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Association of Research Libraries (ARL®)

  Advancing Scholarly Communication Contact:
Julia Blixrud
Author Rights

Institutional Policies

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Many institutions are developing policy approaches that provide organizational support to campus faculty and researchers who wish to retain their copyrights, particularly the right to deposit their works in institutional repositories or disciplinary repositories. Institutional author rights policies can also provide a mechanism for ensuring compliance with public access policies.

Institutional Licensing of Faculty Copyright

The most widely publicized activity to date is the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ vote to grant Harvard a limited license to their journal articles. The new Harvard Office of Scholarly Communication is supporting implementation. Key features of the policy include the availability of automatically approved exemption at the author’s request for a particular work, development of an institutional digital repository to collect and disseminate authors' final versions of the published articles, the grant to Harvard of a limited license (not a copyright transfer) to retain and disseminate their articles.

The University of California (UC) Academic Assembly has also engaged in a process to develop a UC-wide author-right policy to grant the institution a limited license to retain and disseminate faculty-authored works.

Many other institutions have engaged faculty governance processes to address author-rights issues. Further examples are available at Faculty Speak Out.

Funds for Open-Access Publishing

Another institutional approach assisting authors in making broader user of their copyrighted works is to create a fund that authors can draw on to pay publisher charges for making their journal articles fully accessible, either in an open access journal or in a hybrid journal where articles can be opened to all readers. See a recent SPARC enews article describing funds at the University of California, Berkeley; the University of North Carolina; and the University of Wisconsin. The University of Alberta recently announced a similar Open Access Authors Fund.