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Open Access Journals


									a look at OAJs, DOAJs, and ACRL-LA’s OAJ Codex

          Megan Lowe, Codex Editor
    Reference Librarian/Associate Professor
       University of Louisiana at Monroe
   I first came into contact with open access
    journals (also called OAJs) in 2009, when
    ACRL-LA was selected as one of five sites to
    host the ACRL Scholarly Communication
    101 Road Show

   The program, “Scholarly Communication
    101: Starting with Basics,” addressed several
    issues of growing interest to libraries, with
    hands-on applications and activities
The workshop, held in Baton Rouge, covered:

 new methods of scholarly publishing and
 copyright and intellectual property
 economics
 open access and openness as a principle

These issues are inter-related in profound ways
  that can impact libraries in positive ways.
   Open access publishing functions as a
    response to all of these issues

   OAJs represent a new method of
    scholarly publishing and communication
     Before open access publishing, authors
     published primarily in journals, which often
     meant that authors surrendered their
     copyrights of their work to the journal
   This meant that though an author may
    have done the actual work and writing
    to produce an article, they did not retain
    the rights to publish it again anywhere
    else, even on their own web space

   It also meant that an author’s work was
    reaching a limited audience – an
    audience that could afford access to
    that journal
   With the advent of OAJs, an author
     retain most of their rights to their own work;
     with most OAJs, authors surrender “first rights”
     only – that is, authors grant the publisher the
     right to be the first publication to publish the
     material once
      ▪ In North America, this is called First North American
        Serial Rights, or FNASR
      ▪ authors can republish that article anywhere else, as
        long as they acknowledge the publication that first
        published the article
     and because most OAJs are freely available,
     an author’s work can reach a much wider
   OAJs also represent a movement towards
    protecting the copyrights and intellectual
    property of authors
     Most OAJs use Creative Commons licenses to
     protect both their interests and the interests of
     their authors
   Creative Commons (CC) licenses allow
    authors of original works certain rights, even
    after publication
     To copy, distribute, and transmit the work
     To adapt the work

   Traditional publishers often retained all rights
    of an author’s work; CC gives those rights
    back to the author
   OAJs also make good money sense, too:
    most OAJs DO NOT CHARGE for access –
    there are no pricey subscriptions!
   Traditional publishing means that the
    publishers make BIG BUCKS from
   …while libraries often struggle to provide
    access (budget cuts, anyone?) due to
    the prohibitive costs of journals and
   And to add insult to injury: even when
    libraries can get access, they aren’t
    guaranteed FULL access – publishers
    can impose embargoes and pull titles
    without notice

   The only money that is often
    exchanged with regard to OAJs
    usually comes from authors: some
    OAJs charge authors publication fees
   Most people assume that everything
    on the Internet is free, and that what
    they find there is quality, but as
    librarians, we know better…

   But the concept of freely available,
    quality information is thrilling – how
    better to encourage scholars than by
    removing restrictions to research?
   Locking away information in pricey
    databases and restricting access limit
    researchers’ ability to produce timely,
    relevant, thorough work

   Openness means eliminating or
    diminishing those restrictions, allowing
    researchers to focus on their research,
    rather than struggling to obtain access
    to materials
   There are two types of open access (OA)
    publishing, green and gold

   Green OA means that authors can publish
    in any journal (not necessarily an OAJ)
    and then self-archive – that is, post their
    postprint work other places, such as
    institutional repositories or on their own
   Gold OA is actual electronic
    publication – an article is published in
    an OAJ

   In Gold OA there varying degrees of
    access – most OAJs make their
    content completely available, without
    restrictions; others require the user to
    create an account (usually free)
    before granting them access
 There are some Gold OA models that do
  require some money to exchange hands;
  that money is often a publication fee,
  sometimes paid by the author of an article, or
  a sponsor, like an academic institution
 In those models, the author isn’t simply paying
  to publish; the author’s work must be peer-
  reviewed and accepted, then the fee is
  charged – a lot of OAJs will waive these fees
  in the case of economic hardship
The green and gold distinctions apply
  primarily to the media in which the
  content appears
  Green applies to venues in which no
   actual publishing occurs, like repositories
  Gold applies to venues in which publishing
   occurs, like OAJs – gold most often
   includes peer-review, which green would
   Gratis OA, in the words of Peter Suber
    (who has written extensively on OA), is
    OA that removes price barriers – that is, it
    is free in the sense that it costs nothing

