Open Access Policies: Count ‘Em Up

Last week I reported with envy on the University of California’s new open access policy and the sample policy recommended (and employed!) by Harvard.  Those are two strong open access policies by two of the most influential academic institutions in the country.  But what’s the bigger picture?  How many universities have such policies?  Are Harvard and UC outliers, or is there a real trend developing?

Thanks to ROARMAP — the Registry of Open Access Repositories Mandatory Archiving Policies — we can answer these questions.  According to ROARMAP, there are 120 open access policies in the United States.  Some of those are funder policies (e.g., NIH), and some are specific to a certain college or university department (e.g., Stanford University School of Education), but many are college- or university-wide policies that apply to all faculty at that institution.

lion roar medium
Thanks, ROARMAP!
Photo is © 2011 Eric Kilby, used under a
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license

The institution-wide policies range in strength from urgings (e.g., Case Western Reserve University, Cornell University, and University of Pennsylvania) to automatic license-granting policies — i.e., the style of policy made famous by Harvard and now in effect across the entire University of California system.  These Harvard-style policies are the effective ones, the ones that work at making a very large percentage of faculty’s scholarly articles open access.  Faculty can opt out of these policies for specific articles, but if they don’t, the policy is in effect. This is what I dream of for CUNY. So let’s look at who else has a policy like this (click a link for more information about the policy):

  1. Amherst College
  2. Bucknell University
  3. Duke University
  4. Emory University
  5. Harvard University Faculty of Arts and Sciences (and a bunch of other Harvard schools, too)
  6. Lafayette College
  7. MIT
  8. Oberlin College
  9. Oregon State University
  10. Princeton University
  11. Rice University
  12. Rollins College
  13. Rutgers University
  14. The College of Wooster
  15. Trinity University
  16. University of California (all 10 UC universities)
  17. University of Hawaii-Manoa
  18. University of Kansas
  19. University of Massachusetts Medical School
  20. University of North Texas
  21. University of Rhode Island
  22. Utah State University
  23. Wellesley College

I may have missed some, and there may be some mandatory policies that aren’t listed in ROARMAP, but that’s already 23 colleges and universities with institution-wide Harvard-style policies.

If we look beyond the United States, the list gets longer: Concordia University, Trinity College Dublin, University of Lisbon, and many, many others.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there are 4,599 degree-granting institutions of higher education in the U.S., so clearly Harvard-style open access policies are not yet the norm.  But that list of 23 is impressive.  Any time a cluster of schools that includes Harvard, MIT, University of California, Duke, Emory, Princeton, Rice, and Rutgers embraces something, it’s probably worth paying attention to that thing.

They’re embracing open access, and doing so with strong policies to make sure faculty articles become open access.  CUNY, let’s pay attention.

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