Good news for open access at CUNY! Last week, CUNY’s University Faculty Senate passed a resolution in support of the creation of a CUNY-wide institutional repository. You may be familiar with subject repositories such as arXiv (physics and other sciences) and SSRN (social sciences), where researchers in specific disciplines upload their articles, making them freely available to everyone. However, not all fields have robust subject repositories, and institutional repositories are crucial for reaching the goal of 100% open access to scholarly literature. A CUNY institutional repository will give CUNY faculty and other researchers a permanent place to post their articles (and other work), regardless of field.
You might wonder, “Are researchers allowed to make their scholarly journal articles freely available online?” Very often, the answer is YES. A majority of journal publishers allow self-archiving of this kind; to check the policy of a specific publisher or journal, go to http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/. (Even if a journal doesn’t automatically allow it, authors can negotiate their rights with the SPARC Author Addendum.)
To clarify, the UFS resolution of support is not an open access policy along the lines of those passed at Harvard, MIT, Princeton, etc., in which faculty automatically grant their university a nonexclusive right to distribute their articles (with the ability to opt out, if necessary or desired). It is my ardent hope that CUNY will pass such a policy in the not-too-distant future, but a vote in favor of an institutional repository is a huge step in the right direction. Next step, actually create the institutional repository!
The full text of the UFS resolution is below:
WHEREAS there is a need for open-access models to assist libraries and institutions in dealing with the budgetary challenges presented by the ever-increasing costs charged by journal publishers; and
WHEREAS open-access institutional repositories do not replace traditional publishing but rather serve as an additional venue for maximizing access to the fruits of faculty research; and
WHEREAS numerous universities have created open-access institutional repositories and associated policies, and many more universities are currently working toward such repositories and policies; and
WHEREAS the City University of New York is committed to educating the public and making knowledge accessible and affordable; therefore let it be
RESOLVED that the University Faculty Senate supports the development of an open-access institutional repository for the City University of New York, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that in accordance with best practices, guidelines for depositing materials into the CUNY repository should be created by faculty appointed by the UFS working with the Office of Library Services and should include recommendations to faculty to deposit finished journal articles, preprints, chapters, etc. The guidelines should encourage but not require faculty to contribute to the repository, and ensure that depositing a work into the repository will not affect the author’s copyright.