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A Texas University Explores Open Access to Research

The open-access movement continues to grow. The latest potential recruit is the University of North Texas in Denton, which announced this week that it is taking steps to become the second public university in the United States to develop a policy to make faculty research available for free on the Web. (The first was the University of Kansas, according to a UNT official.)

You may recall that I wrote last year that the faculty of the ed schools at Harvard and Stanford had also voted to join the open-access movement. And Massachusetts Institute of Technology, likewise, puts entire courses up on the Web for public use.

These developments are a boon for members of the public and independent researchers. That's because most new research is only available now through scholarly journals, which can be pretty costly. But the idea also can be a hard sell at universities, whose departments sometimes run those scholarly journals. Scholars also worry, with good reason, whether the move to make scholarship public will come at the expense of quality control.

To introduce the idea to UNT faculty, the university is hosting a symposium on May 18, with some of the movers behind the worldwide open-access movement. One argument that the university will likely make at the event: Past research shows that the more readily available scholarly articles are on the Web, the more often they get cited. Can you spell T-E-N-U-R-E?

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