December 2014

Open Access to Research Articles Act Task Force Report Now Online

Many of you will recall the legislation introduced by Senator Biss, urging Illinois higher education institutions to implement policies in support of Open Access. The Board of Trustees (BOT) appointed a UI task force last year, with senior representatives from all three campuses. We completed the report this Fall. The BOT received the report and I presented the report to the BOT’s Academic and Student Affairs Committee (ASAC) on Wednesday, November 12th. The report is now online on the BOT website:

Representatives from Elsevier and APS participated in the group throughout the year. You may infer from the URL that the report also includes a minority report from these non-voting publisher representatives. As I reported to the ASAC, the minority report contains:

very little real disagreement (e.g., concerns expressed about Gold OA are not so much disagreement as a desire to see a slightly different emphasis). A key difference of opinion registered by the Minority Report is the authors’ belief that the recommendation and policy conclusion that requiring “faculty [to] grant to the University of Illinois a nonexclusive license” is problematic and unnecessary. Universities (including ours) that have grappled with these issues believe that this grant of rights is a necessary condition of open access; the Task Force believes that without that permission the goals of the law cannot be met. This disagreement is likely to be an inevitable one between publishers and those considering open access.

I won’t seriously suggest that you read the entire report, but I hope you’ll read the recommendations, and that the more ambitious among you will read the narrative text exploring the issues laid out by the legislation and that precedes each set of recommendations. The task force was an outstanding group and engaged thoughtfully with a range of very interesting questions.

Finally, I want to add a note of gratitude to the Scholarly Commons for its support of several task force sub-groups, and particularly to Sarah Shreeves, who provided outstanding and patient support to the Task Force over the course of the year.

John Wilkin
The Juanita J. and Robert E. Simpson Dean of Libraries and University Librarian