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Universities commit to open-access journal movement

Duke is the latest U.S. campus to make academic research available online free of charge, which has gained momentum in higher education this fall

 Universities commit to open-access journal movement
College students could have greater access to the academic research in scholarly journals if open-access efforts gain momentum.

College students could have greater access to the academic research in scholarly journals if open-access efforts gain momentum.

A dozen major universities have signed a pact to make academic research available free of charge online and forgo the pricey subscriptions to scholarly journals that can cost campuses tens of thousands of dollars annually, creating barriers for professors’ research to be widely read.

Duke University on Oct. 3 became the latest American campus to sign the Compact for Open Access Publishing Equity (COPE), an effort first introduced by Stuart Shieber, a computer science professor at Harvard University and director of Harvard’s Office for Scholarly Communication.

Nine U.S. universities have signed the pledge to “recognize the crucial value of the services provided by scholarly publishers” and underwrite “reasonable publication charges” that could make it feasible for faculty members to submit research articles to the open-access program.

The American schools that have signed COPE are Harvard, Duke, Cornell, Columbia, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), University of California Berkeley, Dartmouth College, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and the University of Michigan.

For scholarly journals that require subscriptions, the cost of publishing is covered by subscriptions. For an open-access model, however, universities and colleges will have to cover those costs.

Duke, like other universities that have signed the compact, established a fund that will cover the costs of publishing academic research, according to the university library’s web site. Duke will dole out up to $3,000 a year to cover scholars’ article processing fees, and unused funds cannot roll over to the next year.

Other campuses, such as MIT, limit reimbursements to $1,000 per article, regardless of the number of researchers credited with the work, according to an MIT announcement.

Peter Lange, Duke’s provost, said that by joining elite schools that have signed the pledge, Duke hopes to “support the university’s commitment to promoting openness as an important value in scholarship” and help create a sustainable model that isn’t accessible only to individuals and campuses willing to shell out thousands every year for subscriptions to scholarly journals.

“Increased open access means more opportunities for the research of our faculty and researchers to reach a wide audience and have a meaningful impact on the world,” Lange said in a statement.

Duke’s fund for supporting open-access research materials won’t be open to “hybrid” publishers that don’t charge readers only when publication fees have been paid for, but regularly use the traditional subscription model otherwise.

The University of Calgary became the latest school to sign the COPE pledge Oct. 18. The university’s commitment is one of a series of efforts to make scholarly journals available to the public free of charge.

Calgary launched its Open Access Authors Fund in 2008, a program that has published 135 research articles from universities around the world, according to COPE. Calgary also caught open-access advocates’ attention when it announced the opening of DSpace, an online repository of scholarly journal works published at the university.

In recent years, even the richest American universities have cut back on journal subscriptions that can cost as much as $20,000 annually, open-access experts said. And as well-known schools throw financial backing behind open-access programs like COPE, these efforts have met with vocal opposition from entrenched interests.

Publishing companies and organizations, including the Association of American Publishers (AAP), have opposed many open-access policies and mandates.

In a 2009 letter to the Obama administration’s transition team, the AAP opposed the National Institutes of Health’s Public Access Policy, which would make NIH-funded research available to the public free of charge in a digital archive.

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Comments:

  1. PatrickA

    October 25, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    This is the only way to start spreading the content. The developers of this content need to embrace alternative revenue streams to make up for the shortfall in subscriptions.

  2. PatrickA

    October 25, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    This is the only way to start spreading the content. The developers of this content need to embrace alternative revenue streams to make up for the shortfall in subscriptions.

  3. eburton

    October 25, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    As an educator and professor of educational research I believe allowing more free access to peer reviewed journals is a wonderful forward thinking movement in educational reform that all schools and journal publishers should move towards in order to attract younger researchers, students, and others interested in educational reform and research. Accessing free peer reviewed research is often easy and this process assures those looking for research that sources found are credible, reliable and valid.

    We need to find other ways to provide access to more without fees associated with their worth. An idea for interested donors?
    Erika Burton, Ph.D.
    Stepping Stones Together, Founder
    http://www.steppingstonestogether.com

  4. eburton

    October 25, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    As an educator and professor of educational research I believe allowing more free access to peer reviewed journals is a wonderful forward thinking movement in educational reform that all schools and journal publishers should move towards in order to attract younger researchers, students, and others interested in educational reform and research. Accessing free peer reviewed research is often easy and this process assures those looking for research that sources found are credible, reliable and valid.

