OpenEdition meeting librarians

ALA 2015 San Francisco At the beginning of summer, the OpenEdition team will attend several conferences and exhibitions dedicated to the libraries in Europe and the United States. Do not hesitate to make an appointment with us, for instance if you wish any further information about the OpenEdition Freemium for Books and OpenEdition Freemium for Journals offers.

  • June 25, 2015, University of California Berkeley, 303 Doe Library, 2:30PM-4:00PM
    Julie Therizols and Julien Gilet, Freemium development executives, will introduce OpenEdition and their Freemium model at the Doe Library.
  • June 26 – 29, 2015, San Francisco
    American Library Association (ALA) Annual conference
    Julie Therizols and Julien Gilet will meet with librarians at the OpenEdition booth (nr 2306) located in the University Presses area.

    • A presentation of the OpenEdition Freemium for Books programme will be held during the Membership Meeting of CIFNAL (Collaboratif international des fonds documentaires en langue française).
    • OpenEdition will take part in the session  about Open Access monograph publishing organized by the Classical Medieval Renaissance Discussion Group part of the Western European Studies Section (WESS); @Hilton San Francisco Union Square on Saturday, June 27th, 3:00pm-4:00pm
    • See the full programme of the ALA Annual Conference
    • Follow ALA Annual Conference on Twitter : #ala2015

Follow these members of the OpenEdition staff on Twitter: @JulieTherizols @juliengilet @jcpeyssard

A thousand blogs in the Hypotheses catalogue

Buddha, buddha, buddha

We are pleased to announce that our thousandth blog has just been added to the Hypotheses catalogue. This symbolic figure is a crowning moment for the platform, which is now six years old. It attests to the dynamism of our blogging community and the quality of the content published on Hypotheses each day.

To mark the occasion, we are showcasing a number of blogs that represent the disciplines, topics, countries and languages present on the platform. Our French-, German– and Spanish-language teams would therefore like to introduce you to a selection of ten blogs that have recently joined Hypotheses:

Being listed in the catalogue is an important moment for a Hypotheses blog, as it adds value to active blogs with a structured publishing project. Cataloguing makes blogs more visible and better referenced, in particular because they are attributed an ISSN by the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. It also makes it possible for interested readers to subscribe to the blog and receive regular alerts about its new posts.

If your blog has not yet been listed in our catalogue and you think it should be, please contact us at hypotheses[at]

On behalf of the Hypotheses team and academic board, we would like to express our deep thanks to bloggers for the vitality of their community, the quality of their publications and their constant inventiveness in developing new practices on their Hypotheses blogs.

See you very soon on Hypotheses!

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OpenEdition Press launches its bilingual Brésil / France series

OpenEdition Press has recently published Mémoire et nouveaux patrimoines (Portuguese edition: Memória e novos patrimônios), the inaugural titles of its bilingual series Brésil / France – Brasil / França. This twin publication is the result of collaboration between French and Brazilian research teams. The texts, originally written alternately in Portuguese and French, have been translated and then published in full in both languages.
Edited by Cécile Tardy and Vera Dodebei, this first title brings together fifteen academics to examine issues such as the making of heritage, social memory and memorialisation. The first, theory-based section presents the academics’ points of views on the issues and compares their approaches to the relationship between social memory and heritage designation. The second section presents a series of six case studies, which aim to show in concrete terms how the memory/heritage relationship is at play in Brazilian and French society. The publication is aimed both at readers in the humanities and social sciences (academics, teachers and students) who are interested in the issue of social memory and heritage, and at professionals working within the spheres of heritage development and memory.

Four other titles will be published in 2015, again with twin French and Portuguese editions.


Like all titles in the OpenEdition Press catalogue, the two titles are published in open access HTML under a CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 licence. They are available at the following addresses:

The ePub edition is on sale  ansthe print edition is available on

They are also on sale in ePub format from OpenEdition’s digital bookstore and in print-on-demand edition from website.

Lusophone OpenEdition

The titles have been produced in cooperation with the Capes (Coordenação de aperfeiçoamento do pessoal de nível superior, Ministério da Educaçã, Brasil) and the French Embassy in Brazil. OpenEdition has been building ties with the Portuguese-speaking academic community and publishers for several years. Its collections currently include over 20 humanities and social science journals published in Brazil, Portugal or Angola, as well as books on the Lusophone world published in particular by the Éditions de l’Institut des hautes études de l’Amérique latine (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3). These publications will be presented on this blog over the coming weeks and at our stand at the Paris Salon de Livre on 20–23 March.

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OASPA conference, Paris, 17–19 September 2014

OASPAThe sixth annual conference of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) will be held in France for the first time, at UNESCO in Paris, on 17–19 September 2014.

