OASIS Topics

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Equity for Open-Access Journal Publishing

Scholars write articles to be read—the more access to their articles the better—so one might think that the open-access approach to publishing, in which articles are freely available online to all without interposition of an access fee, would be an attractive competitor to traditional subscription-based journal publishing.
The new US administration could implement such a system through simple FRPAA-like legislation requiring funding agencies to commit to this open-access compact in a cost-neutral manner. Perhaps reimbursement would be limited to authors at universities and research institutions that themselves commit to a similar compact. As funding agencies and universities take on this commitment, we might transition to an efficient, sustainable journal publishing system in which publishers choose freely among business models on an equal footing, to the benefit of all (Full text).
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Compact for Open-Access Publishing Equity

Scholarly publishing is going through a transformation as a result of digital means of communication, coupled with the financial predicament of libraries. With the most recent economic downturn, access to scholarly articles, so important to research progress and public advancement, will no doubt suffer.
Open-access scholarly journals have arisen as an alternative to traditional subscription scholarly journals. Open-access journals make their articles available freely to anyone, while providing the same services common to all scholarly journals, such as management of the peer-review process, filtering, production, and distribution. Since open-access journals do not charge subscription or other access fees, they must cover their operating expenses through other sources, including subventions, in-kind support, or, in a sizable minority of cases, processing fees paid by or on behalf of authors for submission to or publication in the journal.
Universities subsidize the costs of subscription journals by subscribing to them. Universities and funding agencies can provide equitable support for the processing-fee business model for open-access journals — to place the subscription-fee and processing-fee models on a more level playing field — by subsidizing processing fees as well.
The compact for open-access publishing equity supports equity of the business models by committing each university to "the timely establishment of durable mechanisms for underwriting reasonable publication charges for articles written by its faculty and published in fee-based open-access journals and for which other institutions would not be expected to provide funds."
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MELIBEA: validating OA policies

MELIBEA provides a searchable directory of open access (OA) policies. It describes the existing policies of each mandate listed and provides a clear list of criteria (e.g. length of possible embargo). 
It also describes itself as a validator as it assesses each policy against a fixed set of qualitative and quantitative criteria. These are used to provide each mandate with a score that indicates how 'open' it is. For example the Wellcome mandate scores c.72% open, whereas the European Research Council (ERC) scores 60% openness.
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OA articles: situation 2009

A recent article in PLoS One presents an analysis of the percentage of articles available open access in 2009.
Entitled 'Open Access to the Scientific Journal Literature: Situation 2009' the paper used a random sample of 1837 articles to determine the percentage that are available OA either on the journal site or within a repository.
The findings show that the greatest percentage of OA articles on journal sites are from the biomedical areas (c.13% of articles) and the lowest percentage in physics and astronomy (c.3%).
However the percentage available in repositories showed a quite different spread. The lowest number available in repositories was in the biomedical subjects (ranging from 4.6-7.8%) and the highest was in the earth sciences area (25.9%).
Chemistry showed the lowest total OA availability (13% total).
Of articles published in 2008, they found an average 8.5% freely available at the publishers' sites plus an additional 11.9% that could be found using search engines, making the average overall OA percentage 20.4%.
It should be noted that since they looked at articles published prior to 2009 the results will not reflect the mandate enforced by the NIH at the start of 2008 – it is likely that a similar study of articles published in 2009 and 2010 (including those for whom 12-month embargoes will have expired) will be far larger in the biomedical arena.
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