Business Law and Open Access

The Business Law Department in the Carroll School of Management jumped on the Open Access movement at its inception. Why did we want to become a part of eScholarship and allow Open Access to our scholarly works? Open sharing of scholarly works promotes further research and thought, collaboration and criticism. Wider distribution gets the information out there to other scholars who are influenced by the research and increases the audience for our findings, ideas and policy recommendations. Open Access fosters the efficient diffusion of knowledge and yields extraordinary benefits for the author, our institution, and researchers at other institutions. The documents on eScholarship are word searchable and thus responsive to modern methods of online research. More readers assure that citation to the work is increased. Open Access allows everyone with internet access to obtain the knowledge, an appealing democratizing feature. Thanks to the O’Neill Library’s eScholarship project, the Business Law department has breached the boundaries of subscription distribution to get our work out there where more people can read it. It seems that we have come full circle from instruction to research and back again as I have included a link to the Business Law department’s eScholarship site on my classes’ Blackboard Vista sites, giving the students fast access to publications that relate to their course work in addition to a link to the Business Law Research Guide created by Sonia Ensins, Senior Reference Librarian at O’Neill. An added benefit to the eScholarship site is that when our department was selected for Academic Program Review this year, the link to eScholarship provided a succinct and ready record of the research from our group.

At the inception of the eScholarship initiative at Boston College, Margo Reder, Research Associate and Adjunct Lecturer from our department and I discussed the project with the Library professionals who outlined the process to us. We were excited to be at the forefront of this new movement to distribute content of our evolving body of scholarship and preserve our life’s work online. We learned it was the department’s job to collect copies of our publications, obtain copyright permissions from publishers, and provide a brief abstract for each piece. As a first step, we obtained curricula vitae and actual copies of many publications from the faculty in the department. Margo Reder took on the permissions aspect of the project and was very successful in promoting the merits of the project to law reviews and other journals where the department had published, outlining the care that would be used in reproducing and maintaining attribution to the original publisher. She encouraged us to obtain permission at the acceptance stage on future publications in order to streamline the process and created abstracts on many dated publications where such were not readily available.

The Electronic Resources & Technical Services group at O’Neill Library manages the eScholarship initiative. They were wonderful to work with and we were pleased to get to know the entire staff. Betsy McKelvey acted as our primary contact and several times she hand delivered a box of processed publications to ensure that they were safely returned. The work product was meticulous; the scans look like the originals right down to the covers of the publications. They processed the publications in an orderly flow and were always available to answer questions while uploading material from the past thirty years. They also shared the digital files so that we were able to upload the publications to the Social Science Research Network which has become another online asset for legal researchers, a source that records citations and downloads that is often referenced when individuals seek promotion, tenure or hire. In the twenty years since I returned to Boston College, I have found the O’Neill Library professionals to be at the cutting edge on so many fronts. The Open Access project is a tremendous boost to our scholarship at Boston College and signals our commitment to maintaining Boston College’s leadership as a premier research institution.

Christine Neylon O’Brien Professor and Chair of Business Law
Carroll School of Management