Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

More on OA at Boston College

Matt Villano, Electronic Publishing >> Book 'Em, Syllabus Magazine, February 1, 2005. Mostly about priced electronic textbooks, but touches on OA, especially at Boston College. Excerpt: 'eScholarship [the Boston College repository] began back in 2002, when Bob Gerrity, head of systems at the school library, spearheaded a plan to replace the school's tradition of microfilming dissertations with a push to publish them online. For $6,000, the school licensed Digital Commons software from Berkeley Electronic Press to digitize the documents and catalog them in an online database. By 2003, between doctoral dissertations and senior theses from the school's undergraduate honors program, BC had amassed a few hundred original works. At the same time, Gerrity also used the same software to support the publication of Web-only journals, and spent weeks gauging faculty interest in editing them...."We pay millions of dollars a year for subscriptions to scholarly journals that publish research produced by our own faculty!" he fumes. "There had to be a different way to approach the whole system."...BC now pays ProQuest $35,000 per year, but the school receives an unlimited amount of database storage for that fee. Starting in June, Gerrity says he plans to take full advantage of the option for limitless growth, rolling out the repository to the campus at large....Across academia, a number of other organizations, the Digital Library Federation for one, are pushing for the very same thing. At the heart of the effort is an initiative called Open Access, launched at a 2001 meeting of the Open Society Initiative in Budapest to deliver scholarly content in ways that enable users to access it with any form of technology, from any place, at any time. The initiative calls for the free availability of all peer-reviewed journal articles, and also includes any unreviewed pre-prints that scholars might wish to put online for comment, or to alert colleagues to important research findings...."Open Access is certainly something we're looking into," says [David] Serbun, the VP of Houghton [Mifflin]. "The issue for us is money; there is a cost that goes into authoring, developing, revising, and reviewing the content that somewhere, at some point, someone has to bear."'