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Key Issues

UMD PACT is committed to addressing and advancing the following critical issues to make Maryland's research more visible, accessible, affordable, and transparent.

Sustainable, equitable scholarly publishing

Researchers and scholars at the University of Maryland share their knowledge with the world, in part, through the publication of articles and books. Yet, the ecosystem that supports scholarly publishing is in crisis, due to unsustainable funding models and access barriers1 which exacerbate social justice concerns. PACT is actively exploring and advancing alternative models that will increase open, equitable access to UMD-produced knowledge, enhance sustainability, and promote authors’ rights. 

  • Scholarly articles. As its highest priority, PACT is advocating for new institutional policies that would make UMD's scholarly articles more open and accessible, in alignment with our land-grant mission and social justice priorities. During the Spring 2021 and Fall 2021 semesters, we will be visiting with UMD colleges, schools, and departments to discuss our change proposals in more depth.

Update, April 2022: The "Equitable Access to Scholarly Articles Authored by University Faculty" policy was approved by the University of Maryland Senate.

  • Monographs/books. Scholars also disseminate their research and scholarship through the publication of books and monographs. We have launched the TOME@UMD pilot program to explore this issue and have issued a call for proposals, due by November 15, 2021. This pilot program will result in the publication of three open-access books by UMD faculty authors. Learn more about the national TOME initiative.

Affordable, fair licensing of content from commercial sources

When publications are not freely available but only accessible through the platforms of commercial publishers, we advocate for fair, affordable, and sustainable licensing terms and conditions. This commitment emphasizes the retention of authors’ rights and the fair use of scholarly content. We view the use of vendor nondisclosure and confidentiality agreements as tools that inhibit our ability to communicate transparently about pricing and terms. Our university commits to providing accessible publications on the web by adhering to accessibility standards and requiring all vendors to comply as well. Read more about our new set of licensing principles that will be used to negotiate with publishers and vendors. Read PACT's position paper on Journal Subscriptions and Big Deals

Facilitating open research and data sharing

We are dedicated to developing campus-wide solutions that will support open collaboration throughout the research process, ranging from planning and collecting data to the use and publication of scholarly articles, monographs, and datasets. We are working to build momentum and strength towards more equitable access to important research and data.  Toward this end, we advocated for the Libraries and the Division of Research to pilot a partnership with the Center for Open Science to facilitate use of the Open Science Framework.

Advancing open education and open educational resources

The creation and use of high-quality and affordable textbooks and teaching resources in our classes advances the ability of students from all economic backgrounds to learn and engage. Find out more about how UMD Libraries are promoting open education and the creation and use of open educational resources (OER)

Open government

Open government is associated with core principles of transparency, accountability, and participation, and is foundational to a healthy democratic society. Researchers and scholars across multiple disciplines rely on open government, because they need access to the records, data, and information that inform their work on many pressing issues, including public policies, social and environmental concerns, education, healthcare, and more. UMD PACT advocates for policies and programs that will advance open government, and endorses the UMD Libraries' regional leadership in the Government Publishing Office's Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), along with projects like the State of Maryland's Open Data Portal

1See the information provided by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) for more background information.