OATP conventions

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Harvard Open Access Project (HOAP) » Open Access Tracking Project (OATP) » conventions

Tagging guidelines

Primary and secondary tags

  • OATP has only one primary tag, oa.new. Use this tag for OA developments that are new within the last six months, at the time of tagging. Also use it for new articles and comments about older developments.
  • Secondary tags cover OA subtopics, such as OA in a certain field, OA in a certain language, OA in a certain country, or different aspects of OA itself, such as OA policies, OA repositories, OA journals, OA business models, OA incentives, OA obstacles, OA and copyright, and so on.
  • Always use the primary tag oa.new for new items and always omit it for older items.
  • Always use relevant, major secondary tags, whether the item is new or old. A secondary tag is major if it appears on the OATP list of approved tags — which is a subset of the full set of tags in use.
    • Example: If an item is about OA in a certain field, then tag it by field (e.g. oa.anthropology, oa.biology, oa.chemistry). If a field is only mentioned incidentally, then don't bother with field tags.
    • Example: If an item is about OA in a certain country, then tag it by country (e.g. oa.argentina, oa.belgium, oa.china). Likewise, if it's about OA in a certain region, then tag it by region (e.g. oa.africa, oa.balkans, oa.caribbean). If a country, continent, or region is only mentioned incidentally, then don't bother with location tags.
    • Example: If an item is about a certain aspect of OA, then tag it by that aspect or subtopic (e.g. oa.advocacy, oa.books, oa.copyright).
    • Every OATP tag generates a feed to which users can subscribe. One purpose of secondary tags is to enable users to subscribe to the subtopics they care most about (e.g. OA in their own country, or OA in their own field, or OA of a certain kind), and omit the rest. The more we use secondary or subtopic tags, the more we help users customize their subscriptions. Another purpose of subtopic tags is to organize knowledge in the field and support searching by tags. Again, the more we use subtopic tags, the more we help users refine their searches and find what they seek. A third purpose of subtopic tags is to share an entire tag library with a single URL. For example, the oa.brazil tag generates a tag library which we can share through this URL, http://tagteam.harvard.edu/hubs/oatp/tag/oa.brazil. The more comprehensively we use that tag, the more useful it is to share the tag library through that URL.

User-defined tags

  • Feel free to invent new tags as you go. However, try not to create a user-defined tag when there's already an existing, approved OATP tag for the same topic.
    • Example: If there's no tag for a new OA-related organization or new OA-related subtopic, feel free to create one (e.g. oa.abc, oa.xyz).
    • Example: Because we already have an approved tag, oa.people, there's no need to create a new tag for the same subtopic, like oa.personnel.
  • If you don't have time to check to see whether OATP already has an approved tag for a given topic, just invent a tag that makes sense to you. With TagTeam, OATP project managers can automatically convert synonymous tags to the same tag, or deprecated tags to approved tags. For example, TagTeam automatically converts oa.monographs to oa.books. See the full list of our hub-wide tag filters.
  • Avoid tags that would apply to nearly every item covered by OATP, such as oa.academe, oa.academia, oa.academic, oa.academics, oa.analysis, oa.articles, oa.content, oa.digital, oa.digital_research, oa.digital_scholarship, oa.dissemination, oa.free, oa.knowledge, oa.online, oa.open, oa.open_access, oa.open_knowledge, oa.open_research, oa.open_scholarship, oa.outputs, oa.publications, oa.research, oa.resources, oa.scholarship, oa.science, and oa.sharing.


