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Redefining Impact: Open Access Movement Progresses in 2012-13

October 25, 2013

October 25, 2013—Open Access Week, October 21-27, kicked off at Harvard with a discussion featuring Peter Suber, director of the Office for Scholarly Communication and author of Open Access, and Scott Lapinski, digital resources and services librarian and open access liaison at the Harvard Medical School (HMS).

Suber and Lapinski introduced their remarks with a video on the history of open access, which featured Nick Shockey of the Right to Research coalition and Jonathan Eisen, professor at the University of California, Davis and editor in chief of PLoS Biology. In the video, Shockey and Eisen argue that since government-funded research is taxpayer supported, the fruits of that research should be distributed broadly, not locked behind a paywall, such as a journal or database subscription.  

Suber described developments in federal and state open access policies. In February, President Obama issued a directive requiring most federal research agencies to implement public access policies. Also, this spring, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) began implementing the enhanced compliance requirements for its Public Access Policy announced in December 2012—and, Suber said, state-level open-access bills have been passed in Illinois and are pending in California and New York. Suber also discussed the proposed Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTER)—which, if passed by Congress, would require open access to peer-reviewed manuscripts of articles reporting the results of federally funded research.

Lapinski discussed how the enhanced requirements affect medical researchers and how authors can ensure that their publications are in compliance. HMS, said Lapinski, has been active in the open-access movement since 2008, when the first NIH policy was enacted. He noted that awareness and enforcement of open access guidelines have increased over time. Repositories like Harvard’s DASH are critical, Lapinski said—they raise awareness of requirements and enhance compliance.

Adriana Benedict, a Harvard Law School student and co-chair of the Harvard chapter of Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM) and the UAEM North America representative to the Right to Research Coalition, coordinated the event.

The event on October 22 was sponsored by Universities Allied for Essential MedicinesHLS Advocates for Human RightsOffice for Scholarly CommunicationPetrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics and the Right to Research Coalition.