Appendix K



Open Access Policy Recommendations


Implementation: Upon Approval by the President


Open at Penn State promotes and supports Penn State activities in pursuit of providing openly available scholarly output, including research outputs such as data and publications. Open at Penn State is part of a broad international conversation and is one of many related efforts to promote open access to scholarly research. With Open at Penn State, Penn State works in conjunction with peers in the Big Ten, such as Illinois, Indiana, Purdue, and Rutgers; across the United States, such as Harvard University, MIT, and the University of California System; and internationally, such as Cambridge University, JISC (UK), University of Freiburg, Project Deal (Germany), and the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU).

In March 2017, Provost Nick Jones and Dean of University Libraries and Scholarly Communications Barbara Dewey charged the Penn State Open Access Task Force to investigate and recommend opportunities to promote open and free access to Penn State scholarly output to maximize impact and availability of research and establish Penn State as a leader in the international Open Access Movement. The task force was asked to: 1) draft a policy statement on Open Access for Penn State; 2) recommend procedures for implementing the policy; and 3) recommend a suite of strategies to advance the Open at Penn State Initiative. Recommendations in this report have also been aligned with the university Open Educational Resources (OER) Working Group (View Participants)

We ask the University Faculty Senate to endorse this recommended Open Access Policy.


National & International Expectations

Some basic assumptions of the Open Access movement are that:

  1. Publicly funded research should be made available to the public.
  2. Open Access and Open Source promote timely and innovative research.
  3. Open Access and Open Education resources may help address affordability of education.
  4. Open Access can help address the academic journal subscription cost inflation crisis.

Penn State Expectations

As one of the nation’s largest research institutions, Penn State expects to adopt a leadership position with respect to Open Access. Specific expectations are that Penn State will:

  1. Ensure that faculty scholarship is available to the Commonwealth, the nation, and the world, in accordance with the university’s land grant status.
  2. Better utilize its resources by eliminating the need to pay subscription fees to access research undertaken by its own faculty.
  3. Comply with all relevant external requirements (granting agency requirements, federal requirements, contractual obligations) with respect to Open Access.
  4. Take an integrated approach to Open Access, Open Data, and Open Source, with integrated systems that allow faculty to comply with one or all of their Open responsibilities in one place.
  5. Maintain and/or participate in a leadership-quality Open Access, Open Data, and Open Source repositories, with tight integration of all three repositories.
  6. Take a leadership position amongst BTAA and Pennsylvania peer institutions with respect to Open Access, Open Data, Open Educational Resources, and Open Source.
    1. Penn State should become one of the leading BTAA institutions, joining Rutgers, Indiana, Illinois, and Purdue, with an Open Access Policy as well as becoming the first BTAA institution with an integrated approach across the Open ecosystem.
  7. Increase the visibility of university research by participating in Open initiatives.
  8. Ensure that its Open Access Policy places minimal burden on faculty:
    1. Penn State faculty must not experience increased difficulty in placing articles into journals, regardless of whether those journals have Open Access-friendly policies.
    2. Penn State faculty must not be burdened by the logistics of complying with the policy; processes must be streamlined, automated, transparent, and require minimal effort on the part of faculty.
  9. Develop a strategy for leveraging consortia memberships to expand PSU’s Open Access impact, including the development of a framework for reviewing and selecting consortia.
  10. Ensure that there is a plan for educating the Penn State community about the proposed Open Access policy, and about related implementation details.
  11. Ensure that there is a plan for implementing the policy over time, both at a technical level and at a cultural level.
  12. Ensure that there is a plan for sustainably funding any ongoing operations related to communications and compliance with the policy, as well as infrastructure requirements.
  13. Create a plan, with specific commitments, with the intention of shifting funding from journal subscriptions to supporting, publishing, and disseminating open access research in support of PSU long term objectives and strategic planning (View examples of some experimental OA initiatives in Table 2 (P. 7)View a 2.5% spending proposal.)

Current National & International Environment

  1. Federal grants and other funders may require open research and scholarly outputs.
  2. The Budapest OA Initiative, the Bethesda Statement, and the Berlin Declaration are the founding documents of OA. They form the basis of most institutional statements on OA.
  3. AAU and APLU Report (Nov. 2017)
    1. Goals: universities will need to…actively support and promote research data sharing; standard research data management practices will need to be…adopted across research universities to promote interoperability among institutions and retain academic control of data products and sharing”
    2. Recommendations: “Establish principles and an efficient process by which researchers hand off the stewardship of the data to the institution…Implement policies to support public access to data. Policies to support data sharing should be consistent with an institution’s research policies, such as those governing the institutional review board, controlled unclassified information, and conflict of interest.”
  4. 130 Open Access Policies have been implemented in the United States as of July 2018 (View ROAR MAP. View the Harvard Open Access Model Policy, complete with explanatory annotations and freely available for adoption by other institutes.)
  5. In an increasingly data-driven environment, Open Data has become invaluable to extend the usage of research activities and promoting interdisciplinary research. Many institutions, government agencies, and individual researchers, across many fields of study, have placed data sets online, available with minimal or no licenses, for use by all. As Penn State researchers benefit from these resources, so too is there an obligation to contribute to these resources via national field-specific data repositories or via Penn State’s own repository services.
  6. In September 2018, Science Europe’s Coalition S adopted a radical open access strategy requiring their $8.8 billion yearly funded research be published in fully Open Access journals with mandated immediate access starting January 1, 2020. (View Plan S: Making full and immediate Open Access a reality.

