23 July 2007

Open access publishing

A story from Saturday on open access publishing takes a look at the high cost of academic journal subscriptions and the open access publishing movement that has risen in recent years. Ironically, the story is not freely available from the online Globe and Mail unless you Google the title ("Turning the ivory tower into an open book").

The article quotes John Willinsky, who leads the Public Knowledge Project, as saying that academics have a responsibility to ensure their work is published and made accessible: "We have to change that thinking so that it is not enough to publish, you also are responsible for the degree of access to your work."

The Public Knowledge Project produces Open Journal Systems software that makes it simple for journal editors to set up and manage an online, open access journal. Open Conference Systems is a similar technology for conferences. Software systems such as these are important components of making information and knowledge media available to those who fund us: the public.

Another open source software that I like is D-Space. A colleague at the University of New Mexico's Health Sciences Library and Informatics Center gave me the great idea of using D-Space to archive conference posters and presentations, ephemeral media that are otherwise not accessible after the event. (How many of us have old conference posters rolled up in our offices?). Putting them online with D-Space gives them a permanent URI and makes them accessible in a useful and useable format. I started experimenting with this while at the UofT. We plan on installing a D-Space application in the near future as a means of archiving our knowledge media products and research outputs.

For those interested in open source software, Seneca's School of Computer Studies is hosting their annual Free Software and Open Source Symposium from 25-26 October this year. Check out also KMDI's Project Open Source Open Access.

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