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OA in the Library Collection: The Challenge of Identifying and Managing Open Access Resources


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Librarians, researchers, and the general public have largely embraced the concept of open access (OA). Yet, incorporating OA resources into existing discovery and tracking systems is often a complicated process. Open access material can be delivered through a variety of publishing or archival mechanisms, creating certain challenges, particularly for those managing e-resources. Although an increasing proportion of research output is becoming open access each year, organization and discovery of these resources remains imperfect.

The debate between the relative merits of Green and Gold OA is regularly discussed in academic circles but less attention is devoted towards Hybrid OA and the challenges inherent in this model. Most major publishers offer open access through one or more of these models, but open access metadata standards seem to be lacking among these content providers. The presenters will discuss some of these challenges identified in the literature and through other mechanisms, including data gathered by NISO and an original survey. By identifying these issues, the scholarly communication community can work together to improve discovery for end users.

Chris Bulock
Electronic Resources Librarian, SIUE Lovejoy Library
Chris is an Electronic Resources Librarian and NASIG member from the St. Louis area. His research and work are focused on improving the library user's experience. Chris is the recipient of the 2012 HARRASSOWITZ Charleston Conference Scholarship.

Nathan Hosburgh
Discovery & Systems Librarian, Rollins College
Nate Hosburgh is currently the Discovery & Systems Librarian at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida as part of a revamped Collections & Systems department that includes ILL, collection development, acquisitions, systems, and technical services. Previously, he held positions managing e-resources at Montana State University and managing interlibrary loan & document delivery at Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne

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OA in the Library Collection: The Challenge of Identifying and Managing Open Access Resources

  1. 1. OA in the library collection The challenges of identifying and managing open access resources Chris Bulock Southern Illinois University Nathan Hosburgh Rollins College NASIG ҉ 2014
  2. 2. OA Resources • Journals/articles: green, gold, hybrid, DOAJ • Books: DOAB, OAPEN, Google Books • Databases: PubMed Central, BioMed Central, ERIC • Data: gROADS, World Bank,, Dryad • Institutional repositories: Digital Commons Network, OpenDOAR
  3. 3. OA developments in Databases Web of Science – OA facet (Gold only) SpringerOpen, BioMed Central, Chemistry Central UlrichsWeb – OA limiter
  4. 4. OA Book Collections
  5. 5. What is Web Scale Discovery doing with OA?
  6. 6. Library OA Management: • Catalogs • ERMs/link resolvers • Discovery Systems • Guides/Lists
  7. 7. Challenges for libraries Article vs. Journal (piece vs. container) Resources incorrectly identified as OA Bad/broken linksGeneral inconsistency Insufficient tools to manage OA Lack of sufficient metadata…
  8. 8. OA Metadata & Indicators The Problem: Inconsistent information b/n publishers, vendors, link resolvers, libraries • Lack of a consistent visual icon • No standard descriptive language to indicate OA • No standard metadata elements • Lack of clear reuse rights Importance: metadata enables discovery, linking, rights management, etc.
  9. 9. The Visual OA Icon The most recognizable OA icon was created by PLOS. However, there is no official OA logo and publishers are free to employ whatever logo suits them.
  10. 10. OA visual indicators
  11. 11. Examples of metadata elements across publishers BioMed Central OA metadata <meta name=”dc.rights” content=” licenses/by/2.0/” /> Nature Publishing Group OA metadata <meta name=”access” content=”Yes” /> Springer OA metadata <div class=”open-access”> <span class=”help”>Open Access <span class=”tooltip”> This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time. </span> </span> </div> (Hutchens, 2013)
  12. 12. Publishers currently provide “open access” articles with various use and re-use terms. Some favor Creative Commons licenses, while others use proprietary licenses. (NISO RP-22-201x) Aggregators, repositories, and service providers have no standard for identifying articles that can be legitimately harvested. Graphic courtesy ContentPlus Readers have trouble figuring out what they can and cannot do with specific articles.
  13. 13. This article is OA, but can it be used in teaching?
  14. 14. Organizations working on OA
  15. 15.