  • Always add an excerpt, paraphrase, or summary in the "description" field of the TagTeam bookmarklet.
  • If the piece has an abstract, just enter "Abstract: " and then cut/paste all or part of the abstract.
  • If the piece doesn't have an abstract, then quote or paraphrase an OA-relevant passage.
    • Your description should help OATP readers understand how or why the item is relevant to OA.
    • It should help readers decide whether to click through to the full text.
    • It should help them skim and learn about new developments even without clicking through.
    • The description is searchable in TagTeam, and helps users find items on certain topics.
    • For all these reasons, the better your descriptions or quoted passages, the better you will help users.
  • If you use a quotation, please put it in quotation marks.
    • Feel free to quote several passages separated by ellipses (e.g. "This...and this...and this...").
    • Exception: If you quote the abstract and label it as the abstract, then you needn't put it in quotation marks.
  • If you want to quote a passage, here's a tip. If you highlight the passage before tagging, then TagTeam will automatically put it into the "description" field of the tagging form.
  • If you use a quotation with an acronym that readers may not understand, spell out the acronym in square brackets (e.g. "a press release from SPARC [Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition]...").
  • When the original file does not support cutting and pasting (e.g. a locked PDF, an image-scan, a slide presentation, a podcast, a video), then either re-key an excerpt or compose your own summary, paraphrase, or description. Sometimes you may want to compose your own even when the original does support cutting/pasting.
  • If you know that a piece is relevant (from its title), but can't write a summary or clip an excerpt because all its text is behind a paywall, then don't leave the description field blank. At least enter a line to this effect: "Not even an abstract is open access." (And of course apply the oa.paywalled tag.)
  • If you cut/paste a description with hard returns in it, and the pasted version is badly formatted, please tidy it up. You can do this manually or use a free online service like the Line Break Removal Tool.


  • Make sure the item's title is correct in the tag record.
    • Sometimes the TagTeam bookmarklet grabs the title of the periodical rather than the title of the article, or the title of the blog rather than the title of the blog post. Sometimes it truncates the title. Sometimes it leaves the title field blank.
    • When the TagTeam bookmarklet form is open for you to fill out, you can edit the title field for correctness. You can also edit the title (as well as the URL, description, and tags) from the tag record within TagTeam.

Use of English

  • OATP aims to cover OA-related news and developments in all countries and languages. But it aims to do so in English.
  • All descriptions should be in English.
    • If the tagged work is not in English, then the description could be the tagger's English-language summary or paraphrase, the tagger's English translation of an excerpt, or a machine translation of an excerpt.
    • If you use a machine translator like Google Translate, Microsoft Translate, or DeepL to generate an English translation of a non-English excerpt, then put the excerpt in quotation marks and precede it with a line to this effect: "From Google's English: ...." We don't want readers to blame authors for the clumsy language in machine translations.
  • Titles should remain in their original language.
    • If you want to include an English translation of the title, put it in the description field.
  • The URL in the tag record should be the original URL, not the URL of a machine translation.
    • If your method of reaching a machine translation changes the URL, then don't tag the machine-translation page. Return to the original page to tag it (to call up the tagging bookmarklet). But by all means use the machine-translation page in order to decide what tags to apply and what description to use.
    • If you forget this step and notice that the URL used in the bookmarklet is the URL of a machine translation, then manually replace it with the original URL before adding the item to TagTeam.
  • User-defined tags need not be in English.
    • Example: If an article is about OA books, then tag it with English tag oa.books, but feel free to add one or more equivalent non-English tags as well, such as oa.buecher, oa.libros, oa.livres.
  • When the tagged item is not in English, always use a tag for the original language (e.g. oa.arabic, oa.bulgarian, oa.chinese). If the item is not in English and is about OA in a particular country, then use both a language tag and a country tag (e.g. oa.french and oa.france).

URL parameters

  • Remove superfluous parameters from the right end of the URL of the item before you tag it. These parameters often appear to the right of the "?" character.
    • TagTeam already removes many of these parameters automatically. Over time, it will remove more and more of them.
    • TagTeam removes duplicate records, but only treats items as duplicates when they have the same URL. Hence, removing needless URL parameters maximizes the chance that the same item will always be tagged with the same URL, and this will make best use of TagTeam's deduping feature.
  • For a special case of URL parameters, see the next item on unique session IDs.

