Open-access titles hit #2 for usage at UNCG
At the University of North Carolina-Greensboro libraries, our colleagues recently noted that open-access titles had hit #2 in usage – of 350 holdings (!). Here’s a little background on how it happened, from Tim Bucknall, Assistant Dean (bucknall [at] uncg [dot] edu).
One of the keys to increasing usage of open-access titles is to make sure that this important group of resources is easily accessible through the library's discovery tools. When the University of North Carolina at Greensboro created the nation's first link resolver (Journal Finder) in 2000, we quickly realized its potential for promoting free and open-access journals. In the days before DOAJ and similar sites, it was somewhat laborious to track down open-access titles and add them to Journal Finder's knowledge base. But because the product was shared by nearly 50 institutions, it seemed worth the effort. Any open-access titles added to the knowledge base became immediately available to a total student and faculty population of over 300,000.
In evaluating the overall usage patterns of Journal Finder users, it is clear that our investment in harvesting open-access titles has paid off. Total free- and open-access usage is ranked no lower than 5th among all sources for all Journal Finder schools. (Note- A "source" could be a database like InfoTrac OneFile or a publisher package like Elsevier Science Direct). At UNCG, we have nearly 350 electronic "sources", and free- and open-access usage ranks second overall. It ranks behind Ebsco's Academic Search Premier, but ahead of comprehensive journal packages for Wiley-Blackwell, Springer, Elsevier, Taylor and Francis, Sage, OUP, CUP, JSTOR, Project Muse, and hundreds more. It does take work to make sure that large numbers of open-access titles are included in your link resolver's knowledge base. But UNCG's experience indicates that that investment can yield significant rewards.
The robust inclusion of open-access titles within the knowledge base was a major factor in WT Cox's decision to purchase Journal Finder from UNCG two years ago. WT Cox has continued the emphasis on open-access titles and believes that strategy has assisted them in doubling the number of participating Journal Finder institutions.