Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Queen Margaret University adopts an OA mandate

Scotland's Queen Margaret University adopted an OA mandate on February 19, 2008.  From the description in ROARMAP:

...2. We have accordingly adopted the policy that all research output is to be archived in the departmental institutional repository before or after peer-reviewed publication. This archive forms the official record of the institutions research publications

3. Our policy is compatible with publishers' copyright agreements as follows:

a. The copyright for the unrefereed preprint resides entirely with the author before it is submitted for peer-reviewed publication, hence it can be self-archived irrespective of the copyright policy of the journal to which it is eventually submitted

b. The copyright for the peer-reviewed postprint will depend on the wording of the copyright agreement which the author signs with the publisher

c. Many publishers will allow the peer-reviewed postprint to be archived. The copyright transfer agreement will either specify this right explicitly or the author can inquire about it directly. If you are uncertain about the terms of your agreement, a directory [SHERPA RoMEO] of journal self-archiving policies is available to guide you. Wherever possible, you are advised to modify your copyright agreement so that it does not disallow archiving

d. In the rare case where you have signed a very restrictive copyright transfer form in which you have agreed explicitly not to self-archive the peer-reviewed postprint, you are encouraged to archive, alongside your already-archived preprint, a "corrigenda" file, listing the substantive changes the user would need to make in order to turn the unrefereed preprint into the refereed postprint

e. Copyright agreements may state that eprints can be archived on your personal homepage. As far as publishers are concerned, the institutional repository is a part of the institutions infrastructure for your personal homepage

4. We do not require you to archive the full text of books or research monographs. It is sufficient to archive the references along with the usual metadata

5. Some journals still maintain submission policies which state that a preprint will not be considered for publication if it has been previously 'publicised' by making it accessible online. Unlike copyright transfer agreements, such policies are not a matter of law. If you have concerns about submitting an archived paper to a journal which still maintains such a restrictive submission policy, please discuss it with the institutional repository....


  • This is a very strong policy.  The requirement is clear; the copyright information in 3.a-c and 5 is correct and not widely understood; and the exception for books is justified.  This is the first policy I've seen to encourage the old "corrigenda" strategy (3.d) and first to declare that the university IR counts as the faculty member's "personal home page" for the purposes of publisher self-archiving policies.  Kudos to all involved.
  • I can think of only two tweaks.  (1) The policy now requires deposit of the preprint OR the postprint.  It should require deposit of the postprint, no matter what, and then encourage or require the deposit of the preprint.  Right now, preprint deposit could take the place of postprint deposit, which would be regrettable.  (2) In the case covered by 3.d, when faculty have signed restrictive copyright agreements, faculty should still deposit their postprints in the IR, but initially make them closed or dark (not OA).  They can make the metadata OA immediately and make the full texts OA as soon as they can obtain permission to do so, e.g. after the journal's embargo runs.  This is compatible with the recommended "corrigenda" strategy.