  16. 16. NISO: OA Metadata & Indicators Working Group • Libraries, publishers, organizations represented • Mechanisms for transmitting two key pieces of info: • Free-to-read <free_to_read> • License reference <license_ref> • NISO decided not to create a logo to be displayed Approach provides framework for conveying essential information that addresses most common use cases. Image courtesy Publishing Perspectives
  17. 17. <free_to_read> tag • Viewable by any user without payment or authentication • No statement about re-use rights or restrictions • System would decide what visual indicator to show based on tag • Start and end dates accommodate models where content is free-to- read for a period of time or after a particular date. <free_to_read start_date="2013-02-03" end_date="2013-10-03"/>
  18. 18. <license_ref> tag • Includes a stable identifier expressed as an HTTP URI (URL) • Points to a human and/or machine readable license • License terms are not expressed in the metadata itself • Start_date attribute expresses how usage rights change over time • No corresponding end_date attribute; could introduce ambiguities • Neither the start_date attribute nor the license URI provide any technical mean of enforcement
  19. 19. Mechanisms for distributing metadata • Creation and population of metadata elements to become part of standard editorial workflow • Integral part of feeds to CrossRef • Included on hosting websites • Delivered in content feeds to third parties; A&I services • Metadata embedded in content itself: html META tags & PDF files • Within alerting channels, such as e-ToCs and RSS feeds • Work to incorporate into existing formats: ONIX, RDF, OAI-PMH, DC
  20. 20. Publishers Aggregators Libraries End Users Flow of information, metadata, content Flow of information, feedback, strategic requirements UPSTREAM DOWNSTREAM
  21. 21. When in doubt, create a survey • Goals: • Determine current state of practice • Identify areas for improvement • At this point, how are librarians managing OA resources for their users, and what challenges do they face?
  22. 22. Main Questions • What systems are libraries using? • Are those systems meeting needs? • What issues are libraries facing? • How do librarians view OA in relation to their collections? Kazuhisa OTSUBO
  23. 23. Methodology • 25 questions • Posted to • SERIALST • NASIG-L • ERIL-L • alcts-eres • alcts-nrmig • coll-assess • 105 responses
  24. 24. 1. Which of these categories best describes the institution your library serves? 28% 24% 26% 14% 1% 2% 5% Research University (high or very high research activity) Doctoral/Research University Master's College or University Baccalaureate College Associate's Special Focus Institution Other
  25. 25. 2. What is the enrollment at your library's institution in FTE? 29% 19% 11% 13% 28% Less than 5,000 5,000-10,000 10,000-15,000 15,000-20,000 Over 20,000
  26. 26. 3. What Electronic Resources Management System do you use? 1% 23% 2% 4% 5% 1% 4% 30% 30% Verde Serials Solutions Alma EBSCO ERM Essentials CORAL ERMes OCLC WorldShare License Manager Other None
  27. 27. 4. What Link Resolver do you use? 44% 26% 14% 6% 9% 1% Serials Solutions SFX EBSCO LinkSource WorldCat knowledge base Other None
  28. 28. 5. What Web Scale Discovery System do you use? 25% 10% 18% 18% 29% Summon Primo Ebsco Discovery Service Other None
  29. 29. 6. What Systems do you use for providing access to OA resources? (check all that apply) 0 50 100 Catalog Link resolver Web scale discovery system Journal list Database list Subject guide Webpage or guide dedicated to OA… Other
  30. 30. 7. Do you provide access to Hybrid journals for which your institution may only access the OA articles? 10% 43% 20% 27% Yes, we usually do In a few cases, but not usually Never Not sure
  31. 31. 8. Does your ERM facilitate the management of access to OA resources? 3% 36% 22% 27% 12% unsure yes no doesn't apply sort of
  32. 32. 9. What are some of the strengths or weaknesses of your ERM in relation to managing OA resources? 10% 18% 25% 7% 33% 7% unsure strength weakness neutral does not apply both
  33. 33. 9 cont. Strengths • CORAL is flexible, we can track free resources just like we can track paid resources; we can create unique workflows for OA resources, if we need to • It has all the big sites, DOAJ, Hindawi, etc. (OCLC WorldShare License Manager) • Major strength is large number of OA resources we can subscribe to (Serials Solutions)
