Research Article

A Critical Survey of Open-Access Policies in US Land Grants

Authors: ,


Introduction: Land-grant universities in the United States and the international open-access (OA) movement both purport to advance public access to knowledge and assert a public benefit to doing so. The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that land-grant universities would have a high rate of adoption of institutional OA policies. To date, no study has looked at OA approaches or policies across the land grants.

Methods: This study considers the critical literature on both land-grants and OA, surveys land-grant institutional OA policies, and analyzes relevant demographic and financial data.

Results: The study identified 15 mandates and 4 resolutions across the diverse institutional types and populations represented in the 112 land-grants. None of the 21 historically Black colleges and universities or 35 tribal colleges and universities among the land-grants have adopted OA policies.

Conclusion: Despite shared objectives, land-grant colleges and universities have not systematically embraced OA, and relatively few have adopted institutional OA policies. In the context of profound, institutionalized inequities among the land-grants, and attentive to the potential of OA to deepen existing inequities, this study considers the causes of and implications for low institutional OA policy adoption among land-grants. 

Keywords: open access, policy analysis, equity, public access, public good

How to Cite: Potvin, S. & Arant-Kaspar, W. (2023) “A Critical Survey of Open-Access Policies in US Land Grants”, Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication. 11(1). doi: