MIT Faculty Newsletter  
Vol. XXXI No. 4
March / April 2019
The Proposed New Review Process
for Outside Funders and MIT's
Governance Problem
A 21st Century Education at MIT
March 4, 1969 Scientists Strike for Peace:
50 Years Later
An Open Letter to the MIT Corporation
FNL Elects Four New and One
Returning Editorial Board Members
Open Access Task Force
Draft Recommendations
The Octopus
Progress Towards an Improved
Undergraduate First-Year Experience
Update on the Academic Climate Survey
Undergraduate Admissions:
A Recommendation
Public Forums at the
Center for International Studies
International Collaborations and
Donations to the Endowment
Faculty Responses to the
2019 Academic Climate Survey
Printable Version

Open Access Task Force Draft Recommendations

Hal Abelson, Chris Bourg

The open sharing of products of scholarship promises to quicken the accumulation of knowledge and insight and enhance opportunities for collaboration. It also aligns with MIT’s mission. At the Institute, we are “committed to generating, disseminating, and preserving knowledge, and to working with others to bring this knowledge to bear on the world’s great challenges.” We currently manifest that mission via the open sharing of educational materials through OpenCourseWare and MITx, and by openly sharing faculty research via the MIT Faculty Open Access Policy. In addition, as MIT makes bold moves to address the challenges and opportunities presented by the prevalence of computing and the rapid advances in artificial intelligence, our efforts in these areas will depend on the open availability of large, diverse, and inclusive sets of data in all formats.

Since 2017, the Ad Hoc Task Force on Open Access to MIT’s Research has explored ways for MIT to remain a leader in this realm, by strengthening our activities in support of open access to MIT publications, data, software, and educational materials. Large proportions of MIT’s research and teaching outputs are still unavailable for open dissemination. This includes the vast majority of faculty journal articles published before the adoption of the faculty OA policy in 2009, and more than 50% of faculty articles published since then.

On March 18 – 10 years to the day since the MIT faculty passed the OA policy – the Task Force released a set of draft recommendations that aim to help MIT researchers increase open sharing. They were available for comment until April 17.

The recommendations include ratifying an Institute-wide set of principles for open science; broadening the faculty OA policy to cover all MIT authors; adopting an OA policy for monographs; and asking department heads to develop discipline-specific plans to encourage and support open sharing from their faculty, students, and staff.

Over 18 months, the Task Force gathered input from experts across campus and beyond to better understand local, national, and global practices and policies related to open access. At MIT, the Task Force hosted two community forums and met with the five School councils, the Technology Licensing Office, the Committee on Intellectual Property, the Vice President for Research, and others. Members also consulted with representatives from Google, the Gates Foundation, Creative Commons, and the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC).

The MIT community offered feedback on the draft recommendations at a public forum, via the task force idea bank, on the open publishing platform PubPub, and via email to the Task Force. Final recommendations are expected this summer.

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