Frequently Asked Questions

What do you mean by "author’s final manuscript"?

The author’s final manuscript is the post-peer-review, pre-formatted version of a journal article. This version includes changes made in response to peer review, but is not a facsimile of the publisher’s formatted and paginated PDF or print issue.

Here is an example author’s final manuscript from Harvard’s repository:

Additional examples can be browsed here.

As in these examples, the College’s Scholarly Communication Librarian will append a cover page which will include the full citation and a link to the formatted version on a publisher’s website.

What is an open access resolution?
An open access resolution promotes the dissemination of Muhlenberg College faculty research by requiring faculty to provide the author’s final manuscript of new articles for posting to our institutional repository when permitted by publishers’ policies. The articles will be indexed by Google Scholar and other search engines. The copyright of published articles will be retained by the faculty or the publisher in accordance with the publication agreement signed by the faculty, and an automatic waiver from the resolution will be made available to those who request it.
Why would an author be interested in pursuing an open access option?

citation-advantage

The overwhelming body of research shows that open access positively affects an article’s number of citations.
Studies have shown a positive link between articles that are openly discoverable and citation counts. A recent review of the literature found 38 studies showing a citation advantage in open access compatible articles, versus 7 studies showing no link.
Journal prices have dramatically outpaced inflation, making it especially difficult for global researchers to engage and build on your research.

Some argue that the fruits of publicly funded research should be made freely available to the public. Congress passed a law in 2008 mandating NIH-funded research to be made openly accessible, and a coalition of research libraries is pushing for Congress to apply this resolution to all tax-payer funded research.

journal-pricesJournal price increases have outpaced inflation every year since 1989.

Many OA advocates also support unrestricted access because knowledge itself is a public good, arguably beneficial to to those who seek it out.

How would open access work at Muhlenberg College?
When a journal accepts your article for publication, they will typically send you a form that transfers your copyright to the journal. Most journals permit authors to archive the final draft of their article on institutional repositories. You would be required to submit this version of your article—the author’s final manuscript—to the College’s Scholarly Communication Librarian. After verifying the journal’s open-access policy (which, in some cases, require an embargo period), the Scholarly Communication Librarian and/or assistants would deposit your final draft into our Institutional Repository where it can be indexed and discovered on search engines like Google Scholar.

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All faculty have the ability to opt out of this resolution, for reasons such as the journal refusing to grant you self-archiving rights, or objections from co-authors.

Once deposited into a repository, the PDF copies of articles are fully discoverable in search engines like Google Scholar.

How does an open access resolution differ from publishing in an open access journal?
Open access resolutions (or policies) are instituted to allow faculty peer-reviewed scholarship to be stored and disseminated through a college’s or university’s institutional repository. The primary goal is wide dissemination of scholarly output. Policies like the one proposed here—in which the author’s final manuscript of a journal article is posted to an institutional repository per publisher permission—are complementary with other ways to provide open access to scholarly articles, including directly publishing in open access journals and books.

A note on terminology: “gold” open access refers to a publication whose final, formatted version is freely available, typically on a publisher’s website. “Green” open access refers to self-archiving of an author’s final manuscript, typically in an institutional repository like Muhlenberg’s and/or in a disciplinary repository like physics’ arXiv.

Our resolution would take advantage of blanket “green” licensing offered by most publishers, which allow scholars to self-archive authors’ final manuscripts in institutional repositories. A 2008 study indicates that more than 90% of the 10,000 journals surveyed are green status, though some publishers impose an embargo period.

What other institutions have open access resolutions/policies?

Early adopters of open access resolutions (or policies) include Harvard, MIT and Stanford. Several other schools in the US and around the world have followed suit including the University of Kansas, Duke University, Trinity University (San Antonio), as well as peer liberal arts institutions like the College of Wooster, Oberlin College, Hope College, Wellesley College, Bryn Mawr College, Simmons College, Gustavus Adolphus College, and Lafayette College. In most cases, these resolutions were approved by unanimous faculty vote. In many cases, open access resolutions go a step further than we are proposing here, requesting that faculty also retain the copyright to their published works (which is commonly signed over to traditional publishers). While these resolutions take many forms, the overarching goal is to promote and disseminate scholarly research produced at these institutions.

What kinds of scholarly publications are going to be located in Muhlenberg’s repository?

The archive will feature peer-reviewed journal articles, the sole type of publication covered by this resolution. While book chapters, conference papers, and other scholarly publications are not included in the resolution, they may be submitted at the author’s discretion contingent on copyright holder permission.

