Faculty approve open access to research

By Siobhan Murray

Contributing Writer

University faculty recently adopted a new open access policy that allows articles, research results and other intellectual scholarship produced by University faculty to be accessed freely on the Internet. Faculty voted overwhelmingly in favor of the measure on Oct. 4.

“This vote was significant not only for faculty in making their scholarship available to the world, but it also signified how our faculty see what happens at Bucknell in a global context,” said Param Bedi, vice president for Library and Information Technology.

The open access policy provides the University with a nonexclusive, paid-up, worldwide license for any scholarly articles and makes them available in an online database.

“Open access is compatible with copyright, peer review, revenue (even profit), print, preservation, prestige, quality, career-advancement, indexing and other features and supportive services associated with conventional scholarly literature,”  Harvard University fellow Peter Suber said in his overview of open access.

A 2010 study by Library and Information Technology found that almost one-fifth of articles published by faculty were not available to their own students and colleagues.

“The goal of open access is to remove pricing barriers and permission barriers in order to disseminate scholarship as widely as possible,” said Andrew Asher, the University’s fellow for the Council on Library and Information Resources in his open access blog.

Many supported the decision for open access because it is ethical for the scholarly community. It will enable equal access to materials for all, giving scholars with less resources more of an equal footing. Many felt that because research is publicly funded, it should be available to the public without subscription fees or other barriers.

The University is only one of many universities moving toward this change. Institutions like Duke, Harvard, University of Kansas and Oberlin have recently made the transition to open access, but the University is one of “only a handful of other liberal arts schools who have done this,” Bedi said. It will help faculty research to “be distributed more widely and cited more often than their non-open-access counterparts,” he said. 

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