Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The hassle of accessing non-OA ejournals

Dorothea Salo, My Gripe About E-Journals, Caveat Lector, November 14, 2005.
I hate messing with article databases as much as the next person. Tell you what, though, there’s something I hate worse: not being able to get at an article from anywhere but MPOW’s [My Place of Work's] website. Use case: I’m gaily surfing the biblioblogosphere when I stop at a super-cool article that will revolutionize the way I do business, or something like that. The blog that posted the article is in no way, shape, or form associated with MPOW, so naturally it provides a link to the journal’s (or journal aggregator’s) website. If I follow that link, I’m stuck. The journal website does not offer me a way to authenticate as belonging to MPOW. It doesn’t even tell me whether MPOW subscribes to that journal or not. (There’s a bookmarklet idea for you, actually: “check this journal against Library X’s holdings.”) To get to the article, I have to go to MPOW’s website, drill down into it to find the journal in MPOW’s bewildering plethora of e-resources, and finally try for the article—by which time I’ve typically forgotten the citation information. (If I ever knew it. The blog, thinking the link sufficient, may not actually contain it.) It. Should. Not. Be. This. Hard. Stupid firewalled information. Bleagh. No wonder open access increases citation impact. Who needs all this hassle for one single article?