Transitioning to open access (OA)
First Monday

Transitioning to open access (OA) by Christina Struik, Hilde Coldenbrander, Stephen Warren, Halina de Maurivez, Heather Joseph, Denise Koufougiannakis, Heather Morrison, Kathleen Shearer,  Kumiko Veazina, and Andrew Waller

This paper presents a summary of three presentations: Heather Joseph of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) on key advocacy strategies, the Canadian Association of Research Libraries’s (CARL) Kathleen Shearer on the CARL Institutional Repository program and forthcoming CARL Author’s Addendum, and Heather Morrison on the Canadian Library Association’s (CLA) Task Force on Open Access. The presentations were followed by a one–hour workshop, with about 50 participants including librarians from Canada and elsewhere, publishers, and others. Workshop exercises, designed for the expert audience anticipated at the First International PKP Scholarly Publishing Conference, were developed to elicit a broad overview of open access initiatives underway, issues and barriers to open access, and solutions to overcome them. Participants reported being engaged in a wide variety of open access initiatives, from OA publishing and institutional repositories to a recent commitment to devote a percentage of a university budget to OA. Two solutions the workshop participants saw as key for open access were finding a funding solution (possibly re–deploying collections and acquisitions budgets or earmarking grants funds for knowledge transfer), and branding repositories as containing trustable material. The workshop portion could have been expanded considerably, to a half or full day. Results of the workshop will help to inform the work of the CLA Task Force on Open Access.


Strategies Towards Open Access by Heather Joseph, Executive Director, SPARC
The Canadian Association of Research Libraries Institutional Repositories Program by Kathleen Shearer, CARL
CLA Task Force on Open Access by Heather Morrison, CLA
Round Table: Initiatives to Advance Open Access
Discussion and Conclusions



Strategies Towards Open Access

Heather Joseph [1] defined Open Access (OA) as ‘a vision of scholarly communication where user toll barriers to research access are eliminated, potential usage is maximized, and the value of research is more fully realized’. She stressed that this is an access model, not a business model, and described four OA strategies:

Strategy 1: OA Journals
Examples include journals from Public Library of Science (PLoS) and BioMed Central and the titles listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals. Revenue streams can consist of either self–generated income or internal and external subsidies. The former includes, for example, input fees (author submission charges, article processing fees), affinity relationships such as advertising sponsorships, alternative distributors, related products and services such as off–line journal publication and value–added services, and the electronic marketplace. Internal and external subsidies could include foundation, institutional and government grants, fundraising and voluntary contributions.

Strategy 2: OA Archives
These are publicly accessible digital repositories which exist alongside traditional publishing venues, e.g. PubMed Central, arXiv, and the many institutional repositories maintained by universities around the world.

Strategy 3: Managing Copyright
SPARC emphasizes the importance of educating authors about managing their copyright in order to ensure maximum distribution and use of their scholarly output. SPARC offers assistance via its Author’s Rights brochure and Author Addendum.

Strategy 4: Advocacy
The purpose here is to encourage policy–makers at all levels to adopt policies that will make publicly funded research openly accessible to everyone. Examples of granting agencies that have adopted or are in the process of adopting such policies include the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the U.S., Research Councils U.K., Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), European Commission, Australian Research Council, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Ukrainian Parliament, and many others.

Joseph quoted from the International Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Report on Scientific Publishing (2005): “Governments would boost innovation and get a better return on their investment in publicly funded research by making research findings more widely available ... . And by doing so, they would maximize social returns on public investments.”

Joseph encouraged workshop participants to participate by educating colleagues and administration about OA journals and the need to support them, by establishing OA repositories, educating faculty about copyright, and by talking to administrators and national policy–makers about public access policies. She announced the new Canadian version of the SPARC Author Addendum, recommended the RoMEO databsase, and mentioned the forthcoming SPARC database of publishers’ copyright practices.



The Canadian Association of Research Libraries Institutional Repositories Program

Shearer [2] described CARL’s Institutional Repository (IR) program, which began informally in 2002 to share best practices and demonstrate the interoperability of IRs. Since then, CARL has created a listserv, undertakes an annual survey as well as promotional activities and, through the SFU Library, has built a PKP Harvester to harvest metadata from CARL member IRs. A Metadata Profile has been developed to standardize metadata creation, content recruitment strategies have been reviewed, and CARL has also been involved in the creation of Creative Commons Canada.

