UC Open Access Policy Proposal
University of California Provost and Executive Vice President Wyatt Hume has sent a letter to UC Chancellors (PDF) asking for a formal review of a proposed UC Open Access Policy. Campus and Academic Senate comments are due to Provost Hume by May.
Frequently Asked Questions about the proposed policy
- What is the UC Open Access Policy?
The UC Open Access Policy (draft) (PDF) proposes that UC faculty authors of published articles or conference proceedings routinely transfer a specific, non-exclusive permission — in legalese, a "license" — to the University. The University will, in turn, make UC research findings available in a publicly accessible online repository such as UC's eScholarship.
- What are the origins of the policy proposal?
The UC Open Access proposal draws upon the Academic Council's Special Committee on Scholarly Communication's (SCSC) white paper The Case of Scholar's Management of their Copyright, one of five companion papers discussing UC and the academic community's responses to today's challenges and opportunities in scholarly communication. The policy directly addresses the principal action called for in the white paper — that UC faculty manage their copyright to ensure the widest dissemination of their work in service to education and research.
- To whom would the policy apply?
The policy is meant to apply to faculty members, i.e. the group described in the current copyright policy as "Designated Academic Appointees" — Those University employees who have a general obligation to produce scholarly/aesthetic works. Included are all appointees in the Professor series, In-Residence series, and the Professional Research series.
- Does this policy mean that the Regents will control UC scholarly work?
No. The regents will have only a specific, non-exclusive right to make a copy of the work available in an open access repository, such as UC's eScholarship. The policy is written so that this right is a non-commercial right. That is, it cannot be exploited commercially by the university and is intended only to enable the university to assist in the widest distribution and the long-term management and preservation of UC research output.
- Does this policy reduce faculty rights?
No. The policy affirms and builds upon the current UC policy and academic tradition of faculty ownership of copyright in their scholarly work. And the policy allows for any faculty member to opt-out of this transfer should their particular publishing situation warrant it.
- What role does the publication agreement (or contract) addendum play?
The Amendment to Publication Agreement (PDF) is a key tool through which authors can: a) alert publishers that they want to maximize access to their work and need to follow UC policy; and, b) personally retain a number of copyright rights which the policy doesn't require but which are necessary for the author's greatest flexibility in use of his or her own work. Some publishers have copyright transfer policies and publication contracts that allow open access deposit, and the retention of some other rights. With the passage of this policy (and others like it around the world), and with direct communication from the University to publishers informing them of the policy, it is possible that more publishers will realize that a license to publish — rather than complete copyright transfer — is all they require, and the need for the addendum will diminish over time. Even if the policy does not go forward, the use of an addendum, like the one in the policy document, could be useful for authors' retention of key rights.
- I am in the habit of placing articles on my departmental/personal web site. Doesn't that suffice?
While that practice may help gain exposure to your research, it has several potential weaknesses. First, without the explicit retention of the right, you may in fact be in violation of the agreement you signed with the publisher. Second, the indexing of well-known institutionally-supported sites is more reliable, ensuring that readers will find your material through Google. Third, a university-managed repository such as eScholarship has long term preservation commitments built into its mission.
- What about disciplinary repositories, such as PubMed Central and the arXiv.org e-print service. Does this policy prevent me from placing my work in such places?
The policy in no way prevents you from using such services; in fact, placing your work in multiple open-access repositories will only further increase its impact.
Academic Senate Special Committee on Scholarly Communication
A special committee of the UC Academic Senate charged in the 2005-2006 academic year with investigating issues related to scholarly communication.
The UC Open Access Policy
Support materials compiled by the UC Office of Scholarly Communication.