Columbia University Senate Endorses Resolution on Open Access and Scholarly Communication

NEW YORK, April 21, 2005 - The Columbia University Senate endorsed unanimously a resolution on “Open Access” at its meeting on April 1, 2005. The resolution was introduced by the Senate’s Committee on Libraries and Academic Computing.

James Neal, Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian at Columbia, applauded “this bold support by the Columbia community for open access to scholarly work and this endorsement of the University’s advocacy for reducing economic, legal, and technological barriers.”

The text of the resolution follows:

Whereas the Senate is empowered by University statutes §23 (c) and (e) to “work for the advancement of academic freedom... [and] initiate and review policies to govern the University’s relations with outside agencies for research, instruction, and related purposes,” and

Whereas the principle of open access to the fruits of scholarly research is increasingly being adopted and pursued by universities and in the scholarly community at large, and

Whereas Columbia University continues to be in the forefront of open-access endeavors, through its advocacy activities and its digital library programs, and

Whereas technological, legal and economic barriers continue to be erected to obstruct or limit open access, and

Whereas the availability of the fruits of scholarly endeavor ought to reflect the conditions of cooperative endeavor and common resources under which scholarly work is produced,

Therefore be it resolved

1. That the Senate put on record its support for the principle of open access to the fruits of scholarly research;

2. That the Senate urge the University to advance new models for scholarly publishing that will promote open access, helping to reshape the marketplace in which scholarly ideas circulate, in a way that is consistent with standards of peer review and scholarly excellence;

3. That the Senate urge the University to monitor and resist efforts to impose digital rights management regimes and technologies that obstruct or limit open access, except as necessary to secure rights of privacy;

4. That the Senate urge the scholars of Columbia University to play a part in these open-access endeavors in their various capacities as authors, readers, editors, referees, and members of scientific boards and learned associations etc., (a) by encouraging and collaborating with publishers’ efforts to advance open access, (b) by retaining intellectual property rights in their own work where this will help it become more widely available, and (c) by remaining alert to efforts by publishers to impose barriers on access to the fruits of scholarly research.

Columbia University Libraries is one of the top ten academic library systems in the nation, with 9.2 million volumes, over 65,650 serials, as well as extensive collections of electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, and other nonprint formats. The collections and services are organized into 25 libraries, supporting specific academic or professional disciplines. Columbia Libraries employs more than 400 professional and support staff to assist faculty, students, and researchers in their academic endeavors. The Libraries’ website at is a gateway to its print and electronic collections and to its services.

04/21/05 JD