Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A New Open Access Publishing Model

See “Breakthrough on Open Access”: MIT, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, and Berkeley have committed to:
the timely establishment of durable mechanisms for underwriting reasonable publication charges for articles written by its faculty and published in open access journals and for which other institutions would not be expected to provide funds.
This new funding model changes the way institutions of higher education have been supporting the publication of scholarly journals. Rather than fund academic libraries, to purchase journals or pay fees to publishers for access to content, institutions would pay fees directly to open access publishers. (See also Stuart M. Shieber’s article in PLoS Biology, “Equity for Open-Access Journal Publishing.”)

A report released earlier this year, Ithaka’s 2006 Studies of Key Stakeholders in the Digital Transformation in Higher Education, examined perceptions of three roles of the library: purchaser, archive, and gateway. The most highly rated role was that of purchaser. The perceived value of the gateway role is declining. So what's left? The role of the library as archive is “uniformly high and has remained static over time” (5).

The CLIR report No Brief Candle, which was released about the same time, identifies another critical role of the library: the library as teacher. Indeed, in this report Paul Courant argues that an academic library’s “signal contribution to undergraduate education is the teaching of scholarly methods” (22).