The CARL Harvester has thus far harvested nearly 36,000 records from 13 archives and is updated daily. Eighteen CARL member libraries have working IRs, with seven more in the pilot or planning stages. Major barriers to implementing successful IRs include their current low visibility, the amount of time and resources required, and the fact that the benefits of IRs are not well understood. CARL’s vision for its IR program: “Institutional repositories contain a rich and comprehensive record of content generated by research at institutions worldwide. This aggregated content is the foundation for a chain of value–added services that enable the use and re–use of materials in many contexts.”

In furthering this vision, CARL plans to articulate the importance of IRs, improve content recruitment at Canadian IRs, and demonstrate the value of overlay services. An institutional repository advocacy toolkit will be available by early 2008, a single–disciplinary pilot project is planned, phase 2 of the metadata profile will be developed, and members will be assisted with technologies to maintain usage statistics. CARL is also involved in the creation of the Canadian Create Change Web site, the SPARC Canadian Author Addendum (in English: and in French:, and OA policy briefs.



CLA Task Force on Open Access

Morrison [3] outlined CLA’s history regarding OA, including the 2005 Resolution on Open Access, endorsement of OA initiatives such as Budapest and Berlin, and a response to the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council’s Consultation on Open Access. The Task Force on OA was created in 2006. It has prepared a report and recommendations on OA policy for CLA’s own publications, approved by the CLA Executive in May 2007, and prepared a response to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) consultation on its Draft Access to Research Outputs policy.

Regarding OA to CLA’s publications: there will be full and immediate OA to all publications except Feliciter (for which there will be a one issue embargo, to be reviewed one year hence) and CLA monographs (which will be considered for OA on a case–by–case basis). CLA members will be actively encouraged to self–archive, and CLA will investigate a partnership with the E–LIS archive. CLA will, in general, permit authors to retain copyright, and will continue its long standing policy of making CLA information openly accessible, except for certain confidential materials.

The next step for the Task Force is to draft a position statement on OA for Canadian libraries. This will involve a substantial amount of education and consultation with Canadian librarians. The workshop portion of this preconference will serve as a first input into this process.




A total of about 50 people participated in the preconference. Participations were primarily librarians (practitioners and administrators), with some publishers, academics, and open access advocates. Almost all the participants were registered in the full PKP conference. Many of the participants were from Canada, with significant international representation, primarily the U.S.

Participants were told that the results of the workshop would be recorded, anonymously. Specific open access projects are not identified, even though some are a matter of public record.



Round Table: Initiatives to Advance Open Access

Participants were asked to briefly name one thing they, or their organization, are doing to advance open access. This exercise was announced before a half–hour break, so participants had time to think about how to respond, and were encouraged to consult with each other. This exercise was designed to elicit the broadest range of open access activities, i.e. if a participant was involved with more than one open access initiative, they were encouraged to report something that was different from what other participants had already mentioned. This portion of the workshop went by very quickly. This portion of the workshop could easily have served as a workshop on its own, allowing participants more time to discuss their own organization’s open access initiatives and ask questions about those of others.

What participants were doing to advance open access:

  • recruiting content for repository;
  • creating a repository for e–theses with a requirement for deposit;
  • developing business models for viable open access journals;
  • open access research policy; requirement to deposit;
  • promoting access to open access e–resources;
  • participating in scholarly advisory committee and policy development;
  • publish our own open access journal;
  • audit — inventory of what is being published at our institution;
  • looking to move to OA for one of our journals;
  • institutional repository and promoting access to OA journals;
  • drafting open access publishers’ policy;
  • library repository — environment and health;
  • linking faculty to digital initiatives;
  • deposit in our e–thesis repository just became mandatory; moving to fill institutional repository;
  • OA publishing option beside traditional one;
  • adopted OA policy;
  • digitized 50 years of images;
  • upload lists of OA titles to our knowledgebase (similar to DOAJ);
  • open access is a formal part of our collections policy;
  • recently held a meeting of 200 open access authors at our institution, to find out how the library can support their needs;
  • opening access to our commercial products as much as we can;
  • hosting an OJS journal, looking to open data;
  • podcasts of authors for free;
  • publishing OA journals, theses repository;
  • our repository makes it possible for the subjects of research to have access to the research results, via user–defined vocabulary;
  • networking with other centres for open access;
  • have set up a canned search that retrieves all OA publications;
  • depository funding for NGO funders;
  • helped with development and funding for PubMed Central;
  • new institutional repository;
  • work with conference organizers to deposit presentations and proceedings in subject repository;
  • devoting a certain percentage of institutional budget to open access every year
  • our university has a policy in support of open access;
  • talk to diplomats and officials to promote open access;
  • encourage institutional repository establishment, hold workshops; about 1/2 of time devoted to open access advocacy;
  • promote Open Conference Systems to students;
  • expand knowledge of subject librarians;
  • repository for theses;
  • held a faculty day to discuss open access;
  • negotiating a national disciplinary repository;
  • all research to go in e–journals and e–repository;
  • support OA projects;
  • develop business models capable of supporting OA; and,
  • creating XML–based open data databases of extended metadata.




