VALib v61n1 - The Impact of Open Access on Collection Management

The Impact of Open Access on Collection Management

by Adelia Grabowsky

Open access (OA) is a relatively new concept in the long history of published scholarly communication. Although there were already some open access journals in 2002, many point to the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) held in that year as the beginning point of the “open access movement.” The BOAI called for freely available literature which permits “users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself.” 1 Since the BOAI, the open access movement has continued to grow and change, and in 2013 David Lewis predicted that over the next ten years, OA would “become the dominant mode for scholarly journal publishing” and recommended that academic libraries “continue to support open access initiatives: institutional deposit mandates; support for open access journals; or funding of open access author fees.” 2 Collection management was also expanding in the 2000s with the addition of access management: the need to facilitate effective and efficient access to electronic materials while still managing physical collections. 3 In 2011 Emilie Delquie asked if the philosophy of collection management was evolving from just collecting information to “‘hooking’ users up with information?” 4 This article examines if and how the integration of OA materials has changed collection and/or access management activities within academic libraries.

… the emergence of predatory publishers makes the evaluation of OA journals especially important.

Traditional Collection Management Responsibilities

Related to Open Access Many of the traditional aspects of selection are the same for both open access and purchased or leased materials. Both fee and free potential resources must first be identified; however, this may be more difficult for OA resources because they lack “the whole marketing machine…that is part of the traditional publishing world.” 5 Some of the same sources used to discover materials for lease or purchase, including reviews, list serves, publisher/society emails, patron suggestions, can also be used to find individual OA resources, although there are other tools specific to open access including the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and HighWire Press. 6 Cheryl Collins and William Walters list four ways in which vendors may provide access to OA content: through lists compiled by third parties such as the PubMed Central, lists provided by publishers such as PLoS, lists developed by the vendors themselves, or lists of databases such as Academic Search Complete which include OA content. 7 Rather than selecting title-by-title, libraries may also choose to provide access to OA collections such as Project Gutenberg, HathiTrust, the National Academies Press (NAP) and the OAPEN library and/or to additional types of OA formats such as streaming video. 8

Once identified, all potential materials, paid for or not, should be evaluated for quality; the emergence of predatory publishers makes the evaluation of OA journals especially important. 9 The intent of these predatory journals is to “trick authors into thinking they are legitimate scholarly publishing outlets” while offering bogus or no peer review and accepting articles from anyone willing to pay. 10 Krista Schmidt and Nancy Newsome provide a list of selection criteria to use when deciding to add OA journals, either title-by-title or as collections. 11

All types of materials should also undergo assessment to determine if they fit into the existing collection, align with the mission of the library and also if they meet research and/or curricular needs of institutional users. 12 With flat or decreasing budgets, most libraries cannot afford to add resources which are not used, even when those resources are open access. 13 Although OA materials are free to acquire, there is cost associated with them in time spent on cataloging, processing and maintenance. 14 Schmidt and Newsome suggest that maintenance could be more time-consuming for OA journals because they may be more prone to change and furthermore that those changes may be harder to discover since there is no payment and no contact with a publisher. 15

… “content and services in most libraries are not purchased in a vacuum but often can be retained in one”….

Access points to new resources must be determined since patrons cannot use resources that they are unable to find. 16 Studies have found that, typically, OA journals are treated like other online journals and depending on the library, they may be placed in or on one or more of the following: OPAC, A-Z lists, journal locators, subject guides or pathfinders. 17 One point to consider when deciding to include an OA journal in a collection is whether the journal is indexed in any of the library’s databases, since some authors suggest that even with a variety of access points, patrons will be unable to find and use OA journals which are not included in traditional indexing services. 18 Records for open access journals may sometimes be coded so they can be pulled out as a group (e.g., through the Directory of Open Access Journals) if needed. 19