OpenEdition is delighted to support OASPA as official sponsor of the 2014 conference. Pierre Mounier, OpenEdition’s deputy director, will be present at this event.

Founded in 2008, OASPA’s objective is to support and represent the interests of open access journal and book publishers in all academic disciplines, by:

  • defining quality and best practice criteria;
  • supporting the development of economic and editorial models that favour the dissemination of publications in open access;
  • raising awareness about the values and principles of open access among the academic community and general public.

The association is open to professional open access publishers, whether commercial or non-profit (research libraries, university presses, etc.), as well as to all institutions that work in the domain of open access publishing. OpenEdition has been a member of OASPA since 2012.

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Summer schools make their debut on Calenda

SummerUsers can now publish a new type of academic event on Calenda: summer schools.

Hybrid and international sites of learning

In order to fully represent upcoming events in research and scholarly output and exchange, Calenda’s scientific board has decided to add another string to its bow: summer schools.

Summer schools are booming and represent a hybrid form of learning – a cross between colloquia, workshops and training sessions. At the intersection between theoretical exploration and practical research, summer schools allow master’s and doctoral students to examine their work alongside that of experienced academics.

Summer schools also internationalise research by bringing together students and researchers from different disciplines who speak different languages around common goals.

They also provide a forum for fruitful discussion around issues and disciplines, particularly when methodological issues are particularly important. The digital humanities are therefore especially well suited to this type of academic event.

Announce a summer school on Calenda

If you would like to announce a summer school on Calenda, please complete the online suggestion form.

The announcement should include the following information:

  • a detailed call for proposals
  • registration details and information on selection of papers
  • registration fees
  • participating speakers
  • a provisional programme, where possible.

The date assigned to the announcement will be the registration deadline for the summer school. If registration for the summer school is open – with participants sometimes being selected for a project that will discussed throughout the summer school – the school itself will generally be considered a non-public event. In this case it will appear in the humanities and social sciences calendar once the deadline for the call for proposals has passed.

If some lectures during the summer school are open to the public, they can be published in another announcement, as a “lecture series”.

As always, it is possible to add further details to an announcement that has already been published by asking the Calenda team to upload the full programme. This means your announcement will always be perfectly in step with your summer school!

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Deployment of the text-mining tool Bilbo on

BookmarkFor a few weeks now has boasted a new feature: the text-mining tool Bilbo, which automatically annotates journals’ bibliographic references.

Bilbo identifies the bibliographic references in journal articles and semantisizes their constituent parts. It then identifies the DOIs corresponding to these references and, where they exist, adds them to the end of the reference as a hyperlink, making it possible to directly access the cited resource. Developed by OpenEdition Lab, Bilbo is now deployed on almost 80% of the journals on the platform.

How does Bilbo work?

Bilbo (“Bibliographical Robot”) is a piece of software that detects, identifies, analyses and encodes bibliographic references in articles. Bilbo uses data mining and machine learning to identify the first name and surname of the author(s) and the title, publisher, year and place of publication of each bibliographic reference. The first version of Bilbo focuses on article bibliographies. A second version will extend the identification of bibliographic references to footnotes. Finally, a third stage will involve identifying implicit references within the body text of articles.

Bilbo will regularly analyse the same bibliographies as the algorithm develops, but also in light of the fact that DOIs are attributed to thousands of new publications each day.

Automatically identified references

Using the author and title of an article, Bilbo can query the search engine maintained by Crossref, the official registry for Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs), whose database contains millions of academic references. Bilbo can thereby retrieve the article’s DOI, where it exists, and add it to the reference in the article’s bibliography. The DOI is added as a hyperlink, allowing the reader to directly access the cited resource.

Richer references

Once the reference is identified, Bilbo is able to enrich it with complementary data and display it in different formats. Readers consulting an article via a library or institution that has subscribed to one of OpenEdition’s Freemium programmes will be able to download references for which Bilbo has found DOIs in APA, MLA and Chicago formats. The list of subscribing libraries and institutions can be consulted on this page: <>

 Who runs Bilbo?

Developed by OpenEdition Lab, Bilbo is a research and development programme launched in 2011 that aims to develop features related to reading, writing, navigation and system recommendations. Two teams work closely together on the project: the OpenEdition team and the Sciences and Systems Laboratory team (LSIS, Aix-Marseille University – CNRS). Initial funding for the project was provided by a Google Grant for Digital Humanities.

 Further information


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OpenEdition at IFLA WLIC 2014 in Lyon

IFLA 2014 Lyon

We are happy to announce that OpenEdition is exhibiting at the 80th IFLA Congress in Lyon (France), August 17-20. On this occasion, we are glad to invite you on our booth C105.

