Open access

Open access (OA) is a mechanism by which research outputs are distributed online, free of cost or other barriers,[1] and, in its most precise meaning, with the addition of an open license applied to promote reuse.[1]

Academic articles (as historically seen in print-based academic journals) have been the main focus of the movement. Conventional (non-open access) journals cover publishing costs through access tolls such as subscriptions, site licenses or pay-per-view charges. Open access can be applied to all forms of published research output, including peer-reviewed and non peer-reviewed academic journal articles, conference papers, theses,[2] book chapters,[1] and monographs.[3]

Open Access logo PLoS white
Open access logo, originally designed by Public Library of Science.

History

OA by year
The number and proportion of open access articles split between Gold, Green, Hybrid, Bronze and closed access (from 1950 - 2016).[4]
OA by subject
Ratios of article access types for different subjects (averaged 2009 - 2015).[4]
DOAJ growth
Number of Gold open access journals listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals.[5][6]
PMC growth
Number of Gold and Hybrid open access journals listed in PubMed Central.[7][8]
ROAR growth
Number of open access repositories listed in the Registry of Open Access Repositories.[9]

Extent

Various studies have investigated the extent of open access. A study published in 2010 showed that roughly 20% of the total number of peer-reviewed articles published in 2008 could be found openly accessible.[10] Another study found that by 2010, 7.9% of all academic journals with impact factors were gold open access journals and showed a broad distribution of Gold Open Access journals throughout academic disciplines.[11] A study of random journals from the citations indexes AHSCI, SCI and SSCI in 2013 came to the result that 88% of the journals were closed access and 12% were open access.[12] In August 2013, a study done for the European Commission reported that 50% of a random sample of all articles published in 2011 as indexed by Scopus were freely accessible online by the end of 2012.[13][14][15] A 2017 study by the Max Planck Society put the share of gold access articles in pure open access journals at around 13 percent of total research papers.[16]

In 2009, there were approximately 4,800 active open access journals, publishing around 190,000 articles.[17] As of February 2019, over 12,500 open access journals are listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals.[18]

The Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR) indexes the creation, location and growth of open access open access repositories and their contents.[19] As of February 2019, over 4,500 institutional and cross-institutional repositories have been registered in ROAR.[20]

Models

Open access research does not require payment to access articles, and is instead funded through other means. The main routes to open access are:

  • Open access journals ('gold' open access): The publisher of the journal makes all articles and related content available for free on the journal's website.
  • Hybrid open access journals:[21] partially funded by subscriptions, and only provide open access for those individual articles for which the authors (or research sponsor) pay a publication fee[22]
  • Self-archiving ('green' open access): After peer review by a journal, the author posts the same content the journal will be publishing to a website controlled by the author, the research institution that funded or hosted the work, or which has been set up as a central open access repository.

Advantages and disadvantages of open access have generated considerable discussion amongst researchers, academics, librarians, university administrators, funding agencies, government officials, commercial publishers, editorial staff and society publishers.[23] Reactions of existing publishers to open access journal publishing have ranged from moving with enthusiasm to a new open access business model, to experiments with providing as much free or open access as possible, to active lobbying against open access proposals. There are many publishers that started up as open access-only publishers, such as PLOS, Hindawi Publishing Corporation, Frontiers in... journals, MDPI and BioMed Central.

Gratis and libre open access

In order to reflect actual practice in providing two different types of open access, the further distinction between gratis open access and libre open access was added in 2006 by the principal drafter of the original BOAI definition.[24] Gratis open access refers to online access free of charge, and libre open access refers to online access free of charge plus some additional re-use rights.[24] Libre open access covers the kinds of open access defined in the Budapest Open Access Initiative, the Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing and the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities. The re-use rights of libre OA are often specified by various specific Creative Commons licenses;[25] these almost all require attribution of authorship to the original authors.[24][26]

Open access publishing

One option for authors who wish to make their work openly accessible is to publish in a journal or book that makes research output immediately available from the publisher.[27] This is sometimes referred to as gold open access.[1]

There are many financial models for open access publications.[28] Open access can be provided by commercial publishers, who may publish open access as well as subscription-based journals, or dedicated open-access publishers such as Public Library of Science (PLOS) and BioMed Central. Variations on open access journal models include:

Article processing charges

In one model of open access, journals generate revenue by charging publication fees in order to make the work openly available at the time of publication.[34][12][32] The money might come from the author but more often comes from the author's research grant or employer[35]. Some publishers will waive all or part of the fee for authors from less developed economies. Journals charging publication fees normally take various steps to ensure that peer reviewers do not know whether authors have requested, or been granted, fee waivers, or to ensure that every paper is approved by an independent editor with no financial stake in the journal. While the payments are often incurred per article published (e.g. BMC journals or PLOS ONE), there are some journals that apply them per manuscript submitted (e.g. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics until recently) or per author (e.g. PeerJ). As of June 2018, only 26% of journals in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) required payment of article processing charges. A 2013 study showed this practice was higher in journals with a scientific or medical focus (43% and 47% respectively), and lowest in journals publishing in the arts and humanities (0% and 4% respectively).[36] Traditionally, many academic journals levied page charges, long before open access became a possibility[37].

