Open Access F.A.Q

What is an open access resolution?

An open access resolution promotes the dissemination of College of Wooster faculty research by requesting faculty to deposit the final drafts of new articles into our institutional repository, where they 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 policy will be made available to those who have a reason to request it.

Why would an author be interested in pursuing an open access option?

The overwhelming body of research shows that open access positively affects an article's number of citations.
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. 1

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 policy to all tax-payer funded research.

Journal price increases have outpaced inflation every year since 1989.

Many OA advocates also support unrestricted access because knowledge itself, or information, is a public good. A public good is something beneficial to everyone who seeks it, without added use diminishing its value. Common examples of public goods include: law enforcement, lighthouses, clean air and other environmental goods, and information goods, such as software development, authorship, and invention. 2

How would open access work at the College of Wooster?

When a journal accepts your article for publication, they will send you a form that transfers your copyright to the journal, while retaining rights to your work. 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 to the College’s Scholarly Communications Officer. After verifying the journal’s policy, we would deposit your final draft into our institutional repository where it can be indexed and discovered on search engines like Google Scholar. In the few cases where a publisher does not permit authors to deposit final drafts, faculty would be provided an open access addendum to request permission to deposit your article into a repository.

All faculty have the ability to opt out of this policy, for reasons such as the journal refusing to grant you self-archiving rights, or your co-authors objecting to the non-exclusive license being granted to The College of Wooster.

Once deposited into a repository, the PDF copy of articles are fully discoverable in search engines like Google Scholar.
Once deposited into a repository, the PDF copy 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. Asking permission from the minority of traditional publishers that do not permit final drafts to be posted (via an open access addendum) is one method of allowing access to this research.

Other ways to provide open access to scholarly research include directly publishing in Open Access journals and books. A list of open access journals can be found through the Directory of Open Access Journals. There are two types of open access journals: green and gold. Green journals already allow authors to self-archive final version manuscripts to institutional repositories. Gold journals allow immediate access to all journal content immediately upon publication. However, gold journals also require authors to pay publication fees. A 2008 study indicates that more than 90% of the 10,000 journals surveyed are already green status.3

What other institutions have open access policies?

The most notable institutions with open access resolutions include Harvard, MIT and Stanford.  Several other schools have followed suit including the University of Kansas, Duke University, Trinity University (San Antonio), as well as peer, liberal arts institutions, Oberlin College, Hope College and Lafayette College.  In most cases, research and teaching faculty approved open access policies to allow authors’ final versions to be disseminated via institutional repositories.  In other cases, open access policies go a step further, 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 larger goal is prevalent: researchers and their institutions have the ability to disseminate scholarly research produced at those institutions.

How does using an addendum affect my relationships with publishers?

Open access resolutions do not interfere with the peer-review process. After an article is accepted for publication, authors will receive a copyright transfer agreement from the publisher. For the small percentage of publishers that do not automatically permit depositing final drafts into an institutional repository, you will be provided an open access addendum to be sent along with the publisher’s copyright transfer agreement. If a publisher is not in agreement with the proposed terms of the open access addendum, authors are still able to move forward with publication. The only disadvantage of working with a publisher that would not accept the terms of the open access addendum is that the scholar’s research would not be freely disseminated via the institutional repository.

Publishers are increasingly seeing these forms from faculty at large research universities. Additionally, the peer-review process does not include discussions of open access and therefore does not affect acceptance rates.

Would this policy affect junior faculty?

Attempting to archive your journal article in Wooster’s institutional repository would not interfere with your ability to publish, and therefore wouldn’t 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 College of Wooster faculty articles are already open access compatible?

cow OA articlesOut of 130 College of Wooster peer-reviewed journal articles appearing in 2011-2012, 72% are eligible to deposit the final draft into an open access repository. This gives you an idea of how widespread the open access option is across all disciplines.


I’m concerned about the differences in pagination and content between the final draft and the final published work. 

We will always provide a link to the final published article on both the repository website, and directly on the final draft PDF as a cover sheet. Even though pagination and layout will differ on the final draft, 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 policy relate to the College’s Intellectual Property policy?

This policy complements, rather than conflicts, with the College’s IP policy, which states in part that “The College shall assert ownership of Copyrightable Works […] but not Scholarly Works.” It defines “Scholarly Works” as “articles written for publication in academic journals, textbooks, works of art, musical compositions, and literary works,” but not theses and dissertations. This open access resolution only applies to scholarly peer-reviewed journal articles. In keeping with the College’s IP Policy, no assertion over the copyright of scholarly peer-reviewed journal articles (“Scholarly Works”) will be made through the implementation of the open access resolution.

How does this policy 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 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.

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 policy, we will adhere to the copyright policies of each journal.



1. Wagner, A. Ben. “Open Access Citation Advantage: An Annotated Bibliography” Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship (2010). Web.

2. Text adopted from MIT’s Open Access FAQ.

3. Harnad, S., T. Brody, F. Vallieres, L. Carr, S. Hitchcock, Y. Gingras, C. Oppenheim, C. Hajjem, and E. Hilf. “The Access/Impact Problem and the Green and Gold Roads to Open Access: An Update.” Serials Review 34.1 (2008): 36-40. Web.