Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Harvard University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences adopted a policy this evening that requires faculty members to allow the university to make their scholarly articles available free online. Chron of High Ed

On the Hahvahd initiative to incentivize faculty to publish in a more open accessible way:

Robert Darnton, director of the university library: "it will help open up the world of learning to everyone who wants to learn.”

Let's hope that a fraction of the bloggers who were up in arms over the Times 2-year "paywall" show the same amount of passion for this development....But anybody who's spent anytime thinking about the future of ideas (bloggers, and others) ought to realize that making information "open" is merely the first step.

Civilities cites Andrew Odlyzko's essay: "Tragic Loss or Good Riddance? The Impending Demise of Traditional Scholarly Journals":

"Once a preprint was accepted, it would be available to anyone."

Peter Suber has several pertinent comments

See also: Harvard votes to free its research

David Weinberger:
If we were today building a system for evaluating scholarly research and for making it maximally available, we would not build anything like the current paper-based system. Well, we are building such a system. The Harvard proposal will, in my opinion, help.

Boy Bedlam Blog:
If successful, the vote would be a monumental step, and I am of two minds regarding it. On the negative side — and I say this as an editor and a publisher — this is a further nail in the coffin of those who engage in discriminatory, critical selection: the editor as judge of critical thought and its transmission. The Harvard University seal would constitute the totality of validity for a work of scholarship: and that’s a fallacy. On the positive side, it is a continual sin that the un-institutionalized seeker of knowledge is financially barred from acquiring the latest, most advanced research: you need a university pass, after all, to access JSTOR, or else pay a very high entry fee for a service you would use relatively rarely.

The Times, ventriloquizing "The Publishing Industry:"
Such a development would in turn damage the quality of research, they argue, by allowing articles that have not gone through a rigorous process of peer review to be broadcast on the Internet as easily as a video clip of Britney Spears’s latest hairdo.

Oh ho, those quiffy longhairs!

A commenter asks:

When will Harvard and other universities do the same for the TEACHING ACADEMICS? If the researchers must make their research papers open acccess, then it would be nice to see all of the professors who write books when they are paid by the univesity also make their books, lectue notes open access (dowloadable pdfs). What is good for the research faculty, is good for the teaching faculty!!

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