Describing open access

To permit computer-readable descriptions to be made of the various types of open access publication discussed in the previous blog post, I have expanded PSO, the Publication Status Ontology, whose use is described in an earlier blog post here, by the addition of the following new individuals to the class pso:Status:

  • pso:gratis-open-access
  • pso:libre-open-access
  • pso:green-open-access
  • pso:gold-open-access.

I have also revised the definitions of the following further individuals that were already members of the class pso:Status:

  • pso:closed-access
  • pso:open-access
  • pso:embargoed
  • pso:restricted-access
  • pso:subscription-access.

This comprehensive set of terms permits the various access statuses of documents to be encoded in RDF and published on the Semantic Web.  For convenience of reference, the textual definitions that I have used for these terms (recorded as rdfs:comments in the PSO ontology), grouped in logical order, are given below.

pso:open-access

The status of a published work (typically a scholarly publication or a dataset) that is freely available via the Internet for third parties to read without payment of access or subscription fees, and (in the case of a work published under a full open-access license) that is freely available to download and reuse for any purposes including commercial ones, including modification of the original work, its integration with other material, and its re-publication, subject typically to a requirement that the original authors and the source of the original work are acknowledged in compliance with scholarly citation norms.

pso:gratis-open-access

The status of a published work which is free to read on-line, in contrast to subscription-access works, but to which licensing restrictions apply, limiting the possibilities for downloading, text mining, modification, re-publication or re-use of the published work.  The term Gratis Open Access thus signifies removal of the price barrier to view.  While both imply ‘free’ (a potentially ambiguous word), Gratis Open Access equates to ‘free as in beer’ while Libre Open Access (q.v.) equates to ‘free as in speech’.  Gratis Open Access is thus a necessary but not a sufficient condition for true Libre Open Access.   Many ‘open access’ publications by commercial scholarly publishers are only Gratis Open Access, while almost all publications by ‘pure’ Open Access publishers are Libre Open Access.

pso:libre-open-access

The status of a published work which is both free to read on-line, and to which additional usage rights apply, for example the right to text mine, make derivative works, re-use and re-publish the published work, such rights frequently being defined by application of an explicit license such as a Creative Commons license.

pso:gold-open-access

The status of a published work, typically a journal article, made available by the publisher on the publisher’s own web site for third parties to read without payment of access or subscription fees.  Gold open access has the benefit that the article is findable where you expect it to be, but licensing restrictions may limit the possibilities for downloading, text mining, modification, re-publication or re-use of the published work.  Gold open-access publication typically involves payment by the author or his/her institution to the publisher of an article processing charge (aka an author publishing charge).

pso:green-open-access

The status of a published work made available by the author, by self-archiving a version of the work for free and open public use in their institutional repository, in a central repository, or elsewhere, in parallel with publication of a subscription-access Version of Record of the work by a publisher.  The green open-access version of the work may be a preprint (the version of the article as first submitted for publication) or a postprint (the pre-publication version of the article after incorporation of authors’ responses to peer reviewers’ comments).  Its availability may have an embargo restriction imposed by the publisher of the subscription-access version of the work that prevents the green open-access version from being freely available until some substantial time after publication of the subscription-access journal issue containing that article.  A green open access work should be accompanied by a license explicitly defining usage rights, for example a Creative Commons Attribution License.

pso:subscription-access

The status of a published work, typically an article in a journal issue, that is not available to read without payment of an article access fee or a journal subscription fee for that publication.

pso:embargoed

The status of a published work that is subjected to a publication embargo, which means that the material cannot be published, or in the case of a press release that it cannot be reported on, until a particular date known as the embargo date.  For open-access journal articles, an embargoed article is one in which availability of the open-access version of the article is delayed by the publisher for a substantial embargo period, typically of six or twelve months, after subscription-access availability of the published work.

pso:restricted-access

The status of a work (typically a scholarly paper or a dataset) to which access is restricted.  For example, confidential information to which access is made available only to those who have been approved by the owner or copyright holder of the asset after personal application, or to those with appropriate security clearance, or to those within a partnership.

pso:closed-access

The status of a work (typically a private or secret paper or a confidential dataset) that is typically held unpublished in a ‘dark’ archive whose existence is unknown by the wider world, and that is only available to the owner or copyright holder of the asset.

pso:confidential

The status of a document containing information that must be kept confidential.

pso:non-confidential

The status of a document containing information that may be shared publicly.

pso:unpublished

The status of a work (for example a document or a dataset) that has not been published by the author, a publisher or a data repository.

Of relevance to these statuses are two financial terms within FRAPO, the Funding, Research Administration and Projects Ontology, previously described in this blog post: frapo:ArticleProcessingCharge and frapo:Subscription.

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One Response to Describing open access

  1. Pingback: Open Access Gauge | Semantic Publishing

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