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Taking Comfort From Copyright:

An Examination Of Open-Access Peer Reviewed Internet Based Journals

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One librarian has calculated that the unit cost of serial publications has risen 226% since 1988 (Savenije, 1). The Information Technology Unit at George Mason University points out that is an average inflation rate of 9% p.a., whereas library budgets have only increased 4.5% p.a. in the same period (1). Cost free alternatives are an obvious benefit. As these journals gain more acceptance, particularly under the SPARC initiative, more librarians will use them to fulfill the mandates of their institutions. These journals also provide librarians with choice. They are distinctly individualistic, as opposed to the requirement from some publishers that libraries purchase large bundles of E-journals that include unwanted journals of low quality.

The high quality open-access journals have been designed to be easily keyword searchable via the Internet. That is readily apparent upon a review of their HTML, SHTML or XML codes. Reference librarians cannot help but be pleased. Many of the high quality, open access, web based journals come ‘pre-catalogued’, so that cataloguing librarians can easily import them into their local systems (with minor variations). Major OPAC systems such as Sirsi, now have “requests for the cataloguing of open access, web based journals” built into their staff pages. A librarian selecting one for inclusion in their library’s collection can clip and paste the URL right into the request form. A hallmark of all of the reputable open-access journals is that they clearly identify who has the copyright to the information they contain from a link on their main web pages. Librarians should take some comfort in that fact when they are selecting materials. There are, however, some downsides to the use of these journals.

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