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Harvard U. Faculty Votes for Open Access

This isn’t about government information specifically, but it’s big news for proponents of open access everywhere.  This  story is all over the news this morning – the Boston Globe, the New York Times, the Chronicle of Higher Ed., and Inside Higher Ed. among others. Harvard’s Arts and Sciences faculty unanimously approved a plan on Tuesday night that will require faculty to post finished academic papers online free, unless scholars specifically decide to opt out of the open-access program. While other institutions have online repositories for their faculty’s work, Harvard is the first university in the United States to mandate open access to its faculty members’ research publications. Stuart M. Shieber, a professor of computer science at Harvard who proposed the new policy, said after the vote that the decision “should be a very powerful message to the academic community that we want and should have more control over how our work is used and disseminated.”
The Harvard Crimson has an editorial about the importance of open access to scholarship in which the impact on libraries and scholarship is discussed. The Crimson also reports that the Harvard University Library will be in charge of implementing a new initiative to publish faculty scholarship. The library will set up an Office for Scholarly Communication to make the open-access repository an instrument for access to research across all disciplines in the spirit of the “one-university” environment that their OPAC now provides for holdings in all the libraries.

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