URLs with unique session IDs

  • Some web resources add a unique session ID to the end of the URL. Hence, if you visit the same page twice, you'll get two distinct URLs (if you count the session ID as part of the URL). When you tag such a page, TagTeam uses the URL with the session ID as you see it on that particular visit. If other taggers visit the same page later, and try to tag it, TagTeam won't recognize that it's already been tagged, and will present them with a blank bookmarklet form, not a form already filled in by previous taggers. This leads to two problems: (1) duplicates in the database and feed, and (2) difficulties in retagging the same item.
  • You can always add or modify the tags on an existing item from inside TagTeam. But normally you can also use a second method to add new tags: revisit the original page on the web and click on the bookmarklet. The first method works even for sites that use unique session IDs. But the second is more difficult. When you revisit the page, you'll get a blank bookmarklet form and will create a duplicate tagging record. You can get around this problem by deleting the unique session ID in the URL on your second (or later) visit and pasting in the session ID from your first visit.
  • TagTeam already deletes many (but not all) of these session IDs at the time of tagging, eliminating many (but not all) of these problems. Over time, this feature will only improve.


  • If you want to include a conference or workshop, before or after it occurs, first tag it for OATP (with oa.events plus relevant subtopic tags). Then take a moment to see whether the event is listed on the events page of the Open Access Directory (OAD). If not, please add it.
    • Please follow the format for other event entries in the OAD.
    • If you've never added information to the OAD before, you'll have to register. But registration is free and easy. Naturally the OAD is OA for reading and reuse, but it requires registration for contributors in order to limit spam.
  • The OAD list of events works better than the OATP feed of events for people looking for upcoming events in chronological order, for example, to avoid conflicts with their own future events. That's a reason to add events to the OAD even if they're already tagged for OATP.
    • Conversely, The OATP feed of events works better than the OAD list of events for people looking for events on given aspects of OA (such as copyright or repositories) or in given countries, for example, to decide which events to try to attend. Just make sure that the event is well-tagged by subtopics and country, and then run an appropriate boolean search in TagTeam (for example #oa.events AND #oa.repositories or #oa.events AND #oa.switzerland). This is a reason to tag events for OATP even if they're already listed in OAD.

Items already tagged

  • If an item has already been tagged for OATP, then you'll see the existing tags and description in the TagTeam bookmarklet when you try to tag the same item yourself. When this happens, you could close the bookmarklet and move on to something else. Or you could take a minute to review the tags and description, and see whether you could improve upon them.
  • If you add a tag, your new tag will be added to the OATP record for that item. If you revise a tag, your new one will be added but the original tag will remain unchanged in the database. If you try to delete a tag, the original will remain unchanged in the database.
    • The only way to revise or remove a tag from the OATP database is within TagTeam itself, not the bookmarklet. This is deliberate, since the bookmarklet assumes that all the tags applied to the same item, by all users, should be merged and preserved in the database. Another angle on this: Other taggers (with ordinary tagging privileges) cannot revise or remove your tags. They can only supplement your tags with new tags, and your rights over their tags are limited in the same way. Only the hub owner and project managers with suitable privileges can revise or remove your tags. This is one of TagTeam's methods for allowing hub owners and project managers to supervise a transition from a folksonomy of user-defined tags to an ontology of project-approved tags.

Deep links

  • Use deep links whenever you can. Tag a journal article from the article page, not from the journal home page or table of contents. Tag a conference presentation from the presentation page, not the conference page. Tag a blog post from the post page, not the blog home page. And so on.
  • Sometimes the piece you want to tag is online but does not have a deep link or unique URL. For example, some journals publish all the articles for a given issue in a single large file. To tag an article in a journal like that, tag the issue-level file, use the title of the article in the "title" field of the bookmarklet, and use the "description" field to say something like "Scroll to p. 71" or "The article begins on p. 71."

DOI-based URLs

  • But beware: Not all articles with DOIs have working DOI-based URLs. If you have time, please test the DOI-based URL.

Clusters of relevant items

  • When a journal has a special issue on an OA-related topic, try to tag all the relevant articles individually.
  • When a conference has many presentations on OA, each with a unique URL, try to tag all relevant presentations individually.
  • If you don't have time to tag separate items separately, tag the journal table of contents for that issue, or the conference presentation page. Then use the description field to say why these articles or presentations are relevant.

