Open Access – Just When We Need It

I’m sure many of us are in the same dismal place – trying to find ways to cope with flat or reduced budgets when costs of journals and electronic resources stubbornly rise year after year. The one bright spot that cheers me up is the steady march of open access initiatives. Boston University faculty voted to support the idea not long ago. More faculties at Harvard have joined forces with their groundbreaking Arts & Sciences faculty. Now MITunanimously. Immediately. Wow!

So what is our role in all this? Clearly, we’re part of the infrastructure for making the case and providing the place for these materials to be made public. But – how often have you heard about an intriguing paper, published by an academic librarian in a journal that allows self-archiving (such as ACRL publications, portal, and Journal of Academic Librarianship) and been unable to find a copy online? How often have you wondered why librarians sign contracts with publishers who assume all rights and don’t allow for self-archiving? Why can’t we walk the walk?

That’s why I was so cheered to see at Infofetishist that Oregon State University librarians have adopted OA for themselves. Peter Suber thinks this is a good idea. It’s an important symbol to the rest of the academic community. It says to the world, we can do this.

What about you? Would you support an open access mandate in your library?

Author: Barbara Fister

I'm an academic librarian at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota. Like all librarians at our small, liberal arts institution I am involved in reference, collection development, and shared management of the library. My area of specialization is instruction, with research interests also in media literacy, popular literacy, publishing, and assessment.

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