Recommendations of the Ad Hoc Task Force on Open Access to MIT’s Research

October 17, 2019
Martin A. Schmidt, Provost, 2014–2022 |

To the members of the MIT community:

In July 2017, I asked Chris Bourg, director of MIT Libraries, and Hal Abelson, Class of 1922 Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, to lead an Ad Hoc Task Force on Open Access to MIT’s Research. I charged this task force with identifying ways in which MIT’s current open access (OA) policies and practices might be updated and revised in order to further the Institute’s mission to share the fruits of its research and scholarship as widely as possible.

The task force released a draft set of recommendations in March 2019 for public comment, and today released final recommendations, informed by valuable input from the community. The final recommendations are available on the task force website and on the open source publishing platform PubPub. These recommendations provide our community with many powerful ways to support, incentivize, and enable open sharing of research and educational outputs across the Institute.

As a first step, I have asked Chris to convene and lead an implementation team to prioritize and shepherd the recommendations, including a recommendation that we ratify a set of principles for open science and open scholarship and two significant policy recommendations:

  • Expand the current OA policy, adopted by the MIT faculty in 2009, to include students, staff, postdoctoral fellows, research scientists, and other MIT community members while employed and/or enrolled at MIT.
  • Adopt an OA policy for scholarly monographs, granting MIT non-exclusive permission to openly disseminate MIT-authored scholarly books, as the current OA policy does for articles.

The recommendations also include a call for each department, lab, and center to create local plans to encourage and support open sharing in ways that are appropriate for the many types of data and publications produced across different disciplines. In addition, the recommendations address the importance of standards, infrastructure, advocacy, and incentives in advancing open science at MIT and globally.

You can read more about the recommendations on MIT News. Implementing them will strengthen MIT’s commitment to open science and scholarship. I strongly urge stakeholders—faculty, staff, students—to read the report and get involved in these efforts where possible. Open access and open science are important aims, fundamental to the Institute’s mission, that will take the work of many to realize.


Martin A. Schmidt