Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Launch of the Open Access Directory

I'm very happy to introduce you to the Open Access Directory.  First an excerpt from today's announcement:

Peter Suber and Robin Peek have launched the Open Access Directory (OAD), a wiki where the open access community can create and maintain simple factual lists about open access to science and scholarship. Suber, a Research Professor of Philosophy at Earlham College, and Peek, an Associate Professor of Library and Information Science at Simmons College, conceived the project in order to collect OA-related lists for one-stop reference and searching.

The wiki will start operating with about half a dozen lists --for example, conferences devoted to open access, discussion forums devoted to open access, and journal "declarations of independence"-- and add more over time.

The goal is to harness the knowledge and energy of the open access community itself to enlarge and correct the lists. A list on a wiki, revised continuously by its users, can be more comprehensive and up to date than the same list maintained by an individual. By bringing many OA-related lists together in one place, OAD will make it easier for users, especially newcomers, to discover them and use them for reference. The easier they are to maintain and discover, the more effectively they can spread useful, accurate information about open access....

The wiki is represented by an editorial board consisting of prominent figures in the open access movement. The Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS) at Simmons College hosts and provides technical support to the OAD....

Comment.  And now a few personal notes, even longer than the official announcement.

  • I've been maintaining online lists about OA for years.  Some, like my list of OA-related conferences and workshops, are pretty current, but others, like my lists of OA-related discussion forums, journal declarations of independence, and university actions to support OA, are far from current.  Three years ago I knew that the OA community could maintain these lists on a wiki far better than I could maintain them alone, and I started looking for a suitable partner to host a wiki and help with the administration.  Unfortunately the same heavy workload which made it impossible for me to keep all my lists up to date also delayed my search for a good wiki partner.  But earlier this year the spark lit with my friend and colleague Robin Peek at the Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science. 
  • Robin and Simmons have been wonderfully energetic in getting this project off the ground.  I especially want to thank her, Athanasia Pontika, a doctoral student working with Robin, and Terry Plum, Simmons' Assistant Dean for Technology.  I'm very grateful to Charles Bailey, Leslie Chan, Heather Joseph, Melissa Hagemann, Alma Swan, and John Wilbanks for their willingness to serve on the editorial board.
  • OAD starts today with with a handful of my lists, taking a load off my shoulders and giving each list a good chance to thrive.  Over time we'll add more --some from my crypt of neglected projects and others suggested by new users.  If it succeeds, then very soon the information I contributed will be dwarfed by the information contributed by others.  Robin and I are thrilled to give this project an initial shove, but now it's your project too. 
  • I'm excited that OAD will improve the information resources about OA available to everyone --faculty, students, librarians, administrators, funders, publishers, journalists, and policy-makers.  And I'm excited that it will bring Web 2.0 methods to bear on the task of keeping track of the rapidly growing and almost intractably large OA movement.  Stop by, register, start improving the lists we already have, suggest new ones for us to include, consult it when you need to answer a factual question about OA, and spread the word.