Harvard University will soon begin posting research and articles produced by its faculty on the Internet free of charge. On Tuesday the arts and sciences faculty voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution that would commit Harvard to open access — the movement to speed the exchange of knowledge by freely distributing research on the Web. “The chorus of ‘yeas’ was thunderous,” Robert Darnton, the director of the University Library, wrote in an e-mail message. “I hope this marks a turning point in the way communications operate in the world of scholarship.” The library will oversee an Office of Scholarly Communication, which is being created to handle the project. Professor Darnton said a Web site instructing the faculty on how to transmit articles is already up and running, and the technical work should be completed by April 1. Meanwhile open access took another step forward on Wednesday when Fastcase inaugurated the Public Library of Law (www.plol.org), a free online legal research site.
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