Jill Emery and Graham Stone’s comment that “content and services in most libraries are not purchased in a vacuum but often can be retained in one” highlights the necessity of ongoing resource evaluation. Collection librarians are familiar with evaluating print resources for weeding, particularly when space is an issue, and with evaluating leased resources when budgets are squeezed or when curricular or research needs change. 20 Open access resources should also be subject to periodic evaluation to ensure they are continuing to meet user needs. OA resources may also offer assistance when making evaluations about print materials. Checking open access book collections such as Google Books or Project Gutenberg for digital copies can assist decisions about replacing damaged copies, removing duplicate copies or deciding which print books to move to off-site storage. 21

Collections are for use, so promotion of resources is also a part of collection management. A 2007 survey found that 75% of ARL libraries promote OA resources just as they do other resources; examples of promotion activities for OA resources include adding to a library catalog, including in subject guides or pathfinders, discussing in instruction sessions or reference interviews, and highlighting in newsletter articles or on web pages. 22

New Collection Management Responsibilities Related to Open Access

In 2002, the BOAI suggested two strategies to increase open access to scholarly literature; these strategies are now commonly referred to as Green Open Access and Gold Open Access. 23 Green Open Access involves self-archiving, which refers to authors depositing refereed articles from traditional journals in open electronic archives such as institutional or subject specific repositories. 24 Journal publishers have varying policies on which version(s) of an article, including pre-refereed, post-refereed, or the publisher’s PDF, can be self-archived. In contrast, Gold Open Access consists of publishing in open access journals which do not charge subscription or access fees to users. 25 To replace lost subscription and access fees, the BOAI offered several suggestions for funding Gold OA journals, including sponsorship by universities, governments or foundations that fund research, endowments, profits from add-ons, or through charging authors a publishing fee for each accepted article. 26 Both Green and Gold OA have had an impact on collection management, through the introduction of new responsibilities, issues, and opportunities.

Green OA involves self-archiving articles in electronic archives, and academic libraries are typically involved in the establishment and management of institutional repositories (IRs). 27 Administering IRs requires collection librarians to decide how much support will be provided to those depositing research outputs. Jihyun Kim found that faculty, and in particular those less technically savvy, are more likely to self-archive if offered technical and logistical assistance, and some libraries report a “we do it for you” approach to faculty self-archiving. 28 However, having librarians do all the work of depositing may be difficult to maintain in times of budget strain. 29 Other libraries require faculty to deposit research output themselves and focus the library’s efforts on “content recruitment, cultivating faculty buy-in, and identifying needs on campus that the IR may be able to fill” as well as educating users. 30 Education aims include not only how to self-archive, but also the need for and benefits of OA in general and information about intellectual property rights. Several studies have found that many faculty/researchers do not understand issues surrounding copyright, self-archiving rights, deposit versions, and negotiating with publishers and that users benefit from instruction in scholarly publishing literacy. 31 Websites such as SHERPA/RoMEO, which lists self-archiving information by individual journal title, and SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), which provides an addendum to attach to standard publishing agreements, are helpful additions to educational information intended for potential depositors. 32 Today, many IRs have moved beyond the inclusion of only peer-reviewed research articles to “fill a critical need for preservation and access to [other types of] research output” including electronic theses and dissertations, technical reports, working papers, research instruments, protocols, software, and multimedia content” and even blog posts and video footage. 33 With the mandates of funding agencies such as the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation requiring researchers to file data curation plans addressing data access, security and preservation, some IRs are also considering the inclusion of datasets. 34 When including material not previously published, librarians play a crucial role in making items not only accessible but also discoverable with the “creation and implementation of uniform metadata standards,” and the addition of metadata to item records. 35 Librarians may also be involved with the creation of digital open access materials by examining special collections for noncirculating items which users would find more helpful in digital format or through collaborating with faculty to identify other locally held materials which can be added to the IR. 36 Lewis goes so far as to suggest that subject librarians “drop traditional collection building activities and replace them with activities that engage with faculty to build digital collections.” 37

… librarians play a crucial role in making items not only accessible but also discoverable….

