The Ellen Clarke Bertrand Library

Worldcat Library Catalog Journal Titles

Collection Development Sustainability Task Force

Sustainable Access

Libraries have traditionally been about collections; making books and journals freely accessible to researchers, teachers, scholars, and the casual reader.  The modern library, and especially the academic library, has moved far beyond this model, as we incorporate electronic resources and rely increasingly on licenses to access content. 

We must constantly examine our options for curating sustainable library collections, that will provide tools for discovery, ease of use, guaranteed access and delivery, and archival preservation. How can the library work to provide sustainable access to information within our new context? How can we move past current models which are proving unsustainable as they sometimes result in access for few and high profits for fewer?

In addition to pursuing aggressive negotiations with publishers to maintain existing access, we will continue exploring alternative ways to access information. This may mean seeking to expand existing partnerships with other libraries, integrating and teaching alternative tools and access methods, and encouraging individual-level changes in research strategies- such as increased use of interlibrary loan and other tools and expanding a culture of open access publishing on campus. 

Open Access Publishing

Open access (OA) is a set of principles related to the distribution of research. Open access publications are ones that are freely available online without barriers to access and can be read, cited, and used by others. 

Proponents of open access list a number of potential benefits to greater availability of open access research including:

  • Breakthroughs on certain topics potentially happening faster (particularly related to time-sensitive topics like COVID-19 vaccination development)
  • Economic growth 
  • More equitable access to research- access not tied to the institution's library budget or someone being at an institution with a library budget
  • Potential for greater impact and reach of research 
  • Opening up possibilities to shift academic publishing economic models as a whole


The two primary models of open access are Gold OA and Green OA

Gold OA Green OA

Research is published in an Open Access (or hybrid) Journal or through an Open Access Book Publisher.

The Publication is available openly immediately

The author, or the funder of their research may need to pay a fee for publication 

Research is traditionally published, but with a stipulation in the contract that allows the author rights to reproduce and share their work. Then the author self-archives in an institutional or national archive.

Depending on the contract, publication may be able to be made 'open' immediately or after an embargo period.

Often no fees to researchers.


A Multifaceted Approach

We recognize that the challenges of access and academic publishing are complex and there will not be a single tool that will address all needs. We do not anticipate that Bucknell will be able to solve the problem alone, but we can support a needed cultural shift in how we access information, share our research, and support student and public access to knowledge. 

This will involve changes to how we currently do things. We understand that change can be painful, which is why we are here to aid any needed transitions. Staff in L&IT are working to try to minimize the disruption to your work processes through the integration of Open Access options, Interlibrary lending, and other tools.  The Library is here to support you as you make changes to your information- and knowledge-seeking behaviors.


Here are some things that you can do to support this culture shift. Check out the toolkits for more:

Recognize that there will continue to be changes to how you access information through the library and online. Discuss your information needs and search strategies with colleagues and your department's librarian. 

Remember that this shift in our information practices and world will impact students as well- work with your librarian to develop strategies to support students in their research, and consider investigating open educational resources or open textbooks to use in your courses.

Prioritize open access publications for your research when possible, or pursue contracts that allow you to self-archive your work in the Bucknell Digital Commons.

Consider how your department supports open access and how the value of open access publishing relative to traditional publishing is communicated within the department and to new faculty.