Penn State Faculty Senate passes open access resolution

Penn State's Faculty Senate passed an open access resolution at its April 28 meeting that could greatly broaden the reach of scholarly work produced at the University.

The Senate Committee on Libraries, Information Systems and Technology (LIST) proposed the “Resolution on Open Access to Scholarly Publications” to encourage faculty to deposit their scholarly work in ScholarSphere, support the principle of open access to research results, review rights retained by authors in publishing contracts and consider publishing their work in reputable open access journals that make their contents freely available online.

“I applaud the Penn State Faculty Senate for passing the Resolution on Open Access because it underscores Penn State's commitment to actively disseminating critically important scholarship globally. The resolution represents a major milestone for visibility and access to Penn State research and scholarship moving forward,” said Barbara Dewey, dean of University Libraries and Scholarly Communications.

ScholarSphere is a repository service launched in 2012 by the University Libraries and Information Technology Services. Students, faculty and staff at Penn State can use the service to collect their work in one location and create a durable and citable record of their scholarly materials. These materials can be discovered and accessed online.

Publishing and Curation Services, a unit of the University Libraries, offers scholarly journal publishing for University departments, societies and student groups. Using Open Journal Systems software, the Libraries are able to host online scholarly journals. In addition, this unit provides guidance to publishing scholars and editors at Penn State and advises faculty and researchers on author rights, copyright, fair use and publishing contracts.

The passing of the resolution follows an earlier vote by University Libraries faculty to embrace open access principles when publishing their scholarly articles. Under the Open Access Policy, passed into legislation at the February Library Faculty Organization meeting, each University Libraries faculty member grants to Penn State permission to make available his or her scholarly articles. The policy preserves the right of library faculty to publish where they wish, but also encourages authors to take advantage of open access opportunities whenever feasible.

“I think the Open Access resolution was something long overdue because of the importance of helping to provide more scholarly works on a global scale, and I am happy to see Penn State join the list of universities working in this positive direction,” said Galen Grimes, associate professor of Information Sciences and Technology, Penn State Greater Allegheny, and LIST committee chair.

The first vote in favor of open access within a university faculty in the United States took place in the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences in 2008. Other faculty organizations, both nationally and internationally, have followed suit, endorsing institution-wide as well as department or college-wide initiatives. Institutions where the entire faculty body has voted in support of open access include the University of California, Cornell, Princeton, Duke and the University of Kansas.

For more information on open access at Penn State, visit the University Libraries Publishing and Curation Services website or e-mail

Last Updated July 06, 2015