The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) has named the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University as the latest SPARC Innovators. This follows the faculty's unanimous vote in support of a policy that ensures open access (OA) to the university's published research results.
A February 12 vote made the Harvard faculty the first in the US to embrace an OA directive and the first to grant permission to the university to make its articles openly available. The policy, drafted by a 10-member provost's committee, was ratified by unanimous vote of a quorum of faculty members. The Harvard FAS vote and OA policy emerged at a time when there was growing concern among faculty that traditional publishing processes are not ensuring maximum access to their research.
The new SPARC Innovator profile details the process that led to the faculty's ultimate vote. It explores motivations behind the decision to take action; looks at how members of the faculty were informed and engaged; why the OA requirement and its opt-out provision emerged; and how Harvard has paved the way for other institutions to follow suit.
The SPARC Innovator programme recognises advances in scholarly communication propelled by an individual, institution, or group. Typically, these advances exemplify SPARC principles by challenging the status quo in scholarly communication for the benefit of researchers, libraries, universities, and the public. Individuals can nominate their colleagues as potential SPARC Innovators at http://www.arl.org/sparc/innovator/nominate.html.