DOAB – books openly available

A couple of days ago Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) was launched. It is a complement to the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) web site. DOAB is a service to the research community, and others, to collect scientific books published under open access license and make the accessible in one and the same place. DOAB is searchable and there are links to the fulltext books either via the publisher or a institutional repository where a researcher has deposited the book.

The aim of DOAB is to make open access books visible and create a valuable resource for researchers, libraries and others who are interested in reading scientific books. At the moment there are about 20 publishers and about 750 open access books available. More are waiting to be made available through the site. Their goal is to increase the number of available books in the coming months. DOAB is open for publishers who publish peer-reviewed open access books.

Lars Bjørnshauge and Salam Baker Shanawa who have been developing DOAB have also been in the group which developed DOAJ.

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Text: Pieta Eklund

New open access journal ROAD

It is great to see that University of Borås new peer reviewed open access journal has been noticed both on BIBLIST (a Swedish listserv for librarians) and and in the blog Open access i Sverige. The journal is called Recensions for Open Access Discourse (ROAD) and is run by the Master’s students at Swedish School of Library and Information Science. ROAD is open for academic publications about open access publishing and manuscripts are accepted both from scholars and students. The journal aims to create a broad forum for academic discussions on open access and scholarly publication. So far two issues have been published.

Visualize research

Have you ever thought that it would be interesting to see which patterns exists within the scientific publishing? Maybe you need to find both historic and new trends within your research area for your student thesis or your research article? Or maybe you just want to localize the experts within your area of interest?

Then you could use Springer’s AuthorMapper (Maybe we should not be promoting Springer anymore than we do Elsevier but Springer at least is not working against open access and researcher’’s rights the same way as Elsevier is doing.) Anyway, back to AuthorMapper. You could start by doing a search or maybe you just want to browse among the subjects. Just remember that this service only covers Springer Journals and Springer Books, which means that the results do not probably cover everything but they may give you an indication of how research looks within your specific area.

In this picture below a search for University of Boråås has been done. The results show which researchers have been collaborating, which articles have been written, you can even see bibliographic data for the articles. You cannot access the articles directly if you are not somewhere in the University’’s buildings and the library also has to have a subscription to the journal. You can also see in which journals most articles within a field are published, which researchers have written the most etc.

For your sake and for the University’’s sake it is very important to use the name University of Boråås and the official name of your department when writing your address information when publishing articles and not any other names. If we search for University of Boråås in AuthorMapping we would get a different result than if we searched for University College of Boråås. Try searching in AuthorMapping with the different university names and compare the results. You will notice that results differ. This is a good example of how difficult it can be to find all research from a department. It also shows the importance of using uniform names.

In addition to searching institutions you can also search author name, subject, journal name, country, publisher (within Springer’’s umbrella) and you may limit your search by year and to only include articles from open access journals. If you start writing a keyword like bio soon words where bio is a part of will be loaded, e.g. biomedicine, biochemistry or evolutionary biology. You can choose between them and add more keywords if you want.

In this picture (statistik.jpg) a search with keyword biomedicine was done. You can see on the left of the picture which institution has produced most scientific publications where the term biomedicine is present. You can also see which researcher has written most and which journal is the main journal within the area. This type of data may help you to form an opinion about your research area and which important actors there are on the field. This is easy, basic and valuable bibliometrics!

Text: Pieta Eklund

Recent news in the publishing world

There is a lot happening at the moment in the world of publishing, both internationally and nationally.

Elsevier is a big publishing house with over 2 000 academic journals and at the moment there are over 4 400 (2012-02-08) researchers all over the world protesting and boycotting Elsevier. According to the researchers there are three main reasons for the boycott: 1) journal prices are unreasonably high  2) Elsevier exploits libraries because due to the high journal prices the libraries agree to buy big bundles which all include journals that libraries do not actually want and Elsevier makes a huge profit and exploits their most valuable journals and 3) They support bills like SOPA, PIPA and the Research Works Act (RWA) which all aims to restrict the free exchange of information. You can protest on this page. Here you can read an interesting blog post about the RWA where both publisher’s and researcher’s perspective is taken into account. What is interesting here is that researchers are protesting against Elsevier when most of the big global publishers are acting the exact same way. It is not completely true that Elsevier makes libraries to buy these big bundles to get access to specific journals and they are not the only publishers supporting SOPA, PIPA or RWA. Elsevier is a big and visible part of the publishing world and maybe that is the reason they are the target for the boycott?

