Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Harvard Law Faculty Votes for 'Open Access' to Scholarly Articles


Almost three months after their colleagues in Arts and Science faculty in Harvard Law School voted unanimously to mandate that their peer reviewed articles be deposited in a digital institutional repository and be open access. From the news release:

In a move that will disseminate faculty research and scholarship as broadly as possible, the Harvard Law School faculty unanimously voted last week to make each faculty member’s scholarly articles available online for free, making HLS the first law school to commit to open access. . . .

Under the new policy, HLS will make articles authored by faculty members available in an online repository, whose contents would be searchable and available to other services such as Google Scholar. Authors can also legally distribute the articles on their own websites, and educators here and elsewhere can freely provide the articles to students, so long as the materials are not used for profit. . . .

The vote came after an open access proposal was made by a university-wide committee aimed at encouraging wider dissemination of scholarly work. Earlier this semester, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences voted to adopt a policy similar to the Law School’s new initiative.

Similar initiatives are underway to promote free and open access to scholarly articles elsewhere, although no initiative extends as far as Harvard's. Legislation before Congress would mandate that all federally funded research be available in open access.

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