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Non-Profits Can’t Scale the Paywall to Access Vital Information

October 24-30 is Open Access Week

Non-profit organizations are an undeniable force for good in our society. They do amazing work, often with very limited funds.

Best practices, evidence-based decision-making, good data — the needs of non-profit organizations are similar to many businesses, and access to the latest research can help them deliver the best services. But, unlike large companies, many non-profits are unable to pay for access to subscription-based scholarly research journals.

Reduced access to academic research also impacts a non-profit organization’s ability to find funding.

Grant applications are stronger with current, authoritative information, but accessing peer-reviewed research is a challenge due to the paywall of subscription journals.

On Friday, October 28, the UT Libraries will hold a workshop for East Tennessee non-profits. The UT Libraries subscribes to thousands of databases that give university faculty and students entrée to the scholarly literature. On October 28, representatives from non-profit organizations will receive research assistance and access to these peer-reviewed journals.

There are many people outside the university’s halls that want access to academic journals but are prohibited from that access.

However, this one-day event does not address the larger issue, i.e., there are many people outside the university’s halls that want access to academic journals but are prohibited from that access. Authors who choose to publish openly — whether in reputable open access journals or by adding a copy of their work to the university open-access repository, TRACE — increase their readership, improve their citation counts, and have the opportunity to help members of the community in ways they may not have ever considered.

This week, the UT Libraries has published several stories for Open Access Week. If you have questions about any of these topics — evaluating open access publishers using the Think-Check-Submit criteria, applying to UT’s Open Publishing Support Fund, using or creating open textbooks, publishing in open access journals, or adding articles to TRACE, the university’s open repository — please contact your librarian, or set up a consultation with the scholarly communication and publishing librarian, Rachel Caldwell.

For more information:

Contact Rachel Caldwell, scholarly communication and publishing librarian ( or 865-974-6107).

See our Scholarly Publishing Toolkit.

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