"How long is a service giving information about Copyright Transfer Agreements (CTA) necessary?" asked Fred Frienda – and gave a winking answer: "As long as there is not 100% open access or as long as not all scientific journals are owned by one of the big international publishers."
There are two primary vehicles for delivering open access (OA) for research articles, OA journals and author self-archiving in OA repositories. Authors need no permission for preprint archiving. When they have finished writing the preprint, they still hold copyright. If a journal refuses to consider articles that have circulated as preprints, that is an optional journal submission policy, not a requirement of copyright law. If authors transfer copyright in the postprint to a journal, then they need the copyright holder's permission to deposit it in an OA archive .
It is essential for the strategy of self-archiving to give scientific authors comprehensive information on publisher copyright policies. Therefore the RoMEO Project (Rights MEtadata for Open archiving)  was funded by the UK Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) for one year (August 2002 – July 2003) to investigate the rights issues surrounding the 'self-archiving' of research in the UK academic community. The resulting service is now maintained by SHERPA, with support from JISC and the Wellcome Trust. Journal information is provided by the British Library's Zetoc service hosted by MIMAS. It mainly contains information on publishers' policies from the Science, Technology and Medicine (STM) communities in the Anglophone world. Information is given in English only. Policy information is aligned with journal titles at the publisher level, which means that it is not possible to display varied policies at the Journal level.
Therefore DINI, the German Initiative for Networked Information, conducted a short project (OA policies phase I: July 2006 – January 2007) funded by the DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) to develop a German interface to the SHERPA/RoMEO service and to provide additional information on German publishers' open access policies . It examined the stances of publishers in Germany as expressed in the Copyright Transfer Agreements (CTAs) of the journals towards self-archiving, and the practice of depositing digital copies of authors' works in an OAI-compliant open access repository. National language publishers in Germany are mainly active in the arts, humanities and social sciences. The interface developed in phase I of the project draws its data exclusively from the SHERPA/RoMEO service as a central and international source of journal policy information. The underlying assumption is that in parallel to the development of a translation interface, the ROMEO service can be enhanced to support online distributed inclusion of local or national journal policy data from "editorial teams" like DINI in Germany.
In the course of phase I it became obvious that, due to a lack of resources at that time, SHERPA/RoMEO could not extend the functionality of its service in order to support multiple languages or to provide online access to insert or edit national journal information. Only two options seemed possible to enhance the SHERPA/RoMEO service with additional data. One was to build an enhanced database harvesting from RoMEO (an approach followed by the Australian OAK law project discussed as related work in the following section) and the other was to build an integration layer akin to a meta search engine that could collect and process data from different sources in order to present the information in a uniform way. This approach was taken up in phase II of the DINI-DFG OA policies project (April 2007 – October 2007). However DINI strongly supports the further development of the SHERPA/RoMEO service in order to ensure that it continues to be the most prominent and encompassing source of information in the field.
The OAK List [4
] was formally launched on February 8th 2008. It was developed and is maintained by the Law Faculty at Queensland University of Technology Brisbaine (QUT). Key features of the OAK List are:
Information about Australian publishers and journals that are not listed in the SHERPA/RoMEO service
Information dynamically imported from the SHERPA/RoMEO service (the SHERPA data is refreshed each night to ensure that it is always up to date)
Inclusion of all journals listed on DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals)
Provision of an API with XML output similar to the SHERPA/RoMEO service
The OAK List is a stand-alone enhanced database service which contains all relevant information on publishers' open access policies for Australia. It does however not provide any multilingual features. It also does not provide any mechanism to integrate local information into the SHERPA/RoMEO service. It can be a valuable source of data seen from the DINI perspective as long as the additional information has not been integrated into SHERPA/RoMEO.