• Harvard University
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  • Library Notes
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  • July 2010
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  • No. 1354
Harvard: An Open-Access Institution of the Year Print


Shieber: "In global terms, Harvard has a leadership role in open access."

BioMed Central (BMC), an international publisher of journals in science, technology, and medicine and a pioneer in open-access publishing, named Harvard University one of the world's three open-access institutions of the year. BioMed Central announced the honor at its fourth annual research awards ceremony in London on June 9.

The annual award recognizes institutions that have done the most to show leadership in taking steps to expand access to the published results of scholarly research. This year, to reflect the global spread of open-access initiatives, BMC chose to honor Harvard together with the University of Zurich and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The award to Harvard recognizes the breadth and significance of Harvard's open-access policies: "The open-access mandate introduced by Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences has been extremely influential, encouraging and emboldening other US institutions including MIT, Kansas and Duke University to take similar action. In addition, a further four schools at Harvard have since gone on to introduce their own mandates. (Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard Business School, Harvard Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government)."

In addition, BioMed Central lauds the University as "it emphasizes the need to find sustainable alternatives to subscriptions in order cover the costs associated with peer-reviewed publication, while avoiding the need to restrict access."

Stuart M. Shieber, author of the FAS open-access policy and director of the Office for Scholarly Communication, describes the award as both gratifying and significant. "In global terms, Harvard has a leadership role in open access," notes Shieber, who is also Harvard's James O. Welch, Jr. and Virginia B. Welch Professor of Computer Science in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. "Like our colleagues at Zurich and at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, we have accomplished a great deal, but must continue to work on many fronts: support for open-access journals, difficult issues in monograph and book publishing in the humanities, access to scientific data, tools for supporting open access, new kinds of scholarly output such as databases and software."

Following the unanimous FAS vote for open access in 2008, Provost Steven E. Hyman charged the University Library to create the Office for Scholarly Communication as an integral part of Harvard's central library services.

"In recognizing Harvard as one of three globally significant open-access institutes," states Helen Shenton, Deputy Director of the Harvard University Library, "BioMed Central celebrates the leadership and support of Harvard's faculty, while affirming the value of the University's investments in scholarly communication. The award also underscores the growing role of the Harvard Libraries in gathering, curating, and delivering up-to-date research online through our growing open-access repository."