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Open Access Day 2008

"What is an 'open access journal'? Short answer: it's available online and it's free. Longer answer: 'A Very Brief Introduction to Open Access' by Peter Suber."

There is, of course, more to it than the short answer (such as peer review), but that's what I wrote more than three years ago in a post about the "Directory of Open Access Journals." It's really encouraging to note that the open access movement has taken off in the Philippines, so that from merely blogging about Filipino journals available-for-free-online-but-not-necessarily-open-access in 2005, I am now able to blog about honest-to-goodness Filipino "Open Access Journals," especially "Philippine Studies," whose archives of full-text, peer-reviewed articles now go back to 1970.

I first learned about open access when John Willinsky came to the Philippines and delivered a lecture about it when I was still an MLIS student. I was also then assistant editor for Landas, and realized just how much it would help Philippine journals if they adopted the open access model. In "Open Access in the Third World," I summarized why open access mattered to me and, more importantly, why it should matter to Filipino publishers of scholarly journals:

I have worked on print and online publications, and while the time required to edit articles is the same for both, those published online do not have to contend with printing press schedules or deal with printing and mailing costs. And the publication is immediately available and will eventually be searchable through search engines.
As the years passed, I learned more about open access at conferences and blogged about "DSpace and EPrints," "Open Access and Online Communities" and the "Scholarly Information Infrastructure." This led me to the realization that government-funded research, especially those related to science and medicine, should be published not in for-profit journals, but those that are freely available. After all, if it's our taxes that paid for the research, why should we have to pay to read the results? Privately-funded research, incidentally, should be freely available, too—even with certain restrictions—because scholars and scientists don't conduct research so that only those who can pay for the journals will read their articles, but so that the whole of humanity can benefit from their findings.

My belief in open access as the necessary next step for scholarly journals and Third World libraries convinced me to join the board of Library Student Journal, an open access journal, and make sure that I mentioned open access whenever I was invited to speak to Filipino librarians (see "Research in Librarianship" and "Filipiniana Online").

If you're still with me at this point, you should probably know that I've provided links to just about all the posts I've written about open access as a way of showing how I've been supporting open access—and how you can do it, too, by blogging about the movement!—for more than three years now... and that there's a "Synchroblogging competition" for Open Access Day. Wish me luck!

Here's a video of a librarian talking about the benefits of open access:

Diane Graves, Librarian, from Open Access Videos on Vimeo.

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