Open Access News

News from the open access movement


Thursday, September 03, 2009

Library scholarship not widely OA

Doug Way, The Open Access Availability of Library and Information Science Literature, College & Research Libraries, preprint, August 27, 2009. Abstract:
To examine the open access availability of Library and Information Science (LIS) research, a study was conducted using Google Scholar to search for articles from was 20 top LIS journals. The study examined whether Google Scholar was able to find any links to full text, if open access versions of the articles were available and where these articles were being hosted. The results showed the archiving of articles is not a regular practice in the field, articles are not being deposited in institutional or subject repositories at a high rate and the overall the percentage of available open access articles in LIS was similar to the findings in previous studies. In addition, the study found that Google Scholar is an effective tool for finding known LIS articles.
From the article:

... Of the 922 articles examined, OA versions were found for 253 articles. ...

The percentage of available OA articles is the same, though, as Matsubayashi, et. al.'s findings in their study of the biomedical literature. ...

If professionals in LIS are unwilling to archive their works in repositories, it should not be surprising that repositories face difficulties in recruiting content. ...

Providing access to information is a basic tenet of librarianship. Ranganathanís classic work, The Five Laws of Library Science, calls upon libraries to make information widely available and easily accessible to all people. While Ranganthanís work referred to books, these principles hold true regardless of the format of the information and can be seen in the fieldís support of the OA movement. Yet this study has found there is a seeming contradiction in the lack of archiving of articles appearing in the top LIS journals. This is in spite of the fact that a previous study found that 90% of these journals allow some form of self-archiving. ...

Update. See also T. Scott Plutchak's comments:

... His results show that Google Scholar is not a completely reliable means for identifying OA versions of articles. ... [T]he specific numbers that he presents should be approached sceptically. ...

Despite these quibbles, the larger point that Way makes is indisputable -- for all of the advocacy work that librarians have done in support of various OA initiatives, they have not done a very good job of making their own research output widely available and easily discoverable. Our advocacy efforts would be more persuasive if we were taking a more aggressive leadership role within our own field.