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JMU Libraries, with ARL, Receives IMLS National Forum Grant on Open Access Collecting Strategies

OA in the Open logoJames Madison University (JMU) Libraries, in partnership with the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), has been awarded $89,000 by the US Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to convene a national forum of experts and stakeholders to address key opportunities and challenges in building a collective collection-development system for open access (OA) content. This “OA in the Open” forum will engage participants in creative thinking around how a new collective funding model could be designed to minimize the creation of new membership organizations while simultaneously building community stakeholdership.

The national forum conversation is a critical step for academic libraries, whose operations, budgets, and workflows are optimized for print or licensed electronic content, including relationships with an array of service providers such as subscription agents. In contrast, OA content providers most often receive provisioning or start-up funds from grants, and then devise memberships in order to collect sustaining fees.

The OA in the Open project will include a series of focus groups in early 2019 at the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting in Seattle, Washington; the Electronic Resources & Libraries Conference in Austin, Texas; and the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) Conference in Cleveland, Ohio. With a total of 75 people participating in six focus groups, the project team will talk to a non-random but diverse sample of the academic library community about the conditions under which they could and would participate in openly and collectively funding OA content. The project team will report its key observations in a presentation immediately after the 2019 Digital Library Federation (DLF) Forum in Tampa, Florida, and produce a white paper to motivate the community toward collective action.

“As chair of ACRL’s Research and Scholarly Environment Committee, I know that creating more open and equitable systems of scholarship is a priority not just for ACRL, but for many library professionals,” said Yasmeen Shorish, co-principal investigator on the project and data services coordinator and associate professor at JMU Libraries. “This grant will help us understand how librarians are thinking about the operational and organizational issues with OA collection development, as well as the motivations and limitations to participate in collective funding of open resources.”

To help ensure representation from a multitude of perspectives and academic libraries of all sizes and types, the grant includes a travel scholarship fund to enable four people to attend each conference and participate in the focus groups. ARL will administer the travel scholarships to people who identify as members of a group (or groups) underrepresented among library practitioners; who work at community colleges, minority-serving institutions (MSIs), or historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs); or who could otherwise contribute to the diversity of the forum. Mary Lee Kennedy, executive director of the Association of Research Libraries, said, “ARL is pleased to be a partner on this important project for open scholarship. It is critical that we advance diversity, equity, and inclusion through collective actions, such as this national forum.”

Visit the OA in the Open website to learn more.

About JMU Libraries

James Madison University (JMU) Libraries serves a faculty and student population of over 23,000 and supports JMU’s mission to be a community committed to preparing students to be educated and enlightened citizens who lead productive and meaningful lives. JMU Libraries does this through engaging with JMU’s diverse communities in their creation and search for knowledge through academic resources, physical and virtual spaces, and educational and research services. JMU Libraries is on the web at www.lib.jmu.edu.

About the Association of Research Libraries

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 125 research libraries in Canada and the US whose mission is to advance research, learning, and scholarly communication. The Association fosters the open exchange of ideas and expertise, promotes equity and diversity, and pursues advocacy and public policy efforts that reflect the values of the library, scholarly, and higher education communities. ARL forges partnerships and catalyzes the collective efforts of research libraries to enable knowledge creation and to achieve enduring and barrier-free access to information. ARL is on the web at ARL.org.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services 

imls-logoThe Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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