Open Access Spreads to Miami University

May 16, 2012

The librarians of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, joined the ranks of the worldwide open-access (OA) movement May 14 by voting to make their scholarly articles freely available in the university’s institutional repository, the Scholarly Commons. Based on Harvard University’s model policy, MU’s open-access principles take effect immediately and make the libraries the first department on Miami’s campus to successfully pass an open access policy.

Praising the MU librarians for continuing to do “an outstanding job of pushing boundaries,” Dean and University Librarian Judith Sessions said. “In this case, they understand how the culture on Miami’s campus differs from cultures on other campuses. Their ability to move forward in ways that best serve the mission of the university speaks volumes.”

Supported by the American Library Association, the Association of Research Libraries, and other organizations, the OA movement also has the backing of (among others) UNESCO, which supports open access to scientific information; the resolve of more than 11,000 scholars who have signed a petition at the Cost of Knowledge website pledging to place their work in OA repositories; and the interest of the British government, which revealed in May that it would make all publicly funded research freely available online. Congress has also weighed in, introducing in both the House and the Senate in February the third iteration of the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA) since 2006. FRPAA would require federal research grantees to make their resulting academic papers freely available to the public no more than six months after publication in a scholarly journal; as with past federal efforts, a number of publishers have expressed opposition.

At Miami University Libraries, however, the debate is over. “The adoption of this policy will allow librarians here to gain first-hand knowledge of how facets of open access work, which will greatly improve our outreach efforts to faculty on campus,” said Jen Waller, interdisciplinary research librarian and chair of the Libraries’ Scholarly Communication Working Group.


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