Open Access Policy FAQ

In response to a worldwide movement to increase open access to knowledge and to protect the rights of authors, the University of Washington Faculty have joined dozens of other universities worldwide in approving a resolution to establish an Open Access Policy. The policy, however, is not yet in effect; this website will be updated with a concrete timeline as soon as it is established.

How it works

To whom does the Open Access Policy apply?

How can I make my articles openly available?

What if my article is already available openly?

What qualifies as an Open Access repository?

What is UW’s Institutional Repository, ResearchWorks?

The Open Access Policy refers to scholarly articles. What does that mean?

What version of my scholarly article should I deposit?

Does the OA Policy affect every article I’ve written?

What is a waiver?

What is delayed access?

Benefits of OA

Do other universities have Open Access policies?

What are the benefits of the UW Open Access Policy?

Faculty rights

Does the UW Open Access Policy limit where I can publish?

Does the UW OA Policy take away my rights to my articles?

My publisher charges authors fees to publish their articles openly. Does the UW Open Access Policy require me to pay a fee?

Does the UW Open Access Policy allow commercial use of articles found in the repository?

Publishing and legal issues

What happens if a publisher’s policies conflict with the UW Open Access Policy?

What happens if my author’s agreement includes terms that conflict with the UW Open Access Policy?

How are publishers made aware of the UW Open Access Policy?

How does the UW Open Access Policy relate to UW’s policies about copyright?

Do I need permission from my co-authors to deposit my article in the repository?

Am I able to make my work openly accessible if it includes a third party’s  copyright-protected images?

Who can I contact with more questions?

How it works

To whom does the Open Access Policy apply?

The Policy applies to members of the UW Faculty as defined in section 21-31 of the Faculty Code. It does not apply to other UW academic research staff or students.

How can I make my articles openly available?

According to the UW OA Policy there are three ways you can make your article openly available:

  1. Deposit your article into an open access repository like arXiv, SocArXiv, or PubMed Central, or another listed in the Directory of Open Access Repositories.
  2. Deposit your article into ResearchWorks, UW’s Institutional Repository.  For information about ResearchWorks and depositing your article manuscript, see the ResearchWorks page on the Libraries website.
  3. Publish in a reputable OA journal. A searchable list is available in the Directory of Open Access Journals.

What if my article is already available openly?

Faculty who choose to publish their articles in OA journals or via disciplinary or institutional OA repositories such as arXiv, SocArXiv, and PubMed Central will not be asked to also deposit these articles into ResearchWorks.

What qualifies as an Open Access repository?

Researchers can share their work through many sites and services but not all of them should be considered OA repositories. True OA repositories share key features including:

  • Commitment to long-term preservation of content
  • Nonprofit business models
  • Open and interoperable metadata

OA Repositories can be discipline-specific, funder-specific, or institution-specific. UW faculty authors currently make their work available through open repositories such as UW’s ResearchWorks, arXiv, SocArXiv, and PubMed Central.  These and the hundreds of others listed in the Directory of Open Access Repositories are examples of true OA repositories.

In contrast, popular social networking sites like Academia.edu and ResearchGate are not considered OA repositories for the purposes of the UW OA Policy because they are primarily commercial in nature, lack commitments to long-term preservation, and do not allow fully open searching, sharing, and re-use.

What is UW’s Institutional Repository, ResearchWorks?

ResearchWorks is UW’s institutional repository of scholarship produced by the UW community. It provides open access to articles. Each work has a persistent URI. The repository will migrate to a new platform in 2020.

The Open Access Policy refers to scholarly articles. What does that mean?

Peer-reviewed journal articles and conference papers created without expectation of payment are considered to fall within this category. However, this definition is left to faculty discretion to allow for disciplinary differences. Books, book chapters, data sets, and creative works do not fall under the OA Policy, though faculty authors are also encouraged to deposit these types of works if they have the rights to do so.

What version of my scholarly article should I deposit?

Scholarly Publishing cycle with OA deposit

Authors should deposit the “Author’s Accepted Manuscript” (also called the “post print”) version of each article. This is the post-peer reviewed draft that a publisher accepts for publication, typically the author’s final draft before formatting and copyediting.

Publishers usually reserve rights to the “version of record” of an article. This is the final version that has been copyedited, formatted, and appears in the journal. For information about ResearchWorks and depositing your article manuscript, see the ResearchWorks page on the Libraries website.

The flow chart to the left illustrates the different stages of a scholarly article, from submission to publication.

Does the OA Policy affect every article I’ve written?

No. The policy only affects articles created by UW faculty authors on or after June 1, 2018, the date the policy went into effect.

What is a waiver?

A waiver enables an author to opt out of the UW OA Policy completely for a specific article. An author may request a waiver as necessary, for example, in the rare case that their publisher objects to the terms of the UW OA Policy. If an author chooses to submit an OA waiver for an article, the author’s rights are then limited to what is allowed by the signed publication agreement and the author’s rights are not protected by the UW’s OA Policy. Waivers are automatically granted upon request from the author.

What is delayed access?

