Today’s scholars have more publishing options available to them than ever before. In addition to traditional publishing venues, open publishing has become a viable and practicable option for communicating research to ever broadening audiences. This breadth of publishing options focuses new attention on the way business models, accessibility, copyright and intellectual property, and research dissemination are envisioned. Moreover, these considerations have important and pressing implications for OU faculty members and graduate students who are authors, readers, reviewers, editors, society associates, and advisory board members dependent upon effective scholarly communication for professional development and advancement. Scholars are on the cusp of a transformative shift toward a more sustainable system of scholarly communication.
In 2019 the University Libraries Committee convened a Scholarly Communication Taskforce to examine these issues. The Taskforce met regularly during the 2019-2020 academic year to discuss selected readings and how scholarly communication topics will effect their colleagues and students in their colleges and departments. The Taskforce's work culminated in the report "Finding the Balance: Creating an Open Sustainable Future for OU," which was presented to the University Libraries Committee and Faculty Senate in the 2020-2021 academic year.
In the 2021-2022 academic year the Taskforce made presentations on its report and recommendations to campus stakeholders, including academic departments, administrative units, and college leadership teams. Stakeholders actively engaged in discussion with Taskforce members, frequently concurring on the concerns the Taskforce report raises about the current state of the scholarly communications landscape and its impact on the academic community. The very strong majority of stakeholders meeting with the Taskforce expressed few concerns about the Taskforce report recommendations and generally were supportive of considering an OA policy at OU.
After a year of meeting with campus stakeholders, the Taskforce concluded that adopting an institutional open access policy is one of the most important actions OU faculty can take to ensure an open and sustainable system of scholarly communication for OU. The Taskforce requested that Faculty Senate appoint an ad hoc committee to review the institutional open access policies identified in the Taskforce report in order to craft an institutional open access policy, as well as to make procedural, process, and infrastructure recommendations in support of such a policy, for consideration by Faculty Senate in the 2022-2023 academic year.
Effective fall 2022, OU Faculty Senate appointed an ad hoc Open Access Policy Committee. The charge of the committee was to:
- build on the work of the Scholarly Communication Taskforce and its report to review open access policies at peer and aspirational peer institutions, particularly the Harvard model open access policy
- engage select OU stakeholders or supporting/administrative units at peer/aspirational peer institutions that are or have been involved in implementing an open access policy
- draft an institutional open access policy for consideration by the OU Faculty Senate
- make supporting procedure/process and infrastructure recommendations for successful implementation and ongoing support of an institutional open access policy