Universities Stepping Up to Increase Access to Research

From The Scientist (registration required), we have a few examples of universities trying to increase the accessibility of their research.  There are many positions between a traditional subscription based journal and the open access models like PLoS Science, and they all have a place.  Brief outlines of some of the alternatives after the jump.

In January the University of California Libraries arranged with the publisher Springer to allow for any article written by a University of California-affiliated author published in a Springer journal to be available immediately to all, even if other articles in that journal are behind a subscription wall.  Under this arrangement, UC authors retain copyright and Springer is compensated.  It is unclear how articles co-written with non-UC affiliated authors are handled.

Harvard’s arts and science faculty have established an open access archive for publications by its faculty.  The library manages the archive and faculty can opt-out of archiving work through a waiver process.  Boston University, Griffith University (Australia) and Nottingham University (UK) have established similar systems.

Also worth noting is that the costs of some pre-pay open access journals have proven as budget straining as increasing journal subscription fees.

I don’t pretend to have any clear answers here.  I do think maintaining, if not increasing, the availability of scholarship is an important thing for science and for the public.  It seems that maintaining a multitude of options would help acheive that goal.

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3 thoughts on “Universities Stepping Up to Increase Access to Research

  1. That is a first step. One of the most frustrating experiences as a private person is that you cannot acces all the articles published on climate subjects. So Democratization of Knowledge in the sense of acces to all the current knowledge and research articles is of utmost importance! So that one can judge on the basis of facts what our politicians are proposing to do.
    RJK

  2. This week MIT announced (http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2009/open-access-0320.html) that they are making everything for free through their own website. I don’t know enough to compare the details, but at the surface this appears to be more complete and open than others have done so far.

    I’d like to agree with RJK above (#1) and build on it. My frustration is compounded by the fact that often the research which we can’t access was funded, in large part, by US taxpayers through grants from NIH, NSF, etc, etc. The rules should be that if X% or more is funded by the public, then the public has joint ownership of the results, including copyrights and patents.

  3. Pingback: Open Access in the Great White North « Pasco Phronesis

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