The Vision2020: Charting a Course for Academic Computing at Wake Forest white paper draft released last fall prompted many conversations among various campus groups about the potential impacts of the report’s recommendations on the future of technology on teaching and research. The recommendations for scholarship and creative production strongly emphasized embracing the ideals of the open access movement (see pp. 11-12, 16-17).

What does that mean, exactly?

While it is too early to speculate on how this vision might be achieved, it isn’t too early to address some misunderstandings about open access: what it is, what it isn’t, and why you may already be a fan (and just not know it!).

Open access IS:

  • A movement to remove access and reuse barriers to scholarship
  • An opportunity for authors to retain rights under copyright (if not their full copyright)
  • About publishing and archiving of scholarship

Open access is NOT:

  • Exclusively about publishing: open access can be achieved by retaining archiving rights, regardless of whether the publication venue is traditional or open
  • A curb on academic freedom: institutional open access policies, such as that adoped by the ZSR Library faculty, applies to peer-reviewed journal articles only, not to monographs, textbooks, or other publications; such policies also include opt-out clauses, so that you are not forced to choose between: a) publishing in an ideal venue that doesn’t allow author archiving, or b) publishing in a less ideal venue that does allow author archiving

You may already be a fan of openness to scholarship IF:

  • You have shared your publications with someone who requested a copy (perhaps due to lack of access…?)
  • You are active on Mendeley, arXiv, SSRN,, ResearchGate, etc., and have posted your publications for others to access, read, share, etc.

Open access is a framework for sharing, not a rigid set of restrictive rules. And should our university decide to move toward open access, I trust that move will foster open sharing and discovery of our collective intellectual capital in ways that are inclusive of all.

Want to learn more about open access? Read this guide, or better yet, let’s have coffee and chat.