Achieving an Open Access Policy at UCSF

Updated June 15: The UCSF Faculty voted unanimously to pass the Open Access Policy on May 21. See the full announcement. The UCSF Open Access Policy website is available to guide faculty on the Policy.

On Monday, May 21, UCSF faculty will vote on a proposed Open Access Policy which would make faculty scholarship more widely available and accessible. UCSF would join over 140 academic institutions with an open access policy.

An open access (OA) policy grants the institution a license to  make all scholarly articles published by faculty at the institution publicly available via an open access repository. Authors may still publish their articles in any journal they choose, and there is no fee to comply with the policy. This model contrasts with the predominant system of article authors signing away their copyrights to the publisher, and publishers requiring a subscription for anyone who wants to read the article. Under this OA policy, UCSF authors would still own their copyright, as with current University of California policy.

Why are UCSF faculty pursuing such a policy?

  • To fulfill their commitment to promote access to and use of UCSF scholarship by the wider public;
  • To assert faculty control over the publication of scholarly research;
  • To provide the public a return on investment from publicly funded research;
  • To endorse a system that respects scholarly values of sharing information to help advance science and healthcare.
  • To influence the scholarly publishing system and promote an open access model.

Here’s how the policy would work: faculty comply by notifying the publisher at the time of publication of the OA policy, and by including a boilerplate addendum provided by the university with the publisher’s copyright agreement. The author then submits the final, peer-reviewed version of the article before publisher typesetting to the university for deposit in eScholarship (UC’s OA repository).  UCSF’s proposed policy does allow faculty to opt out for any article at their discretion, however the article must still be submitted to eScholarship for preservation purposes. Of course, when authors choose to publish in open access journals, compliance is simple!

Articles published under an OA policy can be accessed either in the institution’s OA repository (eScholarship), the publisher’s version for those who have a subscription, or via another open access repository such as PubMedCentral when covered by a public-access policy.

UCSF’s policy has been championed by Dr. Rich Schneider, Chair of the Academic Senate Committee on Library & Scholarly Communication (COLASC). The University of California system-wide Committee on Library & Scholarly Communication (UCOLASC) has also drafted OA policy documents that are expected to be implemented at the other UC campuses.

See COLASC’s Proposed UCSF Open Access Policy page for a summary letter, letters of support, policy text, FAQs and an excellent presentation of data to support an OA policy at UCSF.


About Anneliese

Assistant Director for Scholarly Communications & Collections
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