Penn State librarians approve open access policy for scholarly work

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State University Libraries faculty voted recently to embrace open access principles when publishing their scholarly articles. The Open Access Policy, passed into legislation at the Feb. 11, 2015, Library Faculty Organization meeting, preserves the right of library faculty to publish where they wish, but encourages authors to take advantage of open access opportunities whenever feasible.

An underlying principle of open access is to make scholarly output available at no cost to readers. In addition to the proliferation of reputable and high quality open access journals, many traditional publishers are amenable to authors making a version of their articles accessible online, either at the time of formal publication, or following an embargo period.

"As librarians, we are often the ones talking about open access and encouraging faculty to share their scholarly work with a wider audience of readers, whether through reputable open access journals or trusted repositories. Now, library faculty have made a commitment to distribute our own professional and scholarly articles using these same practices,” said Penn State Mont Alto librarian Tom Reinsfelder. “Plus, open access has been shown to help authors achieve greater recognition and impact through increased readership and citations, while also maintaining the traditional peer review process," he added.

ScholarSphere, Penn State’s repository for scholarly work launched in 2012, will be the institutional location for deposit and sharing of faculty research. ScholarSphere records are harvested regularly by search engines such as Google, increasing the likelihood of ready discovery over the Internet. Dean of University Libraries and Scholarly Communications Barbara I. Dewey lauds the new policy. “This commitment to open access that our librarians have made will enable their scholarly work to be shared more widely. Ultimately, the open access dissemination of their research findings will lead to Penn State librarians making an even greater contribution to librarianship, information literacy, and related fields than ever before.”

Penn State Libraries faculty join their colleagues at other institutions including Columbia, Arizona State, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Oregon State, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, and the University of Northern Colorado, who have all voted to support the principles of open access for their scholarly work.

The first vote in favor of open access within a university faculty in the United States took place in the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences on Feb. 12, 2008. Other faculty organizations, both nationally and internationally, have followed suit, endorsing institution-wide as well as department or college-wide initiatives. Institutions where the entire faculty body has voted in support of open access include the University of California, Cornell, Princeton, Duke and the University of Kansas.

Inquiries and questions may be directed to Linda Friend, University Libraries Scholarly Publishing Services, Penn State University, 309 Pattee Library, University Park, PA 16802. Phone: 814-865-2486 or email:

Last Updated March 20, 2015