Brown Bag #4 All About Open Access

Introduction by Laura Guy


MIT Future of Libraries Taskforce Report:  “Openness” is a big piece of MIT’s vision for the future of libraries. Has generated much discussion. The MIT report is ubiquitously considered a moonshot. It’s thinking big. Purpose is to think big, not narrowly define. She has heard from many colleagues about the report, and there was much discussion in crafting it, but not everyone involved agreed on all points. But there is total agreement on one thing, and it is a key theme if not the key theme of the report:


 “The better world we seek is one in which there is abundant, equitable, meaningful access to knowledge and the products of the full life of research.”


This is about making information accessible to all. MIT sees their audience in concentric circles: local, but also expanding into the world at large. In our last brown bag discussion, Ye talked about the importance of making Mines’ research accessible to the world. If you get one takeaway from the MIT report, it’s opening things up to everyone. In this climate and these days, it’s a very important thing to keep in mind. Report very impressive since first released, and becomes more and more important as we move forward in this climate.


Introduction by Ye Li


  • Who and what do we mean by “open access”? See accompanying PowerPoint.
    1. Open publishing – online, free, for a global audience, ideally free of copyright
    2. Open data
    3. Open science
    4. Open source software
    5. Open education resources
  • Possible goal: Does Mines need an open access policy? If so, what does it look like?
  • Laura:
    • MIT has a firm open access policy; Mines has none. Important goal for campus
    • 800 open access policies globally
  • Ye: Searching last year in Web of Science for open access articles from Mines, only found 133 among 10,000 articles. Not comprehensive data, but – !


Detailed Discussion Notes:

 Faculty: We have to pay hefty fee to secure open access; e.g., with IEEE, Taylor Francis, Springer, if faculty want journal article to be open, have to pay $1,000-$2,000. Mines won’t pay and grant funds are limited. Need a budget to pay for the fees; otherwise impossible.


Anna: Other institutions have developed an amendment allowing a copy to be put into the university’s institutional repository (IR), at least the final manuscript if not the actual published article


Faculty: Puts PDFs of his articles on his own web page. Not true open access.


Ye: Yes, that’s one effort that publishers are trying to help us with; could happen with our IR


Ye: Yes, core question is who will pay; the traditional model is subscriptions, but the distribution model is disturbed, and no clear new one has emerged. Ongoing effort, but the library and Mines as a whole needs a strategy. No matter who pays (library; researcher; admin), it ultimately still comes from Mines budget. Possible answer is to create an open access fund at the library that researchers can apply to for publishing their articles as open access, then gradually add more models. But this goes back to the policy question – if we reach consensus that we want open access, then funding becomes possible. Need consensus.


Brianna: question: What do you think is perception of Mines faculty about open access? How is it considered during p&t process?


Faculty: Not considered. High-quality journal is what mattered. Open access is not relevant to p&t.


Faculty: Need to distinguish between open access journals and open access article terms.


Faculty: But some open access journals are fee-based and disreputable


Ye and Anna: DOAJ directory of open access journals – vetted directory


Faculty: Dangerous for young grad students who don’t know about the minefield that is open publishing.


Laura: MIT talking about including education as part of policy. Also copyright.


Ye: Student awareness is important.


Faculty: Question:  Do we have all dissertations and theses in the IR? Answer: post-2012 yes; pre-2012 working on it.


Faculty: Regarding copyright for older dissertations: Patent applications max 1 year embargo, so embargo on dissertations shouldn’t be more than one year


Faculty: But too much openness can open you to charges of plagiarism. There are dangers related to accessibility.


Ye: Software makes it easier to detect plagiarism.


Ye: Patent question: How do we see the relationship between open access and protecting private intellectual property? A conflict? Helps? Asking because our campus is so innovation-heavy.


Faculty: Whoever wants protections will apply to us for that. Patent has legal limits then. Very simple, don’t see as a problem.


Ye: Yes, a patent can be seen as an open access document.


Faculty: Has encountered faculty asking about patents and research data and the IR. But an embargo period would address the issue.


USGS: how much money do you have to spend on lawyers? Patent trolls, nothing’s safe in this world.


Ye: Access isn’t the issue, legal issues are.


Student: Also just a matter of opinion – open access or patent is your choice? Let people have the choice.


Ye: what do you think? Students could and should pursue patents, and library can help


Faculty: University has rules about ownership of intellectual property. Not entirely up to the individual.


Student: Then library needs to be more of an educational resource for that because we don’t know patent law very well. But being a resource to teach students how that process would work would be helpful since students don’t know.


Ye: Undergrads have rights to file patent for own inventions, but if working for a