Open Access at Emory

Open-access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. What makes it possible is the internet and the consent of the author or copyright-holder.

Peter Suber, from A Very Brief Introduction to Open Access

The open access movement has grown and flourished as the internet has provided new ways for scholarship to be produced, distributed and accessed.   Every October, there is a week of international recognition and celebration of open access.  This year’s theme is “Open Access in Action.”  In the Scholarly Communications Office, we’re going to begin our own celebration of open access right here at home.

The first open access journal at Emory, Molecular Vision, was launched in 1995 by co-founding editors, John Nickerson and Jeffrey Boatright of the Department of Ophthalmology.  Molecular Vision’s online distribution enabled publishing color images and animations, while still maintaining peer-review and quality standards that have led to indexing in PubMed and an impact factor from ISI.

It wasn’t until almost ten years later that the next Emory OA journal, Southern Spaces, was launched in 2004 under the auspices of the Emory Libraries.  Allen Tullos, co-director of the Emory Center for Digital Scholarship, has guided Southern Spaces since it’s inception as a multi-media interdisciplinary journal about regions, places, and cultures of the U.S. South and their global connections.

In 2009, two new OA journals were launched at Emory.   Methodist Review publishes scholarly articles in all areas and eras of Wesleyan and Methodist studies, and is sponsored by the Candler School of Theology at Emory, The Perkins School of Theology at SMU, and Association of United Methodist Theological Schools and the General Board of Higher Education of the United Methodist Church.  Practical Matters is a publication of Emory’s Graduate Division of Religion with support from Candler School of Theology and pushes the boundaries of both the study of religious practices and the discipline of practical theology.

In 2011, nonsite, an online, open access, peer-reviewed quarterly journal of scholarship in the arts and humanities, was launched.  Published with WordPress, is affiliated with Emory College of Arts and Sciences.

Sacred Matters aims to undercut conventional understandings of religion and reimagines the boundaries between religion and culture.  Launched in 2013, it is an open access magazine of public scholarship affiliated with Emory’s Department of Religion.

In January 2015, Journal of Humanities in Rehabilitation was launched by Emory’s Division of Physical Therapy.  The journal’s purpose is to raise the consciousness and deepen the intellect of the humanistic relationship in the rehabilitation sciences.

However, OA journals are not Emory’s only commitment to open access.  In 2007, the Laney Graduate School and the Woodruff Library collaborated on developing and implementing an open access repository of electronic theses and dissertations of graduating Emory students, called ETD.     Since it was piloted in 2007, ETDs has grown to over 5,400 theses and dissertations from Laney Graduate School, Rollins School of Public Health, Candler School of Theology, and undergraduate honors theses from Emory College.

The Emory Faculty Council made a commitment to open access by passing an Open Access Policy for Emory faculty authored articles in March 2011.  The Library Policy Committee (LPC) approached the Center for Faculty Development and Excellence (CFDE) to facilitate discussing Open Access within the Emory community.  In April 2009, the Emory Faculty Council approved the request for a series of Open Access Conversations with the faculty, with the goal of developing an Open Access Policy for Emory.  The LPC and CFDE held these conversations in the 09/10 academic year, and worked with Faculty Council on crafting an OA policy for Emory in the 10/11 academic year.  The final policy and other information is available at the Open Access LibGuide.

The Open Access Policy called upon the Libraries to create a repository of faculty authored articles, which resulted in the launch of OpenEmory in August 2012.  OpenEmory serves faculty interests by providing an opportunity for the faculty of Emory to disseminate their scholarly articles as widely as possible through open access, making them freely available throughout the world, without charge.  Also, OpenEmory will promote greater research impact, assist in retention of authors’ copyrights, and ensure preservation of faculty scholarship.  In 2016, OpenEmory was expanded to also accept books, book chapters, conference papers, posters, presentations and reports.

Launched in conjunction with OpenEmory, the Open Access Publishing Fund provides funds to make it easier for Emory authors to publish in eligible open access journals and books when no alternative funding is available, thereby fostering the exploration of new and innovative publishing models across research communities.  The OA Publishing Fund also includes funding support for depositing accompanying data sets.  Since its launch, over 60 open access journal articles and one open access book have been supported from this fund.

Beginning in 2014, researchers at Emory have had the option of openly distributing data sets through Dataverse.  Dataverse is an open repository of Emory research data, supporting long-term and sustainable access for data underlying publications in peer-reviewed journals.  This service is offered at no charge to Emory researchers.

As Emory welcomes a new president and engages in creating a new strategic plan, we remain true to the enduring goal of a university to generate new knowledge.  By making Emory scholarship freely accessible everywhere, we raise the visibility of this work, and we further the intellectual community here at Emory.  Join us in celebrating open access at Emory, and stay tuned through the month of October for more on all things open!

Have questions? Feel free to email the Scholarly Communications Office at scholcomm [at] listserv [dot] cc [dot] emory [dot] edu.

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