Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

OA to the research output of Catalonia's PRBB

Catalonia's Parc de Recerca Biomèdica de Barcelona (PRBB) is creating a search engine, rather than a repository, for OA editions of its research papers.  From yesterday's announcement on PRBB News:

As a service to all members of the PRBB centers, as well as any external visitors interested in the research taking place on them, a search engine is going to be re-launched at the PRBB website that will allow to search for articles published by any scientist associated with any of the six PRBB centers, i.e. IMIM, CEXS-UPF, CRG, CMRG, CREAL and IAT. This search engine will retrieve a PDF copy of the full-length article, which will be freely and immediately accessible to the reader.

This initiative is similar to that of self-archiving articles in institutional repositories in parallel to publication in journals, a practice that is very common nowadays all over the world....

The PRBB initiative of linking the PDF articles to the search engine is not an institutional repository, but it is an alternative and simple way of ensuring a major visibility of the work being done. As scientists, we are particularly dependant on ready and unrestricted access to our published literature, the only permanent record of our ideas, discoveries and research results. And having such advanced communication resources as the Internet, it would be foolish not to use them to share our research in an equally advanced way. We are all aware of the importance of increasing general awareness of our work, and of how a faster and wider sharing of articles and research data stimulates the advance of knowledge.

What about the journal's copyright?

At the moment, most journals retain the full copyright of the articles they publish, although according to the most authoritative resource on journal policy for self-archiving, more than 90% of journals allow some form of self archiving.  Furthermore, awareness is growing by authors and their funders that assigning full copyrights to publishers may not be in their best interests. That is why universities, governments, and other organizations are suggesting that authors now retain their copyrights and then grant publishers a license to publish the work....

Finally, and despite the journals' current restrictions, it is common practice for scientists to have links to their own published articles on their websites. A study in 2005 showed that the final version of more than one third of articles in high-impact journals were freely available online. This is the result of an ever-growing ideology that we at the PRBB share: the belief that it is fair that the results of publicly-funded research be also public and available for everyone, both scientists and the general public; that a faster and wider dissemination of information such as that possible through the internet fuels the advance of knowledge; that it is this knowledge upon which future scientific activity and progress are based; and that scientific progress is both a right and a necessity for our society and we as scientists have the obligation to do what is in our hands to stimulate it. We believe that the search engine of the PRBB will be a good step in this direction.