Gold OA journals are funded in ways that do not involve cost to the user; often that funding involves charging authors to publish. Some authors may choose to pay the fees themselves or they may include author fees in grant proposals; however, some libraries are assisting authors with payment. 38 This assistance can occur through library membership with open access publishers; for example, when libraries subscribe to BioMed Central, one of the benefits is a discount on the fees charged to institutional authors. 39 Libraries may also or instead choose to establish author fee funds which allow institutional authors to apply for funding of OA publishing costs; funds may include caps on spending per author or in total and specifications on author or journal eligibility. 40 Some fee funds come entirely from a library’s budget while others are jointly funded by the library and other institutional partners such as the Provost or the Office of Institutional Research. 41 COPE (Compact for Open Access Publishing Equity) is composed of institutions committed to “the timely establishment of durable mechanisms for underwriting reasonable publication charges for articles written by its faculty and published in fee-based openaccess journals and for which other institutions would not be expected to provide funds.” 42 There are currently 21 institutions that have signed the compact and another 33 listed as non-signers that have established compatible funds.

There is also a new model emerging which attempts to “crowd source” contributions by forming global consortia not only to share resources among contributors but also to use member contributions to “unlock” the resources for everyone through open access. These projects typically work by requiring a minimum number of institutions to contribute a set amount or percentage to achieve the funding needed to make the resources open access. A recent example from the sciences is SCOAP3 (Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics). 43 SCOAP3 formed a consortium of libraries, library consortia, research centers, and funding agencies that were currently subscribed to one or more of ten important journals in High Energy Physics. These participants committed to continue paying their subscription moneys to SCOAP3, SCOAP3 in turn contracted with publishers for centralized payment to contain costs and to make articles open access. 44 Another recent example is Knowledge Unlatched (KU), a consortium focused on the humanities and social sciences. 45 In contrast to the sciences which tend to concentrate on journals, KU is concerned with enabling open access to monographs. KU works by negotiating fixed costs for publishing scholarly monographs, then asking participating libraries to pay a percentage of that cost. As the number of participating libraries increases, the cost for each library decreases and once the fixed costs are met, the book is released open access. 46 KU’s initial pilot project of 28 titles was recently completed. Two hundred and ninety-seven libraries from 24 countries participated, bringing the contribution per library down from the initial commitment of $1680 to $1195 or an average of less than $43 per book. 47 Another example from the humanities is the Open Library of Humanities (OLH). 48 Still in the process of start-up, the OLH refers to this library crowd-sourcing model as Library Partnership Subsidies (LPS) and is looking for a minimum of 500 libraries to pay an average of $700 to provide open access to 250 articles and 12 books per year. 49 Both KU and OLH also offer contributing libraries an opportunity to participate in governance and future directions of the projects.

Open access materials should never be thought of as completely “free”….

Academic libraries can encourage and promote OA through these Green and Gold Open Access activities, but most of these opportunities require funding. In general, the money to fund them comes from collection budgets and there may be pushback from librarians or users about money being used to fund OA projects (particularly individual author fees) while there is no money to add new journal subscriptions or while journal subscriptions are being cut. For crowd sourcing projects, many worry that freeloading, or libraries not participating in the hopes that the participation of others will result in open access for all, will increase and projects will not be able to meet required minimums. All of the Green and Gold OA participation activities require Collection managers to decide just how much (if any) of the budget can be utilized in projects like IRs or author fee funds which benefit the institution directly and how much can go to crowd-sourcing projects which depend on individual institutions to provide for the common good.