COAR (Confederation of Open Access Repositories) is an organisation which works for co-operation between institutional archives and for open access and they think that open access has a big impact on academic publishing. They have written an open letter to Elsevier in which they criticize Elsevier’s business model which complicates open access publishing. They share the opinion of many that Elsevier is actively working against the researcher’s right to parallel publish and therefore are acting as an obstacle to slow down the open access movement. Elsevier demands that those institutions which have an open access mandate must sign a special agreement for the researcher to be able to deposit their post-print work (the accepted version or the article before it goes to print) in their institutional archive.

Most people have probably heard about SOPA and PIPA but there are probably not so many who have heard about the Research Works Act (RWA). It is a bill presented in the House of Representatives in December 2011. The purpose of the bill is to forbid government agencies to demand open access for the research that they finance. RWA aims to forbid the government agencies to do anything that might result in making published research available, although the government agencies finance the research with taxpayer money, unless the publisher agrees to making it openly accessible.

Nationally there is some positive news, especially for people living in Stockholm. Stockolm city who owns the rights to Alva and Gunnar Myrdal’s* literary remains have digitized some of the books and they have decided to make them available as e-books at the Stockholm city library. Later on they will even be print-on-demand. At the moment it is 15 titles that have been digitized and more might come. When the technical solution is done these books will even be available to everyone is Sweden via Libris.

*Alva Myrdal was a Swedish sociologist and politician. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1982. Gunnar Myrdal was a Swedish economist, sociologist and politician. He won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 1974.

Text: Pieta Eklund

Plan Your Publishing

Already when you send in your grant proposal you should start planning for publishing, e.g. by including in the budget an amount to cover the possible APC for publishing in Open Access journals. There are several aspects to consider when choosing a journal to send a manuscript to. You have to consider the probability of your manuscript getting accepted, which impact the article might have and also the journal’s credibility, reputation and visibility. There are also philosophical and ethical aspects to consider, such as does the author have to transfer his/her rights to the publisher, does the publisher treat authors equal and what are the costs for libraries. In addition to these considerations there are other aspects such as the peer review process and possible delays in the publishing process, which can be months. This is why the selection of publishing channel is critical for success in publishing.

In an article by Knight and Steinbach*  the authors try to create a model for choosing a journal to publish in. They have identified five areas to consider when planning for publishing: 1) probability for the manuscript to be accepted, 2) journal reputation, 3) article visibility and possible impact, and 4) probability for getting the article published in the right time and 5) philosophical and ethical aspects such as free access.

Open Access journals have matured so you do not have to sacrifice the benefits of the traditional journals if you choose an Open Access journal. Many of the Open Access journals have developed impact factor, citing frequency and reputation comparable to similar traditional journals. They have a well organized peer review process, in some cases even tougher process than the traditional journals. Open Access journals have the benefits of the knowledge spreading quicker to all interested parties not just those who can afford to subscribe to the journal. Read the article to get more tips on how to choose a journal to publish in.

If you have to equivalent journals to choose from take into consideration the publishers attitude towards Open Access in general and self-archiving in particular. You should always choose journals which allow self-archiving or are Open Access. When your manuscript has been accepted you should sign a publications agreement. Make sure that you keep the right to self-archive in BADA but also that you have the right to use the article in e.g. a future compilation dissertation and in future teaching. If you have written a book or a book chapter you can ask your publisher about self-archiving possibilities a year or two after publication. Use the author addendum if the publishers’ agreement is not satisfactory.

Use DOAJ to find suitable Open Access journals.

You can even use Journal Citation Report (JCR) to check how the different scientific journals are rated. JCR is a part of Thomson Reuters Web of Science and it is a tool to compare and evaluate scientific journals among plethora of subject areas. There is citation data from over 8 000 journals and over 3 000 publishers in JCR. Contact Library & learning resources for help to use the database. Thomson Reuters has earlier in October released its book citation index for the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. Now it is possible to search among 25 000 books but before the year is out they aim to cover 30 000 central books published 2005 and after within these three subject areas. Their on-going goal will be to add 10 000 books a year.

*Knight, L.V. & Stenbach, T.A. (2008). Selecting an appropriate publication outlet: a comprehensive model for journal selection criteria for researchers in a broad range of academic disciplines. International Journal of Doctoral Studies, vol 3, ss. 59-79.

