Access matters: A changing landscape in sharing research for public good
Research is produced for the public good, but it is not always available to the general public who paid for it, a significant concern for Tyler Walters, dean of the University Libraries at Virginia Tech.
May 10, 2019
Virginia Tech’s dean of University Libraries is joining other academic leaders in rejecting the traditional print-based way universities share their research with the public.
According to Tyler Walters, much of the research conducted at public universities and published in expensive subscription-based scholarly journals is funded by tax dollars — faculty salaries and federally funded grants. Research is produced for the public good, but it is not always available to the general public who paid for it. Public universities and taxpayers should not have to pay again to have access to that work. This is where “open access” or public access to research is changing the traditional landscape of publishing research.
“In order to serve society, universities should strive to make research available to any global citizen with access to the Internet. Universities create and disseminate knowledge to fuel even more discovery. There is no better way to do this than to make our research available to all who need it - freely and openly.”
“Universities are saying ‘no’ to big publisher contracts because of the exorbitant cost of these multi-million dollar contracts. If public universities continue to say ‘no, we don’t agree with your terms,’ we are laying the groundwork for a more effective and inclusive way to broadly share our important research.”
“With more people able to access research, the greater impact research has on advancing knowledge and improving lives.”
“Researchers look for collaborators for future research. Openly published research is cited up to 20 percent more than research behind publisher paywalls. If research is disseminated more publicly, researchers have more opportunity to collaborate to advance discovery.”
About Tyler Walters:
Tyler Walters, dean of the University Libraries at Virginia Tech, was founding director of SHARE, a higher education initiative developing services to gather and freely share research and scholarly activities. He is a member of the Association of American Universities and Association of Public and Land-grant Universities public access working group. He also serves as President of the Board of Directors, DuraSpace, a not-for-profit organization providing leadership and innovation for open technologies that promote durable, persistent access to digital data.
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