Utah State University (USU) adopted an official Open Access policy, the university announced on June 7. USU’s University Libraries headed the effort to adopt Policy 535, which was first unanimously approved by USU’s Faculty Senate in April, followed by approval by the President’s Executive Committee with the endorsement of USU President Stan Albrecht. Utah State is the first university in Utah to formally adopt such a policy.
“This policy is part of what it means to be a land-grant institution in the 21st century,” said Richard Clement, USU’s dean of libraries. “By helping faculty members retain the copyright to their articles, we are ensuring that the people of Utah have access to the results of research conducted at one of their major publicly funded institutions.”
Faculty members will be provided with language to help amend their publishing contracts to retain some of the copyright to their works. Then, faculty will deposit those works in USU’s Open Access Institutional Repository, the Digital Commons, where it will become immediately available. The University Libraries’ Scholarly Communications Office will help with the process.
“Currently, many of the journal articles written by USU researchers, as well as their colleagues across the country, are published behind expensive price barriers,” said Andrew Wesolek, scholarly communications librarian. And a few may still be in the future: a policy waiver is available in cases where a researcher chooses to work with journals that require them to surrender their copyright.