It is impossible to imagine the future of academic libraries without an extensive consideration of open access—the removal of price and permission barriers from scholarly research online. As textbook and journal subscription prices continue to rise, improvements in technology make online dissemination of scholarship less expensive, and faculty recognize the practical and philosophical appeal of making their work available to wider audiences. As a consequences, libraries have begun to consider a wide variety of open access “flavors” and business models. These new possibilities have significant impact on both library services and collection policies, and the call for new skills within library staffing. Volume 9 of the series Creating the 21st-Century Academic Library is the first of two addressing the topic of open access in academic libraries and focuses on policy and infrastructure for libraries that wish to provide leadership on their campus in the transition to more open forms of scholarship. Chapters in the book discuss how to make the case for open access on campus, as well as the political and policy implications of libraries that themselves want to become publishing entities. Infrastructure issues are also addressed including metadata standards and research management services. Also considered here is how interlibrary loan, preservation and the library’s role in providing textbooks, support the concept of open access.
It is hoped that this volume, and the series in general, will be a valuable and exciting addition to the discussions and planning surrounding the future directions, services, and careers in the 21st-century academic library.