There currently is a growing global debate[38][39][40][41][42] regarding open access's ideology and ethics and its related article processing charges, as they are being created and managed by academic journal and monograph publisher conglomerates together with some national and international academic institutions and government bodies. One controversy is "double dipping", where both authors and subscribers are charged.[43]

Subsidized open access publications

No-fee open access journals, also known as "platinum" or "diamond"[12][32] have no fees for readers and no article processing charges or publication fees for authors.[44] They use a variety of business models. As summarized by Peter Suber:[45] "Some no-fee OA journals have direct or indirect subsidies from institutions like universities, laboratories, research centers, libraries, hospitals, museums, learned societies, foundations, or government agencies. Some have revenue from a separate line of non-OA publications. Some have revenue from advertising, auxiliary services, membership dues, endowments, reprints, or a print or premium edition. Some rely, more than other journals, on volunteerism. Some undoubtedly use a combination of these means".

Open access monographs are subsidized through a variety of means as well. Knowledge Unlatched and unglue.it crowdsource funding in order to make a work available open access.[46][47]

Distribution

Like the self-archived green open access articles, most gold open access journal articles are distributed via the World Wide Web,[1] due to low distribution costs, increasing reach, speed, and increasing importance for scholarly communication. Open source software is sometimes used for open access repositories,[48] open access journal websites,[49] and other aspects of open access provision and open access publishing.

Access to online content requires Internet access, and this distributional consideration presents physical and sometimes financial barriers to access.

There are various open access aggregators that list open access journals or articles. ROAD[50] (the Directory of Open Access scholarly Resources) synthesizes information about open access journals and is a subset of the ISSN register. SHERPA/RoMEO lists international publishers that allow the published version of articles to be deposited in institutional repositories. The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) contains over 12,500 peer-reviewed open access journals for searching and browsing.[51][52]

Open access articles can be found with a web search, using any general search engine or those specialized for the scholarly and scientific literature, such as Google Scholar, OAIster, openaccess.xyz,[53] base-search.net,[54] and CORE[55] Many open-access repositories offer a programmable interface to query their content. Some of them use a generic protocol, such as OAI-PMH (e.g., base-search.net[54]). In addition, some repositories propose a specific API, such as the arXiv API, the Dissemin API, the Unpaywall/oadoi API, or the base-search API.

In 1998, several universities founded the Public Knowledge Project to foster open access, and developed the open-source journal publishing system Open Journal Systems, among other scholarly software projects. As of 2010, it was being used by approximately 5,000 journals worldwide.[56]

Several initiatives provide an alternative to the English language dominance of existing publication indexing systems, including Index Copernicus (Polish), SciELO (Portuguese, Spanish) and Redalyc (Spanish).

Policies and mandates

Many universities, research institutions and research funders have adopted mandates requiring their researchers to make their research publications open access.[57] For example, Research Councils UK spent nearly £60m on supporting their open access mandate between 2013 and 2016.[58]

The idea of mandating self-archiving was mooted at least as early as 1998.[59] Since 2003[60] efforts have been focused on open access mandating by the funders of research: governments,[61] research funding agencies,[62] and universities.[63] Some publishers and publisher associations have lobbied against introducing mandates.[64][65][66]

The Registry of Open Access Repository Mandates and Policies (ROARMAP) is a searchable international database charting the growth of open access mandates. As of February 2019, mandates have been registered by over 700 universities (including Harvard, MIT, Stanford, University College London, and University of Edinburgh) and over 100 research funders worldwide.[67]

Motivations

Open access (mostly green and gratis) began to be sought and provided worldwide by researchers when the possibility itself was opened by the advent of Internet and the World Wide Web. The momentum was further increased by a growing movement for academic journal publishing reform, and with it gold and libre OA.

The premises behind open access publishing are that there are viable funding models to maintain traditional peer review standards of quality while also making the following changes:

  • Rather than making journal articles accessible through a subscription business model, all academic publications could be made free to read and published with some other cost-recovery model, such as publication charges, subsidies, or charging subscriptions only for the print edition, with the online edition gratis or "free to read".[68]
  • Rather than applying traditional notions of copyright to academic publications, they could be libre or "free to build upon".[68]

An obvious advantage of open access journals is the free access to scientific papers regardless of affiliation with a subscribing library and improved access for the general public; this is especially true in developing countries. Lower costs for research in academia and industry have been claimed in the Budapest Open Access Initiative,[69] although others have argued that OA may raise the total cost of publication,[70] and further increase economic incentives for exploitation in academic publishing.[71] The open access movement is motivated by the problems of social inequality caused by restricting access to academic research, which favor large and wealthy institutions with the financial means to purchase access to many journals, as well as the economic challenges and perceived unsustainability of academic publishing.[68][72]

