May 26, 2022

Statement: Harvard Library’s Commitment to Open Access

From a Blog Post by Martha Whitehead, Vice President for the Harvard Library and University Librarian & Roy E. Larsen Librarian for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences:

This is a large topic. For today, the main observation I want to make about scholarly articles is that open access is not enough — that what we’re really striving for is equity and diversity. We want a scholarly communications landscape that provides equitable opportunities for a diversity of voices to be published and read, from and in all parts of the world.

In my own view, to achieve this equity and diversity, we need to go beyond article processing charges (APCs) and the aims of transformative agreements. A reliance on APCs excludes authors who cannot find the money to pay them, and that burden falls disproportionately on authors from the global south and from less affluent institutions in the global north. We need to develop truly transformative models that leverage the opportunities of the digital age and fully remove cost barriers: no fees for authors or readers. We need to envision distributed, trusted networks, rather than letting control rest within just a few entities. We need academic control of academic work. We need to invest in reasonable and transparent costs, ideally within an open-source framework, for infrastructure and services that enable the use of that scholarly work.


For an example of the kind of new dissemination models envisioned, take a look at the Pubfair framework for sustainable, distributed, open science publishing servicesPubfair is a modular, flexible, open-source publishing framework for articles, data and other kinds of research objects that enables scholarly societies, funders, research institutions, and scientists to link existing infrastructures to create their own cost-efficient dissemination channels for FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable) research outputs. The framework is inspired by the vision and use cases outlined in the COAR Next Generation Repositories work.

Read the Complete Statement by Martha Whitehead (approx. 1090 words)

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.