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Open Access Policy

Policy No. Issue Date Effective Date

1.0 Policy Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to advance scholarship and learning through facilitating Open Access to the content of Scholarly Journal Articles produced by Brown University faculty.

2.0 To Whom the Policy Applies

This policy applies to all Brown University faculty.

3.0 Policy Statement

The Faculty of Brown University recognize that not all scholars or other interested parties have the same level of access to Scholarly Journal Articles that the Faculty are privileged to have at Brown. This lack of access can impede progress in scholarship and learning, in general, and also may limit the impact and visibility of the research done by Brown’s Faculty and students. The Faculty also recognize that there exist many paths to making a version of their scholarly articles freely available for the public to access and read online. One of these paths is ensuring that Brown University has the permission to freely and publicly disseminate the scholarly articles of its Faculty. As part of the Faculty’s commitment to the University’s mission to serve the community, the nation and the world by discovering, communicating and preserving knowledge and understanding in a spirit of free inquiry, the Faculty of Brown University adopt the following Open Access policy.

In view of the Faculty’s commitment to academic freedom and to disciplinary diversity the policy does not impose any specific type of publication model on Faculty or favor any specific type of journals. On the contrary, this policy recognizes that individual Faculty are the best arbiters of where their work should be published given the norms and expectations of their respective fields. The aim of this policy is simply to provide the University with the legal framework to permit it to publicly and freely share its Faculty’s research while minimizing the incremental burden on the Faculty.

3.1 Grant of Open-Access License (GOAL)

The Faculty, subject to any exceptions detailed below, grant to the President and Corporation of Brown University permission to retain, preserve, and make publicly and freely available a version of their scholarly articles and to exercise certain rights in those articles. More specifically, each Faculty member grants to Brown University a non- exclusive irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide license to exercise any and all rights under copyright relating to his or her scholarly articles in any medium, now or hereafter known, for purposes of making his or her scholarly articles openly accessible in an Institutional Repository, provided that the articles are not used for any commercial purposes, and to authorize other archives and the Faculty member to do the same. The license applies to all scholarly articles authored or co-authored wholly or in part while the author is a member of the Faculty and submitted and accepted for publication after this policy takes effect except those specific articles for which a Faculty member has requested a waiver.

This policy does not ask Faculty to transfer ownership of their copyright to the University. The Faculty member is providing the University with only a non-exclusive license and remains the copyright owner of his or her manuscripts under this policy, subject to this open-access license.

3.2 Waiver

A Faculty member can obtain a waiver of the application of this policy for any particular article for any reason and without challenge (see below under “Scholarly Article, Archive”). A Faculty member can also request to delay access to a particular article for any period of time if there is a specific timeline for delaying deposit of a manuscript required by their journal.

3.3 Contract Addendum

If an article is accepted for publication in a journal that does not have a self-archiving policy (i.e., granting permission for authors to deposit a version of their manuscript in their Institutional Repository), then Faculty are encouraged to attach an addendum to any transfer of copyright requesting that the publisher recognize the pre-existing license that the Faculty member has granted to the University for publicly disseminating their Accepted Author Manuscript (“AAM”). A standardized addendum will be prepared and maintained by the University.

3.4 Scholarly Article Archive

After acceptance of a Faculty member’s AAM by a journal, the University may make the AAM available online for the public to freely access and read in the Brown Digital Repository (BDR) or any other Permanent Internet-Searchable and Not-For-Profit Public Accessible Repository, unless the Faculty member has requested a waiver for the specific article. Faculty members will assist the University in identifying the scholarly articles covered by this policy by reporting their scholarly publications on their annual Faculty Activity Report (FAR). Faculty members will be able to indicate request for a waiver through the FAR. Faculty are encouraged to deposit in the BDR the AAM for any article that the Faculty member has not requested a waiver, and/or a discipline or funder archive of the Faculty member’s choosing and provide the link through the FAR to the Open Access version of the article. To the extent the University’s FAR reporting system permits, the University Library will use these bibliographic data to provide links to open and public access versions of the Faculty member’s scholarly articles within their Researchers@Brown account. Faculty can then log into their accounts and choose to have these Open Access versions appear on their Researchers@Brown profile’s publications list alongside the links to the version of record on the journal’s website.

