Library Access to Scholarship: More thoughts

Here’s the recent history:

  • On August 25, I posted my thoughts about possibly giving up on Open Access, which would effectively mean shutting down Library Access to Scholarship in Cites & Insights, since OA has probably been 95% of what’s been there. I got a few responses…
  • On September 2, given the lack of feedback, I added another post. I got one memorable comment that I’m afraid is all too true, about how much most scientists care about OA…
  • On September 14, I asked the question within Cites & Insights itself.
  • On September 23, I decided to Punt–doing a “brain dump” on all the stuff I’d accumulated on OA over the last year or so, but postponing a decision on whether to do anything more about OA.
  • That brain dump became a single-article issue, the November 2009 Cites & Insights, published on October 4, 2009. (It’s an ezine. Why shouldn’t it use magazine date conventions?)
  • On October 9, I posted “On the way from the dump“–noting that the one-article issue showed a much larger than usual spike a few days after publication (I’m pretty sure Library Link of the Day deserves most of the credit).
  • A few people commented on the issue. John Dupuis wrote a generous post hoping I’d continue, perhaps on an annual-summary basis.
  • As of today, the PDF of that issue–the real C&I–has been downloaded 1,102 times (and viewed 5,500 times, but I typically ignore PDF pageviews because I don’t know what they mean), and the HTML version has been viewed 2,338 times. Those are strong short-term numbers (for example, the October issue has only been downloaded 594 times to date; the September issue’s up to 1,187 but that’s over 2.5 months).


So I thought about John Dupuis’ comments. A lot. I also thought about some of the secondhand comments I’ve seen. And I thought about one or two people who’ve said my writing about OA is the only OA stuff they read.

And, the more I think about it, the more I’m inclined to let it go.

  • The November 2009 issue is not an annual review of OA. Not even close. It wasn’t intended to be. If you want an annual review of OA, go read Peter Suber–he’s qualified to do it and he does a fine job.
  • I have never pretended to provide sound, balanced overall coverage of OA. I’d consider it unfortunate if someone thought my coverage provided a reasonable overview of OA.
  • Some of the negative comments I saw indicate that people who have never read anything I’ve written before will come to something like this and read it entirely without context (e.g., one person who seemed to assume that I have never examined Stevan Harnad’s proposals!). I’m not ready to repeat a decade’s worth of context every time I have a month’s or a year’s worth of notes to add…
  • And, as before, there are other people doing this stuff–some of them well, at least one or two better than I ever will. We have the OA heretics, the OA cheerleaders, the deep OA analysts, the OA faultfinders, the one-note champions and those who cover the field broadly, deeply and fairly. I’m not needed there.

Over the last two weeks, I saw at least two items online that I was tempted to tag “oa” in Delicious. I did tag one item–and I’ve just gone back and added an “lln” tag, since I think that particular item should be used to improve one of the Open Access articles on the Library Leadership Network.

But for C&I? The more I think about it, the less likely it is that I’ll go back to the topic.

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