Open access in Lithuania

Impact and achievements of EIFL’s Open Access project in Lithuania

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EIFL has supported national and institutional open access (OA) awareness raising and advocacy campaigns that have resulted in the launch of an OA publishing platform for all Lithuanian journals, the creation of OA repositories, and adoption of OA policies that are improving the visibility of research from the country

BACKGROUND

In 2003 Kaunas University of Technology, together with 13 Lithuanian state universities and Riga Technical University, began developing the Lithuanian thesis and dissertation (ETD) database. In 2004, the development regulations were approved by the Ministry of Education and Science.

Now the Lithuanian ETD Information System is a part of the national repository of the Lithuanian Academic e-Library (eLABa).

Since 2005, librarians have been actively promoting OA in the country by organizing national events.

The Electronic Academic Library of Lithuania (eLABa), launched in 2006, is the national OA repository of the Ministry of Education and Science and all academic institutions.

Since 2010 eLABa has been maintained and developed by the Consortium of the Lithuanian Academic Libraries for the Maintenance and Development of an Information Infrastructure for Scientific and Studies.

On 30 April 2009, the Law on Higher Education and Research included a clause stipulating that the results of all research work carried out in state higher education and research institutions must be communicated to the public.

This was a big step forward, however, there was no coherent OA policy in the country.

In 2011, a survey of the Association of Lithuanian Serials showed that the majority of Lithuanian research journals were uploaded to websites; however, there was still low visibility of Lithuanian research and there was no solution for interoperability with other online systems.

Young researchers in Lithuania have not been very aware of OA, and we wanted to introduce OA concepts to them, and encourage them to become active OA advocates.

EIFL-funded projects helped to raise awareness of policy makers and research administrators, researchers and students, journal editors and publishers of benefits of OA and the need for coherent OA mandates.

OVERVIEW

We would like to highlight three EIFL-funded projects:

  • ‘Promoting OA in Lithuania’, implemented by the Lithuanian Research Library Consortium (the case study is available here);
  • ‘Promoting OA through implementation of the Open Journal Systems (OJS) – a FOSS journal management and publishing system, developed by the Public Knowledge Project – in Lithuanian research journals’, implemented by the Association of Lithuanian Serials and the Lithuanian Research Library Consortium (the case study is available here); and
  • ‘Promoting OA to young researchers’ implemented by The Lithuanian Society of Young Researchers, the Lithuanian Research Library Consortium, and the Association of Lithuanian Serials (the case study is available here).

The main objectives of the projects were -

  • To demonstrate the benefits of OA to all stakeholders;
  • To publish OA journals and launch OA repositories;
  • To adopt OA policies in institutions;
  • To embed OA in research workflows in the country.

MAIN ACTIVITIES

  • Hosting meetings, seminars, workshops and conferences for all the stakeholders;
  • A survey of administrators of research and educational institutions to collect their opinions about introducing OA policies and practices in their institutions;
  • A survey of current OA policies and practices among the publishers of Lithuanian research journals (editorial boards, publishing houses, research managers and reviewers);
  • Interviewing prominent scientists, publishers, policy makers, administrators of research and educational institutions on OA benefits, policies and practices, and creating  videos of the interviews;
  • Creating templates for Lithuanian journals that would like to start using OJS in English and Lithuanian;
  • Sharing experiences and best practices in OA publishing;
  • Developing recommendations for journal editors and publishers on how to implement OJS in Lithuanian academic institutions.

TIMELINE

2011 - 2012

ACHIEVEMENTS

  • The Lithuanian research community and policy-makers became better informed about OA benefits and new possibilities for sharing and disseminating research, and about the impact of OA on scholarly communication.
  • Three videos were produced from interviews with well-known policy-makers, researchers, librarians and publishers discussing OA. The videos have been used to promote OA among the top research managers and researchers, and have been downloaded over 3,000 times.
  • Introduced  free and open source publishing software Open Journal Systems (OJS) to Lithuanian publishers. For example, Kaunas University of Technology, that owns 11 journals, had just one OJS installation before the project started; during the project period, all eleven journals started using OJS. The OJS system made it considerably easier for journal editors to manage manuscript submissions, reviewing and publishing - for example, after the OJS installation, the journal ‘Sveikatos mokslai’ (in English, Health Sciences) increased its frequency of publication from four to six issues a year.
  • Improved online visibility and accessibility of Lithuanian research journals. Thirty-five journals moved to the OJS publishing platform at research institutions. All 35 journals have  been registered in the Directory of Open Access Journals. Digital Object Identifier (DOI) and Cited By (by crossref.org) have been added to the OJS installations in the Lithuanian and English languages, as well as plagiarism detection tools (CrossCheck) (by crossref.org and iThenticate).
  • Lithuanian Academic Libraries Consortium formed a new partnership with the Lithuanian Society of Young Researchers. The partnership is committed to OA and plans to continue training on OA for young researchers.  
  • Partnership among all national stakeholders in R&D. The Research Council of Lithuania and the Ministry of Education and Science were engaged and actively supported the OA discussions.
  • A national OA Working Group was created to implement the recommendations that resulted from three EIFL-funded projects on OA for funding agencies and research institutions. This Working Group  includes representatives of the Research Council of Lithuania, the Lithuanian Science Academy, the Lithuanian Research Library Consortium, the Lithuanian Society of Young Researchers, the Research and Higher Education Monitoring and Analysis centre (MOSTA), Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology (MITA), and the universities.
  • More OA policies were adopted in Lithuania. The following institutions now have OA policies/mandates: Lithuanian University of Health SciencesMykolas Romeris UniversityResearch Council of Lithuania, Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania (the Parliament), Vytautas Magnus University and Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences.
  • Over 530 stakeholders were trained; video recordings of most of the presentations are available online for anyone to view.
  • Websites of institutions across Lithuania were updated with comprehensive, up-to-date information about OA and its benefits.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Read an article about Open Access in Lithuania, by Gintare Tautkevičienė, Rūta Petrauskaitė and Brigita Serafinavičiūtė (ScieCom info, Vol 10, No 2 (2014) here.

PROGRESS

EIFL continues to support OA  work in Lithuanian through three European Commission projects. These are -

  • FOSTER (Facilitate Open Science Training for European Research). This project aims to support different stakeholders, especially young researchers, in practising OA, open data sharing and open science. EIFL leads the training programme. Read more about EIFL’s involvement in FOSTER here and about Promoting Open Science among Young Researchers: Challenges and Opportunities (Four workshops) implemented by Kaunas University of Technology here.
  • OpenAIRE (Open Access Infrastructure for Research in Europe), which implements the Horizon 2020 OA mandate for publications and its Open Research Data Pilot. OpenAIRE also assists in monitoring Horizon 2020 research outputs and is a key infrastructure for reporting Horizon 2020's scholarly publications. EIFL and  Kaunas University of Technology are among 50 partners collaborating on this large-scale initiative that aims to promote open scholarship and improve the discoverability and reusability of research publications and data. Read more about EIFL’s involvement in this project here.
  • The PASTEUR4OA (Open Access Policy Alignment Strategies for European Union Research) project, which addresses policymakers and encourages policy alignment across Europe to ensure that all publicly-funded research is OA. EIFL and LMT – Research Council of Lithuania are the project partners. See more information about EIFL's involvement in the project here.