March 26, 2010

Academic Council at Duke unanimously adopts Open Access policy

From Kevin Smith's March 19 entry on the Scholarly Communications @ Duke blog:

Yesterday the Academic Council at Duke University unanimously adopted an Open Access policy for scholarly articles written by the Duke faculty.


[W]e were all surprised to find that the idea of open access itself was fairly uncontroversial. Most of the difficult challenges we faced had to do with the process that will be implemented for faculty to make their works available in a repository, not the concept of openness. Now we are faced with developing procedures and systems that will be easy and intuitive for faculty, which may be the greatest challenge yet. Our faculty have told us, in essence, that if we build it they will come, as long as we build it well.


There were, of course, questions about the impact of OA on journals, and the presence on the task force of a representative of the Duke University Press and others with ties to traditional publishing was a great help. But it is also true that we heard a lot of complaints directed against the traditional models of scholarly communication from the faculty.

One thing that librarians often believe is that faculty will only be motivated for open access by their own self-interest -- impact, citation and the like. But yesterday [English professor] Cathy Davidson made an eloquent plea for greater access for people around the world who are blocked by high subscriptions costs and other "toll-access" policies. All round the room, heads were nodding as she spoke. I was reminded that most faculty members genuinely do care about the overall welfare of scholarship and learning.

The March 12 article from Duke's daily newspaper, Duke Today, explains the policy development in more detail. A key excerpt:

In situations where an author or publisher objects to Duke providing open access to an article, the faculty member could opt out of having the article appear publicly in the repository, though Duke may still keep a "dark" copy for archival purposes. Where publishers require (or the author requests) an embargo period before open access, the Duke repository would respect that.

The bottom line is that the policy should not interfere with the publication or peer-review process. "Faculty members will of course continue to be able to publish in the journals they want to appear in," [co-chair Paolo] Mangiafico said. "The main effect of this policy is to make the default position to allow open access from Duke where possible, with an opt-out or embargo where necessary."

Faculty members benefit, Davidson said, because it allows them to share their work more widely. In a recent blog posting supporting the policy, she wrote, "Some studies of citations suggest that papers previously published in this preprint open access form are more likely to be cited than essays that are not available."

Posted by stemp003 at March 26, 2010 11:36 AM
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