This is the opportunity to introduce our platforms contents and services to you, with all the latest updates. Do not hesitate to pass by or to make an appointment with us to broach specific subjects.

As part of the IFLA WLIC French District (Quartier Français) official programme, we are pleased to invite you to two presentations:

  • Scientific blogging and librarians, by Pierre Mounier, OpenEdition’s deputy director, 19th August, 1:00 PM, C109 Place des Traboules. Please RSVP.
  • Presentation of the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB), by Eelco Ferwerda, director of OAPEN, 19th August, 11:00AM, on our booth C105. Please RSVP.

Contact email :


Introducing OpenEdition Freemium for Books: gift card 2014

Dear readers,
We are happy to offer you a free access to seven books published on the OpenEdition Books platform. The content of this selection is available to all in HTML format. To get access to the PDF and ePub formats, click on ‘download’ and enter the code available on your e-book gift card.

Enjoy the reading!
The OpenEdition Team

What is the Text Encoding Initiative?
How to add intelligent markup to digital resources

Lou Burnard

IntroductionThe Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) Guidelines have long been regarded as the de facto standard for the preparation of digital textual resources in the scholarly research community. For the beginner, they offer a daunting range of possibilities, reflecting the huge range of potential applications for text encoding, from traditional scholarly editions, to language corpora, historical lexicons, digital archives and beyond.

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Qu’est-ce que l’identité numérique ?
Enjeux, outils, méthodologies

Olivier Ertzscheid

Qu’est-ce que l’identité numérique ?Qu’est-ce que l’identité numérique et l’e-réputation ? Cette question se pose aujourd’hui dans le cadre de l’écosystème internet pour les usages individuels et collectifs.
Cet ouvrage présente de manière accessible l’état de la recherche sur ces questions et propose un tour d’horizon des enjeux fondamentaux à maîtriser pour pouvoir garder le contrôle sur sa présence en ligne ou sur celle de son organisation.

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La Cappadoce
Mémoire de Byzance

Catherine Jolivet-Lévy

La Cappadoce«Patrimoine de la Méditerranée» : une collection qui se propose de retrouver l’esprit des lieux, de les faire revivre à travers leur histoire, de susciter l’imagination du passé. Chaque ouvrage, s’appuyant sur les acquis les plus récents de la recherche, s’organise autour d’un thème privilégié. Des récits des premiers voyageurs aux tours organisés aujourd’hui, la Cappadoce n’a cessé d’étonner explorateurs et visiteurs, séduits par l’alliance des paysages saisissants et des monuments.

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Trésors de la chanson populaire française.
Autour de 50 chansons recueillies en Acadie

Geneviève Massignon and Georges Delarue

Trésors de la chanson populaire française. Autour de 50 chansons recueillies en AcadieEn février 1946, Geneviève Massignon, la fille du grand orientaliste Louis Massignon, a 24 ans. Elle part affronter le rude hiver canadien pour y conduire une étude sur le parler acadien, prenant note de tous les contes et de toutes les chansons populaires qu’elle peut recueillir dans cette province canadienne francophone. Puis, en 1961, à la veille de sa soutenance de thèse, elle décide de retourner sur les lieux, munie cette fois d’un matériel d’enregistrement plus fiable.

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Aux origines de l’histoire globale

Sanjay Subrahmanyam

Aux origines de l’histoire globaleQui pense le monde ? Les hommes du passé ou les historiens du présent ? L’histoire universelle telle qu’elle était pratiquée depuis l’Antiquité s’est transformée à partir du XVIe siècle dans des contextes variés, de l’Asie orientale à l’Amérique espagnole. Grâce à sa connaissance des archives dispersées à travers le monde, sa maîtrise des langues et des traditions historiographiques d’Asie, d’Europe et des Amériques, Sanjay Subrahmanyam remet en perspective l’histoire des réseaux et des échanges de biens, de mythes et d’idéologies en sortant des cadres géopolitiques traditionnels soumis au modèle de l’État-nation.

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Creative Commons: guı́a de usuario : Un manual completo con una introducción teórica y sugerencias prácticas

Simone Aliprandi

Aquí tiene un manual operacional que sirve de guía para los creadores que deseen adentrarse en el mundo de las licencias Creative Commons, las licencias más famosas y populares de libre distribución de productos intelectuales. Sin dejar de lado útiles aclaraciones conceptuales, el autor entra en detalles técnicos de las herramientas ofrecidas por Creative Commons, lo que los hace también comprensible para los neófitos totales. Este es un libro fundamental para todos aquellos que estén interesados en la OpenContent y el mundo copyleft.

