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.

SPARC Launches Open-Access Journal Resource

SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition)  released on May 26th a free online Open Access Journal Publishing Resource Index with information and documents to support the launch and operation of an open-access journal. Materials in the index will help libraries, presses, and other academic units on campuses as they work together to make the work of their researchers more widely available.

This new resource is launched in conjunction with the SPARC Campus-based Publishing Resource Center, which delivers a guide to critical issues in campus-based publishing partnerships, case studies, a bibliography and resource list, an index of collaborative initiatives (operated in partnership with Columbia University Libraries), and access to the LIBPRESS online discussion forum (operated by the University of California). The Center is overseen by an editorial board representing library and university press staff who are actively engaged in creating and managing publishing partnerships.

The new index complements the rich existing resource center by pointing to relevant sections in existing open-access journal publishing guides and to sample journal proposals, policies, bylaws, and other documentation to help with planning, development, and collaboration issues. Topics covered include:

• New Journal Planning
• Journal Publishing Program Policies
• Governance
• Editorial
• Marketing & Promotion
• Technical Platforms
• Sustainability Planning

Relevant sections of existing open-access publishing guides, including those by David Solomon, Carol Sutton, Kevin Stranack, Jan Velterop, Howard Goldstein and Raym Crow, and others are indicated under each topic area.

By highlighting samples and best practices, the index will help give campuses the tools they need to develop and maintain long-term, successful open-access publishing ventures. “As campus-based publishing gets more ambitious in scope, it’s important to build on the successes and challenges of earlier initiatives and adopt best practices,” said Raym Crow, senior consultant at SPARC. “Ultimately, campus-based publishing can offer universities greater control over the intellectual products they help create. SPARC is pleased to provide another tool to support libraries and publishers in sustainable, professional, open-access publishing.”

Lee C. Van Orsdel, Dean of University Libraries at Grand Valley State University, and a former speaker at the UCSD Libraries luncheon forum for scholarly communication issues, says faculty are beginning to consult librarians for advice on journal publishing options, including open-access models, and the SPARC site is a welcome resource. “We’re deepening our knowledge as quickly as possible, but it’s a whole new area of expertise for most of us,” she said. “It will save us time and increase the probability that we can get to the right solution when advising our faculty on their best options.”

The editorial board invites contributions from other campuses to help build this resource and expand the bibliography – especially with primary research papers on collaboration issues. “SPARC hopes this will seed an effort where people will give documents to share, making it a community hub,” said Crow. Members of the board and how to contact the managing editor with suggestions are detailed on the Center home page.

–Adapted from the SPARC press release dated May 26, 2011.

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Coalition Looks to Rally Student Support for Open-Access Publishing

(Adapted from an article by Travis Kaya in The Chronicle of Higher Education online, posted Dec. 15, 2010).
Improving access to scholarly journals is not a typical student rallying cry, but a growing organization thinks it should be.
The Right to Research Coalition, which says it represents student groups comprising 5.5 million members in the United States and several other countries, unveiled a Web site and blog in October to educate and connect students about open-access publishing, and increase pressure on publishers and scholars to make their work freely available online.
Unlike rising textbook costs—a point of contention on college campuses—journal subscription costs often go unnoticed by students, say coalition leaders. They hope the Web site will show the impact that open-access publishing could have on students’ individual research and on scholarship around the globe, especially as cash-strapped academic libraries cut expensive journal subscriptions.
The Washington-based group—run via the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition—was founded in June 2009 after some student organizations drafted the Student Statement on the Right to Research. Though scholars and librarians have advocated for open-access publishing for a long time, students have only recently added their voices to the discussion, says Nick Shockey, leader of the new group.
Support among student organizations has been growing. Since 2009, the coalition has attracted 28 member organizations, including the American Medical Student Association, the United States Student Association, and the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students. “We have a great opportunity to act on the national and state level,” Mr. Shockey says. “It’s really an area where students can have an impact.”

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