MIT faculty votes for open access to their scholarly articles – 24 Mar 2009
The faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), US, has voted to make their scholarly articles available to the public for free and open access on the Web. The move is aimed at broadening access to MIT’s research and scholarship.
The new policy was approved unanimously at a recently held MIT faculty meeting and took immediate effect. Under the new policy, faculty authors give MIT nonexclusive permission to disseminate their journal articles for open access through DSpace, an open-source software platform developed by the MIT Libraries and Hewlett Packard. The policy gives MIT and its faculty the right to use and share the articles for any purpose other than to make a profit. Authors may opt out on a paper-by-paper basis.
MIT’s DSpace repository contains the digital research materials of MIT faculty and researchers and allows them to be saved, searched and shared worldwide. MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) was launched in 2001 with the goal of making all MIT course materials available, free of charge, to anyone over the World Wide Web. Since then, OCW has shared MIT course materials with more than 50 million visitors worldwide and inspired hundreds of other universities to do the same. The new open access resolution will now remove barriers to making all of MIT’s research openly available to the world.
A faculty committee will work with the MIT Libraries to oversee implementation and determine a workflow for adding articles to DSpace. Under the new open access model, potentially thousands of papers published by MIT faculty each year will be added to DSpace and made freely available on the web and accessible through search engines such as Google.
MIT’s policy claims to be the first faculty-driven, university-wide initiative of its kind in the US. While Harvard and Stanford universities have implemented open access mandates at some of their schools, MIT is the first to fully implement the policy university-wide as a result of a faculty vote. MIT’s resolution is built on similar language adopted by the Harvard Faculty of Arts & Sciences in 2008.