Advocacy for open access: a selected review of the literature and resource list

Publication Date05 Apr 2011
AuthorMaitrayee Ghosh
SubjectLibrary & information science
Emergence of new scholarly
communication models, self-archiving
services and the concept of institutional
repositories have completely changed
the whole life cycle within the library,
starting with acquisition and
cataloguing, then including long-term
preservation and retrieval. In this digital
era, there are many importa nt new
roles for librarians to play. Today’s
information professionals need to be
researcher, planner, manager, assessor,
team member, problem-solver,
electronic-resources expert, and over
all a versatile advocacy leader. The
challenges associated with open access
(OA) repositories are:
.Long-term commitment to digital
preservation and archiving.
.Retaining electronic dissertations
and theses online and available
through a publicly accessible
.Advocacy, best security and
archiving practices for multiple
institutions to be able to reciprocate
in online archiving.
Advocacy efforts are meant to raise
visibility while highlighting the
viability of libraries to their funding
bodies. National policies for libraries
clearly indicate the political attitude of
the government in power, and the extent
to which it is willing to promote and
fund the library system.
Librarians can develop, plan and
devise strategic actions at the local,
national and regional levels in order to
explore innovative and creative ways of
facilitating the emergence of OA
repositories. Perhaps, the greatest
challenge for librarians today is to
develop and maintain sustainable
models of OA repositories for users.
India is one of the late entrants in the
OA movement, and unfortunately many
libraries in India do not have a policy on
OA. Librarians should support and
encourage policies requiring OA to
research supported by public funding.
The following are some arguments that
allow librarians to engage with OA
issues and place them center stage:
.providing access to resources is core
to information service objectives
and librarians are charged with the
main responsibilities in this area; or
.by fulfilling their core objectives,
libraries make a sufficient and
appropriate contribution to the
OA movement and appropriately
discharge their social
Successful advocacy combines
lobbying activities with marketing and
public relations skills to tell the
library’s story to the community and
engage all stakeholders in the process.
The advocacytheme is predominantly
discussed in conferences, workshops,
and information professionals’
discussion forums. The following are a
few examples:
.International Federation of Library
Associations and Institutions
(IFLA) Committee on Freedom of
Access to Information and Freedom
of Expression. During 2003, IFLA
focused its advocacy efforts on the
World Summit on the Information
.On the 9 May 2008 an international
conference on “Advocacy and
Libraries” was organized by
The Netherlands Public Librar y
Association, Eblida and the
FOBID Netherlands Library
Forum. The meeting took place in
Theatre Van het Woord in the new
Amsterdam Public Library.
.Two library advocacy workshops
were conducted under the aegis
of IFLA, during the Pacific Islands
Association of Libraries and
Archives (PIALA) 1997 conference
in Pohnpei. Later in 2005, another
advocacyworkshop for PIALA 2006
was held in Palau.
Meanwhile, the National Knowledge
Commission, India has recommended
mandating OA to all publicly funded
research. The topic was discussed both
in the Libraries Working Group and in
the Open and Distance Education
Working Group of the Commission.
Library advocacy – concept and
Advocacy in the current context
means communication, as an
individual or group, with decision
makers and others in support of or in
opposition to specific issues. As stated in
the ALA web site, advocacy is defined as
“the process of turning passive support
into educated action by stakeholders”.
An alternative definition, similar to the
ALA’s, offered by the Canadian
Association of Public Libraries
(a division of the Canadian Library
Association) reads as follows:
[...] advocacy is a planned, deliberate,
sustained effort to raise awareness of an
issue. It’s an ongoing process in which
support and understanding are built
incrementally over an extended period
of time and using a wide variety of
marketing and public relations tools.
Advocacy is about saying to decision
makers, potential partners, fund raisers,
any stakeholder, “Your agenda will be
greatly assisted by what we have
Library Hi Tech News
Number 2 2011, pp. 19-23, qEmerald Group Publishing Limited, 0741-9058, DOI 10.1108/07419051111135245 19
Advocacy for open access: a selected review of the
literature and resource list
Maitrayee Ghosh

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