OATP FAQ

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

How do I get started as an OATP reader?

How do I get started as an OATP tagger?

What's in the primary project feed?

  • The goal of the primary project feed is to capture all developments (news and comment) on all aspects of OA in all academic fields in all languages in all parts of the world. In practice it captures just those noticed and tagged by participating taggers. (Hence the importance of recruiting good taggers in all fields, languages, regions, and niches.)
  • The primary project feed consists of the items that are new (within the last six months) at the time of tagging, regardless of their subtopic. Reading it is the best way to stay on top of what's going on in the world of OA. Tagging for it is the best way to help the rest of the worldwide OA community stay on top of what's going on.

What's in the secondary project feeds?

  • Secondary feeds could also be called subtopic feeds, since they focus on particular subtopics. OATP supports indefinitely many of them: one for each tag, one for each search, and one for each custom remix of our other feeds.

Is OATP crowd-sourced?

  • Yes in the sense that it welcomes contributions from as many skilled taggers as possible — in every academic field, every part of the world, and every language.
  • Yes in the sense that it aims to be comprehensive, and can only succeed when it takes advantage of the "many eyeballs" principle.
  • While crowd-sourced in those senses, good OATP taggers need some training or feedback and should follow the OATP tagging guidelines.

The feeds are missing things. How can we make them more comprehensive?

The feeds are too voluminous. How can we make them less comprehensive?

  • Subscribe to the feed of items recommended by a person or organization you trust. Conversely, create a feed of items you recommend, and encourage others to subscribe to it rather than (or alongside) the full primary feed.
    • See our instructions on how to create a recommendation feed.
    • If you set up a recommendation feed, let us know. We're thinking about creating a page of recommendation feeds to help readers choose among different perspectives on the OA-related news most worth reading.

How do I search the tagged items?

  • Use the TagTeam search engine for the OATP hub. You can find it at the bottom of the left sidebar on the OATP home page, or on its own separate page.
    • To run searches, you needn't have a TagTeam account and needn't be a member of the OATP hub.
    • The search engine covers all OATP tag records back to the launch of the project in 2009.
  • For details on the search features and syntax, see the section of the TagTeam manual on searching. Preview: You can search tags, keywords, or both. You can run phrase searches, wildcard searches, or boolean searches. You can bookmark any search, create a new feed from the results of any search, or add the results of any search to a remix feed combining many different OATP feeds.
  • If you use Chrome, you can search OATP directly from the omnibox (the search and URL bar). Go to Chrome Settings, then to Manage search engines. Scroll to the bottom of the page. In the Add a new search engine text field, enter something like "OATP" or "Open Access Tracking Project". In the keyword field, enter "oatp". In the URL field, enter http://tagteam.harvard.edu/hubs/oatp/item_search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&q=%s&commit=Go. Then click Done. (If this technique is new to you, you'll be happy to know that Chrome can do the same thing with any other site-specific search engines, such as those at Amazon, Netflix, Twitter, and so on.) Once you've set this up and want to search OATP from Chrome, just enter "oatp [search string]" in the omnibox and Chrome will run the OATP search for you. This is fast and elegant. Because Chrome is harnessing the OATP internal search engine, your search string should use the same syntax you'd use with the OATP internal search engine. For example, to search for a tag like oa.policies, search for #oa.policies. You can also use quoted phrases, boolean operators, and so on.

Does OATP support user-defined tags?

  • Yes. See the OATP tag syntax for details on creating new project tags.
  • When OATP launched in 2009, it had only one official tag, oa.new. All the rest were user-defined. Now it has a longer list of official tags, in effect codifying the usage of its users into a standard vocabulary. But it continues to support user-defined tags and always will.
  • We developed TagTeam (the software underlying OATP) to support a vision of "folksonomy in, ontology out" and get the best of both worlds. As users introduce useful new tags, we can approve and recommend them, and add them to OATP's standard vocabulary. In addition, TagTeam lets us convert deprecated tags to approved tags, automatically, and OATP takes advantage of that power. For more detail on how TagTeam supports the automatic conversion of certain tags to other tags, see the section of the TagTeam manual on tag filters.

How can I tell whether an item has already been tagged?

  • If you're authorized to tag for OATP, the easiest method is to try to tag the item you're wondering about. If the tag form pops up blank, the item has not already been tagged. If the form pops up pre-populated with tags, then the item has already been tagged. In the second case, you could withdraw, knowing that it's already tagged, or you could review it and add any relevant tags the previous taggers may have omitted.
  • A slightly more difficult method, but one open to non-taggers, is to search for the item in OATP. (See the earlier question on search.)

How can I tell whether a tag is already in use?

  • To see whether it's ever been used at all, click on the Tags tab, sort the tags alphabetically, and look for the one you have in mind.

How can I find items to tag?

