BU OA: reactions so far

in DigiLib BLog
February 19th, 2009

Well! The news of BU’s adoption of an open access plan has spread far and wide. It’s been picked up by DigitalKoans, by the Associated Press, and by Inside Higher Ed among others. Peter Suber’s thoughtful response was one of the first, supplemented by further thoughts after the university published the document approved by the Faculty Council last September.

Institutional repository manager and librarian Dorothea Salo (University of Wisconsin) wrote an interesting post in which she characterizes BU’s initiative as something hybrid compared to what’s gone before. She writes:

It is not a mandate of any kind. It is not a typical rights-retention resolution, either; there is no author addendum attached. Instead, it is a fascinating middle-ground. It mentions gold as well as green OA. It mentions building a faculty publications database, not just an IR; this is important because like it or not, faculty publications databases have real-world uses for faculty and administrators that IRs simply don’t. It takes on tenure and promotion practices straightforwardly.

It is, in short, a start toward a university-wide open-access strategy. That’s fascinating, and to the best of my knowledge, completely novel. The breadth of the conversation is certainly a vast improvement over the library starting an IR all by itself that it then doesn’t promote or work to fill. It’s also an improvement over putting all the local open-access eggs in one basket, whether that basket is an IR or an author’s addendum or a gold-fee fund. Several open-access strategies are still in experimental stages… I think it makes an awful lot of sense to keep one’s implementation options open, focusing on policy and hearts-and-minds instead. [emphasis author’s]

Salo’s comments seem to me partly descriptive, partly suggestive of where we might want to place emphasis as we work on making this thing a reality. Certainly worth discussing, as I’m sure we will.

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