Overlapping tags

  • Normally, when we have an approved tag for a certain meaning (such as oa.people), we discourage the addition of synonymous tags (such as oa.personnel). But sometimes we make deliberate exceptions when two synonymous or nearly-synonymous terms are both in common use. For example, almost every item that gets oa.journals should also get oa.gold (and vice versa), and almost every item that gets oa.repositories should also get oa.green (and vice versa). This practice helps users who search on one term but not other.
  • When we have terms at different levels of generality, use of the more specialized tag should usually trigger the use of the more general tag. For example, any item getting oa.textbooks should also get oa.books, and any item getting oa.policies.funders should also get oa.policies. Again, this practice helps users who search on one of those terms but not the other.
    • The same applies by regions. Items that get oa.mexico should also get oa.latin_america.

Individual name tags

  • We try to avoid making tags out of the names of individual people, like oa.jane_doe.
  • But sometimes individual names are the best shorthand for OA topics that deserve tags. For example, we use oa.obama_directive for the 2013 directive by President Obama ordering two dozen federal agencies to adopt OA policies. We use oa.trump for the anti-OA actions of the Trump administration.

Institutional name tags

  • We freely use institutional names in tags, such as oa.sparc, oa.taylor&francis, oa.u.california, and oa.world_bank. Some of these institutions are major OA newsmakers and deserve to be tagged as such.
  • We don't hesitate to do this for major institutions. However, we do hesitate to do it for minor institutions, and confess that we don't have a good rule for distinguishing the two classes. Our main concern here is to avoid multiplying the number of approved project tags without a good reason.

Source and genre tags

  • Do not tag the source or venue in which an item appears unless it's relevant to the item's content. For example, don't tag an item with oa.arxiv just because it's in arxiv. Only tag an item with oa.arxiv when it's about arxiv. And so on for other repositories, journals, publishers, and other sources.
  • The same principle applies to genres. Don't tag an item with oa.preprints just because it's a preprint. Only tag an item with oa.preprints when it's about preprints. And so on for articles, books, ETDs, and other genres. (When an item is about genres themselves, the tag it with oa.genres.)


  • One mission of OATP is to provide real-time alerts about what's new in the world of OA. When you see a relevant item, please try to tag it quickly. Ideally, we'll tag all new developments within hours of their first appearance online.

Pacing yourself

  • Despite the desirability of tagging new items soon after they appear, there are some reasons to pace yourself. TagTeam publishes its feeds in RSS, Atom, and JSON, and makes use of third-party tools to convert these feeds into other useful formats, such as Email and Twitter. Unfortunately, even the best RSS-to-Twitter tools (so far) do not forward more than a certain number of items in a given hour or day. If OATP has more items in that period, the people who follow our feeds on Twitter will not see all our items. See two of Peter Suber's blog posts about this problem (1 and 2).
  • We currently use IFTTT as our RSS-to-Twitter tool, which limits the Twitter feed to 25 items per day. If you can a find better tool that does not abridge the feed, please let us know! For more details, see our separate page on the OATP Twitter feed.

Tagging items that may soon disappear

  • If you tag an item that may not stay online long, such as a job ad, try to put all the relevant details in the description field for preservation.

Neutral tagging

  • Tagging an item for OATP is not an endorsement. If an article is relevant to OA, but you're not happy with its perspective, OATP still wants to include it. OATP provides real-time alerts, and organizes news and comment in the field. It leaves critique to other venues such as articles, blog posts, forum discussions, conference presentations — and then of course it wants to tag those critiques as well.
  • The description field in the bookmarklet should also be a neutral excerpt, paraphrase, or summary. Don't use it to express opinions about the work you are tagging.
    • If you're moved to write a rebuttal to a work you tag for OATP, don't do it in the OATP tag record. Write your rebuttal, post it online, and then tag your rebuttal.
  • The oa.negative tag is for setbacks or opposition to OA. It would be fair to apply it to a work arguing against OA, but not to a piece that is wrong on the facts, one-sided, vague, naïve, or otherwise low in quality. Similarly, oa.objections and oa.obstacles characterize the content of the piece, not its quality. When a piece suffers from what could fairly be called misunderstandings, then use the oa.misunderstandings tag.

