The University Libraries and Office of Research have launched a pilot program, Open Publishing Support Fund for faculty and graduate students to request funding for “article processing charges” that support open access publishers such as the Public Library of Science (PLoS) and BioMedCentral. Program web pages at http://www.lib.utk.edu/openpub/ include the program announcement and description, an application form, and a list of open access publishers.
Open access publishing is a model for the communication of research and scholarship with the following characteristics: 1) materials are in digital format; 2) on the Internet; and 3) freely available to users. Open access insures that scholarly work will be broadly disseminated and discovered. It is provided primarily through journals and institutional archives (sometimes called repositories). Like traditional journals, scholarly open access journals undergo peer review, with quality determined by factors related to article content, citation counts, author prominence, and publisher reputation. Open access publishing is one cost-effective alternative to the traditional subscription-based publishing model.
Key benefits of open access publishing are that authors retain their copyrights and receive greater exposure for their research results. Peer-reviewed scholarly works created with no expectation of direct monetary return can be freely available throughout the world via the Internet, for anyone to read, download, copy, distribute, and use with attribution. The cost to produce digital open-access literature, generally lower than publishing print literature, is borne by researchers and their sponsoring organizations. Although not all open access publishers charge processing fees, some that do will negotiate the payment required, and payment is separate from the peer-review process.
Scholarly communication is the lifeblood of the university. Because threats to the free flow of research and ideas jeopardize the entire academy, administrators, scholars, and librarians are pursuing options to “reclaim” research produced in the academy. A group of University of Tennessee, Knoxville life sciences faculty recently requested that the university provide incentives for faculty to publish in open access journals. Given increasing campus awareness about overpriced journal subscriptions, it is gratifying, indeed, that UTK researchers want to create change in the academy’s publishing and tenure/promotion culture. Faculty can request open access fee payments in grant proposals; some funding agencies are establishing policies that support the cost of open access publishing.
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, like many research universities, is experimenting with new opportunities for disseminating peer-reviewed scholarship to achieve maximum impact from research results produced by campus scholars. This pilot program demonstrates the university’s commitment to support faculty whose publications offer broad public access to knowledge created at UTK, a goal central to the University’s land grant mission.
For more information contact Greg Reed, Associate Vice Chancellor, Office of Research, firstname.lastname@example.org.