Many of the collection management activities undertaken at academic libraries are similar for purchased, leased, and OA materials. Selection consists of identification, quality evaluation, and assessment of relevance to collection and users. Open access materials should never be thought of as completely “free” since there are costs associated with selection, description, cataloging and maintenance. Materials must be made “discoverable” by description, cataloging, and/or being provided with access points and they must be promoted to users in some way. Like purchased and leased materials, OA materials should be periodically evaluated for weeding or cancellation purposes. However, OA also brings up new responsibilities in order to promote and encourage self-archiving and publishing in OA journals and also offers new opportunities in enabling open access to all. Collections librarians should be in on the discussion of the development of institutional repositories. They must decide how much help and support they will offer to those making deposits in IRs and whether help will consist of doing the work of depositing or in educating depositors on the ins and outs of doing it themselves. Education is also needed to raise awareness of the need and benefits of OA and in helping faculty find quality OA journals in which to publish. Libraries must decide if encouraging OA publishing includes assisting authors with publishing fees and what criteria will apply to funding. Finally collections librarians must be looking for opportunities to participate in “crowd sourcing,” using the funds of many to open up resources to all, and they must make decisions about which opportunities are realistic in their own situation. Although some envision a future where OA dominates, today is still a time of transition and unfortunately, it seems that collection management activities related to OA materials are being added to current responsibilities rather than replacing some of them. In times of flat budgets and dwindling staff, decisions must be made about the extent to which a library can fully participate in open access.

Adelia Grabowsky is Health Sciences Librarian at Auburn University Libraries where she serves as subject specialist for the Schools of Nursing and Pharmacy and the Department of Communication Disorders. She is also a member of Auburn Libraries’ three-person Collection Management Team which oversees all aspects of collection management including budget, exploration of new collection opportunities, implementation/ evaluation of trials, cultivating a culture of assessment, and serving as a bridge between subject selectors and other library departments.


1 “Read the Budapest Open Access Initiative,” Budapest Open Access Initiative , accessed June 01, 2014, http://www. .

2 David W. Lewis, “From Stacks to the Web: The Transformation of Academic Library Collecting,” College & Research Libraries 74, no. 2 (March 2013): 170; Ibid., 171.

3 Karen Hunter, “Access Management: Challenging Orthodoxies,” Journal of Library Administration 42, no. 2 (2005): 57–70.

4 Emilie Delquie and Cory Tucker, “Moving Forward with Electronic Content Procurement,” Against the Grain 23, no. 5 (2011): 22–28.

5 Krista Schmidt and Nancy Newsome, “The Changing Landscape of Serials,” The Serials Librarian: From the Printed Page to the Digital Age 52, no. 1–2 (2007): 119–33, doi:10.1300/J123v52n01_11.

6 “DOAJ,” Directory of Open Access Journals, 2014, http:// ; Schmidt and Newsome, “The Changing Landscape of Serials,” 119–33; “Free Online Full-Text Articles,” HighWire , accessed June 01, 2014, http://highwire.stanford. edu/lists/freeart.dtl; Christine Fischer Managing OA Journals,” Against the Grain 19, no. 5 (2007): 76–77.

7 Cheryl S. Collins and William H. Walters. “Open Access Journals in College Library Collections,” The Serials Librarian: From the Printed Page to the Digital Age 59, no. 2 (July 30, 2010): 194–214, doi:10.1080/03615261003623187.

8 Fayaz Ahmad Loan, “Open Access E-Book Collection on Central Asia in Selected Digital Archives,” Collection Building 30, no. 3 (2011): 126–30, doi: http://dx.doi. org/10.1108/01604951111146965 ; Deg Farrelly, “Freely Flowing: Openly Accessible Sources for Streaming Video,” In Proceedings of the Charleston Library Conference , 437–41. (Purdue: Purdue University Press, 2012.), doi:10.5703/1288284315140.

9 Peggy Johnson. “Developing Collections,” In Fundamentals of Collection Development and Management , 2nd ed. (Chicago: American Library Association, 2009), 112–113.

10 Erin Bornemann, “Exposing Predatory Publishers,” Information Today 30, no. 6 (2013): 13; Jeffrey Beall, “Predatory Publishers Are Corrupting Open Access,” Nature 489, no. 7415 (2012): 179; Linlin Zhao, “Riding the Wave of Open Access: Providing Library Research Support for Scholarly Publishing Literacy,” Australian Academic & Research Libraries 45, no. 1 (January 02, 2014): 3–18, doi:10.1 080/00048623.2014.882873.

