Tomorrow (May 1, 2010) Google will turn off FTP updating for Blogger. The old FTP-based Blogger blogs can migrate to a new Google-hosted site where FTP won’t be necessary. If a blog migrates, then all the posts in its archive will receive new URLs, all links to the old URLs will be redirected, all posts will carry their old page-rank to their new addresses, and Google will start indexing the new versions of the posts and stop indexing the old. If a blog doesn’t migrate, it will die. Its archive may remain online, but it cannot be updated with new posts.
My days of heavy blogging at Open Access News are behind me. In July 2009, I curtailed my blogging to make room for my new work at the Berkman Center, and in January 2010 I cut back even further –essentially to zero– in favor of the Open Access Tracking Project, a more comprehensive and scalable alert service for the now very large and very fast-growing OA movement. OATP was not designed to do what OAN once did. But for several years now, the high volume of daily OA news has made it impossible to keep doing what OAN once did, even with an assistant.
Despite that, my plan was to keep Open Access News alive and contribute sporadically. But now Google has forced my hand.
I’ve decided not to migrate OAN. At first I worried about the risks to the large OAN archive: more than 18,000 posts in more than 400 files. I use the archive every day in my own research and I know that many of you use it too. It’s still the best source for news and links about any OA development in the last eight years, and I didn’t want to take the chance that even part of it might not survive the migration or might disappear behind broken links. Blogger has been very good about answering my anxious queries and I’m persuaded that the risks are low. But the fact remains that migration is irreversible.
(I especially want to thank Blogger’s Rick Klau. He always had time for my questions even though the migration must have caused a huge spike in his workload.)
In the end, a more decisive factor was that I’ve essentially stopped blogging at OAN and don’t have plans to resume. The safest way to keep the archive intact for research is also the most realistic about my future: freeze this blog as it is and start a new one later if I feel the need to do so.
If I do start a new blog later, it won’t be a daily news blog about new OA developments. I’ve been there, and the future for that task is the crowdsourced approach of OATP. But if a new blog wouldn’t carry on the job of OAN, then it needn’t be OAN. It would be nice to have the old page-rank of OAN, but if I do start a new blog –by no means certain– I’ll start from scratch like everyone else.
I’ll still be able to update the OAN About page. If I have any blog-related announcements too late to blog, look for them there.
I’ve often thanked the Open Society Institute, SPARC, and the Wellcome Trust for the financial support that made OAN possible. But I’ll never be able to thank them adequately. OAN was more than a mere job and more than a full-time job. Without their support I would have watched from the sidelines.