    We need to find other ways to provide access to more without fees associated with their worth. An idea for interested donors?
    Erika Burton, Ph.D.
    Stepping Stones Together, Founder
    http://www.steppingstonestogether.com

  5. Moravecglobal

    October 27, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    UC Berkeley profs raise doubts about online degree plans: Chancellor quickly disposes sports. When UC Berkeley announced its elimination of baseball, men’s and women’s gymnastics, and women’s lacrosse teams and its defunding of the national-champion men’s rugby team, the chancellor sighed, “Sorry, but this was necessary!”
    But was it? Yes, the university is in dire financial straits. Yet $3 million was somehow found to pay the Bain consulting firm to uncover waste and inefficiencies in UC Berkeley, despite the fact that a prominent East Coast university was doing the same thing without consultants.
    Essentially, the process requires collecting and analyzing information from faculty and staff. Apparently, senior administrators at UC Berkeley believe that the faculty and staff of their world-class university lack the cognitive ability, integrity, and motivation to identify millions in savings. If consultants are necessary, the reason is clear: the chancellor, provost, and president have lost credibility with the people who provided the information to the consultants. Chancellor Robert J Birgeneau has reigned for eight years, during which time the inefficiencies proliferated. Even as Bain’s recommendations are implemented (“They told me to do it”, Birgeneau), credibility and trust problems remain.
    Bain is interviewing faculty, staff, senior management and the academic senate leaders for $150 million in inefficiencies, most of which could have been found internally. One easy-to-identify problem, for example, was wasteful procurement practices such as failing to secure bulk discounts on printers. But Birgeneau apparently has no concept of savings: even in procuring a consulting firm, he failed to receive proposals from other firms.

    Students, staff, faculty, and California legislators are the victims of his incompetence. Now that sports teams are feeling the pinch, perhaps the California Alumni Association, benefactors and donators, and the UC Board of Regents will demand to know why Birgeneau is raking in $500,000 a year despite the abdication of his responsibilities.

    The author, who has 35 years’ consulting experience, has taught at University of California Berkeley, where he was able to observe the culture and the way the senior management operates.
    .

  6. Moravecglobal

    October 27, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    UC Berkeley profs raise doubts about online degree plans: Chancellor quickly disposes sports. When UC Berkeley announced its elimination of baseball, men’s and women’s gymnastics, and women’s lacrosse teams and its defunding of the national-champion men’s rugby team, the chancellor sighed, “Sorry, but this was necessary!”
    But was it? Yes, the university is in dire financial straits. Yet $3 million was somehow found to pay the Bain consulting firm to uncover waste and inefficiencies in UC Berkeley, despite the fact that a prominent East Coast university was doing the same thing without consultants.
    Essentially, the process requires collecting and analyzing information from faculty and staff. Apparently, senior administrators at UC Berkeley believe that the faculty and staff of their world-class university lack the cognitive ability, integrity, and motivation to identify millions in savings. If consultants are necessary, the reason is clear: the chancellor, provost, and president have lost credibility with the people who provided the information to the consultants. Chancellor Robert J Birgeneau has reigned for eight years, during which time the inefficiencies proliferated. Even as Bain’s recommendations are implemented (“They told me to do it”, Birgeneau), credibility and trust problems remain.
    Bain is interviewing faculty, staff, senior management and the academic senate leaders for $150 million in inefficiencies, most of which could have been found internally. One easy-to-identify problem, for example, was wasteful procurement practices such as failing to secure bulk discounts on printers. But Birgeneau apparently has no concept of savings: even in procuring a consulting firm, he failed to receive proposals from other firms.

    Students, staff, faculty, and California legislators are the victims of his incompetence. Now that sports teams are feeling the pinch, perhaps the California Alumni Association, benefactors and donators, and the UC Board of Regents will demand to know why Birgeneau is raking in $500,000 a year despite the abdication of his responsibilities.

    The author, who has 35 years’ consulting experience, has taught at University of California Berkeley, where he was able to observe the culture and the way the senior management operates.
    .