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Open Access: Open Access Policy

Materials for development of Open Access Policy


Open Access in this context refers to a commitment among SUNY scholars to support the Open Access dissemination of scholarship produced within SUNY universities.

Practically, it would involve scholars at ESF filling out a web-form when they are about to publish a scholarly article. The web-form would collect bibliographic metadata about the article and the final accepted manuscript of the article.

The article would then be shared in the ESF Digital Commons and be made freely accessible to any visitor to the site.

Open Access Policy Discussion

On January 16th 2020 the Library Committee of ESF prepared the following draft policy materials for presentation to Academic Governance.

Draft Policy Language

  1. The faculty of the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry is committed to disseminating the fruits of its research and scholarship as widely as possible. In keeping with this commitment, the Faculty adopts the following policy:
  2. Each University Author grants to the University nonexclusive permission to make available their scholarly articles and to exercise the copyright in those articles.
  3. The policy applies to works authored or co-authored while the person is a member of the faculty, a student or a staff member except for any works completed before the adoption of this policy and any articles for which the University Author entered into an incompatible licensing or assignment agreement before the adoption of this policy.  
  4. In legal terms, the permission granted by each Author is a nonexclusive, irrevocable, paid-up, worldwide license to exercise any and all rights under copyright relating to each of his or her scholarly articles, in any medium, and to authorize others to do the same, for the purpose of open dissemination. It does not grant the University the right to sell the articles for a profit or constitute transfer of copyright.
  5. Authors can request a waiver of the Open Access Policy for any article or work.
  6. To assist the University in distributing the articles, each Author will provide an electronic copy of the final version of the article at no charge to the University Library department for Scholarly Communications in an appropriate format (pdf). Each Author may also deposit data related to the article. When appropriate, a University Author may instead notify University Libraries if the work will be freely available in another repository or as an open-access publication.
  7. The faculty calls upon the Library System to make the scholarly article available to the public in an open-access repository and to develop and monitor a plan for a service or mechanism that would render compliance with the policy as convenient for the faculty as possible.

Definitions of Terms

  • Nonexclusive permission: After granting nonexclusive permission, you still retain ownership and complete control of the copyright in your writings, subject only to this prior license. You can exercise your copyrights in any way you see fit, including transferring them to a publisher if you so desire.
  • Scholarly Articles: Faculty’s scholarly articles are articles that describe the fruits of their research and that they give to the world for the sake of inquiry and knowledge without expectation of payment. Such articles are typically presented in peer-reviewed scholarly journals and conference proceedings.
  • Irrevocable, paid-up, worldwide license: The permissions granted may not be taken back; there are no fees associated with the permission granted; and the permissions apply worldwide.
  • Copyright: Rights as defined by US Copyright Law (Title 17 of the United States Code).
  • Authorize others to the same: This language transfers the nonexclusive right to the University to allow others to use the articles in specified ways and contexts.
  • Not sold for a profit: The University could not generate a profit from exercising the rights granted but could recover costs for a service related to the articles, such as printed course packs.
  • Waive or opt-out: To waive or opt-out means to decline to grant the University the license described in the policy. A sample waiver is attached.
  • Final version of the article: an author’s final revised version, also known as the accepted manuscript, of a scholarly article, generally post-peer review, but not necessarily the copyedited and typeset publisher’s copy, unless such is allowed by the publisher.
  • Open Access Repository: Any digital archive or platform designed to make articles freely available via the Internet with clearly defined legal restrictions on their use or circulation. The Digital Commons platform is the default repository for this policy at the time of writing.

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