Open Access at the University Libraries

This post was contributed by two graduate assistants in the University Libraries Systems Department, Brianna Wright and Shwetha Vaidyanathan. Catch Brianna next week on November 1 at “Advancing a Just and Open Media Landscape” talking about other work we do to support open culture.

For this year’s Open Access theme, “Community over Commercialization”, we are asked to consider what it means to value community access when advocating for open access publishing. Publishing materials open access allows for a greater amount of availability to these works by the scholarly community and beyond (check out a quick guide to open access here). However, with corporations controlling the flow of knowledge production, it can be hard to create a model that encourages community access.

We are now presented with a question of how to create such an infrastructure that allows for community access. Enter eCommons, Loyola’s response to this very question. eCommons is an institutional repository that stores the works of Loyola students and faculty while still remaining in compliance with publisher copyright permissions. This means that a greater number of people can have access to these works without spending a healthy amount of their paycheck on a journal subscription. By providing a clear avenue of access to these scholarly works, we are better able to support the needs of our community at Loyola and beyond. At the time of writing, eCommons has 14,000 works stored on the repository with 8.5 million global downloads. With this kind of scope, we can imagine how a platform like eCommons can provide an infrastructure for getting involved in and supporting our communities (local and global).

With the stability to store these works for years to come, eCommons establishes itself as a method for creating a community-centered infrastructure for other open access platforms to consider, should they also be interested in serving communities over corporations.

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