Friday, April 02, 2010

Cardinal Scholar Repository: Opening Ball State Scholarship to the World

Open access (OA) publishing is an emergent model of scholarly communication, which promotes the free, online availability of information. In February 2007, the University Libraries launched Cardinal Scholar (, Ball State’s institutional repository, establishing an OA digital archive for the deposit of intellectual capital developed at Ball State University and made available to a worldwide, Internet audience.

While Cardinal Scholar has experienced steady content growth, the adoption of an institution-wide Open Access Mandate could serve as a major catalyst in the expansion of the repository’s potential to be an integral element of the University’s research publishing distribution strategy and increase the reach and impact of the university’s scholarly product.

Open Access initiatives primarily respond to the growing scholarly communications crisis created by static resource budgets and exorbitant price increases imposed by journal publishers. Open Access mandates are a logical correlative of the OA journal model and have been implemented at several leading research universities including Stanford, Kansas, MIT, and Harvard. The implementation of an OA policy at Ball State University would offer our researchers a vehicle for increasing the discoverability and exposure of their publications through the Cardinal Scholar portal.

OA mandates do not impact an author’s ability to publish where s/he chooses, and the author retains all rights to his or her work. The OA policy serves as a pre-existing institutional license to make the article available to a worldwide audience and does not conflict with a publisher’s copyright requirements, protecting both the institution and the author from liability. Extant OA policies also include “opt out” provisions for faculty who may encounter extenuating requirements by a publisher.

Currently, discussions about a BSU Open Access mandate are occurring in appropriate University Senate committees. With the guidance of university administration and faculty stakeholders, the establishment of an OA policy at Ball State, coupled with the robust infrastructural capacity of Cardinal Scholar, represents an unprecedented opportunity for Ball State University to share the valuable intellectual capital of our distinguished faculty researchers, promoting scholarly exchange, collective innovation, and dynamic knowledge synthesis.

Through the aggregation and branding of our outstanding institutional contributions in scholarship and creative work through Cardinal Scholar, an Open Access mandate allows us to demonstrate and emphasize our distinctive and immersive model for teaching, learning, and collaboration, reaching well beyond the brick-and-mortar boundaries of our campus or the borders of our location to maximize the broader impact and inestimable potential and influence of Ball State University well into the future.

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