David, Iain and Ewan attended a half day conference at St. Andrews University run by SHERPA as part of their series of UK roadshows that have also called at such places as the University of Liverpool and the University of Durham.
SHERPA aims to investigate ‘issues in the future of scholarly communication’ and is currently developing open-access institutional repositories in a number of research universities to ‘facilitate the rapid and efficient worldwide dissemination of research’.
The day started for the three of us at the Powmill Milk Bar where we ate lunch while listening to David’s funny anecdotes about his numerous adventures.
Half an hour after Powmill we arrived just in time for the beginning of the conference. The first presentation was by Gareth Johnson who spoke generally about Open Access including its current and future use and the various barriers it currently experiences.
The next presentation was carried out by representatives from St. Andrews University. They spoke about their internal experiences of Open Access and the successes and opposition that they had faced and continue to face. The speakers outlined an interesting anecdote which involved one academic saying that open access repositories only existed ‘to give librarians some work to do’.
The final presentation was by Jane H. Smith who spoke about the RoMEO and Juliet services. RoMEO is a useful repository of journal publishers’ listings that is run with support form JISC and the Wellcome Trust. Juliet is a ‘complement to the RoMEO service provided by SHERPA for authors and repository administrators, which lists summaries of publishers’ copyright transfer agreements as they relate to archiving’.
The day was of most interest as it illustrated the view points on Open Access of those from a range of academic areas. The conference also almost acted as a reassurance that the barriers to Open Access are common throughout all institutions.