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Creative Commons: a user guide : A complete manual with a theoretical introduction and pratical suggestions

Simone Aliprandi

Here is an operational manual which guides creators step by step in the world of Creative Commons licenses, the most famous and popular licenses for free distribution of intellectual products. Without neglecting useful conceptual clarifications, the author goes into technical details of the tools offered by Creative Commons, thus making them also understandable for total neophytes. This is a fundamental book for all those who are interested in the opencontent and copyleft world.

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OpenEdition: PKP’s first European sponsor

pkp_logo_vert3OpenEdition is proud to support the Canadian project PKP (Public Knowledge Project) and thereby contribute to the development of open source solutions for digital publishing. This partnership demonstrates the shared vision of OpenEdition and PKP to promote open access academic and scientific publishing by providing innovative and scalable professional solutions.

OpenEdition’s digital publishing platforms, OpenEdition Books, and Calenda, are run using Lodel, an online content management software (CMS) designed specifically for the digital publication of long and complex texts within a highly structured editorial environment. This solution has been adopted by 400 journals and 35 academic publishers. OpenEdition intends to strengthen and complement its provision of services in terms of editorial workflow thanks to the open source solutions developed by PKP: OJS (Open Journal Systems) and OMP (Open Monograph Press). Continue reading

OpenEdition is pleased to announce the arrival of German publisher C.H.Beck on OpenEdition Books, the digital platform for open access academic publishing. C.H.Beck collections will be available on OpenEdition Books in April 2014.

The C.H.Beck catalogue on OpenEdition will initially include around 30 books drawn from its classical studies series (Zetemata: Monographien zur klassischen Altertumswissenschaft) and papyrus studies series (Münchener Beiträge zur Papyrusforschung und antiken Rechtsgeschichte). Two-thirds of the books will come from the classical studies series, which examines topics such as philology, history, epistemology and theology in the works of writers and philosophers of Ancient Greece and Rome. The papyrus studies series contributes to scholarship on the law, politics, economy and administration of ancient civilisations, notably the Ptolemaic and Hellenistic periods.

Most of the books will be available in Open Access Freemium: free HTML, with PDF, ePub and eReader formats available exclusively to subscribing institutions and through digital bookstores.

Berlin 11 – Future challenges and the final debate

Elena Giglia, our guest editor and head of Torino University’s open access programme, gives a round-up of final talks at the Berlin 11 conference.

John Willinsky talking at Berlin 11. Photo by Elena Giglia.

John Willinsky talking at Berlin 11. Photo by Elena Giglia.

The future challenges that emerged from the session that saw the presentations of John Willinsky, Nicholas Canny, Manfred Laubichler, and Nick Shockey, can be clustered into four threads.

Key aspects – fixed points

  • “Inclusion” is the core: excellence is not about whom we are able to exclude or reject, but whom we are able to include.
  • Responsibility is the keyword: we have a big responsibility in educating people that openness is a right.
  • OA has played and still plays a transformative role in the changing framework of research and education.
  • OA can allow and foster interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity, breaking down disciplinary silos in order to tackle key planetary issues like climate change.
  • New core competences for young researchers should be taken into account: how to navigate, authenticate what they find, integrate different kind of information, innovate.
  • There is an imperative need to empower the next generation of researchers.

How to reach OA

  • The new perspective should be: paying for services, not for content.
  • “One size fits all” is not a suitable approach to attain effective OA, especially in the humanities and social Sciences. There is still the need to find viable solutions fitting each scientific community and its communication habits, with particular attention to books.
  • Silos must be opened and content spread and linked.
  • Open access should keep pace with open data.
  • From an economic point of view: the money (too much money, actually) is already on the table in the scholarly communication system right now. Let’s move it and reallocate according to different criteria and models. There’s no need for further funding.


  • There are increasing concerns about long-term preservation and its adequate funding.
  • Outdated infrastructure, wrong incentive structure, misleading expectations.
  • How to manage the increasing demand for change coming from young researchers in the humanities and social sciences, who are not satisfied with the current criteria in tenure and an unsatisfactory incentive framework.

It’s important at this point to add a quotation by Erin McKinnon, cited by Nick Shockey:

“If publishing in open access journals costs me my career, then this is not the career I want. Period.”


  • New metrics: find out the extent to which an author is central in his/her discipline, by visualizing co-authoring, downloads and citations.
  • Put Open Access and openness itself at the centre of education: teach children that access is a right.
  • Train teachers to use and re-use open educational resources.
  • Let’s define Intellectual Property associated with scientific works as a distinct class of IP, as scholarly communication has different underlying logics, and sharing is imperative.
  • signal Open Access resources in Wikipedia, to be freely accessed by readers.

