What is the Open Access Tracking Project (OATP)?

This post is part of the BoOkmArks: Open Conversations About OA Books series. A live session will be held via this Zoom link on October 20th at 10:00 EDT / 15:00 BST / 16:00 CEST, when we will interview Peter Suber (Director of the Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication and the the Harvard Open Access Project, and Senior Researcher at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society), Milica Ševkušić (Librarian at the Institute of Technical Sciences of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Belgrade, Serbia; Member of the Repository Development Team at the University of Belgrade Computer Centre; and EIFL Open Access Country Coordinator in Serbia) and Gary Price (librarian, writer and consultant) about the Open Access Tracking Project discussed in this post. If you have any comments or questions for Peter and Milica, please add them to the comments section below so they can be included in the conversation on October 20th — and join us at the event if you can!

This event has now taken place — you can watch the recording here.

Co-written by Peter Suber, Milica Ševkušić, Tom Mosterd and Lucy Barnes

The Open Access Tracking Project (OATP), initiated by Peter Suber in 2009, is a crowd-sourced social-tagging project that runs on open-source software. It captures news and comment on open access (OA) to research in every academic field and region of the world.

It has two missions:

  • create real-time alerts for OA-related developments, and
  • organize knowledge of the field, by tag or subtopic, for easy searching and sharing.

OATP publishes a large primary feed of new OA developments, and hundreds of smaller secondary feeds.

As a crowd-sourced initiative, the OATP depends on the ‘many eyeballs’ principle. OATP aims to cover developments in Open Access comprehensively, and can best do that with ‘taggers’ in every OA niche.

The OATP includes a tag for Open Access books: ‘’oa.books’’ and if you look on the right-hand-side of our blog, you’ll notice an RSS feed from the OATP with all the latest new developments that have been tagged with “oa.books”.

OABN members are encouraged to take part in the tagging of Open Access books items on the web: we can help to make this useful resource as comprehensive as possible.

In case you need more convincing, here are a few words from Milica Ševkušić, an active OATP tagger:

I had been aware of OATP for some time before deciding to get involved as a tagger. It was Nancy Pontika’s presentation at the 2019 Open Science Fair (https://bit.ly/2SDRx7o) that truly introduced me to the project and I was triggered to join upon realizing that my non-English speaking background might contribute to the diversity of the project. I am a librarian involved in a number of Open Science projects and initiatives. I am also a great fan of all sorts of e-mail alerts and there is always something worth sharing in my inbox. Tagging for OATP is a natural extension of what I am already doing, but in a more structured way. At the same time, the OATP database is an abundant and easily searchable resource for research. I often use it to find a particular piece of information, get an insight into a topic, track the chronology of events, or locate precisely something that I only vaguely remember.

Why tag for OATP?

When you tag for OATP, you push useful information to thousands of feed subscribers and store the records in the OATP database for deduping, export, preservation, updating, and search.

This helps the OA community in several concrete ways:

If the volume of OA-related news were small, OATP wouldn’t need to recruit new taggers. But the volume is large and growing. In the last phase of grant-funded OATP tagging (Spring 2018), the primary OATP feed contained 20-50 items per day. And even then its coverage had gaps worth filling. OATP wants active taggers in every scholarly niche to maintain and improve its coverage.

Through the OATP, the OA community can stay on top of global news and developments for more specific aspects of OA that might interest them — such as OA Books. This creates more specific and targeted news feeds.

Who can tag?

The OATP welcomes all kinds of taggers, including:

  • Generalists and Specialists
  • Gatherers and Searchers
  • News Hounds and Historians
  • Regulars and Irregulars
  • Recommenders

How to Get Started 

To begin tagging, please have a look at the easy-to-follow instructions provided by the OATP on their website: https://cyber.harvard.edu/hoap/Get_started_as_a_tagger

The following pages might also help to get you started:

Happy tagging!

If you have any questions for Peter, Milica and Gary, please add them to the comments section below so they can be included in the conversation on October 20th at 10:00 EDT / 15:00 BST / 16:00 CEST. Join the conversation then via this Zoom link. All welcome!

This event has now taken place — you can watch the recording here.

 

CC BY 4.0 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.