Monday, July 18, 2016

FYI Chronicle Article : U. of California’s Open-Access Promise Hits a Snag: The Faculty - A Comment from Univ. of California

A word (or two) from California on the subject of our OA policy implementation numbers. UC faculty typically publish around 40,000 scholarly articles per year, if we aggregate the scholarly article publication numbers from all ten UC campuses. We have, since beginning our OA policy implementation a year and a half ago, collected nearly
13,000 articles from them that fall under the policy. As thrilled as we are with these numbers (because, yes, this is more than we hoped for initially, given the challenges of implementing these policies and engaging campus communities), we also recognize that there is significant room to grow here.

Our progress, thus far, has been made possible through a combination of 1). energetic outreach on the part of UC campus librarians, meeting with faculty committees, departments, etc. to get the word out about the policy and 2). the implementation of Symplectic Elements as a means of "automating" as much of the process of article collection as possible. What we are able to do via Elements is create a corpus of publication records for faculty which they can then accept/reject at the click of a button and then simply upload their AAMs into our system. The records and publications are then transferred to eScholarship (,  UC's OA repository and publishing platform, for display.

We have seen exponential growth in participation in the policy since implementing Elements, now that faculty no longer have the burden of filling in publication record information in our systems and are regularly alerted when we find their new publications in indexes. That said, we are also quite cognizant of the challenges, described by Chris Kelty in the recent Chronicle article, of capturing and maintaining the attention of busy faculty who have varied levels of interest in and commitment to making their scholarship open. We hope, in our next phase of implementation, to create efficiencies for faculty by integrating Elements with other campus systems that currently collect faculty publication information, eliminating duplicative/frustrating tasks for them (and thus making the case for participation in yet another way).  But of course, these kinds of integrations take resources...

In evaluating our progress against an idealized 100% policy participation rate, the Chronicle article oversimplified what is to be gained here.  At significantly less than 100% policy compliance, we have still managed to achieve a few important things:

·         Extending the reach of UC scholarship/research:  There are
nearly 13,000 new UC-authored publications now openly accessible to the world

·         Empowering UC faculty to retain reuse rights to their own
research:  All our faculty (regardless of their article deposit
activities) now hold rights in their publications that they were previously signing away upon publication.

To our minds, this is good news indeed.  We look forward to reporting even better news as our efforts continue.

Catherine Mitchell
California Digital Library

Original article -

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