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re: Open Access and the ALA

This is an excellent point.

In addition to showing leadership in the area of open access, to me there
are more compelling reasons for library associations to move towards open
access publishing.

If the purpose of library association publishing is to share information
about issues and research that are critical to libraries and the
profession, it makes a great deal of sense for library associations to
move towards open access.

For example, staff working in smaller or less affluent libraries (of which
there a great many in the world), are less likely to benefit from
institutional memberships, support for personal memberships, or sufficient
salaries to be easily able to afford personal memberships.  If the goal of
publishing is library practice informed by research and theory, then open
access is the way to go.

On the other hand, if the purpose of publishing is simply to provide a
perk for members only, that's a different kettle of fish.  My suggestion
would be that the relative ease of publishing today should make it
possible for societies and associations to do a bit of both.  Publish a
socially-oriented, who's-doing-what type of magazine for the members, but
make sure any important research or theory is available to anyone.

Another reason to move towards open access is to benefit the authors by
making it easier for more people to access their work.  For example, when
a Canadian librarian publishes an article in the CLA's Feliciter, it is
distributed to members or through subscriptions.  Articles in Feliciter
are generally of very high quality, and could potentially benefit library
people around the world.  However, due to the members-and-subscriptions
distribution model, it is very unlikely that people outside of Canada and
large research libraries in the rest of the world will read the articles.

As a member, I would much prefer open access.  To me, sharing the best
work of Canadian libraries and librarians and the important policy work of
the association is far more important than receiving the journal as a perk
of membership.  I'm not sure if anyone has asked CLA to consider the
question of open access - yet.

There is nothing new in these arguments, of course - they are exactly the
same and the reasons for open access in other disciplines.

my two bits,

Heather Morrison

On 29-Jan-04, at 4:14 PM
liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu wrote:

The more I think about the open access issue, the more I think it offers
an excellent opportunity for libraries to demonstrate both their
leadership in the new information age and their commitment to the broadest
possible distribution of information.  Has anyone suggested to the
American Library Association (and its various sections and committees)
that it lead by example on the open access front?  As a nonprofit
organization with the explicit mission of bringing information to the
people, it seems like the ALA really ought to be leading the way.  Does
anyone know whether it is moving in this direction at all?

Rick Anderson