FACULTY ON OPEN ACCESS
Associate Professor, Biology
My personal experience with open access publication has shown me the power of this tool to disseminate scholarly work that might otherwise be read by a very restricted audience. In 2006, I was asked to write a review article on protein L-isoaspartyl O-methyltransferases that would be included in a volume on protein methyltransferases in the series, The Enzymes. The Enzymes is a well-respected series of books that began in 1970 under the editorial leadership of Paul Boyer, recipient of the 1997 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. For many years, The Enzymes was a standard reference work in university libraries. More recently, however, many libraries, including Boston College, dropped their subscription to the series, as the costs of other books and journals continued to escalate.
I was therefore concerned that many interested readers might not have access to my review. On the recommendation of BC librarian, Sally Wyman, I contacted Elsevier, the publishers of The Enzymes, for permission to post a preprint version of my chapter on the BC eScholarship site. It was a simple and straightforward process to obtain the publisher's permission. I submitted an online form and, within days, was granted permission to post the preprint version of the chapter. The publication information is included on eScholarship, together with a hyperlink to the complete volume at Elsevier's own web site. Posting the article has turned out to be quite effective in disseminating the chapter to a wide audience. To date, there have been 362 downloads of the article from eScholarship, averaging about 10 downloads per month. I am convinced that many of the chapter's readers would not have had access to the article without eScholarship.