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Considering Open Access to Expand Availability to Journal Articles

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Once faculty members write, submit and have articles published in magazines or journals, copyright is transferred from the author to the publication. This restricts readership to those with access to that specific publication.

But with Open Access, that is changing.

“Open Access is a principle-based movement, largely driven by university professors and librarians, to transform academic publishing so that everyone — not just those affiliated with wealthy institutions — has access to high-quality information found in academic publications,” explains Mark Bilby, scholarly communications librarian, who recently discussed Open Access, the facts vs. the myths, before the Academic Senate.

“Our Academic Senate is currently considering a Green Open Access policy that would automatically retain faculty copyright over our journal articles and let us share those articles openly,” Bilby noted. “Over 75 prestigious universities — including Harvard, MIT, Caltech and the entire UC System — have passed such policies.

“If Cal State Fullerton passes this soon, we would be the first CSU campus to adopt a Green Open Access policy and have an opportunity to lead the conversation to adopt such a policy CSU systemwide.”

Tell us more about Open Access.

OA has two sides, archiving and publishing. OA archiving typically happens through university archives, but it also can be subject-driven, such as, where physics and mathematics professors have shared journal articles since the 1990s. OA archiving is also a requirement of almost all major grant funders, both private and governmental.

OA publishing is the other side of the OA movement. While initially led by university presses and academic associations, large commercial presses are increasingly adopting OA publishing practices.

“A Green Open Access Policy addresses both sides, allowing faculty to archive and share our articles openly while also making sure that we retain copyright of our articles in our dealings with publishers unless we choose to opt out. To be clear, such a policy only covers journal articles and has no bearing on monographs, textbooks, or other kinds of academic publications that sometimes generate royalties.”

Why are we involved?

“Given the rapidly changing landscape of scholarly publishing, doing nothing related to Open Access isn’t really an option. Many of our faculty are already distributing journal articles in archives such as, but often lack the legal permissions to do so because publishers have taken away their copyright.

A Green Open Access policy changes this going forward by protecting faculty copyright proactively. Faculty and graduate students also need financial support from our institution in order to get published by academic journals that have adopted an up-front OA funding model, and the Pollak Library provides such support through its Open Access Publishing Fund.”

What does it mean for the campus, for faculty and for students?

Open Access benefits our university and our faculty by making our scholarly research more visible and more impactful, both academically and publicly. It also benefits our students, alumni, donors and taxpayers by allowing them access to the very research they subsidize. It also benefits our society and our world by allowing others to read, learn from, and build on our scholarly research.

For more information, check out the Pollak Library’s Open Access website