Open Access Policy Background Paper

Georgia Institute of Technology (“GT”)

Open Access Policy Background Paper

I. Introduction

The purpose of this Addendum is to assist GT faculty, staff, and students in understanding the GT 5.5 Policy on Open Access to Faculty Publications (the “Open Access Policy” or the “Policy”).  The purpose of this Addendum is not to provide legal advice, but rather, provide examples which may be helpful in assessing the practical application of the policy. 

 

II. Overview of the Open Access Policy

The Open Access Policy was adopted by the Georgia Tech faculty on November 27, 2012, and took effect on January 1, 2013.  The full text of the Policy may be found here: http://www.policylibrary.gatech.edu/faculty-handbook/5.5-policy-open-access-faculty-publications, and is also available as Appendix A to this Addendum. 

The Policy applies to all published scholarly articles that any person authors or co-authors while appointed as a member of the Faculty.  The Policy does not apply to: i) any such articles authored or co-authored before January 1, 2013 (the effective date of the Open Access Policy),  ii) any articles subject to a conflicting agreement formed before the adoption of the Policy, or iii) any articles resulting from a classified research agreement.  

Please note that the applicability of the Policy is automatic, and thus, does not require any affirmative action on the part of the faculty to confirm the Policy’s application and resulting nonexclusive right to Georgia Tech to the scholarly article.  Thus, the effect of the Policy cannot be “avoided” by failing to upload your article to a Georgia Tech institutional library such as SMARTech.  Rather, the Policy requires that faculty make articles available to assist Georgia Tech in making the article available to the public under Georgia Tech’s rights.  Alternatively, an author may satisfy the terms of the Policy by making the article available through an alternative repository of the author's choosing, wherein the alternative repository makes the article available in full-text to the public indefinitely without cost.  If the author choses an alternative repository, the author must provide a notification via online form to the Library (which is the Provost's designate according to the Open Access policy), indicating that the article has been provided to an alternative repository. 

If you wish to have a waiver of the policy for your article, for any reason, fill out the Library’s online waiver form. The Library is the Provost’s designate for granting waivers per the Open Access policy.

SMARTech submission form: http://forms.library.gatech.edu/smartech-submission
Alternate Repository notification form: http://forms.library.gatech.edu/alternate-repository
Waiver request form: http://forms.library.gatech.edu/OA-waiver

 

III. Why was the Open Access Policy Adopted?

Open Access policies, such as the Georgia Tech 5.2 Policy on Open Access to Faculty Publications, are already being required by a growing number of funding agencies.  As a public research university, Georgia Tech is committed to making the results of our research accessible to our peers and fellow researchers, as publishing models relying on subscriptions are less sustainable and moving toward a more open model. And like an increasing number of federal agency policies, Georgia Tech is interested in making research as widely accessible as possible by the general public.  Thus, by granting the nonexclusive license to Georgia Tech to scholarly articles as provided by the policy, Georgia Tech may then make these scholarly articles available to the public in an open-access institutional repository.

 

IV. Effect on Publication

This policy is not intended to discourage faculty from publishing in the journal of their choice.  As provided in the Open Access Policy, the faculty member grants a nonexclusive right to Georgia Tech Research Corporation (GTRC) to reproduce and display the articles.  Thus, because GT will have a pre-existing nonexclusive right to any articles subject to the Policy, the faculty member should subject any license to the articles provided to any publisher to GT’s pre-existing license.  For additional illustration regarding the effect of the Open Access Policy on an author’s copyright rights, consider the following hypothetical examples:

A. Effect on Publication
Example 1

Professor completes a scholarly article.  Professor then receives interest from an academic journal regarding the article.  The academic journal sends the professor an exclusive license agreement to sign.  The professor requests that the exclusive license be subject to the existing nonexclusive license to Georgia Tech.  The publisher revises the license grant in the Exclusive License Agreement to “carve out” the non-exclusive license to Georgia Tech.  The resulting effect will preserve Georgia Tech’s nonexclusive rights in the article, and provide all other rights to the publisher.

B. Effect on Publication
Example 2

Professor completes a scholarly article.  The professor then signs a license agreement with a publisher providing exclusive rights to the article to the publisher (an “Exclusive License Agreement”).  In this case, granting a publisher exclusive rights to the article without first requesting a policy waiver would not be considered in compliance with the Open Access Policy.

C. Effect on Publication
Example 3

Professor completes a scholarly article.  Professor then receives interest from an academic journal regarding the article.  The academic journal sends the professor a non-exclusive license agreement to sign.  Because the license being requested by the publisher is a non-exclusive license, the professor signs the agreement without the need to carve-out the existing non-exclusive license to Georgia Tech.  It is only necessary to carve out Georgia Tech’s nonexclusive license from an exclusive license grant and not a non-exclusive license grant.

 

V. Exceptions

If you believe your article should not be subjected to the policy, a request should be sent to the Library, the Georgia Tech Provost’s Office designate as stated in the policy. Faculty members are recommended to seek waivers before uploading their articles to SMARTech or any other institutional repositories as it may be difficult or impossible to limit dissemination of an article after the professor uploads the article to an institutional repository.  Waivers may be requested via the online form on the Open Access Website, or by email to smartech@library.gatech.edu.  If you have any questions about the waiver process, please contact Fred Rascoe at fred.rascoe@library.gatech.edu (404-385-0075).

The author may also request a delay  of deposit (embargo) of the publication into SMARTech of up to a year.  Embargoes may be helpful to faculty whose publishers request that the open access version of the article not be available immediately upon publication. Embargoes may be included as a concession to a publisher whom the author grants or plans to grant rights. Requests for embargoes should be noted via the online submission form on the Open Access Website. If you have any questions about embargoes please contact Fred Rascoe at fred.rascoe@library.gatech.edu (404-385-0075).

 

VI. Questions?

If you have any additional questions relating to the Open Access Policy that are not addressed here, please feel free to contact one of the members of the Georgia Tech Open Access Policy Implementation Committee listed in Section VII.

 

VII. Open Access Implementation Committee Members

Sonit Bafna - College of Architecture
Caroline Coursey - GTRC
Heinrich Matzinger - School of Mathematics
Susan Parham - Library
Bob Pikowsky - Public Policy
Fred Rascoe - Library

 

Read the full policy in the Georgia Tech Faculty Policy Library: 5.5 Policy on Open Access to Faculty Publications