And a Very Happy New Year to You, Congress!

This isn’t breaking news (sometimes we at the Open Access @ CUNY blog go on vacation, and sometimes we even go on vacation where there’s no internet, and, gasp, sometimes things happen when we have no internet!), but it’s still making me break a huge smile:

Congress passed open access legislation!
(This is a major expansion of the NIH’s well-known policy!)

Both the House and the Senate approved the FY2014 Omnibus Appropriations bill, which includes many provisions in its 1582 (!) pages. The provision we at Open Access @ CUNY care about is Section 527, which appears on page 1020:

Each Federal agency, or in the case of an agency with multiple bureaus, each bureau (or operating division) funded under this Act that has research and development expenditures in excess of $100,000,000 per year shall develop a Federal research public access policy that provides for—

(1) the submission to the agency, agency bureau, or designated entity acting on behalf of the agency, a machine-readable version of the author’s final peer-reviewed manuscripts that have been accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals describing research supported, in whole or in part, from funding by the Federal Government;

(2) free online public access to such final peer-reviewed manuscripts or published versions not later than 12 months after the official date of publication;

and (3) compliance with all relevant copyright laws.

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy issued a similar directive last February, but as we examined, the directive did not make legislation unnecessary. As Peter Suber wrote, “we need legislation to codify federal OA policies. The next president could rescind today’s White House directive, but could not rescind legislation.”

And now we have legislation!!!  (Read more about it at the Washington Post.)

Many details need to be worked out, of course, but the passage of this provision is an excellent reason to put your New Year’s Eve noisemakers to good use one last time this month.

party horn
Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection. http://www.flickr.com/photos/boston_public_library/9076289197/



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.

I’m Having Open Access Policy Envy

University_of_California_Seal.svgSummer tends to be slow at universities, but not this summer at the University of California! UC’s academic senate just passed an open access policy that covers over 8,000 faculty at the 10 UC campuses and could make as many as 40,000 publications per year open access in eScholarship, UC’s institutional repository.

Like many other “green” open access policies (that is, policies that say nothing about where faculty should publish but require that copies of journal articles be made open access in a repository), the UC policy says that faculty automatically grant a non-exclusive license to their articles before entering any contractual arrangements with journal publishers.

The “before” is key: it means that journal publishers can’t take the copyright away from the authors, since the university will already have a license.  (And step back for a second: how crazy is it that publishers have ever been able to take full copyright away from authors?!)

And, like other green open access policies, the UC policy allows faculty to request a waiver for any article they would like not to fall under the policy.  These waivers are also key: they ensure that faculty whose works (or beliefs) are not compatible with the policy for some reason or another do not have to relinquish any control or choice.

As many around CUNY know, I (and many others) very much want CUNY to adopt a similar policy.  We’ve been agitating for a university-wide institutional repository, but a repository is only so useful in the absence of a strong policy.  Harvard has created a guide to good practices for university open access policies and has released a model policy, carefully worded and helpfully annotated.

Let’s daydream for a minute, shall we? Imagine a CUNY version of the Harvard policy:

Begin daydream:

The Faculty of the City University of New York (CUNY) is committed to disseminating the fruits of its research and scholarship as widely as possible. In keeping with that commitment, the Faculty adopts the following policy: Each Faculty member grants to CUNY permission to make available his or her scholarly articles and to exercise the copyright in those articles. More specifically, each Faculty member grants to CUNY a nonexclusive, irrevocable, worldwide license to exercise any and all rights under copyright relating to each of his or her scholarly articles, in any medium, provided that the articles are not sold for a profit, and to authorize others to do the same. The policy applies to all scholarly articles authored or co-authored while the person is a member of the Faculty except for any articles completed before the adoption of this policy and any articles for which the Faculty member entered into an incompatible licensing or assignment agreement before the adoption of this policy. The Provost or Provost’s designate will waive application of the license for a particular article or delay access for a specified period of time upon express direction by a Faculty member.

End daydream.

Ah, that would be nice, wouldn’t it?  That combined with a CUNY repository would lead to thousands upon thousands of open access articles every year.  For the benefit of our students and all students.  For the benefit of our faculty and all faculty.  For the benefit of the taxpayers who fund CUNY and all people everywhere.  (And remember, these are articles that faculty were never going to earn any money for anyway, so no faculty would lose income!)