Steven Harnad wrote a fine paper in favor of the the OA-model of research and publishing. The abstract:
Open Access (OA) means free access for all would-be users webwide to all articles published in all peer-reviewed research journals across all scholarly and scientific disciplines. 100% OA is optimal for research, researchers, their institutions, and their funders because it maximizes research access and usage. It is also 100% feasible: authors just need to deposit ("self-archive") their articles on their own institutional websites.
Also to be followed: Glyn Moody wrote a short but valuable article on the similarities and differences between the Open Source and Open Access movements. An excerpt:
The growing success of free software has led to a widening of the culture clash between "open" and "closed" to include other domains. One recent skirmish, for example, concerned a particularly important kind of digital code – the sequence of the human genome – and whether it would be proprietary, owned by companies like Celera, or freely available. Openness prevailed, but in another arena – scholarly publishing – advocates of free (as in both beer and freedom) online access to research papers are still fighting the battles that open source won years ago. At stake is nothing less than control of academia's treasure-house of knowledge.Glyn Moody writes about open source and open access at opendotdotdot.
The parallels between this movement - what has come to be known as “open access” – and open source are striking. For both, the ultimate wellspring is the Internet, and the new economics of sharing that it enabled. Just as the early code for the Internet was a kind of proto-open source, so the early documentation – the RFCs – offered an example of proto-open access. And for both their practitioners, it is recognition – not recompense – that drives them to participate.
I believe this is one of the most important recent developments in the field of economics: Theoretical Economics -An open-access journal in economic theory proves that there is more to contemporary economics than reducing all social reality to the product of monetary incentives. From their editorial statement:
Open Access enables authors to obtain the maximum possible exposure for their work. Freely available papers are read more, cited more, and have more impact than ones available only to paid subscribers. As an experiment, enter a research topic into a search engine like Google and see how many links you obtain to papers published in traditional journals. You will find that most references are to working papers, not to published papers, because working papers are freely available.
The advent of the web has made free dissemination of research feasible and financially viable. Because existing specialty journals obtain revenues from selling subscriptions, primarily to libraries, access to the research they publish is limited. The attractive revenue stream that such subscriptions provide makes it unlikely that these journals will convert to Open Access. Thus a need exists for new refereed Open Access journals to replace existing journals. We believe that the establishment of a major Open Access journal in economic theory will lead others to establish Open Access journals for other fields of economics, reclaiming full control for the profession of its research output. We hope that this will lead the profession to a new norm in which all research is freely available.
In the field of economics, EconLit, the database of the American Economic Association, has been the most popular abstracting/indexing database for decades. Several other databases have covered economics, but EconLit has had the largest market share. It has been available through several online information services and also in several CD-ROMs.
EconPapers (and the RePEc source file) is one of the best examples for successful large scale, collaborative projects among scientists, researchers and their institutions. It has close to 358,000 records for working papers (170,000 items from 1,500 series), journal articles (185,000 items from more than 400 journals), books (600), book chapters (1,020) and computer programs (1,300).
(I)n my 2004 review I criticized the meager coverage by EconLit of working papers. The good news is that in 2004 and 2005, the publisher of EconLit added records for 59,000 working papers from Research Papers in Economics (RePEc), the outstanding open-access database specializing in Economics.
There have been several applications developed for processing various subsets of the RePEc database. Others, such as the IDEAS database maintained by Christian Zimmermann at the Department of Economics at Connecticut University, process the whole RePEc data set. Also processing the entire data set is the EconPapers database, which I review here.
Although EconPapers has only about half as many records as EconLit, it makes up for it by the rich content of the individual records. More than one-third of the journal article records and more than two-thirds of the working paper records have abstracts. The majority of the working papers are linked and available online free of charge. Seventy-six percent of the journal article records have links to the full text of the source documents. Although these are not open-access documents, many users will have free access to them by virtue of subscriptions by their libraries.
In addition, almost half of the working papers have cited references and about one-third of them are cited by papers in EconPapers. Of the articles, less than 10,000 have cited references in EconPapers, but 50,000 are cited by papers in the database. In EconLit, only the number of cited references are identified and only book reviews have this data element, mostly with a single cited reference — obviously the cited book.
Both IDEAS and EconPapers provide a link to the splendid LogEc database which measures — among many other things — the number of times the abstracts in the RePEc implementations were read and the full-text documents downloaded. This is not only a very practical tool for providing some indication of the importance of the papers, but is also an excellent bibliometric/scientometric analysis tool.
EconPapers is yet another worthy and impressive implementation of the excellent Research Papers in Economics (RePEc) database, proving the viability of efficient collaboration among researchers in providing open access to the full-text, or at least to the rich metadata, of their papers to users who otherwise would not have access to traditional indexing/abstracting tools, let alone to full-text journal archives.
John Savarese's article in the January issue of Campus Technology. Some excerpts:
Electron-borne information is clearly transforming academic publishing; not just affecting how journals and books are assembled and distributed, but stirring up the culture that surrounds the creating and sharing of new knowledge.
Some of these new manifestations look like hot-rodded versions of things we knew in the past (online journals, eBooks); while others (like research repositories, wikis, RSS feeds) are novel variants that may ultimately live or die, but meanwhile are teaching us lessons about how our research community really works.
Sometimes I do not have time to post some of the issues that really deserve attention on the Histor¥-page. One of them is the recent Japan OpenCourseWare Alliance (both in English and Japanese). Based on MIT's excellent example, six of Japan's leading academic institutions are offering their courseware online and free of charge. A great initiative, and a good illustration of contemprary Japanese awareness of tendencies in research and education.
Another project worth mentioning is Open Access Japan (mainly in Japanese). Sponsored by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, the project tackles a host of problems associated with the scientific journal pricing crisis, and defends Open Access as a responsible approach towards scientific growth. To be watched.
From Peter Suber's blog: Open Access and the Developing World. A good work, as it includes lots of links and discusses the state of the field.
As the Creative Commons movement gained momentum, professor Lessig looks back on its history and meaning. An interesting read.
Histor¥ being an Open Research Project, it is obviously interested in similar developments in similar disciplines. Unfortunately, it's not always good news. According to a recent survey of the American Anthropological Association (AAA), anthropologists are rather reluctant to share their research results online.
From the report:
"Although there is a wide recognition of the usefulness of posting conference papers and supplementary materials online, there is minimal willingness to post one’s own work, and there is even less willingness to submit online comments on annual meeting papers. This is true regardless of age or employment status of the respondent. Some respondents stated they already have avenues to receive and make comments on preliminary work amongst colleagues in their networks."
Check the following list.