The Oberlin Review
<< Front page Commentary February 29, 2008

Editorial: A New Approach to Scholarship Access

In a move that will ensure the fair dissemination of mental wealth, Harvard’s arts and sciences faculty recently voted to make all of its faculty research articles available online free of charge. This move to open access is a remarkable and equitable step toward accessibility of ideas and knowledge. In an instant, the work of some of the country’s greatest minds will be available to anyone and everyone across the world. It also encourages heightened awareness and thus recognition of all too often esoteric research. It would be a bold, but necessary, move for Oberlin to follow suit.

Open access is right in line with Oberlin’s aspirations for equality. As we strive to make the campus more diverse, why not expand to the outside world? The discourses that go on here daily, the wide range of compelling and nuanced research, is begging for a larger venue. As goes the tree that falls in the middle of the woods, so goes research and information. What good is it doing locked up for only the elite few to ever even have the opportunity to read? Literary journals, while an excellent way of collecting information, can end up doing that and only that. Meanwhile, all of this thought and potential progress is kept esoteric and unknown to the minds of the masses.

Understandably, the transition to open access could be difficult. It is likely that some faculty will have to choose between posting their work for free and publishing in journals that sometimes demand sole publishing rights. But these demands will wane as more and more forward-thinking schools get on board. This topic is on the agenda at the upcoming General Faculty Library Committee, and it could lead to a discussion among the entire faculty. Oberlin faculty, information should be free. Let us make it that way.

Editorials are the responsibility of the Review editorial board – the Editors-in-Chief, Managing Editor, Production Manager and Commentary Editor – and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Review staff.


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