Grass roots action on exposing publisher blocks to OA

I have had an excellent response from Alethea to my stories of publishers putting up toll or permission barriers to OA articles:

  1. Alethea Says:
    September 6th, 2007 at 8:05 am eI’m pretty certain that OA-labeled articles in PNAS are publicly accessible from search engines. But I certainly have run into the same thing you have, from the links at PubMed to something designated as OA but blocked by the publisher’s portal. (I’ll keep my eye out from now on and not only give you a concrete example, but write to the publisher in outrage as you did.)
  2. PMR: and put it on your blog or mine so the whole world can see
  3. Alethea: There is a well-written editorial, if a little old, by Nick Cozzarelli here:
    and it reminds me that, while I will support PLoS by both reading, submitting and commenting on PLoS One articles, I do agree that the PNAS model is indeed truly OA despite the injunction on non-commercial use unless explicit permission has been obtained.
  4. PMR: I’d like to see “non-commercial” removed everywhere. At present, however, it has the useful property that it makes reselling of such articles illegal. I have yet to hear from Ingenta who have resold my OA article, even though it is expressly forbidden by the licence. But ultimately we must work to the position where all information is free for resale on the assumption that unless there is added-value no-one will buy it.
  5. Alethea: Anyhow, I’ve timidly taken up the torch on my blog (linked above in my name, probably), as has Richard Grant on his

PMR: So here we have the beginnings of a simple, effective, legal mass movement. Keep your eyes out for any organization (profit or not) who:

  • puts toll barriers in front of OR beside an OA article
  • puts permission rights in front of OR besides an OA article.
  • document any breaches and get som idea whether it is systematic.
  • expose it.

The issue is now clear. Enough publishers read this blog to realise this is an issue. They can no longer say “oh dear, we didn’t realise”. They have to take this more seriously than they do at the moment.
And, of course, if you find anyone like Ingenta who remove the author’s copyright and substitute their own trumpet that to the world. If Ingenta are doing this for OUP OA material I wouldn’t mind wagering they are doing it for many others. Nice source of income.

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One Response to Grass roots action on exposing publisher blocks to OA

  1. In response to recent blog postings I’d like to confirm that we (Ingenta) are working closely with our publisher customers to ensure that OA articles are correctly reflected on IngentaConnect. To give you some background, there are currently almost 600 titles with freely available OA content available via the site and this number is steadily growing as more and more publishers experiment with this model. I should emphasize that the current system for flagging OA content isn’t perfect and we are working to improve this. We are also reliant on publishers to provide us with information on which content is OA and the process of flagging OA access rights is at times manual, particularly in the case of titles with hybrid models. Perhaps one answer is the development of an industry standard on the flagging of OA articles within metadata, which would then automate the process and avoid oversights such as those reported here.

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