Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Friday, November 16, 2007

DOAJ/SPARC Europe seal of approval program

An announcement from David Prosser of SPARC Europe (blogged with permission):

The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and SPARC Europe have been working together to develop a set of standards that we hope will be helpful to the publishers and users of open access journals.  Although there are a number of definitions of open access, there is great variation between individual open access journals.  In many cases, despite access to content being free, there is confusion surrounding issues such as reuse, data mining, preservation, etc. with rights either being ill-defined or not stated.  We hope to help alleviate this problem by defining a set of standards and providing help for publishers to meet those standards.

To date, we are working with a small group of open access publishers (chosen from the DOAJ) who are testing the criteria and providing feedback on their applicability.  When this is completed (in the next couple of weeks) we will formally launch the project and full details will be provided on the DOAJ and SPARC Europe websites.

Comment.  I like this approach.  I like the way it's bottom-up rather than top-down, and decentralized rather than centralized.  I like the way it focuses on the endorsement and support of respected organizations rather than on the control of word usage.  I like the way it will provide new clarity and precision without requiring the agreement of everyone using a certain word or phrase.  I expect that it will succeed in making OA journal policies, on average, more consistent and more open.  And I like the way it will have that kind of unifying effect while at the same time respecting pluralism through its compatibility with similar programs from other organizations supporting a different standard.  I look forward to the details.