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Opening the entire research cycle

Since the birth of the open access movement in 2002, demands for greater openness and transparency in the research process have both grown and broadened. Today there are calls not just for OA to research papers, but (amongst other things) to the underlying data, to peer review reports, and to lab notebooks. We have also seen a new term emerge to encompass these different trends: open science. In response to…

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Too much open access is in the dark

One of the inconvenient truths that the OA movement prefers not to discuss is the fact that a large amount of the content in the circa 4,125 institutional repositories created by research institutions in order to provide open access to their research output is not actually freely available but on “dark deposit”, or otherwise inaccessible. In other words, it is not open access. There are several reasons for this. First,…

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Testing open peer review at Collabra

Earlier this year University of California Press (UC Press) launched a new open access mega journal called Collabra. One of the distinctive features of Collabra is that its authors can choose to have the peer review reports signed by the reviewers and published alongside their papers, making them freely available for all to read — a process usually referred to as open peer review. Since Collabra is offering open peer…

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The dark side of open access

Contrary to what one might expect, not all the items in open access repositories are publicly available. Estimates of the percentage of the content in repositories that is not in fact open access tend to range from around 40% to 60%. This will include bibliographic records containing only metadata, plus full-text documents that have been placed on “dark deposit” — i.e., documents that are present in the repository but not…

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UNESCO on the global future of open access

The mission of UNESCO, which was founded in 1945, is to “contribute to the building of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information.” An important plank in that mission is a commitment to help build inclusive and equitable knowledge societies. We should not be surprised, therefore, that UNESCO supports the Open Access movement, we should not be surprised that…

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Are hybrid journals double dipping?

For the past several decades the research community has been bedevilled with the so-called serials crisis, the phenomenon by which the cost of scholarly journals continues to rise at an unsustainable rate. One of the most significant responses to this affordability problem was the open access (OA) movement, which in 2002 coalesced around the Budapest Open Access Initiative. Open access publishing, OA advocates have always argued, will be cheaper, and…

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Open access: Copyrighted materials not welcome?

Paul Royster is proud of what he has achieved with his institutional repository. Currently, it contains 73,000 full-text items, of which more than 60,000 are freely accessible to the world. This, says Royster, makes it the second largest institutional repository in the US, and it receives around 500,000 downloads per month, with around 30% of those going to international users. Unsurprisingly, Royster always assumed that he was in the vanguard…

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Mandating a solution to journal affordability and accessiblity

Dating from 1665, the scholarly journal has served the research community well for over 300 years. In the past few decades, however, the subscription model it utilises has created a couple of apparently intractable problems—what we will call the affordability and accessibility problems. The affordability problem has its roots in the dramatic growth in research after World War II, a problem made worse by the constant above-inflation increases in the…

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