support to faculty members poised to publish in OA journals, and establishes a
dialogue between an institution and its authors to better assess their specific
interests and concerns, and to direct financial resources appropriately.
SPARC has recently taken a number of visible steps to support further
exploration of the open-access fund model. These activities include compiling
data from every North American university with a fund and rendering those
data accessible for further analysis; creating a practical guide for institutions
evaluating the implementation of an OA fund; and publishing an online
clearinghouse that includes frequently asked questions, case studies, links to
further reading, and a variety of other tools to facilitate greater understanding
and evaluation of open-access funds.3
In the event that an institution decides to pursue an open-access fund,
SPARC recommends taking a close look at the experiences of other institutions
that have already proceeded down this path. It was in this spirit that SPARC
created “Campus-Based Open-Access Publishing Funds: A Practical Guide to
Design and Implementation,” which is freely available under Creative
Commons license.4 The issues involved in the creation and management of an
open-access fund can be complex. For example, look no further than funding.
From where is the money going to come? Will the library support the project out
of its general fund? Can dedicated gifts be raised? Will other campus units (e.g.,
the Office of Research, individual departments) contribute, and, if so, what are
their interests and expectations? Another issue is eligibility, both in terms of who
within the institution has access to the funds and the types of publications that
should be covered. What author charges should the fund cover? Should hybrid
journals with open-choice plans be included? Can a journal place any
restrictions on article accessibility? Who within the institution will be eligible?
Are there any caps on how much the fund will cover per article, per author, or
per year? While there may not be a “right” answer to these questions, it is in the
best interest of institutions contemplating the creation of an open-access fund to
have a full understanding of the range of issues they must address.
Different institutions are experimenting with different implementations
based on a variety of issues—motivation behind the fund, amount of money
available, faculty understanding of OA issues, and so forth. SPARC is sharing
these experiences in both quantitative and qualitative ways via its open-access
fund resource page. From a quantitative perspective, the nine North American
institutions with active funds as of this writing provided a wealth of data about
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Improving Access with Open-Access Publishing Funds
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APRIL 2010 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A BIMONTHLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC
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