Stakeholders and concerned communities

The intended audience of research articles is usually other researchers. Open access helps researchers as readers by opening up access to articles that their libraries do not subscribe to. One of the great beneficiaries of open access may be users in developing countries, where currently some universities find it difficult to pay for subscriptions required to access the most recent journals.[73] Some schemes exist for providing subscription scientific publications to those affiliated to institutions in developing countries at little or no cost.[74] All researchers benefit from open access as no library can afford to subscribe to every scientific journal and most can only afford a small fraction of them – this is known as the "serials crisis".[75]

Open access extends the reach of research beyond its immediate academic circle. An open access article can be read by anyone – a professional in the field, a researcher in another field, a journalist, a politician or civil servant, or an interested layperson. Indeed, a 2008 study revealed that mental health professionals are roughly twice as likely to read a relevant article if it is freely available.[76]

Author citation advantage

Open access addendum for authors to publishers.pdf
Authors may use form language like this to request an open access license when submitting their work to a publisher
An interview on paywalls and open access with NIH Director Francis Collins and inventor Jack Andraka

The main reason authors make their articles openly accessible is to maximize their research impact.[77] There have been claims of higher citation rates for open access authors.[78] The overall citation rates for a time period of 2 years (2010–2011) were 30% higher for subscription journals, but, after controlling for discipline, journal age and publisher location, the differences largely disappeared in most subcategories, except for those launched prior to 1996.[79] A study in 2001 first reported an open access citation impact advantage,[80]

Two major studies dispute the claim that open access articles lead to more citations.[81][82] A randomized controlled trial of open access publishing involving 36 participating journals in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities found that open access articles (n=712) received significantly more downloads and reached a broader audience within the first year, yet were cited no more frequently, nor earlier, than subscription-access control articles (n=2533) within 3 years.[81]

Many other studies, both major and minor and with varying degrees of methodological rigor, find that an open access article is more likely to be used and cited than one behind subscription barriers.[83]

For example, a 2006 study in PLoS Biology found that articles published as immediate open access in PNAS were three times more likely to be cited than non-open access papers, and were also cited more than PNAS articles that were only self-archived.[78] This result has been challenged as an artifact of authors self-selectively paying to publish their higher quality articles in hybrid open access journals,[84] whereas a 2010 study found that the open access citation advantage was equally big whether self-archiving was self-selected or mandated.[85]

A 2010 study of 27,197 articles in 1,984 journals used institutionally mandated open access instead of randomized open access to control for bias on the part of authors toward self-selectively making their better (hence more citeable) articles open access. The result was a replication of the repeatedly reported open access citation advantage, with the advantage being equal in size and significance whether the open access was self-selected or mandated.[85]

A 2016 study reported that the odds of an open access journal being referenced on the English Wikipedia are 47% higher than for paywalled journals, and suggested that this constitutes a significant "amplifier" effect for science published on such platforms.[86]

Scholars are paid by research funders and/or their universities to do research; the published article is the report of the work they have done, rather than an item for commercial gain. The more the article is used, cited, applied and built upon, the better for research as well as for the researcher's career.[87][88] Open access can reduce publication delays, an obstacle which led some research fields such as high-energy physics to adopt widespread preprint access.[89]

Some professional organizations have encouraged use of open access: in 2001, the International Mathematical Union communicated to its members that "Open access to the mathematical literature is an important goal" and encouraged them to "[make] available electronically as much of our own work as feasible" to "[enlarge] the reservoir of freely available primary mathematical material, particularly helping scientists working without adequate library access".[90]

Research funders and universities

Research funding agencies and universities want to ensure that the research they fund and support in various ways has the greatest possible research impact.[91] As a means of achieving this, research funders are beginning to expect open access to the research they support. Many of them (including all UK Research Councils) have already adopted open access mandates, and others are on the way to do so (see ROARMAP).

In the US, the 2008 NIH Public Access Policy, an open access mandate was put into law, and required that research papers describing research funded by the National Institutes of Health must be available to the public free through PubMed Central (PMC) within 12 months of publication.

Universities

A growing number of universities are providing institutional repositories in which their researchers can deposit their published articles. Some open access advocates believe that institutional repositories will play a very important role in responding to open access mandates from funders.[92]

In May 2005, 16 major Dutch universities cooperatively launched DAREnet, the Digital Academic Repositories, making over 47,000 research papers available.[93] From 2 June 2008, DAREnet has been incorporated into the scholarly portal NARCIS.[94] By 2019, NARCIS provided access to 360,000 open access publications from all Dutch universities, KNAW, NWO and a number of scientific institutes.[95]

In 2011, a group of universities in North America formed the Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions (COAPI).[96] Starting with 21 institutions where the faculty had either established an open access policy or were in the process of implementing one, COAPI now has nearly 50 members. These institutions' administrators, faculty and librarians, and staff support the international work of the Coalition's awareness-raising and advocacy for open access.

