A White Paper for the UNC-Chapel Hill Scholarly Communications Convocation

January 2005




Bradley Hemminger, School of Information and Library Science



Open Access

  • Eliminates all barriers to access of information for scholarly communications
  • Provides open access to the University, the people of North Carolina, the nation, and worldwide (including lesser developed countries, where open access is critical)
  • Eliminates all issues with getting permissions to use material for teaching, research, publication
  • Eliminates subscription fees to libraries for materials (Serials Crisis)


Having a university Institutional Repository would

  • Provide public infrastructure so that authors in the humanities, arts, foreign languages, etc. (who have difficulties finding publishers due to volume, or special considerations) are guaranteed an outlet to publish.
  • Provides a free and open infrastructure that professional societies can have the option of using to publish and archive their journals and proceeding.
  • Provides a way to store experimental data, statistics, video, audio, genomics, etc datasets
  • Provides a way to house materials and collections of individuals (Minds of Carolina, etc.) or groups (American South, etc.) on campus.
  • Provides a repository for campus course materials and syllabi.
  • Provides a repository for University Archives and Records



If Open Access if not pursued, and then there will always be for profit publishing, managed by companies whose motivation is not to provide scholarly materials, but to make a profit. The result will be people and organizations who cannot afford access to scholarly materials that would otherwise be a click away. The only way to correct this is to completely remove profit-based publishing. The only clean and simple way to do this is to make the product (scholarly output) which we generate for free, become available for free via open access. While a large part of the cost of publishing can now disappear through electronic archiving and dissemination (especially for “camera-ready” publications), there will have to be a cost shift to cover the costs of editing, copy-proofing, and preservation.


To support this we encourage all universities and their faculties to endorse open access publishing

  • by the University establishing and supporting open access institutional repositories (supporting OAI standards)
  • by the University only subscribing to open access materials as much as possible
  • by encouraging faculty to only submit, edit, and review for open access journals.
  • by encouraging universities to support publication fees that will be needed cover publication costs in open access journals.


We realize that to make a complete changeover to only open access publications requires a substantial change to existing operations of professional societies and individuals. We believe this is a critical time and not undertaking these significant changes will cause the existing problems to worsen. To accomplish this change, professional societies will be called upon to find new ways to generate income previously provided by journal profits. Editorial staffs and reviewers will need to take their hard work to non-profit open access journals, and produce the same high quality as before so that the reputation and prestige will transfer to the new journal. Faculty will need to have the courage to rebel from the existing monopolistic commercial publishers and to embrace, wholeheartedly, open access for all.