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SPARC holds webcast for Oberlin Group on Harvard OA policy -

The Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) has announced that it recently hosted a webcast for Oberlin Group liberal arts colleges about Harvard University's open access (OA) policy. A number of Oberlin Group colleges are in various stages of discussing faculty OA policies similar to those that have been adopted at Harvard, MIT and the Stanford University School of Education. The webcast served to reinforce these ongoing conversations by answering key questions from librarians and faculty members. Both Trinity University and Oberlin College are now in advanced stages of policy development.

The webcast featured Stuart Shieber, Professor of Computer Science at Harvard and director of the university's new office of scholarly communication. Prof. Shieber was the chief architect of the OA policy passed by the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences in February 2008, and has been instrumental in the passage of similar policies by the Harvard Law School and the Kennedy School of Government.

Twenty-six liberal arts colleges from all parts of the US participated in the webcast, which was coordinated by Diane Graves, University Librarian at Trinity University; Ray English, Director of Libraries at Oberlin College; and SPARC staff. The audience included both librarians and faculty at the participating schools.

In his webcast presentation, Prof. Shieber outlined the reasons for Harvard's adoption of its OA policy, including in particular the history of scholarly journal price increases and resulting problems in access to research literature. He described the details of the Harvard FAS policy, including the university licence under which faculty grant the university blanket permission to exercise copyright on their articles for noncommercial purposes; the waiver provision that allows faculty to opt out of the policy for any specific article; and the processes of submitting metadata and depositing articles in Harvard's new institutional repository so that they may be made openly accessible.

Prof. Shieber also described the process leading to Harvard's policy as well as the institution's long-term commitment to encourage Harvard authors to publish in OA journals by providing support for their authors' fees. A question-and-answer session followed his presentation.

Click here to read the original press release.

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