Difference between revisions of "Best practices for university OA policies"

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* '''Waiver option'''
* '''Waiver option'''
** The waiver option should apply to the grant of rights to the institution, not to the deposit requirement.
** The waiver option should apply only to the grant of rights to the institution, not to the deposit requirement.
** The policy should make clear that waiver requests will always be granted, no questions asked.
** The policy should make clear that the Provost's office (or the relevant office) will grant waivers no questions asked, without requiring faculty to explain their reasons and without judging those reasons. To avoid needless fear or confusion on this point, the policy should refer to "obtaining" rather than "requesting" a waiver.  
* '''Scope of coverage, by content category'''
* '''Scope of coverage, by content category'''

Revision as of 19:20, 7 April 2012

  • This is a guide to best practices for university OA policies.
  • The doc is under way but far from complete. All the entries to date are tentative. Undecided questions are marked with three slashes (///).
  • To do list
    • Find and remove all cases of the three slashes (///).
    • Elaborate each entry with some rationale, including (as far as possible) links to literature and evidence.
    • Decide whether to make all or some of it public.
    • Decide whether the public version will stay here (the HOAP wiki) or move to another location and perhaps another format.
    • Decide how to indicate the growth and evolution of our recommendations. (I suggest version numbers and release dates.)
    • Decide who is authorized to revise this doc. (At the moment, it's just the HOAP principals.)
    • Before release, get other key partners to make their own suggestions and sign on to the result, e.g. SPARC and EOS.
    • Consider writing an executive summary of the guide, for rapid orientation or busy committees. Or consider making two editions, a short one for busy committees and a full-length version for everyone else.
    • Consider including a (dynamic) section on frequently asked questions and frequently heard objections and misunderstandings
    • Eventually make a second guide for funder policies. It could be a separate doc, or it could be a new section of this doc ("Follow all the recommendations above but with these subtractions and additions based on the different circumstances of universities and funders").

Drafting a policy

  • Grant of rights to the institution
    • The policy should be worded so that the faculty vote adopting the policy thereby grants the university certain non-exclusive rights to their future publications. It should not merely ask/encourage/require faculty to retain certain rights when they sign future publishing contracts.
  • Deposit in the repository
    • The policy should require faculty to deposit a certain version of their future journal publications in the institutional repository.
    • The version to be deposited is the final version of the peer-reviewed manuscript, incorporating all revisions made during the peer-review process.
  • Deposit timing
    • Faculty should deposit their peer-reviewed manuscripts at the time of acceptance for publication.
    • If the policy respects an embargo decision (from the author or publisher), the deposit should still be made at the time of acceptance. But it will be a dark deposit until the embargo period runs.
  • Waiver option
    • The waiver option should apply only to the grant of rights to the institution, not to the deposit requirement.
    • The policy should make clear that the Provost's office (or the relevant office) will grant waivers no questions asked, without requiring faculty to explain their reasons and without judging those reasons. To avoid needless fear or confusion on this point, the policy should refer to "obtaining" rather than "requesting" a waiver.
  • Scope of coverage, by content category
    • The policy can require deposit for some kinds of content (e.g. manuscripts published in peer-reviewed journals) and encourage deposit of other kinds (e.g. conference presentations, books or book chapters, datasets, theses and dissertations).
  • Scope of coverage, by time
    • Neither the grant of rights nor the deposit requirement should be retroactive. But the policy might encourage deposit of works published prior to the adoption of the policy.
  • Licensing
    • Institutions with Harvard-style policies have the rights needed to put open licenses (such as CC-BY) on faculty works deposited under the policy. But they need not take advantage of those rights, or need not do so right away.
  • Transferring rights back to the author
    • The Harvard policy not only transfers rights to the institution, but allows the institution to transfer rights to others. Here's the key language: "More specifically, each Faculty member grants to [university name] a nonexclusive, irrevocable, worldwide license to exercise any and all rights under copyright relating to each of his or her scholarly articles...provided that the articles are not sold for a profit, and to authorize others to do the same."
    • The primary purpose of this language is to allow the institution to transfer rights back to the author. The effect is that authors retain (or regain) rights to their work, including rights that they transferred away in their publishing contracts.
    • ///Have I understood this correctly? Is it fair to say that authors retain/regain all rights to their work, or all rights except the right to allow commercial use?
  • Separating the issues
    • A university with a green OA policy may (and we think, should) also launch a fund to help faculty pay publication fees at fee-based OA journals. But the green OA policy should make clear that it is separate from the journal fund. Otherwise faculty may think that the policy itself requires faculty to submit new work to OA journals (a common and harmful misunderstanding).
    • A university requiring green OA may also encourage gold OA. But it should be careful about doing both the same document. Where it has been tried, faculty too easily come to believe that the policy requires gold OA.
    • Some other recommendations on separating the issues are included below under Adopting a policy ("Educating faculty about the policy before the vote"). But certain explanations belong in the policy itself, to help deter misunderstandings.

