Univ. Library Allows Free Usage of Digitized Public Domain Items

Open access — the free availability and use of library materials online — took another step forward this month when the Cornell University Library dropped restrictions on the reproduction of public domain items from its collections.

The Library no longer requires users to secure permission or pay any accompanying permissions fees to reproduce or publish material from its digital collections. This announcement, which comes amidst plans by the Cornell Library Board to establish a fund to support open access publishing, has been eagerly received by many in the online community.

According to a press statement, “the Library, as the producer of digital reproductions made from its collections, has in the past licensed the use of those reproductions.”

Cornell Librarians Protest Bill Closing Access to NIH Research

This month, President Barack Obama signed into law a bill that would make the National Institutes of Health public access policy permanent, signaling a move towards greater transparency in academia. Under this policy, NIH-funded research, including work by Cornell faculty, will be publicly avaliable. However, another bill introduced in Congress last month seeks to reverse this public access policy and has prompted Cornell’s librarians to take action.
Since last April, the NIH required final, peer-reviewed manuscripts arising from research it funded to be submitted to PubMed Central upon acceptance for publication.