For Senate 4/1/05

Resolution Concerning “Open Access”

From the Committee on Libraries and Academic Computing


WHEREAS the Senate is empowered by University statutes §23 (c) and (e) to “work for the advancement of academic freedom... [and]  initiate and review policies to govern the University’s relations with outside agencies for research, instruction, and related purposes,” and


WHEREAS the principle of open access to the fruits of scholarly research is increasingly being adopted and pursued by universities and in the scholarly community at large, and


WHEREAS Columbia University continues to be in the forefront of open-access endeavors, through its advocacy activities and its digital library programs, and


WHEREAS technological, legal and economic barriers continue to be erected to obstruct or limit open access, and


WHEREAS the availability of the fruits of scholarly endeavor ought to reflect the conditions of cooperative endeavor and common resources under which scholarly work is produced,




1. That the Senate put on record its support for the principle of open access to the fruits of scholarly research;


2. That the Senate urge the University to advance new models for scholarly publishing that will promote open access, helping to reshape the marketplace in which scholarly ideas circulate, in a way that is consistent with standards of peer review and scholarly excellence;


3. That the Senate urge the University to monitor and resist efforts to impose digital rights management regimes and technologies that obstruct or limit open access, except as necessary to secure rights of privacy;


4. That the Senate urge the scholars of Columbia University to play a part in these open-access endeavors in their various capacities as authors, readers, editors, referees, and members of scientific boards and learned associations etc., (a) by encouraging and collaborating with publishers’ efforts to advance open access, (b) by retaining intellectual property rights in their own work where this will help it become more widely available, and (c) by remaining alert to efforts by publishers to impose barriers on access to the fruits of scholarly research.







  • Open access is a cost-effective way to disseminate and use information.

      It is an alternative to the traditional subscription-based publishing model made    possible by new digital technologies and networked communications. As used by           ARL, open access refers to works that are created with no expectation of direct           monetary return and made available at no cost to the reader on the public Internet          for purposes of education and research. The Budapest Open Access Initiative   stated that open access would permit users to read, download, copy, distribute,            print, search, or link to the full texts of works, crawl them for indexing, pass them           as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the        Internet itself. Open access does not apply to materials for which the authors    expect to generate revenue.


  • Open access operates within the current legal framework of copyright law. Authors own the original copyright in their works. In the process of publishing, authors can transfer to publishers the right for publishers to post the work freely on the Web, or authors can retain the right to post their own work on institutional or disciplinary servers. Authors, however, retain control over the integrity of their work and have the right to be properly acknowledged and cited.


  • Open access is intended to be free for readers, not free for producers.

      The costs of producing digital open-access literature are believed much lower    than the costs of producing print literature, but financial and human resources are       required. Author or institutional fees for dissemination have been proposed as           possible alternatives to the traditional library subscription model for funding the   costs of open access.


  • Open access focuses on academic research.

      Open access is concerned with scientific and research texts that scholars give to             the community without expectation of direct monetary return, including peer-          reviewed journal articles, preprints, preliminary findings, and data sets.


  • Open access and peer review.

      Open access does not mean that peer review is bypassed. Peer review is medium-        independent, as necessary for online journals as for print journals, and no more            difficult.



From "Framing the Issue: Open Access." Association of Research Libraries: Office of Scholarly Communication. 2004. <>.