Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The OA mandate at Napier University

Napier University adopted an OA mandate in April 2008 to take effect in January 2009.  (Thanks to Stevan Harnad.)  Excerpt:

A - Material which represents the total publicly available research and scholarly output of the University is to be located and deposited as fulltext in the digital Repository@Napier. It is University policy to maximise the visibility, usage and impact of its research output by enabling central online access to that corpus of work for all potential users and for researchers throughout the world.

B - In contrast, exceptionally, mandatory deposit of descriptive metadata for open access and identification of intellectual output will apply, where academic outputs are deemed suitable for commercial exploitation, where individual or institutional, royalties or revenues legally accrue from such outputs, or where ownership of output is complex as in the film industry.

C All research output is to be self-deposited, so that the repository forms the official record of the University’s research publications; all publication lists required for administration or promotion will be generated from this source.

D The comprehensive, online, University repository will be used in future to respond to bibliometric research assessments with reduced input and effort from staff.

EAcademic staff, research associates, research assistants, research students and other members of University staff are entitled and required to deposit digital copies of refereed and accepted research documents, or material which has been displayed, performed or publicly shown, to the extent that such documents or materials constitute work carried out by you during the course of your employment and which relates or is capable of relating to the business of the University.

  • Journal articles or conference papers may be submitted as accepted drafts not yet refereed (preprints) but it is mandatory that the refereed, final, submitted, accepted, version (postprint) is later entered into the repository as the last university owned version of the document. If publishers prohibit deposit in that form then the preprint plus corrigenda should be submitted instead....
  • Post graduate students are required to deposit a digital copy of their thesis, but may apply for a two year embargo on access as laid down in University regulations for submission of theses.
  • Staff and students in the School of Creative Industries are required to make and deposit a representative, descriptive, record of their intellectual output. Images, films, exhibition catalogues, sound or visual recordings of performances or events are acceptable, although fuller records of work may be supplied at their discretion....

Approved by Academic Board, 25th April 2008.


  • Kudos to Napier for this strong, clear policy.  I particularly applaud one feature seen in almost no other university policies to date:  "all publication lists required for...promotion will be generated from" the institutional repository.  This is a crucial incentive for authors and administrative convenience for the P&T committee. 
  • I also like the way the policy deals with works that cannot be made OA because of copyright holder objections or risks to author royalties.  First, it requires OA metadata at the very least.  Second, for research articles, it requires OA for the preprint and corrigenda (differences between the preprint and the peer-reviewed postprint).  This is much better than simply creating an exception for such works and letting publisher interests overrule university interests. 
  • One more tweak could improve the policy.  For research articles, it could require deposit of peer-reviewed postprints immediately upon acceptance, require immediate OA release of the metadata, and allow delayed OA release of the full text, for example to respect a publisher's embargo.  (The policy could still require immediate OA release of the preprint+corrigenda.)  This is what Stevan Harnad calls immediate deposit / optional access and what I call the dual deposit/release strategy.