A Professor’s Personal Open Access Policy

Posted January 24th, 2012 by Ellen Duranceau

Kai von Fintel, Professor of Linguistics and Associate Dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences has announced a personal open access policy. He sets requirements for openness for his journal articles, book chapters, and books.

For journals, he “will only publish in, review for, and serve on editorial boards for journals that allow authors to deposit at least the final manuscript version (“postprint”) in an open access repository (such as MIT’s Dspace or the Semantics Archive), without any embargo (such as having to wait for 24 months before making the OA version available).”

His publishing policy for book chapters is the same as for journals, but he “will consider reviewing books or book chapters that are not OA-friendly, because books are a different business from research journals,” though he “wish[es] that there was more movement towards OA books.”

As for books, Professor von Fintel will limit his publishing to books that “have a significant open access component, such as making at least the final manuscript freely available…”

Professor von Fintel has been taking action for more open access to research and scholarship for many years. In 2007, he launched an open access journal in his field, Semantics & Pragmatics, with a colleague, David Beaver. In 2009, he participated in the faculty committee that crafted the MIT Faculty Open Access Policy. He decided to post his personal open access policy publicly now because, as he tells it, “I had noticed that some of my publication and reviewing decisions were made in a rather unprincipled way that I later regretted. Having a clear personal policy will guide me towards making deliberate decisions in these matters.”

The passage of the MIT Faculty Open Access Policy makes it possible for faculty research to be shared openly on the web, von Fintel says, but a personal manifesto is still important because “faculty still have to make principled decisions such as choosing a journal that does not impose an embargo or exerts pressure to opt out of the OA Policy.”

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