Magazine article Information Today

Publishers Coming to the Rescue of Open Access?

Magazine article Information Today

Publishers Coming to the Rescue of Open Access?

Article excerpt

* Ten years ago, open access (OA) seemed to be a cause looking for a revolution. Now it seems more like a condition in need of a serious solution.

Born of mandates starting back in 2002 with the Budapest Open Access Initiative and climaxing last year with the landmark "Finch Report" in the U.K. and a White House directive from the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), the dream of freeing up research published at public or foundation expense has turned into an administrative nightmare for the researchers, colleges, publishers, and librarians who must comply with the mandates in order for the promise of OA to be fully realized.

Attempting now to come to the rescue are possibly the most unlikely of suspects, the publishers themselves that a decade ago were the first to resist the OA movement. Yet, if anyone is better positioned to figure out how to track, help discover, and preserve this newly mandated "public record" of science, some might argue the OA community could find no better ally than those who figured out in the past how to keep track of content under other publishing models and prior licensing rules.

You may even recognize some of the leading players in the new OA arena from the roles they played in past publishing lives.

The New Faces of OA

As OA stands, various funding agencies require the recipients of grant funds to make the results of funded research publicly available either immediately upon publication or after a certain embargo period. The arrangement often requires someone to pay. It may be the funding agency, the academic institution where the research is completed, or the individual--with rates and terms varying by publisher. Ultimately, compliance requires tracking. Was the paper that was supposed to be OA ever paid for? Was it released? And where can it be found for free? Publishers may not yet have all the answers, but here's what they're thinking.


A longtime conduit between publishers and rights buyers, Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) has been approaching OA as a workflow problem. Last summer CCC announced a partnership with Aries Systems, a supplier of workflow solutions to journal publishers. CCC has taken on author payments for the article-processing charges (APCs) that are involved in some OA publishing models. The fees vary from publisher to publisher, as do other terms of the publishing arrangement. In the RightsLink and Aries integration, a RightsLink API embedded in the publisher/author workflow system will support the author in reviewing the OA options offered by that publisher and then pay for the publishing charges with a credit card. The deployment is in pilot and field testing now, with the hopes of providing authors with a seamless integration soon.;


CrossRef, the same company that works with publishers to bring you unique digital object identifiers (DOIs) for journal articles (and thus support the seamless linking to full texts in countless implementations), has approached OA as a database and metadata problem, focusing in particular on the journal article metadata that is missing or often inconsistently applied about the funding source for individual journal articles. Funding source is a critical data element for tracking articles that are supposed to be OA by mandate. The rub is that without consistent source tags, the agencies themselves can't tell whether their OA mandates have been followed. …

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