11 Schmidt and Newsome, “The Changing Landscape of Serials,” 119–33.

12 Johnson, “Developing Collections,” 116–117.

13 Delquie and Tucker, “Moving Forward with Electronic Content Procurement,” 22–28.

14 Jill Emery and Graham Stone, “Cancellation and Replacement Review,” Library Technology Reports 49, no. 2 (2013): 35–38; Fischer, “Group Therapy-Managing OA Journals,” 76–77; Rebecca A. Martin, “Finding Free and Open Access Resources: A Value-Added Service for Patrons,” Journal of Interlibrary Loan, Document Delivery & Electronic Reserve 20, no. 3 (July 09, 2010): 189–200, doi:10.1080/10723 03X.2010.491022; Apryl C Price, “How to Make a Dollar out of Fifteen Cents: Tips for Electronic Collection Development,” Collection Building 28, no. 1 (2009): 31–34, doi:10.1108/01604950910928493.

15 Schmidt and Newsome, “The Changing Landscape of Serials,” 119–33.

16 Collins and Walters, “Open Access Journals in College Library Collections,” 194–214.

17 Ibid.; Price, “How to Make a Dollar out of Fifteen Cents,” 31–34; Anna K. Hood, ed., Open Access Resources . (Washington D. C.: Association of Research Libraries, 2007).

18 Schmidt and Newsome, “The Changing Landscape of Serials,” 119–33.

19 Fischer, “Group Therapy-Managing OA Journals,” 76–77.

20 Emery and Stone, “Cancellation and Replacement Review,” 35–38.

21 Kirstin Steele, “Free Electronic Books and Weeding,” Bottom Line: Managing Library Finances 24, no. 3 (2011): 160–61, doi:10.1108/08880451111185982.

22 Hood, Open Access Resources .

23 Audra K. Roach and Jesse Gainer, “On Open Access to Research: The Green, the Gold, and the Public Good,” Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy 56, no. 7 (2013): 530–34, doi:10.1002/JAAL.177.

24 “Read the Budapest Open Access Initiative.”

25 Roach and Gainer, “On Open Access to Research,” 530–534.

26 “Read the Budapest Open Access Initiative.”

27 Roach and Gainer, “On Open Access to Research,” 530–534.

28 Jihyun Kim, “Faculty Self-Archiving: Motivations and Barriers,” Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 61, no. 9 (September 2010): 1909–22, doi:10.1002/asi.21336.

29 Andrew Wesolek, “Who Uses This Stuff, Anyway? An Investigation of Who Uses the DigitalCommons@USU,” The Serials Librarian: From the Printed Page to the Digital Age 64, no. 1–4 (January 2013): 299–306, doi:10.1080/ 0361526X.2013.760298; Anna R Craft, “Open Access / Closed Coffers: Repositioning an Institutional Repository to Reflect Reality,” in Proceedings of the Charleston Library Conference , (2012), 357–60, doi: http://dx.doi. org/10.5703/1288284315125 ; Ibid.

30 Wesolek, “Who Uses This Stuff, Anyway?,” 300.

31 Claire Creaser, “Open Access to Research Outputs— Institutional Policies and Researchers’ Views: Results from Two Complementary Surveys.” New Review of Academic Librarianship 16, no. 1 (March 02, 2010): 4–25, doi:10.1080/13614530903162854; Kim, “Faculty Self- Archiving: Motivations and Barriers,” 1909–1922; Roach and Gainer, “On Open Access to Research,” 530–534; William Joseph Thomas and Lisa Blackwell, “NIH Mandate One Year On: How Are Libraries Responding?,” The Serials Librarian: From the Printed Page to the Digital Age 58, no. 1–4 (April 2010): 257–62, doi:10.1080/03615261003626032; Zhao, “Riding the Wave of Open Access,” 3–18.

