In “Measuring Altruistic Impact: A Model for Understanding the Social Justice of Open Access,” Margaret Heller and Franny Gaede consider open access repositories in the context of social justice. This is not, perhaps, what it might seem at first glance: Heller and Gaede move beyond the standard argument that open access is a public good, and de facto social issue (although they do use this argument as a theoretical foundation). Rather, Heller and Gaede run an experiment to determine the findability and geographical usage of social justice materials in open access institutional repositories. They conclude that OA repositories with significant social justice materials have a broader international reach to countries considered low income by the World Bank. Heller and Gaede do not delve too deeply into why those from lower income countries might be frequenting institutional repositories with significant social justice holdings. They do, however, use this data to argue that it behooves librarians to increase OA holdings of social justice material in order to better serve a larger international audience. This interesting study is couched in the premise that librarians should not only be proving the impact of their OA repositories through download and citation counts; they should also argue that there is a measurable social justice impact.
Heller, Margaret, and Franny Gaede. 2016. “Measuring Altruistic Impact: A Model for Understanding the Social Justice of Open Access.” Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication 4: p.eP2132. https://jlsc-pub.org/articles/abstract/10.7710/2162-3309.2132/