You might remember my plan to read only open access (OA) articles during this year.
You may be wondering, “how’s that going for you?”
Well, not too well. In fact, it has been a complete failure. And as you may recall, I’m a big fan of failure. So, in true Orwellian fashion, my project has been a raging success.
I use JournalTOCs as one tool to track new articles of interest to me (excellent service; high recommended). You can identify OA journals on JournalTOCs so it was easy for me to trim my list of tracked journals to only those.
My academic interests are mostly around libraries, librarians, information, information technology, higher education, and literacy. The fields differ with respect to OA. In turns out there are only a small number of higher education OA journals (they dried up to a trickle when I changed the setting on JournalTOCs), and a relatively modest number of IT journals focused on my particular IT interests. Unsurprisingly, journals on libraries and librarians do better.
While this allowed me to focus my reading on OA material, what I really discovered was how modestly I use traditional research journals. The vast majority of my professional and research literature comes from blogs and the grey literature (reports for example). Twitter, Feedly, and Facebook (ouch) are my most useful awareness tools and they mostly reference OA-like material.
The central reason for the failure of this project was in regard to materials for the courses I’m teaching this semester. At first when I discovered a good article for the class in a non-OA journal I looked for a pre-publication, repository version (and with some success). For those not available, I asked for one to be put in a repository (thanks to my very supportive colleague K. Jane Burpee for suggestions on how to do this effectively and employ tools like the Open Access Button). Sadly I did this only once (unsuccessfully). Instead (blush) I sent a few non-OA articles to the class without reading them myself.
At this point alarm bells went off and red flags appeared everywhere. What the hell was I doing? This was inappropriate and unacceptable.
So, the experiment is over.
It was probably over 10 minutes after my initial blog post (just as some of my more insightful colleagues suggested). But like all experiments, I learned some important things about the disciplines important to me and my own habits.
As my yearlong experiment ends almost as soon as it started, I declare victory.