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Notes from Executive Director Scott Garrison – February 2021

At MCLS, we believe openness to changes in the information ecosystem that aim to make more information openly available to more people, at a lower cost, is simply required for libraries and the consortia that serve them. Research and scholarly work published in open access (OA), and open educational resources (OER; or as some prefer, “affordable learning” resources) lower barriers to accessing information for all libraries and their users. MCLS supports OA and OER efforts in several ways that I’ll highlight this month, as we approach Open Education Week in early March.

  1. In late 2020, we added Ubiquity Press as a new vendor, and some member libraries have expressed interest in a group purchase for their institutional repository system. Ubiquity’s approach is to leverage existing robust open source software such as Hyku and Open Journal Systems, and build services around them to host a variety of content types. We’re excited about the possibilities that Ubiquity Press offers MCLS members. Email to learn more.
  2. Over the past year, we’ve been monitoring developments around transformative agreements that seek to shift some costs from journal subscriptions (“read”) toward publishing research via OA (“publish,” e.g., through article processing charges, or APCs). OhioLINK’s 2019 open access pilot with Wiley is one example of how library consortia have begun experimenting with supporting OA publishing directly. Eight member libraries in MCLS’s Wiley group are interested in a transformative pilot in 2021, in which Wiley will apply some subscription dollars directly to paying for APCs for researchers at the eight libraries’ institutions. For more information, contact us at
  3. As we announced in late January, MCLS has also entered into a Read and Publish agreement with Cambridge University Press (CUP). To date, nine member libraries have adopted a three-year agreement replacing their standard subscription, that provides institution-affiliated researchers with uncapped funding of APCs when they publish original research in hybrid and Gold OA CUP journals in a variety of disciplines. We’re very pleased to be part of this agreement. If your library would like to join this agreement, please contact us at
  4. Also over the past year-plus, we have been involved in helping create the Michigan OER Network (MI OER Network). Building on initial efforts that Regina Gong (Michigan State University) and Ronda Edwards (former Michigan Colleges Online [MCO] Executive Director) began with a team assembled by the Midwestern Higher Education Compact, the Network’s steering committee, including representatives from five MCLS member libraries (including the Library of Michigan), MCO, the Michigan Department of Education, and MCLS, launched the Network in fall 2020 during International Open Access Week. I encourage you to visit the Network’s website, which includes a helpful list of OER collections, repositories, training, and tools. The steering committee is planning a MI OER Summit on August 13, 2021 with national keynote speakers (more details to come). We also plan to invite those involved in affordable learning efforts in Indiana to participate. As the MI OER Network is a statewide collaboration, I encourage interested school and academic librarians to get involved – we’d love to have your help! Please contact the steering committee at, or me directly at, to learn more.

I like to think of OER and OA scholarly communication as an example of how a healthy library ecosystem benefits our society at large. Today’s students who have the benefit of access to quality, low- or no-cost OER may become tomorrow’s teachers and researchers who understand the power of making their work available as OER or in OA. This benefits students by lowering textbook costs, researchers by making their work more available to more people, and the general public by lowering barriers to accessing the information they need in work and in life.

We know that our members care about open access, open educational resources, and other emerging strategies to help more people get easier access to more information at a lower cost. At MCLS, we are committed to helping libraries move toward these strategies, to benefit users at all points within the library ecosystem. We’d love to help you in your efforts on these fronts. I look forward to hearing from you, at