Category Archives: Open Access


UT Austin has joined BioMed Central (BMC) as a Supporter Member. This membership gives UT Austin authors two main benefits.

  1. 15% discount on article processing charges (APCs) for BioMed Central or SpringerOpen journals. A UT Austin author must be corresponding author to take advantage of the membership discount.
  2. In addition to being published in the journal, articles from UT authors will be automatically deposited in UT’s online archive,Texas ScholarWorks.

Taking advantage of the membership is easy! Submit your article to a BMC or SpringerOpen journal. If accepted for publication, your APC should be automatically reduced by 15%. If the reduction doesn’t happen automatically, you’ll have an opportunity to select UT Austin from a drop-down menu in the payment section and have the discount approved that way.

If you have any questions about the membership, please contact Colleen Lyon (c dot lyon at austin dot utexas dot edu) or your subject liaison.


Re-post from the Open Access at UT blog


Despite flaws, open access is worth the price

A recent editorial in the Daily Texan expressed support for open access journals in the academic community, despite misgivings by some as to their credibility.  The editorial cites a recent experiment published in the journal Science, in which Harvard’s John Bohannon successfully convinced more than 100 online journals to accept a bogus study.

The article notes that one major concern for academic institutions is the increasing cost of providing access to traditional print journals.  Susan Macicak of UT libraries is quoted as stating that EBSCO, the university’s serials agent, “posted price increases of at least 20 percent across all disciplines from 2009 to 2013”, and that this trend was expected to continue.  Open source journals could be one method of providing important information to scholars without passing the ever-increasing cost on to the university.  Providing knowledge and research to as wide an audience as possible is another benefit to be gained from the open access model.

Open access journals currently lack the prestige of the traditional print publications of scholarly research. It will take time and effort until they are respected on par with print journals and begin to attract work at a comparable level. However, the editorial suggests that this acceptance can be initiated at the university level, and notes that some institutions, including MIT and the University of North Texas, have already adopted policies favoring open access.  The editorial concludes that, though the model is not without its drawback, the potential benefits of open-access journals outweigh their risks.  The editorial can be read in its entirety here:

Discover more about open access and its impact during Open Access Week 2013, October 21 – 25, hosted by the UT libraries.  For more details see:


Searching Open Access

Even though we encourage researchers to use library databases to find resources, we realize that people don’t stay in school forever. For this reason it’s important to know about where to look for quality, open access resources. Authors might publish open access materials in an institutional repository, open access journal, or on a personal website. Fortunately, there are search engines that process data from these sources and simplify the search process!

We tested out three open access search engines to see how effective they are: BASE, CORE, and OAIster.

BASE (Bielefeld Academic Search Engine) BASE harvests and indexes metadata from repositories that use Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting. BASE Search provides access to more than 40 million articles from more than 2,400 sources. BASE is also a registered OAI Service Provider.
Author name searches were successful in providing academic, open access items.

CORE (Connecting Repositories) Core Portal allows you to search and navigate scientific publications aggregated from a wide range of Open Access repositories.CORE lists 281 repositories as having been harvested.
We got poor return rates on entering author names in the search field, maybe because the collection is not as extensive as BASE. Keyword Searches were more successful.

OAISter-OAIster harvest open access metadata: it includes more than 25 million records from more than 1,100 sources. We had better return on author searches in OAIster Database than CORE, but we still had the most success in BASE. This could be because BASE has harvested more sources. Another interesting discovery is that author searches in BASE and OAIster yielded different sources…although there is no one stop shopping in open access searching, you still have some good options!

Understanding Open Access

Open access refers to free access to scholarly literature. Although the idea of open access has been around for a while, the widespread availability of resources online and the prohibitive costs of journal subscriptions have pushed the concept of open access to the forefront of academia and publishing. In open access publishing, authors can either publish through an open access journal, or deposit their work in an institutional repository. There are many reasons people decide to publish open access including ideological, economic, and practical.

Ideologically, authors might be motivated to share their findings and research with people who can’t afford journal subscriptions, including in the developing world. They might also want to take a stand against for profit publishing, which ties into the economic reason. Practically, authors might hope to increase their impact factor by publishing open access, though there are conflicting studies as to whether open access articles are cited more often.

In considering open access, it is important to establish the differences between “Green” and “Gold” OA The Green model or “self-archiving” refers to self-publishing in an open repository, such as a campus institutional repository. This kind of publishing incurs no cost to the author, and some grant providers require green publishing to ensure that the research they funded reaches a wide audience. For already published articles, see what rights you have to self-archive your material using the SHERPA/RoMEO database.

The Gold model or “author pays” refers to publishing in an open access journal. Authors generally pay a fee to publish in an OA journal, and the work is submitted to some form of peer review.

Some obstacles to open access publishing include perceived quality of open access journals, unfamiliarity with the process, and copyright concerns. If you have questions or concerns about open access sources or publishing, the UT Libraries can help!

Check out our Scholarly Communication Page for more information on UT open access policies.

The SPARC Author Addendum has resources on securing your rights as an author.

Here is the Directory of Open Access Journals.

The Harvard Open Access Project is also a good resource.

Work Consulted:

Mischo, William H., and Mary C. Schlembach. “Open Access Issues and Engineering Faculty Attitudes and Practices.” Journal of Library Administration 51, no. 5/6 (July 2011): 432–454. doi:10.1080/01930826.2011.589349.


Encyclopedia of Life

The Encyclopedia of Life is a collaborative scientific effort led by the Field Museum of Natural History, Harvard University, Marine Biological Laboratory, Missouri Botanical Garden, Smithsonian Institution, and Biodiversity Heritage Library, a consortium including the core institutions and also the American Museum of Natural History (New York), Natural History Museum (London), New York Botanical Garden, and Royal Botanic Gardens (Kew). Ultimately, the Encyclopedia of Life will provide an online database for all 1.8 million species now known to live on Earth. When completed, will serve as a global biodiversity tool, providing scientists, policymakers, students, and citizens information they need to discover and protect the planet and encourage learning and conservation.

Encyclopedia of Earth

Encyclopedia of Earth ( seeks to become the world’s largest and most authoritative electronic source of information about the environments of Earth and their interactions with society.The EoE is an Open Source project that uses a modified version of MediaWiki as its authoring platform. The EoE’s author wiki is restricted to individuals judged to be expert in their field by an editorial board, and articles are reviewed and approved by a subject-specific editor prior to publication.

Caltech Collection of Open Digital Archives

“Welcome to Caltech’s institutional repository for faculty approved research results and other content supporting the mission of the Institute.  This repository was launched in 2000 and has grown to include electronic theses, technical reports, books, conference papers, and oral histories from the Caltech archives.  The repository is organized by the authority responsible for the content.  That may be a department, individual faculty member or institute unit.  See below for the list and links to the different repositories.  The library is currently exploring technology for offering federated searching of all the content.”


eprintweb is an e-print service in the fields of physics, mathematics, non-linear science, computer science, and quantitative biology, and consists of e-print records which can be browsed and searched.
The contents of eprintweb are provided by arXiv, which is operated and funded by Cornell University Library, a private not-for-profit educational institution, and is also partially funded by the National Science Foundation. The contents of arXiv conform to Cornell University academic standards.