OA Research Project Ideas

One of my strongest interests at the moment is exploring the possibility of increased  breadth and depth of open access scholarly publication in the humanities and social sciences, considering attitudes and uses of OA of any sort by historians, sociologists, and such scholars and also more clear and permissive licenses by scholars of any sort, though especially such humanists and social scientists.

The nascent Open Library of the Humanities has the potential to be enormously important, but there’s obviously a lot more to be done.

Along those lines, there are a few different projects that I hope might be useful. Several of these would probably best be constructed as databases ultimately, but at the moment, my database development skills are insufficient, and I’ll probably just settle for spreadsheets or blog entries.

For example,

  • What knowledge and opinions do historians have about OA? I’d like to discuss it with as many as possible and see what we can do with the answers.
  • Toward narrowing the field of the most immediately relevant historians, which universities have faculty mandates for green OA, who are the history faculty there, have they deposited their works in their institutional repository (IR), and (especially if so) what are their attitudes toward gold OA?

This Google spreadsheet will help identify who such historians are.

  • Also in focusing toward some of the most immediately relevant historians, it appears from SHERPA/RoMEO that journals from University of California Press, University of Chicago Press, University of Hawaii Press, University of Pennsylvania Press, and MIT Press each appear to allow authors to deposit the publisher’s PDF in an IR. Who are the authors of articles in history journals from those publishers, are those authors at institutions with IRs, have those authors deposited the articles from these journals in those IRs, and what are their attitudes toward green but especially gold OA?

This Google Spreadsheet should help in examining that question for at least a few journals.

I’m focusing for now on three–Journal of the Early Republic, from University of Pennsylvania Press; Journal of Interdisciplinary History, from MIT Press; and Journal of Religion and American Culture, from University of California Press.

  • There are also a number of journals describing themselves as open access and listed in DOAJ that offer no license for reuse, even as restrictive as CC-BY-NC-ND. What are the thoughts of those journals’ editors and contributors about licenses?

This Google spreadsheet will help to identify such journals.

There are a number of arguments various people make for more or less permissive licenses (e.g., CC-BY vs CC-BY-NC-ND). It might be helpful to gather together an extensive list of the most detailed benefits and drawbacks people see in CC-BY, for example.

There are a lot of uses for OA scholarly literature that journalists, high-school teachers, and members of the public are likely to have. It’d be great to gather an extensive and ongoing list of specific cases.