  • Two preliminary notes:
    • If there were an easy way to find all-and-only relevant work, OATP would not be necessary. The easy ways tend to be over-inclusive or under-inclusive.
    • We're grateful for every level of tagging. It's enough to tag the items you happen to encounter, for example in your inbox, social-media feeds, reading, and research. You needn't go looking or make a special effort. But we're especially grateful to those who do make a special effort and run systematic searches. Here are some suggestions for that.
  • Create a series of Google Alerts and/or Talkwalker Alerts. Compose a search, save it as an alert, and you'll be notified every day about new hits. In our experience, Google Alerts tends to err on the side of under-inclusion and Talkwalker Alerts on the side of over-inclusion. Hence, it can help to create the same alert on both services to avoid missing things.
    • On both services, your saved searches can be boolean, for example ["open access" AND (biology OR biomedicine OR medicine] or ["open science" OR "open data"] or [("open access" OR "open science") AND (copyright OR licenses OR "fair use" OR "public domain"]. Write as many as you like in order to capture all the subtopics you want to track and tag.
    • If you use Gmail, create a Gmail label for these alerts, and create a Gmail filter to add the label to each incoming alert. That will let you zoom in on the alerts and temporarily ignore your other messages. On days when you don't want to bothered, you can zoom in on the alerts and delete them all at once.
    • Don't forget that many irrelevant items will use your keywords and many relevant ones will not.
  • Find the journals that often publish the kinds of articles you'd like to tag. Sign up for alerts by email or RSS. Do the same with blogs that often post the kinds of pieces you'd like to tag. Subscribe to listservs and discussion forums that often alert readers to the kinds of items (articles, blog posts, events, etc.) that you'd like to tag.
  • If you do research on OA itself, make it a habit to check the on-topic works you use, and the on-topic works they cite, new or old, to see whether they're all tagged for OATP. If they're not, then tag them. If they are, see whether you can add any relevant tags that the previous tagger(s) omitted.
  • Don't forget that even if you want to search systematically and tag everything in a certain niche, there are still some items you may omit.

How can I deep-link to the OATP library of...

...all items tagged with a given tag?

...all items tagged by a given tagger?

...all items tagged with a given tag by a given tagger?

...all items tagged on a given date?

...all items that come up in a certain search?

  • Every OATP search has a unique URL. Fine-tune your search, and then save the URL from the word Permalink under the search box. This URL will point to the HTML edition of the search returns. If you prefer to save the URL of the RSS, Atom, or JSON feed for that search, then save the URL under those feed icons in the top right corner of the search page. Then share the URL at will.

More generally

  • Also see the FAQ entry above on how to follow OA news selectively, or without subscribing to the high-volume OATP primary feed.

Are OATP collections static or dynamic?

  • Dynamic. If you deep-link to an OATP library or feed, then people who click on the link later will get the up-to-date set of OATP items belonging to that collection (for example, items with a given tag or items that satisfy a given search). Hence, sharing the link to an OATP feed or tag library is a way to share a dynamic or continually-updated collection of resources on a specific topic.
  • For example, if you often blog about OA in your field, or run a project on OA in your country, then you could link to the OATP library on OA in your field or OA in your country. Then you could work (perhaps with others) to tag relevant items make that OATP library as comprehensive as possible. While the OATP library becomes more and more useful, the URL doesn't change, and you can share the URL through social media, email, web pages, or footnotes.

How can I use OATP for research on OA itself?

How can volunteers help?

From their launch, the OATP feeds and database were built by a mix of volunteers and grant-funded taggers. But in September 2018 they entered an all-volunteer phase. Without enough good volunteer taggers, OATP will decline in quantity and quality. With enough good volunteers it could improve in both respects.

  • Tag new items for OATP.
    • If you follow OA-related developments in a certain niche (by subtopic, academic field, region, or language), be sure they all make it to the OA community through our primary news feed. Tagging the items you notice is all it takes.
    • Or take it up a notch by searching systematically for new developments in that niche and tagging them.
  • Tag older items for OATP.
    • Pick an OA subtopic you care about, perhaps because you work in it or you're doing research on it. As you search for work relevant to that subtopic, tag what you find, even when it's not new. Make the tags on that subtopic retroactively comprehensive.
  • Improve the tag records for items already tagged.
    • When you try tagging an item that's already been tagged, the existing tags will show up in the tagging bookmarklet. See whether any important tags are missing. If so, just add them right there in the bookmarklet form.
    • Or follow the HTML version of the primary feed, which shows new items along with the tags applied to them so far. Do this to keep up to date. But at the same time, look for items that are inadequately tagged. When you find one, click through and improve the record by adding new tags or modifying existing tags.
  • Recruit others to tag for OATP.
    • Help us make sure that every niche is well-covered. When you find a promising person, share our handout on how to get started.
    • Remember that a "promising person" doesn't have to tag on every aspect of OA. He/she could tag in a niche, like OA in a certain academic field, country, language, or subtopic. Nor does a "promising person" have to tag every day. Even periodic or sporadic tagging would help the cause.
  • Translate one or more of the major OATP pages from English into another language.
  • If you maintain a web page on OA (for example, an OA-related blog, or the site for an OA-related organization), use a widget to embed the OATP primary feed on the page. Or do the same for any other OATP feed, whether it's based on a tag, a tagger, or a search.
  • When you use OATP, please cite it. This isn't to run up our citation tally, which we cannot easily measure and do not use. It's simply to spread the word about OATP, which could help recruit new taggers, which could improve our coverage.

What's the difference between OATP and TagTeam?

  • OATP is a social-tagging project. Participants use tags for sharing new developments about OA and organizing knowledge of the field.
  • TagTeam is software to support social-tagging projects. It calls these projects hubs, and OATP is one hub within TagTeam.
  • OATP could run on almost any tagging platform, and when it launched in 2009 it ran on Connotea. However, existing tagging platforms did not have all the features OATP needed, and we developed our own, TagTeam. For more background on TagTeam itself, and the features we wanted that didn't exist on other tagging platforms, see the TagTeam home page.
  • While TagTeam was developed to meet the needs of OATP, it is now a general-purpose tool for open, social-tagging research projects on any topic.

What are the copyright and licensing terms on OATP data?

They are the same as those for other TagTeam data.

Who's behind OATP?

Peter Suber launched OATP in April 2009, and continues to manage it. In mid-2011, it became one of the initiatives overseen by the grant-funded Harvard Open Access Project (HOAP), directed by Suber. See the HOAP front page for the HOAP funders, project principals, project coordinators, research assistants, and software developers.