Current Penn State Environment

Penn State provides many Open Access services to its faculty, staff, and students, mainly based in the University Libraries. These services include:

  1. The University Faculty Senate adopted a non-binding Open Access resolution in 2015. This policy does not require deposit of scholarly work, merely encourages it.
  2. PSU provides Open Access oriented services, including: the institutional repository (ScholarSphere), Open Access Publishing, Open Educational Resources, Open Data and Open Source services, Penn State Press Unlocked, and the Data Commons, and Copyright expertise/guidance.
  3. PSU Libraries also provides other OA support through an Open Access Liaison program that disseminates relevant information to all colleges and campuses across the university.
  4. PSU Libraries provides financial support to organizations developing an open scholarly commons, such as arXiv.
  5. PSU Libraries subscriptions and memberships reduce the cost of APCs for Penn State affiliates publishing in certain Gold OA journals, such as those published by BioMed Central.
  6. Penn State joined the Open Textbook Network in 2017 (View Penn State News article) and called for 3-5 participants to author Open Textbooks. The Affordable Course Transformation project is underway, replacing high cost materials with OER and lower cost materials with the support of Libraries.
  7. PSU OER Repository (launched in 2007 by the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences – (View Open Education Resources) was enhanced in 2017-2018 and the OER Working Group is recommending its adoption as a University-wide supported repository.
  8. Penn State has held Open Access Week, an annual event promoting the open access movement, every year for ten years.

Penn State authors and researchers experience a variety of administrative- and publication-related hurdles, including:

  1. A confusing and outdated IP policy
  2. A confusing and time-consuming article deposit process that fails to make published research immediately accessible
  3. Difficulties negotiating with publishers
  4. Inconsistent University permissions, policies, and procedures
  5. Lack of comprehensive policies and procedures relating to releasing open source code
  6. A promotion and tenure process that does not incentivize open publication of scholarly works and continues to promote the types of publications that burden the finances of the university without any concomitant benefit of either free access or free publication.
    1. Penn State Libraries spends $17 million per year on collections – about $13M on licensing databases and electronic journals. None of this collections budget is allocated to permanent access to research or earmarked for efforts to promote structural changes that move scholarly publishing to open publications instead of journal subscriptions. Significant journal subscription cuts would have to be made to redirect funds to permanent structural changes.
    2. The level of spending on academic journals is unsustainable at Penn State; journal cost inflation has been covered by only temporary increases.


We recommend the University Faculty Senate endorse this comprehensive Open Access Policy, with proposed text below. The recommended policy has the following features:

  • The policy ensures that researchers will continue to be free to submit their work to the journals of their choice. The policy does not require submission to an open access journal, but rather will result in an increase in the amount of Penn State research available in an open access repository.
  • Because the policy does not require submission to an open access journal, it also does not require researchers to pay article processing charges to make their work open access.
  • The policy does not transfer copyright ownership of scholarly works to Penn State.
  • The policy’s waiver option guarantees that researchers are free to decide for or against open access for each of their publications on a publication-by-publication basis. The policy merely shifts the default from not depositing and closed access to deposit and open access. The granting of waiver requests is automatic under this open access policy.
  • The policy increases the availability of Penn State scholarship to the Commonwealth, the nation, and the world, in accordance with the university’s land grant status.

Proposed Open Access Policy


The Pennsylvania State University is committed to disseminating its research and scholarship as widely as possible. As Pennsylvania’s only land-grant university, Penn State is dedicated to making scholarly research available to all stakeholders within the Commonwealth and around the world through its mission of teaching, research, and public service. This policy builds on the recommendations put forth in the Open Access Resolution adopted by the University Senate in April 2015.


In keeping with its mission, Penn State adopts the following Open Access Policy:

University Researchers grant permission to the University to make available their scholarly articles to the public. Specifically, each University Researcher grants a nonexclusive, irrevocable, worldwide license to exercise any and all rights under copyright relating to each of their scholarly articles, in any medium, provided that the articles are not sold for a profit, and to authorize others to do the same. This policy does not transfer copyright ownership of scholarly works to Penn State. Copyright ownership remains with University Researchers, subject to this license. Upon express direction by a University Researcher, application of the license will be waived for a particular article or access to the article will be delayed for a specified period of time.


