Open Access Decision-Making Framework

May 2023

Open Access Working Group: David Bynog, Hannah Edlund, Joe Goetz, Debra Kolah, Shannon Kipphut-Smith (Chair), Scott Vieira

Reflecting Fondren Library’s Open Access Values Statement, the following framework presents both a pragmatic and principled approach to making decisions about investment in open access (OA) projects and initiatives. The framework acknowledges and considers the needs of stakeholders by engaging with them in the decision-making process as appropriate. It also incorporates values-based library considerations that help to support an open scholarly environment.

This is a non-binding framework intended to be used as an evolving tool to inform decision-making. It is not intended to be prescriptive or exhaustive. 

When making decisions about investment in OA, library staff should:

  1. Collect data. Identify and gather appropriate data for specific use-cases. Employ tools (such as OA Switchboard) to track OA publishing across campus. Reference previous stakeholder studies on similar library resources/services and/or library acquisition data. Regularly assess initiatives and library support.
  2. Ask questions. Consider the following questions specific to Fondren Library. This is not a checklist but criteria that may be used to evaluate projects on a case by case basis.
    1. Does the project/initiative support Rice’s mission and Library strategic priorities?
    2. Does the project/initiative promote the reputation and global visibility of Rice scholarship?
    3. Are the project/initiative’s scope and expectations realistically defined?
    4. Is the project/initiative economically sustainable and scalable?
    5. Is a Rice faculty member or researcher directly involved in the project/initiative?
    6. Does the project/initiative align with the Library’s current collection development practices?
    7. What would the library staffing commitment be to implement and support the initiative?
    8. Is the amount of investment (membership, one-time commitment or subscription, on-going commitment, etc.) proportional to the scope of the project/initiative/organization? Does the amount seem reasonable and realistic?
    9. Does Rice’s support afford us a “voice at the table”? Is our commitment in the form of a membership that gives us a stake in the organization?
    10. Is there a long-term preservation and access plan built into the model?
    11. Specifically for journal support:
      1. What is the price differential between renewing an existing license and the new model?
      2. If a higher cost than previous agreements, is the value to the campus community worth the difference in price?
      3. Is the publisher attempting to transition paywalled or hybrid titles to fully open access?
      4. Is there a cap on the number of articles that are published OA?
      5. How do users track article submissions?
  3. Identify and engage stakeholders. Identify stakeholders and determine appropriate engagement method(s) as described in Bamzai-Dodson et al., 2021.
  4. Communicate. Broadly communicate library support for OA projects/initiatives via appropriate venues (e.g., library newsletters, library website, campus listservs, library annual report). Regardless of outcome, communicate decisions to stakeholders. Provide opportunities for ongoing feedback.

This framework is intended to be regularly reviewed and updated.