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The privileged link: Open Access, version of record, or let the user decide?
Research Collection Library
  • Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Aaron Tay, Singapore Management University
  • Maria Aghazarian, Swarthmore College
  • Johan Tilstra, Lean Library
Publication Type
Publication Date

As the availability of open access (OA) copies continues to grow, platforms and libraries are increasingly facing the possibility of linking users to version of record copies as well as to OA but non-version of record copies of the same article. Some advocate prioritizing linking to OA copies while others argue that the version of record should be prioritized. In many cases, this is a question of whether to link to a copy that the library has licensed over the copies that are freely available; however, the same conundrum can occur with respect to publisher-hosted OA content vs. copies available in institutional repositories and on preprint servers.

Alternatively, some recommend that a library present all possible options and allow the user to decide which version they prefer, which creates a number of user experience and education challenges. In yet other cases, the library will not have the choice as the platforms themselves (e.g., DSDimensions and Web of Science) link to OA copies within the native interface and subscribed content requires an institutional license that then uses the library’s link resolver. While librarians and publishers are relatively conversant in the types of OA and the manuscript-to-article publication process, many users will be unaware of the potential differences among versions and be confused or frustrated by increasing complexity in access choices.

This issue-oriented session will explore the implications of these choices and how they might align with different strategic priorities for libraries and platforms. Questions include: What principles can be helpful as a library explores these decisions? How can a library engage its user community in these decisions? What are the impacts on other library services (e.g., instruction and interlibrary loan) of the different approaches? If desired, how can a library integrate OA and version of record linking in the same discovery/access system? What staff training and user education programs do the different approaches demand? Should the way articles are cited be changed to privilege OA copies? If OA is easily linked or if users choose OA copies over the version of record, could libraries cancel subscriptions and reallocate funds? Do users really need the version of record?

  • open access,
  • discovery
CNI Spring 2018 Membership Meeting
City or Country
San Diego, United Statges of America
Creative Commons License
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0
Citation Information
Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe, Aaron Tay, Maria Aghazarian and Johan Tilstra. "The privileged link: Open Access, version of record, or let the user decide?" (2018)
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