.


BioMed Central, an online publisher of free peer-reviewed scientific articles, is sustained by revenue from institutions. However, the new “Shared Support Membership” allows institutions and authors to share article costs.

Public Library of Science, or PloS, charges a publication fee that can be paid by the author or the author’s employer. PLoS also relies on donations from foundations.

Self-archiving allows authors to submit their own material online so that it is accessible to the public.  There are two main varieties of self archiving; institutional repositories (IR), and Subject Based Repositories.  IR are hosted by an institution, such as a university, and bundles all the research output of the institution.  Often, the work is done by librarians or IT staff.  One such IR is eScholarship from the University of California.  A subject-based repository is hosted independently of an individual institution, and bundles the research output of a subject of discipline.  Authors voluntarily self-archive their work on a pre-print server.  An example of a subject repository  is Arxiv, a repository for- physicists and mathematicians.  Finally, authors often post articles on their own web sites, but the ability to do so requires negotiation with the publisher.

There are also some hybrid models of open access. Some publishers allow authors to decide whether or not an article can be openly accessed.  Authors who would like their article to be freely available can opt to pay the publishing fee.  These fees can be several thousand dollars per article.  The Delayed OA model gives public access to journal articles after an embargoed period, often 6 months to 1 year.  With a Partial OA journal, certain parts of the journal; often editorials or abstracts, are freely available, while the bulk of the content is for fee. Finally, Retrospective OA allows access to older journal articles that have been digitized.

For more background on Open Access Models, see:

Zhang, Sha Li. “OCLC Systems & Services | The Flavors of Open Access.” OCLC Systems & Services 23.3 (2007): 229-34. Emerald. Web. 15 Sept. 2010. <>.

“Peter Suber, Open Access Overview (definition, Introduction).” Earlham College — Richmond, Indiana. Web. 15 Sept. 2010. <>.

For more information, see the Open Access at Duke web site.

What is Open Science?

Our next OA Week posting comes from Michael Peper, Librarian for Math and Physics at Duke:

We’ve discussed openness in terms of publications and data, but this same spirit can apply to the research process as well.  Science in some ways is necessarily a shared and collaborative process.  Scientists work together in labs, they share equipment, materials and human resources and share results in publications.  In many cases, however, there was much about the practice of science that has been kept in the dark.  Scientists would not share methods, data, preliminary results, etc. until publication, if ever.  Recently, however, there has been great interest in trying to answer big questions and solve big problems by joining forces to accomplish work that could never be done by one isolated researcher.  Improved cyber infrastructure makes the opportunities for sharing even greater.  Many believe that Open Science should not just be adopted for its admirable ideals, but also because open science also holds promise of being better science.

The title of this post, however, is ‘What is Open Science?’ so perhaps I should actually attempt to answer that question.

The boundaries of Open Science are difficult to define because this idea encompasses other issues related to openness.  Transparency, across the entire practice of science, is what defines Open Science.  Both Science Commons and the Open Science Project lay out their principles of this idea in an attempt to provide it some limits.  The spirit of these principles is that there should be transparency to the methods, observations, data collection, data access, communication, collaboration and research tools.  Instead of limiting the sharing of the practice of science to publication of selected results, the entire scientific process should be exposed to potential users, collaborators and extenders of the work.

There are a growing number of projects that have embraced these ideals and we can point to a few of them here.  Cameron Neylon keeps an open notebook for his work in the biological sciences on producing antibacterial compounds and also writes for the blog Science in the Open.  The Synaptic Leap is another open lab notebook project to create a way for biomedical researchers to collaborate.  The collaborators include Thomas Kepler at the Duke University Medical Center.  A final example is the UsefulChem project which is the brainchild of Jean-Claude Bradley who uses his background as an organic chemist to develop new anti-malarial compounds in an open environment.

For more information, see the Open Access at Duke web site.Open Access logo, designed by PLoS

What is Open data?

From Paolo Mangiafico, Duke’s Director of Digital Information Strategy:

Open Access is about more than just the publications that are the results of research – it’s also about the data generated during the research process.

While publications have always been “public” by definition (even if not universally accessible), data has more frequently been made available only on request, or when there’s some reason to question the published results.

But there are good reasons to make more data more open more often. A 2009 report from the National Academy of Sciences titled “Ensuring the Integrity, Accessibility, and Stewardship of Research Data in the Digital Age” makes the case this way:

The advance of knowledge is based on the open flow of information. Only when a researcher shares data and results with other researchers can the accuracy of the data, analyses, and conclusions be verified. Different researchers apply their own perspectives to the same body of information, which reduces the bias inherent in individual perspectives. Unrestricted access to the data used to derive conclusions also builds public confidence in the processes and outcomes of research. Furthermore, scientific, engineering, and medical research is a cumulative process. New ideas build on earlier knowledge, so that the frontiers of human understanding continually move outward.

Researchers use each other’s data and conclusions to extend their own ideas, making the total effort much greater than the sum of the individual efforts.

Openness speeds and strengthens the advance of human knowledge.” (p. 59)

While not all data should be kept and not all data can be shared, policies, processes, and infrastructure are being developed in many fields and at many institutions to promote openness of research data wherever possible. One example based here at Duke, the Dryad repository, part of the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, is working with stakeholders from journals and scientific societies to develop data sharing policies, and a place to deposit data underlying scientific publications. Similar policies have been adopted by funding agencies and are becoming an expectation in many fields.

Making your data openly accessible can also bring more attention to your work.

One study that examined the citation history of 85 cancer microarray clinical trial publications found that

48% of trials with publicly available microarray data received 85% of the aggregate citations. Publicly available data was significantly (p = 0.006) associated with a 69% increase in citations, independently of journal impact factor, date of publication, and author country of origin using linear regression.” (Piwowar HA,  Day RS, Fridsma DB, 2007 “Sharing Detailed Research Data Is Associated with Increased Citation Rate.” PLoS ONE 2(3): e308. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000308)

Want to learn more about open data and how you can share the results of your work? Here are some starting points:

For more information, see the Open Access at Duke web site.Open Access logo, designed by PLoS