Preaching to the Choir?: How Academic Librarians Really Feel About Open Access
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Academic libraries are becoming increasingly involved in the distribution of scholarly communication via institutional repositories and other open access models. The enthusiasm of academic librarian professional associations for open access issues can be seen in the Association of College and Research Libraries Scholarly Communication Initiative announcement: The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) announced today that it will embark on a three-year scholarly communications initiative as one of its highest strategic priorities. Addressing issues critical to the future of all academic libraries, the association will work to reshape the current system of scholarly communications, focusing in the areas of education, advocacy, coalition building and research. From: http://www.ala.org/ala/pressreleasesbucket/acrlbeginsscholarly.htm While academic librarians are often encouraged to promote these new models by campus administration, library directors, and professional associations, it is unclear how librarians actually feel about open access to scholarly communication. This presentation will report on the results of a nationwide survey of academic librarians opinions on the topic of open access. This survey was administered in fall 2006 and the researchers are currently analyzing the data gathered. The survey instrument employed Likert-type items to assess respondents opinions about different aspects of open access and about how libraries should or should not be involved with open access. The survey also gathered basic demographic information and information about open access projects respondents are involved with. The results of this research will provide unique insight into the attitudes of front-line librarians about a topic that has become increasingly prominent in the profession. The authors hope that this research will help professional associations and library administrators target their internal open access educational campaigns more accurately. It is also hoped that this research will give the profession a better idea how many librarians are currently involved in open access initiatives and how they feel about their involvement.