Participants were asked to identify one major issue or challenge for open access, first in small groups and then as a whole group. After the list of issues was recorded on a flip chart, participants were asked to raise their hands to indicate agreement, as an indication of emphasis. Finally, the group was asked to identify a few issues that the group as a whole considered key issues, noted here in bold.

Issues of large group (flipchart list)

NB: Bold/Italic type indicates group consensus of main issue; “X” denotes emphasis indicated by show of hands. The Xs are a very rough indication of the percentage of the participants raising hands. One X represents about 1–2 participants, 5 Xs represents all, or almost all, participants.

  • Librarians need to engage administration XX
  • Decentralization, where to search? X
  • Apply indexing systems to OA
  • re faculty resistance/indifference — mediation/education necessary XXXX
  • Universities have to value OA to make it easier for faculty/researchers/archiving — acceptance XXXX
  • OA 2nd class? — newness, start–up issues X
  • Promotion and resistance, discipline specific issues X
  • Real costs of OA — hidden? X
  • Shift from Public Relations to Marketing X
  • Scholarly integrity — peer review and repositories XX
  • Value added nature of IR
  • Where is the public good of OA? — Open is good but what else?
  • Real issues in self–archiving
  • Continuity — choices not obvious X
  • Barrier of professional associations and publisher lobbies XXXXX
  • Lack of infrastructure and access to Internet.

For full details of issues discussed in small groups, see the Appendix.




The whole group discussion of Solutions flowed from the discussion on Issues. That is, the group began identifying Solutions before the discussion on Issues was completed. The group ran out of time before this discussion was complete; given more time, given that there are a number of solutions group members agreed with, it seems likely that there would have been consensus on more Solutions.

NB: Bold/Italic type indicates group consensus of main issue; “X” denotes emphasis indicated by a show of hands. The Xs are a very rough indication of the percentage of the participants raising hands. One X represents about 1–2 participants, 5 Xs represents all, or almost all, participants.

  • User–friendly interface to IR XX
  • Use OA for the public good, with examples like bird flu XXX
  • Deposit in as many places as possible X
  • Provide technical support XX
  • Find a funding solution XXXXX
    • Re–deploy collections and acquisitions budget XXXX
    • Earmark grant funds for knowledge transfer XXX
  • Have librarians and publishers work together e.g. for promotion XXXX
  • Build researcher/author needs into OA [i.e.: connect with them beforehand to discover their needs] XXXX
  • Brand repositories as containing trustable material XXXX
  • Include community–based research XX
  • Develop a policy that public–funded research be OA XXXX
  • Create national and/or subject-based repositories e.g. Allouette, to help centralize material and search XX
  • Apply integrating services on top of many smaller repositories to centralize search but not material XXXX
  • Include open data for added value XXX
  • In licenses include author rights to deposit in multiple places XXX.

Use Google and Google Scholar to the advantage of OA.



Discussion and Conclusions

Overall, it was a stimulating and productive discussion, although the one–hour time slot was short; the workshop portion could have filled a half–day, or even a full day.

The round table elicited a wide variety of open access initiatives underway, including education, advocacy, specific projects such as institutional and subject repositories, open access publishing, open conference systems, digitization, funding initiatives, policy development, and an audit of locally produced scholarship. In addition to providing a glimpse into the broad range of open access initiatives underway, the discussion confirmed that this audience represents a very sophisticated group when it comes to open access.