3.5 Reporting

The policy will be reviewed after three years and a report presented to the Faculty, and as needed thereafter.

4.0 Definitions

For the purpose of this policy, the terms below have the following definitions:

Scholarly Journal Article:

Under this policy a Scholarly Journal Article refers to a digital copy of a manuscript submitted to a scholarly journal or proceedings for publication that is reported on the Faculty Activity Report (FAR). This policy does not extend to or require Faculty to make available Open Access a copy of other scholarly outputs such as chapters, monograph manuscripts, software, artwork, choreography, recorded audiovisual performances, scripts or scores.

Open Access:

Under this policy Open Access refers to freely available to access and read online.

Institutional Repository:

Under this policy an Institutional Repository refers to the Brown Digital Repository (BDR), an online database for archiving and disseminating scholarly works produced by the Brown University community that is maintained by Brown University. The database contains links to and/or copies of Open Access versions of Faculty scholarly articles. The public can visit the repository online and search for and download/link out to a copy of Faculty Open Access scholarly articles.

Permanent Internet-Searchable and Not-For-Profit Public Accessible Repository:

Under this policy Faculty may make available a version of their scholarly article Open Access via deposit in an online database that is provided by a funder or scholarly community for the public to freely access and read online, such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) PubMed Central (PMC), arXiv, NBER or the Modern Language Associations (MLA) Humanities Commons.

Faculty Activity Report (FAR):

The Faculty Activity Report (FAR) is the platform Brown Faculty are asked to use each January to submit information about their teaching, research, and service in the prior chronological year.

5.0 Responsibilities

All individuals to whom this policy applies are responsible for becoming familiar with and following this policy. University supervisors are responsible for promoting the understanding of this policy and for taking appropriate steps to help ensure compliance with it.

The Office of the Dean of the Faculty: Will be responsible for the day-to-day administration of this policy through oversight of faculty activity reporting.

Computing and Information Systems: Will manage programming and technical issues associated with facilitating policy compliance through the Faculty Activity Report.

The University Library: Will develop and maintain services for deposit of and access to AAMs and other open scholarly content through the Brown Digital Repository.

The Office of the Provost: Will be responsible for interpreting this policy, resolving disputes concerning its interpretation and application, and recommending changes to the Faculty from time to time.

6.0 Consequences for Violating this Policy


7.0 Related Information

Brown University is a community in which employees are encouraged to share workplace concerns with University leadership. Additionally, Brown’s Anonymous Reporting Hotline allows anonymous and confidential reporting on matters of concern online or by phone (877- 318-9184).

The following information complements and supplements this document. The information is intended to help explain this policy and is not an all-inclusive list of policies, procedures, laws and requirements.

7.2 Related Procedures

7.3 Related Forms


7.4 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Some publishers defend asking authors to grant all publication rights, including copyright, to the publisher, making the claim that it enables the publisher to protect and defend against improper use of the author's work by third parties, including ethical and legal violations of their works, such as plagiarism or copyright violations. While not all publishers may have the same financial and legal resources to take on this responsibility, faculty should still be aware that some publishers’ Open Access options, such as self-archiving (Green), or Open Access journals that provide immediate access and allow authors to retain the copyright to their own works (Gold), may shift this responsibility for the potential defense and protection of the work against any infringement onto the authors.

7.5 Other Related Information

  • Extensive information about good practices for university Open Access policies is provided in a widely endorsed guide from the Harvard Open Access Project.

Policy Owner and Contact(s)

Policy Owner: Provost

Policy Approved by: President and the Faculty

Contact Information:

University Library Email

Policy History

Policy Issue Date:

Policy Effective Date:

Policy Update/Review Summary: