I debated with myself for some time about whether or not to put this letter on my blog. I finally decided in favor of openness. I think that this might serve as a test case for others who might be interested in this issue, and who might be considering advocating for such a policy at their own universities. I will post follow-ups with the results of this experiment. Feedback is very welcome.
This email is to inquire about Johns Hopkins' policy with regards to open access self-archiving of author’s refereed journal articles. I am a student at Johns Hopkins (recently started as a Master's degree candidate in Bioinformatics) and a software developer by trade. I also have a strong interest in open access tools, policies, and methods. So, I am writing this email to introduce myself, and to ask some questions about Johns Hopkins' policies regarding some of these issues, and perhaps to stimulate some dialog.
I have recently found and read your "Johns Hopkins Scholarly Communications Group" site, and see that it says that you are "dedicated to fostering open access". I found (most of) your names from this site, and looked up your email addresses in the JHU system.
I see that JScholarship is the primary institutional repository for JHU -- is that right? Are there others? According to ROAR it uses the DSpace software. I browsed the site for a while, but didn't find very many journal articles. Would it be fair to say that currently, not a high percentage of the research papers produced as output by JHU researches is "self-archived" on JScholarship? If that's true, is there some other repository that they do use, that I haven't found yet?
The Scholarly Communications Group site also links to the Johns Hopkins Electronic Publishing Project. From there, I found the Mark Cyzyk's and Sayeed Choudhury's excellent paper from 2008, "A Survey and Evaluation of Open-Source Electronic Publishing Systems" (Wiki home; PDF whitepaper; on JScholarship; PowerPoint slides). It looks like the system that was most favored by that paper, "Open Journal System", was installed to this Electronic Publishing Project. But, it seems that, perhaps, it is no longer being actively maintained. Is that right?
I've recently been reading a lot of the writings of Stevan Harnad, who is a strong advocate of institutional repositories, and of policies that mandate self-archiving by authors, in order to further open access to scientific research. Below are a couple of links to resources related to this, that may be of interest. (Note that there is some redundancy in the material covered by these various links.)
Does Johns Hopkins have a mandate planned or in place requiring its researchers to self-archive the products of their JHU-funded research, along the lines of the other 130 institutional, 33 sub-institutional, and 52 funder mandates currently indexed in ROARMAP (including Harvard, MIT, Duke, Oberlin, Emory and NIH)? Has this been discussed at JHU? If not, what might be some good avenues that I and other interested students and faculty could pursue to help promote this goal?
Thank you very much for your time! Here are the links/resources:
- "What is Open Access and how to provide it?" - This is a blog post of an interview with Stevan Harnad, in which he very concisely lays out the case for how institutional repositories can further the goals of open access.
- Self-Archiving FAQ - this is a very nice FAQ page that introduces the concepts and answers many common concerns that people have. This covers much of the same ground as the above post, but goes into more detail.
- Enabling Open Scholarship (EOS) is a website and organization that "is both an information service and a forum for raising and discussing issues around the mission of modern universities and research institutions, particularly with regard to the creation, dissemination and preservation of research findings." There are many useful and informative resources on this site related to promoting and implementing open access policies, as well as several examples of other universities' open access policies. Is JHU a member of this organization?
- The Immediate-Deposit/Optional-Access (ID/OA) Mandate: Rationale and Model - this is a very nice page on Stevan Harnad's blog, which gives a model for a policy that could be adopted to mandate that researchers deposit their works in JScholarship (or some other institutional repository).
- The Right to Research Coalition - is a coalition of student groups that work to promote open access. I checked their membership page and did not see Johns Hopkins among the members. Are there any graduate student groups at JHU that would be an appropriate fit for this activity? How could I connect with such a group? I checked the list of Recognized Clubs in the GRO but didn't find any group that looked right. Would it be possible for me to start such a group?
- OASIS - Open Access Scholarly Information Sourcebook - looks like it has a lot of useful, practical information. I haven't looked this over closely, but it looks promising.