At a recent Open Access Futures presentation, speaker Rick Anderson noted that the music industry has moved from selling CDs to selling individual songs and he wondered whether academic journals might do the same. In other words, what if libraries one day stopped subscribing to scholarly journals but instead bought individual articles one at a time, in response to immediate needs by researchers?
One common problem with the Internet is that hyperlinks become outdated without web page editor awareness. Websites change URLs for a host of reasons and unfortunately when third parties link to them users end up encountering “page not found” and other dead-link errors. For this reason, many academic publishers use a system of unique identifiers for their online content to act as permanent links to articles thereby avoiding these errors.
The open access (OA) movement has a lot of moving parts. For example it has led some research funding agencies to mandate that research publications resulting from grants should be made publicly available. A recent memo from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy requires federal science agencies to prepare a policy for making the published results of scientific research available to the public. The Smithsonian Institution is now working to formalize its policy.
The evaluation of research quality is a task which is attracting attention as the world turns more and more to evidence-based decision making. The work of scientists and historians are regularly reviewed by institutional administrators to ensure a high quality of scholarship and to determine where to deploy scarce resources. One of the most relied-upon components of research assessment is the review of publications authored by a particular scholar. And although publications are difficult to objectively evaluate, the standard method for many years was to use the journal impact factor. This method measured the number of times the articles from a particular journal were subsequently cited by other publications, for which a numeric score was assigned to the journal. It soon became prestigious for scholars to have their papers published in a journal with a high impact factor.