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The University Committee on Library and Scholarly Communication (UCOLASC) presented a draft policy on Open Access Publishing to the Academic Council on July 25th. The policy has implications for faculty publishing, for broadening accessibility to scholarship, and for how the university is perceived. The UCSD Academic Senate Committee on the Library formulated an initial response to the policy draft and is now soliciting a campus-wide faculty response through Friday, November 9th.

The Policy

The proposed policy, which applies only to scholarly articles, has two key components:

  • The policy requires that a faculty member grant to the University a non-exclusive license to exercise any and all publishing rights allowed under copyright.
  • The policy requires that a faculty member deposit a version of their publication with either a University or another open access repository.

Books and other types of intellectual/creative work are not included in the current proposal. With some minor variations, UCSF, Harvard, Duke, Princeton, MIT, and more than 140 other institutions worldwide have already adopted this approach to Open Access. These adoptions are part of a wider trend toward Open Access begun by the NIH and the Wellcome Trust and as most recently exemplified by recent developments in the U.K.

Impact of the Policy

In simple terms, the upside of the proposed policy is that it would make scholarship available more broadly and permit the creation of new models for access to knowledge. The implication is that scholarly publishing would follow newspapers, music, and books in how the Internet has changed business models. What is clear, and has been for a very long time, is that current business models for scholarly publishing are unsustainable – the cost of closed access journals is increasing much faster that either the consumer or the higher education price indices, an unsustainable situation exacerbated by shrinking library budgets.

The downside of the proposed policy is, first, the burden it will place on faculty authors that does not exist today: namely uploading the manuscript to an archive or opting out. Second, the policy may have undesirable consequences for societies or other membership organizations that rely on closed-access publishing revenues to underwrite the cost of other services they provide their members.

Finally, if the policy is adopted, there will likely need to be a gradual shift of library funds from traditional journal subscriptions to digital manuscript storage and access.

Associated with the policy are several important documents including a cover letter from Christopher Kelty (Chair, UCOLASC) to Robert Anderson (Chair, Academic Council), a presentation of the policy, and common questions and answers surrounding the policy. All can be found at: The initial UCSD Library Committee response to the policy can be found here.

More about Open Access and its implications can be viewed here.

* Discuss the Proposed UC Open Access Policy on the Academic Senate Forum.