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Boston Library Consortium Highlights Open Access Issues at Sloan Summit II

Boston, MA In January, the Boston Library Consortium hosted “Sloan Summit II: Open Access – Mission and Mandate,” at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, Massachusetts.  The Summit program provided an opportunity for University administrators, especially provosts and vice presidents of research, and Boston Library Consortium (BLC) members to explore open accessissues and determine appropriate activities for their institutions.

“One of the goals of this event was to assure an accurate understanding of open access at all levels within the institution by inviting academic administrators with varying responsibilities, faculty leaders, and member library staff who work with open access issues along with the library director,” says Jay Schafer, Director of Libraries, UMass Amherst.  “This approach may be helpful to other institutions who are considering how to highlight Open Access issues.”

Other goals of the summit were to communicate different perspectives in order to develop more effective approaches within BLC institutions; deepen support within member institutions and within the BLC for open access; and energize participants to persist in open access initiatives and try new options.

“Open Access isn’t only about sharing information,” says Mary Y. Lee, Associate Provost, Tufts University.  “It’s about transforming how we teach, how we do research and how we collaborate to get things done in a truly global community.” Lee was one of four speakers who shared their extensive experience with open access initiatives and academic institutions. Lee provided an example of a successful, active and multi-faceted open access approach from Tufts; Diane Harley, Director of Higher Education in the Digital Age project, Center for Studies in Higher Education, UC Berkeley, spoke on challenges and opportunities in moving to new models of scholarly communication within the context of our individual and collective academic values; James G. Neal, Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian, Columbia University, focused on the importance of open access as a core element of meeting our educational and research mission and highlighted a variety of options for BLC institutions in addressing the goal of open access; and Heather Joseph, Executive Director of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resource Coalition (SPARC) reacted to the other three presentations within the context of the open access movement.  She also described SPARC members' campus activities, the local, national and international advocacy in which SPARC is engaged, and the new initiatives and venues for scholarly publishing it is investigating.

These talks provided the context for the over 130 attendees to strategize with their colleagues about actions for moving open access initiatives forward with faculty and administrators on their campuses and develop plans to encourage open access initiatives within BLC institutions.  

“The Boston Library Consortium is committed to the free and open exchange of scholarship,” says David Pilachowski, President, Boston Library Consortium and College Librarian, Williams College.  “With the support of the Sloan Foundation, the Summit brings together our academic and library leaders to discuss how we can collaboratively move open access forward on our campuses and beyond.”

The Boston Library Consortium members include Boston College, Boston University, Brandeis University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Marine Biological Laboratory/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Northeastern University, State Library of Massachusetts, Tufts University, University of Connecticut, University of Massachusetts Amherst, University of Massachusetts Boston, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, University of Massachusetts Lowell, University of Massachusetts Medical School, University of New Hampshire, Wellesley College, and Williams College. 
Sloan Summit II was underwritten by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation as part of its program in Universal Access to Knowledge. 
For more information contact Melissa Trevvett, Executive Director, Boston Library Consortium,, 617-262-6244.