Wednesday, March 25, 2009

MIT Faculty Publications to be Open Access

The faculty of MIT have unanimously voted to make any publications they produce open access.

Via Ars Technica
If there were any doubt that open access publishing was setting off a bit of a power struggle, a decision made last week by the MIT faculty should put it to rest.

So far, the battle lines on open access have been drawn with publishers on one side, funding groups on the other. Funding groups, such as the NIH, Wellcome Trust, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, feel that the research they pay for will have a larger impact if more people have access to it.

In short, as of last week, everyone at MIT is expected to retain rights to distribute their works at no cost for their parent institution. Anybody who wants to publish with a journal that refuses to grant these rights will have to submit a written request for an exception to the MIT provost.

Far more striking than the policy itself, however, is the perspective of those who were instrumental in formulating it. Professor Hal Abelson, in a statement provided by MIT, said, "scholarly publishing has so far been based purely on contracts between publishers and individual faculty authors. In that system, faculty members and their institutions are powerless. This resolution changes that by creating a role in the publishing process for the faculty as a whole, not just as isolated individuals." Ann Wolpert, who directs MIT's libraries, said, "in the quest for higher profits, publishers have lost sight of the values of the academy."
Read the entire article here.

Image Source: Gideon Burton

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