Identifying spam

  • If you see an item utterly unrelated to OA in a project feed, please take a moment to tag it with oa.spam.
  • The OATP primary feed is intelligent enough to omit items tagged with oa.spam. However, even when a piece of spam is already in a project feed, and we're too late to exclude it, your tag will help project managers remove it from the database, exclude it from searches, and expel the spammer.

Deleting tags

  • If you have the rights in TagTeam to delete tags, when should you use it? The key principle is that it's better to include important tags than to exclude unimportant ones. When you see a tag that's unimportant or unintelligible to you, act on the assumption that someone added it for a reason. Leaving those tags in the record is usually harmless, while deleting them could harm at least one user. TagTeam supports user-defined tags precisely to make it possible to add tags that other users would not have used or would not even understand.
  • When a tag is not a good fit for an item, that's a reason to delete or modify it. When it's a good fit, but we wouldn't have chosen it ourselves, we should defer to the users who did choose it. Or when a tag is inscrutable, and its fit is therefore impossible to judge (e.g. smith-project-7), that's also a reason to defer to the user who chose to use it.
    • One good reason to delete a tag is when it's positively misleading. If an article is in mathematics, and is tagged with oa.medicine, then that tag is positively misleading. For users subscribing to the oa.medicine feed (or searching for that tag in the OATP hub), that piece is a false positive that wastes their time.
    • Another good reason to delete or modify a tag is when it's misspelled. If an article is in mathematics, and is tagged with oa.mathmatics, the tag should be deleted or corrected.

Taggable items

On-topic v. off-topic items

  • OATP focuses on open access to research. Tag anything directly related to that topic.
    • If a work is not about OA, then do not tag it, even if happens to be OA.
    • We construe "about OA" broadly and often tag items about scholarly communication.
  • There are many neighboring topics that overlap with OA to research. Don't tag everything on these topics, but do tag the items in the overlap area, or items that are themselves directly related to OA. For example, copyright is one of these neighboring topics. Don't tag everything on copyright —please!— but do tag items on copyright in connection with OA. Here are some examples of neighboring topics:
    • Academic freedom; academic publishing; altmetrics; censorship; citizen science; copyright, fair use, and the public domain; data management plans (DMP); digital divide; digital publishing; digital rights management (DRM); digitization; free and open-source software; freedom of information (FOI) laws; freedom of speech; impact metrics; journal impact factors (JIF); journal prices; legal regulation of the internet, libraries, and publishing; library budgets; libraries in the digital age; licensing terms for online content; media concentration and monopoly; metadata; non-OA scholarly journals or research literature; OA to non-research content such as movies, music, news, and government info; online teaching and learning; open government; P2P file-sharing; peer review; peer review; plagiarism and research misconduct; political interference with research; predatory journals; preservation; privacy and anonymity; promotion and tenure; public sector information (PSI); research assessment; research data management (RDM); research funding; search and search engines; the semantic web; social media; text and data mining; wikis and Wikipedia.
    • Exceptions: In a small number of cases, OATP tries to tag all items on a certain topic even though some items on that topic are not strongly connected to OA. These exceptions arose for different reasons, usually because OATP already had a good start on a comprehensive list. We'll try to keep these exceptions few in number:
      • Google Books (tag: oa.google.books)
      • Google Book Settlement (tag: oa.google.settlement).
      • We formerly put "Public sector information" (oa.psi) in this category. But today OATP aims for completeness on research data (oa.data) and not on government data (pubic sector information or oa.psi).

New items v. old items

  • Use oa.new for items that are new within the last six months or so. Also use oa.new for new articles and comments about older developments.
  • Use any relevant secondary or subtopic tags when tagging older items. Just remember to omit oa.new. For more on tagging older items, see the next entry on retroactive tagging.

