Open Access: Its Future and Academic Libraries

Open Access LogoAn open access (OA) paper titled Moving towards an open access future: the role of academic libraries (PDF) was just released as the result of an international librarian roundtable hosted by the British Library and SAGE International.

Open access refers to freely-available peer-reviewed scholarly journal articles.  There are two forms of open access:

  • Gold OA – The author(s) or institution(s) pays for the article to be published openly.
  • Green OA – Articles are accepted to a repository and access is paid for by the user.

The paper suggested ways that open access will affect academic libraries and change the role of the research librarian.  Open access means users may rely less on library resources and librarian mediation.  One way librarians are increasing their profile at their institution is by managing the institutional repository.  Main functions still will be information literacy and providing research advice.

Open access could affect library budgets.  If the gold OA model is more widely used, costs would shift to the departments of the publishing authors and away from libraries which typically pay subscription fees for access.

Librarians’ experience with metadata will prove important with open access.  Libraries will “compete” with better data and providing better access:

Scaled up OA also challenges the traditional role of collection development for librarians, and it raises the question of how universities can compete with each other on the basis of their libraries if the resources and tools are almost the same. One participant noted that the quality of library provision will be one of the benchmarking issues in the future, rather than the number of books or journals that a library holds.

Download and read the paper Moving towards an open access future: the role of academic libraries (PDF).