  34. 34. 9 cont. Weaknesses • It is difficult to use and very challenging (EBSCO ERM Essentials) • Incomplete; not always accurate / up-to-date (SerialsSolutions) • Cannot perform a search using "open access resources" as a search category (SerialsSolutions) • The major weakness is the ERM has no integration with databases in discovery systems (ERMes)
  35. 35. 10. Does your link resolver facilitate the management of access to OA resources? 4% 75% 6% 15% unsure yes no sort of
  36. 36. 11. What are some of the strengths or weaknesses of your link resolver in relation to managing OA resources? 8% 11% 44% 19% 3% 15% unsure strength weakness neutral does not apply both
  37. 37. 11 cont. Strengths • Linking directly to the article without needing to jump through too many hoops (Innovative Interfaces WebBridge LR) • We don't have to try to track individual OA journals ourselves (SerialsSolutions) • It's easy to identify the free targets in SFX b/c Ex Libris includes "FREE" or "OPEN_ACCESS" in the target name (SFX) • Unlike the ERM we use, the management of the link resolver is undertaken by the crowd in addition to us. So it is less work for us (SFX) • We can prioritize our linking so that the most reliable (ie paid) resources would be chosen over OA links (EBSCO LinkSource)
  38. 38. 11 cont. Weaknesses • Lack of information in the knowledge base regarding when these OA resources move/cease - when they become subscription based (SFX) • Not always up to date and sometimes the link does not work (III) • Doesn't always separate out the hybrid journals; it's all or nothing as far as activation goes (SerialsSolutions) • The OA collections are not managed by the vendor, which takes away the biggest benefit of a knowledge base for us and for other smaller libraries (that the kb vendor will automatically update the default holdings and titles for us) (SerialsSolutions)
  39. 39. 12. Does your Web Scale Discovery System facilitate the discovery of/access to OA resources? 3% 54% 7% 8% 28% unsure yes no sort of doesn't apply
  40. 40. 13. What are some of the strengths or weaknesses of your web scale discovery system in relation to managing OA resources? 11% 17% 7% 17% 40% 8% unsure strength weakness neutral does not apply both
  41. 41. 13 cont. Strengths • Worldcat local allows us to automatically provide links to all open access collections available in OCLC. • It is aware of a large number of OA resources, more than we have in our ERM (Summon) • There is a greater number of open access resources that can be made known to our user than from our link resolver (WorldCat Local)
  42. 42. 13 cont. Weaknesses • Many of them are not relevant to us, either because of language, or b/c the resources are not full text (EBSCO Discovery Service) • A major weakness is the fact that resources are 100% on or 100% off, we can't select which individual titles are included (Primo) • Cannot search solely for OA resources (WorldCat Local)
  43. 43. 14. Do any of your licensed databases facilitate the discovery of/access to OA resources? If so, which databases and how? 19% 48% 24% 8% 1% unsure yes no sort of doesn't apply
  44. 44. 15. What challenges do you face in managing OA resources? 26% 22% 13% 10% 10% 8% 2% 3% 3% 3% vol/awareness unreliable selection criteria hybrid staff system/kb article level links users vendor response not different
  45. 45. 15 cont. Responses • The library has no control of OA resources at all. • Assessing quality, discovering where they are, explaining OA publication to patrons • Hybrid OA is a nightmare. • I have recently done a study of our e-access problems and 15% of them directly involve OA resources. • No policies in place for managing them/providing access • Navigation on journal sites can be challenging • Having someone to manage it. I am already spread too thin
  46. 46. 16. What would make the management of OA resources easier? 26% 14% 14% 11% 10% 8% 6% 6% 3% 2% central information standards/consistency vendor help article metadata staff differentiation publishing change evaluative tools unsure automation
  47. 47. 16 cont. Responses • Harry Potter, the Elder wand and the help of Dobby - the free elf • It would be easier if Serials Solutions would distinguish them more clearly, in a separate search perhaps • Hybrid OA journal publishers would need to make data available about the OA part of their journals so that libraries could link to that content. • A librarian position that could focus on this. • Standardized metadata for discovery • Removal of the partial OA category altogether.
