I’m at the University of Glasgow – in the splendid castellated Hunter Halls – for the European meeting on Open Scholarship. There are over 200 delegates – a mixture of librarians, information technologists, research funders, etc. Hardly any publishers – Biomed Central (which also manages repositories) being an exception. The theme “New Challenges for Open Access Repositories. I’ll try to blog highlights.
Having worked for many years in a Scottish University (Stirling) I’m delighted to highlight the great progress and national coherence in Scottish Open Access. This was emphasised in the Opening Keynote by Derek Law from Strathclyde University. (Posts from this meeting may be a bit jerky as I am taking notes as we go)…
Scotland – “The best small country in the world”. Small countries can aspire to national solutions. Scotland has a history of declarations of freedom (Arbroath 1320) and is disproportionally strong in research (12.5% on UK metrics vs 8% of population).
Why is Scottish government interested in Open Access? Scottish education is venerated and OA is seen as providing: wider access, better value, quality measures. And there is no Dept. Trade and Industry in Scotland (which in England/UK is heavily lobbied by publishers and slows down OA). So, IRs with the right metadata will create a quality resource to market Scottish Resources. Even 2 cabinet members understand what “metadata” means. Sharing resonates with government.
Scottish Science Information Strategy – Open Access thread has flourished (SLIC – Scottish Library Inf. Council). 2004 declaration of Open Access stresses
…also exposing Scottish research to rest of world. “publicly funded work must be luckily accessible”.
Use the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) as tools for mandating deposit. Glasgow has nearly 3000 entries in its IR. Scottish IRI-S has 3 out of 10 of top UK repositories. There will be a Cream Of Science project (cf. the Dutch one).
The publishers of the future will be a new generation and only the bravest of the current ones will survive.
and ended with a modified Declaration of Arbroath…
“for so long as 100 of us are left alive we will yield in no way to Elsevier domination”
However Stirling was where I made the biggest mistake of my scientific life – I first signed a form transferring the copyright of my work to a publisher (I think Acta Crystallographica). Why, in the early 1970’s did no-one in the academic sector foresee the problems. A simple refusal by universities not to hand over copyright would have forestalled the commercial publishinig industry with its ownership, and worse , its power to direct scholarship. Why were librarians, senior editors and principals silent? Can we be sure that our continued inability to control our own scholarship is not leading us into an even worse future?