How to find open access publications for a ‘living book’

Living Books About Life

Book series published by Open Humanities Press
Series editors: Clare Birchall, Gary Hall, Joanna Zylinska

Finding open access publications for your ‘living book’[i]

As an editor of a ‘living book about life’, you will need to find 10 or more scientific or science-related articles on your chosen topic. The actual process of choosing the texts shouldn’t take too long as the LiviBL project is about (re)using texts that already exist and are freely available online. It’s just a matter of browsing through some of the open access repositories we’ve provided links to below, focusing on those that are particularly relevant to your field and topic, and selecting the texts you want to include in your living book. You should also feel free to draw on some other articles, excerpts, images, podcasts, video clips, etc. you find yourself or are already familiar with – as long as they are available under appropriate Creative Commons licences or are copyright-free, or as long as you can get permission from the copyright-owner (which may often amount to you just asking a friend).

Open Access Directories (i.e., three meta-lists of various worldwide repositories):

  • OpenDOAR (Directory of Open Access Repositories) – Authoritative directory of academic open access repositories. Includes a tool to search the repositories’ contents.
  • Directory of Open Access Journals – Categorized, searchable links to free, full text, quality controlled scientific and scholarly journals. There are more than 5000 journals in the directory.
  • ROARMAP (Registry of Open Access Repository Material Archiving Policies) – Directory of the open access mandates of institutions worldwide, with links to their open access repositories.

Selected Open Access Repositories (i.e., links to individual archives that may be of interest to our project):

  • – Open access repository comprising of e-prints in physics and its related disciplines, such as mathematics, non-linear sciences, and computer science.
  • BioMed Central publishes over 200 peer-reviewed open access journals.
  • Cogprints – Repository of self-archived works predominantly in the areas of the cognitive sciences, including psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, computer science, philosophy, biology, medicine, and anthropology.
  • E-LIS – International open access archive for preprints, postprints and other documents in the field of library and information science.
  • JISC content – UK-based digital collections and archives provided in association with publishers including The British Library, The National Archives, British Film Institute, The History Data Service, Royal Society of Chemistry, Thomson Reuters, Oxford University Press and many other leading research institutes, museums and universities.
  • NDLTD – Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations. This is a collaborative project between universities worldwide, which disseminates and preserves electronic theses and dissertations.
  • HAL (Hyper Article on Line) is designed for authors to deposit their research, and thereby offer publicly available scholarly documents from all academic fields. The repository is run through CNRS (Centre national de la recherche scientifique) in France. Registration is required to contribute.
  • PubMed Central – provides free access to a stable and permanent online digital archive of full-text, peer-reviewed, health and life sciences research publications.
  • PubMed Central Canada provides free access to a stable and permanent online digital archive of full-text, peer-reviewed, health and life sciences research publications. It builds on PubMed Central in the U.S. through the submission of Canadian-funded research.
  • Social Science Research Network (SSRN) – Repository of current social science research. “Encourages the early distribution of research results by reviewing and distributing submitted abstracts and by soliciting abstracts of top quality research papers around the world.”
  • The Public Library of Science (PLoS) is a nonprofit open-access scientific publishing project aimed at creating a library of open access journals and other scientific literature under an open content license.
  • WikiVet – Veterinary Education Online: a collaborative initiative between the UK Vetschools to develop a comprehensive on-line veterinary knowledge database authenticated by expert reviewers

[i] Information assembled by with the help of McGill University Library Services’ website

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