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Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship
Summer 2005

URLs in this document have been updated. Links enclosed in {curly brackets} have been changed. If a replacement link was located, the new URL was added and the link is active; if a new site could not be identified, the broken link was removed.


Open Access and Scholarly Communication -- A Selection of Key Web Sites

Hanna Kwasik
Serials Librarian


Pauline O. Fulda
Associate Director

John P. Isché Library
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center
New Orleans, LA 70112

Table of Contents

Scope and methods
Chart comparing publishing models
Organizations supporting open access
International events
National events
Government activities
Publishers and Publishing
Digital archives
Recommended Reading


There is extensive coverage and ongoing discussion in scientific communities, literature, and on the Internet regarding open access and scholarly communication. The open access movement is supported and advanced by a spectrum of interest groups and activities such as national and international organizations, publishers, individuals, and many special events. While open access is gaining strength and popularity as the new model for dissemination of information, there are still many issues not completely resolved such as pricing models, peer reviewing, indexing and impact factors, archiving, and the stability of this new publishing model for scientific literature. The open access movement has had a tremendous worldwide impact and involves not only the academic and publishing communities but also many other disciplines.

For a more detailed overview of the open access movement, consult Peter Suber's Open Access Overview.

Scope and Methods

The purpose of the webliography is to present an overview of the open access movement through a compilation of key web sites. This synthesis will provide the user with the major components of the movement and a basic background on the topic.

Through a literature review process the authors identified relevant works on the open access movement. Major bibliographic databases for library and information sciences, as well as other appropriate databases and web sites had been searched and reviewed. This guide presents a selected list of sites arranged chronologically in each section. Annotations have been taken directly from web sites. The sites highlight national and international milestones, current status, regulations, and the individuals who have influenced the movement.

Definition of an Open Access Publication

An open access publication1 is one that meets the following two conditions:

  1. The author(s) and copyright holder(s) grant(s) to all users a free, irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual (for the lifetime of the applicable copyright) right of access to, and a license to copy, use, distribute, perform and display the work publicly and to make and distribute derivative works in any digital medium for any reasonable purpose, subject to proper attribution of authorship2, as well as the right to make small numbers of printed copies for their personal use.

  2. A complete version of the work and all supplemental materials, including a copy of the permission as stated above, in a suitable standard electronic format is deposited immediately upon initial publication in at least one online repository that is supported by an academic institution, scholarly society, government agency, or other well-established organization that seeks to enable open access, unrestricted distribution, interoperability, and long-term archiving (for the biomedical sciences, PubMed Central is such a repository).

1 An open access publication is a property of individual works, not necessarily of journals or of publishers.
2Community standards, rather than copyright law, will continue to provide the mechanism for enforcement of proper attribution and responsible use of the published work, as they do now.

This definition of open access publication has been taken from A Position statement by the Wellcome Trust in support of open access publishing and was based on the definition arrived at by delegates who attended a meeting on open access publishing convened by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in July 2003.

Chart Comparing Publishing Models

The chart below illustrates similarities and differences between two publishing models: traditional and open access.

Publishing Models


Timeline of the Open Access Movement
The open access movement timeline was developed and is maintained by Peter Suber, Open Access Project Director, Research Professor of Philosophy. Peter Suber also maintains daily a blog, Open Access News, and a monthly newsletter, SPARC Open Access Newsletter.

Organizations Supporting Open Access

The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA)
IFLA is the leading international body representing the interests of library and information services and their users. It is the global voice of the library and information profession. Founded in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1927. IFLA has over 1,700 Members in more than 150 countries around the world.

Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC®)
SPARC was launched by the Association of Research Libraries. SPARC® is an alliance of universities, research libraries, and organizations built as a constructive response to market dysfunctions in the scholarly communication system. SPARC serves as a catalyst for action, helping to create systems that expand information dissemination and use in a networked digital environment while responding to the needs of academe.

Information Access Alliance (IAA)
The IAA is composed of seven member organizations, and believes that a new standard of antitrust review should be adopted by state and federal antitrust enforcement agencies in examining merger transactions in the serials publishing industry. The seven member organizations include the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), the American Library Association (ALA), the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), the Association of Research Libraries, the Medical Library Association (MLA), SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), and the Special Libraries Association (SLA).

Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL)
ACRL, a division of the American Library Association, is a professional association of academic librarians and other interested individuals. It is dedicated to enhancing the ability of academic library and information professionals to serve the information needs of the higher education community and to improve learning, teaching, and research. ARL released its Principles and Strategies for the Reform of Scholarly Communication, endorsing open access.

