CORVALLIS, Ore. - The Oregon State University College of Forestry has adopted an Open Access policy, joining the College of Earth, Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences and OSU Libraries in encouraging its researchers to make their published research available to the public by depositing it in ScholarsArchive@OSU, an institutional repository operated by the library.

OSU Libraries was the first unit on campus and the first library faculty in the nation to adopt an Open Access policy. CEOAS followed suit, and recently, Extension and Experiment Station Communications collaborated with ScholarsArchive@OSU to place all EESC publications in the archive, including current and future publications.

What makes Open Access challenging are the agreements that researchers strike with publishers who accept their work for publication. Being published in top-ranked, peer-reviewed journals is an important part of the tenure and promotion process, but many publishers have restrictions on allowing free access to their work.

According to Sue Kunda, OSU digital scholarship librarian, a growing number of publishers who aren't comfortable providing free access to their publications will allow authors to deposit a peer-reviewed final draft, rather than the published piece, into a repository like ScholarsArchive@OSU.

"We'd like publishers to be the ones who make that research freely available to anyone in the world with an Internet access," Kunda said. "Obviously, not many publishers are on board with that, but some have made concessions in this area."

OSU was one of the first American universities to sign onto the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities, which is an international statement in support of open access.

Barbara Lachenbruch, a professor with the department of Forest Ecosystems and Society, was instrumental in moving the College of Forestry toward an open access policy. She is an advocate for open sharing of academic research among both colleagues and the general public.

"The sooner you jump on the (open access) bandwagon, the sooner you'll see your papers cited by other researchers," she said. "We don't want to be slow adopters."

Since utilizing ScholarsArchive@OSU, Lachenbruch has noticed some startling results. One of her papers, which appeared in a journal with a membership of only 450, has been viewed 206 times in ScholarsArchive@OSU, and has been cited 21 times in the work of other researchers. That kind of reach is not typical when depending on journal publication alone.

Faye Chadwell, the Donald and Delpha Campbell University Librarian at OSU, said the OSU Faculty Senate was one of the first in the country to pass a resolution in 2005 that encouraged faculty members to seek publishing alternatives that would allow for open access.

"It was a big deal then, and we've been on a path moving toward a campus-wide open access policy," she said. And open access is an important reflection of the university's status as a land grant institution, she said, by providing as much public access as possible to the work of its faculty and researchers.

"It means greater visibility for OSU," she said.

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Sue Kunda, 541-737-7262