RetrOA

A new deal between a library consortium and a publisher gives retroactive open access to 15 years of scholarly work.
Author: Matthew Cook
A black and white photo of the Rush Rhees Library's old reference desk which was in the space now occupied by Evans Lam Square

On June 11, 1951, Cornelis de Kiewiet became the University of Rochester’s fifth president. In his inaugural address, he asserted that inaction is the enemy of a university (Meliora!), and for Rochester to grow and thrive, one of the actions it must support is the pursuit of knowledge a.k.a. research. Why research? Here’s part of what he had to say:   

A university creates knowledge and guards it. A university is equally a repository of knowledge and a pioneer of human experience. The two capital symbols of a university are the library and the lonely scholar. The one gathers together and preserves the record of past generations; the other advances where none have preceded him.”

We’re sharing this piece of Rochester history for a few reasons:

  1. To remind you that the University Archives holds all of the inaugural addresses for Rochester presidents and a wealth of other University history
  2. More than 70 years later, research remains fundamental to who Rochester is and its mission to Learn, Discover, Heal, Create—And Make the World Ever Better
  3. The above passage provides excellent context for the latest development in the libraries’ ongoing effort to cultivate a more open scholarly landscape at Rochester

Earlier this month, NERL, a consortium of research-intensive institutions, including Rochester, and Elsevier, a global leader in research publishing, established a new three-year access agreement. In addition to ensuring continued access to Elsevier’s journals, the agreement includes a pilot program that offers retroactive open access (OA) for authors from participating institutions. Brass tacks: Rochester-authored content from 1986 to 2000 is now open to everyone.

The NERL project that brokered this deal was co-chaired by Lindsay Cronk, assistant dean of Scholarly Resources and Curation at the River Campus Libraries.

“This will inevitably bring more attention to the contributions made during this 15-year period.” Cronk says, “It also stands to add to these papers’ citations and may even enhance their impact in academia. The deal also reinforces Rochester’s commitment to the greater good and making sure that there’s equitable access to knowledge.”

For years now, Rochester libraries have been guided by a commitment to collaborative initiatives that improve and expand access to scholarly resources. The NERL–Elsevier deal is Rochester’s latest action in this area, closely following last month’s announcement of a slate of new OA publishing agreements. In the news release issued by Elsevier, Cronk contextualizes this recent win for sustainable scholarship, saying, “The future of scholarly communication depends on agreements that don’t reinforce the inertia of the past or create new inequities.”

Check out the full news release for additional information on the NERL–Elsevier agreement, including additional commentary and a list of participating institutions.

For more information on this deal or other sustainable scholarship efforts, contact Lindsay Cronk, assistant dean of Scholarly Resources and Curation, at lcronk@library.rochester.edu.

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