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Open Access

Supporters' Voices

The Open Access movement is gaining ever more momentum around the world as research funders and policy makers put their weight behind it. See  one-page handout below.

Benefits of Open Access

"Open access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. It makes research easier to find, retrieve, copy, share, reuse, search, crawl, mine, and preserve. This benefits everyone, inside and outside the academic world, such as researchers, teachers, students, librarians, doctors, patients, journalists, non-profits, businesses, policy-makers, voters, and curious minds. It enhances discovery, widens scrutiny and discussion, and maximizes the return on our investment in research." --Harvard Open Access Project

OA improves the public good. It provides broad access to the results of research. "Research advances only through sharing of results, and the value of an investment in research is only maximized through wide use of its results.Yet, too often, research results are not available to the broadest community of potential users. The Internet provides a new opportunity to bring information to a wider audience at virtually no marginal cost, and allow them to use it in new, innovative ways." --SPARC

OA carries a moral imperative: providing access to the work of faculty.  Share this knowledge and rest the world. Not everyone has access to these scholarly journals. Support the public good!

Get the work out in a more rapid fashion and reach a broader audience with your research. This can provide a competitive advantage through greater citation of you work.

Create a system to share knowledge.

Leverage collective intelligence.

Criticism of open access

"Payment for publication could create conflicts of interest and have a negative impact on the perceived neutrality of peer review, as there would be a financial incentive for journals to publish more articles. The importance of the role of peer review does not diminish under an Open Access model, and structures need to be in place to ensure that peer reviewers are not unduly influenced by the needs of their publishers.

In some ways though this argument can apply as much to the current subscription-based system as publishers often justify price increases on the grounds of an increase in the number of journal articles published. This suggests that there are financial advantages for both Open Access and subscription-based publishers in publishing more articles." --Nature  

"Many critics are dubious of Open Access because they do not believe that the model is economically sustainable, and that, if relied upon, could damage the market as publishing businesses and learned societies experience difficulties due to reduced revenues." -- Nature

OA and Academic Freedom

If you object that open access policy will limit your freedom to submit new work to the journals of their choice, then they are mistaking a green policy (as recommended by librarians) for a gold policy. Don't mistake a deposit in OA repositories for submission to OA journals. There's a difference between requiring deposit in a certain kind of repository and requiring submission to a certain kind of journal. The policy is limited to the former and does not extend to the latter.

If you object to an open access policy because some journals will not allow OA on the university's terms, and that faculty will effectively be barred from publishing in those journals, remember that there will be a waiver option. Faculty may submit their work to such a journal; if it is accepted, faculty may publish in that journal simply by obtaining a waiver, which the university will always grant, no questions asked. 

If you think OA will diminish your rights or control over your work, then consider the rights-retention aspect of the policy, the feature of the policy allowing the university to transfer rights back to the author, the terms of standard publishing contracts, or all three. Authors sign away most of their rights under standard publishing contracts. In fact, increasing author rights and control is the primary rationale of a rights-retention OA policy. You will have far more rights and control over your work under this policy than under a standard publishing agreement.

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