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Open access for the medical librarian Morrison, Heather; Waller, Andrew 2006

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FEATURE / MANCHETTEOpen access for the medical librarian1Heather Morrison and Andrew WallerAbstract: In this article open access is defined, and the resources and issues of greatest relevance to the medical li-brarian are discussed. The economics of open access publishing is examined from the point of view of the universitylibrary. Open access resources, both journals and articles in repositories, are already significant and growing rapidly.There are close to 2300 fully open access, peer-reviewed journals listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals(DOAJ) (320 health sciences titles are included). DOAJ is adding new titles at the rate of 1.5 per day. An OAIstersearch of resources in repositories includes more than 7.6 million items (a rough estimate of the number of articles inrepositories, although not all items are full text), and this number will exceed one billion items before the end of 2007.Medical research funders, including the US National Institutes of Health, the Wellcome Trust, the UK Medical ResearchCouncil, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, either have implemented or are considering open access poli-cies. This will drive greater growth in open access resources, particularly in the area of medicine. There are implica-tions and leadership opportunities for librarians in the open access environment.Morrison and Waller 73IntroductionThe open access (or OA) movement is one of the morenotable developments to have emerged in the library worldin the last few years. It has implications for all types of li-braries and librarians, particularly in the health sciences.This paper presents some basic information about OA aswell as a survey of recent OA policy developments, particu-larly those relevant to the medical field.Open access: a definitionThere are several definitions of open access. One of thebetter definitions is from the Budapest Open Archives Initia-tive (BOAI) (www.soros.org/openaccess). The BOAI statesthat OA involves “free availability on the public internet,permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print,search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl themfor indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them forany other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or techni-cal barriers other than those inseparable from gaining accessto the internet itself” [1].The focus of the OA movement is scholarly, peer-reviewedresearch articles, which authors have traditionally given away,although the concept can apply to other types of resources,such as theses, dissertations, and grey literature.Open access is free availability immediately on publica-tion. There are other initiatives to increase access. For exam-ple, publishers can allow content to be freely accessed afteran embargo period (usually 6–12 months); this can be betterdescribed as free back issues, rather than OA.Reasons for open accessThere are many reasons for supporting OA, including thefollowing:(i) Access to research information – The results of researchand other scholarly activities must be disseminated to beuseful. If an article that reports the results of research ishidden behind some sort of toll (toll access or TA), i.e.,it requires a subscription or pay-per-view to access, thislimits the amount of dissemination that is likely to occur,essentially to those libraries and users that can afford thesubscription and (or) pay-per-view costs. The differencein dissemination is illustrated by a substantial body ofresearch showing that OA articles are cited more oftenthan articles hidden behind tolls [2,3].(ii) Access to taxpayer-funded information and equity of ac-cess – Much of the research that is carried out in univer-sities and elsewhere is funded with taxpayer dollars,usually supplied via large funding bodies. It is arguedthat no user should have to pay again, through either anindividual or institutional subscription, for content thatthey have already paid for with their taxes. In the UnitedStates, there is a strong push along these lines from or-ganizations such as the Alliance for Taxpayer AccessJCHLA / JABSC 27: 69–73 (2006)69H. Morrison. BC Electronic Library Network (http://eln.bc.ca),W.A.C. Bennett Library, 7th Floor, Simon Fraser University,8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6, Canada (e-mail:heatherm@eln.bc.ca, blog: http://poeticeconomics.blogspot.com).A. Waller. University of Calgary Library, MLB 402B,2500 University Drive NW, Calgary, AB T2N 1N4, Canada(e-mail: waller@ucalgary.ca).1This article is based on a presentation given at theCanadian Health Libraries Association Conference, 14 May2006, Vancouver, B.C.(www.taxpayeraccess.org). In addition, there are strongarguments that the results of government-funded medi-cal research, information that can affect people’s lives,should be freely available to all, not just to those whocan afford to pay. Open access can help to make moreof this vital material available to all who need it, regard-less of means.