Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Oregon faculty senate recommends OA

The University of Oregon Faculty Senate adopted a resolution in support of OA, February 13, 2008.  (Thanks to J.Q. Johnson.)

...[T]he University of Oregon University Senate:

  1. Encourages all faculty who publish scholarly works to study the issues of copyright ownership and liability, for example as laid out by the Association for Research Libraries SPARC initiative
  2. Recommends that if faculty sign a copyright transfer agreement for their work they should include an Author's Addendum as part of the transfer, retaining rights at least to archive their own work and to continue to use their own work in their teaching and research; suggested addenda include the Science Commons addenda
  3. Directs the President of the Senate to establish an ad hoc working committee, that shall
    1. foster educational opportunities for UO faculty related to copyright and copyright liability during spring term 2008.
    2. propose additional steps to implement this resolution....Such proposals should include at a minimum whether a UO-specific Author's Addendum should be recommended or required.
    3. report to the full Senate no later than 28 May 2008.
Financial impact: There is no direct financial impact to this motion. However, widespread adoption of the recommendations could protect faculty from expensive litigation, allow faculty to re-use their own works in teaching without paying royalties, and potentially make faculty publications more widely available, for example in the Scholars' Bank institutional repository.

Statement of Need: This resolution addresses trends in the use of scholarship driven by new technology: for example, it is common practice to post a copy of one's publications on a public website or extract portions for use in a class, but those practices violate the terms of most traditional copyright transfer agreements. More generally, it addresses an increasingly pressing issue, the commercialization of scholarly publishing, the increasing treatment of knowledge as property to be controlled rather than widely disseminated, and the increasing willingness of copyright holders ranging from RIAA to journal publishers to threaten to sue academics for copyright infringement.


  • The Oregon vote took place on February 13, one day after the Harvard vote.  But because these resolutions require a lot of preparation, especially in drafting, discussion, and education, it's not so much a response to Harvard as the fruit of an independent, simultaneous consideration of the same underlying policy issues.  But the Harvard vote, along with the Oregon vote and the dozen or so preceding university-level OA mandates, will undoubtedly inspire similar actions in time.  Kudos to all at Oregon who made this happen.
  • The new Oregon resolution strengthens and supersedes a resolution from April 11, 2001.
  • The Oregon policy now asks faculty to retain the right to deposit their eprints in the UO repository.  What's missing is a policy to encourage or require them to make the deposits or a policy (such as Harvard's) for the university to make the deposits on its own.  Permission for OA archiving is far from OA archiving itself.  I hope the new working committee (under C.b) will supply the crucial, missing piece of the policy.