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Faculty & Staff Resources: Open Access & Altmetrics

This LibGuide highlights library resources for Butler's faculty and staff

Open Access

Open Access Week

"Open-access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. What makes it possible is the internet and the consent of the author or copyright-holder.

In most fields, scholarly journals do not pay authors, who can therefore consent to OA without losing revenue. In this respect scholars and scientists are very differently situated from most musicians and movie-makers, and controversies about OA to music and movies do not carry over to research literature.

OA is entirely compatible with peer review, and all the major OA initiatives for scientific and scholarly literature insist on its importance. Just as authors of journal articles donate their labor, so do most journal editors and referees participating in peer review.

OA literature is not free to produce, even if it is less expensive to produce than conventionally published literature. The question is not whether scholarly literature can be made costless, but whether there are better ways to pay the bills than by charging readers and creating access barriers."

-Peter Suber, "A Very Brief Introduction to Open Access"

There are two primary vehicles for delivering OA to research articles: OA journals and OA archives or repositories.

  • OA archives or repositories do not perform peer review, but simply make their contents freely available to the world. They may contain unrefereed preprints, refereed postprints, or both. Archives may belong to institutions, such as universities and laboratories, or disciplines, such as physics and economics. Authors may archive their preprints without anyone else's permission, and a majority of journals already permit authors to archive their postprints. When archives comply with the metadata harvesting protocol of the Open Archives Initiative, then they are interoperable and users can find their contents without knowing which archives exist, where they are located, or what they contain. There is now open-source software for building and maintaining OAI-compliant archives and worldwide momentum for using it.
  • OA journals perform peer review and then make the approved contents freely available to the world. Their expenses consist of peer review, manuscript preparation, and server space. OA journals pay their bills very much the way broadcast television and radio stations do: those with an interest in disseminating the content pay the production costs upfront so that access can be free of charge for everyone with the right equipment. Sometimes this means that journals have a subsidy from the hosting university or professional society. Sometimes it means that journals charge a processing fee on accepted articles, to be paid by the author or the author's sponsor (employer, funding agency). OA journals that charge processing fees usually waive them in cases of economic hardship. OA journals with institutional subsidies tend to charge no processing fees. OA journals can get by on lower subsidies or fees if they have income from other publications, advertising, priced add-ons, or auxiliary services. Some institutions and consortia arrange fee discounts. Some OA publishers waive the fee for all researchers affiliated with institutions that have purchased an annual membership. There's a lot of room for creativity in finding ways to pay the costs of a peer-reviewed OA journal, and we're far from having exhausted our cleverness and imagination."

-Peter Suber, "A Very Brief Introduction to Open Access"

  • ´┐╝Submit your research articles to OA journals, when there are appropriate OA journals in your field.
  • Deposit your work in an open-access repository, like our own Digital Commons.
  • Deposit your data files in an OA archive along with the articles built on them. Whenever possible, link to the data files from the articles, and vice versa, so that readers of one know where to find the other.
  • When asked to referee a paper or serve on the editorial board for an OA journal, accept the invitation.
    • Faculty needn’t donate their time and labor to journals that lock up their content behind access barriers where it is less useful to the profession. Universities should support faculty who make this otherwise career-jeopardizing decision. Faculty don’t need to boycott priced journals, but they don’t need to assist them either.
  • If you are an editor of a toll-access journal, then start an in-house discussion about converting to OA, experimenting with OA, letting authors retain copyright, abolishing the Ingelfinger rule, or declaring independence (quitting and launching an OA journal to serve the same research niche). 
  • Volunteer to serve on your university’s committee to evaluate faculty for promotion and tenure. Make sure the committee is using criteria that, at the very least, do not penalize faculty for publishing in peer- reviewed OA journals. At best, adjust the criteria to give faculty an incentive to provide OA to their peer-reviewed research articles and preprints, either through OA journals or OA archives. 
  • Work with your professional societies to make sure they understand OA. Persuade the organization to make its own journals OA, endorse OA for other journals in the field, and support OA eprint archiving by all scholars in the field.
  • Write opinion pieces (articles, journal editorials, newspapers op-eds, letters to the editor, discussion forum postings) advancing the cause of OA.
  • Educate the next generation of scientists and scholars about OA.

-"What Faculty Can Do to Promote Open Access" [pdf], Open Access Week


"the creation and study of new metrics based on the Social Web for analyzing, and informing scholarship."

-from "The Altmetrics Manifesto"


Looks at data from... 

Twitter                  Facebook               Mendeley               Zotero   

News outlets         Blogs         Delicious         Scopus      GitHub

Wikipedia         YouTube      PubMed        CrossRef      SlideShare

  • Traditional metrics like the h-index are slow. Peer-reviewed articles take a long time to appear, so it stands to reason that citations for a new article won't show up for months, if not years. 
  • Impact factor and citation metrics don't work as well in the humanities, especially where monographs are concerned. Think also about non-traditional works of scholarship -- digital humanities projects, code, datasets, academic blogging, published presentations -- that aren't published in journals.
  • Altmetrics are measured at the article level, not the journal level. Journal impact factor is not intended to be used for assessing researchers or individual articles. 


Free, open source tool. Sign up for an account, import work from various sources, and see your profile. Include all your scholarship (articles, blog posts, datasets, code, websites) and find out who is interacting with your work and how.


For-profit startup that offers their API to publishers, repositories, and scholars; some uses are free, others (like their Explorer product) cost money. I'd like to highlight their free Bookmarklet, which allows you to view altmetrics for any article. Note: it only works on PubMed, arXiv or pages containing a DOI. 

"You can sign up for a Google Scholar Citations profile. It's quick and free.

  1. First, sign to your Google account, or create one if you don't yet have one. We recommend that you use a personal account, not an account at your employer, so that you can keep your profile for as long as you wish.
  2. Once you've signed in to your Google account, the Citations sign up form will ask you to confirm the spelling of your name, and to enter your affiliation, interests, etc. We recommend that you also enter your university email address which would make your profile eligible for inclusion in Google Scholar search results.
  3. On the next page, you'll see groups of articles written by people with names similar to yours. Click "Add all articles" next to each article group that is yours, or "See all articles" to add specific articles from that group. If you don't see your articles in these groups, click "Search articles" to do a regular Google Scholar search, and then add your articles one at a time. Feel free to do as many searches as you like.
  4. Once you're done with adding articles, it will ask you what to do when the article data changes in Google Scholar. You can either have the updates applied to your profile automatically, or you can choose to review them beforehand. In either case, you can always go to your profile and make changes by hand.
  5. Finally, you will see your profile. This is a good time to add a few finishing touches - upload your professional looking photo, visit your university email inbox and click on the verification link, double check the list of articles, and, once you're completely satisfied, make your profile public. Voila - it's now eligible to appear in Google Scholar when someone searches for your name!"

-From Google Scholar Citations Help




Email Butler University Libraries
Irwin Library: 317-940-9227
Science Library: 317-940-9937

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