Chancellor Douglas A. Girod

Message: Sharing our discoveries with the world

Friday, March 16, 2012

Dear Colleagues,

As a center for scholarship and research, the University of Kansas is committed to making discoveries that change the world. But for those discoveries to have the maximum benefit for the state and society we serve, they must be shared.

That’s why KU is committed to the international open access movement and has taken a leadership role in this effort to promote the free exchange of ideas and information around the world. This is the result of work by Dean of Libraries Lorraine Haricombe, Associate Librarian for Scholarly Communications Ada Emmett, Library Director Karen Cole at the KU Medical Center and scholars across the university.

KU is co-sponsoring the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition’s first-ever Open Access Meeting, which is being held in Kansas City this week. I had the opportunity to address the group this morning and talked about the benefits of open access for scholars, universities and society, as well as the steps KU has taken to advance this cause.

For researchers and scholars, open access spurs collaboration, increases the visibility of their work, and results in greater benefits for the communities they’re seeking to help and inform. Wider visibility of research is also important to KU because one measure of a research university’s productivity is how often the work of its faculty is cited by other scholars.

For nations, open access amplifies the effects of their investment in research, which has direct benefits for their populations and economies. And for society, open access enables ideas to transcend borders and ideologies, leading the way to a more vibrant, more prosperous global community.

KU has been a leader among universities in sharing our scholarly findings with the world. In 2009, at the urging of faculty, we were the first public university in the United States to adopt an open access policy, making our scholars’ research available free online at

Last July, we were proud to lead the formation of the Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions. KU is joined by Harvard, Stanford, Duke and Concordia University in Montreal, among other institutions, in sharing implementation strategies and advocating for open access.

And this past fall, I signed the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities as a reflection of our commitment to the sharing of information.

We’re currently engaged in a discussion with our colleagues around the world regarding how best to continue to expand access to research. These discussions have gained urgency in light of recent proposals in Congress to limit access to research. We’ve also seen support for open access grow as scholars protest what are seen as excessive subscription costs for some publications.

We will remain in the vanguard of this movement because open access to scholarly work advances our mission and ensures KU discoveries and innovations are shared around the world.

Bernadette Gray-Little

One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times
Chancellor's Vision

The mission of the University of Kansas is to lift students and society by educating leaders, building healthy communities, and making discoveries that change the world.

We will do that by raising the expectations we have for ourselves, the aspirations we have for our state, and the hopes we have for our world.