May 6, 2008

Reseach questions on Open Access

Via the indefatigable Peter Suber, check out the brand new Open Access Directory Wiki, which has lists on everything you could possibly want to know OA:

Welcome to the Open Access Directory (OAD), a compendium of simple factual lists about open access (OA) to science and scholarship, maintained by the OA community at large. By bringing many OA-related lists together in one place, OAD will make it easier for users, especially newcomers, to discover them and use them for reference. The easier they are to maintain and discover, the more effectively they can spread useful, accurate information about OA.

The goal is for the OA community itself to enlarge and correct the lists with little intervention from the editors or editorial board. For quality control, we limit editing privileges to registered users. We welcome your contributions to our lists, ideas for new lists, and comments to help us improve OAD. Please contact us or use the discussion tab. We expect a lot of traffic during our launch phase and please understand if we cannot get to all of the messages right away.

A great and worthy project, one which I support completely. If you know something worth sharing in the wiki, please contribute!

The thing I most wanted to draw attention to today is the list of OA Research Questions that need people to work on them. There's a ton of them, enough to keep us all working for a very long time.

To give a taste, here's the very first one in the list, in the Access category:
Publishers often assert that all or most of those who need access to peer-reviewed journal literature already have access. Who doesn't have access? What kinds of people don't have access and how well can we measure their numbers?
  • It's important to separate lay readers without access from professional researchers (in the academy, industry, and the professions) without access. Among professional researchers without access, it would help to classify by country and field.

  • It's also important to distinguish demand for access from people without access. Some of those without access may not care to have it. How well can we measure the demand for access among those who don't currently have it?

  • Can we redo the estimates annually in order to have a moving measurement of our progress in closing the access gap and meeting the unmet demand?

There's also a companion list of Research in Progress, which is a bit sparse right now. If you're doing OA-related research, it would be a great idea to share what you're doing with colleagues.

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