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Open Access Procedures FAQ

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How do I comply with the Open Access Policy?

The policy applies to peer-reviewed journal articles published after the policy's adoption by the General Faculty on November 17, 2009. The policy requires you to submit an electronic copy of your final peer-reviewed manuscript along with the bibliographical information for the article. The Open Access Policy automatically gives Oberlin an institutional license with the right to make the article openly accessible in Digital Commons, the College's institutional repository. In order for your article to be made openly accessible, it is important that your publication agreement with the publisher not be in conflict with Oberlin's institutional license. Many publishers have policies that allow final peer-reviewed article manuscripts to be deposited in institutional repositories. Information about publishers' standard policies on open access is available from SHERPA/RoMEO. If your publisher's agreement does not allow open archiving in an institutional repository, you may proactively request a change to the publisher's agreement using an author addendum as described below. The College provides a suitable form of addendum for this purpose. By using an addendum, you will avoid agreeing to give the publisher rights that are inconsistent with the prior license to Oberlin College, which permits open-access distribution. If the publisher does not consent to the addendum, you may request a waiver that will allow you to opt out of the Open Access Policy for the specific article. W hether you use the addendum or not, the license to Oberlin College will still have force unless it is waived for a particular article. You may also request a waiver for any other reason you consider valid. If you opt out of the policy for any reason, your article will not be made openly accessible in the repository. You still are, at a minimum, required to submit bibliographic information for the article in order to request the waiver. Whether or not you request a waiver, you are encouraged to deposit your author’s final version of the article in the Digital Commons repository. Even if you have opted out of the institutional license, you should still deposit the article, since it can be made available after a delay or kept "dark" depending on the publication agreement. The Scholarly Communications Officer routinely assists authors in clarifying their rights under publisher policies and advises on matters such as the use of author addenda.

How do I submit my article?

Upload your manuscript using the Scholarly Work Online Submission form.

How do I request a waiver of the Open Access Policy?

To opt out, simply use the Waiver Request Form and supply the information requested there. A formal letter notifying you of the waiver of the policy will be sent back to you at the address you provide. Even if you are required by a publisher to waive the policy as a condition of publication, chances are you can still make your article publicly available in Oberlin's repository, as explained further below. Thus, whether your article is under a waiver or not, you should still deposit the final manuscript in the repository.

Will my request for a waiver be granted automatically?

Yes. Authors who request to opt out of the institutional license for a given article will automatically be granted a waiver if they submit the bibliographical data for the article and state a brief reason for requesting the waiver.

What is an author addendum?

An "author addendum" is a simple legal tool used to amend the agreement issued by a publisher. Publishers' agreements concerning publication of articles often contain provisions that are inconsistent with the prior license granted to Oberlin College under the Open Access Policy. For instance, a publisher's agreement may specify that you transfer all rights under copyright in the article to the publisher and that you warrant that there are no prior licenses. The existence of the prior license to Oberlin College means that this warranty is not true. If you sign the publication agreement without an appropriate amendment, you may be in breach of the publisher's agreement. To avoid a conflicting transfer of copyright to the publisher and to protect yourself from breach of contract, you have the option to use an addendum with a publisher's agreement, so that the agreement will take proper account of Oberlin College's license, unless you are sure that the publisher's agreement is wholly consistent with Oberlin College's license. Though other forms of addendum are available, Oberlin College has adopted the SPARC Author Addendum which is designed to deal with the prior license granted to the College.It also enables you to reserve or obtain some additional rights if you wish.

How do I use an author addendum?

The process is very simple. You complete the addendum, sign and date the form, add a statement to the publisher's agreement making it subject to the addendum, and attach the addendum to the publisher's agreement when returning it to the publisher.

What if the journal publisher refuses to accept my addendum or wants to negotiate it?

In that case, assuming you still want to publish with that publisher, you would request a waiver and opt out of the institutional license for that article. You would, however, still submit to Oberlin the bibliographical data for the article. Alternatively, you or the Scholarly Communications Officer can work to persuade the publisher to accept Oberlin College's non-exclusive license or you can seek a different publisher. The Scholarly Communications Officer routinely provides assistance in addressing publisher concerns.

