Open Access News

News from the open access movement


Thursday, October 16, 2008

An appeal to Canadian medical schools and their faculty

Claire Kendall and Sally Murray, Leaders or followers? Itís time for health faculty to open up, Open Medicine, 2, 4 (2008).  (Thanks to Michael Geist.)  Excerpt:

Canada is home to many of the worldís leading advocates of open access, and much of their work has been initiated from within the library community. In contrast, Canadian leaders in health care research, education, and clinical care have been disappointingly complacent in the movement to broaden the reach of their knowledge....

When the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) introduced a policy in 2007 requiring that CIHR-funded research output be made freely available...there was little celebration among those whom the policies affect....

We believe it is time for our academic health care institutions to step up their commitment to the open access movement....

[W]e call on health science faculties to work toward the following objectives:

1. Establish support funds for faculty and student publication in open access journals. Open access journals maintain the same standards of peer review and editing as their nonĖopen-access counterparts but do not generate income by selling their work through individual or institutional subscriptions or pay-per-view options. As such, many open access journals are looking for new models of financial sustainability, including publication charges to cover review, editorial, and production costs....Although many national-level funders are allowing researchers to include publication charges in their grant applications, institutional support is necessary....

In June 2008, the University of Calgary became the first (and, at this time, only) Canadian institution to establish a substantial fund to cover publication charges for authors to make their work publicly available.

2. Adopt an open access mandate for publications generated from within their universities and provide the necessary tools to enable authors to comply. Faculty members at Harvardís Faculty of Arts and Science, Harvard Law School, and the Stanford University School of Education have unanimously embraced strong open access [mandates]....

Athabasca University is the only Canadian University to adopt an open access policy, encouraging (albeit not mandating) its faculty to post copies of their scholarly work in their institutional online repository....

3. Champion open access for learners. Tuition costs continue to soar along with the costs of teaching material such as textbooks, CDs, and course notes....

As we celebrate Open Access Day, we think it is time that those who publish research with applications for human health consider that they have not only the opportunity to decline restrictive copyright provisions that have previously prevented the full dissemination of their work, but also the obligation to do so....

It isnít time to follow the leader: itís time to be the leader, and for our academics and institutions to bring Canadian health care publishing into the open.