A new group, and a new acronym, have joined the open access discussion. COPE, or Compact for Open-Access Publishing Equity, is proposing a way to provide reliable support to open access journals. As of today, five universities have signed the compact: Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, MIT, and UC Berkeley.

Traditional academic journals are largely supported by their subscriptions; and most of that money comes from universities through their libraries. This means that if you aren’t associated with a college or university, you may not be able to access the research if you can’t afford your own subscriptions.

Open access journals are trying to make academic research freely available to all – without a subscription. But they still have bills to pay. Many open access publishers require authors to pay processing fees. The COPE group asks that universities and funding agencies develop a model for paying these processing fees. This will allow both models: traditional and open access to be supported. Please read their overview for more details.

One thought on “Universities in Support of Open Access

  1. Below is a response/blog post from Stevan Harnad, a voice in the Open Access discussion. There are many different models proposed to support Open Access; COPE is one. Stevan outlines his response below. I am not supporting either; just reporting the options. – Robin N Sinn


    Regardless of the size of the asking price (“reasonable” or unreasonable), it is an enormous strategic mistake for a university or research funder to commit to pre-emptive payment of Open Access Journal Publishing fees (Gold OA) until and unless the university or funder has first mandated Green OA self-archiving for all of its own published journal article output (regardless of whether published in OA or non-OA journals).

    There are so far five signatories to the “Compact for Open-Access Equity.” Two of them have mandated Green OA (Harvard and MIT) and three have not (Cornell, Dartmouth, Berkeley). Many non-mandating universities have also been committing to the the pre-emptive SCOAP3 consortium.

    If Harvard’s and MIT’s example is followed, and Green OA mandates grow globally ahead of Gold OA commitments, then there’s no harm done.

    But if it is instead pre-emptive commitments to fund Gold OA that grow, at the expense of mandates to provide Green OA, then the worldwide research community will yet again have shot itself in the foot insofar as universal OA — so long within its reach, yet still not grasped — is concerned.

    Harnad, S. (1991) Post-Gutenberg Galaxy: The Fourth Revolution in the Means of Production of Knowledge. Public-Access Computer Systems Review 2 (1): 39 – 53

    Harnad, S. (1995) Universal FTP Archives for Esoteric Science and Scholarship: A Subversive Proposal. In: Ann Okerson & James O’Donnell (Eds.) Scholarly Journals at the Crossroads; A Subversive Proposal for Electronic Publishing. Washington, DC., Association of Research Libraries, June 1995.

    Harnad, S. (1999) Free at Last: The Future of Peer-Reviewed Journals. D-Lib Magazine 5(12) December 1999

    Harnad, S., Carr, L., Brody, T. & Oppenheim, C. (2003) Mandated online RAE CVs Linked to University Eprint Archives. Ariadne 35.

    Harnad, S., Brody, T., Vallieres, F., Carr, L., Hitchcock, S., Gingras, Y, Oppenheim, C., Stamerjohanns, H., & Hilf, E. (2004) The Access/Impact Problem and the Green and Gold Roads to Open Access. Serials Review 30. Shorter version: The green and the gold roads to Open Access. Nature Web Focus.

    Harnad, S. (2006) Opening Access by Overcoming Zeno’s Paralysis, in Jacobs, N., Eds. Open Access: Key Strategic, Technical and Economic Aspects. Chandos.

    Harnad, S. (2007) The Green Road to Open Access: A Leveraged Transition. In: Anna Gacs. The Culture of Periodicals from the Perspective of the Electronic Age. L’Harmattan. 99-106.

    Harnad, S. (2008) The PostGutenberg Open Access Journal. To appear in: Cope, B. & Phillips, A (Eds.) The Future of the Academic Journal. Chandos.

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