Retroactive tagging

  • OATP launched in April 2009. While it has been very comprehensive, it has missed some items between April 2009 and today, and it has missed many more items from before April 2009. Hence, we strongly encourage retroactive tagging, or the tagging of items that are not already tagged and not new enough for the oa.new tag. The process is simple: Tag as usual but omit oa.new.
  • While the overall project launched in April 2009, some individual tags were launched much more recently than that. For example, in November 2018 we introduced the tag oa.academic_led for "academic led" or "community owned" infrastructure. Without a special effort of retroactive tagging, many items deserving that tag won't have it, even if they were published after OATP launched in April 2009.
  • When you tag older items retroactively, please enter the date of publication in the tagging form. (The "date published" field is toward the bottom of the form.) If you don't, TagTeam will use the date of tagging as the date of publication, which can be very misleading for older items.
  • If you're doing a research project on any aspect of OA, please make a point of checking to see whether the OA-related literature you find is already tagged for OATP.
    • You can do this for a given work simply by trying to tag it again. If it has already been tagged for OATP, the bookmarklet will be pre-populated when it opens up. If a work has not already been tagged, or if it's missing relevant tags, please take a moment to add missing tags. This will help you do your research and help others searching for work on the same subtopics.
    • If you're a professor supervising a thesis on OA, or assigning a paper on OA, please ask your students to take the same steps.
    • If you're searching the OATP hub in TagTeam, and find that a stored record is missing one or more relevant tags, please take a moment to add them.
    • For more ideas along these lines, see our page on using OATP for research on OA.
  • Some OATP tags are retroactively comprehensive because users have systematically searched for online articles on those subtopics and tagged them with the relevant tags. In the OATP tags page, we annotate these tags as "Retroactively comprehensive since about (date)."
    • If you make a tag retroactively comprehensive, please let us know and we will annotate the tag accordingly.
    • When a tag is retroactively comprehensive, users will have more confidence in using that tag to include or exclude items from searches.
    • When a tag is retroactively comprehensive, the link to its tag library functions as a link to a comprehensive and dynamic (still growing) bibliography on that topic.

Items with dead links

  • If a you read something that links to an apparently relevant item, but the link is dead, try the Internet Archive Wayback Machine to find an archived copy.
  • You can tag an archived page from the Wayback Machine just as easily as you can tag a regular web page.

Best sources v. other sources

  • Tag the actual content whenever you can, not just a pointer to the content. If you learn about a relevant article from a blog post, then always tag the article itself. Only tag the blog post as well if it adds significant commentary or deserves to be tagged in its own right.
    • If you learn about a new project or resource from a press release, at least tag the resource itself. Tag the press release too if it adds details or a useful overview not easy to get from the resource itself.
    • If you learn about an OA resource from a news article, then the article may be worth tagging above and beyond the resource itself, especially if goes into the rationale or benefits of making the resource open.

Complete sources v. incomplete sources

  • Some web pages give the first few paragraphs of an article followed by a "read more" link. Some break an article into separate sections, with separate URLs, and sometimes (not always) offer a URL for the full text on one page. If you can, tag the complete version. If you can't, tag the first page or section.
  • If you must tag just the first page of section of a longer item, then quote or paraphrase the most OA-relevant bits in your description, even if it they not all from the first page or section.

OA v. non-OA versions

  • Tag relevant items whether or not they are themselves OA.
  • If an item is not itself OA, then include some relevant excerpts in the "description" box, for example from the abstract. And don't forget to add the oa.paywalled tag.
  • If an article exists in both OA and non-OA versions, at least tag the OA version, in order to help OATP users click through to full-text. If you have reason to think that the link to the non-OA version is more durable, or that the non-OA version is later or superior, then tag that version as well (again, with the oa.paywalled tag).

Mobile v. non-mobile versions

  • If you discover a tag-worthy page with a mobile device, try to view the web or non-mobile version of the page before tagging it.
  • Note that the oa.mobile tag is for OA-related developments for mobile devices, not for other kinds of OA-related news that happen to be displayed in mobile format.