In 2012, the Harvard Open Access Project released its guide to good practices for university open-access policies,[97] focusing on rights-retention policies that allow universities to distribute faculty research without seeking permission from publishers. Rights retention is currently being explored in the UK by UKSCL.[98]

In 2013 a group of nine Australian universities formed the Australian Open Access Support Group (AOASG) to advocate, collaborate, raise awareness, and lead and build capacity in the open access space in Australia.[99] In 2015, the group expanded to include all eight New Zealand universities and was renamed the Australasian Open Access Support Group.[100] It was then renamed the Australasian Open Access Strategy Group, highlighting its emphasis on strategy. The awareness raising activities of the AOASG include presentations, workshops, blogs, and a webinar series on open access issues.[101]

Libraries and librarians

As information professionals, librarians are often vocal and active advocates of open access. These librarians believe that open access promises to remove both the price barriers and the permission barriers that undermine library efforts to provide access to the scholarly record,[102] as well as helping to address the serials crisis. Many library associations have either signed major open access declarations, or created their own. For example, IFLA have produced a Statement on Open Access.[103]

Librarians also lead education and outreach initiatives to faculty, administrators, and others about the benefits of open access. For example, the Association of College and Research Libraries of the American Library Association has developed a Scholarly Communications Toolkit.[104] The Association of Research Libraries has documented the need for increased access to scholarly information, and was a leading founder of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC).[105][106]

At most universities, the library manages the institutional repository, which provides free access to scholarly work by the university's faculty. The Canadian Association of Research Libraries has a program[107] to develop institutional repositories at all Canadian university libraries.

An increasing number of libraries provide hosting services for open access journals. A 2008 survey by the Association of Research Libraries[108] found that 65% of surveyed libraries either are involved in journal publishing, or are planning to become involved in the very near future.[109]

In 2013, open access activist Aaron Swartz was posthumously awarded the American Library Association's James Madison Award for being an "outspoken advocate for public participation in government and unrestricted access to peer-reviewed scholarly articles".[110][111] In March 2013, the entire editorial board and the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Library Administration resigned en masse, citing a dispute with the journal's publisher.[112] One board member wrote of a "crisis of conscience about publishing in a journal that was not open access" after the death of Aaron Swartz.[113][114]

The pioneer of the open access movement in France and one of the first librarians to advocate the self-archiving approach to open access worldwide is Hélène Bosc.[115] Her work is described in her "15-year retrospective".[116]

Public

Open access to scholarly research is argued to be important to the public for a number of reasons. One of the arguments for public access to the scholarly literature is that most of the research is paid for by taxpayers through government grants, who therefore have a right to access the results of what they have funded. This is one of the primary reasons for the creation of advocacy groups such as The Alliance for Taxpayer Access in the US.[117] Examples of people who might wish to read scholarly literature include individuals with medical conditions (or family members of such individuals) and serious hobbyists or 'amateur' scholars who may be interested in specialized scientific literature (e.g. amateur astronomers). Additionally, professionals in many fields may be interested in continuing education in the research literature of their field, and many businesses and academic institutions cannot afford to purchase articles from or subscriptions to much of the research literature that is published under a toll access model.

Even those who do not read scholarly articles benefit indirectly from open access.[118] For example, patients benefit when their doctor and other health care professionals have access to the latest research. As argued by open access advocates, open access speeds research progress, productivity, and knowledge translation.[119] Every researcher in the world can read an article, not just those whose library can afford to subscribe to the particular journal in which it appears. Faster discoveries benefit everyone. High school and junior college students can gain the information literacy skills critical for the knowledge age. Critics of the various open access initiatives claim that there is little evidence that a significant amount of scientific literature is currently unavailable to those who would benefit from it.[120] While no library has subscriptions to every journal that might be of benefit, virtually all published research can be acquired via interlibrary loan.[121] Note that interlibrary loan may take a day or weeks depending on the loaning library and whether they will scan and email, or mail the article. Open access online, by contrast is faster, often immediate, making it more suitable than interlibrary loan for fast-paced research.

Low-income countries

In developing nations, open access archiving and publishing acquires a unique importance. Scientists, health care professionals, and institutions in developing nations often do not have the capital necessary to access scholarly literature, although schemes exist to give them access for little or no cost. Among the most important is HINARI,[122] the Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative, sponsored by the World Health Organization. HINARI, however, also has restrictions. For example, individual researchers may not register as users unless their institution has access,[123] and several countries that one might expect to have access do not have access at all (not even "low-cost" access) (e.g. South Africa).[123]

Many open access projects involve international collaboration. For example, the SciELO (Scientific Electronic Library Online),[124] is a comprehensive approach to full open access journal publishing, involving a number of Latin American countries. Bioline International, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping publishers in developing countries is a collaboration of people in the UK, Canada, and Brazil; the Bioline International Software is used around the world. Research Papers in Economics (RePEc), is a collaborative effort of over 100 volunteers in 45 countries. The Public Knowledge Project in Canada developed the open-source publishing software Open Journal Systems (OJS), which is now in use around the world, for example by the African Journals Online group, and one of the most active development groups is Portuguese. This international perspective has resulted in advocacy for the development of open-source appropriate technology and the necessary open access to relevant information for sustainable development.[125][126]