Delayed access (sometimes referred to as an embargo) specifies a period of time (such as 6 months or a year) that must pass before an article is made publicly available in an institutional repository.  The author retains the rights reserved by the UW OA Policy, but agrees not to exercise those rights until the embargo period has passed.

Both the self-deposit process and the mediated deposit form include an opportunity to specify a delay period.

Benefits of OA

Do other universities have Open Access policies?

Yes. Faculties at dozens of public and private universities in the U.S. and other countries have adopted similar OA policies, including University of California (2013), University of Minnesota (2015), Duke (2010), MIT (2019), and Harvard (2008-2011).

Many funding agencies and governments also have implemented their own OA policies - for example, the Gates Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. More information is available on the Registry of Open Access Repository Mandates and Policies (ROARMAP), a searchable registry that charts the growth of open access mandates and policies adopted by universities, research institutions and research funders that require or request their researchers to provide open access to their peer-reviewed research article output by depositing it in an open access repository.

What are the benefits of the UW Open Access Policy?

The UW OA Policy benefits the public and faculty alike. It states, “As a public university, the University of Washington is dedicated to making its research and scholarship freely and widely available to the people of Washington and the broader research community.” The UW OA Policy aims to share UW research with readers throughout the world at no cost to them.

Faculty rights

Does the UW Open Access Policy limit where I can publish?

No. You retain complete control over the decision making about where to publish your article.

Does the UW OA Policy take away my rights to my articles?

No. Under the UW OA Policy, faculty grant to the University a limited, non-exclusive license enabling the UW to make their articles freely and widely available in an open access repository.  Authors retain copyright to their work until/unless they transfer it to their publisher or other third party.

My publisher charges authors fees to publish their articles openly. Does the UW Open Access Policy require me to pay a fee?

No. The UW OA Policy encourages “self archiving,” also known as “green open access,” which is a free way of making articles openly available. Under this method, authors deposit the author’s accepted manuscript version of their article in an OA repository such as ResearchWorks. This path to OA has no fees for authors.

Journal publishers usually charge fees to pay for OA publication of articles on their websites. These “versions of record” typically include formatting and copyediting, and carry the branding of the journal or publishing outlet. This is one method of making articles openly accessible, and is often called “gold open access.” Authors may choose to pursue paid, publisher-hosted OA for their own reasons, but that is not required or suggested by the UW OA Policy.

Does the UW Open Access Policy allow commercial use of articles found in the repository?

Authors choose which uses they allow others to make of their work, if any. Authors may grant ResearchWorks users reuse permissions by choosing a Creative Commons license for their article at the time of deposit. Alternately, they may choose to reserve all rights, with exceptions for things like fair use and classroom display.

Publishing and legal issues

What happens if a publisher’s policies conflict with the UW Open Access Policy?

Publishers’ policies will not, by default, mirror the terms of the UW OA Policy. Many publishers require exclusive rights to articles as part of their publication agreement. The UW OA Policy’s non-exclusive license works by preempting transfers of copyright from authors to publishers. Under its terms, authors may make their accepted manuscripts openly available unless their publisher requires them to waive the UW OA Policy.

What happens if my author’s agreement includes terms that conflict with the UW Open Access Policy?

You should read and keep any agreement you sign. In particular, look out for language in the contract asking you to affirm that you have obtained a waiver of any institutional OA policy, or that you have not previously licensed any rights to your article to anyone besides your publisher. If this kind of language is included, you may use the OA Policy author’s addendum to attempt to modify the contract and harmonize the terms. If your editor rejects the addendum, you will need to request a waiver.

How are publishers made aware of the UW Open Access Policy?

The UW has informed over NUMBER  publishers of its OA Policy, as other institutions have done with their OA policies.  Information about the Policy is also publicly posted and kept up to date.

How does the UW Open Access Policy relate to UW’s policies about copyright?

The UW OA Policy is consistent with the UW’s longstanding policy that authors retain copyright ownership to their articles, until or unless they transfer it to their publisher or other third party. (This policy is found in Executive Order 36.) However, under the UW OA Policy faculty grant to the University a limited, non-exclusive license enabling the UW to make their articles freely and widely available in an open access repository.

Do I need permission from my co-authors to deposit my article in the repository?

No.  According to U.S. copyright law each joint author can grant permission to copy and distribute their work. However, best practices suggest that authors inform their co-authors of their actions under the UW OA Policy.

Am I able to make my work openly accessible if it includes a third party’s copyright-protected images?

If an author signs an agreement to use an image within an article, they should review the agreement to see if it precludes further distribution via an OA repository. Depending on the terms in the agreement, an author might request permission from the copyright owner, deposit the article without the third party’s image, evaluate whether their use is fair, or get a waiver for that article.

If an author included a third party’s copyright-protected content in an article in a good faith belief that their use of the image was fair use, or if the image was available for reuse with an open license or was in the public domain, they may deposit the article into ResearchWorks without seeking permission to use the image.

We encourage authors to explicitly identify the copyright status of any third-party material they incorporate into their article.

Who can I contact with more questions?

Contact the Libraries Scholarly Communications and Publishing department. We will be happy to answer any questions.