What if a publisher tells me I don't need the addendum because the publisher's agreement already permits immediate posting of the article in an institutional open-access repository?

If the publisher's agreement is consistent with Oberlin College's license, you would not need to use the addendum. Which version of my article or other material should I deposit?

You may deposit any version of your article that you have the right to include in the repository. You may have the right to include some but not all versions. It is worth distinguishing various versions of an article: * Author's Draft: the version of the paper initially submitted to a journal publisher for consideration, or any earlier draft. (The SHERPA/RoMEO site refers to this as a "pre-print.") * Author's Final Version: the version of the paper accepted by the journal for publication, including all modifications from the publishing peer review process. (The SHERPA/RoMEO site refers to this as a "post-print.") * Published Version: the version of the paper distributed by the publisher to readers of the journal, incorporating any copy editing done by the publisher, showing the final page layout and formatting of the published version, and possibly including the publisher's logo. Some journal publishers allow posting in an institutional repository of only one of these versions; others allow posting of more than one, or all, of these versions. Some publishers do not allow posting of any version. A summary of journal publishers' default policies is available on the SHERPA/RoMEO website. The Open Access Policy applies specifically to the author’s final peer-reviewed manuscript of the article. The Library will make the final Published Version of the article openly accessible when possible, when that is permitted by the publisher’s policy.

What should I do if my article has co-authors?

If you are one of multiple authors of your article, you should inform your co-authors about the nonexclusive license in the article that has been granted to Oberlin College under the Open Access Policy. If they object to the license and cannot be convinced it is beneficial, you should opt out of the license.

Should I include my article in the Oberlin College repository even if I have received a waiver for it?

Yes, you are encouraged to deposit it in any case. The repository accepts not only articles covered by the license granted to Oberlin College under the Open Access Policy, but also articles not covered by the license. Even if you receive a waiver, the publisher's agreement may provide - or you may be able to negotiate - sufficient rights to allow copies of your article to be made publicly available in the repository. The publisher may require some conditions that the repository can accommodate, such as an embargo period during which the article cannot be made publicly available. Information about publishers' standard policies on open access is available from SHERPA/RoMEO. Even if your article cannot be made publicly available under any circumstances, you are still encouraged to deposit a "dark" copy of the article in the repository. Under that option, your article is placed in the repository for archival purposes and only its bibliographical information is openly accessible. The bibliographic information will be made available for broad harvesting and indexing by search engines and that will increase awareness of the article. This will enable your article more readily to be found, even if a copy cannot be made available to others through the repository.

Should I take the license to Oberlin College into account if I am seeking permission from a third party to incorporate the third party's material (such as, for example, an image) in the published article?

Yes. If you conclude that third-party material cannot be incorporated in your article under fair use and you therefore seek permission to use it, that permission should allow the material to be used as part of the article in all forms and media, including, without limitation, in publicly accessible electronic repositories.

What if my article is also subject to the NIH Public Access Policy?

Your article will also be subject to the National Institute's of Health Public Access Policy if it is peer-reviewed and arose, in whole or in part, from NIH-funded research and is accepted for publication on or after April 7, 2008. Unlike the Open Access Policy, the NIH policy is mandatory and cannot be waived. Consult the Scholarly Communications Officer for advice on compliance with the NIH policy.

Can I request removal of my article from the repository?

Yes. Under the policy, you may request a waiver for the article and ask that it be removed. Such requests will be automatically granted. Simply contact the Scholarly Communications Officer.

What happens if I leave Oberlin?

Your work will remain available through Oberlin's institutional repository, unless you choose to request a waiver and withdraw it. In any case, the license granted to Oberlin is non-exclusive, which means that you can deposit your article in another institutional repository, assuming you have the rights to do so.

Does this web site provide legal advice to me?

This web site provides information and resources to help faculty members and others understand the Open Access Policy and to assist in compliance. It does not provide individual legal advice. The Scholarly Communications Officer, library staff, and the General Faculty Library Committee are not able to provide individual legal advice. If you wish legal advice about your copyrights or individual situation, you should consult either the College’s General Counsel, or your own attorney.

Last updated:
March 7, 2019