Criticism

The main argument against open access, author's paid fee based journals, is the possible damage to the peer review system, diminishing the overall quality of scientific journal publishing. For example, in 2009, a hoax paper generated by a computer program was accepted for publication by a major publisher under the author-pays-for-publication model.[127] In a similar incident, a staff writer for Science magazine and popular science publications targeted the open access system in 2013 by submitting to some such journals a deeply flawed paper on the purported effect of a lichen constituent. About 60% of those journals, including journals published by the major academic publishers Sage Publications and Elsevier the Journal of Natural Pharmaceuticals, accepted the faked medical paper. However, journals published by notable open access publishers PLOS, BioMed Central, and Hindawi Publishing Corporation rejected the fake article. In addition, the faked paper was not published in subscription journals as a control.[128] As a result, this experiment was criticized for using a flawed methodology and not including a control group.[129][130] Many newer open access journals also lack the reputation of their subscription counterparts, which have been in business for decades. This effect has been diminishing though since 2001, reflecting the emergence of high quality professional open access publishers such as PLOS and BioMed Central.[79]

Opponents of the open access model continue to assert that the pay-for-access model is necessary to ensure that the publishers are adequately compensated for their work. Scholarly journal publishers that support pay-for-access claim that the "gatekeeper" role they play, maintaining a scholarly reputation, arranging for peer review, and editing and indexing articles, require economic resources that are not supplied under an open access model. Opponents claim that open access is not necessary to ensure fair access for developing nations; differential pricing or financial aid from developed countries or institutions can make access to proprietary journals affordable. Some critics also point out the lack of funding for author fees.[131]

Databases and repositories

Multiple databases exist for open access articles, journals and datasets. These databases overlap, however each has different inclusion criteria, which typically include extensive vetting for journal publication practices, editorial boards and ethics statements. The main databases of open access articles and journals are DOAJ and PMC. In the case of DOAJ, only fully gold open access journals are included, whereas PMC also hosts articles from hybrid journals.

There are also a number of preprint servers which host articles that have not yet been reviewed as open access copies.[132][133] These articles are subsequently submitted for peer review by both open access or subsbscription journals, however the preprint always remains openly accessible. A list of preprint servers is maintained at ResearchPreprints.[134]

For articles that are published in closed access journals, some authors will deposit a postprint copy in an open access repository, where it can be accessed for free.[135][136][137][138][139] Most subscription journals place restrictions on which version of the work may be shared and/or require an embargo period following the original date of publication. What is deposited can therefore vary, either a preprint or the peer-reviewed postprint, either the author's refereed and revised final draft or the publisher's version of record, either immediately deposited or after several years.[140] Repositories may be specific to an institution, a discipline (e.g.arXiv), a scholarly society (e.g. MLA's CORE Repository), or a funder (e.g. PMC). Although the practice was first formally proposed in 1994,[141][142] self-archiving was already being practiced by some computer scientists in local FTP archives in the 1980s (later harvested by CiteSeer).[143] The SHERPA/RoMEO site maintains a list of the different publisher copyright and self-archiving policies[144] and the ROAR database hosts an index of the repositories themselves.[145][146]

See also

References

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Further reading

External links

Aaron Swartz

Aaron Hillel Swartz (November 8, 1986 – January 11, 2013) was an American computer programmer, entrepreneur, writer, political organizer, and Internet hacktivist. He was involved in the development of the web feed format RSS and the Markdown publishing format, the organization Creative Commons, and the website framework web.py, and was a co-founder of the social news site Reddit. He was given the title of co-founder by Y Combinator owner Paul Graham after the formation of Not a Bug, Inc. (a merger of Swartz's project Infogami and a company run by Alexis Ohanian and Steve Huffman).

Swartz's work also focused on civic awareness and activism. He helped launch the Progressive Change Campaign Committee in 2009 to learn more about effective online activism. In 2010, he became a research fellow at Harvard University's Safra Research Lab on Institutional Corruption, directed by Lawrence Lessig. He founded the online group Demand Progress, known for its campaign against the Stop Online Piracy Act.

In 2011, Swartz was arrested by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) police on state breaking-and-entering charges, after connecting a computer to the MIT network in an unmarked and unlocked closet, and setting it to download academic journal articles systematically from JSTOR using a guest user account issued to him by MIT. Federal prosecutors later charged him with two counts of wire fraud and eleven violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, carrying a cumulative maximum penalty of $1 million in fines, 35 years in prison, asset forfeiture, restitution, and supervised release.Swartz declined a plea bargain under which he would have served six months in federal prison. Two days after the prosecution rejected a counter-offer by Swartz, he was found dead in his Brooklyn apartment, where he had hanged himself.In 2013, Swartz was inducted posthumously into the Internet Hall of Fame.

Academic publishing

Academic publishing is the subfield of publishing which distributes academic research and scholarship. Most academic work is published in academic journal article, book or thesis form. The part of academic written output that is not formally published but merely printed up or posted on the Internet is often called "grey literature". Most scientific and scholarly journals, and many academic and scholarly books, though not all, are based on some form of peer review or editorial refereeing to qualify texts for publication. Peer review quality and selectivity standards vary greatly from journal to journal, publisher to publisher, and field to field.

