Best practices for university OA policies
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- 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 (///).
- Currently the guide is private in the sense that no web pages deliberately link to it. I believe that some pages automatically created by the wiki software will link to it. Is that private enough for our purposes?
- Incorporate ideas and language from these docs:
- Harvard's annotated Model OA Policy
- PS article on OA policy options for funding agencies and universities
- Alma Swan's Policy Guidelines for the Development and Promotion of Open Access, UNESCO, March 2012.
- PS has asked EK to research recommendations for encouraging or incentivizing repository deposits.
- To do list
- Find and remove all cases of the three slashes (///).
- Decide whether to make all or some of it public.
- Decide who is authorized to revise this doc. (At the moment, it's just the HOAP principals.)
Drafting a policy
- Grant of rights to the institution
- Deposit in the repository
- Deposit timing
- Faculty should deposit their peer-reviewed manuscripts at the time of acceptance for publication.
- Waiver option
- The policy should make clear that the institution will grant waivers no questions asked. Faculty needn't offer a justification that might be accepted or rejected. To prevent 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 time
- Transferring rights back to the author
- Separating the issues
Adopting a policy
- Adopting authority
- The policy should be adopted by the faculty, not the administration.
- Educating faculty about the policy before the vote
Implementing a policy
- Individualized writing
- Facilitating deposits
- Facilitating waivers
- Multiple deposits
- Dark deposits
- If a deposit is dark (not yet OA), at least the metadata should be OA.
- Repository indexing
- The repository should be configured to support crawling by search engines.
- Repository withdrawals
- Unmandated content
Talking about a policy
- A waiver option creates an "opt-out" policy. In that sense in "shifts the default" from lack of permission for OA to permission for OA. After a rights-retention policy is adopted, faculty who don't lift a finger are granting the institution permission to make their future work OA; if they want a different outcome, they must lift a finger and obtain a waiver. The fact that the policy merely shifts the default, and still allows an opt-out or waiver, means that it is not a "mandate" in at least one common sense of the term. The word "mandate" may suggest a kind of requirement deliberately omitted from the policy. (On the other side, the policy is considerably stronger than a mere request or encouragement, and English has few words other than "mandate" to describe such a policy.) The waiver option or opt-out means that faculty remain free to choose for or against OA for each of their publications. The default shift means that most faculty most of the time will choose for OA.
- If the word "mandate" suggests commands or coercion incompatible with academic freedom, avoid the word "mandate". The policy recommended here is not implemented through commands or coercion. First, it is self-imposed by faculty vote. Second, it allows an opt out or merely shifts the default. It would be a mistake to let the understandable desire to avoid the ugly implications of the word "mandate" lead faculty to defeat a policy that was not a mandate in the ugly sense, or to defeat a policy where preserved faculty freedom to choose for or against OA for every publication.
- Some institutions adopt what they call "opt-in" policies. But in effect the institution already had an opt-in policy and didn't need to adopt a policy to give the faculty the right to opt in to OA. In that sense, the opposite of an "opt-out" policy is not an "opt-in" policy, but a no-waiver policy (which is stronger) or a non-policy (which is weaker).