Sunday, February 22, 2009

BU Endorses University-wide OA Research Archive

From the recent press release:

Research by Boston University faculty and staff will soon be freely available in an online archive, bypassing the conventional and restrictive route of publishing papers in academic journals, announced BU President Robert A. Brown.

Although the online publishing alternative is voluntary, its unprecedented university-wide endorsement by all of BU’s 17 schools and colleges – the result of a jointly passed resolution by the faculty and the administration -- breaks new ground among U.S. institutions of higher education. . . .

The online archive will allow anyone to view BU’s scholarly work, previously only available to journal subscribers, as long as the authors are credited and the scholarship isn’t used for profit. Since journals typically own the exclusive copyright, they often control access to intellectual property, restricting academics and clinicians from distributing it freely to colleagues and students. . . .

The increased ownership and control is good news for researchers such as Barbara Millen, professor and chair of the graduate Nutrition Program at BU’s School of Medicine. While working on a book about nutrition research, Millen found herself in the paradoxical position of needing permission to use her own tables and figures after they were published in a journal that retained the copyright to her work. The challenge, said Millen, who co-chaired the University Council committee that recommended BU’s open access initiative, will be providing faculty with the tools to make their research available online. . . .

News of the University Council’s vote was welcomed by Robert Hudson, director of BU’s Mugar Memorial Library, and as co-chair of the University Council on scholarly activities and libraries, a key force behind the move toward open access. Hudson says the effort to maintain an up-to-date collection of scholarly journals costs approximately $8 million per year. Annual subscription rates can reach $20,000, and tend to increase six to 10 percent each year, making the expansion of the library’s scholarly archive a financial challenge.

“This vote sends a very strong message of support for open and free exchange of scholarly work,” said Hudson. “It really has increased the potential to showcase the research and scholarship of the university in ways that have not been evident.”

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