(iii) Facilitates evidence-based medicine – Increased accessfor the practicing professional facilitates the practice ofevidence-based medicine by making the evidence moreaccessible.(iv) Author control – In the traditional world of scholarlyjournal publishing, the author has typically signed overall, or almost all, copyright to the publisher. In an OAenvironment, the author generally keeps the copyrightand only grants the publisher the right to publish the ar-ticle in that journal; all other rights are retained. Hence,in some ways, an author has more control in an OA situ-ation than in the traditional environment.(v) Library costs – Another impetus behind OA relates tothe cost of toll access. Here is the situation: Using taxdollars, scholars are conducting research and publishingtheir research in journals that require up-front paymentto be accessed by users. Who is providing the payment?Libraries are, via frequently very expensive subscriptioncosts that increase at an average of 8%–12% annually, ifnot (much) more. These prices have had dire effects onthe budgets of academic libraries for many years. Openaccess eliminates this total dependence on these up-frontcosts for access, something that may help libraries dealwith serial budget difficulties.It should be stressed that this does not mean that OA con-tent is free to produce nor does it necessarily mean that li-braries are off the hook for that payment. Open accessadvocates cannot be naïve about this; it costs to produce anddistribute peer-reviewed scholarly material (though there arealso ways to make the production cheaper).The main tracks of open accessGenerally speaking, there are two main tracks of open ac-cess: author self-archiving and open access publishing.Author self-archivingThis involves authors (or a proxy) depositing a preprint and(or) a postprint of their articles in an open access repository(OAR). The Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR)currently lists more than 700 archives (http://archives.eprints.org/).These repositories can be cross-searched using tools such asOAIster (www.oaiaster.org), as a result of the Open ArchivesInitiative (OAI) (www.openarchives.org) protocol for metadataharvesting. There are more than 7.6 million items includedin an OAIster search (not all are full text, some are biblio-graphic records only); the total is expected to exceed onebillion items before the end of 2007 [4]. Users can also eas-ily retrieve articles in repositories using common search toolssuch as Google and Google Scholar. Having articles in OARsprovides a measure of preservation, as well as access.Open access repositories can be institutional repositories,which are designed to collect and preserve the digital schol-arly output of a university or similar body, or they can besubject-based repositories. The most important repository inthe medical field is the subject repository PubMed Central(PMC) (www.pubmedcentral.com). A United Kingdom PMC(UKPMC) is in development.There are 15–18 institutional repositories in Canada (maybemore) and many elsewhere in the world. Some are connectedto hospitals; for instance, the Landspítali University Hospitalin Iceland (http://landspitali.openrepository.com/lsh) has anarchive for the work of its staff.The question that is most often asked, especially by uni-versity researchers, about author self-archiving is How arethe journal publishers with this? The answer is that the ma-jority of publishers are fine with this, according to the publishercopyright policies and self-archiving page on the SHERPAWeb site (www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo.php). Most journal pub-lishers, commercial and otherwise, big and small, allow de-position of preprints, postprints, or both.For librarians, there are a number of library and informationscience (LIS) repositories, the largest of which is E-LIS, theOA archive for library and information studies, where search-ing and depositing articles is free (http://eprints.rclis.org/).E-LIS services include Metalis, a cross-search of LIS OA re-positories.Open access publishingOpen access publishing involves making articles open ac-cess in the process of publication. Some OA journals arenew, while others have been converted from a subscriptionmodel. While author self-archiving is a very important pathto OA, and some believe it is the only means necessary, OApublishing has tended to be the focus of discussion.There has been a great deal of activity in OA publishing. TheDirectory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) (www.doaj.org),a librarian-vetted list of fully OA, peer-reviewed scholarlyjournals, currently lists nearly 2300 titles and has been add-ing titles at an average rate of 1.5 per day [4,5]. TheDOAJ includes 320 health sciences journals. Free MedicalJournals (www.freemedicaljournals.com) lists 1450 jour-nals, though some of these are free only after a certain periodof time and so