Ideally, Open Access journals should be available through a number of access points on the library website including the OPAC as well as indexing and abstracting services. Adding Open Access records to traditional library services increases the currency and relevance of these services and also legitimises Open Access resources.
A recent survey in the UK found that researchers would like their library to offer more pointers to Open Access content. While many libraries are providing access to Open Access journals, they do not make it explicit that the resources are Open Access. Libraries that want to be more proactive in promoting Open Access journals could attach a symbol beside Open Access resources (such as an open lock) to better draw attention to them.
While Open Access journals are free, they still require staff time to catalogue and maintain. Most libraries do not have the resources to catalogue all Open Access journals and must apply the selection criteria to “collecting” these resources. Collection development policies for Open Access journals should reflect existing policies for subscription-based journals, and include such criteria as stability, reliability, quality, and relevance.
Finding Open Access journals
Libraries can choose to make Open Access journals a priority in terms of cataloguing. However, information about Open Access journals doesn’t come through traditional channels, and libraries must adopt special procedures for identifying and cataloguing Open Access journals. The most valuable resource for identifying Open Access Journals is the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). The Directory is a free service that provides a comprehensive listing of Open Access journals covering all subjects and languages. The DOAJ is growing daily and currently lists over 4200 journals.The DOAJ is international in scope and lists journals from over 80 different countries and representing about 40 different languages.
There are a growing number of other services to help improve the visibility of Open Access journals. For example, the Elektronische Zeitschriftenbibliothek EZB (Electronic Journals Library) managed by Universitätsbibliothek Regensburg (University Library of Regensburg) in cooperation with the Universitätsbibliothek der Technischen Universität München (University Library of the Technical University of Munich). This initiative involves over 400 libraries and research institutions that collect the titles cooperatively and update the bibliographic data jointly in a central database. To date the service has indexed over 40,000 journal titles, about half of which are Open Access. Others include:
- Highwire Press Journals: HighWire Press is a division of the Stanford University Libraries, which produces the online versions of high-impact, peer-reviewed journals and other scholarly content. HighWire Press hosts the largest repository of free full-text life science articles in the world, with 1,832,208 articles available without subscription. Journals listed are not all immediately Open Access, but they provide Open Access to back issues.
- ABC Chemistry: A Directory that lists the fully and partly free journals in chemistry or chemistry related areas.
Procedural issues in cataloguing Open Access journals
Many established Open Access journals already have MARC records available through OCLC. However, some do not and must be uniquely catalogued.Kent State University has been cataloguing Open Access journals since 2003 and has added about 90% of the journals in the DOAJ to their catalogue. The procedure they have been using is described in a 2006 article in The Serial Librarian:
“Each title was searched in OCLC for copy and evaluated before it was imported into the local catalog. Constant data using the OCLC Connexion client was applied and local edits were added as each record was imported. These local edits included adding subject headings, a uniform title added entry “Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)” for the purpose of collocation in the catalog, and Persistent URLs (PURLs) when available. Use of PURLs helps to ensure stability of the URLs in the catalog. Each title received an individual bibliographic record and purchase order (PO). In addition, a collection level bibliographic record and PO were created. Because open access journals are freely available to all, Kent State did not add its holdings symbol to the OCLC record. For titles that did not have cataloging copy available, original records were input and saved into the OCLC database for other libraries to use.” (Hood and Howard. Adding Value to the Catalog in an Open Access World. 2006; vol. 50, 3/4 pg. 249) The library also reviews DOAJ every 30 days for new titles and conducts regular URL maintenance.
Some libraries also maintain separate lists for their digital journal holdings. Appropriate Open Access journals should also be included in these lists.
Indexing and Abstracting Services
As with cataloguing records, many open access journals are indexed in the traditional indexing and abstracting services.
In DOAJ, 1565 journals (as of June 22, 2009) are searchable at the article level and here you find 288625 articles. Libraries can add the Directory of Open Access Journals to article indexes and database lists. The article level metadata can also be harvested using the OAI protocol.
Open J-Gate is another indexing service for Open Access journal articles. Launched in 2006, Open J-Gate is the contribution of Informatics (India) Ltd to promote Open Access. Open J-Gate provides seamless access to millions of journal articles available online.
The University of California has developed a policy and procedure document for cataloguing and linking to open access resources: