Faculty Activity Reporting
This page will soon be linked from the Faculty Activity Reporting form for Washington University's Arts & Sciences faculty. This form will include a checkbox to indicate if the faculty member wishes to make his or her previously published material available open access. This page provides a brief explanation of what it means to make materials "open access" generally, along with specific procedures for doing so here at Washington University.
About Open Access
In its broadest terms, the "open access" movement is an effort to more widely disseminate scholarly material to a wider audience, beyond the expensive and restricted journals in which much of the highest-quality material is found. Like many universities, Washington University now has an institutional repository called Open Scholarship designed for this purpose. It was created in response to the Open Access Resolution passed by the Faculty Senate, which directed the University Libraries to create a platform to assist faculty members in making their material available this way.
The University Libraries are committed to making this process as simple as possible for Washington University faculty members. For faculty members in Arts & Sciences, a simple check-box has been added to the Faculty Activity Reporting form to give your consent to make your scholarly articles open access, where possible.
If you check this box, the University Libraries will be notified of your interest, and will begin checking which publications from your CV are available to be made open access. (NB—librarians will not have access to your full profile in Faculty Activity Reporting profile, but only to your CV listing publications, extracted from the profile.)
If you are not in the Arts & Sciences faculty but wish to make your materials open access, please contact your subject librarian or Digital Library Services [digital at wumail dot wustl dot edu] to assist you.
How It's Done
When an author publishes material in an academic journal, the author grants various rights to the publisher as a condition of publication through a contract. Typically that contract also allows the author to retain some rights. Many publishers will allow re-publication of an article in an institutional repository, under certain restrictions (usually after an embargo period, and sometimes restricted to a given version of the work, i.e., a version that does not reflect editorial changes requested by the publisher as part of the peer-review and editorial processes).
A librarian will check on what the different publishers of your articles allow in terms of re-publication. Where an appropriate copy can be immediately obtained, that copy will be placed directly in Open Scholarship. If the publisher requires a different version, library staff will attempt to locate the required version, and if necessary, contact the faculty member to try to obtain the version.
While faculty members need to make decisions on whether or not or to what extent to make their material open access based on their career aims and commitments, we do encourage all members of the university community to be proactive with their intellectual property, and have resources to help people do so. The Scholarly Communications page has tools for amending publisher contracts to retain more rights for greater flexibility after initial publication, including making materials available open access.