The Open Access Button initiative (, a new tool developed by young researchers, deserves particular attention.  In their words:

“People are denied access to research hidden behind paywalls every day. This problem is invisible, but it slows innovation, kills curiosity and harms patients. Open Access Button is a safe, easy to use browser bookmarklet that you can use to show the global effects of research paywalls – and to help get access to the research you need. Every time you hit a paywall blocking your research, click the button. Fill out a short form, add your experience to the map along with thousands of others. Then use our tools to search for access to papers, and spread the word with social media. Every person who uses the Open Access Button brings us closer to changing the system.”

Important open access players Cameron Neylon and Robert Schlögl spoke at Berlin 11’s final talk.

It was a pleasant way to summarise and point out many themes that had emerged during the two days of debate.

  • Knowledge as a common good is the principle.
  • The main assumption is that Open Access is feasible and can make a better world.
  • The aim is for researchers to regain possession of and control over their works.

The suggestion is to find new paths and models – including business models – which do not exactly replicate or do what we were doing in the paper-based 19th century, and bear in mind that Open Access is about knowledge dissemination and not revenues, and that research is about discovering and communicating, sharing discoveries, and not about citations and evaluation.

There are still open issues such as quality assurance, standards, funding, and awareness-raising about the benefits of Open Access. There are also positive signs like the increasing number of open access policies, both at institutional and national level, and the increasing number of people involved in the open access debate, all with new expertise and fresh ideas. There is an effective tool, the web, to be fully exploited in order to communicate and provide unprecedented services and tools to boost research and discovery.

On the path towards openness, scientific communities must be assured that the greatest freedom comes from choosing their channels of communication.

In order to achieve the final goal, the top-down approach – in terms of mandatory policies and institutional support – needs to keep apace with a bottom-up one, in terms of authors’ involvement and awareness, all the more so among young generations of researchers.

There is a technical must: interoperability.

Then there is a political must: consistency.

And finally a strategic must: harmonization of efforts and cooperation.

Peter Gruss, president of the Max Planck Society, in his closing remarks, urged us to fulfill the revolution started ten years ago with the Berlin Declaration, which has changed the scholarly communication landscape. He ensured the support of the Max Planck Society to the movement and to the Berlin conference series, to be held each other year starting from now. So, the appointment is made for the next Berlin, in 2015.

Marin Dacos speaking at Berlin 11. Photo by Elena Giglia.

OpenEdition at Berlin 11

This week, Elena Giglia, head of the open access programme at Torino University, is our guest editor. OpenEdition team invited her to give an account of the Berlin 11 conference. Here’s her summary of Marin Dacos’ presentation.

During the session The global perspective: OA at work, Marin Dacos gave an overview of OpenEdition.

The starting point was the idea of bibliodiversity – biodiversity applied to the scientific communication environment in the humanities and the social sciences, in which each “piece” of knowledge is a seed that is worth being cultivated, freely, and not in closed silos as happens with knowledge in the restricted access framework. As in the ecosystem, diversity is the key for innovation, evolution and adaptability. Against the idea of a sort of “monocultural agriculture”, English- and article-driven, the notion of diversity is the key, and can be seen in terms of diversity of languages, disciplines,  publication types and players.

As for languages, national languages still play a central role mainly in the humanities. Thomson Reuters’ Web of Knowledge database seems not to be aware of this, as it states: “English is the universal language of science. For this reason Thomson Reuters focuses on journals that publish full text in English, or at very least, bibliographic information in English.” The evidence calls this into question though, because in 2010 only 27% of the content on the net was in English (source: Net.Lang: Towards the Multilingual Cyberspace, 2012) and the Latin-American free database SciELO (Open Access,, with its Spanish and Portuguese content, is now competing with the well-established, English content-driven JSTOR (restricted access, in terms of unique visitors and downloads. If you have a look at the web portals ranking, in the first ten places only one site is US-based; others are from Brazil, Spain, China, France, Sweden, Chile… (Ranking Web of Repositories). So, the web is more and more multilingual and multipolar, even in its academic/scientific reality: if you take OpenEdition, logs show a widely diffused public across the world, and the 35,000,000 annual visits tell us a lot about interest and visibility.

As for disciplines, the same Web of Knowledge claims to cover “the leading scholarly literature”, but, to stick to a distinguished French example, Annales, the worldwide-reputed history journal, founded by Lucien Febvre and Marc Bloch, is not included. As for infrastructures, the humanities and social sciences account for just 1% of ESFRI funds (ESFRI Reports). In Marin Dacos’ words, this means: “Without initial investment, No initiative, Without initiative, No viable proposition, Without viable proposition, No leadership, Without leadership, No investment…and no diversity.”

