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No Subscription Needed: New Partnership Offers More Access To Academic Research Journals

Gene J. Puskar
By providing open access to some academic journals, CMU officials say people outside of university research circles can conduct their own research, relevant to their individual interests.

Carnegie Mellon University and the global information analytics business Elsevier announced a first-of-its-kind partnership this month that will allow public access to articles by a CMU author published in Elsevier academic journals. 

People outside of academia will now have free access to the research that was previously only available through subscription.

Elsevier is a Dutch company that specializes in science and health content and prioritizes free and public access to research.

“This [partnership] will help our faculty research be available as far afield as possible and to as wide an audience as possible,” said Keith Webster, CMU dean of university libraries and director of emerging and integrative media initiatives. “We hope that our research will be available for anyone who is interested in it or who can benefit from it.”

The free, open access to scholarly journals can help people of different interests and career fields without having to buy a subscription. After all, Webster said, communicating the results of research is why academics publish.

“One thing that open access will do is allow anyone whose involved in providing health care or someone who is a patient … they can access the latest information about research in their areas of interest,” said Webster. “So my local family doctor will be able to access all the journal articles that he or she needs to give me the most current care when I turn up on their clinic.”

With the presidential primaries just ahead, Webster said the availability of research can help voters learn more about candidates’ policy proposals.

“We can engage in informed debates during the lead-up to the election,” he said.

The agreement will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

WESA receives funding from Carnegie Mellon University.