About Emory's Open Access Policy

Why an open access policy? 

The enduring goal of a university is to create and disseminate knowledge. Changes in technology offer opportunities for new forms of both creation and dissemination of scholarship through open access (OA).  OA also offers opportunities for Emory to fulfill its mission of creating and preserving knowledge in a way that opens disciplinary boundaries and facilitates sharing that knowledge more freely with the world.

What is an open access policy? 

An open access policy is a rights-retention instrument, ensuring that members of the University Community may choose to post works of scholarship and to make them accessible to the world without charge. The Emory Open Access Policy is a mechanism for faculty to grant a nonexclusive license (or permission) to Emory to post articles in an open access institutional repository to increase visibility of and access to faculty research. The basis for this permission is that you are the copyright owner of articles you write, as a function of US Copyright Law, until you sign away to a publisher some or all of the rights you are granted. Submitting a scholarly article to the institutional repository is voluntary.

What is an open access institutional repository? 

An institutional repository is an online collection of works that represent the intellectual output of the institution. An open access repository provides the infrastructure to assure permanency and free access to submitted works. OpenEmory, Emory’s institutional repository of faculty scholarly works, is a collection of several forms of research and scholarship by Emory faculty members freely available to anyone in the world with an internet connection.

Is this policy unique? 

Faculties at Harvard University, as well as at Duke, Stanford, MIT, Boston University and others have adopted similar policies. The policy for Emory draws from these policies but is based on feedback from Emory faculty and is unique to Emory.

Research funders support such efforts as well. For instance, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) now require any article derived from NIH-funded research be deposited in the open access repository PubMed Central, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) as well as the Wellcome Trust require any scholarly articles on research they fund be made openly accessible.

A list of the many institutions and funders that already have similar policies can be found in the Registry of Open Access Repository Mandates and Policies.

What kinds of works does this policy apply to? 

Only scholarly articles. Using terms from the Budapest Open Access Initiative, faculty's scholarly articles are articles that describe the fruits of their research and that they give to the world for the sake of inquiry and knowledge without expectation of payment. Such articles are typically presented in peer-reviewed scholarly journals and conference proceedings. Many of the written products of faculty effort are not encompassed under this notion of scholarly article: books, popular articles, newspaper articles, commissioned articles, fiction and poetry, encyclopedia entries, ephemeral writings, lecture notes, lecture videos, software, or other copyrighted works. This is not meant to disparage such works. Rather, they are generated as part of separate publishing or distribution mechanisms that function in different ways and whose shortcomings, if any, the policy does not and is not meant to address.

How does this affect the peer review of my article? 

It doesn’t. Since this policy does not affect your ability to submit your article for publication to any journal you wish, the peer-review process will be determined by the practices of the journal you choose and will not be affected by this policy. After you make any changes to your article in response to the peer-review process, you may submit the revised version, unless prohibited by your publisher, so that OpenEmory may contain the final author’s version of your article.

How does the Emory Open Access Policy impact me? 

The OA Policy allows Emory faculty to choose to submit their scholarly articles to OpenEmory. Emory faculty may choose to allow open access to their submitted articles right away or may elect to embargo their articles, limiting access for a specified time period. This embargo period may be required by the publisher of the scholarly article. The article will be archived in OpenEmory but not publicly accessible for the duration of the embargo period.

As a faculty member . . .

If you are a faculty member with either a continuous or limited appointment, as defined in the Faculty Handbook, you may choose to submit to OpenEmory the latest version of your articles for which you have rights. If you are a visiting or part-time or other faculty member with a limited appointment, this policy would apply during the term of your appointment at Emory.

As a post-doctoral fellow . . .

If you have a faculty appointment under the Faculty Handbook, the policy applies to you during the term of your appointment at Emory. If you do not have a faculty appointment, the policy does not apply to you, unless you coauthor an article with an Emory faculty member.

As a graduate student or undergraduate student . . .

The policy does not apply to you, unless you coauthor an article with an Emory faculty member. In that case, the policy would apply to the article through the faculty member.

How does this affect tenure and promotion? 

It doesn’t. Faculty still choose where and when to publish. Faculty will also choose if they want to deposit in OpenEmory, and if they would like to embargo the article for a specified time period.

Would the policy apply to articles I wrote before the policy was adopted? 

No. However, if you wish to deposit articles written prior to the adoption of the policy, you would be welcome to do so, provided that you retained the right to make your articles available in this fashion when you signed any author agreements regarding them.

Would the policy apply to coauthored papers? 

Yes. Each joint author of an article holds copyright in the article and, individually, has the authority to grant Emory a nonexclusive license. Joint authors are those who participate in the preparation of the article with the intention that their contributions be merged into inseparable or interdependent parts of the whole. However, we recommend that you get your coauthors' approval before submitting an article.

What if my article has images for which I only have permission to publish in print, not in an online repository? 

If the copyright owner only granted you permission to publish the image in a print journal, you cannot submit that image to be included in a repository. You can either choose not to deposit, or you can choose to submit the article without that image.

What version of my article gets deposited? What about version control? 

