Navigating murky waters between closed- and open-access content: The role of libraries and their institutional repositories
Álvarez, Jaquelina E.
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While scholars were early pioneers to take on the cause of the open access (OA) movement, librarians have embraced it due to its closely knitted relation to their philosophical belief in access to information as a fundamental right for the public good. Coming into the scene, publishers with their particular take on OA begin generating their own hybrid and OA business models. Furthermore, in the last decade, funding and governmental agencies have also entered the arena by adding mandates that respond to the need for easily accessible research results. Traditional versus new models of scholarly publishing have created a very complex environment. Libraries continue to create innovative services encompassing dissemination and preservation of scholarly communication. Emerging technologies, such as an Institutional Repository (IR), have provided a trajectory to fulfilling OA expectations. IRs can provide a sustainable transition to open access in addition to long-term discoverability of institutional “memories” (such as theses, dissertations, data sets, and other scholarly outputs) thus narrowing the accessibility gap. Hence, the transformative role of libraries from custodians of knowledge to content providers. Librarians understand researchers’ current conflicting paradigms while trying to promote the benefits of IRs and their long-term archiving function and navigate the murky waters between copyright, levels of openness, and bridging the inequality of access. This presentation aims to expose some issues related to the balance between the need and right of the public to what is being produced with public funding, making it easily discoverable and accessible and, on the other hand, the protection of the intellectual property of content producers.