Charge to the MIT Ad Hoc Task Force on Open Access to MIT’s Research

DRAFT December 1, 2016

MIT’s Provost, in consultation with the Vice President for Research, the Chair of the Faculty and the Director of the Libraries, has appointed an Ad Hoc Task Force on Open Access to MIT’s Research. The 2013 Report to the President on MIT and the Prosecution of Aaron Swartz raised the question as to whether MIT should strengthen its activities in support of providing open access to the research and educational contributions of the MIT community. As a result of subsequent discussions held with the faculty and relevant committees, this task force is now being charged to take up this question [see Report to the President, MIT and the Prosecution of Aaron Swartz, July 26, 2013, question 6, page 95].

The Task Force will coordinate a renewed Institute-wide discussion of ways in which current policies and practices might be updated or revised to further the Institute’s mission of disseminating the fruits of its research and scholarship as widely as possible.

Specific activities will include:

  1. Prepare a white paper for the MIT faculty that reviews MIT’s open access activities to date, as well as activities of sister institutions and other organizations.
  2. Organize and report on deliberations among faculty and administration in MIT’s departments, labs, and centers and other units concerning reactions to MIT open-access initiatives and opportunities for enhancing these. “Other units” might include the MIT Libraries, MIT Press, Office for Digital Learning, MITx, edX, TLO, and major Institute Laboratories.
  3. Based on these deliberations, prepare candidate recommendations to the Administration, and as appropriate, to the Faculty, for new and strengthened initiatives, together with possible changes to MIT policies to support open access.
  4. Work with the Administration to develop implementation plans and report on progress on these initiatives.

Questions and issues to be considered by the Task Force include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Should the scope of the current Faculty Open Access policy be expanded to include the work of graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, research scientists, and other community members besides faculty who produce scholarly articles? If so, which entities at MIT are should be responsible for implementing any recommended expansions of the policy to additional members of the MIT community?
  2. Should the current Open Access policy be expanded to include research and teaching outputs other than journal articles (i.e. datasets, monographs, educational resources)?
  3. Should MIT be doing more to publicly advocate for pro-open access initiatives, experiments, and legislation at the national and global level?
  4. Should MIT be doing more to encourage and facilitate open sharing of research objects by MIT scholars, including participation in the Faculty OA Policy?
  5. How might the Institute coordinate with and/or support open access publishing efforts by the MIT Press, and other organizations pursuing open access publishing options?
  6. How should MIT’s OA policy and/or MIT’s general value of openness apply to MITx course content?

Task Force members will include members of the Faculty and Administration, representatives of major units whose activities would relate to the Task Force’s work, post-doctoral researchers, research staff, graduate students, and undergraduate students. The Task Force will be staffed with assistance from the Libraries and other appropriate units.

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