Faculty discuss open access policy

The faculty of Tech, following the examples of universities such as MIT, Harvard, Duke and Emory, is debating the implementation of an Open Access Policy for its professors’ research papers.

If the Open Access Policy is put into action, the Georgia Tech Research Corporation (GTRC) will be given the rights to make a professor’s academic works publicly viewable.

The Provost’s Office will facilitate the publication of articles online. Each faculty member will grant GTRC a license to use all copyrights in a paper in any nonprofit venture that does not return profit to GTRC.

Following this approval by the author of an academic work, a representative from the Provost’s office will post the work online in a repository specially designed for similar articles.

The motivation of this move, according to the Vision Statement of the policy, is to allow  Tech to “be leaders in influencing major technological, social and policy decisions that address critical global challenges.”

“The results of our research need to be broadly accessible to the citizens of Georgia, the U.S. and the Global community,” said Steve McLaughlin, one of the co-chairs for this event.

Moreover, the proposers of this movement wish to establish Tech as a pioneer in the research world by making it one of the few universities to accept an Open Access Policy.

If the policy is executed, Tech will become the first public university in Georgia and the U.S.  to have open access to its research articles.

“I view it as a good thing to for science and engineering in general,” said Dr. Chris Jones, a professor working in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.

“I don’t believe that there are a lot of farmers in Georgia or aspiring scientists in rural parts of the world that are desperately desiring access to my papers… But if they want to find a paper via open access on the web, they can do that,” Jones said.

Commenting on the magnitude of the effect of the Open Access Policy, Jones claimed that the true global effect would still be relatively insignificant.

“There are a lot of entrenched publishers in certain engineering and science disciplines where open access is just not part of the culture,” he said.

The policy also features an opt-out provision, where professors can decline open access for certain papers that they publish.

The freedom granted by this provision allows professors to still retain the rights to publish their work to journals and constitutions.