Proposed Open Access Policy

Information on proposed campus open access policy: What it means for your author rights!

The Boulder Faculty Assembly (BFA), in consultation with the Office of Faculty Affairs, the University Libraries, the CU Student Government (CUSG), and the United Government of Graduate Students (UGGS), is seeking faculty input and discussion related to a proposed campus open access policy.  This policy would ensure that faculty  automatically retain the right to share and reuse your work, which is a hallmark of collaboration in academic discourse and central to the research mission of the university.

Please join us for one of two open forums, or submit questions and concerns online:

Attend an open forum:

  Submit your feedback:

April 2, 2014 from 12:00 - 1:00 pmUMC  353

April 3, 2014 from 12:00 - 1:00 pmUMC 353

What is the open access policy?

If approved by a vote of the faculty, the proposed open access policy will secure your rights to the articles that you produce as part of your research at CU and protect your ability to share and disseminate your research. By default, you hold the copyright to your original ideas and work until you choose to surrender it. With traditional models of journal publication, you typically sign over the rights to your work prior to publication. As a result, you may not share and disseminate your own work, and your articles may end up behind prohibitive paywalls.

The proposed open access policy asserts that CU-Boulder authors automatically retain the rights to their work, regardless of publication venue, and allows authors to share their work as they see fit (for example, you may post versions of your articles to your personal website). To facilitate dissemination and foster the impact of research produced at CU-Boulder, authors are asked to share their journal manuscripts in our soon to be launched institutional repository, CU Scholar. does this policy help me?

Increases the measurable impact of your work

Research that is open and freely available is more likely to be cited. Sharing your work increases its impact and can contribute to cases of tenure and promotion. You will receive use statistics of your openly available work in CU Scholar from the University Libraries to help you quantify this impact.   

Automatically retains rights to your work

The adoption of an open access policy will mean that you automatically retain the copyright to your work as well as the right to disseminate your work publicly.  Without this policy, you currently have to take extra steps to retain these rights to your work in many cases by submitting an addendum to your copyright agreement each time an article is accepted for publication.

Complies with funder requirements

Funding agencies like the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have been requiring researchers to make versions of articles from federally-funded research publicly available since at least 2008. Open access policies are currently in place or under consideration at every major federal funding agency in the U.S. (e.g., the NiH, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Education, etc.). Because the same rights are required for compliance with both funding agency policies as well as campus policies, the CU-Boulder open access policy will make it easier for faculty to meet funding agency requirements for public access. does the policy help the public?

CU-Boulder’s participation in the Open Access movement will mean that the intellectual outputs of the university are more widely and openly available to anyone, anywhere, regardless of whether or not the person trying to read the work has the privilege of an affiliation with a research university. This means that a researcher or student at another university, a member of your community, or an aid worker in the developing world can access your work. Sharing your research increases the profile of the University and contributes to the betterment of society.

What you DON’T have to worry about:

Does this policy dictate where I publish? - No!

The open access policy does not require that faculty publish in open access journals or change the venue in which they normally publish. Most journal author agreements are already compatible with this policy. For those that are not, a faculty member can simply opt out of the policy or ask the publisher for an exemption to the standard agreement. In addition, the open access policy would allow CU-Boulder to negotiate with publishers on behalf of all faculty. This approach has been successful elsewhere both for convincing publishers to change restrictive practices and for receiving exemptions for all faculty from a particular campus.

Does the policy comply with copyright and other relevant laws and policies? - Yes!

The University Libraries faculty policy upon which this open access policy is based has been vetted by University Counsel and found to be in full compliance with all applicable laws and university policies.

Does this policy apply to book manuscripts? - No!

The open access policy does not apply to books, or to any other endeavors that generate royalties. This policy applies only to journal articles, which faculty almost always write with no expectation of payment or royalties and often give away  to publishers completely by signing away their full copyright.

Does this policy negatively impact society publishers? - No!

There is no evidence that open access policies negatively impact publishers from a financial standpoint. The vast majority of publishers already allow authors to deposit versions of published articles in open access repositories. Many publishers profits have continued to increase despite an increasing number of institutions and funding agencies passing open access policies. Many publishers have also adopted profitable open access business models.

Do I have to make all of my articles publically available as a results of this policy? - No!

If a publisher is unwilling to comply with the open access policy, then faculty can simply opt out for any reason.

How does this change my intellectual property rights for things such as patents? - It doesn’t!

The open access policy only applies to published journal articles. Any information that could impact patents or other intellectual property concerns would already be available to anyone with access to the journal in which the article was published. 

I heard that open access articles are not peer-reviewed. Is that true? - No!

The open access policy has no effect on peer review. Faculty may still publish in any journal they choose. All decisions regarding journal and peer-review quality still belong solely to faculty themselves.

Who else is doing this?

AAU members with campus-level open access policies:

California Institute of Technology (

Duke University (

Emory University (

Georgia Institute of Technology (

Harvard University (

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (

Princeton University (

Rutgers University (

University of California (system) (

University of Kansas (

Other US colleges/universities with campus-level open access policies:

Amherst College (

Bryn Mawr College (

College of Wooster (

Hope College (

Oberlin College (

Oregon State University (

Rollins College (

University of Hawaii at Manoa (

University of Rhode Island (

Utah State University (

Wellesley College (

I want to learn more! Where should I go?

SPARC - “Responses to common misconceptions about campus open-access policies” [pdf]

Peter Suber - “Open Access” [pdf] 

University Libraries Scholarly Communications Portal

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