Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Friday, February 16, 2007

U of California considers an indirect OA mandate

The University of California is considering a Draft Open Access Policy  dated January 29, 2007 (but based on a proposal from May 30, 2006).  Here's the heart of it:

This open access policy seeks to increase authorsí influence in scholarly publishing by establishing a collective practice of retaining a right to open access dissemination of certain scholarly works. University of California faculty shall routinely grant to The Regents of the University of California a license to place in a non-commercial open-access online repository the faculty memberís scholarly work published in a scholarly journal or conference proceedings. In the event a faculty member is required to assign all or a part of his or her copyright rights in such scholarly work to a publisher as part of a publication agreement, the faculty member shall retain in the publication agreement the right to grant the foregoing license to the Regents. Faculty may opt out of this policy for any specific work or invoke a specified delay before such work appears in an open-access repository in accordance with the opt-out mechanism set forth below....

The University of California eScholarship Repository is an open access repository in which UC faculty-authored materials can be placed to meet the goals of the policy. Placement of UC faculty-authored material in other trusted, publicly-accessible repositories, such as the National Library of Medicineís PubMedCentral, or the physics arXiv will also meet the goals of the policy. Trusted, publicly accessible repositories are those which provide reliable, long-term access to managed digital resources; are internet-accessible at no fee for the reader; have explicit preservation and governance policies; and use data formats and technology management that conform to industry standards.

The draft policy also includes a draft author's addendum, to help authors retain the rights they need to authorize OA.

The policy was drafted by a working group convened by Wyatt R. Hume, the UC's Provost and Executive Vice President, who has asked (February 7, 2007) the UC campuses to review it by May 20, 2007.

Also see the policy home page and FAQ.

Comment. This is a strong policy for the largest university system in the US, and well along the process toward adoption.  It could trigger a wave of similar policies across the country.  It doesn't directly require faculty to deposit their work in an OA repository, but it does require them to give the university permission to disseminate an OA copy.  (Like other university mandates, this one has exceptions and faculty may opt out for specific works.)  One gets the impression that the university will actually provide OA whenever it has permission, but that is unstated.  If we assume it, then this "permission mandate" becomes an OA mandate.  Definitely one to watch.