University System of Maryland Encourages Researchers to Consider Benefits of Open Access to Their Works
Adelphi, MD (Oct.
23, 2017) -- The University System of Maryland (USM) institutions have released
a "Statement Supporting Open Access Dissemination of Scholarship," a joint
statement created by the university libraries of all 12 USM campuses. Councils
representing the faculty, students, and the presidents of USM's universities
have collectively endorsed the statement. The statement explains the potential
benefits to researchers who choose to make their works "freely available
online either immediately upon completion, or within specified limited periods."
The statement encourages USM researchers to consider Open Access
as part of their personal and professional publishing strategies. Numerous
national and international governments, coalitions, and learned and
professional associations embrace Open Access as a desirable strategy for
improving existing systems of scholarly publishing. Scholars who choose Open
Access can experience potential gains such as increased visibility, use, and
impact of their scholarly works.
The statement in support of Open Access also encourages authors of
scholarly works to retain the copyrights to their works whenever possible, rather
than follow the customary practice of transferring all copyrights to publishers
in exchange for being published.
"The libraries of USM led this effort and did a great job securing
support for a statement that reflects our wish to increase the visibility and
impact of work done within USM institutions," said USM Senior Vice Chancellor
for Academic Affairs JoAnn Boughman. "The statement is not a mandate to the
faculty, staff, and other researchers within USM institutions. However, it does
encourage researchers to consider methods for making their works openly
available, and helping to improve the existing systems of scholarly publishing
and communication within academic disciplines."
The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC),
a global coalition committed to making Open Access the norm for research and
education, applauds the USM statement.
"We commend the University System of Maryland for its leadership
in issuing this joint statement, as well as for their encouragement to faculty,
students, and other researchers to embrace Open Access," said Heather Joseph,
Executive Director of SPARC. "Only a small handful of public university systems
in the U.S. have issued collective statements or policies on Open Access,
authors' rights, or the need to change the existing systems of scholarly
publishing. This action places USM squarely at the forefront of a movement to
ensure open and equitable access to research outputs."
The statement also offers help to faculty, staff, and other researchers
who want to learn more about Open Access and their rights and options as
"Our universities' libraries are prepared to help researchers
understand their options, and to help them make choices that maximize
advantages to them as authors," said Chuck Thomas, director of the consortium
that represents the USM libraries. "We encourage them to consider Open
Access, but we also recognize that the options for researchers and authors vary
considerably across different scholarly fields.
"The choices that a researcher in ‘Discipline A' makes could be
very different from the choices made by an author in ‘Discipline B.' We made
sure that the statement reflects differences across academic disciplines,"
Thomas said. "Moreover, we recognize that there is value in having different
co-existing models of scholarly publishing. This statement is about helping
researchers understand their full range of choices and letting them make the
choices that best suit their publishing and career goals."
Professor Beth Haller of the Towson University Department of Mass
Communication & Communication Studies welcomed the USM statement.
"The Towson University library provides a digital platform and
services for me to store and openly share much of my research from a period
spanning more than 20 years in the field of Disability Studies. I hope the USM
statement will encourage more of the faculty and students at Towson University
and other USM institutions to consider the benefits of Open Access to their
works, and to begin more departmental and institutional discussions on this
The University System of Maryland, the state's
public higher education system, comprises 12 institutions, two regional higher
education centers, and a system office. The USM engages in research and
scholarship that expand the boundaries of current knowledge, and provides
knowledge-based programs and services that are responsive to the needs of the
citizens of the state and nation.
The USM statement is available here and is accompanied by a supporting Frequently Asked Questions document. Both documents are available as downloadable PDF files.
Contact: Mike Lurie