Open Access and the ongoing transformation of scholarly publishing: A Guide for Doctoral Students

“The chorus of ‘yeas’ was thunderous,” Harvard University librarian Robert Darnton told The New York Times on February 12, 2008. “I hope this marks a turning point in the way communications operate in the world of scholarship” (Cohen 2008b). Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences had just passed a resolution declaring that because it was “committed to disseminating the fruits of its research and scholarship as widely as possible,” the faculty would grant the university a broad, nonexclusive license to distribute its scholarly articles, and specifically to “make the article available to the public in an open-access repository” (“Agenda” 2008). Harvard’s action is a particularly dramatic instance of a broader transformation, intent on increasing access to knowledge within scholarly communication, which has been facilitated by developments in information technology. Harvard was not the first institution to pass such an Open Access mandate, but it was an especially significant milestone for what has become known as the Open Access (OA) movement in scholarly publishing.

Publication Date: 
London, England, UK