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Berkman Klein Center Reaffirms Open Access Policy

A Look Back on Open Research Practices

In 2018 we completed a review of our Open-Access Policy. Here we’ll share some background, what we found, and more about how research sharing shapes our work at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society.

Open research practices have a long history at the Berkman Klein Center since our founding in 1998. In fact, our first freely accessible publication predates our founding by one year. Our Center has helped incubate a number of projects that share the vision of free and open access to information — from open data projects like Lumen, Internet Monitor, and Media Cloud, to open source software, to open licensing frameworks and learning resources.

In 2014, the Berkman Klein Center became the first research center at Harvard University to put these practices on paper at an institutional level through a unanimous vote to enact an Open-Access Policy, securing future access to the scholarship we produce. Founded on the widely adopted structure of the Harvard Model Open-Access Policy, our policy grants Harvard University the ability to share research produced by Center staff and faculty directors freely with the world, while supporting the flexibility for authors to opt out for the scholarship they create.

Working to support access to articles authored by Berkman Klein Center staff and faculty directors, this policy also prompted us to report back on how we’re doing three years later. Looking back on our reporting period from October 2014 to October 2017, we learned two interesting things. First, as of October 2017, Berkman Klein Center publications received over 50,000 downloads from Digital Access to Scholarship at Harvard (Harvard University’s open access repository) alone. This is on top of the downloads that scholarship received from other platforms, but demonstrates the significant appetite for open access to research. The second thing we learned was that we supported a strong Open-Access policy compliance rate of 93% as a reflection of the institutionalized open practice that has come to define our work.

Where are we now? Two decades have passed since we first began using open practices to distribute, communicate, and connect our scholarship with the world. In Fall of 2018, our Board of Directors reaffirmed the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society Open-Access Policy to build on a history of institutional methodology and secure open access as a part of our future.

We are excited to share our experience with open access to research. If you are an institution or scholar thinking about adopting an Open-Access Policy, learn more here, or reach out to us.

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Harvard Open Access Project

The Harvard Open Access Project (HOAP) fosters the growth of open access to research, within Harvard and beyond.