One of the surprises when indexing the huge array of literature available on the web is that many major names, that is the ones who are associated with the traditional closed model, pop up as by far and away the biggest contributors to open access works (defined here as those that are downloadable in their entirety free of charge or other barrier such as login giving away substantial personal info).

American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (100,000+ free articles)

Royal Society of Chemistry (70,000+ free articles) – trawled, but not yet added to lit search.

National Academy of Sciences of the USA (50,000+ free articles)

The observation is that around 99% of the open access works in chemistry indexed by ChemSpider are supported financially by the subscription model, and we can suppose that open access works support subscriptions by attracting unsubscribed readers too.

As we see above, this is not theory, it has been happening for years, it is a real world material contribution to openness in chemistry that has crazily not attracted any attention on the blogosphere as far as I can tell.

There is a continued focus on relabelling data produced by others as “open data” – but this data has already been labelled and licensed by the orginal producer so this could be misleading. I’ve always thought that building searchable indices that link back, as do the major search engines, is the best way to build a resource through which users can discover works and where data producers are not undercut.

Stumble it!

5 Responses to “Material Contributions To Open Access”

  1. ChemSpiderMan says:

    What is your thought regarding the labeling of “Supporting Information” from publications as Open Data? For example, the CrystalEye dataset at University of Cambridge is labeled as Open Data and was derived from many publishers Supplementary information pages and relabeled as Open Data. I don’t believe this to be appropriate but I may be wrong. I am not saying it’s not valuable but I question the appropriateness and legality of it. It is why we at ChemSPider have been in dialog with the ACS to get their permission…but have been unable to get a yes or a no after 9 months of asking.

  2. will says:

    That is certainly not an approach I’d used. closest comparison with us I can think of is E.g. a publisher has asked us to label their tick box on the lit search page with the recognisable blue Open Access label, but this is different since we were asked to do this.

  3. ChemSpiderMan says:

    So you would agree that taking someones data and declaring it Open Data without permission and without regard to licensing policies is a potential recipe for disaster especially if the data are then proliferated? For example, we have deposited the CrystalEye data and it had been declared as Open Data but taken from other sites mostly without permission. I assume that legally we would be protected since we have taken Open Data but somehow I feel that the cascade might head downwards…

  4. will says:

    Yes, relicensing w/o permission is a terrible idea. But since e.g. the ACS have not responded to your requests for guidance on this with an answer, there is no reason to think they disapprove of our linking to / hosting CrystalEye data at this stage.

    We have asked for their confirmation that the ‘Open Data’ relicensing is appropriate. No response means we assume CrystalEye are acting perfectly legally since we can’t be expected by default to assume that data is illegally licensed or we could not run a database.

  5. ChemSpiderMan says:

    I think the lack of an answer from ACS regarding the CrystalEye data (now redeposited on ChemSpider and to be blogged shortly) , especially considering the multiple phonecalls, emails and face to face meeting in New Orleans confirms that there is no issue. Also, the data remain on CrystalEye even after PMR and I have brought attention to this on the blogosphere. By definition this should mean that all supplementary data are safe for data mining?

    There are new possibilities now as we consider indexing Institutional Repositories for data and publications. I wonder what response this might initiate. Time will tell.

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