Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Harvard students endorse emerging OA policy

All for Open Access, an unsigned editorial in the Harvard Crimson, October 2, 2007.  Excerpt:

It seems that the for-profit academic publishing industry’s days are numbered. The model it was built on depended on the necessity of ink and paper for its viability. But today, the Internet has made the exchange and storage of information and ideas so cheap, that taxing the free marketplace of ideas and knowledge that academia is founded upon no longer makes economic sense.

Enter the open access movement, which is slowly marching its way across academia. The open access movement seeks to displace the expensive, subscription-only elite journals that have long held a stranglehold on academic papers by publishing scholarly works online for free or at very low cost....The publishers of print journals may be harmed, but open access makes academia thrive.

In this vein, we applaud the Harvard Faculty Council’s move to make manuscripts of articles written by Harvard professors in traditional scholarly journals available online for free. The measure, advanced last week, proposes creating Harvard’s very own online system of open access, where professors could put their work online at no cost, either on a personal or university Web site.

The creation of the open access system, however, would bear little fruit without professor participation. Though the proposed system would be “opt-out,” we encourage all professors to participate in this system, and further, urge Harvard to centralize every article in an organized, online database.

The free flow of information and research that would result from more universities taking up similar open access initiatives to Harvard’s would benefit researchers, students, and laypeople alike. We hope the Faculty as a whole goes through with the Faculty Council’s proposal and that other institutions will follow suit.

Update. Also see the follow-up letter to the editor, Open Access, But Who Really Pays? by H. Frederick Dylla (executive director of the American Institute of Physics) and Gene D. Sprouse (editor-in-chief of the American Physical Society).