Most established academic disciplines have their own journals and other outlets for publication, although many academic journals are somewhat interdisciplinary, and publish work from several distinct fields or subfields. There is also a tendency for existing journals to divide into specialized sections as the field itself becomes more specialized. Along with the variation in review and publication procedures, the kinds of publications that are accepted as contributions to knowledge or research differ greatly among fields and subfields.

Academic publishing is undergoing major changes, as it makes the transition from the print to the electronic format. Business models are different in the electronic environment. Since the early 1990s, licensing of electronic resources, particularly journals, has been very common. An important trend, particularly with respect to journals in the sciences, is open access via the Internet. In open access publishing, a journal article is made available free for all on the web by the publisher at the time of publication. Both open and closed journals are sometimes funded by the author paying an Article processing charge, thereby shifting some fees from the reader to the researcher or their funder. Many open or closed journals fund their operations without such fees. The Internet has facilitated open access self-archiving, in which authors themselves make a copy of their published articles available free for all on the web. Some important results in mathematics have been published only on arXiv.

Beall's List

Beall's List was a list of predatory open-access publishers that was maintained by University of Colorado librarian Jeffrey Beall on his blog Scholarly Open Access. The list aimed to document open-access publishers who did not perform real peer review, effectively publishing any article as long as the authors pay the open access fee. Originally started as a personal endeavor in 2008, Beall's List became a widely followed piece of work by the mid-2010s. Its influence led some publishers on the list to threaten defamation lawsuits against Beall, as well as to lodge official complaints against Beall's work to the University of Colorado. As a result, Beall deactivated his blog and the list in January 2017.

The closure of Beall's List was cited by some as a tragedy, and successors have set out to continue Beall's work.

CiteSeerX

CiteSeerx (originally called CiteSeer) is a public search engine and digital library for scientific and academic papers, primarily in the fields of computer and information science. CiteSeer holds a United States patent # 6289342, titled "Autonomous citation indexing and literature browsing using citation context," granted on September 11, 2001. Stephen R. Lawrence, C. Lee Giles, Kurt D. Bollacker are the inventors of this patent assigned to NEC Laboratories America, Inc. This patent was filed on May 20, 1998, which has its roots (Priority) to January 5, 1998. A continuation patent was also granted to the same inventors and also assigned to NEC Labs on this invention i.e. US Patent # 6738780 granted on May 18, 2004 and was filed on May 16, 2001. CiteSeer is considered as a predecessor of academic search tools such as Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic Search. CiteSeer-like engines and archives usually only harvest documents from publicly available websites and do not crawl publisher websites. For this reason, authors whose documents are freely available are more likely to be represented in the index.

CiteSeer's goal is to improve the dissemination and access of academic and scientific literature. As a non-profit service that can be freely used by anyone, it has been considered as part of the open access movement that is attempting to change academic and scientific publishing to allow greater access to scientific literature. CiteSeer freely provided Open Archives Initiative metadata of all indexed documents and links indexed documents when possible to other sources of metadata such as DBLP and the ACM Portal. To promote open data, CiteSeerx shares its data for non-commercial purposes under a Creative Commons license.The name can be construed to have at least two explanations. As a pun, a 'sightseer' is a tourist who looks at the sights, so a 'cite seer' would be a researcher who looks at cited papers. Another is a 'seer' is a prophet and a 'cite seer' is a prophet of citations. CiteSeer changed its name to ResearchIndex at one point and then changed it back.

Common-pool resource

In economics, a common-pool resource (CPR) is a type of good consisting of a natural or human-made resource system (e.g. an irrigation system or fishing grounds), whose size or characteristics makes it costly, but not impossible, to exclude potential beneficiaries from obtaining benefits from its use. Unlike pure public goods, common pool resources face problems of congestion or overuse, because they are subtractable. A common-pool resource typically consists of a core resource (e.g. water or fish), which defines the stock variable, while providing a limited quantity of extractable fringe units, which defines the flow variable. While the core resource is to be protected or nurtured in order to allow for its continuous exploitation, the fringe units can be harvested or consumed.

Directory of Open Access Journals

The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is a website that hosts a community-curated list of open access journals, maintained by Infrastructure Services for Open Access (IS4OA). The project defines open access journals as scientific and scholarly journals making all their content available for free, without delay or user-registration requirement, and meeting high quality standards, notably by exercising peer review or editorial quality control. DOAJ uses the Budapest Open Access Initiative's definition of open access to define required rights given to users, for the journal to be included, as the rights to "read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of [the] articles, or use them for any other lawful purpose". The aim of DOAJ is to "increase the visibility, accessibility, reputation, usage and impact of quality, peer-reviewed, open access scholarly research journals".In 2015, DOAJ launched a reapplication process based on updated and expanded inclusion criteria. At the end of the process (December 2017), close to 5,000 journals, out of the 11,600 indexed in May 2016, had been removed from their database, in majority for failure to reapply. This substantial cleanup notwithstanding, the number of journals included in DOAJ has continued to grow, to reach 12,728 as of 25 February 2019.

