Open Access for All: OSU Policy Change Bolsters Scholar’s Archive

Part of an ongoing national trend and a regional first, OSU has adopted an open-access policy for all future scholarly articles authored or co-authored by its faculty.

Open-AccessWith 58% of the articles produced by faculty already available through OSU’s Scholar’s Archive, this policy change serves as confirmation of the university’s commitment to the open-access standards in the “Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities,” an international statement signed onto in 2011.

OSU’s policy change, along with the recent announcement from theOffice of Science and Technology Policy that most federally funded public institutions must embrace open-access standards, represents a sea change in the way academic and public institutions make research available to the public.

Open-access policies like this represent an opening up of the proverbial vaults of the Ivory Towers of academia. Wealth beyond measure in terms of statistical data and empirical evidence on the suitability or sustainability of products or services will be made available, for the first time, freely to citizen scientists, journalists, and hobbyist tinkers.

Public access to internationally acclaimed research will spur innovation and ensure economic growth by providing the fuel the knowledge economy needs to grow. Crowdsourcing, DIY culture, and citizen scientist and journalist movements have exploded in popularity over the last few years. Open access represents a real opportunity to ensure that these movements have access to high-quality academic research which will ensure they can remain competitive in the global economy.

In a world with hundreds of millions of Chinese and Indian honor roll students, America desperately needs to increase its levels of education and academic literacy if it wants to compete in the global knowledge economy.

Open-access policies, like the kind adopted by OSU, will empower local educators to instruct their students using the latest research instead of decades-old textbooks. It will breed new small businesses leveraging the hottest scientific advances. It will give journalists the exact kind of information they need to hold politicians’ feet to the fire and to speak truth to power. It will give undergraduates the tools they need to ask the questions that will lead to the innovations that will drive tomorrow’s economy.

By William Tatum