OA policies and future directions

As we wrap up our series of blog posts on open access topics — you can see the whole category here — I want to remind readers of three points about open access at Duke and open access in general.

First, the OA policy approved by the Duke faculty last spring was primarily a unanimous vote in favor of open access in principle.  By giving the university a license to make works available in an institutional repository, the policy changes the default for scholarship at Duke to openness.  Still, it was clear from the start of the process that participation in the repository program would depend on how easy the process of getting works into DukeSpace is made.  Implementation, in this regard, is everything; adding extra work for busy faculty is a unpromising way to get buy-in to a new program.  Thus while we hope to unveil a self-deposit portal for faculty during Duke’s OA Week observances, we remain committed to using automated processes (automated, at least, from the faculty perspective) as the primary way to get content into DukeSpace.  We hope many interested parties, especially amongst the Duke faculty, will join us for a discussion of these plans on Tuesday, Oct. 19.

I love the system in place at Harvard, where much of the work of gathering and verifying citations, then clearing rights for deposit, is done by OAFs — Open Access Fellows, who are student employees.  I hope the academic world will soon see lots of OAFs (what a great acronym!) working on many campuses.

Second, the OA policy at Duke is part of a larger and multifaceted commitment to open access.  That commitment ranges from support of national legislation to work on the local repository.  It stretches back over a decade, thanks to the leadership of the Law School that Melanie Dunshee described in our previous posting.  One new development in that long-standing commitment is the announcement made last week of a COPE fund at Duke.  This is a fund designed to help authors pay article processing fees that are changed by some open access journals as a way to replace subscription income.  The COPE movement, with a brief acknowledgment of Duke’s participation, is described in this article from Inside Higher Ed.  That the movement has been slow may be true, but part of the reason for the pace is that the goals of COPE funds are really long-term.  The point is not to subsidize a particular journal or even a particular set of authors.  Rather, the goal is to create a new incentive structure to encourage journals to consider open access business models and to remove barriers that might exist for authors who want to publish in OA journals.

Finally, I want to encourage readers to look back at this site over the next few weeks for news from the Berlin 8 Open Access conference.  My colleague Paolo Mangiafico and I will be traveling to Beijing, the site of the B8 conference this year, with lots of questions about how we can cooperate internationally on open access to scholarship and how our values, goals and methods around OA are similar or different from those in other countries.  We will be reporting what we learn  in this space, with, I hope, pictures.