Elsevier

Elsevier (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈɛlzəviːr]) is a Dutch information and analytics company and one of the world's major providers of scientific, technical, and medical information. It was established in 1880 as a publishing company. It is a part of the RELX Group, known until 2015 as Reed Elsevier. Its products include journals such as The Lancet and Cell, the ScienceDirect collection of electronic journals, the Trends and Current Opinion series of journals, the online citation database Scopus, and the ClinicalKey solution for clinicians. Elsevier's products and services include the entire academic research lifecycle, including software and data-management, instruction and assessment tools.Elsevier publishes more than 430,000 articles annually in 2,500 journals. Its archives contain over 13 million documents and 30,000 e-books. Total yearly downloads amount to more than 900 million.Elsevier's high operating profit margins (37% in 2017) and its copyright practices have subjected it to criticism by researchers.

Free content

Free content, libre content, or free information, is any kind of functional work, work of art, or other creative content that meets the definition of a free cultural work.

Gratis versus libre

The English adjective free is commonly used in one of two meanings: "for free" (gratis) and "with little or no restriction" (libre). This ambiguity of free can cause issues where the distinction is important, as it often is in dealing with laws concerning the use of information, such as copyright and patents.

The terms gratis and libre may be used to categorise intellectual property, particularly computer programs, according to the licenses and legal restrictions that cover them, in the free software and open source communities, as well as the broader free culture movement. For example, they are used to distinguish freeware (software gratis) from free software (software libre).

Richard Stallman summarised the difference in a slogan: "Think free as in free speech, not free beer."

Hybrid open-access journal

A hybrid open-access journal is a subscription journal in which some of the articles are open access. This status typically requires the payment of a publication fee (also called an article processing charge or APC) to the publisher in order to publish an article open access, in addition to the continued payment of subscriptions to access all other content.

OMICS Publishing Group

OMICS Publishing Group is a predatory publisher of open access academic journals. It started publishing its first journal in 2008. By 2015, it claimed over 700 journals, although about half of them were defunct.

Its subsidiaries include iMedPub LTD and Conference Series LLC LTD. Other organisations linked to OMICS are EuroSciCon Ltd, Allied Academies, Trade Science Inc, and Meetings International.OMICS has come under attack by numerous academics and the United States government over the validity of the peer review by OMICS journals, the appropriateness of its fees and marketing, and the apparent advertising of the names of scientists as journal editors or conference speakers without their knowledge or permission. The U.S. National Institutes of Health sent a cease-and-desist letter to OMICS in 2013, demanding it to discontinue with false claims of affiliation with U.S. government entities or employees. In August 2016 OMICS became the first academic publisher to be sued by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), for deceptive practices.

OMICS has responded to criticisms by avowing a commitment to open access publishing, claiming that detractors are traditional subscription-based publishers who feel threatened by their open access publishing model. It responded to the FTC suit by maintaining that their practices were legal and claiming that corporate interests were driving the suit. It has also threatened a prominent critic, Jeffrey Beall, with a US$1 billion lawsuit for defamation.

Open Access Week

Open Access Week is an annual scholarly communication event focusing on open access and related topics. It takes place globally during the last full week of October in a multitude of locations both on- and offline. Typical activities include talks, seminars, symposia, or the announcement of open access mandates or other milestones in open access. For instance, the Royal Society chose Open Access Week 2011 to announce that they would release the digitized backfiles of their archives, dating from 1665 to 1941.

PLOS

PLOS (for Public Library of Science) is a nonprofit open-access science, technology and medicine publisher, innovator and advocacy organization with a library of open-access journals and other scientific literature under an open-content license. It launched its first journal, PLOS Biology, in October 2003 and publishes seven journals, as of October 2015. The organization is based in San Francisco, California, and has a European editorial office in Cambridge, England. The publications are primarily funded by payments from the authors.

Predatory open-access publishing

Predatory open-access publishing, or sometimes write-only publishing, is an exploitative open-access academic publishing business model that involves charging publication fees to authors without providing the editorial and publishing services associated with legitimate journals (open access or not). The idea that they are "predatory" is based on the view that academics are tricked into publishing with them, though some authors may be aware that the journal is poor quality or even fraudulent. New scholars from developing countries are said to be especially at risk of being misled by predatory practices."Beall's List", a report that was regularly updated by Jeffrey Beall of the University of Colorado until January 2017, set forth criteria for categorizing publications as predatory. The list was taken offline by the author in January 2017. A demand by Frontiers Media to open a misconduct case against Beall was reported as the reason Beall closed the list, but an investigation by the university was closed with no findings. After the closure, other efforts to identify predatory publishing have sprouted, such as the paywalled Cabell's blacklist, as well as other lists (some based on the original listing by Beall).

