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OA Community Unveils New Initiatives
Posted On February 9, 2016
Much has happened in the world of open access (OA) lately—a splashy potential merger between organizations and the launch of some new tools, resources, and websites that are of interest to the library, publishing, and information communities.

DuraSpace and LYRASIS Plan Merger

On Jan. 27, 2016, the U.S.-based nonprofit organizations DuraSpace and LYRASIS announced that their boards both unanimously approved an “Intent to Merge.” DuraSpace is home to both DSpace and Fedora, two systems that are used by a tremendous percentage of OA repositories around the world, as well as other systems, software, and hosted services, such as VIVO and DuraCloud, that tie into the OA repository infrastructure.

According to the jointly issued press release, DuraSpace and LYRASIS have already begun exploring the proposed merger, and they are now moving into a public phase to “consider an official plan and pathway for the potential coming together, including a full analysis of member benefits.” The press release continues:

The proposed new organization would continue to serve the LYRASIS and DuraSpace communities by sustaining and growing their combined open source platforms (Fedora, DSpace, VIVO, ArchivesSpace, CollectionSpace) and hosted services (ArchivesSpace, CollectionSpace, Islandora, DuraCloud, DSpaceDirect, ArchivesDirect). When finalized, the combined organization will expand its portfolio by offering new technologies and services that further their existing work in the management and preservation of digital scholarship. The new organization would focus on supporting current communities with no reduction in the delivery of services offered by LYRASIS and DuraSpace, while engaging a larger and more diverse group of stakeholders.

The organizations are now seeking comments from the public regarding the proposed merger.

SPARC’s New Website and Logo

If you haven’t been to the SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) website in a few months, you’ll notice some changes. In addition to a new, more contemporary logo, the website has been completely revamped—even the domain name has changed to, which reflects SPARC’s commitment to OA, open education, and open data. All of SPARC’s widely used resources are still available, including the SPARC Author Addendum and Author Rights information; the HowOpenIsIt? guide; talking points on proposed and adopted U.S. policies such as the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research (FASTR) Act, the Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science and Technology (FIRST) Act, and CHORUS (Clearinghouse for the Open Research of the United States); and resources on campus OA funds. If your organization has linked to any of SPARC’s resources, it is a good time to update the corresponding URLs.

In addition, the website now includes a new feature, Impact Stories. Currently, this section offers four stories about real ways in which OA, open education, and open data have made a difference for organizations’ goals and objectives. One story, about Tidewater Community College and its Z-Degree program, was covered in a previous NewsBreak.

Why Open Research?

Another SPARC Impact Story profiles early-career researcher Erin McKiernan (also featured in a past NewsBreak). In November 2015, McKiernan announced the launch of Why Open Research?, “an educational resource for researchers to learn about the benefits of sharing their work” that is funded by the Shuttleworth Foundation. The website targets researchers and presents the benefits of being open, including increased visibility and funding, reduced publishing costs, and control of the work produced.

The website offers resources such as a gallery of reusable, CC BY-licensed cartoons developed by McKiernan’s father, with more resources in the works (e.g., talking points about OA and the journal impact factor as well as issues related to quality and peer review).

DOAJ Integration

On the technical side, the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) announced the release of a new JavaScript widget that will allow you to directly embed results from a DOAJ search on your website. Conduct a search, refine it as needed, and then use the “share | embed” button at the top of the search results to embed a customizable feed onto your website.

Libraries could embed a list of DOAJ-indexed journals with no article-processing charges (APCs) within a particular subject area or embed a list of recent journal articles written by authors at their institution. Publishers could present a list of all articles from across their journals that have been indexed by DOAJ. A subject-specific portal might include a feed for all journal articles in that field of study that have been indexed by DOAJ.

DOAJ widgets

Coming Soon

The pace of news related to OA will likely pick up in the coming months. The 11th International Digital Curation Conference (IDCC16) will be held Feb. 22–25 in Amsterdam, and it has an exciting lineup of speakers. SPARC’s biennial conference, this year titled Meeting on Openness in Research and Education (MORE), will take place March 7–8 in San Antonio under the theme of Convergence. You can expect some announcements of interest to the OA community around those meetings.

Abby Clobridge is the founder of and principal consultant at FireOak Strategies (formerly Clobridge Consulting), a boutique firm specializing in knowledge management, information management, and open knowledge (open access, open data, open education). Abby has worked with a wide range of organizations throughout the world, including various United Nations agencies; private sector companies; colleges and research universities; nonprofit, intergovernmental, and multi-stakeholder organizations; and the news media. She can be found on Twitter (@aclobridge).

Email Abby Clobridge

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