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
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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