Open Access Task Force

Over 70 universities in the U.S. have adopted Open Access policies, and a number of funding organizations around the world have mandated Open Access for research they are supporting. Understanding this trend, and in pursuit of continued initiatives that further enhance the social embeddness of ASU, the University Senate has constituted an Open Access Task Force.

Frequently asked questions

An open access policy is first a statement of principle by the faculty, that we value the broadest possible dissemination of our work as a way to advance the impact and reach of our scholarship. Secondly, an open access policy is a statement of expectation in support of this principle - that while we may publish wherever we want, a manuscript of our work will be openly available through the ASU Digital Repository.

Open access refers to the free availability of journal articles on the public internet, permitting any user to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to analytical software, or use them for any other lawful, non-commercial purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself.

The University Senate Leadership believes that any policy concerning Open Access should come from the faculty.  A policy, approved by the faculty, would allow for consistency in requirements for inclusion in the repository, provide guidelines for any unit policies on Open Access, and give one voice to the university.

The policy seeks to increase the reach and impact of ASU research by making it more widely available. This goal supports ASU’s charter for inclusivity and social embeddedness and has significant potential benefits for both readers and authors of research articles.

Readers, including researchers at institutions that cannot afford subscriptions to all of the relevant professional journals, benefit by being able to freely access manuscripts of articles by ASU faculty. This access can help to accelerate the research and discovery process in various fields.

Authors benefit by having a larger readership of their work.  Open access articles are more easily discovered by researchers using online tools such as Google Scholar, and are more easily linked to and discussed in public forums. This could lead to more citations to their articles. Some studies show a citation advantage for open access articles, ranging from small to more than 500 percent. All such studies show an increase in readership.

Research funders are increasingly supporting such efforts as well. The National Institutes of Health have required open access for funded research articles since 2008, and a wave of other US agencies have followed suit.

Faculties at many universities have similar policies, including Harvard University, MIT, Caltech, Duke University, Oregon State University, University of Arizona, University of Colorado, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign, University of Kansas, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and the entire University of California System. MIT has created a list of universities in the United States that have policies.

No. Any policy we create will not mandate publication in open access journals or any other venues. ASU faculty members will be free to choose the journals in which they publish.

Most publishers currently allow their authors to post the final accepted manuscripts in institutional or disciplinary repositories, though sometimes the publisher requests that access is restricted through an embargo period that can generally vary from six to twenty-four months. Most existing open access policy implementation plans take these publisher policies into consideration when depositing articles into a repository.

Yes! The ASU Libraries has a long history of promoting and supporting open access awareness and activities. In fact, in 2010, the ASU Libraries’ Librarians Assembly passed an Open Access Resolution, declaring their commitment for open access. The libraries also created and manage the ASU Digital Repository.

Libraries have traditionally committed to archiving and preserving the scholarly works in their collections. This is also true of the works deposited in the ASU Digital Repository and separates such institutional based repositories from social networking sites and discipline based repositories.

Commercial sites like or Research Gate are social networking platforms whose primary aim is to connect researchers with common interests and are not open access repositories. Their terms of service make it clear they could alter their service model or terminate the service without notice. Disciplinary repositories such as arXivPubMed Central, and SSRN have a long track record and there is every expectation that they will be around for a long time. However, each of them is subject to uncertain funding from volunteer contributors or the whims of government spending. It is conceivable that these could shut down at any time and the works deposited there would disappear.

Yes. In the case of co-authored articles, ASU faculty authors will need to decide the degree to which they want to seek permission from co-authors before depositing the manuscript, but we envision the policy would cover co-authored articles and there would be an expectation that those works will be deposited into the ASU Digital Repository.

No. This policy is voluntary for authors who do not have a grant, or whose funders do not have an open access requirement.

The policy applies automatically to authors who accept grants from funding agencies which have open or public access requirement for research results.

In 2013, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy released an executive order for all federal agencies with budgets of over $100 million to develop plans "to make the published results of federally funded research freely available to the public within one year of publication and requiring researchers to better account for and manage the digital data resulting from federally funded scientific research.” A comprehensive guide to these funding agencies and their policies is available here.

Additionally, many non-governmental funding agencies are requiring open access to research results as a condition of funding, such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the Wellcome Trust. The Open Research Funders Group is another good resource for learning about funding organizations with an open access requirement.

When ASU faculty members publish an article, they should also work with the ASU Library to deposit the final accepted manuscript of that article into the ASU Digital Repository, as well as any repository required by a funder. Once in the repository, the article manuscript will be made freely accessible, taking into account any publisher embargo periods on such versions. The manuscript will have a descriptive record associated with it in the repository that includes a reference to the published version and the journal in which it appears.

ASU Library already manages the ASU Digital Repository, which will easily accommodate the deposit of article manuscripts by ASU faculty. ASU Library personnel will work partner with the Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development and the Office of the Provost to promote and implement our ASU Open Access Policy, including tracking the publication of ASU faculty articles, working with faculty members to deposit their article manuscripts, monitoring publisher embargoes, maintaining use statistics for faculty authors, and ensuring the repository is functioning at optimal levels to facilitate the discoverability of article manuscripts.

ASU does not impose a penalty. However, funding agencies with open access requirements may withhold future funding from authors who do not comply.

For most authors, it applies to scholarly articles. Such articles are typically published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals and conference proceedings. However, other works may fall under the policy if they are the primary method of disseminating research results funded by a grant with an open access requirement.

Many written products are not encompassed under this specific notion of the scholarly article, such as books, popular articles, commissioned articles, fiction and poetry, encyclopedia entries, ephemeral writings, lecture notes, lecture videos, or other copyrighted works. The ASU Open Access Policy does not impact these kinds of works, unless the authors chooses to include them in the ASU Digital Repository.

The final accepted manuscript of the article; that is, the author’s manuscript with any changes made as a result of the peer-review process, but prior to publisher’s copy-editing or formatting.

The policy does not apply to articles that were completed before the policy was adopted. The policy also does not apply to any articles you write after leaving ASU.