MIT Faculty Open Access Policy Turns Six: Readers Around the World Benefit

This post by Ellen Duranceau originally appeared on the MIT news blog.

The MIT Faculty Open Access Policy was adopted by the faculty in March 2009, to share the faculty’s scholarly articles as widely as possible.

Since establishing the policy, more than 16,000 articles have been made openly available in the Open Access Articles Collection in MIT’s repository DSpace@MIT.    Downloads routinely reach over 90,000 per month, with readers from all across the globe — as is apparent from the map in the new download statistics service, oastats:

One reader, a self-identified homemaker with a background in nutrition, wrote this week that:

It is very hard to come by solid, peer-reviewed research/reviews on GMOs when you aren’t in academia or working in a medical setting. … It really is a service to the public to make scientific studies open knowledge so individuals can make informed decisions. Thank you!

A group of researchers in Canada recently commented on the difference the open access makes:

We are a group of kinesiology / psychology / technology applied researchers thinking to expand into design for special needs. Autism is one area of interest. Open access provides us with contact, ideas,and knowledge to achieve this on a limited budget. … Thank you.

Other recent readers included a student in the UK preparing for a presentation; a researcher in Australia; and an individual with autism who “is always interested in the latest research that may give me more insight into what goes on between the outside world and my perception / response to it.”

Six years from the ground-breaking adoption of the MIT Faculty Open Access Policy, these comments show that the faculty’s “commit[ment] to disseminating the fruits of its research and scholarship as widely as possible” have made a difference around the world — to people from many walks of life.

More reader comments are available at the Scholarly Publishing website.