Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, August 28, 2008

An OA policy for Macquarie University

Macquarie University has adopted an OA policy.  From today's announcement:

Research conducted by Macquarie University experts will soon be freely available to anyone with access to the internet, following a unanimous decision by the Macquarie University Council last night.

Council voted to endorse University Senate recommendations that research articles be deposited in the online Macquarie University repository ResearchOnline after their acceptance for publication.

"This historic decision will make Macquarie's scholarly work much more available to researchers, including those in developing countries and those without access to expensive journal subscriptions," said Vice-Chancellor, Professor Steven Schwartz.
"It is an example of using modern communication technology to achieve one of the oldest and most central academic aims - the free dissemination of knowledge."

The Macquarie decision follows similar initiatives by overseas universities such as Harvard and Stanford, and funding bodies such as the US National Institutes of Health, National Research Council of Canada and European Research Council....

[Said Schwartz:]  "Although academics do much of the work associated with these journals for free, the journals can still be prohibitively expensive. Some cost $20,000 for a one-year subscription."

Manuscripts of Macquarie research that are accepted for publication will now be immediately available to anyone on the web. In a few cases, access to some articles may be temporarily embargoed because of a journal's policy. However, Professor Schwartz said that embargoes are the exception rather than the rule.

"The great majority of scholarly journals do not object to making authors' self-archived papers 'Open Access' immediately," he said....


  • For background, see Schwartz' July 3 blog post outlining a draft OA policy, and my comments on it.  (You have to love a Vice Chancellor who initiates an OA policy, who has a blog, and who blogs a draft OA policy for public comment.)  Schwartz hasn't yet blogged about the vote at the University Council.
  • Macquarie hasn't yet released the policy text.  So I can't tell how near or far it is from the draft Schwartz blogged last month.  In particular, I can't tell whether it encourages or requires OA.  But all the policies cited in the announcement --at Harvard, Stanford, the NIH, ERC, and Canadian NRC-- are mandates, which suggests that the Macquarie policy is also a mandate. 
  • The July draft policy was exemplary:  it included mandatory language, the dual deposit/release strategy (or what Stevan Harnad calls immediate deposit / optional access), and an email request button for sharing manuscripts during the period after deposit and before OA release.  It also provided no opt-out for faculty deposits, and only allowed slack on the embargo period before OA release. 
  • I'll post the policy language when I have it.  Meantime, kudos to VCk Schwartz and the Macquarie University Senate and University Council.

Update (8/29/08).  There's a short article on the Macquarie policy in today's issue of The Australian.  It's notable mainly for describing the policy as a mandate.  "Macquarie University has joined the small club of Australian institutions that require academics to make their research papers freely available over the Internet."

Update (8/29/08).  It's a mandate.  Thanks to Steven Schwartz, here is the language adopted by the University Senate and Council:

Senate resolves to recommend that Council:

  • mandates that all refereed, revised, final draft research manuscripts be deposited in the Macquarie University Repository after their acceptance for publication,  except for books or chapters in books which may be self-archived at the author's discretion;
  • requires that these manuscripts be made Open Access, available to anyone on the web, except where this is restricted by publisher policy.

Schwartz adds that "there is no opt out. Deposit is mandatory and access can only be restricted during embargo periods and not beyond."