Harvard Moves to Open Access

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Tony Rook
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Harvard Moves to Open Access

The New York Times reports that...

"Faculty members are scheduled to vote on a measure that would permit Harvard to distribute their scholarship online, instead of signing exclusive agreements with scholarly journals that often have tiny readerships and high subscription costs."

For the full story Click Here!

Also for more on this story, Jonathan A. Eisen blogs at The Tree of Life on Wed Feb 13, 2008 "Harvard's Moving To Open Access - Let's Use this to Push for OA at other places".

How much of an impact will a major universities move to endorse Open-Access really have on the scientific publishing industry?

Tony Rook
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An interesting perspective on

An interesting perspective on Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences to pass unanimously a motion which requires all arts and sciences faculty articles to be published through open access routes, can be found in a blog post by Andrea Gawrylewski at The Scientist called Harvard First to Force Open Access

An interesting quote within this blog post by Joseph Esposito talks about how some popular Open Access publishing site may be primed for takeovers by the publishing giants...

"The implications of Harvard's decision are broad, but one thing that is likely to happen as a direct result of the decision is that companies with Open Access services may get acquired by traditional publishers. If OA is the future (and Harvard says it is), then the publishing community is not going to sit back and let their businesses slip away. I imagine that all of the large commercial STM publishers have studied their acquisition options."

"In the OA world some candidates (e.g., Public Library of Science) are off limits, as they are set up as not-for-profits. The commercial possibilities include such firms as Hindawi (which has a partnership with Sage) and BioMedCentral, but there are other options as well, including small OA firms with robust technology but as yet only a modest customer and user base. We should not be surprised to see the likes of Springer, Reed Elsevier, John Wiley, Taylor & Francis, and Wolters Kluwer taking out the checkbook."

R Bishop
R Bishop's picture
This is the future of

This is the future of publication whether scientists realize it or not. Its only a matter of time. The question is how do you maintain peer review and "journal quality" in online open access publishing.


Tony Rook
Tony Rook's picture
University of Oregon follows

University of Oregon follows suit with its own resolution to pursue open-access...

From the Open Access News Blog here is the paraphrased UO resolution:

...[T]he University of Oregon University Senate:

A. Encourages all faculty who publish scholarly works to
study the issues of copyright ownership and liability, for
example as laid out by the Association for Research
Libraries SPARC initiative
B. Recommends that if faculty sign a copyright transfer
agreement for their work they should include an Author's
Addendum as part of the transfer, retaining rights at
least to archive their own work and to continue to use
their own work in their teaching and research; suggested
addenda include the Science Commons addenda
C. Directs the President of the Senate to establish an ad
hoc working committee, that shall

a. foster educational opportunities for UO faculty related
to copyright and copyright liability during spring term
b. propose additional steps to implement this
resolution....Such proposals should include at a
minimum whether a UO-specific Author's Addendum
should be recommended or required.
c. report to the full Senate no later than 28 May 2008.

Financial impact: There is no direct financial impact to
this motion. However, widespread adoption of the
recommendations could protect faculty from expensive
litigation, allow faculty to re-use their own works in
teaching without paying royalties, and potentially make f
faculty publications more widely available, for example
in the Scholar's Bank institutional repository.

Statement of Need: This resolution addresses trends in
the use of scholarship driven by new technology: for
example, it is common practice to post a copy of one's
publications on a public website or extract portions for
use in a class, but those practices violate the terms of
most traditional copyright transfer agreements. More
generally, it addresses an increasingly pressing issue,
the commercialization of scholarly publishing, the
increasing treatment of knowledge as property to be
controlled rather than widely disseminated, and the
increasing willingness of copyright holders ranging from
RIAA to journal publishers to threaten to sue academics
for copyright infringement.


* The Oregon vote took place on February 13, one day after
the Harvard vote. But because these resolutions require a
lot of preparation, especially in drafting, discussion, and
education, it's not so much a response to Harvard as the
fruit of an independent, simultaneous consideration of the
same underlying policy issues. But the Harvard vote, along
with the Oregon vote and the dozen or so preceding
university-level OA mandates, will undoubtedly inspire
similar actions in time. Kudos to all at Oregon who made
this happen.
* The new Oregon resolution strengthens and supersedes a
resolution from April 11, 2001.
* The Oregon policy now asks faculty to retain the right to
deposit their eprints in the UO repository. What's missing is
a policy to encourage or require them to make the deposits
or a policy (such as Harvard's) for the university to make
the deposits on its own. Permission for OA archiving is far
from OA archiving itself. I hope the new working
committee (under C.b) will supply the crucial, missing piece
of the policy.

Additional links about OU's open access policy can be found at The Science Commons