Re: When is a Journal Open Access?

From: David Goodman <dgoodman_at_Princeton.EDU>
Date: Fri, 1 Dec 2006 17:19:08 -0500

Since Open Access is so widely recognized as desirable, and
an open access journal is so widely recognized as a particularly good route
to open access, it is understandable that publishers and others will try to call
a journal an Open Access Journal, even if it means stretching the definition
a little--or more than a little. In increasing amount of stretch, this includes:

1/ journals which are Open Access in the original BOAI sense, except for reproduction or production of derivatives for commercial use. (one of the categories Peter identified)
2/ journals which are Open Access, except for the production of derivatives (another category Peter identified)
(these two cases, with a good number of possible modifications are addressed in the increasingly large number of Creative Commons definitions <> for their originally uncomplicated model licenses)
3/ journals which have delayed open access, such as Learned Publishing
4/ journals which permit the author to post a copy of the article
5/ journals which permit an author to post a copy of the manuscript only
6/ journals which permit an author to post the manuscript or article, but only on a restricted number of sites, such as institutional repositories but not outside the institution
7/ journals which permit the author to post, but only after an embargo period.
8/ journals that permit the author to post, but post only the metadata

9/ Even the original BOAI definitions permit a journal some of whose content only is open access, as long as the primary research articles are. This still excludes
10/ hybrid open access journals, where only some of the research articles are open access.
11/ and journals who permit their authors to fill requests for electronic reprints

x/ What's more, some publishers whose journals meet only category 4 or lower have called themselves "Open Access Publishers"
y/ And some publishers where only some of the journals are open access in any sense, also call themselves Open Access Publishers.

!/ And some Open Access advocates are so eager to claim success, that they will accept any of these categories, or, as a second thought. describe at least category 11/ to be "almost open access".
!!/ Some open access manifestos have even said that publication in an Open Access journal still requires deposit in a repository with the preprints available.
!!!/ and some widely heralded mandatory Open Access schemes mandate Open Access, but only to the extent that it does not violate the publishers' licenses

*#*#/and there are schemes which call themselves mandated Open Access up front, but where there is a note hidden away that it is only strongly suggested.
David Goodman, Ph.D., M.L.S.
Bibliographer and Research Librarian
Princeton University Library

----- Original Message -----
From: "Sally Morris (Chief Executive)" <>
Date: Friday, December 1, 2006 12:45 pm
Subject: Re: [AMERICAN-SCIENTIST-OPEN-ACCESS-FORUM] When is a Journal Open Access?

> When a group of volunteers and I looked at a large sample of DOAJ
> journals
> we found a surprising number which were (a) not genuine research
> journals or
> (b) not OA at all - see Learned Publishing Vol 19 No 1,
> (happy to send a copy to anyone who
> doesn't have
> access)
> Sally
> Sally Morris, Chief Executive
> Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers
> South House, The Street, Clapham
> Worthing, West Sussex, BN13 3UU, UK
> Tel: +44 (0) 1903 871 686
> Fax: +44 (0) 8701 202806
> Email:
> Website:
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "peter murray-rust" <pm286_at_CAM.AC.UK>
> Sent: Friday, December 01, 2006 8:18 AM
> Subject: When is a Journal Open Access?
> I have a question which I hope is simply and accurately stated:
> Is Journal FOO "Open Access"?
> I would be grateful if list members could help me
> to answer this question. I shall take a single
> example of a journal and ask for opinions as to
> whether the journal is Open Access. I should make
> it clear that I believe there are many other
> journals which pose similar questions and that -
> apart from the Open Access problem I have no problems with the Journal
> The DOAJ includes the journal:
> <>Molbank
> ISSN: 14228599
> Subject: <>Chemistry
> (General)Publisher: Molecular Diversity Preservation International
> (MDPI)Language: English
> Keywords: chemistry
> Start year: 2002
> in its directory of Open Access Journals. The DOAJ states:
> How do we define Open Access, Research Journal, quality control?
> Open Access Journal:
> We define open access journals as journals that
> use a funding model that does not charge readers
> or their institutions for access. From the BOAI
> definition [1] of "open access" we take the right
> of users to "read, download, copy, distribute,
> print, search, or link to the full texts of these
> articles" as mandatory for a journal to be included in the directory.
> (by contrast the BOAI states:
> permitting any users to read, download, copy,
> distribute, print, search, or link to the full
> texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing,
> pass them as data to software, or use them for
> any other lawful purpose, without financial,
> legal, or technical barriers other than those
> inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself.
> )
> Molbank provides the following license statements:
> * Copyright of published papers. We will
> typically insert the following note at the end of
> the paper: 200. by MDPI (
> Reproduction is permitted for noncommercial
> purposes. For alternate arrangements concerning
> copyright please contact the Editor-in-Chief.
> ...
> * Important additional information: All
> thematic special issues will be fully
> <>Open Access
> with publishing fees paid by authors. Open Access
> (unlimited access by readers) increases publicity
> and promotes more frequent citations as indicated
> by several studies. More information is available
> at
> and from the copyright transfer form:
> The copyright to this article is hereby
> transferred to MDPI, effective if and when the
> article is accepted for publication.The copyright
> transfer covers the exclusive right to reproduce
> and distribute the article, including reprints,
> translations, photographic reproductions,
> microform, electronic form (offline, online) or
> any other reproductions of similar nature. In the
> case of a Work prepared under US Government
> contract, the US Government may reproduce,
> royalty-free, all or portions of the Work, for
> official USGovernment purposes only, if the US
> government contract so requires.The author
> warrants that his contribution is original and
> that he has full power to make this grant. The
> author signs for and accepts responsibility for
> releasing this material on behalf of any and all Coauthors.
> The undersigned author, as corresponding
> co-author of the Work, states that all co-authors
> have been made aware that this manuscript has
> been submitted to this journal, that they have or
> will be provided with a (electronic) copy of the
> manuscript, that they have consented to be
> co-authors of the manuscript and to transfer the copyright.
> I have the following questions and unless they
> can be answered by a simple "yes" I will assume the answer "not-
> yes" (i.e.
> excluded middle).
> (a) Is Molbank an Open Access journal?
> (b) If yes, who has made this decision? (b1) the publisher or (b2)
> DOAJ?(c) Has DOAJ reviewed Molbank's license(s) and
> other statements and deemed them to be compatible with its own
> criteria(d) Does the DOAJ consider its declaration to be
> equivalent to the BOAI? Do readers of this list?
> If so, why are significant parts omitted and can
> they now be explicitly replaced?
> Although I believe that the points above are
> critical to the re-use of publications as Open
> Data in Open Science, I am NOT raising these
> issues on this list, simply asking for factual
> clarification about Open Access practices and definitions.
> There is a fuller discussion on my blog:
> and at least one useful comment has been submitted
> Thanks
> Peter
> Peter Murray-Rust
> Unilever Centre for Molecular Sciences Informatics
> University of Cambridge,
> Lensfield Road, Cambridge CB2 1EW, UK
> +44-1223-763069
Received on Sat Dec 02 2006 - 20:24:03 GMT

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