Health Professions Faculty Pass Open Access Resolution

The Pacific University College of Health Professions faculty have passed a resolution in support of making their scholarly work freely available online.

The Pacific University College of Health Professions faculty voted nearly unanimously on February 16 in support of a resolution (.pdf) that encourages them to make their scholarly work freely available online.  The non-binding resolution is patterned after a resolution adopted by the University of Washington Faculty Senate and is one of the first passed specifically by a school or college of health professions in the United States.  In the past five years, both open access mandates (which require faculty to share their published work freely) and open access resolutions such as this one have become more common at academic institutions across the country, from Harvard to University of Kansas to Oberlin College.

As a result of the resolution, the Pacific University Library hopes to see an increase in the number of faculty contributing work (particularly published articles) to CommonKnowledge, the University’s open online repository of faculty and student work. 

Faculty members’ ability to contribute their articles is dependent on the policies of the journals in which they publish.  The push for open access to the scholarly literature has been largely a response to the rising costs (and corresponding limited availability) of journal literature for the average consumer.  By encouraging faculty members to work with journals and publishers to retain their right to share their published articles openly online, access to the literature is greatly increased.

While increasing access to journal literature is vital across all disciplines, there is a special need for more equitable access for health professionals.  In a model of patient care that depends on using the best available evidence to inform clinical practice, it is nearly unconscionable that clinical decision-making (or the education of future practitioners) could be informed not by the best evidence, but by the evidence that practitioners and educators can afford to access.  By providing free access to their scholarship, College of Health Professions faculty are helping to change that.

“The strong support of this resolution by the CHP faculty reflects our commitment to access to the evidence that informs healthcare practice and moves our professions forward,” said Ann Barr, Vice Provost and Executive Dean of the College of Health Professions.

In addition to sharing published articles through CommonKnowledge, many College of Health Professions faculty contribute other forms of scholarly work, from research posters to conference presentations to materials from interprofessional case conferences.  Student work – theses, dissertations, graduate projects and critically appraised topics – from the School of Occupational Therapy, School of Physician Assistant Studies and School of Professional Psychology are also currently made available through CommonKnowledge

Marita Kunkel, University Librarian, applauded the faculty for passing the resolution, and noted that "this action by the College of Health Professions illustrates the collective power that faculty have to create positive change in a system that has increasingly restricted, rather than expanded, our access to knowledge. The Library is committed to working with CHP faculty to support their resolution."

Posted by Isaac Gilman ( on Feb 23, 2011 at 4:14 PM

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