May 18, 2022

MIT Open Access Task Force Releases White Paper

From MIT:

2018-09-07_14-24-43The ad hoc task force on open access to MIT’s research has released “Open Access at MIT and Beyond: A White Paper of the MIT Ad Hoc Task Force on Open Access to MIT’s Research,” which examines efforts to make research and scholarship openly and freely available. The white paper provides a backdrop to the ongoing work of the task force: identifying new, updated, or revised open access policies and practices that might advance the Institute’s mission to share its knowledge with the world.

Co-chaired by Class of 1922 Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Hal Abelson and Director of Libraries Chris Bourg, the task force was convened in July 2017 by Provost Martin Schmidt, in consultation with the vice president for research, the chair of the faculty, and the director of the libraries. The group was charged with exploring actions MIT should undertake to “further the Institute’s mission of disseminating the fruits of its research and scholarship as widely as possible.”

“The MIT community has long been at the forefront of sharing knowledge with the world, whether through OpenCourseWare or our campus-wide faculty open access policy,” says Chris Bourg. “The task force is looking to see how we can expand that commitment even further, considering how to share not only scholarly articles and books, but also data, educational materials, code, and more.”

Convening the task force was one of the 10 recommendations presented in the 2016 preliminary report of the MIT Task Force on the Future of Libraries. In addition, the task force has been charged to take up a question raised by the 2013 Report to the President on MIT and the Prosecution of Aaron Swartz, which is whether MIT should strengthen its activities in support of open access to the research and educational contributions of the MIT community. The task force is composed of a diverse and multi-disciplinary group of faculty, staff, postdocs, and graduate and undergraduate students.

Read the Complete Publication Announcement

From the Introduction to the White Paper

This white paper is the first deliverable of the OA task force. Its goal is to give MIT students, staff, and faculty an overview of the open access landscape at MIT, in the United States, and in Europe to help inform discussions at the Institute over the next year. These discussions, which will take place at community forums and in other venues, including the task force idea bank, will help inform the task force as it develops a set of recommendations across a broad spectrum of scholarly outputs, including articles and books, data, educational materials, and code.

Part I of this paper provides an overview of current OA policies and movements in Europe and the United States as a way to give broader context to what open access means in practice internationally.

Part II explores MIT researchers’ approaches in terms of making their publications, data, code, and educational materials openly available.


Direct to Full Text Paper (PDF Version): Open Access at MIT and Beyond: A White Paper of the MIT Ad Hoc Task Force on Open Access to MIT’s Research
21 pages

Direct to Full Text Paper (PubPub/HTML Version)

Direct to Ad Hoc Task Force On Open Access Website 

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.