FACULTY ON OPEN ACCESS
Professor, Business Law
Carroll School of Management
The Business Law Department, Carroll School of Management, Salutes the Digital Library Collections Initiative Known as eScholarship@BC.
The O'Neill Library Digital Collections Department is comprised of an incredible team of Librarians who understand the rapidly evolving world of content – and the many different formats as well as modes of distribution for this content. They are in fact on the early-adopter curve in their embrace of shared digital content through promoting the widest possible dissemination of scholarly works. Along with other elite research institutions, including our neighbors across the River, Harvard and MIT, Boston College's O'Neill Library is at the forefront of this Open Access initiative. This Open Access compact represents a new direction for scholarly publications and it promises, as MIT's Provost Reif says, "to put more research into more hands in more places around the world." Quite simply, it democratizes knowledge. This program is of critical importance to colleges for other reasons as well, especially as cost-containment is a priority and subscriptions for content are more scrutinized. The Open Access project bodes well for the academic reputation of Boston College in that the University's scholarship will be greatly enhanced by wider distribution, use, and citation, and that, in turn, will yield a higher potential for a lasting influence of Boston College on policy, and the building of new knowledge.
The Business Law Department was enthusiastic about going forward with the Library on a collaboration to upload our publications to the eScholarship site, especially after meeting with the Library staff, hearing their presentation, and realizing that the project was such a worthwhile endeavor. The four faculty members who contributed to the site have published well over a hundred articles featured in a range of publications, primarily peer-reviewed law journals and reviews. The department has authored dozens of books, a number of which are excerpted on the site. These works span more than thirty years.
Some parts of this process were matters for the Department. For example, Department members were responsible for three deliverables to eScholarship. For each publication, we were required to produce a short abstract, a copy of the publication, and copyright permission for the article to be digitized, uploaded and re-published on the eScholarship site. As with all projects, it seemed overwhelming to read over Department members' Curriculum Vitaes and ask each member to produce copies of each publication, but the faculty responded with alacrity and enthusiasm. Likewise, the permissions process seemed that it would be a herculean undertaking at the beginning as it meant rounding up permissions from each publisher. We met occasional resistance from journal editors, but we eventually sold them on the eScholarship initiative by showing how the staff adheres to extremely high standards by maintaining original copyright and attribution, and prominently displaying the moniker, as well as other identifying features of the original publication.
The Library staff exceeded the Department's expectation in terms of keeping the project moving. Each publication was handled carefully as it moved throughout the campus – from Fulton, to O'Neill, to the scanning lab, and so forth. Pitfalls for loss and delay were avoided due to the care and professionalism of the Library staff. The Library staff graciously offered to share these digital files with us so that we can migrate them over to other open access sites such as SSRN, a medium that is increasingly important for business law research.
The project was completed recently and it is quite an amazing moment to visit the site and see the research component of our professional life's work up on the web in this easy-to-use, up-there-and-available-forever format.