From 2015 to 2017, I served as co-chair of the Bloomington Faculty Council (BFC) Library Committee. The committee worked for two years to pass, by a unanimous vote of the BFC, the IU Bloomington Open Access Policy.
During my time as co-chair, I spoke with dozens of faculty members, including department chairs and administrators, about the policy. In addition to touting the benefits of Open Access, such as more exposure and potential impact for the scholarship of faculty authors achieved by means of free access and long-term preservation, I routinely described the Open Access as ‘symbolic’ and ‘heuristic’.
By symbolic, I wanted to suggest that adoption of the policy would add the moral authority of another large public research university, such as Indiana University – Bloomington, to the list of U.S. colleges and universities who have adopted such policies.
By heuristic, I meant to express my view that the policy would – and now does – provide an impetus for faculty to think about how they might like to be able to reuse their work in other ways that could be professionally beneficial to them, besides simply transferring their copyright to a journal publisher in return for publication of their scholarly articles. Such uses could include freely distributing their publications through their own professional website, via social media, by means of an institutional or discipline-specific Open Access repository, or simply making them available to students in their classes. The IUB Open Access Policy fosters this goal by providing an institutional mechanism for retaining at least some of a faculty member’s copyrights in their scholarly work.
The policy is not a mandate. Faculty are not required to make their work Open Access. Under the policy, each IUB faculty member grants for themselves, at their discretion, the non-exclusive license articulated by the policy, which permits the university to make their scholarly “articles freely and widely available in an open access repository, provided that the articles are not sold, and appropriate attribution is given to authors.” Because authors can only license their work to the university in keeping with the Open Access policy if they retain enough of their rights to do so, the prior license granted in the policy provides leverage for a faculty member to use when negotiating publishing agreements with journal publishers. This is why Open Access policies, like IUB’s, which are modeled on Harvard University’s policy, are also often referred to as rights-retention policies.
While many publishers now have self-archiving policies that are consistent with the requirements of institutional and government-mandated Open Access polices (see http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/index.php), it might still be necessary to negotiate with publishers to achieve those ends. If you choose to negotiate your copyright with your publisher, the following suggested statement can be used to begin the discussion:
“Journal acknowledges that Author retains the right to provide a copy of the final manuscript, upon acceptance for Journal publication or thereafter, for compliance with the Indiana University Open Access Policy and for public archiving in IUScholarWorks as soon as possible after publication by Journal.”
This language can be added to amend a journal publishing agreement. Alternatively, IU provides a suitable form of addendum used in copyright negotiations at Big 10 Academic Alliance (formerly CIC) institutions. SPARC, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, also offers an author addendum with supporting documentation. Whether you use one of these addenda or not, the license to IUB will have force, unless you complete the opt out process. For information about opting out or obtaining a waiver letter, visit https://openscholarship.indiana.edu/.
A faculty author could have legitimate reasons to elect to opt out of the Open Access policy. One of the most prevalent reasons is the inclusion of third-party intellectual property quoted or included in a scholarly article under license from a copyright owner. Some common examples include an image or a musical excerpt. Licensing such content can be prohibitively expensive if the article is to be published in an Open Access repository. And while it is possible to deposit a faculty author’s final edited version of a scholarly article without any third-party content that exceeds fair use or is covered by a licensing agreement, an author might legitimately be concerned that the value of their article would be undermined by doing so. If an author cannot secure a license to make third-party intellectual property included in their work available with their article in an Open Access repository, they should opt out of the policy when reporting their work in their annual review on DMAI.