PubMed Central

PubMed Central (PMC) is a free digital repository that archives publicly accessible full-text scholarly articles that have been published within the biomedical and life sciences journal literature. As one of the major research databases within the suite of resources that have been developed by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), PubMed Central is much more than just a document repository. Submissions into PMC undergo an indexing and formatting procedure which results in enhanced metadata, medical ontology, and unique identifiers which all enrich the XML structured data for each article on deposit. Content within PMC can easily be interlinked to many other NCBI databases and accessed via Entrez search and retrieval systems, further enhancing the public's ability to freely discover, read and build upon this portfolio of biomedical knowledge.PubMed Central is very distinct from PubMed. PubMed Central is a free digital archive of full articles, accessible to anyone from anywhere via a web browser (with varying provisions for reuse). Conversely, although PubMed is a searchable database of biomedical citations and abstracts, the full-text article physically resides elsewhere (in print or online, free or behind a subscriber paywall).

As of December 2018, the PMC archive contained over 5.2 million articles, with contributions coming directly from publishers or authors depositing their own manuscripts into the repository per the NIH Public Access Policy. Older data shows that from Jan 2013 to Jan 2014 author-initiated deposits exceeded 103,000 papers during this 12-month period. PMC also identifies about 4,000 journals which now participate in some capacity to automatically deposit their published content into the PMC repository. Some participating publishers will delay the release of their articles on PubMed Central for a set time after publication, this is often referred to as an "embargo period", and can range from a few months to a few years depending on the journal. (Embargoes of six to twelve months are the most common.) However, PubMed Central is a key example of "systematic external distribution by a third party" which is still prohibited by the contributor agreements of many publishers.

Sci-Hub

Sci-Hub is a website that provides free access to millions of paywalled and open-access research papers and books. Sci-Hub obtains paywalled papers by authenticating with universities' proxy servers, which provide access to publishers' online libraries, using illicitly obtained usernames and passwords. The means by which Sci-Hub obtains usernames and passwords is unclear. Sci-Hub stores papers it downloads on its own servers. Books are stored on LibGen.

Sci-Hub was founded by Alexandra Elbakyan in 2011 in Kazakhstan, as a reaction to the high cost of research papers behind paywalls, typically US$30 each when bought on a per-paper basis. The site is widely used in both developed and developing countries, serving over 200,000 requests per day as of February, 2016.Sci-Hub and Elbakyan were sued twice for copyright infringement in the United States – first in 2015 by Elsevier and then by the American Chemical Society in 2017, and judgments were declared against it both times, leading to loss of its Internet domain names. The site has cycled through different domain names since then.Sci-Hub has been lauded by some in the scientific, academic, and publishing communities for giving people free and efficient access to knowledge generated by the scientific community. It has also met with criticism for compromising universities' network security, jeopardizing legitimate access to papers by university staff, violating copyright, and threatening the economic viability of publishers.

Social Science Research Network

The SSRN, formerly known as Social Science Research Network, is a repository and international journal devoted to the rapid dissemination of scholarly research in the social sciences and humanities and more. In May 2016, SSRN was bought from Social Science Electronic Publishing Inc. by Elsevier.

Tragedy of the commons

The tragedy of the commons is a term used in environmental science to describe a situation in a shared-resource system where individual users acting independently according to their own self-interest behave contrary to the common good of all users by depleting or spoiling that resource through their collective action. The concept originated in an essay written in 1833 by the British economist William Forster Lloyd, who used a hypothetical example of the effects of unregulated grazing on common land (also known as a "common") in Great Britain and Ireland. The concept became widely known as the "tragedy of the commons" over a century later due to an article written by the American ecologist and philosopher Garrett Hardin in 1968. In this modern economic context, commons is taken to mean any shared and unregulated resource such as atmosphere, oceans, rivers, fish stocks, roads and highways, or even an office refrigerator.

It has been argued that the very term "tragedy of the commons" is a misnomer since "the commons" referred to land resources with rights jointly owned by members of a community, and no individual outside the community had any access to the resource. However, the term is now used in social science and economics when describing a problem where all individuals have equal and open access to a resource. Hence, "tragedy of open access regimes" or simply "the open access problem" are more apt terms.The "tragedy of the commons" is often cited in connection with sustainable development, meshing economic growth and environmental protection, as well as in the debate over global warming. It has also been used in analyzing behavior in the fields of economics, evolutionary psychology, anthropology, game theory, politics, taxation and sociology.

Although common resource systems have been known to collapse due to overuse (such as in over-fishing), many examples have existed and still do exist where members of a community with access to a common resource co-operate or regulate to exploit those resources prudently without collapse. Elinor Ostrom was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics for demonstrating exactly this concept in her book Governing the Commons, which included examples of how local communities were able to do this without top-down regulations.

ZooBank

ZooBank is an open access website intended to be the official International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN) registry of zoological nomenclature. Any nomenclatural acts (e.g. publications that create or change a taxonomic name) need to be registered with ZooBank to be "officially" recognized by the ICZN Code of Nomenclature.

Life Science Identifiers (LSIDs) are used as the globally unique identifier for ZooBank registration entries.The ZooBank prototype was seeded with data from Index to Organism Names, which was compiled from the scientific literature in Zoological Record now owned by Thomson Reuters.

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