Commitment to Open Principles & Practices

Open principles and practices:

Approaches that seek the free exchange of information and the removal of financial and legal barriers that limit access to knowledge, data, and tools. This manifests as, among other forms: open access (OA) publications, open data, open educational resources (OER), open scholarship, open science, and open source software.

A commitment to open principles and practices is a necessary strategy for fulfilling the Orbis Cascade Alliance’s mission. In order to continue to deliver innovative and sustainable library programs and resources, the Alliance must challenge existing approaches and markets for providing the infrastructure and resources upon which our members depend to deliver library and information services.

Open principles and practices not only support what we aim to do; they also align with who we are. The central tenet of the open movement–sharing knowledge and information for both individual and collective benefit–is also at the core of our identity as an academic library consortium. Whenever possible, we seek to remove barriers to knowledge: teaching, learning, and research and the advances in society, culture, and science that accompany those activities depend on unfettered access to knowledge and information.

In order to better fulfill our mission, to sustain the access to knowledge necessary for the communities our members serve, and to advance our vision of equity in higher education, the Alliance is committed to increasing its engagement with open. In pursuing open as a core strategy, the Alliance will:

  • Develop and apply an open lens to all of our work: before and as we are planning programs, adopting infrastructure, and managing relationships with content providers
  • Create a process to evaluate potential open initiatives that includes: alignment with Alliance vision, costs, and sustainability
  • Pursue initiatives that reduce members’ exposure to unsustainable cost increases; increase members’ access to openly available content; or directly contribute to members’ local adoption of open content and practices
  • Prioritize engagement in areas where the Alliance can provide unique value to members beyond what they would realize on their own or with other partners
  • Focus on building and supporting sustainable services and rely on external partners to host the tools, platforms and infrastructure needed for those services

We acknowledge that if the Alliance is to implement sustainable, high-impact open initiatives, we will need to reconsider the current level of investment in existing services and programs. Our commitment to open is a commitment to our own transformation, and to our participation in the necessary evolution of the scholarly and educational ecosystem in which we operate. In this work, as we move toward an increasingly open future, we look forward to leveraging the collective strength of the Alliance, and to continuing to push the boundaries of what is possible in libraries through strategic collaboration.

Adopted May 2021 by Alliance Council

Downloadable version: Commitment to Open Principles (PDF)