University Of California Gives Big Boost To Open Access, Still Confused About Sharing Knowledge
from the make-up-your-mind dept
Techdirt has been monitoring for a while the inexorable rise of open access in the academic world. But even against a background of major wins, this latest news from the University of California (UC) is still big, not least because it seems to represent a major shift there:
The Academic Senate of the University of California has passed an Open Access Policy, ensuring that future research articles authored by faculty at all 10 campuses of UC will be made available to the public at no charge. "The Academic Council's adoption of this policy on July 24, 2013, came after a six-year process culminating in two years of formal review and revision," said Robert Powell, chair of the Academic Council. "Council's intent is to make these articles widely -- and freely -- available in order to advance research everywhere." Articles will be available to the public without charge via eScholarship (UC's open access repository) in tandem with their publication in scholarly journals.
So just how big? This big:
The policy covers more than 8,000 UC faculty at all 10 campuses of the University of California, and as many as 40,000 publications a year. It follows more than 175 other universities who have adopted similar so-called "green" open access policies
Or put another way:
UC is the largest public research university in the world and its faculty members receive roughly 8% of all research funding in the U.S.
As the associated FAQ spells out, this new policy mandates "green" open access -- that is, depositing articles in a university repository, where they can be published under a range of CC licenses, chosen by the authors. This move represents a big boost to the store of information freely available to anyone with an Internet connection. It's hugely welcome both for itself, and for the likely knock-on effects it will have on other institutions around the world.
However, there's something a little odd here. On the one hand, we have the University of California generously making available at no cost the fruits of its academic work "in order to advance research everywhere." On the other, we have the University of California aggressively using patents to enclose knowledge, and to extract rents from it, which is likely to discourage research because of the risk that UC might see it as infringing on its patents. Confused much?