University Library Passes Open Access Commitment

Oct 10, 2018 · Abbey Elder

To demonstrate its commitment to sharing information as widely as possible, the University Library has adopted a new Open Access Commitment [pdf] after a unanimous vote at the September Librarian Assembly Meeting. The Commitment, which went into effect on September 18, 2018, is a pledge from University Library staff that they will either publish their works openly or self-archive them in an appropriate Open Access repository, such as the ISU Digital Repository.

Open Access (OA) reduces barriers to information by making scholarly outputs freely available, giving individuals around the world access to high quality scholarship that would otherwise be locked behind paywalls. Providing access to information can create a more equitable environment for researchers working in small laboratories, staff at non-profit organizations, and other individuals who need access to up-to-date research on a variety of topics.

Commitments like this one have become increasingly common over the past decade. In fact, Open Access policies are present in over 700 institutions internationally. Many of these Open Access policies are based on Harvard’s “Model Open Access Policy.” The University Library’s Commitment was adapted from a policy passed by Columbia University’s Libraries in 2011.

Most of the institutional OA policies in use today require authors to self-archive their research in an OA repository. This type of Open Access has become easier in recent years due to the rise of high quality institutional repositories such as our own ISU Digital Repository and subject-specific repositories like arXiv (Physics), PhilPapers (Philosophy), PubMed Central (Biomedical/Life Sciences), Humanities Commons, and others.

The University Library Open Access Commitment is not the first Open Access document adopted at Iowa State University. The first text like it was the Faculty Senate’s Open Access Resolution [pdf], passed in 2017. This document “strongly encourages” ISU scholars to share published research in the ISU Digital Repository or to publish their works in OA journals. The Faculty Senate’s Open Access Resolution does not require that faculty publications be made openly available, but it does mention the possibility of “a future Open Access opt-out policy that makes ISU scholars’ research as open as possible through the [automatic] deposit of their research into the ISU Digital Repository.”

To learn more about Open Access, visit our Library Guide or contact Abbey Elder, Open Access & Scholarly Communication Librarian.