Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

"Librarians must be public advocates for open access"

Dean Giustini interviews Robin Featherstone, UBC Academic Search - Google Scholar Blog, September 17, 2007.  Featherstone is an Associate Librarian at the US National Library of Medicine currently working at Yale's Cushing/Whitney Medical Library.  Excerpt:

...There's been a lot of discussion lately about open access, and the de-emphasis of print collections. What do you think this means in the longer term, for our work as librarians?

Print still has a place, and libraries will always have books. But the benefits of digital information are worth heralding. The goal of the modern library should be to achieve the fastest means of transmitting the greatest amount of accurate information to the widest audience possible.

Unfortunately, e-journal costs are a major cause of concern. Libraries won't survive if we keep paying high subscription fees. And we have been at the mercy of the data vendors and aggregators for too long. Why do we pay for a package of journals to get access to one or two core titles? Why do we accept embargoes and non-cancellation clauses and heavily restricted site licenses? And why do we depend on vendors to provide us with usage data on their own products? Libraries have lost control of their collections. Open access is the only way for us to turn the corner.

Information will find a way to be free. And librarians must be public advocates for open access. We need to support our faculty members in retaining their copyright. We must encourage the use of federally funded open access repositories. It is an absolutely injustice that tax payers fund research that they cannot afford to read. Further, we need to support open access models through involvement with publishing....