Why tag for OATP

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Harvard Open Access Project (HOAP) » Open Access Tracking Project (OATP) » Why tag for OATP

  • This page is primarily about why to tag for OATP. If you're already persuaded, please see our page on how to start tagging for OATP.

Your tagging will help the OA community.

  • When you tag for OATP, you push useful information to thousands of feed subscribers and store the records in the OATP database for deduping, export, preservation, updating, and search.
  • If the volume of OA-related news were small, we wouldn't need to recruit new taggers. But the volume is large and growing. In the last phase of grant-funded OATP tagging (Spring 2018), the primary OATP feed contained 20-50 items per day. And even then its coverage had gaps worth filling. We'd like to have active taggers in every scholarly niche to maintain and improve our coverage.
  • What sorts of things does OATP want to tag? Policies, articles, preprints, studies, surveys, reports, announcements, books, dissertations, datasets, calls for papers, funding opportunities, job ads, conferences, workshops, organizations, projects, tools, services, blog posts, slide presentations, videos, podcasts, wikis. If it's about OA (and if it's online with a unique URL), then we want to tag it, new or old, in any language, from any country, on any aspect of OA. As you can see from this list, no small group can do all of this on its own. That's why we need your help.

We welcome taggers of all kinds.

Generalists and specialists

  • Some taggers are wide ranging and tag anything about OA.
  • Some focus on a given niche, even if they also tag outside that niche. For example, they may focus on OA in a given academic field, country, region, language, or subtopic, and still tag outside that niche when they see something they want to share.

Gatherers and searchers

  • Some tag only what they happen to notice, adding a light layer of tagging to their ordinary routine.
  • Some search systematically for OA news and comment, at least in a given niche. For example, if you are committed to tagging all OA activity in a certain field or country, you might start with a systematic search for past activity in that field or country. Or if you want to report the news on a certain OA subtopic, like ECR (early career researchers) or OER (open educational resources), then every day or two you might search systematically for recent news and comment on those topics. If you're doing a research project on a some aspect of OA, then you're already doing a systematic search for work on that topic, and only need to make sure it's all tagged for OATP.

News hounds and historians

  • Some focus on new developments, because they're trying to keep up. They use OATP to share what they discover.
  • Some focus on older developments, because they're researching past work on some aspect of OA and want to make the relevant OATP tags retroactively comprehensive.

Regulars and irregulars

  • Some tag every day or several days a week.
  • Some tag sporadically. Every little bit helps.


  • Some individual and organizations will create what we call a recommendation feed by tagging the items they'd like to highlight as most important or most worth reading. Recommendation feeds can be on OA in general or on a special area of focus.



  • Peter Suber launched OATP in 2009, and initially did the tagging with Gavin Baker and a small number of volunteers. He received grants in 2011 and 2015 to pay some staffers at the Harvard Open Access Project to join the tagging cadre.
  • From the beginning, OATP wanted to recruit many more taggers. But the underlying software (first Connotea, now TagTeam) wasn't ready for them. That obstacle is now behind us. TagTeam has gone through several major upgrades and is ready for prime time.
  • Today the software is ready to scale up, the tag vocabulary is mature, and the time has come to recruit a larger crowd for this crowd-sourced project. In August 2018 OATP will enter an all-volunteer phase and depend on people like you and those you help recruit.
  • Today OATP is the most comprehensive source of OA news anywhere. It will only continue as a comprehensive alert service (helping people stay on top of new developments), and comprehensive database (supporting research into OA) if friends-of-OA volunteer to help out. We need you to discover what's worth sharing and tag what you discover.