Adopting a policy

  • Adopting authority
    • The policy should be adopted by the faculty, not the administration.
    • Campus entrepreneurs leading the campaign for a policy should be faculty. If the idea and initial momentum came from librarians or administrators, they should find faculty members willing to lead the effort.
  • Educating faculty about the policy before the vote
    • Make clear that the policy requires deposit in an OA repository, not submission to an OA journal. (It's about green OA, not gold OA.) It does not limit faculty freedom to submit work to the journals of their choice.
    • Make clear that the waiver option guarantees that faculty are free to decide for or against OA for every one of their publications. The policy merely shifts the default from non-deposit and non-OA to deposit and OA.
    • Make clear that "softening" the policy to opt-in is pointless. All institutions without opt-out policies already have opt-in policies.
    • Make clear that the waiver option also gives publishers the right to require a waiver as a condition of publication. Hence, publishers who decide that the costs exceed the benefits may protect themselves, at will, and may do so without refusing to publish faculty at institutions with OA policies. Hence, faculty who worry about protecting certain vulnerable publishers, such as society publishers, should understand that the policy already gives those publishers the means to protect themselves, if they see the need to do so. Faculty needn't paternalize those publishers by voting down the policy, and they needn't decide on the publisher's behalf that publishing authors without waivers would harm. However, faculty should explain to the publishers they wish to protect that the waiver option provides all the protection they need. Many publishers do not understand that.

Implementing a policy

  • Individualized writing
    • A Harvard-style policy grants the institution certain non-exclusive rights. But if an author under such a policy deliberately or inadvertently signs a publishing contract transferring exclusive rights to a publisher, which prevails, the earlier policy or the later contract? Under US copyright law (17 USC 205.e) a "nonexclusive license, whether recorded or not, prevails over a conflicting transfer of copyright ownership if the license is evidenced by a written instrument signed by the owner of the rights licensed or such owner's duly authorized agent." Hence, the institution must ask those covered by the policy to sign a "written instrument" affirming the background policy granting nonexclusive rights to the institution.
  • Facilitating deposits
    • If the budget permits, the institution should train student workers to make deposits on behalf of faculty.
    • The repository should make traffic data available to authors. Evidence suggests that this encourages deposits.
    • The repository should publicize the "most viewed" or "most downloadaded" articles, and the "most viewed" departments, e.g. on the repository front page or in a regular column in the school newspaper.
  • Facilitating waivers
    • The institution should create a web form through which faculty can obtain waivers. This not only streamlines bookkeeping, but proves to faculty that the process is easy and automatic. Harvard can share code for such a web form (true?///).
  • Multiple deposits
    • If a faculty member deposits a paper in a non-institutional repository (e.g. arXiv, PubMed Central, SSRN), the repository should harvest a copy. To avoid diluting the traffic numbers at the several repositories, all should comply with the (evolving) PIRUS standards for sharing traffic data.
    • If a faculty member is subject to two OA policies (e.g. one from the institution and one from the funder), the institution should offer to make the deposit required by the funder. For example, most faculty at Harvard Medical School are subject to the NIH policy; if they deposit in the HMS repository, then HMS will insure that a copy is deposited in PubMed Central. If faculty think that an institutional policy will double their administrative burden, they will vote against it; the institution should make clear that a local policy will actually reduce their burden.
  • Dark deposits
    • If a deposit is dark (not yet OA), at least the metadata should be OA.
    • If the repository software will support it, dark deposits should be set to open up automatically at the future date determined by the author decision or embargo period.
    • If an author deposited a manuscript and obtained a waiver, then the institution does not have permission to make it OA under the policy. But the repository should make the manuscript OA if it can obtain permission from another source, such as a standing policy of the publisher's to allow OA after a certain embargo period.
  • Repository indexing
    • The repository should be configured to support crawling by search engines.
    • Repository managers should check to see whether the contents are discoverable through major search engines, and follow-up any indexing failures.
  • Repository withdrawals
    • If a publisher sends a reasonable take-down request to the repository, the repository should always comply. (///But should the article be removed or merely go dark?)
    • If the author wishes to withdraw an article already on deposit (e.g. because it is mistaken, embarrassing, superseded by a newer version, etc.), then ///??