Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, May 25, 2009

An OA mandate for the University of Pretoria

The University of Pretoria senate voted unanimously to adopt an OA mandate, to take effect immediately. Here's the key language:

  1. To assist the University of Pretoria in providing open access to scholarly articles resulting from research done at the University, supported by public funding, staff and students are required to
    • submit peer-reviewed postprints + the metadata of their articles to UPSpace, the University’s institutional repository, AND
    • give the University permission to make the content freely available and to take necessary steps to preserve files in perpetuity.
  2. Postprints are to be submitted immediately upon acceptance for publication.
  3. The University of Pretoria requires its researchers to comply with the policies of research funders such as the Wellcome Trust with regard to open access archiving. Postprints of these articles are not excluded from the UP mandate and should first be submitted as described in (1). Information on funders' policies is available at [Juliet].
  4. Access to the full text of articles will be subject to publisher permissions. Access will not be provided if permission is in doubt or not available. In such cases, an abstract will be made available for external internet searches to achieve maximum research visibility. Access to the full text will be suppressed for a period if such an embargo is prescribed by the publisher or funder.
  5. The Open Scholarship Office will take responsibility for
    • Adhering to archiving policies of publishers and research funders, and
    • managing the system's embargo facility to delay public visibility to meet their requirements.
  6. The University of Pretoria strongly recommends that transfer of copyright be avoided. Researchers are encouraged to negotiate copyright terms with publishers when the publisher does not allow archiving, reuse and sharing. This can be done by adding the official UP author addendum to a publishing contract.
  7. The University of Pretoria encourages its authors to publish their research articles in open access journals that are accredited.

Comment.  This policy breaks important new ground.  It's the first OA mandate for South Africa, and the first for Africa at large, either from a university or a funder.  And it's another unanimous vote!  I applaud the mandatory language, the requirements for both deposit and permission, and the timing (deposit immediately upon acceptance).  Kudos to all involved.

Update (5/25/09).  Also see Eve Gray's comments.