DOAB – books openly available

A couple of days ago Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) was launched. It is a complement to the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) web site. DOAB is a service to the research community, and others, to collect scientific books published under open access license and make the accessible in one and the same place. DOAB is searchable and there are links to the fulltext books either via the publisher or a institutional repository where a researcher has deposited the book.


The aim of DOAB is to make open access books visible and create a valuable resource for researchers, libraries and others who are interested in reading scientific books. At the moment there are about 20 publishers and about 750 open access books available. More are waiting to be made available through the site. Their goal is to increase the number of available books in the coming months. DOAB is open for publishers who publish peer-reviewed open access books.

Lars Bjørnshauge and Salam Baker Shanawa who have been developing DOAB have also been in the group which developed DOAJ.

First published in Biblioteksbloggen 2012-04-19

By: Pieta Eklund

Recent news in the publishing world

There is a lot happening at the moment in the world of publishing, both internationally and nationally.

Elsevier is a big publishing house with over 2 000 academic journals and at the moment there are over 4 400 (2012-02-08) researchers all over the world protesting and boycotting Elsevier. According to the researchers there are three main reasons for the boycott: 1) journal prices are unreasonably high  2) Elsevier exploits libraries because due to the high journal prices the libraries agree to buy big bundles which all include journals that libraries do not actually want and Elsevier makes a huge profit and exploits their most valuable journals and 3) They support bills like SOPAPIPA and the Research Works Act (RWA) which all aims to restrict the free exchange of information. You can protest on this page.Here you can read an interesting blog post about the RWA where both publisher’s and researcher’s perspective is taken into account. What is interesting here is that researchers are protesting against Elsevier when most of the big global publishers are acting the exact same way. It is not completely true that Elsevier makes libraries to buy these big bundles to get access to specific journals and they are not the only publishers supporting SOPA, PIPA or RWA. Elsevier is a big and visible part of the publishing world and maybe that is the reason they are the target for the boycott?

COAR (Confederation of Open Access Repositories) is an organisation which works for co-operation between institutional archives and for open access and they think that open access has a big impact on academic publishing. They have written an open letter to Elsevier in which they criticize Elsevier’s business model which complicates open access publishing. They share the opinion of many that Elsevier is actively working against the researcher’s right to parallel publish and therefore are acting as an obstacle to slow down the open access movement. Elsevier demands that those institutions which have an open access mandate must sign a special agreement for the researcher to be able to deposit their post-print work (the accepted version or the article before it goes to print) in their institutional archive.

Most people have probably heard about SOPA and PIPA but there are probably not so many who have heard about the Research Works Act (RWA). It is a bill presented in the House of Representatives in December 2011. The purpose of the bill is to forbid government agencies to demand open access for the research that they finance. RWA aims to forbid the government agencies to do anything that might result in making published research available, although the government agencies finance the research with taxpayer money, unless the publisher agrees to making it openly accessible.

Nationally there is some positive news, especially for people living in Stockholm. Stockolm city who owns the rights to Alva and Gunnar Myrdal’s* literary remains have digitized some of the books and they have decided to make them available as e-books at the Stockholm city library. Later on they will even be print-on-demand. At the moment it is 15 titles that have been digitized and more might come. When the technical solution is done these books will even be available to everyone is Sweden via Libris.

*Alva Myrdal was a Swedish sociologist and politician. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1982. Gunnar Myrdal was a Swedish economist, sociologist and politician. He won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 1974.

First published in Biblioteksbloggen 2012-02-10

By: Pieta Eklund

Demands from Funders

A growing number of research funders are demanding that research funded by taxpayer money should be freely available to all. One reason is the argument that research is spread quicker that way and is cited by more. Four big research funders’ demands on Open Access are presented below

The Swedish Research Council (VR)
In January 2010 VR introduced a demand for Open Access publishing. This demand means that researchers funded by VR must publish their results Open Access. VR says that researcher can either use his/her institutional repository or publish in an Open Access journal to comply with the demand.

This demand does not affect projects granted before January 2010. VR states that the publications should be freely available no more than six months after publishing. If the publisher does not allow self-archiving the researcher should demand an exception and for this there is an author addendum to use. The VR is of the opinion that if the publisher does not accept the exception the researcher ought to consider another publisher and journal. In exceptional cases VR can accept prolonging the time to access up to 12 months. For the VR to grant prolongation, the researcher must be able to document all efforts made to fulfill the six-month demand.

These demands apply to scientific texts published in scientific journals and conference papers, not monographs or chapters in books.

Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (RJ)
Even RJ has since 2010 demanded that a researcher who receives funding from RJ is to publish their peer reviewed texts and conference papers Open Access. RJ encourages and urges researchers to publish even monographs and book chapters Open Access. Researchers are eligible to apply for a special publishing grant to finance Open Access publishing.

RJ adds a gauge of 30 000 SEK per project. They also demand that the publications are made available directly after publishing in an open repository or no later than six months. If the publisher does not allow this the research should choose another publisher and if this is not possible the researcher should contact RJ with documentation on what has been done to reach an agreement with the publisher.

Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) (
The EU Commission introduced in 2008 an Open Access project within FP7. The project means that researchers from the research areas energy, environment, health, information and communication technologies (only cognitive systems, interaction, and robotics), research infrastructures (only e-infrastructures), science in society, and socioeconomic sciences and humanities must make their peer reviewed research articles freely available.

According to the demand the publications must be archived and made publicly available six or twelve months after publication. Which time span is applied depends on the subject area. Money from the FP7 may be used to cover APC costs for an Open Access journal or hybrid journals (a traditional subscription based journal that has individual articles freely available).

This means that research articles that are a result of a project financed by FP7 are to be self-archived in BADA.

Something called Best Effort is included in the framework. This means that the researcher must follow the next four steps:

  1. Seek information on publishing models and copyright/licensing policies of the journal(s) to which authors plan to submit e.g. via Sherpa/Romeo
  2. If publishers’ policies do not allow compliance with FP7, authors should negotiate an amendment to allow self-archiving
  3. If negotiations are unsuccessful, researchers should consider submitting to another journal
  4. If negations fail, beneficiaries should inform the Commission and provide publisher’s letter of refusal

Formas (Swedish)
Formas demands that all peer reviewed journal articles and conference papers which are a result of research financed fully or partly by Formas are to be published Open Access. This demand is applied from January 2010 and onwards.

Formas also demands that all texts are made available no later than six months after publishing. The researcher may choose Open Access or hybrid journals or self-archiving.

First published in Biblioteksbloggen 2011-10-26

By: Pieta Eklund