Achieving Consensus on
the University of Kansas
Open-Access Policy
Ada Emmett, Associate Librarian for Scholarly
Communications, University of Kansas
Town Peterson, Distinguished Professor, Department of Ecology
and Evolutionary Biology, and Senior Curator, Biodiversity Institute,
University of Kansas
Idecision
n April of 2009 the University of Kansas (KU) Faculty Senate passed an
open-access policy much like Harvard, MIT, and Stanford faculty’s, a
that was expanded and improved in a second vote in February
2010. With these policy decisions, KU became the first public university to pass
a university-wide policy of this sort. A long-standing interest in addressing the
systemic failings of access to university scholarship prepared KU to develop
and support such measures.
The KU open-access policy is not a new phenomenon for the university.
Rather, in 2005, KU faculty governance passed a resolution to encourage greater
access to scholarship created at the university, under the leadership of then
Provost David Shulenburger. KU also made a key early investment in the
development of an institutional repository, KU ScholarWorks, which is now
serving as the platform for the open-access materials levied by the current policy.
The 2009–2010 policy asserts the rights of KU faculty regarding the provision
of worldwide access to their scholarly peer-reviewed journal articles. The policy
was the product of a broad, collaborative effort by members of the faculty
(including librarians), administration, and faculty governance. KU’s Faculty
Senate is considered a vibrant and healthy institution within the university. In
fall 2008, with a short turnaround time, a small but devoted ad hoc
subcommittee of the Faculty Senate Research Committee was charged with
developing a policy for the Faculty Senate’s consideration by the end of the
academic year (spring 2009). As part of their work, a Web-based survey was
distributed to KU faculty to assess their attitudes about and knowledge of open
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APRIL 2010 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A BIMONTHLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC