HLS on Board with Open Access!

Harvard Law School’s faculty has voted unanimously to join the Faculty of Arts & Sciences in implementing an open access publication policy and institutional repository for works published by faculty members. Incoming Vice Dean for Library and Information Resources John Palfrey’s blog provides details, including the text of the policy. The Chronicle of Higher Education blogged the decision as well.

What does it mean for you? Well, in essence, Harvard law faculty members’ new publications will be available for non-profit, research use to anyone who can access the internet. (Unless the faculty member chooses to opt out of the system, which the policy gives the faculty member the right to do.)

As HLS Dean Elena Kagan says “Our decision to embrace ‘open access’ means that people everywhere can benefit from the ideas generated here at the Law School.” Harvard University Professor and Director of the Library Robert Darnton hailed the vote: “That such a renowned law school should support Open Access so resoundingly is a victory for the democratization of knowledge. Far from turning its back to the outside world, the HLS is sharing its intellectual wealth.”

As Stuart Shieber, a major advocate for the policy has noted,

“Librarians have been very involved with these issues, and with the work on this policy. There was important library representation on the Provost’s Committee on Scholarly Publishing, which developed this proposal, and involvement of librarians at many points, including an open forum with librarians on the motion.”

As librarians, we look forward to helping provide easy access to what will soon become a free source of some of the best scholarship in the world.

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