Two Year Anniversary of the Open Access Policy

This post was written by Scholarly Communication department student assistant Allison Nolan.

In February 2017, the Bloomington Faculty Council passed an Open Access policy. The policy provides a mechanism for making faculty-authored articles published after 2017 open access (unless faculty opt out of the policy for a particular article). Beyond making content open access, the policy asks faculty to reflect on how they would like their work to be used in perpetuity. IU Bloomington’s was the 56th faculty council in the world to unanimously pass an open access policy, joining Harvard, Duke, Princeton, Stanford, MIT and others.

In conjunction with the policy, the Scholarly Communication department launched a new institutional repository, IUScholarWorks Open, to accommodate articles made openly available as a result of the policy. IUSW Open acts as a seamless service point for faculty to deposit articles, opt out of the policy, or view their colleagues’ open access work. Over the last two years, the Scholarly Communication department has aligned the IU faculty annual reporting system, where most faculty already enter information about their research and creative activity, with the OA Policy. Department staff processed IUB faculty-authored scholarly articles across all disciplines while also encouraging faculty to submit their work to the repository directly through targeted outreach.

In the two years since the policy was instituted, over 500 items have been deposited to IUSW Open, all by various IU faculty authors and collaborators. SC department staff have been able to share the final versions (sometimes called the version of record) of over 200 articles and link over 150 open access versions of articles from authors across IUB. In addition to checking publisher policies for faculty-authored articles, Scholarly Communication staff consulted with individual faculty to share a version of their article open access.  

In addition to highlighting the quantity of articles made openly available, it’s important to showcase the range of scholarship faculty published and subsequently was made available. These highlights are obviously only a small subset of the articles made openly available but they illustrate that the diversity of topics represented within the repository is evident and mirrors the intellectual diversity of the IUB faculty. For example, Kylie Peppler’s “Advancing Arts Education in a Digital Age” discusses how instructors can utilize digital tools in order to help students become content creators, rather than simply rejecting technology as something that distracts from or changes the nature of content creation. Angela T. Maitner and others’ “The impact of culture and identity on emotional reactions to insults”  explores the ways in which people from different ethnic backgrounds react to insults related to an aspect of their cultural or religious identity, specifically in relationship to cultures that are rooted in concepts of honor and dignity. Kelly M. Moench and Cara L. Wellman examined the manner and speed of dendrite rebuilding in mice, particularly females, after periods of prolonged, chronic stress. The goal of the experiment was to determine the impact of stress on both male and female brains and it was concluded that the long-term effects of continued stress, rather than acute stress, were more likely to lead to detrimental outcomes in women. Each of these articles pose questions that are relevant to advancing their respective fields, and the interdisciplinary nature of IUScholarWorks Open allows all of these research outputs to exist in the same space.

In the last two years, IUB’s open access policy has helped to highlight faculty research and create critical discussions surrounding open access and the opportunities that it provides for academic scholarship. As an example, an Open Access Article Publishing Fund was recently established by the IU Libraries and the Office of the Vice Provost for Research to subsidize the cost of publishing gold open access. IUScholarWorks Open will inevitably grow as time goes on and faculty work continues to be processed. We hope that knowledge of the policy and IUSW Open, and ongoing educational efforts as to what exactly it means to make academic work open access, will increase faculty engagement on this important issue.