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Open Access Authoring@Caltech: OA Advocacy Without Attitude

Open Access Authoring @ Caltech is a new venue with a new strategy for communicating observed Open Access behaviors by campus researchers to campus researchers.

Have you ever noticed that advocacy is a concept fraught with potential conflict? Advocacy routinely involves pushing for change, not merely hinting or suggesting. Pushing is a strategy which is most usefully employed by those with a strength or elevation advantage. Sisyphus is a classic(al) example of lacking the strategic elevation advantage.

Campus politics is an intensely local game and is, in all respects, intense. Libraries and librarians are rarely power players in this realm. Advocacy, as such, "you should do thus and so..." will need to have resonance, momentum, the height advantage, to have any real impact. A documentary blog, asserting observed items of fact, may help to create momentum.

Open Access Authoring @ Caltech documents Open Access activity by Caltech researchers (faculty, research staff, grad students) from 2004 to date. There are slightly over 100 entries so far, documenting Open Access to technical report series, books, chapters, and articles. Authoring is only part of the Open Access movement and process, though. Journals have to be started, edited, and refereed.

These individual decisions, and as noted there are many, have not been well known within the library or across the campus. This blog is an attempt to change that situation. As more and more researchers observe the depth and breadth of support for Open Access already demonstrated on campus, perhaps it will become a larger part of the decision making process of where they choose to publish. With time, momentum could/will build to the point where a discussion of OA support would not be advocacy, but rather finding common ground and common wording to proceed further. - George Porter

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