Will Muhlenberg College’s Open Access resolution be retroactive, such that peer-reviewed articles previously published by Muhlenberg faculty members will be added to the archive?

No, this resolution only affects new faculty research articles that are published in peer-reviewed journals after the faculty has voted in favor of the open access resolution. Faculty members who wish to provide earlier research articles to the archive are welcome to do so, though it is strictly voluntary. You may email these materials to the College’s Scholarly Communication Librarian.

Will this new Open Access resolution affect my relationship with journal publishers?
No, not at all. The current resolution is fully compatible with existing copyright law and publisher copyright policies. For instance, if a publisher has an embargo period before which the author’s final manuscript may be posted, then that embargo will be honored. If a publisher’s copyright policies prohibit the online distribution of a scholarly article in any form, then faculty authors may request a waiver to open access using the procedures outlined in the resolution.
What about co-authored works?

In U.S. copyright law, co-authors are co-owners of the copyright in the work (see Section 201 (a) of Title 17). This means that each author can individually exercise their rights under copyright, such as archiving in an institutional repository, without consulting with co-authors (though they are accountable to other authors for any profits).

However, academic authors often transfer their copyright to journal publishers in the contract they sign prior to publishing. It is up to the publisher, therefore, to grant permission for an article to, say, be deposited in a repository.

That said, in the interest of collegiality, and after securing permission first and foremost from the publisher, as the copyright holder, it is the practice of Muhlenberg College to make a good-faith attempt to contact and get permission from all co-authors before depositing an article in the institutional repository. Should any co-author object, agreeble terms will be met, such as posting meta-data only.

Does open access interfere with acceptance for publication or the peer-review process?
No, our open access resolution does not interfere with acceptance rates or the peer-review process. After an article is accepted for publication, authors will typically receive a copyright transfer agreement from the publisher. This contract can be signed as per usual. Our campus Open Access resolution conforms to publisher copyright permissions entirely: the majority of journal publishers now permit posting of authors’ final manuscripts, typically following an embargo of 6 months to 2 years. Our resolution simply takes advantage of this trend in publishing.

Journals that don’t allow such posting to institutional repositories are the outliers. Their policies will be adhered to, unless the faculty author wishes to submit a SPARC author addendum, submitted at the point of signing the publisher contract. This step is entirely optional, and is not a stipulation of the resolution.
The peer-review process is not affected by this resolution.

Would this resolution affect junior faculty?

No. Depositing your journal article in Muhlenberg’s institutional repository would not interfere with your ability to publish, and therefore would not impact the tenure and promotion process. In fact, making your articles openly discoverable may increase your citation advantage, thus making your research more visible.

How many Muhlenberg College faculty articles are already open access compatible (published in “green” journals)?
Out of 130 Muhlenberg College peer-reviewed journal articles appearing in 2011-2012, 72% are already eligible to deposit the author’s final manuscript into our institutional repository, based on data available at the Sherpa Romeo website, a database of publisher copyright policies. This gives you an idea of how widespread the open access option will be across all disciplines.
I’m concerned about the differences in pagination and content between the author’s final manuscript and the formatted published work.
We will always provide a link to the final published article on both the repository website, and directly on the author’s final manuscript PDF as a cover sheet. Even though pagination and layout will differ on the author’s final version, making your research available in the College’s repository will increase its visibility especially to outside researchers who lack subscriptions to certain journals. With the ability to preview your article’s full text, researchers will be more likely to order a copy through their library and potentially cite your work.
How does this resolution relate to open access mandates from the NIH and others?

Many organizations, including the NIH, Howard Hudges Medical Institute, and the Wellcome Trust, mandate the open access deposit of articles as a condition of funding. Congress is considering legislation, currently with bipartisan support, to require all federally funded research from agencies with budgets exceeding $100 million to be made available as open access within 12 months. On Feb. 22, 2013, President Obama signed an executive order directing federal agencies with budgets exceeding $100 million to develop open access mandates, with the aim of making the results of all taxpayer-funded research available to the public within 12 months of publication. These initiatives will only increase the percentage of articles eligible for inclusion in Muhlenberg’s repository.

I’m concerned that if articles are made available for free on the repository, it will hurt small journals.

Most journals permit authors to deposit their final draft into an open access repository. In implementing this resolution, we will adhere to the copyright policies of each journal.

Some of this material has been adapted from the Open Access Resolution FAQs provided by the College of Wooster.