History of open access

From Peter Suber
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Nobody has yet written a comprehensive history of open access (OA). I don't plan to. But I've written much over the years that will help anyone who wants to study or write up parts of that history. Here are some of those pieces.


Newsletter (2001-2013)

  • I wrote a regular newsletter on OA for 12 years. Originally it was called the Free Online Scholarship Newsletter (2001-2002. In 2003 I renamed it the SPARC Open Access Newsletter (2003-2013).
  • Here's a list of links to each issue on the Earlham College server. Each issue and each major article is also on deposit in DASH, Harvard's institutional repository.
  • I often wrote about contemporaneous OA developments. In that sense, the newsletter issues and articles are relevant in the way that blog posts are relevant, though the articles provide more long-form analysis. Sometimes I wrote about the history of OA itself.

Open Access News (2002-2010)

  • I launched Open Access News in May 2002 and blogged heavily until April 2010. My goal was to track and share all that was going on with OA. I didn't really succeed, of course. But I covered a lot: about 18,000 posts, with occasional co-bloggers.
  • OAN is still online at its original site on the Earlham College server.
    • But do not trust the search engine in the blog sidebar. When the blog was alive, this search engine was comprehensive. But now that the blog is dead, it's very sketchy.
  • All of OAN is preserved in the section of Harvard's H-Sities that captures and preserves my entire Earlham College web site. While comprehensive and well-preserved, this copy is hard to search.
  • Most of OAN is backed up and searchable in a Google Group of the same name.
    • I forget what trick I used to send each blog post to the Google Group. But whatever it was, I didn't think of it until after I'd been posting for a while. The Group captures about 14k of the 18k posts. You don't need to be a member to view or search the Group.
    • I was the only member of the Group, and now that I've stopped posting to OAN, I've also stopped posting to this Group. There's no reason to ask to join.
    • The Group-specific search search engine leaves a lot to be desired. If you search for "Elsevier", it will tell you there are 11 hits (and by default sort them by date). But if you scroll through the hit list to the end, you'll find 203. If you scroll back to the top, you'll see that Google updated its estimate to 203. And if you turn off date sorting, by deleting %7Csort:date from the end of the URL, then Google updates its estimate to "about 490". (Google: What gives?)
  • You can also search OAN with a Google "site" search the section of my Earlham site containing the blog.
  • You can also search OAN in Google without special syntax. Just precede each search string with "peter suber" and "open access news" (keeping the quotation marks).
    • This method will include some hits that quote my blog posts, but it won't omit any of my blog posts.
    • For what it's worth, this is the method I use when I want to search OAN these days.

Open Access Directory (2008-present)

  • conferences, declarations, timeline, early journals ...

Open Access Tracking Project (2009-present)

  • ...

Google+ blog (??? -present)

  • When I laid down Open Access News in 2010, I didn't want to stop blogging altogether. So I launched a new blog at Google+. While the purpose of OAN was comprehensive coverage of OA developments, that's precisely what did not scale for an individual blog, and that's why I shifted that job to the crowd-sourced Open Access Tracking Project. Hence, the new Google+ blog never intended to capture OA developments comprehensively. Nor did I even limit the topics to OA, as I did with OAN. So for the OA historian, this blog contains both omissions (no posts on some OA developments) and false positives (posts not about OA). Still, it covers many OA developments, and I continue to post to it sporadically.

How you can help

  • As you find relevant items, add them the lists at the Open Access Directory, including the Timeline.
  • As you find relevant items, tag them for the Open Access Tracking Project. This means becoming a tagger.
  • Use the OATP to support your own research on OA, and to help others do their research on OA.