Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Australian Open Access Support Group

The Australian Open Access Support Group (AOASG) has  announced its new web site. AOASG is an open access to research advocacy group set up by six Australian universities (ANU, Charles Sturt, Macquarie, Newcastle, QUT, and Victoria). AOASG point to the Australian research already freely available on-line, including Australian research in Trove, provided by the National Library of Australia ( get a few entries in the system).

The launch of the new AOASG website was not without a few problems. The emailed media release I received actually took me to a Microsoft Outlook login screen at This was after my system warned me it might be a scam. I assume AOASG are using some system to track how successful the announcement was. This can be counterproductive, if it results in the message looking like a scam  or the links not working at all. Also ending up at the Microsoft site is not a good look for an "open access" independent organization, as it makes it look like a front for Microsoft.

I manually entered the web address and that worked okay. Here are the results of the usual checks I run on new websites:
  1. W3C Markup Validation Service: 5 Errors, 2 warning(s) Not unusual and easily corrected.
  2. W3C mobileOK Checker: 68% which is a good score (many websites score zero): 0 critical, 1 severe, 1 medium, 5 low failures.
  3. AChecker: Accessibility Review (Guidelines: WCAG 2.0 (Level AA))" two "Known Problems", much less than the usual number and easily fixed.
The major question the home page doesn't answer is: Who is in the AOASG and what do they provide which I can use? I suggest AOASG need to put the list of organizations which is on the membership page also on the front page, preferably with the logos of these organizations. AOASG also need something on the front page which is of use to the average academic, if not member of the general public, such as a search box where they can find open access content from the AOASG members and a toolkit for implementing open access in their organization.

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