32 “Publisher Copyright Policies & Self-Archiving.” SHERPA/ RoMEO , 2014, ; “SPARC Author Addendum to Publication Agreement.” SPARC , 2013, addendum-2007.

33 Rebecca Kennison, Sarah L Shreeves, and Stevan Harnad, “Point & Counterpoint: The Purpose of Institutional Repositories: Green OA or Beyond?” Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication 1, no. 4 (2013): eP1105, doi: ; Kim, “Faculty Self-Archiving,” 1909–1922; Plato L. Smith II, “Where IR You?: Using ‘Open Access’ to Extend the Reach and Richness of Faculty Research within a University,” OCLC Systems & Services 24, no. 3 (2008): 174–84, doi:10.1108/10650750810898219; Kennison, Shreeves, and Harnad, “Point & Counterpoint,” eP1105; Julia Gelfand, and Anthony Lin, “Grey Literature: Format Agnostic yet Gaining Recognition in Library Collections,” Library Management 34, no. 6–7 (2013): 538–50, doi: http:// .

34 Tania P. Bardyn, Taryn Resnick, and Susan K Camina, “Translational Researchers’ Perceptions of Data Management Practices and Data Curation Needs: Findings from a Focus Group in an Academic Health Sciences Library,” Journal of Web Librarianship 6, no. 4 (October 2012): 274– 87, doi:10.1080/19322909.2012.730375; Susan K. Kendall, “Basic Biomedical Scientists: The Rediscovered Library Users,” Against the Grain 26, no. 2 (2014): 34–36.

35 Bardyn, Resnick, and Camina, “Translational Researchers’ Perceptions,” 274–287.; Smith, “Where IR You?” 174– 184; Rowena Cullen and Brenda Chawner, “Institutional Repositories, Open Access, and Scholarly Communication: A Study of Conflicting Paradigms,” The Journal of Academic Librarianship 37, no. 6 (December 2011): 460–70, doi:10.1016/j.acalib.2011.07.002.

36 Gelfand and Lin. “Grey Literature,” 538–550; Wesolek, “Who Uses This Stuff, Anyway?,” 299–306.

37 Lewis, “From Stacks to the Web,” 171.

38 Creaser, “Open Access to Research Outputs,” 4–25.

39 “About Membership,” BioMed Central: The Open Access Publisher , 2014, membership .

40 “COAP Frequently Asked Questions,” Cornell University Library, accessed July 18, 2014, https://www.library.cornell. edu/about/collections/coap/faq .

41 “Compact for Open-Access Publishing Equity (COPE) at Duke University,” Duke University Libraries, accessed July 18, 2014, cope ; “COAP Fund,” Columbia University Libraries, accessed July 18, 2014, services/coap-fund/ .

42 “Overview,” Compact for Open-Access Publishing Equity , accessed June 01, 2014, .

43 “Welcome,” SCOAP3-Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics , accessed June 01, 2014, .

44 “FAQ,” SCOAP3-Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics , accessed June 01, 2014, http:// .

45 “Knowledge Unlatched,” KU Knowledge Unlatched, accessed June 01, 2014, http://www.knowledgeunlatched . org/.

46 Frances Pinter and Lucy Montgomery, “Knowledge Unlatched: Toward an Open and Networked Future for Academic Publishing,” in Proceedings of the Charleston Library Conference, , 386–91, (2012), doi: http://dx.doi. org/10.5703/1288284315130 .

47 Christina Emery, Frances Pinter, Leon Loberman, and Lucy Montgomery, Pilot Proof of Concept Progress Summary , (Knowledge Unlatched, May 2014), http://collections. KU_Pilot_Progress_Summary_Report4.pdf .

48 “OLH,” Open Library of Humanities , 2014, https://www. .

49 Caroline Edwards, “How Can Existing Open Access Models Work for Humanities and Social Science Research?,” Insights 27, no. 1 (2014): 17–24; “Library Partnership Subsidies (LPS),” Open Library of Humanities , 2014, https:// lps/ .


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