UCSF Follows MIT Model in New Open Access Policy

The University of California San Francisco, the largest public recipient of funding from the National Institutes of Health whose faculty publishes more than 4,500 scientific papers each year, has announced a new open access policy modelled on the language in the MIT Faculty Open Access Policy.

Russ Cucina, Associate Professor at UCSF Medical Center, comments that the policy, which passed in a unanimous vote, “guarantees that scientists around the world will have access to the work done at UCSF for them to build upon.” He points to predecessors Harvard and MIT in laying the groundwork for the UCSF policy, and predicts that it will be “a model that the 9 other UC campuses will follow.”

The UCSF Policy “requires UCSF faculty to make each of their articles freely available immediately through an open-access repository” via a mechanicsm like the one established by the MIT faculty. Through their new policy, the UCSF faculty grant a license to the university, giving UCSF a “nonexclusive license to distribute any peer-reviewed articles that will also be published in scientific or medical journals.”

Cucina indicates that this new policy “may prove to be the University’s definitive response” to an endemic imbalance in the scholarly publishing market in which “the publishing companies [have] tremendous pricing power that they’ve been increasingly willing to wield.” He points to UC’s 2010 imbroglio with Nature Publishing Group, when “they proposed a 400% hike in subscription fees and UC responded by threatening a total boycott.”

The UCSF press release reports that “In the past few years, 141 universities worldwide, including Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have … created very effective blanket policies similar to the one just passed at UCSF.”

Policies modeled on the Harvard and MIT language have been put in place on many U.S. campuses, including Columbia, Duke, Emory, Oberlin, Princeton, and the University of Kansas. MIT research is made available under the MIT faculty policy through the Open Access Articles Collection in DSpace@MIT.

More Information:

UCSF press release

UCSF policy and supporting documents

FAQ about the MIT Faculty Open Access Policy