Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Open Access in the News

Open Access in the News.

The finer details of 3rd level education policy and spending don't often make news in the main stream media, however when the Harvard University Faculty Advisory Council issued a memo to all faculty stating that journal subscription costs were " fiscally unsustainable and academically restrictive" several articles appeared in the press including stories in The Guardian, The Atlantic and Time Magazine .

The Harvard memo has drawn attention to academic journal subscription costs and one of the academic community's responses to these costs: Open access publishing . "Open-access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. What makes it possible is the internet and the consent of the author or copyright-holder."  The library at NUI Galway helps facilitate open access publishing through our institutional repository ARAN.   Many funders including Science Foundation Ireland have introduced open access mandates

The Library at NUI Galway continues to provide access to subscription journals, negotiating the best deal possible, in many cases via IReL.  However, as commercial journal publishers continue to seek subscription price increases and our budgets decrease or at best remain static, it will become increasingly difficult to provide access to expensive scholarly journals.  The library therefore strongly supports open access publishing initiatives.

The Harvard memo concludes that "major periodical subscriptions, especially to electronic journals published by historically key providers, cannot be sustained: continuing these subscriptions on their current footing is financially untenable" and puts forward a number of alternative options including   making papers  accessible by submitting them to Harvard's institutional repository (DASH), and submitting articles to open-access journals.

What does this does the Harvard memo mean for NUI Galway researchers? Well in theory if you want Harvard faculty to be able read your articles you must make them available on open access.  More generally in the current funding environment rising  subscription costs are leading to reduced access to subscription journals, Harvard's decision to cancel subscriptions is simply a high profile manifestation of this trend.  NUI Galway researchers can now submit articles to Aran at the click of a button through ARAN's integration with the research office's research information system IRIS.  (Full instructions).

Once you have sent an article to ARAN it will then be freely available on the world wide web.  It will also be indexed by search engines including Google Scholar.  Articles sent to ARAN will also be linked to on the publications tab of your profile page on the Research Offices web site e.g.

Dr. Niall Madden of the School of Mathematics , Statistics and Applied Mathematics who has taken advantage of the new IRIS/ARAN integration has commented :
Open Access has become a very hot topic in recent months. Because of that, and obligations in SFI and IRCSET open access policies, I started looking at the ARAN repository. Because of the IRIS/ARAN integration, it was a lot easier to deposit there than I expected. 

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