The week of October 22-28 was designated as the sixth annual Open Access Week, during which members of the academic and research community across the globe hosted events to recognize and promote the value of open access publication. For IU Libraries, Open Access Week was an opportunity to introduce researchers and students to our many open access tools and experts, answer questions about these services and technologies, and help scholars discover new ways to engage with and benefit from open access publishing.
Facilitating open access publication is a priority for Indiana University Libraries. The IU Libraries exist to support all aspects of scholarship at IU – from providing materials, tools, and services for research to promoting innovation in teaching and learning. Increasingly, we are also called upon to develop and implement diverse channels for scholarly communications. While traditional publication methods remain essential to many disciplines, these new, highly accessible models offer scholars unprecedented opportunities for sharing their findings and engaging in real-time global discussions that can dramatically enhance their work.
Open access literature, as defined by Peter Suber of the Harvard Open Access Project, is “digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.” This type of publication can broaden the availability of research findings, forging greater connections among scholars and learners and increasing the pace at which discoveries can build upon one another. These capabilities call to mind the principles outlined in the Intellectual Freedom Manual of the American Library Association:
“Intellectual freedom can exist only where two essential conditions are met: first, that all individuals have the right to hold any belief on any subject and to convey their ideas in any form they deem appropriate, and second, that society makes an equal commitment to the right of unrestricted access to information and ideas regardless of the communication medium used, the content of work, and the viewpoints of both the author and the receiver of information.” (Intellectual Freedom Manual. Introduction. 8th edition, 2010, p. xvii.)
Our continual goals are to uphold these principles of intellectual freedom, respond to the information resource needs of the communities we serve, and preserve information for future generations. To meet these objectives, we have developed a suite of library-based open access publishing services for Indiana University. Gathered under the heading of IUScholarWorks, these services enable researchers to preserve and share their work in a persistent online repository, store and archive their data in searchable formats, and even publish and manage new online journals that remain freely available worldwide.
For an increasing number of IU scholars, these and other open access tools represent a new frontier for scholarly communication. By removing restrictions in research availability and hastening the publication process, open access models capitalize on new technologies to create a thriving global network of interconnected scholars who can quickly respond to advancements within and beyond their fields.