Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Friday, June 26, 2009

U. Kansas adopts an OA policy

University of Kansas, KU becomes first U.S. public university to pass an open access policy, press release, June 26, 2009. (Thanks to A. Townsend Peterson.)

The University of Kansas has become the nation’s first public university to adopt an “open access” policy that makes its faculty’s scholarly journal articles available for free online. ...

Under the new faculty-initiated policy approved by Chancellor Robert Hemenway, digital copies of all articles produced by the university’s professors will be housed in KU ScholarWorks, an existing digital repository for scholarly work created by KU faculty and staff in 2005. ...

Professors will be allowed to seek a waiver but otherwise will be asked to provide electronic forms of all articles to the repository. KU’s Faculty Senate overwhelmingly endorsed the policy at a meeting earlier this year, but additional policy details, including the waiver process, will be developed by a senate task force in the coming academic year, said Faculty Senate President Lisa Wolf-Wendel, professor of education leadership and policy studies. The task force will be led by Ada Emmett, associate librarian for scholarly communications. ...

Via email: The policy was approved by the Faculty Senate on April 30, 2009; by the Provost on May 19; and by the Chancellor on May 22. From the text of the policy:

... Each faculty member grants to KU permission to make scholarly articles to which he or she made substantial intellectual contributions publicly available in the KU open access institutional repository, and to exercise the copyright in those articles. In legal terms, the permission granted by each faculty member is a nonexclusive, irrevocable, paid-up, worldwide license to exercise any and all rights under copyright relating to each of his or her scholarly articles, in any medium, and to authorize others to do the same, provided that the articles are not sold for a profit. This license in no way interferes with the rights of the KU faculty author as the copyright holder of the work. The policy will apply to all scholarly articles authored or co-authored while a faculty member of KU. Faculty will be afforded an opt out opportunity. Faculty governance in consultation with the Provost's office will develop the details of the policy which will be submitted for approval by the Faculty Senate.

Comment. The university's press release is a bit misleading. Both the University of Oregon and Oregon State University, which are public universities, have departmental mandates. But KU is the first university-wide institutional mandate of any American public university, and only the second of any American university, after MIT.

I haven't found a final version of the policy text online. But an earlier draft of the policy contains several features missing from the version I received by email, most notably a deposit mandate. The version I received authorizes the university to provide OA to faculty articles (with an opt-out), but doesn't state that faculty will be required to deposit a copy. (The press release says that authors will be "asked" to deposit.)