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

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

Draft Wording of the Proposed Policy

The faculty of the University of Utah (UU) is committed to sharing the intellectual fruits of its research and scholarship as widely as possible and lowering barriers to its access. In recognition of that commitment and responsibility, the UU faculty is determined to take advantage of new technologies to increase access to its work by the citizens of Utah and scholars, students, educators, and policymakers worldwide.  

The University of Utah provides an archive and associated services for the deposit of publicly accessible material.

In support of greater openness in scholarly endeavors, the UU faculty agrees to the following:

Each faculty member will provide a copy of their final, peer-reviewed manuscript to an open research repository (such as USpace) and grant the UU permission to distribute this work in a publicly accessible manner.

Each faculty member grants to the UU a nonexclusive, irrevocable, worldwide license to exercise any and all rights under copyright relating to each of his or her scholarly articles in any medium provided that the articles are not sold for a profit and to authorize others to do the same.

Exceptions and waivers to this policy will be addressed by a designate of the Office of the Vice President for Research.


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.

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.

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