What is the actual proportion of journal publishers in the SHERPA RoMEO database?

This is a question that was raised at the recent CRI seminar and as promised I’ve done a bit of digging. Well, anyway, I emailed the fellow at SHERPA so thank you to Bill Hubbard who I paraphrase/quote here.

First of all there are 386 academic publishers accounted for in the SHERPA RoMEO database but it is very difficult to establish what proportion of the worlds’ publishers this figure actually represents. Moreover, having Elsevier in the database is obviously more significant than some obscure specialist publisher that may only publish a single title a year; such publishers, of course, come and go all the time.

It is similarly difficult to give a meaningful figure for the actual number of acedemic journals published by those 330+ publishers and estimates vary (wildly!) between 14,000-28,000 but many of those will be extremely limited circulation specific to a country etc.

It is currently estimated that there are 8-9,000 journals covered by RoMEO although this does vary. It is based on a combination of British Library holdings and publishers outputs. And of course publishers acquire new titles, take over other companies, sell off titles, new ones start, etc every week.

So what, then, is Bill’s conclusion?

“I don’t think you can get better than saying the majority – and the vast majority of titles that are of interest to UK researchers.”


Guardian Article

There is a section in today’s Guardian about the future of academic libraries which includes an article on Open Access.

STARS – Staff Training Awareness Refreshing Skills

Thanks to Lou for arranging for me to speak to library staff as part of the STARS programme this week. And thanks to everyone that came along. On Monday I spoke to 27 people at Civic and today there were about 25 so that’s around 50 staff who now (hopefully!) have a greater awareness about the repository project and Open Access.

As at last week’s CRI seminar, some very interesting perspectives were raised and there are a number of issues that crop up again and again.

Very briefly and from memory some of the recurrent themes are:

  • Software testing/usability of interface
  • Versioning in the repository
  • Repository content – will content be limited to peer-reviewed output? What about book chapters (monographs)?

I intend to start compiling a list of FAQs and with this in mind it would be very useful if people could contact me with any specific questions they may have (or think others may ask) either in person, through this blog or by email.

Download the slides from the presentation.

Repository Patterns?

I have posted something that maybe of interest to this project on the Streamline Blog here. I don’t know the complete remit of the Repository, but it might be worth considering creating Repository Patterns as a project out come. This is essentially drawing up guidelines for repository implementation and uptake, based on your experience of the process. Interesting or Irrelevant, what do you think?


CRI Seminar

Well, I have finally delivered my first formal presentation to members of the university research community. I am grateful to Sam Armitage for inviting me to speak as part of the Carnegie Research Institute seminar series yesterday; as I mentioned at the event, one of the difficulties for me is to identify suitable forums (or fora?) at which to engage with colleagues across the university and yesterday’s seminar was an ideal environment in which to begin a dialogue with the CRI (and one or two delegates from other faculties and departments.)

When one has been living on the web, immersed in all things Open Access and Institutional Repositories, it is difficult to anticipate exactly how (often complex) issues will be perceived by those whose support I need most – the academic and research staff at Leeds Met. All in all, however, I felt that it went well; perhaps I tried to cover too much material – you can’t tell the full tale in the first chapter, especially as the story of Open Access is still very much being written!

Here are one or two (Ok four!) specific issues I recall being raised; I shall ask those present to remind me of any others they would like to discuss further that either cropped up during the seminar or have occurred to them since:

  • Publisher copyright policies and self-archiving

I referred to the SHERPA RoMEO web-site which can be used to find a summary of permissions that are normally given as part of each publisher’s copyright transfer agreement and is maintained by Nottingham University; there was some discussion as to what proportion of publishers actually allow self-archiving; I believe it is the majority but discovering a more definitive answer is on my ‘to do’ list!

  • User testing of potential solutions for our repository

Concern was expressed that adequate user-testing of software is sometimes neglected on a project such as this.

All of the products we are reviewing (commercial and Open Source) have well established user-groups at other institutions and all are fully customisable meaning that it should be possible to conduct user testing once the software has been selected and adapt the user-interface etc to our specific requirements. Also, I do intend to do some testing of my own with a student who is visually impaired and has kindly offered to check accessibility to screen reading software.

I will also make the point that the system specification that we developed in the course of our market analysis of potential solutions was comprehensive – if you are interested it is available to download from the project website.

  • Referencing from Open Access material

The version of a self-archived paper (either pre-print or post-print) may (almost certainly will) differ from the published version which raises potential problems when referencing from such material; different pagination, for example. This is something I have seen discussed elsewhere; also on my ‘to do’ list – find relevant discussion of this and related issues!

  • What will happen to an individual’s self-archived research when they leave Leeds Met?

Academic staff, of course, are liable to work at several institutions in the course of their career and we will obviously need some sort of formal policy to describe what will happen in this circumstance. Again, this is an issue I have seen discussed elsewhere and I shall endeavour to report back in more detail.

So that’s four more or less arbitrary recollections from my first seminar – as I say, I’m sure those present will remember more and I would very much like to encourage people to use this blog as a discussion forum. You can post comments or, if you would like to become a more formal contributor this can be arranged – please contact me to discuss this further.

I would also ask people to bear in mind any other fora (or forums!) that would be appropriate for further discussion of Leeds Met’s repository project. And very soon we should actually have a repository to show you!

Finally, in the spirit of Open Access I shall make the slides from the presentation available to download (full .ppt as WordPress won’t allow me to upload slides only as .pps) – it is very much a work in progress and any comments/feedback gratefully received.