On June 22, 2016, the staff of Snell Library adopted an Open Access Policy. By establishing this policy, Snell Library joins a growing group of academic libraries in the United States with similar policies, designed to ensure the greatest possible access to the research and scholarship produced by their staff members. It also joins a much larger community of research institutions and subunits of institutions (e.g. schools, colleges, departments) who have adopted Open Access policies—over 600 worldwide. Snell Library’s policy is particularly timely, as the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) has just issued its own Policy Statement on Open Access to Scholarship by Academic Librarians. While ACRL’s statement is limited specifically to librarians, the Snell Library policy applies to all full-time library staff. Snell’s staff includes a number of academic professionals who are non-librarians, as well as its support staff, who are active in creating output that should be shared with a wide audience. The Open Access Policy requires library staff members to deposit into the Digital Repository Service (DRS) copies of their published articles as well as posters and presentation materials delivered at conferences, where they are not prohibited from doing so through prior agreements with publishers. Staff members may receive a waiver of the policy for any individual work; this ensures that staff retain the freedom to publish where they choose, regardless of publishers’ willingness to accept the policy. (Given the huge increase in faculty-driven open access policies across the U.S. and worldwide, though, many publishers are already very familiar with the requirements of these policies and have built accommodations for them into their own practices.)
Q & A
What is open access?Open access literature is freely available online for anyone to read. Open access is provided to scholarly articles in a variety of ways. The most common models are:
- Open access journals: all articles published in these publications are openly accessible. May or may not involve a fee for authors
- “Hybrid” journals: subscription-based (“closed”) journals in which at the author’s request, and usually for an additional fee, individual articles are made openly accessible.
- Article archiving: authors deposit a copy of their article (manuscript or final formatted version) in a repository, typically an institutional or discipline-based repository.