Many thanks to Peter Suber for answering my questions!
OATP = Open Access Tagging Project
How you are finding Open Access (OA) OA news?
I’ve done it in different ways over the years. At first I used a tool called WebSite Watcher. When you use WSW to follow a web page, it alerts you whenever the page changes. I followed the front pages, the news and announcement pages, and the FAQs, of all the OA-related organizations I knew. I also flagged the blogs of people who frequently wrote about OA, and the table-of-contents pages of journals that frequently published about OA. Altogether, I flagged more than 3,000 pages. WSW is very fast in delivering its updates, and if you flag enough pages, it’s very comprehensive. But at the same time it returns many false positives, in my case, changes unrelated to OA.
I later shifted to a large set of Google Alerts and TalkWalker Alerts. Each alert was based on a hand-crafted boolean search for some OA subtopic I wanted to cover. Google Alerts tends to err on the low or scanty side, and TalkWalker Alerts tend to err on the high or plentiful side.
I’ve always used my inbox, and subscribed to a large number of OA-related discussion forums and newsletters. I also sign up for RSS feeds from journals that frequently publish articles about OA.
Today I depend mostly on my inbox and Twitter. On Twitter, I follow nearly all the OA-related organizations that have Twitter accounts, omitting some that don’t tweet in English. I want the non-English news, for myself and for OATP, but I generally rely on other OATP taggers to get it. Twitter can be very good at gathering together alerts to new work. This is true not just for OA but for other topics I follow, such as US politics.
How much content of the OATP is from you?
I used to distinguish OATP “discovery” from OATP “tagging”. Discovery is to find something worth tagging, and tagging is to tag it. When I had grant support for OATP, I used some of the grant money for staffers, who did about half the discovery and most of the tagging. When I discovered taggable OA news, I usually passed it on to the staffers for actual tagging.
But I let the grants expire in late 2018, and since then OATP has been in an all-volunteer phase. Because I no longer have staffers to tag what I discover, I tend to tag what I discover myself, at least when I have time.
OATP isn’t my main job by a long shot. But my main job requires me to stay on top of what’s happening in the world of OA, which is fortuitous for OATP. My approach is to read all that I can, for my job, and then share what I read or learn by tagging it for OATP. The reading is the primary work, and by comparison the tagging is a small extra task.
I don’t have time to read everything, of course, not even everything that crosses my desk. My advice to other OATP taggers is to tag what you notice *and* think is worth sharing, and I try to follow that advice myself.
Some taggers systematically search for new developments in areas that matter to them, such as OA in their country, OA in their field, or OA on a certain subtopic such as OA policies, OA journals, OA repositories, OA books, open data, OER, or copyright. Others simply tag what they encounter, without taking special pains to encounter more than they already do. I welcome both kinds. As they join the project, in enough fields and countries, bringing their different interests and perspectives with them, OATP becomes more and more inclusive.
How has the OA news landscape changed?
In my view, OATP is still the most comprehensive source of OA-related news, and has been since it launched in 2009. Some people even complain that it’s too comprehensive. However, there are ways to make your OATP feeds more selective.
The OA news landscape has changed in part because OATP has become better known. Just last month, the OATP Twitter account (@oatp) got more followers than my personal account, which I regard as good news for the project and for the spread of OA news.
Do you use Twittertags to find OA news?
No, not unless I’m running a special search. For staying up to date, I just use the accounts I’ve chosen to follow. But when I tweet about OA, I try to use the tag #openaccess to help those who follow it.
Is there a public mirror of your G+ blog?
Yes, but I was hoping to tidy it up a little before pointing to it in public. In my page on the history of OA, I give details on the preservation and searchability of my past blogs. The best preservation copy of my Google+ blog is the one at Conifer. Unfortunately, it’s only about 85% complete, and the landing page says, “This collection has no public lists.” That sentence is not correct and not under my control. I’ve asked the company to remove it or let deep-link to the actual collection. Meantime, go to the Conifer link above and click on the “Browse All” tab.