International Consortium for the Advancement of Academic Publication (ICAAP)
The ICAAP was launched as a research and development organization devoted to the advancement of electronic scholarly communication. Its mission includes technological support, publication, and enhancement of scholarly journals and educational resources, with the goals of greater accessibility, recognition and communication within the academic community.

The Wellcome Trust
The Wellcome Trust issued a position statement and {research report} endorsing open access. The Wellcome Trust is an independent research-funding charity, established under the will of Sir Henry Wellcome in 1936. Its mission is to foster and promote research with the aim of improving human and animal health.

Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP)
ALPSP is the international trade association for not-for-profit publishers and those who work with them. ALPSP released a {public statement on open access} (PDF). It is brief, but notable for encouraging society publishers to experiment with OA.

World Health Organization (WHO)
The World Health Organization is the United Nations specialized agency for health. WHO organized a meeting on mental health research in low and middle income countries and the role of scientific journals in November 2003. A joint public statement, Galvanising Mental Health Research in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Role of Scientific Journals (PDF), was issued in January 2004. One of its recommendations was that journals provide open access to their contents.

National Institutes of Health (NIH)
The mission of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is to uncover new knowledge that will lead to better health for everyone. The sharing of ideas, data, and research findings is encouraged by NIH as a primary mechanism for accomplishing this important public mission. NIH is proposing a new policy on public access and manuscript archiving.

International Events

Budapest Open Access Initiative
The Budapest Open Access Initiative published two business guides for open-access publishing, one for {launching new open-access journals} (PDF) and one for {converting traditional journals to open access} (PDF), each written by Raym Crow and Howard Goldstein.

Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing
The statements of principle were drafted during a one-day meeting held on April 11, 2003 at the headquarters of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

Wellcome Trust issued a position statement
The Wellcome Trust issued a position statement and {research report} endorsing open access.

UN World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)
The WSIS is held in two phases. The first phase of WSIS took place in Geneva hosted by the Government of Switzerland from December 10-12, 2003, where 175 countries adopted a Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action. The second phase will take place in Tunis hosted by the Government of Tunisia, from November 16-18, 2005.

Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP)
ALPSP is the international trade association for not-for-profit publishers and those who work with them. ALPSP released a {position statement on open access} (PDF). It is brief, but notable for encouraging society publishers to experiment with OA.

IFLA Statement on Open Access to Scholarly Literature and Research Documentation
IFLA released the IFLA Statement on Open Access to Scholarly Literature and Research Documentation. The statement was adopted by the Governing Board of IFLA at its meeting in The Hague on 5th December 2003.

National Events

Manifesto for Responsible Scholarly Publishers
The Manifesto was released by Stephen Boyd and others on the Stanford Academic Council Committee on Libraries and includes a brief list of critical policies that define the "responsible scholarly publisher."

BioMed Central announcement
BioMed Central announced plan to offer free online access to all its journals.

E-Biomed proposed
E-Biomed was proposed by Harold Varmus in 1999. E-Biomed was to be an electronic publishing system for biomedical research, an electronic public library of medicine and other life sciences. The idea evolved, and the concept took form with the advent of PubMed Central.

ACRL launched its scholarly communication initiative
In January 2002, the ACRL Board of Directors voted to begin a scholarly communications initiative, based on the report of the Scholarly Communication Task Force. This web site includes documents defining the scope of the initiative and describing work completed to date under the initiative.

Creative Commons Launched
A nonprofit corporation, Creative Commons promotes the creative re-use of intellectual works, whether owned or in the public domain. Creative Commons is based at Stanford Law School, where it shares staff, space, and inspiration with the school's Center for Internet and Society.

Public Library of Science (PLoS)
PLoS received a $9 million grant from the Moore Foundation and announced it would begin a new publishing venture. The first two journal publications are PLoS Biology and PLoS Medicine.

ACRL released Principles and Strategies for the Reform of Scholarly Communication Endorsing Open Access
This document, which was developed by the ACRL Scholarly Communications Committee, is intended to be a foundation statement that provides overall guidance to the ACRL scholarly communications initiative. It was approved by the ACRL Board of Directors on June 24, 2003 at the ALA Annual Conference in Toronto.

Washington, DC Principles
A group of 48 non-profit publishers issued the Washington D.C. Principles for Free Access to Science. The document outlined continued support for broad access to the scientific and medical literature through statements of publishing principles and practices.

U.S. National Institutes of Health National Institutes of Health
The NIH released its open-access plan, Enhanced Public Access to NIH Research Information, for a period of comment in September 2004.
Five months later the NIH released its Policy on Enhancing Public Access to Archived Publications Resulting From NIH-Funded Research.

