Blog archive for March, 2009

MIT passes university-wide Open Access resolution

March 19th, 2009 by Kaitlin Thaney

Yesterday, by unanimous vote, MIT faculty adopted an Open Access resolution (text here) that will make scholarly articles available at no charge, freely to the public through DSpace – MIT’s repository service.

The way this policy works is that faculty authors grant the university non-exclusive permission to make their scholarly works available in a repository, with the right for MIT and its faculty to publicly disseminate for all uses except commercial. The resolution is believed to be the first faculty-driven, university-wide policy, and joins other similar initiatives recently adopted at Harvard, Stanford and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

This follows on our Addendum Generator, created by Science Commons as part of the Scholar’s Copyright project, which hosts the MIT Addendum, among others. The MIT Addendum helps scholars to negotiate with publishers for rights to comply with this new policy, as well as the NIH mandate. Authors can use our Addendum Engine to easily generate a one page document to attach to their submissions to the publishers, stating which rights they’d like to retain.

We applaud the university for passing this resolution, which is a great step forward for Open Access, and also encourage members of the MIT faculty to consider using one of our addenda to ensure their work can be publicly accessed and shared post-publication.

Also, for more information on how to comply with these policies, read our white paper, “Open Doors and Open Minds:  What faculty authors can do to ensure open access to their work through their institution.”

NIH Open Access mandate made permanent

March 17th, 2009 by Thinh

The NIH Public Access Policy, which was due to expire this year, has now been made permanent by the 2009 Consolidated Appropriations Act, signed into law last week.

Last year, Science Commons, SPARC, and ARL jointly released a White Paper authored by our board member Mike Carroll called “Complying With the National Institutes of Health Public Access Policy,” explaining the new NIH-mandated PubMed deposit requirement and questions that grant recipients should consider in designing a program to comply with it. At that time, the new mandatory policy had just taken effect, and many recipients were still learning how to comply. Nevertheless, the results were dramatic. Prior to NIH’s mandatory deposit requirement, under a voluntary policy NIH began in 2005, the compliance rate in terms of deposits in PubMed had been very low (4%, as published in an NIH report to Congress in 2006). Shortly after the adoption of the new mandatory policy, submissions spiked to an all time high, prompting an NIH official to project compliance rates of 55-60%. Just take a look at this NIH chart, and note the sharp rise after the policy took effect in early 2008.

In a subsequent White Paper that Science Commons and SPARC jointly issued, our recommendations included looking beyond compliance with the new policy and taking this opportunity to develop comprehensive institutional deposit and public access policies, such as Harvard’s open access policy.

Making the NIH Public Access Policy permanent will provide scholars and institutions with much needed certainty and impetus to focus on implementing these requirements within their institutions. It also creates a opportunity for scholars, universities, and the research community to take a broader look at their institution’s scholarly publishing and open access policies, not only as it applies to deposit in PubMed, but also as it applies to their own institutional repositories and scholarly communities.

We will work with our collaborators to develop further policy and legal briefings for university and public research institutions who are studying these issues. Look for that this summer.