  48. 48. 17. Are there particular OA resources or collections that are problematic? 64% 36% None in particular Yes
  49. 49. 17 cont. Responses • Resources that are only partially OA or that convert from OA to requiring a purchase. • Foreign language collections • Academic, governmental, intergovernmental agencies • Traditional journal publishers that also offer OA publishing options.
  50. 50. 18. Do you think the time and effort involved in providing access to OA resources is worthwhile? 66%5% 23% 6% yes unsure sort of no
  51. 51. 18 cont. Responses • As library budgets shrink, we must find ways to provide access to resources. Some of the OA resources are essential, high quality resources in their fields; others might be just predatory journals out to get some money from authors. But the library's role is to enable our users to access and discover resources; OA or purchased, the patron doesn't care. • I believe it is for some resources. We only work with OA resources individually selected by our librarians, so we do not need to deal with all OA resources. • not really that much ... they can find them when they click on links anyway.
  52. 52. 19. How might OA metadata be improved to facilitate discovery and access? 28% 22%18% 16% 10% 6% standards/consistency unsure quality article level sharing records data point
  53. 53. 19 cont. Responses • Metadata about Author paid content would be wonderful if link resolvers could then facilitate linking to this content. DOIs assigned to OA articles would also improve linking. • It would be great if the metadata were regularly reviewed (by an editor or editorial board ?) and updated to all the link resolvers, OCLC or other cataloging agency. • Central repositories or clearinghouses where OA publishers would list information about start and end dates, title changes, etc. KB vendors could monitor these listings
  54. 54. 20. Do you consider OA resources part of your library’s collection? 71% 17% 12% Yes No Not sure
  55. 55. 21. Do you actively promote OA resources to your library staff & the campus community? 48% 42% 10% Yes No Not sure
  56. 56. 22. How do you promote OA resources? 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 Instruction Sessions Programming Guides specifically for OA resources Subject guides Advertising Meetings with faculty or staff Meetings with students Other
  57. 57. 23. Does the availability of OA resources currently have an impact on your collection development practices? 33% 41% 26% Yes No Not sure
  58. 58. 24. How have OA resources impacted your collection development practices? 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 Cancelled a title because content was OA. Avoided purchasing a book because content was OA. Cancelled title because comparable titles were OA. Cancelled title because the relevant subject uses OA repository. Purchased title because they supported OA Diverted funds from coll dev to pay OA author fees Other
  59. 59. 25. Would you like to share anything else related to the management of OA resources? • The overblown promise of OA solving the serials pricing crisis has not materialized • The growing scale and volatility of the marketplace are very challenging. We're also struggling to determine in which discovery tools to focus our efforts. • I don't think that library or university administrators understand the real costs related to making these resources accessible over time. • There is a lot of literature on open access, but I haven't yet come across any truly comprehensive guides for how to include open access resources. Where to find them, how to support access, and how to discern the best resources.
  60. 60. Conclusions… • NISO standards have potential for improving metadata in the information supply chain • Hybrid OA poses a significant challenge to libraries • Libraries need more granularity in management & discovery systems • OA collections must be curated; accurate; reliable • Crowd-sourced resources such as OAWAL hold promise • Growth of OA has not alleviated the serials crisis, but… • Libraries have important role via information supply chain; feedback
  61. 61. Further reading & discussion • Burpee, J., & Fernandez, L. (2013, May 8). New frontiers in Open Access for Collection Development: Perspectives from Canadian Research Libraries. Paper presented at IFLA WLIC, Singapore. • DRAFT NISO RP-22-201x: Open Access Metadata and Indicators • Hutchins, C. (2013). Open access metadata: current practices and proposed solutions. Learned Publishing, 26(3), 159-165. • OAWAL: Open Access Workflows for Academic Libraries • needs-article-level-oa-metadata/