NIH Decision
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announces its policy on enhancing public access to archived publications resulting from NIH-funded research. Beginning May 2, 2005, NIH-funded investigators are requested to submit to the NIH National Library of Medicine's (NLM) PubMed Central (PMC) an electronic version of the author's final manuscript upon acceptance for publication, resulting from research supported, in whole or in part, with direct costs from NIH. The author's final manuscript is defined as the final version accepted for journal publication, and includes all modifications from the publishing peer review process.

Government Activities

Eldred v. Ashcroft
In Eldred v. Ashcroft, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that legislation retroactively extending the term of copyright, or pirating from the public domain, is constitutional.

Public Access to Science Act (HR 2613)
The Public Access to Science Act (H.R. 2613) is legislation that would make all federally financed research freely available to the public. It was introduced on June 26, 2003 by Representative Martin O. Sabo (D-MN) with support from the Public Library of Science.

Information Access Alliance
The Information Access Alliance represents institutions engaged in research, education, law, and health care. The coalition urges the U.S. Department of Justice to block Cinven and Candover's proposed purchase of {BertelsmannSpringer}(PDF), the academic publishing arm of Bertelsmann AG. The Alliance is concerned that this transaction will result in reduced access to critical research information.

Publishers and Publishing

BioMed Central
BioMed Central is an independent publishing house committed to providing immediate free access to peer-reviewed biomedical research. BioMed Central is committed to ensuring efficient and effective quality control through full and stringent peer review.

BioMed Central's portfolio of over 100 journals ranges from the highly selective, general interest Journal of Biology, which publishes both online and in print, to a range of specialist online only journals.

BioMed Central now has 550 institutional members (as of August 13, 2005). Researchers from member institutions have the right to publish an unlimited number of research articles in journals published by BioMed Central without paying any article processing charges.

The Public Library of Science (PLoS) is a non-profit organization of scientists and physicians committed to making the world's scientific and medical literature a freely available public resource. The PLoS journals are run by professional editors, trained scientists, and physicians, in close collaboration with editorial boards. Papers published in these journals are peer reviewed using a uniquely consultative process between editors and experts in their field, and are produced to the highest editorial and production standards. Under the open access model, PLoS makes all published works immediately available online, with no charges for access and no restrictions on subsequent redistribution or use.

PubMed is a service of the National Library of Medicine, it includes over 14 million citations for biomedical articles back to the 1950's. These citations are from MEDLINE and additional life science journals. PubMed includes links to many sites providing full text articles and other related resources.

PubMed Central (PMC)
PubMed Central (PMC) is the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) free digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature. Access to PMC is free and unrestricted. NLM is scanning the back issues of PMC journals and making these digitized copies available in PMC.

Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)
Directory of Open Access Journals provides free, full text, quality controlled scientific and scholarly journals. It aims to cover all subjects and languages. There are over 1,670 journals in the directory (as of August 13, 2005).


World Wide Web
In 1989, Tim Berners-Lee, a scientist at CERN, invented the World Wide Web. The Web was originally conceived and developed to meet the demand for automatic information sharing between scientists working in different universities and institutes all over the world.

The basic idea of WWW was to merge the technologies of personal computers, computer networking and hypertext into a powerful and easy to use global information system.

The Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
DOI is a system for identifying and exchanging intellectual property in the digital environment.

The DOI System provides a framework for managing intellectual content, for linking customers with content suppliers, for facilitating electronic commerce, and enabling automated copyright management for all types of media. The system is managed and directed by the International DOI Foundation. Several million DOIs have been assigned by DOI Registration Agencies in the US, Australasia, and Europe.

Eprints, open Archives Initiative (OAI)-compliant software for eprint archiving, released by Southampton University. maintains an open-source software package (GNU Eprints) that makes it easy for anyone to set up and run an institutional "E-print archive". The term 'E-print' covers both preprints, and also post-prints, electronic copies of articles that have already been accepted and published in an existing journal.

Open Journal System (OJS)
OJS was released by the Public Knowledge Project . It assists with every stage of the refereed publishing process, from submissions through to online publication and indexing.

OJS is open source software made freely available to journals worldwide for the purpose of making open access publishing a viable option for more journals, as open access can increase a journal's readership as well as its contribution to the public good on a global scale.

FEDORA (Flexible Extensible Digital Object and Repository Architecture)
Fedora is an open source digital repository service that gives organizations the tools for managing the existing and emerging content management requirements. At its core is a powerful digital object model that supports multiple representations or views of each digital object.

Digital Archives

HighWire Press
HighWire Press is a division of the Stanford University Libraries, which produces the online versions of high-impact, peer-reviewed journals and other scholarly content.

