Open Access Movement Pioneer Robin Peek Retires from Simmons GSLIS

June 25, 2014

"Robin Peek was one of the earliest advocates for open access to research, one of the first to write about it regularly, and one of the first to teach a course about it, which she taught at Simmons."

After teaching at GSLIS for more than 20 years, Associate Professor Robin Peek has retired this summer. As a pioneer of the Open Access (OA) Movement, which began in the mid-1990s, Peek championed open access of scholarly research. Her studies focused on the OA movement history and evolution, as well as the development of OA mandates, journals, and institutional change.

"Robin Peek was one of the earliest advocates for open access to research, one of the first to write about it regularly, and one of the first to teach a course about it, which she taught at Simmons." said Dr. Peter Suber, Director of the Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication, the Harvard Open Access Project and co-founder of the Open Access Directory. "She is also the editor and co-founder of the Open Access Directory, a globally recognized encyclopedia of open access hosted by Simmons. The Open Access Directory is unique in that it is hosted and preserved by a library school, open to public contributions, edited for quality, and featured on every major list of essential resources on the topic." The six-year old Open Access Directory, a wiki managed by the OA community that provides reference lists about open access to scientists and scholars and has had more than four million views. Peek will continue to be the editor of the Open Access Directory.

Peek is a distinguished author, editor, and scholar. As a lecturer and an author of more than 200 articles about digital and scholarly publishing, Peek co-edited the groundbreaking book Scholarly Publishing: The Electronic Frontier with Gregory Newby. In addition to being an international coordinator for Open Access Week, Peek was on the editorial boards of leading information technology journals, such as the Journal of Global Information Management. She was also a peer reviewer for the Annual Review of Information Science and Technology, Information Systems Frontiers, IEEE Transactions on Education, and Library and Information Science Research. In addition, she was on the Journal of the American Society of Information Science's editorial board for ten years and was an associate editor of book reviews. Her "Focus on Publishing" column appeared in Information Today for fifteen years. She also chaired several national award and special interest committees for the American Society for Information Science.

While at Simmons GSLIS Peek introduced LIS 421 Social Informatics, LIS 457 Digital Publishing, LIS 488 Technology for Information Professionals, and LIS 530P Open Access and Scholarly Communication into the curriculum. She chaired technology, admissions, and doctoral committees at GSLIS and served on the Simmons Faculty Senate for six years during her tenure. Earlier, she was a lecturer at Syracuse University, where she completed her master's and doctoral degrees in library and information science. Before attending Syracuse she managed a Nursing and Allied Health Learning Resource Center at Portland Community College in Portland, Oregon.

Peek's students remember her fondly. "Since I was a master's student at GSLIS back in the 1990s, Robin has been my advisor, co-author, and mentor over the course of my 15-year career. Although I no longer live in Boston, we continue to work together as our interests have evolved over time. Robin continues to be one of my closest professional collaborators, and a lifelong friend," says Jeffrey Pomerantz '97LS, Associate Professor at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Library and Information Science.

"Professor Peek was a fantastic doctoral mentor," said Nancy Pontika '12LS Research Information Manager for Open Access at Royal Holloway, University of London. "She taught me not only how to conduct research and develop my critical thinking, but also how to be an open access advocate and to fight to support my beliefs. I worked with her for four and a half years while I was a student and I keep working with her now via the Open Access Directory. Professor Peek continues to offer support and guidance throughout my career."

Simmons GSLIS is grateful for Peek's contributions, dedication, and research. We wish her all the best in her retirement.

By Dean's Editorial Fellow Jennifer Moyer