Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Interview with Michele Kimpton

Mary Grush interviews Michele Kimpton in Campus Technology, September 26, 2007.  Kimpton is the Executive Director of the new DSpace Federation.  Excerpt:

CT: What's the vision behind the creation of the DSpace Foundation?

Kimpton: The role of the foundation is to be a central organization that can supply leadership and support to the overall community of DSpace users. The vision is to be able to promote and increase open access to scholarly works by using DSpace and advocating for open access. At the end of the day, all scholarly works would be available to anyone, at any time, in any part of the world, to further research, foster collaboration, and promote open access to knowledge.

What needs to happen in order to achieve more universal open access to scholarly works?

I think we're making strides, in that there's already DSpace and other open source repository platforms. Universities and other academic institutions are starting to put content that they create in house up online, but it's only a small fraction of the total content today. So I think to get to the stage where all content is available, you really have to hit critical mass in terms of institutional participation.

What barriers have kept institutions from participating?

...The barriers at this stage relate to enabling institutions tactically to be able to do this. Many institutions would rely on their libraries that don't necessarily have the technical infrastructure. So, DSpace has tried to solve this problem by making a very simple open source application to run and install without a lot of technical expertise.

Another barrier to overcome is for the creators of these works to embrace the value of putting them up online. Five or six years ago, when the Internet was just ramping up, the value proposition wasn't as clear. Now, I think we're starting to approach critical mass as faculty and researchers are getting more exposure and wanting to share their works in an easier fashion. One of the goals of DSpace is to make it easier for these creative works to have value, once they are up online.

So it's not just a question of technology -- there are some cultural elements as well.

Yes -- absolutely.

Are traditional publishers somewhat of a barrier as well?

The publishers are coming around -- though not all of them -- and adapting their strategies and policies. And there are open access advocacy organizations that are working with the publishers and tracking which ones are more prone to let creators have rights over their content, and which try to lock it down. Also, we try to give the creators of works -- faculty and researchers -- the knowledge so that when they are talking to publishers they understand their rights as authors. We've used Creative Commons licensing to help drive some of that....