About OAD

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About the Open Access Directory

The Open Access Directory (OAD) is a wiki where the open access (OA) community can create and support simple factual lists about open access to science and scholarship. It launched on April 30, 2008.

A wiki is a natural solution for hosting, organizing, and maintaining lists. On a wiki, revised continuously by the community, a list can be more comprehensive and up to date than the same list maintained by an individual. By bringing many OA-related lists together in one place, OAD will make it easier for users, especially newcomers, to discover them and use them for reference. The easier they are to discover, the more effectively they can spread useful, accurate information about OA.

The goal is for the OA community itself to enlarge and correct the lists with little intervention from the editors or editorial board. For quality control, we limit editing privileges to registered users (Help).

As far as possible, the OAD lists will be limited to brief factual statements without narrative or opinion. One reason is that there are already outlets for narrative texts, such as Wikipedia and OASIS. Another reason is that factual lists create a much lighter load for the editors and editorial board.

Nor will OAD import or duplicate large databases maintained elsewhere, like the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). We don't want to duplicate labor, and we don't have sophisticated database functions. But when relevant lists hosted elsewhere want to move to OAD, we will welcome them.

For more detail on the content of OAD, see our editorial policy.

The School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) at Simmons University (formerly Simmons College) has agreed to host the OAD. The school is one of the largest institutions offering the Master of Science in Library and Information Science in the world. It also has a strong culture supporting scholarly communication and international librarianship.

About open access

If you are new to OA, we suggest you begin with Peter Suber's Open Access Overview.

About our photograph

Peter Suber, a co-founder of the OAD, took this picture on his land in Maine. To the left is a peninsula of white pines, red oaks, and blueberries. To the right is the Bagaduce River, a tidal estuary opening to the Atlantic Ocean a few miles downstream.

Aspects of this wiki were a theme of Robin Peek's Digital Publishing class in the Spring 2008. One of these issues was trying to discover an image that represented open access in what we hoped was symbolic, not cliche, and was in keeping with our overall theme of the wiki that even humble factual information, presented in a simple way, can be supported by a community and become a powerful thing. The class picked this photograph for the way it represented the flow of the rivers to the ocean.

Robin Peek, the other co-founder of this wiki, also lived alongside a river (the Charles River in Cambridge, MA), a few miles away from where this river becomes part of the Atlantic. Although the symbolism of this intersection with the photograph was not apparent until long after the photograph was chosen.