HighWire Press hosts over 15 million articles from over 4,500 PubMed journals, including free, full-text articles from 868 journals (as of August 13, 2005).

Open Archives Initiative
The Open Archives Initiative develops and promotes interoperability standards that aim to facilitate the efficient dissemination of content. The Open Archives Initiative is currently an organization and an effort explicitly in transition, and is committed to exploring and enabling this new and broader range of applications.

LOCKSS is open source, peer-to-peer software that functions as a persistent access preservation system. Information is delivered via the web, and stored using a sophisticated but easy to use caching system.

LOCKSS model capitalizes on the traditional roles of libraries and publishers. LOCKSS creates low-cost, persistent digital "caches" of authoritative versions of http-delivered content. The LOCKSS software enables institutions to locally collect, store, preserve, and archive authorized content thus safeguarding their community's access to that content. The LOCKSS model enforces the publisher's access control systems and, for many publishers, does no harm to their business models.

DSpace is a groundbreaking digital library system to capture, store, index, preserve, and redistribute the intellectual output of a university's research faculty in digital formats.

Developed jointly by MIT Libraries and Hewlett-Packard (HP), DSpace is now freely available to research institutions world-wide as an open source system that can be customized and extended.

Open Repository
Open Repository is a service provided by BioMed Central for institutions and research organizations. Open Repository offers professional help to institutions to quickly and easily build, launch, maintain, and populate their own repositories. The service has been designed to be flexible and cost-effective. BioMed Central's economy of scale makes it possible for institutions that could not otherwise afford to, or lack the infrastructure or technical capacity in-house, to set up repositories.

Recommended Reading

Anderson, R. 2004 Open access in the real world. College & Research Libraries News 65(4):206-08.

Bailey, C.W., Jr. 2005. Open Access Bibliography. Washington, D.C.: Association of Research Libraries, [Online]. Available: {} [9 April 2005].

Branin, J.J. and Case, M. 1998. Reforming scholarly publishing in the sciences: a librarian perspective. The Notices of the American Mathematical Society 45(4):475-86.

Crawford, B.D. 2003. Open-access publishing: where is the value? The Lancet 8:362(9395):1578-80.

Fowler, D.C. 2004. E-serials Collection Management; Transitions, Trends, and Technicalities. New York: The Haworth Information Press.

Greenbaum, D., et. al. 2003. An analysis of the present system of scientific publishing: what's wrong and where to go from here. Interdisciplinary Science Review 28(4):293-01.

Guterman, L. 2004. The Promise and peril of 'Open Access'. Chronicle of Higher Education 50(21):A10-3.

Harnad, S. 2003. For whom the gate tolls? How and why to free the refereed research literature online through author/institution self-archiving, now. In: Digital Libraries: Policy Planning and Practice (ed. by Law, D. & Andrews, J.), Ashgate Publishing [Online]. Available: [9 April 2005].

Liblicense-l; electronic discussion board on electronic content licensing for academic and research libraries [Online]. Available: [9 April 2005].
Liblicense-l archives. [Online]. Available: [9 April 2005].

Orsdel, L.F. and Born, K. 2004. Closing in on open access. Library Journal 129(7):45-50.

Plutchak, T.S. 2004. Embracing open access. Journal of the Medical Library Association 92(1):1-3.

Poynder, R. 2004. Ten years after. Information Today 21(9). [Online]. Available: [9 April 2005].

Prosser, D. 2004. The view from Europe: creating international change. College & Research Libraries News 65(5) [Online]. Available: {} [9 April 2005].

Public Library of Science. 2004. Evidence from the Public Library of Science. [Online]. Available: {} [9 April 2005].

Public Library of Science. 2004. Publishing Open-Access Journals; a Brief Overview from the Public Library of Science. San Francisco, CA [Online]. Available: {} [9 April 2005].

Schroter, S., et al. 2005. Perceptions of open access publishing: interviews with journal authors. BMJ 330(7494):756. Epub 2005 January 26.

Serials Review 2004 30(4):257-381. Special issue: Open Access 2004 [9 April 2005].

Stern, D. 2005. Open Access or differential pricing for journal: the road best traveled? Information Today 29(2). [Online]. Available: [9 April 2005].

Suber, P. 2003 Removing barriers to research. College & Research Libraries News 64(2):92-4, 113.

Susman, T.M., et al. 2003. Publisher Mergers: a Consumer-based Approach to Antitrust Analysis. Washington, D. C. The Alliance, [Online]. Available: {} [9 April 2005].

Tamber, P.S. 2003. Open access to peer-reviewed research: making it happen. The Lancet 362(9395):1575-7.

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