Columbia University’s School of Social Work Adopts an Open Access Policy for Its Published Research

by Leyla on February 17, 2014

Columbia University Libraries/Information ServicesCenter for Digital Research and Scholarship (CDRS) is pleased to announce that the School of Social Work at Columbia University has implemented an open access resolution, in which all faculty and staff have resolved that they commit to making their scholarly works accessible to the public. The policy went into immediate effect after Social Work faculty voted unanimously in favor of the resolution at their faculty meeting on December 2, 2013.

By committing to making their scholarly works publicly accessible, Social Work faculty either will ensure their work appears in an publicly available online repository of their choice or will work with the Center for Digital Research and Scholarship (CDRS) to deposit their research into to Columbia’s digital repository Academic Commons. Academic Commons, which is managed by CDRS, is a freely accessible digital collection of nearly 12,000 scholarly works created by Columbia-affiliated faculty, students, and staff at Columbia University or one of its affiliate institutions, including Barnard College,Teachers College, Union Theological Seminary, and Jewish Theological Seminary.

“We applaud the leadership of the School of Social Work in advancing open access to research,” said James G. Neal, vice president for information services and university librarian.  ”The Libraries are eager to continue to work with other Columbia schools and institutes to expand commitment and participation in open access initiatives.”

As the open access resolution states, Columbia University is a community of scholars committed to disseminating and sharing the intellectual fruits of their research and scholarship, which includes utilizing technologies that can enhance accessibility of Columbia scholarship, employing these technologies to archive their works for future generations, and providing full-text online discoverability of their works. The School of Social Work fully embraces these objectives by resolving to make their scholarly works public, which strongly supports its mission to advance the knowledge, skills, and professional values within the social work profession.

As well as depositing their work in Academic Commons, many scholars at Columbia and its affiliates already make some or all of their research available through public repositories such as PubMed Central. In addition to or in lieu of submitting to Academic Commons, faculty at the School of Social Work can satisfy the terms of the School’s open access resolution by making their work available through an alternative repository, provided that the work is, without restriction, freely accessible in full text to the public, and that the repository preserves and maintains access to the work indefinitely.

The implementation of the School of Social Work open access resolution comes after the recent adoption of an open access resolution at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health in May 2013, which was the first school at the university to make scholarly research available to the public and free online. The Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory became the first program at Columbia to adopt an open access resolution in January 2011, which was followed by Columbia University Libraries/Information Services’ adoption of a policy in June 2011.

Jeanette C. Takamura, Dean of the School of Social Work, said of the open access policy: “The scholarly work of the members of our faculty is driven by their commitment to producing scientific evidence that can build and strengthen the effectiveness of practice interventions and the impact of policy advancements towards the improvement of the quality of human life. The faculty’s decision to support the dissemination of research and information to multidisciplinary audiences aptly mirrors this, their fundamental commitment. We are delighted that this new opportunity has been facilitated by the Center for Digital Research and Scholarship.”

Rebecca Kennison, CDRS’ Director, commented: “We are pleased that, with barely any urging on our part, the School of Social Work faculty moved quickly, enthusiastically, and unanimously to adopt this open access policy, understanding completely the importance of this commitment on their part to enable researchers, scholars, the local community, and the general public to have unrestricted access to their research. This policy and its implementation provide faculty and staff with the opportunity to further the School’s mission of advancing knowledge for effective social work practice and education.”

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The Columbia School of Social Work has been pioneering social work practices and educating social workers for over a century. The School joins rigorous, evidence-based academic theory with real-world practice. The CSSW mission focuses on the development of leaders in social work practice and research, the advancement of the social work profession, professional values, knowledge, and skills; and the enhancement of well-being and the promotion of human rights and social justice at the local, national, and global level through the creation of responsive social programs and policies. Information about programs, research, faculty, and students, and a wealth of resources can be found at http://socialwork.columbia.edu.

The Center for Digital Research and Scholarship (CDRS) works to increase the utility and impact of research produced at Columbia by creating, adapting, implementing, supporting, and sustaining innovative digital tools and publishing platforms for content delivery, discovery, analysis, data curation, and preservation. The Center engages in extensive outreach, education, and advocacy to ensure that the scholarly work produced at Columbia University has a global reach and accelerates the pace of research across disciplines. CDRS is one of six entities that comprise the Digital Programs and Technology Services branch of Columbia University Libraries/Information Services.

Columbia University Libraries/Information Services is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 11 million volumes, over 150,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, and graphic and audio-visual materials. The services and collections are organized into 22 libraries and various academic technology centers. The Libraries employs more than 500 professional and support staff. The website of the Libraries is the gateway to its services and resources: library.columbia.edu.

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