Welcome to the University of Utah Open Research Policy Information Page: Common Questions

This guide provides a basic overview of open research and covers the practicalities of having an open research policy at the University of Utah

Copyright, Publishing, and Archiving

  • Is the University taking my copyright?

No, the policy simply serves as a mechanism for giving the University permission to archive and make your work publicly accessible. In fact, the policy can assist you in keeping your copyright rather than giving it away in exchange for publishing your paper. By keeping your copyrights, you will be able to create derivative works, publicly perform and display your work, and share your rights with whomever you choose.

  • Does the policy mean the University is telling me where to publish?

Absolutely not. The University does not wish to dictate where people publish. Faculty will publish where they normally publish but you may need to get special permission from the publisher to store your article on the local repository. The policy comes into play after the paper is submitted, reviewed, and accepted at the journal of your choice.

  • Will this policy undermine academic journal publishing?

This is certainly a matter of debate. Some feel that public access policies affect the bottom line of scholarly publishing, others feel that they help the academy fulfill its mission of speeding the progress of knowledge and advancing the arts & sciences.

In a July 2010 congressional hearing, legislators asked a representative of scholarly publishers how such policies harm profit margins. The representative explained that it remains difficult to come by such numbers. However, the concern is that libraries will cancel subscriptions at a greater rate if papers are freely available on the web.

On the other hand, a recent study concluded that "making taxpayer-funded scientific papers freely available would yield more than $1 billion in benefits to the U.S. economy over 30 years—five times the costs of archiving the papers."

This debate makes the consideration and expression of underlying principles an essential piece of a campus policy.

  • How will this policy benefit my research and scholarly work? 

Essentially, the policy gives you a bargaining point to keep your copyrights and reuse your work in whatever way you wish. Under current practices, when published articles are posted on open websites without permission, it's most likely a violation of a previous publishing agreement. This is a chance to make the postings legitimate. By having the right to deposit the article in an institutional repository, another access point to your work is available, it will be organized at a single site for you to refer people to, and it will be archived by the libraries. You may also be able to link multiple files such as data, images, movies, etc. Ultimately, the policy has the potential of raising the impact of the University. Many studies have shown that providing open access to articles can lead to higher visibility and citations; while others have not http://www.bmj.com/content/337/bmj.a568

  • Will this process be easy?

The policy is being discussed with keen awareness not to occupy too much time of a faculty member and to provide as much support as possible. As it is now, faculty can upload documents to USpace in less than 5 minutes. Long-term goals include adding a direct upload feature to the Faculty Activity Report. Looking up copyright policies is quick; understanding them may not be as easy; help is available from the libraries.

  • What's the difference between the published version and the author's final peer-reviewed manuscript?

The published version usually contains additional content and copy editing, extensive statistics review in some cases, and the layout, logo, and design of the publisher. The final, peer-reviewed manuscript may not have the same content, and does not have the specialized layout, design, or logo. Click here to see an example of each.  As a result, please be aware that multiple versions of your article may be available.

  • Does this policy influence patents? 

This policy does not influence the patent process, however, bear in mind that any public disclosure (including conference presentations, email discussion) can affect patentability. Contact the Technology Commercialization Office before you publicly disclose.

Get Copyright Help

Allyson Mower's picture
Allyson Mower
Office hours week of Dec. 10: M, W, F 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm or by appointment. My office is 5103; ask for me at the admin suite. No office hours from Dec 17-Jan 2.
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