Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, May 14, 2009

First humanities department OA mandate

The University of Oregon Department of Romance Languages adopted an OA mandate today.  From the announcement:

On Wednesday, May 14th, by unanimous vote, the faculty of the Department of Romance Languages at the University of Oregon adopted an Open Access mandate (text below). This mandate is the first (according to ROAR) such mandate in the world by any Department in the Humanities and the 3rd in Oregon (after OSU Library faculty and UO Library faculty). It is distinguished by the stipulation that URLs of self-archived postprints are to be included in all materials submitted to the Department for purposes of review and promotion....

Resolved, that the UO Romance Languages Faculty adopts the following policy in support of deposit of scholarly works in Scholars' Bank [the UO IR]: ...

Every Romance Language tenure-track faculty member is required to self-archive in UO Scholars’ Bank a postprint version of every peer-reviewed article or book chapter published while the person is a member of the Romance Languages faculty. The URLs of these postprints will be included in all materials submitted internally to the Romance Languages Department for purposes of review and promotion.

Self-archiving in UO Scholars’ Bank means that each Romance Languages faculty member gives to the University of Oregon nonexclusive permission to use and make available that author's scholarly articles for the purpose of open dissemination. Specifically, each Romance Languages faculty member grants to the UO a Creative Commons "Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States" license to each of his or her scholarly articles. The license will apply to all scholarly articles written while the person is a member of the Romance Languages Faculty except for any articles accepted for publication before the adoption of this policy and any articles for which the Faculty member entered into an incompatible licensing or assignment agreement before the adoption of this policy.

The Department of Romance Languages will waive application of the policy for a particular article upon written notification by the author, who informs the Department of the reason.

It is strongly recommended that faculty...self-archive postprints of articles and book chapters published prior to the adoption of this policy.

To facilitate distribution of the scholarly articles, as of the date of publication, each faculty member will make available an electronic copy of his or her final version of the article and full citation at no charge to a designated representative of the UO Libraries in appropriate formats (such as PDF) specified by the Libraries.  After publication, the University of Oregon Libraries will make the scholarly article available to the public in the UO's institutional repository.


  • This is one of the strongest policies anywhere.  It starts with a Harvard-style mandate-plus-waiver policy and then adds a libre OA license (CC-BY-NC-ND).  It seems to say that promotion review of journal articles will be limited to those on deposit in the repository (a desirable feature pioneered by Napier Edinburgh and Liege).  Moreover, it does not allow embargoes beyond the date of publication unless the author seeks a waiver.  All this in another unanimous vote.  Kudos to the whole department.
  • As the announcement notes, this is the first OA mandate anywhere by a humanities department.  I believe it makes the U of Oregon the first university anywhere with two departmental mandates.  The UO library faculty adopted an OA mandate one week ago today --also by a unanimous vote.  (Harvard has three schools with mandates but they are not departments.)  This is the start of what Arthur Sale called a patchwork mandate and suggests that we'll soon see mandates from other Oregon departments.

Update (5/15/09).  Also see Stevan Harnad's comment:

University of Oregon (UO) has just registered (in ROARMAP) UO's second Green Open Access (OA) self-archiving mandate in a week -- the world's 80th Green OA mandate overall.
UO's first mandate was for the UO Library Faculty. UO's latest one is for the UO Department of Romance Languages. It's also the first departmental mandate in the humanities (confirming, along with the several humanities funder mandates already adopted, that OA isn't, and never was, just for the sciences!).

This is also the world's 9th departmental mandate, again confirming Arthur Sale's sage advice about the "patchwork mandate" strategy:

If your institution has not yet managed to reach consensus on adopting a university-wide OA mandate, don't wait! Go ahead and adopt departmental mandates, for which consensus can be reached more quickly and easily....