The Critical Role of Institutional Services in Open Access Advocacy
AbstractThis paper examines the development of the Open Access movement in scholarly communication, with particular attention to some of the rhetorical strategies and policy mechanisms used to promote it to scholars and scientists. Despite the majority of journal publishers’ acceptance of author self-archiving practices, and the minimal time commitment required by authors to successfully self-archive their work in disciplinary or institutional repositories, the majority of authors still by and large avoid participation. The paper reviews the strategies and arguments used for increasing author participation in open access, including the role of open access mandates. We recommend a service-oriented approach towards increasing participation in open access, rather than rhetoric that speculates on the benefits that open access will have on text/data mining innovation. In advocating for open access participation, we recommend focusing on its most universal and tangible purpose: increasing public open (gratis) access to the published results of publicly funded research. Researchers require strong institutional support to understand the copyright climate of open access self-archiving, user-friendly interfaces and useful metrics, such as repository usage statistics. We recommend that mandates and well-crafted and responsive author support services at universities will ultimately be required to ensure the growth of open access. We describe the mediated deposit service that was developed to support author self-archiving in Spectrum: Concordia University Research Repository. By comparing the number of deposits of non-thesis materials (e.g. articles and conference presentations) that were accomplished through the staff-mediated deposit service to the number of deposits that were author-initiated, we demonstrate the relative significance of this service to the growth of the repository.
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