Online v. offline items

  • We can only tag online pages, not print works or offline digital files.
  • If you find a relevant work in print, look for an online edition to tag. If need be, tag an online metadata record, announcement, review, or advertisement. We need some online representation of the work, or pointer to the work, in order to put some notice of the work into the OATP database and feeds.
  • If you click on a link to an item, and a PDF downloads to your hard drive, rather than displaying in your browser, then look for an online splash page (a.k.a. landing page) for the same work.

Adding original content

  • To insert an original piece of news or comment into the project feed, and make it available in OATP searches, first put it online with a unique URL, for example, as a standalone web page, blog post, discussion forum contribution, or wiki section. Then tag the online version.

Omittable items

Of course you may omit anything you like! Participation in OATP is voluntary and we wouldn't want it any other way. But if you want to be systematic about capturing all the OA-related developments on a certain subtopic, in a certain field, or from a certain country, there are still some items you should feel free to omit.

  • Feel free to omit very short items like tweets, listserv messages, and comments on blog posts.
  • Feel free to omit blog posts written as class assignments, especially if they are weak, poorly written, very brief, or elementary.
  • Omit items containing nothing new.
    • Example: Omit a blog post that merely gives a summary of another post or article, unless the summary is unusually well done. It's better to skip the summary and tag the primary source.
    • Example: Omit a blog post simply alerting readers to an older policy, tool, article, etc., with minimal new comment.
  • Omit introductions to OA for newcomers unless they unusually well done. Then use the oa.intro tag.
  • Omit reprints or repostings of relevant articles published elsewhere. In cases like this, try to tag the primary source instead of the reprint. If the primary source is online, tag it. If it's not OA and you can find an OA edition, then also tag an OA edition. But if you keep finding new OA editions, you needn't and shouldn't tag them all.
  • Omit the OA release of individual works, whether they are articles, books, or some other genre. The main reason is that there are too many, and they'd swamp the feed. (If they were rare, they'd be worth tagging.) A secondary reason is that OATP focuses news and comment about OA, not specific works that are OA. (This is a secondary reason because when important works become OA, we often tag them.)
  • Omit items on a neighboring topic without a strong or direct OA connection. For example, copyright is a neighboring topic but we don't tag everything on copyright. We only tag the subset of those items with an OA connection. For a list of some neighboring topics, see our entry on on-topic and off-topic items.
  • Omit offers of temporary OA, preview OA, or teaser OA. That is not OA in the sense covered by OATP.
    • Exception: We cover temporary OA offered for humanitarian purposes, for example, to help recover from a natural disaster. Use the tag oa.humanitarian.
  • Feel free to omit items based on deep misunderstanding, whether innocent or cynical. This is a hard call, because we want to include even pieces critical of OA (with tag oa.negative) and pieces with some mistakes or false assumptions (with tag oa.misunderstandings). On the other hand, one purpose of OATP is to raise the level of understanding of OA, and we undermine this purpose when we raise the visibility of distortion and deception.
    • If you decide to omit such pieces (to maximize quality), that's consistent with the project. If you decide to include them (to maximize comprehensiveness), that's also consistent with the project.
    • In the early days of OATP, there were only a few taggers and we felt obliged to tag for comprehensiveness. But as we succeed in crowd-sourcing the job of noticing and tagging OA-related news, individual taggers should feel free to tag only the items they believe are worth sharing, using their own criteria. With enough participating taggers, we'll still reach comprehensiveness, and individual taggers needn't tag items they believe are useless or harmful, even if on-topic.
  • Feel free to omit announcements from notorious scams or predators, and posts or articles from clueless authors who promote scams and predators because they don't know better. There's no problem with erring on the side of tagging or inclusion, if you like, but neither is there a problem in omitting what you regard as the promotion of dishonesty.

