This huge story is everywhere today - the Boston Globe, the New York Times, the Chronicle of Higher Ed., and Inside Higher Ed. among others. Harvard's Arts and Sciences faculty unanimously approved a plan on Tuesday that will require faculty to post finished academic papers online free, unless scholars specifically decide to opt out of the open-access program. While other institutions have online repositories for their faculty’s work, Harvard is the first university in the United States to mandate open access to its faculty members’ research publications. Stuart M. Shieber, a professor of computer science at Harvard who proposed the new policy, said after the vote that the decision “should be a very powerful message to the academic community that we want and should have more control over how our work is used and disseminated.”
The Harvard Crimson has an editorial about the importance of open access to scholarship in which the impact on libraries and scholarship is discussed. The Crimson also reports that the Harvard University Library will be in charge of the new initiative. The library will set up an Office for Scholarly Communication to make the open-access repository an instrument for access to research across all disciplines in the spirit of the “one-university” environment that the HOLLIS catalog now provides for holdings in all the libraries.