Much of the faculty’s scholarly output is in the form of articles published in refereed journals and conferences; the faculty generally publish these scholarly articles without expectation of direct monetary compensation. Some journals (though by no means all) then restrict access via expensive subscriptions prices and other restrictive practices. An “open-access” policy is intended to make the faculty’s scholarly articles, published in journals and conference proceedings, available as well to a wider public than can afford to pay for journal subscriptions. In addition, an open-access policy permits the University to run an “open-access repository” where the faculty can conveniently make those articles available.
Several of our peer Universities have adopted open-access policies with these goals in mind; we studied some of these policies before coming to consensus on the policy we recommend below.
We recommend a revision to the Rules and Procedures of the Faculty that will give the University a nonexclusive right to make available copies of scholarly articles written by its faculty, unless a professor specifically requests a waiver for particular articles. The University authorizes professors to post copies of their articles on their own web sites or on University web sites, or in other not-for-a-fee venues. Of course, the faculty already had exclusive rights in the scholarly articles they write; the main effect of this new policy is to prevent them from giving away all their rights when they publish in a journal.
The ‘peer universities’ that have already adopted open access policies include Harvard and MIT. It will be interesting to see how publishers respond as an increasing number of universities adopt open access mandates.