Open Access and the Library As PublisherOALogo.jpg

Why Open Access and Why the Library?

Open access enables broader access to essential information, a fundamental right. As journal and database subscription costs continue to rise, open access is one means of ensuring continued access to scholarly research. Advocating for broad access to information and remaining agile in the face of rising operating costs are essential issues for academic libraries for reasons of economic and social justice.

The DeWitt Wallace Library has supported the open access movement for scholarly publications for close to 20 years and we continue to support a growing list of new initiatives that are leading to increased access to information.

Our efforts include participation and support for the following:

SPARC - "Setting the Default to Open"

SPARClogo.jpgThe DeWitt Wallace Library as a member of the Oberlin Group is a member of   SPARC - “SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition)  works to enable the open sharing of research outputs and educational materials in order to democratize access to knowledge, accelerate discovery, and increase the return on our investment in research and education.”  


Lever Press is a fully open access press focused on liberal arts colleges. "Inspired  by the close collaborations between faculty and undergraduate students at liberal arts colleges...the press will focus on ideas communicated with clarity and creativity—publications that 'teach what they know.'" Another aspect of this press is that all works will be freely available to readers on the web immediately upon publication.  Lever Press is committed to “Platinum OA,” in which all the costs of acquiring, editing, developing, and producing the work are borne collectively by our supporting institutions—not by individual authors or their sponsoring departments or institutions.

OTN.pngOpen Access Textbooks - Macalester College is a member of the Open Textbook Network.  The escalating costs of textbooks parallels our struggles to keep abreast of rising journal costs.  Open access provides a solution and our goal is to work with faculty to help them adopt, adapt, or create an open textbook.  This initiative is closely tied to the Strategic Plan and technology - “Technology has changed the higher education landscape—and there are new opportunities for our talented faculty to be even more dynamic in teaching.”  More information will be found in our Open Education Resources guide.


Open Library of Humanities  - Macalester College is a supporting member of the Open Library of Humanities which provides open access to peer-reviewed articles in the humanities.  Support for this initiative is by libraries so there are no article processing charges (APCs) for authors. Their mission is "to make scholarly publishing fairer, more accessible, and rigorously preserved for the digital future."

knowledgeunlatchedlogo.jpg Knowledge Unlatched focuses on "specialist scholarly books", the objective is to make books openly accessible, again at no costs to authors.  Libraries select packages of books and we are in round 2 of the pilot to test this "crowdfunding" formula.  

Reveal Digital is a new effort to digitize special collections and make them eventually open access.  Currently, the library provides access to Independent Voices, a collection of alternative press resources from the 1960's.  There are additional series that are being developed, but this is a new model using crowdfunding to "reveal" collections and make them publicly accessible.

Open Access Support for faculty authors

  • Author Rights & Open Access Fund - we work with faculty and student authors to ensure they retain their copyrights.  We also have a fund to pay the author fees to publish in journals that provide open access options.   By making an article openly accessible, it also allows us to deposit copies of the article in our institutional repository,   DigitalCommons@Macalester.  The DigitalCommons includes student honor projects, student journals, a multi-media book, data sets, and faculty publications all freely available.   If interested in knowing more, please contact your liaison librarian.

Digital Initiatives at Macalester

Digital Commons @ Macalester

Part of Berkeley Press's digital archive system (, this is Macalester's institutional repository, which:

  • Brings Macalester faculty publications together in one place.
  • Increases institutional visibility to colleagues, prospective students, and alumni.
  • Connects citations of Macalester faculty publications to actual publications.
  • Increases Macalester visibility as well as improve outside access to Macalester publications. For example, Himalaya, the Journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies, has gained a substantial exposure via Macalester's open access system. At over 104,000 downloads, it is the most frequently accessed journal in Digital Commons (as of October. 2012).
  • Allows the listings to be indexed by Google/Google Scholar and the Web of Science (ISI). As of February, 2008, over 9,600 references appear in Google Scholar when searching for "Macalester".
  • Enables faculty to provide URLs to works without mailing copies or attachments.
  • Support electronic publishing, scholarly communication, and creative expression.

Selected Works

Part of DigitalCommons, Selected Works provides individual faculty members at Macalester with a website for featuring information on their research, publications, and teaching.

Macalester Views

A collection of digital images that reflect the observations of the Macalester community engaged in study or work around the globe.