How is Open Access to Articles By University Scholars Working?

An example of how this works  is the below excerpt from the Oregon State University website.  For those of you who don’t know about it, it is pretty cool.  However, I can’t always find these via Google Scholar, which is where I tend to find Forest Service open access papers.  Maybe there’s a better approach. What have been your experiences? Many universities have open-access policies but how well are they working?

At the end of the day, I’ve been pretty successful asking authors for e-reprints, but certainly access via Google Scholar would be more efficient for me and the researchers.


2. How does Open Access benefit faculty?

Open Access increases the visibility and impact of faculty scholarship. Studies show that articles available through Open Access are cited more often than those available only through subscription. Increased visibility and use of Open Access articles increases impact, as demonstrated by increased citations. See also: a summary of open access citation advantage studies.

As a land-, sea-, space-, and sun grant institution, the people who will ultimately use some of our research aren’t other scientists. They are practitioners and decision-makers, or in some cases school teachers and students. Impacts of especially practitioner-based scholarship may be better measured by the number of times these works are downloaded than by citation studies. ScholarsArchive@OSU provides download statistics for every item and collection of items in the repository. Some Faculty articles deposited to ScholarsArchive@OSU have been downloaded more than 1000 times.

Articles available open access in ScholarsArchive@OSU are preserved, cataloged, indexed and collocated, bringing together all of an individual faculty’s scholarship, an academic unit’s scholarship, and the institution’s scholarship. Oregon State University will provide persistent storage of and access to a digital copy of your work, ensuring that it will continue to be available to readers. Each article has a persistent URL and metadata pertaining to the article DOI. The web page at Oregon State University that this URL points to includes a link and citation information for the original article on the publisher’s web site as well as an archival copy in the OSU repository that is accessible to those who do not have subscription access to the published version.

Federal agency Open Access mandates are becoming more common, and pending federal legislation would vastly increase the numbers of funded research works for which open access will be a requirement. A license given to OSU will allow the university to make the process of fulfilling these mandates much easier for individual authors.

(Partly from the Benefits to Open Access at Duke University)

3. How does Open Access benefit citizens?

A key element of the land grant mission is public access. Taxpayers fund universities and faculty to do research. Open Access allows the fruits of that research to be read and used by taxpayers, decision-makers, teachers and students. OSU’s Extension and Experiment Station recognizes the importance of making OSU research available to the public by making every one of their publications available Open Access. Open Access also makes knowledge available to people in the developing world, not just to those colleagues and students who belong to institutions that can afford subscriptions to the journal literature.

9 thoughts on “How is Open Access to Articles By University Scholars Working?”

  1. ScholarsArchive
    Court Listener

    If we could somehow change rural communities’ obsession with new shiny infrastructure (re: brick and mortar) and convince them that interconnected library networks can serve as the backbone for local entities (e.g., schools, agencies, private businesses, etc) we might finally have reasonable access to information that the rest of the world enjoys.

  2. An excellent issue to raise, especially for this community. Coincidentally, 2023 has been declared The Year of Open Science by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). And it isn’t just “science” (as in published material) that is being made open: it is the underlying data as well, including original data, the analytical models applied to those data, and results from using those models.

    There are several relevant Executive Orders and OSTP Memoranda on this topic. For example, there’s one called, “Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research” intended to increase public access to federally funded research, foster greater collaboration and innovation, and strengthen public trust. One of the bigger challenges is meeting both the Open Science/Open Data mandates and mandates for what is called “Zero-Trust Architecture” of the systems that hold the science and data.

    For an overview of what’s happening, go here:

    As far as resources, I would second Shaun’s tip on ResearchGate. That’s been a good one for me. Another to try is ScienceDirect. Not all their holdings are Open Access for the content, but they serve as an aggregator of many journals. Their citations, along with abstracts, are usually available. And, increasingly, you’ll find the original data, etc., available too.

    • Peter, thanks! I have been following and am a big fan of the new initiatives.. but as in our world, there is a potential for many slowdowns and stoppages between writing a policy in DC and successful implementation by users. I was more interested in what’s available today. I do like ResearchGate and use it also- but for me it makes more sense to be able to go to one place (say Google Scholar) and find links to all the papers that should be open access based on the policies of the researchers’ institutions.

      • With papers that aren’t open access, I’ve had good results in asking the lead author’s institution, and they usually provide a copy — Oregon State University has been helpful in this way. Also, if one of the authors is a USFS employee, the paper is often posted on a related web site, such as a Research Station, even if the paper is published by a journal that doesn’t have it as open access. Anyhow, asking politely often works.

      • Agreed, there is often a huge delay between policy and actual practice. It’s an interesting change, though, from the “data is power” and giving up your intellectual product to publishers just to get published. Not to mention the whole arena of intellectual property and copyright, which have been an issue for planners and collaborative efforts for many years.

        You helping lasso a short list of the better open science resources should be pretty helpful to ID teams and those engaged in collaborative efforts. I hope the results end up being made available as some sort of a stand-alone reference somewhere.

        • Peter, I agree that would be a good thing to do.. maybe someone will volunteer to consolidate these and certainly TSW could host it..

  3. I use the OSU Scholars Archive a lot – it is great to have digital access to a lot of the OSU Forestry Research Lab gray literature as well as PhD theses. The librarians are great too when I find a broken link or can’t locate something that should be in there.

    • A. do the librarians help you regardless of status.. like being a state resident? I had good luck with a U Wash librarian looking for some of Bob Lee’s old papers.. however the consolidation and removal of the Forestry Library led to some lack of clarity about where items might be. But that’s just a problem for old stuff.

  4. For those who do not know, papers written by scientists with the Forest Service research stations are available from those research stations and are open access. My experience is that they have reasonably good search engines on those sites. I have also had good luck “googling” specific titles and being directed to a place to obtain them.


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