Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Free Open Access Journals

The library provides a pretty good collection of scholarly Databases  listed on our library's web page? Most of those databases are quite expensive and they provide a searchable interface for journal articles that would otherwise not be free to access online. In buying databases, the library pays for the interface and indexing that makes searching for articles possible and it pays for the rising costs of scholarly journals. So essentially databases provide tags for scholarly journal articles so that you can find them for your research. The databases also provide the full text for a lot of these articles so that you can just download them, print them or just read them online. Still, I know that many of you mostly use free content on the web. Some use Wikipedia but others may just use free newspapers, magazines or even a valuable tools like Google Scholar. I also understand that the lines are being greyed. What is and what is not a useful, acceptable source is no longer a black and white issue. Part of the service that the library provides is access to a lot of good academic databases even if they are expensive. We also try to  be able to help students and faculty get what they need. That is why we pay for the databases but things are changing. Many peer reviewed journal articles are now published online, full text for free. In addition, publishers are making scholarly content more and more expensive. So as librarians we are not concerned with protecting all of the scholarly information under lock & key and paying more for it but rather it is our job just to help you the user get the best information for their research.  The Directory of Open Access Journals is designed to help you find this content. Here is a story from The Chronicle of Higher Education that describes how you can use DOAJ. It helps you search free content that we don't have to pay for.  At this point we still need the other databases but this resources is free to everyone and contains a lot of great, reliable scholarly information.

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