In the December SPARC Open Access Newsletter, Peter Suber provides an evaluation of the results of the November elections from the point of view of Open Access (sometimes defined as free public access to federally funded research), and provides his predictions for Open Access in 2007.
Suber notes that Open Access advocate Lieberman won and Open Access opponents Santorum and DeWine lost, yielding 3 critical victories for Open Access policies. (On another political note, net neutrality advocate Ed Markey will chair the House Telecom and Internet Subcommittee.)
Perhaps because of these victories, Suber is optimistic about Open Access for 2007:
* The spread of OA archiving policies by funding agencies and universities is an unstoppable trend. As in 2006, we’ll see more mandates than requests, and we’ll see more policies from funders than universities.
* The spread of institutional repositories is equally unstoppable. The number of universities launching them is growing fast and the conviction that they are an obvious, even tardy development is growing faster. More and more universities will launch them in a spirit of catch-up, rather than as break-out break-throughs. They will soon be a new fact of life for universities, like libraries or web sites, and the discussion will shift from their utility to the best practices for filling them.
What do these trends mean for academic libraries? It’s not yet clear, which is to say, I have no idea. But it seems huge. Greater minds will discuss the developments at a SPARC and ACRL sponsored forum at the ALA Midwinter Conference.