As for publication types, books are still the main communication channel in the humanities. But very few large-scale projects deal with books (Ebrary, or the cited JSTOR, in restricted access, OAPEN or OpenEdition in Open Access). Moreover, given that open access means toll-free access, it is to be considered that even in the digital world the cost of producing quality digital books is quite the same as in the past (around 6000 euros, source: OAPEN Final report, Oct. 2013).

In other words, new, sustainable business models ought to be found in order to offer Open Access to books. Unsuitable options are giving only one chapter for free, or giving away the consonants and selling the vowels [the floor is still laughing at that!].

OpenEdition adopts the Freemium model (i.e. free+premium), the same model used by Skype and Dropbox and Flickr: whilst basic services are free, if you want advanced features you have to pay for them.

That means that on OpenEdition’s OpenEdition Books platform, people can freely read content in HTML, and print, copy and paste, save, but they have to pay for services (pdf, ePub, eReader). Libraries, too, have to pay for services, which include a wide range of discovery tools services, crosslinking, alerts…

For publishers, OpenEdition Books is profitable because the only constraint is to put at least 50% of their catalogue in Open Access (even though, as of now, the vast majority of the 26 publishers on the platform provide between 56% and 100% of their catalogue in Open Access), and they receive 66% of the revenues.

The aim is to demonstrate that Open Access is not only successful but also sustainable, and that it can assure the bibliodiversity that the humanities and social sciences deserve.

Marin Dacos concluded by promoting the Manifesto for the Digital Humanities and inviting participants to join it, for the sake of diversity, which, as shown before, is the key to innovation and evolution.

The global perspective: OA at work

Elena Giglia, head of the open access programme at Torino University, describes the talks at the third session of Berlin 11.

The third session of Berlin 11 was dedicated to good practices worldwide. The common thread was a sort of pride in the achievements made against all odds in a scholarly communication environment often hostile to innovations and paradigm changes.

Sely Costa presented the Brazilian efforts towards open archives and open journals, pointing out some quality issues. She insisted on a dual approach: top-down from politicians and governing institutions, to ensure viability and support; bottom-up from authors and librarians, or better “seductive librarians”, who explain copyright issues and relay increases in downloads statistics, an argument all faculties are very sensitive to. A particular case is master and doctoral theses, now available and downloaded worldwide, which was something unimaginable without Open Access.

Marin  Dacos presented OpenEdition, please see the specific post.

Robert Darnton started his talk with a slogan: “Digitize, democratize” and a claim: “Open the libraries! If in Europe often libraries are surrounded by walls and are secluded, in the US the library stands at the center of the campus, stemming intellectual energy everywhere around. Library is the core of the university. This is the ideal pattern to follow in order to disseminate, and Harvard is making that suitable for the digitized world, going open by setting up an Institutional Repository and unanimously adopting a mandate to deposit. Faculties have committed to rendering their work public, and the first feedback they have received is the huge increase in readers they have in OA. After going for green OA, Harvard also created a central fund for supporting gold OA.

Professor Darnton then told the idealistic and at the same time pragmatic history of the Digital Public Library of America (, aimed at giving universal access to American cultural heritage. It started like a dream, or a utopia, then the project took shape by putting together a coalition of foundations for money, and of libraries for books. After huge web discussion about technological and legal issues, with all debaters doing it for free, the library went online in April 2013 and succeeded.

An analogous project suddenly comes to mind, Google books, which started at the wrong pace in terms of copyright issues and now, after years of debate and the Settlement in place, is no more than a commercial library, where libraries have to buy again the content they gave away for free. It’s a new kind of monopoly, as in the publishing domain.

DPLA was better designed to deal both with copyright, asking authors directly for permission to use their works, and  the interoperability framework, particularly in connection with Europeana ( As for biodiversity, around one third of the content is in a language different from English, and many of the downloads come from outside the US.

DPLA works as a distributed system which leads with one click to the desired content. The motto “free for all” that you can read sculpted on many libraries’ entrances, also applies to this huge virtual collection of more than 5 million products. The logic is definitely horizontal, not top down, as the new library connects to digital collections that already exist in the US and empowers them; one of the most useful and actually used tools for this purpose are APIs as well as the DPLA Bookshelf, which allows for visual browsing.

DLPA has had an immediate transformative effect on education since its launch: dropout rates in schools are slowing down considerably. DPLA is not a digital version of the Library of Congress, it’s a completely new kind of knowledge hub, available for free.

