May 28, 2022

Worldwide Impact of Open Access to MIT Faculty Research

UPDATE (October 25): MIT Faculty Open Access Policy: 7,500 papers available to the world
Includes graph.

From MIT Libraries News:

Three years after MIT faculty chose to make their scholarly articles openly accessible through the MIT Faculty Open Access Policy, individuals around the world have benefited from free access to MIT’s research. Comments submitted to the Open Access Articles Collection in DSpace@MIT reveal that faculty articles have helped a wide range of people—students trying to complete professional and undergraduate degrees; professors at universities with limited access to scholarly journals; independent researchers; those in need of medical information; and those working to stay current and advance their careers.

“I am an independent researcher from a third world country not affiliated to any university or a company,” a commenter from Nepal said. “I neither have access to paid journals nor I can afford them. MIT’s Open Access is something I love and rely upon…Thank you again for thinking about the unfortunates and keeping the information free and open.”

Before the open access movement, and even now, much of the content published in academic journals was inaccessible to general readers due to high subscription costs. The MIT faculty’s groundbreaking decision to share their articles with the public has made a significant impact within academia and well beyond. Since the Policy went into effect in March 2009, over 7,000 papers, roughly 33% of MIT faculty articles published in that period, have been made openly available. The papers have been downloaded over 630,000 times, and readers have come from nearly every country in the world (see figure). Their stories have clearly answered the question of whether there were potential readers of MIT-authored papers who would benefit by open access.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.