Finding Open Access Articles

From: Hamaker, Chuck <>
Date: Thu, 11 Mar 2004 21:00:34 +0000

When scholarly peer reviewed open access articles are imbedded in
random issues or are random journal issues, there must be a means of
systematically identifying them.

If it is approaching 60% in some journals as Dr. Walker notes in his
post, to the American Scientist Open Access Forum of yesterday, then
the need for a standardized systems becomes critical.

OPEN URL resolvers are a standard for navigation in many academic
libraries-can we use them to send users to these articles-?

Scientific World maintains a list of its open access articles.

The free access 2004 issue of Nucleic Acids Research-annual database issue
from OUP is noted on the journal's splash page at Highwire. The 2004 issues
says free at each article, the 2003 issue which is also free, does not.

The Entomological Society states "free pdf" on individual articles

American Society of Limnology and Oceanography has an "unlocked" padlock

BMC has an icon on individual articles that says "free" .

If author paid open access becomes standard, it can happen rapidly in
fields that already have page charge and reprint traditions, then
identification also must be standardized. OAI harvesters aren't currently

Some suggestions from talking with Dr. Herbert Van De Sompel of LANL:
Publishers could expose these articles, with their data, to OAI harvesters
which could feed the data to linking servers. He also suggested information
could be included in a metadata tag, ie access=open (which could be used on
an open URL)

Other issues:

Are these articles and issues also being deposited in OAI archives by
publishers? Shouldn't they be?

Is there some other unique identifying system that can be computed,
reduced to a formula to be plugged into open url resolvers? I am not aware
of a standard identifier for permanently free content in traditional
journals? I assume individual publishers using unique marking systems
internally-can those be used to configure resolvers? They will have
something in their systems that says "free"

How does that get guaranteed over time? What if publishers for a title
change? Isn't that another reason to deposit these also in OAI systems?

If users can't systematically identify which articles are free (my
library bias) they will be underutilized, won't be identified as open
access in standard sources (ISI or Compendex for instance) and could
become orphaned.

One of the 5 basic principles of librarianship from Ranganathan is: "Save
the Time of the Reader." That is imperative.

Free and easy and organized-predictable access all have to come together to
guarantee that!

Chuck Hamaker
Associate University Librarian Collections and Technical Services
Atkins Library
University of North Carolina Charlotte
Charlotte, NC 28223
phone 704 687-2825
Received on Thu Mar 11 2004 - 21:00:34 GMT

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