University Of California System Throws Weight Behind Open Access

The Faculty Senate of the University of California system has introduced a new open access policy.  Three campuses (Los Angeles, Irvine and San Francisco) will start implementing the policy effective November 1 of this year.  The other UC campuses will start implementing the policy by November 1 of 2014.  When fully implemented, it will address over 8,000 faculty and up to 40,000 publications annually.

The specifics involve an automatic licensing agreement with the UC system prior to publication of the articles.  Individual faculty may request a waiver or delay of such deposits on a per article basis, or may opt out of the policy permanently.  Copyright would remain with the author, but the articles would be publicly available from the UC repository, eScholarship, unless the author opts to place the article with another open access repository or in an open access publication.

The policy is quite short, so the next steps – where the University and the Academic Senate monitor the policy, develop any necessary practices to ease its implementation, and suggest any changes.  With one campus (San Francisco) already with an open access policy, I am not surprised by the system-wide expansion of open access.  Given the size of the system, I do not expect it to be easy or simple.  But I do expect it will have a notable impact.