A new initiative at Hope College reflects a growing movement in higher education to share and widely disseminate the scholarship produced by faculty.

A new open access policy at the college makes the full text of peer-reviewed articles written by members of the faculty available to anyone with access to the Internet. The policy, approved by the faculty last spring, went into effect earlier this month in advance of International Open Access Week, which runs Monday-Saturday, Oct. 24-30.

According to the policy, "the faculty of Hope College affirms the core value of Hope College to contribute to the body of knowledge in the academic disciplines with a vision to pursue truth as to renew the mind, enrich the disciplines and transform the culture." Particular to Hope's open access policy is the recognition "that knowledge and understanding are gifts from God and are to be shared with others."

The policy was written by the college's Library Committee after nearly two years of study and approved through Hope's faculty governance Academic Affairs Board in March. Hope is the first college in Michigan to approve such a policy.

The policy applies to all peer-reviewed, published scholarly journal articles and conference proceedings written while the author is a member of the faculty at Hope. Under the policy, members of the faculty grant to Hope College a nonexclusive, irrevocable, non-commercial, paid-up, worldwide license in order to deposit the final peer-reviewed version of articles into the college's institutional repository which is maintained by the college's Van Wylen Library.

The Library works with faculty to make sure that each publisher's author agreement and the open access policy are not incompatible. Waivers are granted to faculty who want to opt out of the policy once they have submitted the bibliographic details of their work.

The college's director of libraries, Kelly Jacobsma, noted that the faculty at Hope are world-class researchers and scholars who generate a significant number of peer-reviewed articles each year, and whose work - some of which was already available in the repository--was in high demand even before the new policy took effect.

"We have already seen activity coming into our institutional repository from around the globe because our faculty's scholarship is now more findable via Google and Google Scholar," said Jacobsma, who is the Genevra Thome Begg Director of Libraries and an associate professor at Hope.

While the policy only covers peer-reviewed journal articles and conference proceedings, faculty are strongly encouraged to submit the bibliographic data and, where possible, the full text of any other publication or creative performance, for inclusion in the institutional repository. This eventually will provide a complete record of the scholarly output at Hope College.