The Bloomington Faculty Council unanimously approved an Open Access policy today that ensures that faculty scholarship will be accessible and available to the public for future generations. Open Access means that scholarly articles are regarded as the fruits of research that authors give to the world for the sake of inquiry and knowledge without expectation of payment. Adopting such a policy reduces barriers to research and learning by making research available on the public internet to be downloaded and shared freely, making it possible for scholarship to be more widely read and cited than literature that appears in closed-access, licensed journal databases. The policy can be found at IUB’s VPFAA site and an FAQ has been posted to our website.
The Scholarly Communication staff will be available to help authors deposit their work — usually the final version of an article that has gone through peer review — in IUScholarWorks or another repository for archival purposes. Indeed, as Nazareth Pantaloni, Copyright Librarian for the IU LIbraries, observed: “The Indiana University Libraries are delighted that the Bloomington Faculty Council has joined the over 300 U.S. colleges and universities who have decided to make their faculty’s scholarship more freely available under an Open Access policy. We look forward to working with them to accomplish that goal.” Faculty members may also contact us to opt-out of the policy, a process that will be incorporated into a one-click form once the policy is fully implemented.
The policy adopted today is only the latest step in an ongoing process at IU Bloomington. The BFC adopted one of the first Open Access policies in the country in March of 2004. That policy was actually a resolution in which the BFC decried the rising costs of academic journals and databases — at the time, 70% of a $9.2 million annual budget — and called on the IU Libraries to adopt several strategies in response, including, among other things, “to promote open scholarly communication.” That resolution served as an impetus for the Libraries’ development of IUScholarWorks. Today, IU ScholarWorks hosts nearly 30 Open Access journals, primarily in the humanities and social sciences, and serves as the repository for nearly 8,000 items deposited by IU Bloomington faculty, students, and staff, including data sets, conference proceedings, out-of-print books recovered by faculty from their original publishers, doctoral dissertations from the Jacobs School of Music, Patten Lectures, and a wide array of journal articles, research reports, other scholarly literature, and even creative works of authorship. Current developments include improvements in the repository’s ability to host multimedia content and data.
Open Access policies are intended, in part, to provide an institutional mechanism for faculty authors to assert the retention of at least the minimum rights necessary in order not only to cooperate with their institutional OA policy, but also be able to reuse their work in other ways that could be beneficial to them, such as distributing their work via their own professional website, through social media, or simply to students in their classes.
Resources are available for faculty who are interested in learning more about the impact and implementation of the policy. Please direct questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image: CC-BY. Flickr user Open Access Button