Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Controlled vocabulary for publisher self-archiving policies

Celia Jenkins, Charles Oppenheim, Steve Probets, and Bill Hubbard, RoMEO studies 7: creation of a controlled vocabulary to analyse copyright transfer agreements, Journal of Information Science, June 1, 2008.  Only this abstract is free online, at least so far.

Abstract:   This paper describes the process of creating a controlled vocabulary which can be used to systematically analyse the copyright transfer agreements (CTAs) of journal publishers with regard to self-archiving. The analysis formed the basis of the newly created Copyright Knowledge Bank of publishers' self-archiving policies. Self-archiving terms appearing in publishers' CTAs were identified and classified, then simplified, merged, and discarded to form a definitive list. The controlled vocabulary consists of three categories describing 'what' can be self-archived, the 'conditions' and the 'restrictions' of self-archiving. Condition terms include specifications such as 'where' an article can be self-archived; restriction terms include specifications such as 'when' the article can be self-archived. Additional information on any of these terms appears in 'free-text' fields. Although this controlled vocabulary provides an effective way of analysing CTAs, it will need continual review and updating in light of any major new additions to the terms used in publishers' copyright and self-archiving policies.

Comment.  This is a good idea.  As I argued in a 2004 article:

Nearly all [the] benefits [of posting journal access policies online] would be even greater if journals would post their policy details...on their own web sites with standardized terminology or tags.  Detail-harvesting, searching, and comparison could then be automated.  But for now this is too much to ask.  At least journals should put their policies on their own sites in their own words and keep them up to date.