Strategic Plan in Action : Open Access & OSTP/RDM Outreach

By Shea Wert

Thus far in our Strategic Plan in Action series, we’ve taken a look at many innovative ways the Libraries is evolving to meet users’ needs and the employees that make it all happen—from materials delivery expansion, 3D printing, to the Center for Humanities and Information. For this installment we’re looking at Open Access & OSTP/RDM Outreach.

Some terms to understand:

Open Access: The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) explains it as, “the free, immediate, online availability of research articles coupled with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment. Open Access ensures that anyone can access and use these results—to turn ideas into industries and breakthroughs into better lives.

 OSTP: The Office of Science and Technology. In this context OSTP is referring to the directive issued by the office in 2013 that addresses public access to the results of federally funded research. You can explore these here. (

 RDM: Research Data Management Services. At Penn State the RDM team is available to, “consult with questions about research data, including compliance with funding agency mandates.” Following the 2013 OSTP directive, in April of 2015 the University Faculty Senate unanimously passed an open access resolution that impacts all faculty at the university:

“This resolution calls upon Penn State faculty authors to consider and utilize available options for sharing our scholarly work…Taking advantage of open access opportunities when possible leads to ease of discovery and helps our scholarly contributions achieve greater recognition and impact through increased readership and citations.”

In response to these two directives, the work already being done here at Penn State in this area, and the growing trend of open access in general, a plan was created by the strategic action group of Tom Reinsfelder, Linda Friend, Esther Dell, Eric Novoty, Brandy Karl, Nan Butkovich, and Christina Wissinger.

The group’s plan aimed to “pursue an outreach program to increase awareness of OSTP requirements for public access as well as the University Faculty Senate open access resolution to help faculty and other researchers understand and comply with various regulations, and to encourage all Penn State faculty to choose open access publishing opportunities whenever possible.”

One particular way this goal has been met is through the successful development and hiring of a Scholarly Communications Librarian. The position has been filled, and the individual will begin towards the end of next summer.

According to Brandy Karl, of the newly expanded Office of Scholarly Communication and Copyright (formally the Copyright Office), the position, “will have the primary responsibility for open access matters as well as liaise with other groups in the library, like RDM, to present up-to-date cohesive information on OSTP mandates.”

For now, the mandates are maintained by RDM and you can you can find article sharing requirements at SPARC. If you have questions regarding open data and RDM, Rob Olendorf and the RDM team are available to help. For open access questions, Brandy Karl is your contact. Additionally, if you’re not sure where your question falls there is good news—there are plans to highlight the work of all of those working on “open” issues in one central area to  streamline services.

In addition to the new position that will connect the many folks working open access matters, the group’s plan also aims to promote open access initiatives and highlight holistic outreach efforts—including one-on-one consultations, brief and in-depth presentations and workshops, website content, and asynchronous training across the university. Keep an eye out for these opportunities to answer questions you may have or just to expand your knowledge!