PUL co-hosts panel on open access funding with Rutgers University Libraries

The title slide of the "Who's Paying for Open Access?" event

In November 2021, Princeton University Library’s (PUL) Scholarly Communications Office (SCO) joined with Rutgers University-New Brunswick Libraries to host the virtual panel presentation “Who’s Paying for Open Access?” The discussion focused on the need for open access from a variety of perspectives, including researchers, publication authors, and the organizations that fund them.

The panel featured four presenters: Kathryn Funk, Program Manager, PubMed Central, National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), National Institutes of Health (NIH); Dr. Martin Halbert, NSF Science Advisor for Public Access at National Science Foundation (NSF); Ashley Farley, Program Officer of Knowledge & Research Services at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; and Professor Johan Rooryck, Executive Director at cOAlition S, Professor of French Linguistics, Leiden University.

Scholarly Communications Librarian Yuan Li and E-resources Librarian Joe Marciniak worked with Rutgers University-New Brunswick’s Behavioral Sciences Librarian; Open Access Specialist Laura Bowering Mullen and Science Research Librarian Mei Ling Lo to organize the event. Since joining PUL in 2014, Li has been involved in advocacy for, education around, and management of the Library’s open access efforts, which seek to help Princeton authors and their research reach the largest possible audience.  

Over the last decade, the fight for access to peer-reviewed research has increasingly come into public view. In 2013, John P. Holdren, then Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, issued a memo that “directed federal agencies with more than $100M in R&D expenditures to develop plans to make the results of federally funded research freely available to the public—generally within one year of publication.”

“Open access is a common goal,” said Mullen. “By working together in this way, librarians are pooling knowledge and expertise, and sharing best practices, to better serve our collective research university communities. In the case of our webinar, we were able to share our knowledge and strategies on how to increase the level of open access for all of the substantial collective research output of both universities. We strive to make all of the research output of our respective universities open access to a global readership.”

According to Funk’s presentation, the need for open access funding is evidenced in part by a growth in readership. Between 2017 and 2020, the NIH nearly doubled the amount of web views of NIH-funded articles to nearly 500 million.

The panelists also highlighted the need to successfully navigate the publishing process. Halbert’s presentation emphasized that recipients of NSF grants can include requests for funds to cover open access publication as a reasonable research expense.

“The biggest takeaway from our event by all attendees was that the major research funders (both public and private) no longer want any impediments to access by the public to the research they fund,” said Li. “With so much funded research at Princeton and Rutgers, the four presenters made it clear that we are looking at a future of open access for funded research. We must prepare and make open access happen for the research output of our universities.” 

To view the archived presentation, click here.

Written by: Brandon Johnson, Communications Specialist

Media Contact: Barbara Valenza, Director of Library Communications