For the first time in history, Darnton notes, we can shape the future as we can make our cultural heritage available in advance for future generations.

Daniel Mutonga, from Kenya, illustrated all the advocacy and training strategies put in place by students, who have played a central role in the advancement of OA in Africa, against limits due to lack of infrastructure, inadequate literacy and reading levels, and scarce support by government. In Africa the paywall to access is still high, so students are in the first line advocating openness by using all the instruments offered by the net – such as social media, webinars, and so on, and by themselves producing OA content.

Xiaolin Zhang underlined the strong sense of responsibility in China nowadays in order to enable access to Chinese research and open up cooperation. He showed all the strategies and actions set to promote OA, green and gold, and the current activity in creating awareness and promoting and supporting OA initiatives in repositories and journals. By law, all publicly funded research publications have to be deposited after one year.

The UK minister David Willetts, scheduled for the day before but detained in London by official duties, opened his speech stating that knowledge has always been the leverage of any revolution or change in society, hence the capital importance of knowledge dissemination and access to information. Even though the internet has dramatically changed ways of disseminating knowledge, there are still barriers to access. The UK is committed to getting past these barriers. Open Access being on the political agenda for a long time, the UK government commissioned a study on viability of the green and the gold road to OA.  The so-called “Finch Report”, with a clear preference for immediate, paid gold OA has fully been endorsed by the government, and then the RCUK conformed  to this report. This gold OA choice, which arose strong opposition and a thorough debate among both the OA community and English researchers themselves, has received thousands of pounds in funding.

The choice of going for gold has, according to Willetts, a rationale against green OA, which is cheaper but lacks in quality, and it’s not immediate due to embargo periods. Willetts’ opinion is that publishers add value, and their work must be paid for, so the gold road makes sense because it recognizes that work has gone in to publishing the paper; moreover, it has a zero embargo period by default. Again according to Willetts, green OA would jeopardise the whole scholarly publication system. In order not to limit authors’ autonomy in choosing their publication venue, the UK government also supports hybrid journals (giving full satisfaction to commercial publishers). An open issue is, of course, the calculation of fees for UK institutions, trying to balance subscription rates and Article Processing Charges on the basis of actual production. Moreover, a survey is being conducted about competition in the commercial publishers’ market and price adaptation to the new market demand.

Willetts ended with a strong call for cooperation at the international level: we set the goals ten years ago; now the scientific community has to work jointly to reach them.

Berlin 11 – Celebrating 10 years of Open Access

This week, Elena Giglia, head of the open access programme at Torino University, is our guest editor. OpenEdition team invited her to give an account of the Berlin 11 conference. Here’s her post about the first day.

Photo by Elena Giglia, 19 November 2013.

Photo by Elena Giglia, 19 November 2013.

10 years on, the Berlin Open Access conference is being held again in Berlin, to celebrate the Berlin Declaration ten years ago.

As pointed out by the opening remarks, in the last few years Open Access has contributed to important shifts in the scholarly communication framework, and has fostered a common rethinking of the whole scientific communication chain, enabling dialogue between all the players involved. OA means fast and worldwide dissemination, no barriers to access, new metrics about impact linked to each single paper, new techniques like text and data mining: in a word, OA boosts knowledge transfer and thus the creation of new knowledge. OA should be the currency in scholarly communication nowadays, but it still is not, because of lack of awareness and moreover a resistance to change, both among researchers and libraries. OA implies in fact a paradigm shift in workflows as well as in funding allocations.

New initiatives like eLife demonstrate that new forms of cooperation between funding agencies, authors and journal scientific editors are possible, and that, actually, “publication is just the beginning”, as is stated on the eLife website. In the path towards OA no author or institution can walk alone and there is a need for cooperation, mutual support and alliances. This is all the more true at the political level, where the keyword is “work in unison” to coordinate the efforts.

The first session of the conference, “Open Access on the political agenda”, was intended as an overview of recent developments in this direction.

In Germany Georg Schutte showed how research and development are seen by the government as a priority for the future of the country.  OA could be the tool for scientific result dissemination. The recent law on copyright is a first step, a door opened to research access; it needs improvements, i.e. opening the door further and further in order to make OA the standard in scientific communication.

From the French perspective, Roger Genet underlined the importance of access at three levels: political, for an evidence-based and informed decision-making process; economical, as a better return on investments in research; scientific, for faster progress. France is working for a national plan towards access, in order to move from open access to open science.

