Higher Education
11:41 am
Tue August 13, 2013

Debate Over University Research Open Access

Illinois' public universities could have to share more of their research, under a new state law. 

Pick a subject. Any subject.  And two things are likely true:

-someone at a university is researching it, and

-the results of that research are getting published, probably in a scholarly journal.

There's the journal of Sewage and Industrial Wastes. Contemporary European History. The African Music Society Newsletter ...  all of which gets the information out to experts in the given field.

But if you don't subscribe to, say, the International Journal of Waterbird Biology, you may never know about, or be able to easily access, the professor's research.

"We believe fundamentally that if public dollars pay for scientific research, then the public inherently has a right to see the results of that research," said Heather Johnson, director of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, a Washington, D.C. based alliance that advocates for open access. 

Johnson applauds the new law that could make Illinois schools' research more available.

Each public university has to create a task force, charged with examining the issue. 

So far, the only requirement is submitting a report on HOW by the end of 2014. 

But Johnson says her goal is for articles be shared for free online within a year of being published in a scholarly journal.