Library Open Access Week Forum a success

UConn librarian Carolyn Mills presents on the importance of open access during the a forum on the subject hosted by UConn's own Homer Babbidge Library as a part of Open Access Week (Jonathan Sammis/The Daily Campus)

The University of Connecticut’s Homer D. Babbidge Library hosted a forum celebrating Open Access Week, a worldwide effort to advance open access, in the Class of ’47 Conference Room on Wednesday afternoon.

Individuals could attend the forum in person or online.

“Open access means information is online, free of charge, with few [restrictions] around permission barriers, like copyright,” Biology, Agriculture and Natural Resources librarian and coordinator of the forum Carolyn Mills said.

Mills highlighted the benefits of various categories of open access for producers and consumers of information, such as UConn students and faculty.

“If [online information] is free, it’s gratis open access…libre open access refers to commission such as copyright and is not a simple concept since there are different varieties of libre open access,” Mills said. “Green open access relates to authors self-archiving their work…gold open access [is] when authors publish their work in open access journals.”

Further support from faculty and the university will improve open access at UConn, according to Mills.

“[Open access] journals charge authors to publish in [open access journals], as much as four or five thousand dollars an article, so institutions sometimes provide assistance with that,” Mills said. “[UConn’s] research office…currently [can] help faculty, who must use grant funds before applying for other funds.”

UConn students have also played a significant role in spurring open access on campus and will continue to do so, Reference, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies librarian Kathy Labadorf said.

“Here at the University of Connecticut with our open educational resources, the whole movement was started by students,” Labadorf said. “The students would always say ‘open source textbooks.’”

Labadorf agreed with Mills that UConn faculty should have a substantial voice in the university’s open access dialogue.

“[A] UConn professor…at Waterbury…wrote a book and discussed moving it over to open access with me,” Labadorf said. “[The professor] published it with the creative commons license CC BY-ND…that will be her book, and if anyone wants to change it, they’ll have to contact her. Now her book will have national exposure through all repositories and UConn will have a copy of the book in its repository, too.”

Helpful advice on how authors can manage the work they publish in open access formats was given by Electronic Resources librarian Michael Rodriguez.  

“Ideally you want to retain copyright or ownership of your article or book or whatever other work you’re publishing because that gives you certain rights, like the right to be associated with [the work being published],” Rodriguez said.

Authors might be unable to preserve copyright of their work in some instances, Rodriguez said.

“What you generally want to do is assign the publisher nonexclusive rights to publish and hang on to copyright yourself,” according to Rodriguez. “Or if that doesn’t work, then agree to give the publisher copyright, but simply say that you have certain rights beyond that…for example, moral rights and the right to make derivative works of your book or article.”

Extensive open access at UConn will better the ability of students and faculty to succeed in their respective work, Rodriguez, Labadorf and Mills concurred.

“Open access has so much to offer to students, to universities and to the world,” Labadorf said. “It’s free and fabulous.”


Alexandra Retter is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at alexandra.retter@uconn.edu.