Whatever version you have rights to deposit according to the author agreement you signed when your article was accepted for publication. It could be a pre-print (prior to peer review), a post-print (after peer review but not publisher’s copy), or the final published version. Only one version should be deposited.   Based on feedback from faculty, Emory will accept the latest version possible under the publisher’s policy, and will, wherever possible, provide a link in OpenEmory and citation information for the published version, to make clear that the published version is the preferred version and that the Emory copy is a secondary copy for archival purposes and for readers who do not have access to the published version.

How much time will article submission take? 

Submitting your work to a repository should take 10 minutes or less, although familiarity and practice often decrease this time. Since this policy applies only to scholarly articles, the total time spent would depend on the number of articles you publish and choose to submit to the repository in a given year.

Learn more about how to submit your work to OpenEmory.

Will this policy harm the journal publishers? 

There is no reason that it should. The policy allows each author to decide where to publish his or her work and how to accommodate the requirements of a chosen publisher. Many publishers already permit authors to archive the final author’s manuscript in an institutional repository. If the publisher requires a delay before the work can be made openly accessible so as not to undermine subscription revenue, this policy and OpenEmory can accommodate that embargo.

When choosing to deposit articles in OpenEmory, you will grant to Emory a license (or permission) to exercise your copyrights relating to the articles you have chosen to distribute as open access. Either you or the journal publishers to whom you have transferred your copyrights in an author agreement remain the copyright owner.

How are journals going to respond to an Emory repository of articles? 

First, in order to deposit an article in OpenEmory (or any other repository) you must comply with, or negotiate different terms for, the journal publication agreement. Journals set policies they deem appropriate for deposit of articles they publish in repositories.  

Second, one way that journals protect their subscription revenue is to impose embargoes on when the article can appear in a repository after it has appeared in the journal. These embargoes are typically a year, which mirrors the NIH Public Access Policy. OpenEmory can comply with publisher embargoes.

How does this address the price of journals? 

The factors that go into journal pricing vary from one journal to another, so it is difficult to determine cause and effect for changes in journal prices. Also, commercial publishers consider pricing decisions to be proprietary information. As an example, the prices of physics journals published by Elsevier went down in 2010, while some of their other journals increased in price. Whether or not this is due to the prevalence of open access in the physics community or a reduction in the number of articles published in these journals is unknown.

More important than impact on journal pricing is giving Emory faculty an additional option to distribute their scholarship. Also, OpenEmory serves as a vehicle to build community and discover others at Emory working in similar areas of study, but located on a different part of campus.

What if a journal publisher refuses to publish my article because of this Emory policy? 

This should be an uncommon problem. According to a 2008 survey by the Publishing Consortium, an industry think tank, between 70% and 80% of journal publishers already allow authors to deposit articles they publish in an institutional repository. The Emory Open Access Policy provides for voluntary submission of scholarly articles, so you should check your publisher’s policies before deciding to submit to OpenEmory. If your publisher objects, however, you have a number of options. One is simply not to deposit in the repository. Alternatively, you can work to persuade the publisher that it should allow you to deposit under Emory’s nonexclusive license in order to be able to publish your article, or seek a different publisher. You can [consult with Emory Libraries Scholarly Communications Office] for help in the process of working with publishers and addressing their specific concerns.

What steps do I have to take to deposit an article in the repository? 

Find instructions on how to submit to OpenEmory.

Can I delay access to my article in Emory's repository? 

Yes, you can specify that your article not be accessible for some period of time after publication (an embargo). In fact, some publishers require embargo. In this case, your article will be archived in OpenEmory but not publicly accessible for the duration of the embargo period.

What if I routinely deposit my articles in another open access repository? 

There are potentially two options. First, deposit in another repository, such as PubMed Central, arXiv.org, or SSRN, does not preclude you from depositing in this repository. Second, you can send us your CV for review, and we will deposit those articles into OpenEmory for you.

Suppose I have a really good year and publish 10 articles in OA Journals.  That could cost me easily $25,000 to $35,000 in author fees, about the salary for one research technician for a year! 

We are not asking you to publish in an OA journal. Publish wherever you want. Just submit the version you have rights to deposit in OpenEmory. This will not cost you anything at all.

My publisher offers open access to articles it publishes for a fee.  How does this relate to the policy?  

If your publisher does not object to deposit in an institutional open access repository, there is no need for you to pay a separate fee to the publisher for the same level of access. If you wish to do so, of course, you are free to pay the publisher the open access fee, and some grant funders allow grant money to be used for this purpose.

Some society-based journals are supported about 1/3 through membership fees, 1/3 through subscriptions, and 1/3 through Author page charges.  If a society-based journal converts from a subscription-based business model to an OA journal model, how then would the journal make up the 1/3 lost once there are no subscription revenues? 

An open access policy does not address the business-economic models of how each society chooses to run a journal. The society may choose to impose embargoes to protect their subscription revenues. The Emory Open Access Policy seeks to promote and preserve Emory University faculty-authored scholarship by maintaining an independent copy of the work in perpetuity and by providing public access to it.

Where does funding for OpenEmory come from? 

Emory University Libraries provide funding to support OpenEmory and other library repository projects, such as the Emory Theses and Dissertations (ETDs) repository. The Libraries use the open source software Fedora, so there are no capital costs for software, and the Libraries have experienced Fedora programmers on staff.

How do I get other questions answered? 

You can send them to the Scholarly Communications Office at scholcomm@listserv.cc.emory.edu.