Universities Join Forces to Support Open-Access Policies

The University of Kansas (KU) has had a faculty-approved open-access mandate in place since 2009. What it hasn’t had is a group of like-minded institutions to share ideas with about how to support such policies.

Today KU and 21 other universities and colleges announced that they’re joining forces to form the Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions, or Coapi. The new group will “collaborate and share implementation strategies, and advocate on a national level,” it said in a statement. The group’s members so far include Arizona State, Columbia, Duke, Emory, Harvard, Oregon State, Stanford, and Trinity universities as well as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Oberlin College. “The goal is to provide more practical advice and ideas for refining and expanding policies on our individual campuses but also to leverage those policies into action,” said Lorraine Haricombe, the dean of libraries at KU.

Ms. Haricombe began working to put together the coalition after hearing scholars and librarians on her campus talk about the challenges of complying with the open-access mandate. For instance, she said, it’s been difficult to get some publishers to allow faculty authors to deposit copies of journal articles in Kansas’s institutional repository, as the policy mandates. Ms. Haricombe said that another topic for Coapi is how to shift some of the money libraries pay for journal subscriptions over to support author-side fees charged by some open-access publishers. “My hope is that we will be able to speak with a collective voice about these issues that we face on our campuses,” she said.

The group will meet at the upcoming Berlin 9 open-access conference, to be held in November in Washington, to talk about which issues to focus on first. It will also discuss establishing itself as a formal membership organization and inviting other institutions to join. The group has the support of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, or SPARC, a national group that advocates for open access.

–Jennifer Howard in The Chronicle of Higher Education, August 2, 2011.

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