are not truly OA. BioMed Central (BMC)(www.biomedcentral.com), one of the best known of the OAmedical publishers, publishes around 175 OA titles. Otherimportant OA publishers to be aware of include the PublicLibrary of Science (PLoS), Hindawi Publishing, andMedknow Publications.Traditional publishers are also entering the field, presentingeither fully OA journals, such as Evidence-Based Complemen-tary and Alternative Medicine (http://ecam.oxfordjournals.org/)from Oxford University Press, or “hybrid” journals, wherejournal issues feature a mix of OA and toll access articles.Library and information science (LIS) journals are alsopublishing as OA; there are more than 60 LIS OA journalslisted in DOAJ. Kudos to the Journal of the Canadian HealthLibraries Association for moving to OA publishing withthe Spring 2006 issue. Other OA LIS journals that may beof interest to the medical librarian include the Journal ofthe Medical Library Association, fully archived in PMC(http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/tocrender.fcgi?action=archive&journal=93); Evidence Based Library and InformationPractice (http://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/index.php/EBLIP/),Partnership: the Canadian Journal of Library and Informa-70 JCHLA / JABSC Vol. 27, 2006tion Practice and Research (forthcoming); and BiomedicalDigital Libraries (http://www.bio-diglib.com/), a BMC jour-nal.Much of the discussion around OA publishing boils downto economics. How are quality OA publications created whilestill paying for the processes of publication and peer review?There are numerous possible ways of doing this; many couldbe used in combination. These include, but are not limitedto, the following: (i) advertising, (ii) governmental support,(iii) grants, (iv) institutional support, (v) memberships,(vi) sponsorships, and (vii) submission charges.The submission charge option has gathered a lot of inter-est and discussion, both pro and con. It is important to notethat less than half of OA journals (47%) charge submissionfees [6], and many non-OA journals do charge a variety ofsubmission fees (e.g., page charges, illustration charges, etc.).In fact, until about 20 years ago or so, some publisherscharged authors completely for the costs of publication. BMCuses the submission-charges option, and traditional publishersare experimenting with submission charge-based OA pub-lishing, whether for entire journals or as an option for indi-vidual articles (the “open choice” model). Some publisherscharge a flat per-article fee; others have different charges fordifferent journals, or the charges vary depending on whetheror not the library is a subscriber or member. The following areexamples of publisher submission charges: American Instituteof Physics Author Select, US$2000 per article; BlackwellOpen Online, US$2500 per article; Elsevier “sponsored arti-cles”, US$3000 per article; Proceedings of the NationalAcademy of Sciences, US$1000 per article; Public Libraryof Science, US$2000–$2500 per article; Springer OpenChoice, US$3000 per article.Issues regarding open accessThe following are a few of the key issues regarding openaccess, in brief:(i) Economic model for open access (publishing) – In manyways, this is the big question: OA is access-driven, but,especially in terms of publishing, how do we pay for it?It is likely that some OA options won’t work with somedisciplines but are quite compatible with others. For ex-ample, Mary Waltham’s recent study indicated that asubmission fee approach to OA is a very good model forsome learned societies, but would not work for others[7].(ii) Getting content into repositories – For institutional re-positories, the number of articles deposited has beenlow, as little as 15% of articles that could have been de-posited [8]. Evidence suggests that the only way to besuccessful is to mandate (“requirement policy”), at aninstitutional level, that articles have to be deposited. Ac-cording to one survey, given a requirement, 81% of re-searchers will deposit their articles willingly (and others,grudgingly) [9], but those who work in universities knowthat mandating faculty to do anything can be difficult.(iii) The library situation – If libraries are paying submissioncharges for their institutions or end up becoming OApublishers themselves, will subscription payments endup being replaced by production-based payments? Whateffect will this have on collections? Would this be agood thing or a bad thing? Also, what’s the end gamefor libraries? If libraries end up in an all-OA world,what’s to stop administrators from saying “It really isall free on the Internet now! Let’s cut the library bud-get.” How do libraries position themselves so that thisdoesn’t happen, and they don’t end up marginalized?Open access policyResearch fundersThe research funding community is leading in the devel-opment of OA policy for several very good reasons. Openaccess is the optimum method for disseminating the researchthat the agency has funded. As discussed previously, there issubstantial evidence that OA articles