Open Science and openness to publications and data played a central role in Neelie Kroes’ political agenda at the European Commission, as reported by Carl Cristian Buhr. Openness allows for examining, comparing, making new hypotheses and thus advancing. Openness is also a way to do justice both to the potential of the web and to the European taxpayers whoses taxes fund research. For science itself, “sharing” has always been the keyword, and ought to be so in the future the keyword, bearing in mind that in this domain there is no “one size fits all” solution. In any case, sharing is the pillar of any possible future open science. The idea that investing in the future of a new science is the best way to support the economy is the basis of the EU’s strong committment to openness, which applies not only to publications but also to data (not only academic data, but also public sector data, which can be exploited by apps or value-added service providers).

Heather Joseph went through the recent US developments in Open Access policies and politics focusing on driving factors. The main driver is investment coming from taxpayers, as taxpayers expect a return in terms of knowledge advances that are potentially useful for society itself, knowledge creation being an incremental process based on results. Access to results in the form of Open Access is clearly the basis of this whole process.

The Obama directive of February 2013 is a milestone as it addresses not only the access issue but also the question of re-use. All the stakeholders are now involved in discussion of the directive and its translation, in order to have sustainable embargo periods, re-use licences and the correct preservation policies: there’s still a long way to do, but the achievement is that Open Access has taken a consistent place on the national US political agenda.

The second session tried to depict “Where are we today?” from four different perspectives.

Glyn Moody approached openness from the perspective of the history of open source software. Linux, used by supercomputers, Google, and all the social networks proved that distributed, collaborative development works, that freely sharing worked better than hoarding and that, once digital, knowledge can be shared infinitely. Sharing is a sort of moral imperative. In Open Access, with the trigger being public availability of publicly funded research, the goal must be immediate access, with a ZEN approach, where ZEN stands for Zero Embargo Now. Big profits for publishers is not an argument to closing access to the majority of the world’s citizens. Publishers should make revenues from services offered in addition to content, not from the content itself, which in a digital world can be distributed at virtually zero or low expenses. The case of Red Hat, which generated billions in revenue, has to be looked at as good new business and a paradigm-shift model. Scholarly communication and the publishing system needs this sort of paradigm change in order to complete the revolution started ten years ago.

Ulrich Poeschl showed that OA is essential for an epistemic web, i.e. a web of knowledge. Open Access not only ensures access to content, but also enables and enhances old traditions like peer review. Public peer review, as conducted by the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics and followers can combine quick access and thorough examination; new approaches like PLoS post-publication review are also innovative ways to exploit the potential of the web, bearing in mind that each time you correctly use the web it is always a win-win situation for all. A shift towards new forms of access and a new way of publishing is needed. Many models in OA have proven to be sustainable, so the vision for the future, trusting the basic principles of mass/energy conservation and evolution, is a conversion of subscription funds to cover the costs of OA publishing. Subscription journals and publishers will adapt or will be replaced in a true market scenario. The demand for new services and a new kind of scientific communication which really exploits the potential of the web is strong, so if traditional players are not able to offer what meets the demand, the market will go elsewhere.

Bernard Rentier, Rector of the University of Liege, underlined the key factors which made the OA policy so successful (61% of full text in the institutional archive). These factors are a strong linkage between OA deposit and internal research assessment, the offer of value-added services for researchers, and firm committment and support from the institution’s governing bodies. Data about increased visibilty are impressive: full text articles freely accessible  in OA without embargo are downloaded 34 times more than embargoed ones. Perceiving this advantage in terms of article views, many researchers put more products than required into the institutional repository (40,3% are papers from before 2002, the terminus a quo of the policy).

Mike Taylor concluded by reversing the perspective: OA is not about money and costs, but about knowledge dissemination. The real cost to be considered is that of a researcher wasting his time searching papers he has no acces to: this is worth ten times the billions spent in subscriptions. And, as many said, closed access when dealing with medical data can cost lives. So, OA is about sharing content and multiplying it in a digital way, about giving justice to taxpayers who receive a return on their investment in the form of advances in knowledge, about changing the world, about a unity that erases the divide between those few who have access and the vast majority who don’t, and about accepting the reality that today distribution is free. The preliminary to this is a radical realignment of the publishing world: publishing stands for “make public” and not for erecting walls and barriers to access in order to ensure revenues. The real cost to be worried about is the wasted opportunity cost for each closed content that could be used by anyone, and in unexpected ways. So the claim again is for a common and collaborative work on policies to lead to a transition to a full open access scenario.

At the end of the day, in the wonderful venue of the Bode Museum, Haim Gertner told stories about the Holocaust and its memory, and presented the project “Gathering the fragments” about Holocaust documents. The value of openness is in the fact that a photo, a document, or whatever “piece” of information, can be of no value for one person but of immense value to another, who can interpret it and give it a meaning. A perfect metaphor for science.