Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

The NSF Division of Science Resources Statistics has released a special report, The Implications of Information Technology for Scientific Journal Publishing: A Literature Review, NSF 03-323, June 2003. You'd guess from the title, and the fact that that its scope is the literature since 1994, that this report covers the important literature on open access. Not so. It gives prominent coverage to the SuperJournal Project, which ended five years ago, and touches on the OAI as a recent development. More direct discussion of open access is limited to these two paragraphs:

The themes raised by Rowland, Kling, and McKim are echoed throughout the literature. Descriptions of commercial projects, consortial efforts, and proposals outlining various publishing models and strategies are described in Berry (2000); Birman (2000); Creth (1997); Luther (1997); Peek, Pomerantz, and Paling (1998); and Rowland (1999). There are also proposals that consider various noncommercial alternatives involving free e-journals, preprint archives in lieu of and in parallel with juried publication, self-publication through individual websites, and publication by universities and libraries (see, e.g., Okerson 1996). Self-organizing approaches have been discussed by, among others, Harnad (1996); Odlyzko (1996a); Smith (1999); Stodolsky (1995); and Varian (1998). As Smith (1999) and Varian (1998) point out, in addition to mechanisms for quality control, there is a need for stable archiving of the record. Finally, Hitchcock, Carr, and Hall (1998a) offer four specific steps toward "optimum e-journals": nonexclusive papers, archives and gateway services, open systems, and links.

Of all of these proposals, Varian's (1998) is probably the most carefully developed, taking into account potential cost savings from reengineering the process as well as using threaded discussions[22] as a means of reader-based evaluation. In addition, he considers the savings in terms of library shelf space, monitoring for use of journal acquisition as well as promotion and tenure review, search, and access to related and supporting material. He also considers the implications of the "network externality effect" (when the value of a good—in this case, a journal—depends on how many other people use it).

(Thanks to ResourceShelf.)