OSU librarians move toward wider access

OSU’s librarians quietly made history in March. That’s when they became the world’s first library faculty to adopt a “green” mandate for their own scholarly writings. Henceforth, they announced, they would deposit all their published work in OSU’s ScholarsArchive, making it available to everyone online. “Gray literature”—such as unpublished reports, presentations, conference proceedings and research notes—also will be deposited if it touches on topics with broad interest.

Michael Boock, Head of Digital Access Services

Michael Boock, Head of Digital Access Services

The open-access blogosphere was abuzz with accolades.

“Librarians have been at the vanguard of the open-access movement, often trying heroically, but in vain, to convince other faculty to deposit,” declared Stevan Harnad on his Open Access Archivangelism blog. “To the library faculty at Oregon State University, who have now put their own work where their heart (and hard work) is, kudos!”

The library’s bold move is an example of the “patchwork mandate” approach to policy change that has been gaining traction across America. Instead of waiting for whole universities to get on the green publishing bandwagon, many individual departments, laboratories and colleges are creating their own internal policies mandating deposits into their institution’s digital archive.

“The majority of mandates in the U.S. are departmental mandates,” observes Michael Boock, Head of digital access services for the Valley Library.

The OSU librarians modeled their policy after the one developed by Stanford University’s College of Education.
“We adopted Stanford’s approach of requiring deposit of the final published version of the article,” says Boock, who helped draft the policy guidelines. “Other mandates accept preprint versions, but we felt it was important to have the final published version. The formatting, tables and appendices give it weight and authority.”

It’s not surprising that OSU’s first open-access mandate originated in the library.

“The backbone of our profession is making research available to anyone who needs it,” says Boock. “Any barriers to access go against the core of what we’re about.”

~ Lee Sherman

ScholarsArchive@OSU is Oregon State University’s digital service for gathering, indexing, making available and storing the scholarly work of the Oregon State University community. It also includes materials from outside the institution in support of the university’s land, sun, sea and space grant missions and other research interests. Submitting your research to ScholarsArchive@OSU is easy. Just send us an email with your research attached, or we can arrange for you to submit it yourself. For this and other information contact scholarsarchive@oregonstate.edu.

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