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Open Access (OA) and NIH Policies

Open Access
NIH Mandate

Open Access promotes both open access publishing and self-archiving.  The publishing part emphasizes the publication of material without financial or other barriers.  Self-archiving, or “green OA,” encourages authors to self-archive non-open-access publications. The impetus for OA was the unsustainable economics of commercial scholarly publishing and to encourage alternatives to the established commercial marketplace.

An open access publication1 is one that meets the following two conditions:

1.    The author(s) and copyright holder(s) grant(s) to all users a free, irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual (for the lifetime of the applicable copyright) right of access to, and a license to copy, use, distribute, perform and display the work publicly and to make and distribute derivative works in any digital medium for any reasonable purpose, subject to proper attribution of authorship2 , as well as the right to make small numbers of printed copies for their personal use.

2.    A complete version of the work and all supplemental materials, including a copy of the permission as stated above, in a suitable standard electronic format is deposited immediately upon initial publication in at least one online repository that is supported by an academic institution, scholarly society, government agency, or other well-established organization that seeks to enable open access, unrestricted distribution, interoperability, and long-term archiving (for the biomedical sciences, PubMed Central is such a repository).
This definition of an open access publication has been taken from A Position statement by the Wellcome Trust in support of open access publishing and was based on the definition arrived at by delegates who attended a meeting on open access publishing convened by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in July 2003.

1.  An open access publication is a property of individual works, not necessarily of journals or of publishers.
2.  Community standards, rather than copyright law, will continue to provide the mechanism for enforcement of proper attribution and responsible use of the published work, as they do now.

Related Resources

•    UC Discounts on Article Publication Charges for Open Access Journals

  • New eScholarship Launch at the University of California effective October 19, 2009 - Previously known as UC’s eScholarship Repository, the new eScholarship offers a robust scholarly publishing platform that enables departments, research units, publishing programs, and individual scholars associated with the University of California to have direct control over the creation and dissemination of the full range of their scholarship. “Our relaunch of eScholarship reflects the enormous value we see in recasting the institutional repository as an open access publisher,” says Catherine Mitchell, Director of the Publishing Group at the California Digital Library. “There is significant need across
    the University of California campuses for a sustainable infrastructure to support the publication and dissemination of research. In our efforts to respond to this need, we have watched our institutional repository evolve into a dynamic platform for the original publication of scholarly work.”  A short video is available at  http://animoto.com/play/CMUAhzp2fwpvnwSwFTdCOg
  • Berkeley Electronic Press (bepress) ResearchNow Portal

•    Timeline of the Open Access Movement

•    Open Access Week 2009

•    SPARC Open Access Brochure (pdf)


Additional Resources:

•    The Right to Research : The student guide to opening access to scholarship
•    SPARC Open Access Newsletter (monthly)
•    SPARC Open Access Forum Archive
•    Open Access News Blog (by Peter Suber)
•    SPARC Open Access Working Group
•    Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association – launched October 2008
•    Directory of Open Access Journals (available via ANTPAC )
•    Directory of Open Access Repositories
•    Public Library of Science
•    PubMed Central