are cited more often(more impact). For the research funder, this means (i) moreresearch impact — more researchers to view the results andcarry on the next steps; (ii) more real-world impact, particularlyin an area like medicine, where expanding access enhances theability of the practitioner to practice evidence-based medi-cine; and (iii) more visibility for the work of the fundingagency per se, which can only help to ensure ongoing sup-port for the work of the agency. It is not surprising then thatresearch funders tend to be strongly in favour of OA.US National Institutes of Health: Public Access PolicyThe world’s largest funder of medical research is the USNational Institutes of Health (NIH). On 2 May 2005, theNIH implemented a Public Access Policy stating that NIH“requests and strongly encourages all investigators to maketheir NIH-funded, peer-reviewed, author’s final manuscriptavailable to other researchers and the public through theNIH National Library of Medicine’s (NLM) PubMed Central(PMC) immediately after the final date of journal publica-tion”. Elsewhere, the policy statement allows for a delay pe-riod of up to 12 months, a compromise designed to assuagethe concerns of publishers with immediate OA [10].The NIH experience demonstrates why compliance withan OA policy must be required, not just requested. Evenwith strong encouragement, compliance with the policy hasbeen less than 4% [11]. The NIH developed a Public AccessWorking Group to address the deficiencies in this policy, andthe recommendations of this group were to change the re-quest to a requirement and to shorten the maximum permis-sible delay to 6 months from 12 months. Legislative effortsare currently underway in the US to address these deficien-cies.US Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006Recently, a bill called the Federal Research Public AccessAct of 2006 (FRPAA) was introduced in the US Senate bySenators Cornyn and Liebermann. If passed, this act wouldapply to all US federal funding agencies with extramural re-search portfolios of US$100 million or more (11 agencies inall). Each agency would be required to implement a public ac-cess policy requiring research grantees to supply an electroniccopy of their manuscript accepted for publication for OAwithin 6 months of publication. More information about FRPAAis available from the Scholarly Publication and Research Coali-tion Web site at http://www.arl.org/sparc/resources/frpaa.htmlMorrison and Waller 71or the Alliance for Taxpayer Access Web site at http://www.taxpayeraccess.org/frpaa/index.html.When FRPAA was introduced, it was simultaneously en-dorsed by a number of the major library associations in theUnited States: the American Library Association, the Asso-ciation of College and Research Libraries, the Association ofResearch Libraries, the Medical Library Association, theSpecial Libraries Association, and the American Associationof Law Libraries. Could Canadian library associations worktogether in harmony to advocate for OA in this way?Wellcome TrustThe second largest medical research funder in the world isthe UK-based Wellcome Trust. The Wellcome Trust was thefirst research funder to implement a truly strong OA policy(the Wellcome Trust position statement in support of openand unrestricted access to published research is available athttp://www.wellcome.ac.uk/doc_WTD002766.html). WellcomeTrust grantees are required to deposit a copy of the peer-reviewed articles resulting from their funded research forOA in PMC within 6 months of publication. The WellcomeTrust policy applies to all grants awarded since October2005. Articles covered by this policy are already beginningto appear in PMC. The Wellcome Trust is in the process ofsetting up UKPMC, which will mirror and complement theoriginal PMC.UK Medical Research CouncilEffective 1 October 2006, recipients of new UK MedicalResearch Council funding awards are required to depositpeer-reviewed research results for OA in PMC (UKPMC,when available) at the earliest opportunity and certainly within6 months of publication (http://www.mrc.ac.uk/open_access).Canadian Institutes for Health ResearchThe Canadian Institutes for Health Research have a policyin development called Access to Products of Research. Asurvey was conducted in May 2006, and the results are ex-pected shortly.Policy and open access archives (institutional repositories)Organizations are beginning to develop policies for theirOA archives (institutional repositories) as well. Presently, 22organizations have institutional policies requiring OA (seethe Registry of Open Access Repositories Material ArchivingPolicies at http://www.eprints.org/openaccess/policysignup/).Organizations that have institutional repositories in place arebeginning to find, like the NIH, that simply providing the ar-chive and strongly encouraging researchers to deposit theirarticles is not sufficient. To fill the archives, a requirement todeposit articles is essential. Once the requirement is in place,the archives fill up quite quickly. CERN, the world’s largestparticle