Understand Your Rights

As an author, you have both immaterial rights and financial rights. The economic rights can be transferred to another part whereas the immaterial rights cannot. The purpose of Copyright in Sweden is to have balance between the creators’ (in this case author’s) need for protection and users’ need for access. E.g., as a user you can copy for own use and cite public texts but as a creator you have always the right to be referred to. If you have transferred your financial rights to a publisher it is they who then decide over the use of your work. This means that the publisher may, with licensing agreements, restrict your rights granted in the law.

To be able to self-archive in BADA you have to know whether you have copyright to them or not. The following is a way to categorize publications according to a publishing policy:

  1.  Author keeps, if no other agreement is signed, copyright to that what is published by University of Borås and the author is recommended to self-archive in BADA.
  2.  When it comes to international scholarly journal publishers, the author has entered an agreement with the publisher and has either limited or transferred his/her rights. Most of the publishers allow self-archiving if some conditions are met. You can find publishers’ publishing policies in Sherpa/Romeo.
  3.  If a monograph dissertation is published by University of Borås or any of its departments the author should publish the dissertation in its entirety in BADA. If a monograph dissertation is published by a publisher you have to ask for permission to self-archive.
  4. An author has copyright to his/her compilation dissertation. The author has signed an agreement for each of the articles or other publications which are a part of the dissertation and are published by a publisher. The possibility to self-archive has to be controlled separately with each publisher. Here is an example in BADA.
  5. For books, book chapters, anthology contributions, journals without policies and published conference papers publishers are to be contacted to control rights to self-archive.

Demands from Funders

A growing number of research funders are demanding that research funded by taxpayer money should be freely available to all. One reason is the argument that research is spread quicker that way and is cited by more. Four big research funders’ demands on Open Access are presented below

The Swedish Research Council (VR)
In January 2010 VR introduced a demand for Open Access publishing. This demand means that researchers funded by VR must publish their results Open Access. VR says that researcher can either use his/her institutional repository or publish in an Open Access journal to comply with the demand.

This demand does not affect projects granted before January 2010. VR states that the publications should be freely available no more than six months after publishing. If the publisher does not allow self-archiving the researcher should demand an exception and for this there is an author addendum to use. The VR is of the opinion that if the publisher does not accept the exception the researcher ought to consider another publisher and journal. In exceptional cases VR can accept prolonging the time to access up to 12 months. For the VR to grant prolongation, the researcher must be able to document all efforts made to fulfill the six-month demand.

These demands apply to scientific texts published in scientific journals and conference papers, not monographs or chapters in books.

Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (RJ)
Even RJ has since 2010 demanded that a researcher who receives funding from RJ is to publish their peer reviewed texts and conference papers Open Access. RJ encourages and urges researchers to publish even monographs and book chapters Open Access. Researchers are eligible to apply for a special publishing grant to finance Open Access publishing.

RJ adds a gauge of 30 000 SEK per project. They also demand that the publications are made available directly after publishing in an open repository or no later than six months. If the publisher does not allow this the research should choose another publisher and if this is not possible the researcher should contact RJ with documentation on what has been done to reach an agreement with the publisher.

Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) (
The EU Commission introduced in 2008 an Open Access project within FP7. The project means that researchers from the research areas energy, environment, health, information and communication technologies (only cognitive systems, interaction, and robotics), research infrastructures (only e-infrastructures), science in society, and socioeconomic sciences and humanities must make their peer reviewed research articles freely available.

According to the demand the publications must be archived and made publicly available six or twelve months after publication. Which time span is applied depends on the subject area. Money from the FP7 may be used to cover APC costs for an Open Access journal or hybrid journals (a traditional subscription based journal that has individual articles freely available).

This means that research articles that are a result of a project financed by FP7 are to be self-archived in BADA.

Something called Best Effort is included in the framework. This means that the researcher must follow the next four steps:

  1. Seek information on publishing models and copyright/licensing policies of the journal(s) to which authors plan to submit e.g. via Sherpa/Romeo
  2. If publishers’ policies do not allow compliance with FP7, authors should negotiate an amendment to allow self-archiving
  3. If negotiations are unsuccessful, researchers should consider submitting to another journal
  4. If negations fail, beneficiaries should inform the Commission and provide publisher’s letter of refusal

Formas (Swedish)
Formas demands that all peer reviewed journal articles and conference papers which are a result of research financed fully or partly by Formas are to be published Open Access. This demand is applied from January 2010 and onwards.

Formas also demands that all texts are made available no later than six months after publishing. The researcher may choose Open Access or hybrid journals or self-archiving.