Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Digitizing journal backfiles for OA

Richard Johnson, The Open Past Initiative: A Discussion Paper, SPARC, a draft from December 30, 2003, self-archived October 20, 2006. Excerpt:

The purpose of this paper is to initiate a discussion among SPARC, librarians, publishers, and other interested parties of a potential initiative to digitize and disseminate the back-runs of scholarly journals. SPARC seeks to obtain feedback on the concept described here; to determine whether the fundamental approach has sufficient merit to warrant further planning and development; and to elicit preliminary expressions of interest in participation....

SPARC proposes launching a cooperative program-- tentatively titled the “Open Past Initiative”-- that would apply the digital conversion and content management expertise of academic libraries to unlock the now isolated print assets of nonprofit and other independent journal publishers. Participating publishers likely would be insufficiently capitalized or otherwise ill equipped to undertake conversion on their own. They would contribute nonexclusive electronic license rights to their backfile content, while participating libraries would contribute retrospective conversion resources and long-term web-based open access. All researchers worldwide would have free online access to the valuable digital content thus made available....