Working With the MIT Faculty Open Access Policy

The implementation of the MIT Faculty Open Access Policy is being overseen by the Faculty Committee on the Library System.

To submit a paper under the policy, upload the author’s final manuscript, post peer-review, via a web form, or send it to the OA Policy Submission list. If you have already submitted this version to a preprint server (e.g. arXiv), you may email the paper’s identifying repository number, or the URL, instead of the paper.

  • The policy applies only to scholarly articles completed after the policy was adopted on March 18, 2009.
  • Faculty authors are encouraged to use the MIT addendum [MS Word doc] for publisher copyright agreements that reflects this policy.

 

 

MORE INFORMATION: Frequently Asked Questions

COMPLYING WITH THE POLICY

What do I have to do to comply with this policy?

The policy operates automatically to give MIT a license in any scholarly articles faculty members complete after its adoption.

To be thorough, MIT recommends that you communicate this policy to your publisher and add to any copyright license or assignment for scholarly articles an addendum stating that the agreement is subject to this prior license. That way, you will avoid agreeing to give the publisher rights that are inconsistent with the prior license to MIT that permits open-access distribution. MIT provides a suitable form of addendum for this purpose. Whether you use the addendum or not, the license to MIT still will have force.

How and when do I submit a paper to DSpace@MIT under this policy?

Papers should be submitted as of the date of publication. To submit a paper under the policy, upload the author’s final manuscript, post peer-review, via a web form, or send it to the OA Policy Submission list. If you have already submitted this version to a preprint server (e.g. arXiv), you may email the paper’s identifying repository number, or the URL, instead of the paper.

What if a journal publisher refuses to publish my article because of this prior license?

You have a number of options. One is to try to persuade the publisher that it should accept MIT’s non-exclusive license in order to be able to publish your article. Another is to seek a different publisher. A third is to consult with the Scholarly Publishing & Licensing Consultant (copyright-lib@mit.edu) or the Office of General Counsel about taking steps to address the publisher’s specific concerns. A fourth is to obtain a waiver for the article under the policy (see more below under Opting Out.)

SCOPE OF THE POLICY

What kinds of writings does this apply to?

Only scholarly articles. Using terms from the Budapest Open Access Initiative, scholarly articles are articles that describe the fruits of research and that authors give to the world for the sake of inquiry and knowledge without expectation of payment. Such articles are typically presented in peer-reviewed scholarly journals and conference proceedings.

Many of the written products of faculty effort are not encompassed under this notion of scholarly article: books, popular articles, commissioned articles, fiction and poetry, encyclopedia entries, ephemeral writings, lecture notes, lecture videos, or other copyrighted works. The Open Access Policy is not meant to address these kinds of works.

What version of the paper is submitted under this policy?

The author’s final version of the article; that is, the author’s manuscript with any changes made as a result of the peer-review process, but prior to publisher’s copy-editing or formatting.

Does the policy apply to articles I’ve already written?

No, it doesn’t apply to any articles that were completed before the policy was adopted on March 18, 2009, nor to any articles for which you entered into an incompatible publishing agreement before the policy was adopted. Of course, the policy also does not apply to any articles you write after leaving MIT.

Does the policy apply to co-authored papers?

Yes. Each joint author of an article holds copyright in the article and, individually, has the authority to grant MIT a non-exclusive license. Joint authors are those who participate in the preparation of the article with the intention that their contributions be merged into inseparable or interdependent parts of the whole.

OPTING OUT (OBTAINING A WAIVER)

How do I opt out?

 

To opt out, fill out a simple web form, or send an email or other written notice to oapolicyoptout@mit.edu informing MIT of the following:

  • Name of MIT author
  • Title of article (expected or working title)
  • Journal you expect to publish in
  • Reason you are opting out

What happens if I do not opt out, but assign exclusive rights to a publisher anyway, mistakenly signing a publisher’s agreement that conflicts with the policy?

MIT’s license would still have force, because it would have been granted (through this policy) prior to the signing of the publisher contract. If the publisher expresses concern that cannot be remedied, you have several options. You could:

  • Consult with the with the Scholarly Publishing & Licensing Consultant: copyright-lib@mit.edu
  • Consult with the Office of General Counsel; or
  • Opt out for a given article.

What happens when co-authors disagree on whether or not to opt out?

Each co-author in a jointly written article owns the copyright. Under U.S. copyright law, any co-author has the right to grant a nonexclusive permission to others. It would be up to the co-author to decide whether to opt out of the policy for a given article to accommodate a co-author.

Could I retract a paper later if a publisher required me to do so?

It would be possible to remove a paper, particularly in cases involving a legal dispute. The specifics would depend on what procedures are worked out by the Faculty Committee on the Library System to implement the policy.

See also the Complete FAQ about the policy.

Read the Policy.