Simon Fraser University takes steps to support open access publishing
In the past few months, Simon Fraser University has taken steps to support open-access publishing of scholarly articles.
In February, SFU created an open-access fund to support researchers at the university who publish articles in open-access journals.
While reading many academic journals often requires a paid subscription, open-access journals are freely available on the Internet.
But authors typically have to pay article processing charges to publish in open-access journals.
Now, SFU faculty, staff, and graduate students can each claim up to $10,000 per fiscal year from the fund to pay for these article processing charges.
The SFU library's strategy uses the definition of open access found in the Budapest Open Access Initiative:
By "open access" to this literature, we mean its free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited.
The strategy describes the SFU library's rationale for moving toward open access:
Like many research libraries the SFU Library has been aware for several years that an increasingly large portion of our budget is devoted to packages of online journals published by a decreasing number of commercial publishers. For the first time in 2008/09, more than one third of the library collections budget was spent on renewal of publisher packages of e-journals. While not all of these are from commercial publishers making large profits from academic publishing, a significant portion are. The Library licenses these resources consortially to achieve the best terms possible, but much of this money is also tied up in multi-year deals. This trend leaves less and less of the acquisitions budget each year to purchase monographs and to maintain subscriptions to smaller, independently published journals.
Since one of the central goals of the Library is to provide access to scholarly literature, we continue to renew the large publisher packages while carefully tracking usage to see that these journals are still in demand. At the same time we recognize that reform of scholarly publishing is imperative; the current system is not sustainable in an environment where the university is unable to devote an ever larger share of its budget to library acquisitions each year. As stewards of the library collection in this environment we are compelled to use the leverage we have to move scholarly publishing toward a more equitable model.
According to the strategy, some universities have gone further than SFU in their support for this publishing model by adopting an open-access mandate.
The SFU library's strategy notes that passing an open-access mandate at the university would require the approval of the SFU senate. The strategy states:
While passing such a mandate would be a trailblazing step for SFU, further investigation, discussion and campus engagement would be required at SFU before such a step could be taken with confidence of passing through Senate.
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