Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Date of this Version


Document Type



Open access bibliography: Liberating scholarly literature with e-prints and open access journals. Association of Research Libraries, 2005. Available at ISBN 1-59407-670-7; ISBN 978-1-59407-670-1.


Copyright 2005, the author. Open access material. Creative Commons attribution non-commercial license.


Scope of the Bibliography

The Open Access Bibliography: Liberating Scholarly Literature with E-Prints and Open Access Journals presents over 1,300 selected English-language books, conference papers (including some digital video presentations), debates, editorials, e-prints, journal and magazine articles, news articles, technical reports, and other printed and electronic sources that are useful in understanding the open access movement’s efforts to provide free access to and unfettered use of scholarly literature. Most sources have been published between 1999 and August 31, 2004; however, a limited number of key sources published prior to 1999 are also included. Where possible, links are provided to sources that are freely available on the Internet (approximately 78 percent of the bibliography’s references have such links).

There are various definitions of “open access.” The scope of this bibliography is determined by the “Budapest Open Access Initiative” definition:

The literature that should be freely accessible online is that which scholars give to the world without expectation of payment. Primarily, this category encompasses their peer-reviewed journal articles, but it also includes any unreviewed preprints that they might wish to put online for comment or to alert colleagues to important research findings. There are many degrees and kinds of wider and easier access to this literature. By “open access” to this literature, we mean its free availability on the public internet, permitting any 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. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited. . . .

To achieve open access to scholarly journal literature, we recommend two complementary strategies.

I. Self-Archiving: First, scholars need the tools and assistance to deposit their refereed journal articles in open electronic archives, a practice commonly called, self-archiving. When these archives conform to standards created by the Open Archives Initiative, then search engines and other tools can treat the separate archives as one. Users then need not know which archives exist or where they are located in order to find and make use of their contents.

II. Open-access Journals: Second, scholars need the means to launch a new generation of journals committed to open access, and to help existing journals that elect to make the transition to open access. Because journal articles should be disseminated as widely as possible, these new journals will no longer invoke copyright to restrict access to and use of the material they publish. Instead they will use copyright and other tools to ensure permanent open access to all the articles they publish. Because price is a barrier to access, these new journals will not charge subscription or access fees, and will turn to other methods for covering their expenses.

The open access movement exists in the broader context of a complex scholarly publishing system. It is widely believed by academic librarians and others that this system is in a state of crisis due primarily to the increasing cost of scholarly journals far in excess of inflation, the proliferation of new journals that are ever more specialized, the failure of library budgets to keep up with these cost and journal proliferation factors, and the resultant increasing restriction of access to journal literature as libraries cancel existing journals and fail to add new specialized ones. Although the open access movement will clearly have a very significant impact on the library “serials crisis” if it succeeds, many of its primary advocates do not see the resolution of this crisis as its primary mission, but, rather, as a desirable potential side effect. This bibliography does not deal with the serials crisis or the important scholarly publishing reform movements that it has engendered that are not related to open access. When general reform-oriented topics, such as changing copyright laws or understanding their impact on research and instruction, are covered in this bibliography, it is in relation to open access concerns.

Likewise, the bibliography limits its coverage of general electronic publishing topics, such as electronic theses and dissertations, to those works that have direct relevance to open access concerns (e.g. electronic theses and dissertations in the context of institutional repositories).

The reader is referred to the author’s Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography for an in-depth treatment of the above topics.

The bibliography does cover a few topics, such as free or reduced cost access to journal literature for developing countries and pioneering free e-journals, that the author views as being very closely aligned with the open access movement, even though they are not open access per se.

Inevitably, there are gray zones between open access and other closely related reform efforts that, in some cases, are intertwined with it. For example, SPARC fosters both open access and low-cost journals. The bibliography includes general articles about SPARC and articles about its open access efforts, but not specialized articles that are solely about its important support of competitive low-cost journals.

The author has attempted to find the right balance between full coverage of a wide range of issues relevant to the open access movement (e.g. major supporting technologies such as institutional repositories and OAI-PMH) and too much inclusion of interesting and important, but potentially irrelevant, material that is closely related to them. While the bibliography covers some esoteric technical areas in detail, it is not intended to be a complete record of all research efforts in these areas, but, rather, a sampling of key works.

There is no consistency in the literature about the hyphenation of “open access” in compound terms (e.g. “open-access journals” or “open access journals”). In this preface, such compound terms are not hyphenated, which appears to be the prevalent trend among scholars.