Frequently Asked Questions About the IUB Open Access Implementation

This FAQ is supplemental to the official Open Access Policy FAQ, available here

What do I need to do to comply with the IUB Open Access Policy?

  • Publish in an open access journal OR
  • Agree to archive an open access version of the article OR
  • Opt out of the policy

What kinds of publications are subject to the policy?

The policy only applies to scholarly journal articles authored by IU Bloomington faculty, published after February 21st, 2017.

I read that I can comply while completing my annual report. How can I do this?

Some faculty might not be able to publish in an OA journal. If that’s the case, you simply need to fill out your DMAI (annual report) as you would every year. We will check to see which version(s) you can create open access and then follow up with you to deposit that version. If you choose, you may opt out in the reporting system by selecting the opt out box for your article.

What will happen in the reporting system if I DO NOT opt out?

The Libraries will run a report in the reporting system that generates a dataset with citation information for articles subject to the open access policy. If a faculty member has not opted out, we will check the publisher’s self archiving policy. If the publishing agreement allows, we will deposit a PDF of the article in IUSW Open and send the faculty member a confirmation email. If the publishing agreement requires another version of the article or does not allow self archiving, we will be in touch by email with next steps.

Image 1: Arrow with workflow of submitting work to the repository

What will happen in the reporting system if I DO opt out?

The Libraries will run a report in the reporting system that generates a dataset with citation information for articles subject to the open access policy. If a faculty member has opted out, we will generate a letter waiving the University’s license to the article. This article will be sent to the author by email.

What about my existing publishing agreements? How will I know if I need to opt out?

If you already know that you need to opt out for an article, you may do so while completing your annual report or using IUSW Open. Otherwise, we will do the rights checking for you and get in touch if you have an incompatible publishing agreement or if we cannot access your publishing agreement.

Do I need to manage all of my publishing contracts, waivers, and potential addenda myself?

Not by yourself. While we do recommend that faculty keep records of documents signed in the publishing process, the Libraries will keep track of the agreements we receive from faculty and publishers.

Can I apply a blanket opt out to all of my articles?

Blanket opt-outs are not possible. The BFC policy states that faculty must opt out for each article subject to the policy. If you wish to opt out for all of your articles, the easiest way to do so is to check the opt out box for the articles as you enter them in DMAI.

What if I make the wrong choice or need to opt out later?

The archival status of an article subject to the policy can be changed at any time and our systems accommodate this. Contact us at to make the change.

Who can I contact with questions?

You can contact us by email at or reach out to your liaison librarian. The website will connect you to open access guidance and instructions for depositing in IUSW Open. If you have further questions, the policy FAQ may also be helpful.


Copyright and Data Curation

Digital technologies have engendered new research methodologies that can render mass collections or assemblages of things as data and analyze them as such. Things such as images, the millions of books on Google Books, or commercial databases of scholarly research articles that were originally created to be viewed or read can now be mined for data, coded, and analyzed statistically.

These new technologies and research methods, like many technologies before them, raise concomitant copyright issues and questions. In addition, the advent of open data policies from the U.S. government, foundations, and other grant funders have also raised questions from researchers about who owns data; what, if any legal protections exist for data; and how other researchers may use such data? These questions arise throughout the life cycle of data, from its creation, to archiving it, and its possible licensing for use by other researchers.

Data and its curation clearly raise other legal issues as well, including privacy, cybersecurity, trade secrets, and patent law. In the context of copyright law, data implicates issues about the subject matter and ownership of copyright, or what is copyrightable, and who owns the copyright in copyrightable intellectual property.

Data v. Databases

By data, I mean the raw content of assembled, collected, or generated stuff to be subjected to statistical analysis and interpretation. Illustrations or representations of the analyzed data in tables, charts or graphs, present related but separate copyright issues.

By databases, I am referring to the organization of the data, its relationship to different data elements, or how the data is organized in a structured set of data, typically stored in a computer, and made accessible and manipulable by means of software applications.

Copyrightability of Data and Databases

U.S. copyright has very little to say, at least not directly, about either data or databases. Instead, copyright law provides a framework for establishing the subject matter of copyright – or what is copyrightable – and who owns copyrightable intellectual property once it has been created. Copyright law then provides certain protections for that copyrightable intellectual property in the form of specifically enumerated exclusive rights granted to copyright owners.

Under the law, copyright protection is granted to “…original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression…” A lot of data will not be copyrightable because it does not meet the first requirement for copyright protection, namely, originality. While many sources of data, such as images or texts in a database, are of course copyrightable, the data generated from those sources, as well as other data sets generally, does not constitute an “original work of authorship,” as described by the Copyright Act and litigated in numerous cases. This might not make sense to a lot of researchers: if a researcher designs an experiment or study, runs experiments or conducts surveys, collects and compiles the data, isn’t that original, and aren’t they the author of it? Yes, in a certain sense, but not in the sense that is important for copyright. Copyright is intended to incentivize the publication and distribution of creative works. Facts and data aren’t considered original works of authorship because they are not “created” so much as they are “engendered” by or are a result of a researcher’s methods. They are discovered and compiled, and copyright does not reward that effort.

Moreover, data is typically factual or informational, and U.S. copyright does not protect facts or information. It is not possible to copyright facts, ideas, procedures, processes, methods, systems, concepts, formulas, algorithms, principles or discoveries, although such things might be protectable by patent law.

Similarly, while U.S. copyright law does protect compilations, Congress has not seen fit to extend copyright protection to databases themselves. There could nevertheless be a thin layer of copyright protection in a database, premised on choices regarding what data to include in the database, the organization of the data, or defining the relationships between different data elements. Such creative decisions potentially meet the requirements for copyrightability and copyright protection.

Ownership and Protection of Data and Databases

Because of the varying degrees of copyrightability of databases and data content, and because copyright only protects copyrightable works, different strategies are required to manage the ownership and protection of data and databases. Copyright can govern the use of databases and some data content (that is “an original work of authorship”), but other mechanisms must be relied on to regulate access to and the use of data and databases, typically on the basis of access controls by means of authentication, and contracts and licensing agreements to restrict the extraction and reuse of the data, or other contents of a database.

Data Curation and Licensing

Ideally, repository collections of data will provide information regarding the terms of use for the database and its data content. The Open Data Commons group ( has developed three standard licenses based on copyright and contract principles. They are:
1. Public Domain Dedication and License (PDDL): This dedicates the database and its content to the public domain, free for everyone to use as they see fit.
2. Attribution License (ODC-By): Users are free to use the database and its content in new and different ways, provided they provide attribution to the source of the data and/or the database.
3. Open Database License (ODC-ODbL): ODbL stipulates that any subsequent use of the database must provide attribution, an unrestricted version of the new product must always be accessible, and any new products made using ODbL material must be distributed using the same terms. It is the most restrictive of all ODC licenses.