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Sessions to address scholarly publishing

Faculty members will be able to learn about open-access publishing options and share their experiences during a symposium this month.

“New Approaches to Scholarly Communications and Publishing” will examine new developments in the field and how faculty can use them in research and teaching. Two sessions are scheduled: The first will take place from 1-5 p.m. April 15, in LS-2523. The second program will be held from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. April 16, also in LS-2523. The symposium is sponsored by University Libraries, the Faculty Senate Library Committee and the Division of Research. Funding is provided by the Provost’s Symposia series.

“One of the reasons we wanted to have this kind of program is that there have been a lot of changes in the last couple of years: How researchers are creating material, sharing it and using it,” said Elizabeth Brown, scholarly communications and library grants officer. “I think a lot of faculty may know about it, but not what other disciplines are doing. This will be a broader talk in which all faculty members can learn from each other.”

Traditionally, universities pay for journal subscriptions. But in open-access publishing, authors and researchers can pay to have their articles freely available to the reader. The money could also come from the author’s employer or research grant. This publishing format makes the content more available to more users, while potentially saving universities the rising costs of science journals.

Universities such as Harvard, MIT and Stanford are moving toward open-access requirements, Brown said.

“It’s the new trend in publishing,” she said. “There’s a feeling that publishing articles in this way will give people more access to them, as people who don’t have a subscription can read them.”

The symposium will deal with more than open access, however. The program will also address the National Institutes of Health public access policy. Enacted a little more than a year ago, the policy requires anyone accepting NIH funding to submit research articles to an NIH online archive called PubMedCentral.

The archive allows the public to have greater access to research from an organization that is supported by tax dollars, Brown said.

“This is the first funding agency to require researchers to do this,” she said. “It’s likely other funding agencies will start to do the same.”

A third program topic is preserving scholarly materials in a digital format.

Both sessions will feature presentations from Julia Blixrud of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) and Kenneth DiFiore of  JSTOR/Portico (an archive for electronic journals).

Each session will include a different group of faculty members offering their own perspectives on the publishing options, followed by a group discussion. Brown, who started in her new position last August, will take part in all of the events.

For more information about the sessions, contact Brown at or 777-4882.

“I’m envisioning that this is the beginning of a dialogue about these issues on campus,” Brown said.

“Other campuses have already had the dialogue and some have created mandates. I think our campus needs to think about these ideas and how they want to do them. It has to be a campus-wide decision. … I can have an opinion, but the faculty are the ones creating a lot of the research and scholarly materials.”

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Last Updated: 10/14/08