Open Access News provides an english translation of some of the main points from a german post on how german libraries are thwarting OA.

The first point is that “only a small number of library journals are OA”. This has multiple points, including whether they should be offering open access and whether or not they actively promote open access. There have also been some posts about this in regards to the ALA. Here are a couple to read:

A second point is “libraries promote toll-access bibliographical databases” which may also be the case here. Most libraries will see it their mission to provide access to resources, regardless of whether it’s open-access or restricted. The question arises of whether they should actively promote resources that are open-access. We’re doing some here but it could probably be much more. With the attempts to educate about “the scholarly crisis” there is really no excuse not to. Dchud touched on this in regards to the ILS but it is really applicable to any contract-based or non-OA offering.

Some of the other points include that eprints include licenses that aren’t applicable and that copyright is applied to OAI metadata itself. One of the ones that stands out is that libraries being members of organizations (Germany’s JSTOR according to this article) works actively against OA and in effect promotes “the scholarly crisis”. Something to think about.

I also think there is another point which wasn’t mentioned which is the support of DRM’d material. Most take on the argument that it’s a vendor interoperability problem. “If only apple supported this format” or if only everyone could support one format. That misses one of the points of DRM which is lock-in to specific platforms. Apple has their itunes/ipod, Sony had their own custom ones that never took off and Microsoft had one they tried to spread but even they are moving to a similar system as Apple with their new Zune. It just tends to hurt everyone but the platform provider. It’s possible that a standard could come about but whether anyone would rush to support it is another thing. eBooks is an area where this problem is present and libraries should be happy to see some vendors trying to do it without DRM and hopefully support and promote the efforts.