participants in the scholarly communications chain. Funders who
have implemented OA policies would have a mechanism to determine if a speciﬁc article or researcher is compliant with their policies. Publishers of hybrid journals would beneﬁt by having a
simple mechanism for signaling the OA status of the articles published under that model. Authors would more easily be able to determine whether their selected distribution option is being
respected and be able to document their compliance with funder requirements. Readers could more easily ascertain if they can read an
article from search results and more easily adhere to the terms that
publishers have established. The many aggregators and discovery
service providers will enjoy an improved mechanism to programmatically collect and surface to users OA articles that are available
in the community.
The project launched by NISO will focus initially on metadata
elements that describe the readership rights associated with an OA article. Speciﬁcally, the NISO Working Group will determine the optimal
mechanisms to describe and transmit the right, if any, an arbitrary
user has to access a speciﬁc article from any Internet connection point.
Recommendations will include a means for distribution and aggregation
of this metadata in machine-readable form. The group will consider
whether existing bibliographic metadata distribution systems can
store and transmit this information. The group will also consider the
feasibility of incorporating information on re-use rights and the feasibility of reaching agreement on transmission of that data. Those interested
in participating in this effort should contact the NISO Ofﬁce.
Finally, CrossRef released its CrossMark (http://www.crossref.org/
crossmark/index.html) service last spring, which could also add
to the structure of providing article-level information to the community. The CrossMark system, which is an identiﬁcation service from
CrossRef (http://www.crossref.org/), is designed to provide signals
to researchers that publishers are committed to maintaining their
scholarly content by providing item-level metadata. CrossMark data
could include provenance information or information on access. As a
functioning system providing article level data, the CrossMark system
could provide a vehicle for exposing any agreed upon descriptions or
access data that might be the result of the NISO consensus process.
The introduction of Open Access has been fraught with contention,
posturing, and argument. However, as OA has moved into broader
acceptance, it has become time to address the systemic questions
that arise in an environment where hybrid OA content begins to ﬂourish within traditional subscription-based access models. This should
not be as fraught with political concerns as previous discussions,
since these activities turn on how best to implement a hybrid OA
model, not whether or not to implement one. Once a publisher or author chooses OA as a distribution model, in order for that model to
function properly in a hybrid environment, the systems that aggregate
content and provide discovery services rely on standardized metadata,
deﬁnitions, and indicators. At the moment in the ever-expanding open
access environment, all three of these are lacking. For all those who are
investing in the distribution of OA content, including funders who provide the resources, authors who choose OA as a distribution model and
publishers who build systems to allow it are missing an opportunity if
they fail to expose open access status. Just providing or selecting OA
distribution options does not adequately serve the end goal of getting
the content into the virtual hands of as many readers as possible. In
our digital environment, widespread access requires metadata to facilitate discovery and delivery of OA content. To prevent more complex
problems in the future, we should begin now to develop the metadata
infrastructure necessary for article-level access data.
Jisc (2013). Vocabularies for Open Access (V4OA). Retrieved from. http://www.jisc.ac.
Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition and Public Library of Science (2012).
How open is it?: Open Access Spectrum [guide]. Retrieved from. http://www.plos.org/
University of Nottingham (2013). Publishers with paid options for Open Access. SHERPA/
RoMEO (Retrieved from http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/PaidOA.html)
National Information Standards Organization (NISO),
3600 Clipper Mill Road, Suite 302, Baltimore,
MD 21211, USA
Tel.: +1 301 654 2512.
E-mail address: email@example.com.