Open Access

This is one of my priorities–getting the word out that Open Access is what libraries are all about, especially libraries at land grant universities. What is OA? To me it means unrestrained public access to information, period. Peter Suber, Steven Harnad, and others have much more eloquently defined it already.

Today the Chronicle announced “With New Agreement, MLA Journals Shift Copyright to Authors” with a link to “MLA Journals Adopt New Open-Access-Friendly Author Agreements.” Both are very brief notices. I guess there isn’t much that needs to be said. Perhaps they are waiting to see how the world responds.

I’m especially excited because of my work with ETDs (Electronic Theses and Dissertations). There have been flurries of discussion on ETD-L about creative writing theses (only since 2006? Curious, since ETDs have been around for nearly two decades. I better check my search strategy.)

Virginia Tech doesn’t have an OA policy, nor does the library. But not many universities do. There are a variety of reasons. Academics don’t like to be told what to do, so even when they believe in it they don’t want to be required to deposit their works in the university’s OA repository. Many of the pre-tenure academics just want to get published–in a prestigious journals would be best so OA is not a major consideration.

Like recycling or not wasting natural resources, there needs to be a bigger campaign for OA awareness. One resource to promote is Beall’s List of Predatory, Open-Access Publishers. See Carl Elliott’s article in the Chronicle about it.