Best practices for university OA policies
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- This is a guide to best practices for university OA policies.
- 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?
- When we decide it's ready, we can make all or some of it public.
- Before release, get other key partners to make their own suggestions and sign on to the result, e.g. SPARC and EOS.
- Eventually add recommendations on all important points, and link to literature and evidence in support of our recommendations. Consider writing an executive summary of the guide, for rapid orientation or busy committees.
- Incorporate ideas and language from these docs:
- Harvard's annotated Model OA Policy
- PS article on OA policy options for funding agencies and universities
- Include a (dynamic) section on frequently asked questions and frequently heard objections and misunderstandings?
- Eventually make a second guide for funder policies.
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 to the grant of rights to the institution, not to the deposit requirement.
- The policy should make clear that waiver request will always be granted, no questions asked.
Adopting a policy
- Adopting authority
- Policies should be adopted by faculty vote, not by administrative fiat.
- The campus entrepreneurs leading the campaign for a policy should be faculty. If the idea and initial momentum came from librarians or administrators, th ey 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
- 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.
Other best-practice guides
- PS has many in his offline notes. Will add them soon.