   Libre OA – again, in the words of Peter
    Suber – is OA that removes price barriers
    and some permission barriers - this
    primarily refers to restrictions (like
   The gratis vs. libre aspect of OA is
    about user freedoms and rights, and

   “In short,” according to Suber, “gratis
    OA alone allows no uses beyond fair
    use, and libre OA allows one or more
    uses beyond fair use”
   The Directory of Open Access Journals
    (DOAJ) describes itself as being “a one stop
    shop for users to Open Access Journals”

   It is a “service [covering] free, full text, quality
    controlled scientific and scholarly journals”

   Its definition of OAJs are “journals that use a
    funding model that does not charge readers
    or their institutions for access”
   OAJs must be quality controlled (peer-
    reviewed), research-oriented periodicals
    (must have an ISSN) in order to be included in
    the DOAJ, and it aims to cover “all subjects
    and all languages” (and it’s doing a pretty
    good job of that)
   Currently, it boasts 6271 journals, with 2721
    of those being searchable at the article
    level; as of March 15, 2011, there are
    534,261articles in the directory
   Additional criteria for inclusion into the DOAJ
     All content must be freely available
     If a journal requires registration, it must be free and online
      (this is often done in order to track user statistics and allow
      users to make comments)
     No embargoes are allowed

   Most OAJs in the Directory utilize CC licenses

   OAJs must also allow users to “read, download,
    copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts
    of these articles" (which would be libre)
    The idea for the Directory first emerged in 2002 at
     the First Nordic Conference on Scholarly
     Communication in Lund/Copenhagen; during
     the discussion about the idea, it was determined
     that such a resource would be invaluable for
     “the global research and education community”

    Initial work on the Directory was supported by
     the Open Society Institute (OSI)

OSI’s motto is “building vibrant and
tolerant democracies”
   Currently, the minds behind the DOAJ are working
    on long-term preservation of OAJs, in conjunction
    with the e-Depot of the National Library of the
    Netherlands and the Swedish Library Association

   Their goal is to ensure “long-time access to digital
    objects which would otherwise be threatened by
    rapidly evolving software and hardware platforms
    as well as media decay”
   In 2010, Nicholls State University and the University
    of Louisiana at Monroe partnered to determine a
    way to cull the data available on the DOAJ so
    DOAJ titles could essentially be cataloged and
    included in LOUIS libraries’ catalogs

   Happily, Nicholls’ own Jeremy Landry was able to
    develop just such a program. ULM’s Chuck Hughes
    tested it, and now DOAJ titles are included in LOUIS
   After attending the ACRL Road Show in 2009, I
    got fired up about open access and OAJs

   Mike Matthews, who was President of ACRL-LA
    at the time, and I discussed the viability of
    starting our very own OAJ, which would focus
    on academic librarianship in Louisiana

   We realized that such a publication would
    benefit from having an organization behind it,
    and our choice was clear: ACRL-LA!
With regard to copyright, Codex requires
 authors to agree to a Creative Commons
 Attribution License
  This gives Codex first publication rights (FNASR),
   while allowing authors to retain the rest of the
   copyrights to their work

  This means others can share the work as long
   as the author, as well as the work’s initial
   publication in Codex, are acknowledged
   Codex is a gold OA that is essentially libre

   It encourages green OA as well

   It utilizes Open Journal Systems, an open-
    source “journal management and publishing
    system,” developed by the Public
    Knowledge Project, that is also supports
    the principles of open access
   It is peer-reviewed – Codex currently has about 40
    peer reviewers that review articles

   We also have our very own ISSN! 

   Currently, Codex is not in the DOAJ, but we’ve
    submitted an application to be added

   We will, however, be included in Ebscohost, like
    several other OAJs, and we’re listed in Oxbridge
    Communications’ Standard Periodical Directory
Speaking of Ebscohost – when Codex was
first contacted by Ebscohost about being
included in its products, there was some
concern about protecting the rights of the
journal and the authors, despite the
excitement of being associated with a big
name publisher and reaching a wider
audience. They sent us a contract…
…which was dutifully reviewed by several
 members of ACRL-LA.

 It was determined that the language of the
 contract put the rights of the journal and the
 authors in danger. This was unacceptable,
 and we rejected Ebscohost’s offer with an
 explanation regarding our concerns.
Ebscohost contacted us again some
months later, at which time I reiterated the
concerns regarding the journal’s rights and
the authors’ rights.