University Researchers shall include faculty members and other paid or unpaid researchers—including but not limited to faculty, post-docs, graduate students, and staff—at Penn State who produce research related to their agreements with PSU.

The policy applies to all scholarly articles authored or co-authored while the person is a University Researcher except for any articles completed before the adoption of this policy and any articles for which the University Researcher entered into an incompatible licensing or assignment agreement before the adoption of this policy.


No later than the date of an article’s publication University Researchers will provide an electronic copy of the author’s accepted manuscript to Penn State at no charge in an appropriate format (such as PDF). The University may make the article available to the public in an open access repository.


The Office of the Provost will be responsible for interpreting this policy, resolving disputes concerning its interpretation and application, and recommending policy changes to the Faculty from time to time. The policy will be reviewed after three years and a report presented to the Faculty.

Guidelines – Instructional Materials

Further, units are encouraged to make university-owned instructional materials and other university-owned materials openly available when appropriate, including University-directed works (see IP01). Owners of instructional materials not owned by the university are also encouraged to make these materials openly available. Open availability may include a Creative Commons or other public or open-source license. Whether to release a University-directed work under an open license shall be determined by the Head/Dean of the administrative unit, or their designate.

Guidelines – Other Materials

University Researchers are further encouraged to make presentation slides, presentation notes, unpublished reports, works in progress, data sets, software, software versions and other distinct contributions, and other scholarly communications openly available when appropriate.

We recommend the following:

  1. The University Faculty Senate should endorse this comprehensive Open Access Policy. In 2015, the Senate unanimously adopted an Open Access Resolution.
  2. The university should revise and modernize its intellectual property (IP) guidelines to facilitate the sharing of faculty-created research and data. The current IP policies and publication-related procedures should be updated to better accommodate, encourage, and value Open Access activities. Intellectual property policy changes will ensure that open licensing of instructional and administrative materials may be achieved quickly and easily.
  3. The university should provide a standardized addendum that university researchers may use in their individual negotiations with publishers and should engage in systematic outreach for blanket deposit agreements for university researchers.
  4. The university should invest in services to sustain an Open Access program over time in order to ensure that Penn State maintains a leadership position in the Open Access movement. At a minimum, such a service should include:
    1. mediated automated deposit of scholarly articles into appropriate repositories
    2. the creation of data and altmetrics collection processes to measure open access impact including transparent reporting of acquisitions and measurement of open access data and records
    3. a process for communicating with stakeholders
  5. Penn State publishing activities should promote publication of open access journals and other open publication formats.
  6. The university should consider promotion and tenure guidelines that assign value to research output made available under the Open Access policy.
  7. The university should implement procedures to support the ability of Penn State research and operational units to license software they develop under open licenses and contribute to open-source projects.
  8. The University Libraries should negotiate Open Access rights to Penn State authored works as part of journal subscription contracts, including but not limited to Read & Publish practices.
  9. The university should provide guidance on how to avoid predatory publishers when selecting publication venues and making editorial commitments.
  10. The university should invest in services to identify and aggregate information about the research output of Penn State to streamline the technical implementation of the Open Access policy.
  11. The university should standardize and streamline administrative procedures to minimize individual researcher time: permissions, available licenses, and Article Processing Charge (APC) payments.

Taskforce Members

  • Dan Coughlin, Head, Digital Scholarship & Repository Development, University Libraries
  • Rosa Eberly, Associate Professor, CAS and English, College of Liberal Arts, University Park
  • Karen Estlund (Co-Chair), Associate Dean for Technology and Digital Strategies, University Libraries
  • Krishna Jayakar, Associate Professor, The Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications, University Park
  • Brandy Karl, Head, Office of Scholarly Communications and Copyright, University Libraries
  • Greg Madden (Co-Chair), Senior Advisor for Research Computing and Cyberinfrastructure
    Office of the Vice President for Research
  • Carleen Maitland, Associate Professor, College of Information Sciences and Technology, University Park
  • Aaron Mauro, English and Digital Humanities, Penn State Behrend
  • Lorraine Mulfinger, Director of Strategic Initiatives and Proposal Development, Strategic Interdisciplinary Research Office (SIRO), Office of the Vice President for Research
  • Chuck Pavlovski, R&D engineer for earth sciences at the Institute for CyberScience (ICS)
  • Tom Reinsfelder, Head, Mont Alto Library, University Libraries

With contributions from Ana Enriquez, Scholarly Communication Outreach Librarian and Ally Laird, Open Publishing Program Specialist, University Libraries.


  • Fred Aebli, Vice chair
  • Mary Beth Clark
  • Barbara Dewey
  • Roger Egolf, Chair
  • Synthea Hairston
  • David Han
  • Michael Kubit
  • John Messner
  • Jacqueline Reid-Walsh
  • Summer Rosendahl
  • Francesca Ruggiero
  • Shuang Shen
  • Harold Smith
  • Jennifer Sparrow
  • Cristina Truica
  • Stephanie Walker