Tag syntax

  • OATP tags are composed of these elements: oa + dot + subtopic (word or phrase).
    • For example: oa.something is a well-formed OATP tag. But oasomething, oa-something, and something are not.
    • The oa. prefix separates our tags from other tags using the same words or phrases. For example, tags like policies and journals could cover developments unrelated to OA, but oa.policies and oa.journals only cover developments related to OA.
    • The oa. prefix means "in connection with OA" or "related to OA", not necessarily "in support of OA". Hence even an article criticizing OA journals should be tagged with oa.journals. So should an article focusing on non-OA journals and comparing them with OA journals.
  • Omit spaces. For example: oa.something, not oa something.
    • Since version (August 2018), TagTeam treats the space as a tag delimiter (along with the comma). Hence it would treat oa something as two separate tags (oa and something), not one tag with a space in the middle.
  • Separate tags with spaces or commas. By default, TagTeam treats oa.one, oa.two and oa.one oa.two the same way. Each is a valid way to enter two separate tags, namely, oa.one and oa.two.
    • If they wish, hub owners can turn off the space as a tag delimiter; that will enable phrase-tags. (They cannot turn off the comma as a tag delimiter.) Or they can make any different character a tag delimiter. See the Settings section of the hub.
  • Use lower case letters only. For example: oa.something, not oa.Something. This is the rule even for proper nouns. For example: oa.france, not oa.France.
    • TagTeam automatically decapitalizes upper-case letters in tags.
  • Use an underscore or acronym for phrases. For example (with an underscore): oa.fair_use, not oa.fair use, oa.fairuse, or oa.fair-use. For example (with an acronym): oa.pd, not oa.public domain, oa.public_domain, or oa.public-domain. See the tags page to see whether the project recommends an underscore or acronym for a given phrase.
  • Use a hyphen where the original used a hyphen. For example: oa.wiley-blackwell.
  • Use an ampersand (without flanking spaces) where the original used an ampersand. For example: oa.taylor&francis.
  • Use additional dots for additional levels of subordination. For example: oa.case is for case studies, while oa.case.policies is for case studies on OA policies, and oa.case.policies.universities is for case studies on OA policies at universities.
  • In general, use plural nouns rather than singular nouns. For example: oa.journals, oa.policies, oa.repositories.
    • But nouns for activities should be in the singular noun. For example, oa.annotation, oa.peer_review, oa.search.
    • Also use the singular for nouns used in an adjectival sense. For example, oa.crowd, oa.hybrid, oa.overlay.
  • The OATP tag vocabulary is in English, and the descriptions added to tag records should be in English.
    • Even while OATP builds its standard tag vocabulary, it welcomes a folksonomy of user-defined tags, including tags not in English.
    • For more detail, see the tagging guidelines on the use of English.
  • Not all existing OATP tags conform to these conventions. But TagTeam supports retroactive tag revision and over time we hope to bring noncompliant tags into compliance.

Tag convergence

  • OATP deliberately started as an informal folksonomy, and is deliberately evolving into a more formal ontology or controlled vocabulary. This evolution requires three kinds of effort:
  1. Agreements on the best tags for given topics
    • As we decide on the best tags to use for certain subtopics, we record them on the list of approved project tags.
  2. Filters for automatically converting deprecated tags to approved project tags
    • Note that these filters only affect the TagTeam copies of tag records. If you tagged items for OATP from another platform (such as CiteULike or Delicious), and asked TagTeam to subscribe to your feeds from that platform, then the TagTeam filters will only modify the TagTeam copies of your tags, not your original tags on the original platform.
    • Not all existing tags conform to the emerging OATP ontology. But over time we hope to use filters to update all the deprecated tags.
  3. Tools to nudge taggers toward approved tags and away from deprecated tags
    • The tag field of the TagTeam bookmarklet suggests tags to the user. The suggestions start with the characters already entered by the tagger, the tagger has entered three or more. By default, this suggestion list includes all tags already in use that start with the right characters. But if they choose, hub owners may exclude any tags from that list.
    • When a filter changes a deprecated tag to an approved tag, users searching for the deprecated tag will see a friendly suggestion to search for the approved tag. This also works for boolean searches containing one or more deprecated tags.