This time I was assured that a new contract
would be drawn up which would address
these issues and guarantee that Codex’s
copyright policies would be maintained,
and everybody’s rights protected.
Sure enough, a new contract was sent, and
again it was reviewed by several members of

This time, the contract was deemed acceptable.
The language had been changed to guarantee
that everybody’s interests would be protected.
There have been two other cases of note
with regard to copyright issues for Codex.
One involved Josh Finnell, whom some of
you may know, and who has granted
permission for me to share this.

Josh submitted an article for publication in
the third issue of the journal. It had already
gone through peer review and was going to
be accepted for publication.
Before I could notify Josh that his article was
going to be accepted, he emailed me and
regretfully withdrew his article for consideration,
telling me the article had already been
published, which meant it could not be
published in Codex. (FNAR, remember?)

 He told me that the article in question had
been submitted to another journal a year prior
to its submission to Codex.
However, he’d never heard a thing, so he
assumed the article had been rejected. Then, in
January 2011, a year after he’d submitted the
article to this other journal, the editor of the
journal suddenly emailed him and told him the
article was going to be published in the issue
that was about to come out.

This was frustrating, of course, for both of us, and
he shared that he’d other experiences where he
felt his rights had been infringed.
“One of the first articles I ever wrote was just
published two months ago in [title of journal
redacted]. Odd, since I wrote this article in
2007. I have a list of correspondence with
the editor about when I would receive
feedback about my submission (nothing for
two years!). I sent an email rescinding my
submission and published it in NMRT
Footnotes just to get it off my place.”
“What should appear two months ago time-
 stamped as 2008!??? Both are such minor
 publications, and arguably one is a newsletter,
 so I let the matter go.”

  Clearly, Josh’s rights were not protected, or
 even respected, in this case. It’s worth noting
 that the second journal with which Josh had
 issues has freely accessible content on its site,
 as well as NMRT Footnotes (an ALA
The other case concerned Benjamin Keele,
a library science graduate student who
submitted an article on DOIs in law journals.
His article was subsequently rejected
because the peer reviewers determined
that it was beyond the scope of Codex, but
before their reviews came in, two events
took place that demonstrated the benefits
of open access. Ben agreed to let me share
his story with you as well.
The first was that Ben told me that preprint
(essentially, a draft) of the article had already
been posted on the Social Science Research
Network (SSRN), and he was concerned that this
might conflict with Codex’s non-competitive

However, since what he posted was a preprint, it
was determined that this was acceptable. SSRN is
both a green OA and gold OA, as it publishes
through its own journals and partner journals.
The other issue concerned Ben’s being
named a winner in the American
Association of Law Libraries/LexisNexis Call
for Papers Competition (Student Division)
with the DOIs article. Winning meant the
article would be published in the Law Library
Journal. This caused some concern (again),
considering that LLJ is a traditional journal,
not OA.
However, Ben discussed the matter with
the editor of LLJ. LLJ was NOT going to ask
for the rights like most traditional journals; it
was actually going to grant him a CC

 This meant, since Codex was going to
“press” first, that it would receive FNASR
rights, and Ben could still publish it in LLJ.
   Ultimately, open access is about two things:

    1.    Providing free access to scholarly research to
          anybody with as few restrictions as possible
    2.    Protecting the rights of the authors, the publications,
          and the users as well

        Open access is still developing and changing,
         but it’s gained a lot of ground, and scholars
         and librarians are still working towards
         spreading the principles of OA
   Budapest Open Access Initiative. (2011, February
    13). Budapest Open Access Initiative: Frequently
    asked questions. Retrieved from
   Creative Commons. (n.d.). Licenses. Retrieved from
   DOAJ – Directory of Open Access Journals. (2011).
    Directory of open access journals. Retrieved from
   Gilks, M. (2000). Rights: What they mean and why
    they’re important. Retrieved from
 Open Society Foundations. (2011).
  Initiatives. Retrieved from
 Public Knowledge Project. (n.d.) Open
  journal systems. Retrieved from
 Suber, P. (n.d.). Peter Suber. Retrieved from
   Presentation URL
   Codex Homepage
   ACRL-LA Homepage
   My Contact Info
If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact me!

           Megan Lowe, Codex Editor
     Reference Librarian/Associate Professor
        University of Louisiana at Monroe

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