The primary issues/challenges to open access agreed to by this group included a need to deal with the barrier of association and commercial publisher lobbies, engage administration, educate faculty to overcome resistance/indifference, and ensure scholarly integrity/peer review.

This group was much more active and vocal in the identification of solutions. The two key solutions the group agreed to were finding a funding solution (possibilities identified include redeploying collections and acquisitions budgets, and earmarking grant funds for knowledge transfer), and branding repositories as containing trustable material. It seems very likely that additional key solutions would have been identified, given more time for discussion.

The workshop was seen as worthwhile by participants. The workshop approach would be useful for other groups. Allotting more time for the workshop, perhaps expanding to a half or even a fully day, is recommended.

Incorporation of open access into organizational policy came up frequently; perhaps as open access becomes a part of more and more organizational policies, a certain amount of funding will be allocated to open access, providing the answer to the need for a funding solution.

The next steps for open access are thus embedded in policy, to make open access the required norm instead of the welcome exception. End of article


Appendix A: Small group lists of issues

Group 1

  • Lack of communication and coordination between people especially librarians and faculty (silos of information and none of it seems to be shared)
  • Fragmentation of the information
  • Redundancy of the information. Since researchers deposit their papers in many places, which paper is the real one?
  • Fragmentation of the services. Too many services and places to go to. The researchers are lost. There should be a federated searching mechanism that is user–friendly
  • Librarians do not understand well enough the peer–review process and all that it involves for Faculty members. The impact factor is not well understood and how the impact factor is important for the tenure process
  • IR’s interfaces seem to be problematic because researchers do not self–deposit. Maybe the interfaces are not user–centered or were not conceived with the researchers (the primary users) in mind
  • Librarians fail to engage the Administration (that is where the funding is)
  • The impact factor is not well understood and how the impact factor is important for the tenure process
  • How to have elitist universities to endorse Open Access, that is a popularist and anarchist movement

Group 2

  • publishers understand research more than libraries
  • publishers understand the need to publish in peer–reviewed journals
    • for libraries to mandate
    • be careful about mandating
    • be careful about enforcing
    • how to draw authors in submitting
  • for researchers to submit to repositories the university must value it in a way that is meaningful to the researcher

Group 3

  • OA into traditional library and non–traditional indexing systems
  • OA and faculty
    • Impact numbers for OA
    • Better integration into faculty
  • OA — cost and promotion — are we underestimating value of commercial publishers
  • OA — admin — resistance in libraries and larger organizations
  • Engaged scholarship

Group 4

  • OA is important, but research scientists are not coming forward to deposit their papers. Mandatory by donor agencies is a must
  • India and Canada could collaborate in
    • Technology transfer re OA tools
    • Canada helping in developing India’s library infrastructure etc.
    • A lot of digitization projects are in place in India but we don’t have channels yet for collaboration
    • Issue of lack of infrastructure or access to Internet in India

Group 5

  • Who will do the deposit?
    • The most items deposited wins iPod
  • Strong resistance to not publishing in traditional journals
  • Internal process work is the library
  • Business models for small Canadian journals — SSHRC funding problems

Group 6

  • Faculty buy–in
  • Tenure and promotion
  • Debunking the mythology of OA
  • Reaching out to non–STM faculty
  • Reputation of the journal — many OA journals are very recent
  • New roles in moving to OA publishing

Group 7

  • time to do advocacy
  • combating pessimism and natural resistance
  • peer review assessment
  • scholarly integrity
  • OA, peer–reviewed publishing should count for tenure process
  • OA in sciences and humanities — great variance



The CLA Task Force on Open Access gratefully acknowledges the sponsorship of SPARC, CARL, and CLA, and the substantial in–kind donations of Simon Fraser University Library.



1. (SPARC) at;

2. Canadian Association of Research Libraries — Association des bibliothèques de recherche du Canada at;

3. CLA Task Force on Open Access at;



Contents Index

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Transitioning to open access (OA) by Christina Struik, Hilde Coldenbrander, Stephen Warren, Halina de Maurivez, Heather Joseph, Denise Koufougiannakis, Heather Morrison, Kathleen Shearer, Kumiko Vézina, and Andrew Waller
First Monday, Volume 12 Number 10 - 1 October 2007

A Great Cities Initiative of the University of Illinois at Chicago University Library.

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