physics laboratory, for example, now has more than360 000 full-text documents in its repository.ConclusionsThere is a great deal happening in open access that themedical librarian needs to be aware of. The resources them-selves are significant and growing, with close to 2300 fullyOA, peer-reviewed scholarly journals (320 of which are inthe medical field), and OA titles are increasing at the rate of1.5 per day. The extent of the growing resources in OA re-positories is exemplified by the more than 7.6 million itemsencompassed by an OAIster search (not all items were fulltext), and this number is anticipated to grow to more thanone billion items by the end of 2007. Open access policiesare either in place or in consideration by all the major medicalresearch funding agencies, such as the US National Institutesof Health, the Wellcome Trust, the UK Medical ResearchCouncil, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research,among others. Implementation of OA policies will drive evengreater growth in OA resources in general and in the medi-cal field in particular. There are leadership roles for librariansin the OA environment. Librarians have long been leaders inOA advocacy and in educating faculty. There will be newroles for libraries, both academic and special, in buildingand filling institutional repositories, and some libraries aregetting involved in publishing as well. There are also rolesfor libraries in finding solutions to the economics of OA, aswell as potentially expanded roles in information literacyand research-level reference assistance, as the resources avail-able to our users expand through OA.References1. Budapest Open Archives Initiative [Web page]. [Updated 2002Feb 14; cited 2006 June 30.] Available from http://www.soros.org/openaccess/read.shtml.2. Eysenbach G. Citation advantage of open access articles. PLoSBiol [serial on the Internet]. 2006 May [cited 2006 Jun 30];4(5).Available from http://biology.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10%2E1371%2Fjournal%2Epbio%2E0040157.Eysenbach G. The open access advantage. J Med Internet Res[serial on the Internet]. 2006 [cited 2006 Jun 30];8(2). Avail-able from http://www.jmir.org/2006/2/e8/.3. Hitchock S. The effect of open access and downloads (‘hits’)on citation impact: a bibliography of studies [Web page].Southampton (UK): The Open Citation Project [cited 2006 July 2].Available from http://opcit.eprints.org/oacitation-biblio.html.4. Morrison H. Dramatic Growth June 2006 [Web page]. TheImaginary Journal of Poetic Economics [updated 2006 June 30;cited 2006 Jul 2]. Available from http://poeticeconomics.blogspot.com/2006/06/dramatic-growth-june-2006.html.5. Morrison H. The dramatic growth of open access: implicationsand opportunities for resource sharing. Journal of InterlibraryLoan, Document Delivery & Electronic Reserve [serial on theInternet]. 2006 [cited 2006 Jul 2];16(3). Available fromhttp://eprints.rclis.org/archive/00004558/.6. Kaufmann-Wills Group. Variations on Open Access: a study ofthe impact of alternative business models on financial and non-financial aspects of scholarly journals. Preliminary results[Web page]. London Book Fair; 2005 Mar 14 [cited 2006July 2]. Available from http://www.alpsp.org/openacc.htm.7. Waltham M. JISC: Learned society open access business mod-els [Web page]. 2005 Jun [cited 2006 Jul 2]. Available fromhttp://www.marywaltham.com/JISCReport.pdf.8. Hajjem C. Étude de la variation de l’impact de citations desarticles en accès libre [Web page]. 2005 Jul 28 [cited 2006 Jul 2].Available from http://www.crsc.uqam.ca/lab/chawki/graphes/EtudeImpact.htm.9. Swan A, Brown S. Open access self-archiving: An author study[Web page]. Truro (UK): Key Perspectives Limited; 2005.72 JCHLA / JABSC Vol. 27, 2006Technical Report, Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC),UK FE and HE funding councils [cited 2006 Jun 30]. Avail-able from http://cogprints.org/4385/.10. US National Institutes of Health. NIH Public Access Policy[Web page]. Bethesda (Md.): National Institutes of Health[updated 2005 May; cited 2006 Jul 2]. Available from http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/funding/policies/public-access.htm.11. US Department of Health and Human Services, National Insti-tutes of Health. Report on the NIH Public Access Policy [Webpage]. Bethesda (Md.): National Institutes of Health; 2006 Jan[cited 2006 Jul 2]. Available from http://publicaccess.nih.gov/Final_Report_20060201.pdf.Additional resourcesFor further information and links to key resources, pleasesee Peter Suber’s Open Access Overview at http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/overview.htm. For daily news, see PeterSuber’s Open Access News at http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/fosblog.html. Open access resources and news most per-tinent to librarians can be found on the OA Librarian blog athttp://oalibrarian.blogspot.com (please note that the authorsare part of the OA Librarian blog team).Morrison and Waller 73


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