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How Open?

PLOS, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, and the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association are looking to better define the range of open-access options available in the scientific publishing world.

The groups have released a draft guide, called How Open is It?, that can be used to determine where a journal lies on the spectrum between "open access" and "closed access." The guide is arranged in a matrix displaying different levels of reader rights, reuse rights, copyright, author posting rights, automatic posting, and machine readability.

SPARC is seeking comment on the draft through Oct. 8.

Since the basic tenets of open access were defined in 2002 via the Budapest Open Access Initiative, "thousands of journals have adopted policies that embrace some or all of the open access core components," PLOS, SPARC, and OASPA note. However, they add that there is still "confusion" about open access in the scientific community and argue that the guide will help "provide greater clarity regarding its definition and components."

"Not all open access is created equal," they say, adding that one goal of the new guide is to "move the conversation from 'Is It Open Access?' to 'How Open Is It'"

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