Publishers and Open Access Article Posting Policies

Open Access Logo of an open lock over a background of the University of Windsor logo

When talking about open access and the new Tri-Council and Windsor policies with faculty (http://leddy.uwindsor.ca/university-windsor-senate-passes-open-access-policy) there are some common questions we encounter. We are developing an FAQ, however in this post I'd like to address the question of author rights, publishing and article posting policies. 

The familiar route to publication is obviously by submitting your work for review to a relevant academic journal. If your submission is accepted, the publisher will generally (though there are some exceptions) require you to transfer your copyright to them. At that point you as an author as well as readers of your work are required to work under their often restrictive terms and conditions.

However, given the growing pressure for open access around the world as a result of funding agency and institutional policies, most publishers have developed article posting policies for their authors that enable them to post a copy of their peer reviewed accepted manuscript, or even the final published version in some cases, in an open access repository like Scholarship at UWindsor. Elsevier, Wiley, Springer, Taylor and Francis and many others allow posting of peer reviewed accepted manuscripts in institutional repositories, sometimes with an appropriate embargo. More information about such policies can be found on the Sherpa/Romeo policy database or on the publisher's website.

It is important to remember that the mandate for open access is coming from the Tri-Council. They require that articles stemming from research they fund be made OA within 12 months of publication. Publishers recognize these funding commitments and have and will continue to continue adjust as a result. Publisher's article posting policies supply a means for authors to comply with their funding mandates. 

The Windsor policy builds on this by ensuring that we receive a copy of all our Tri-Council funded research in Scholarship at UWindsor. This will fulfill authors OA obligations to the Tri-Council. However, we encourage authors to publish and share their work on any other OA platforms they wish and don’t preclude them from doing so. Authors who are not publishing under the umbrella of tri-council funding are strongly encouraged to contribute, but not mandated to at this time. Ensuring we get a copy of OA research provides similar long term preservation and access as our practices for subscription journal content. We generally insist on local copies of subscription content and not just publisher hosting. This ensures that we can continue to preserve and provide access to the content no matter what happens to the vendor/publisher or our subscriptions. The landscape is very volatile and we need to be able to continue to provide access beyond the life-span of any publisher or subscription. Likewise, the Windsor policy helps us to ensure a stable infrastructure for accessing OA content and to showcase Windsor research in one place.

In most cases these OA policies should not restrict where you can publish. Let us know of any specific examples and the library will be happy to look into this for you.  If you encounter a case where the journal doesn’t have a clear policy allowing posting, contact us. We can help you communicate the need to provide OA to your article as a result of Tri-Council mandate.