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Scholarly Communication

A guide to issues in scholarly communication, including publishing, open access, copyright, author rights, and digital archiving.

ASU Open Access Policy

On March 27, 2017, the ASU University Senate voted to approve an open access policy for ASU. The policy reads:

The Faculty members of Arizona State University are committed to disseminating the fruits of its research and scholarship as widely as possible. In keeping with that commitment, the Faculty adopts the following policy.
  1. Faculty members are encouraged to grant a non-exclusive, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free license to Scholarly Works to Arizona State University to exercise any and all rights under copyright as are necessary to achieve the goals of open access, dissemination, and preservation and to authorize others to do the same, provided that this license is solely for educational and non-commercial purposes.  When granting this license, Faculty members will provide, at no cost to the university, a copy of those Scholarly Works to the university so that the university may exercise its rights given by this license and  comply with its obligations to sponsors or other third parties. This expressly includes the right for the university to deposit Scholarly Works in any university or third party repository.
  2. However, upon accepting or receiving an external grant or contract which includes a public or open access policy, each Faculty member automatically grants to Arizona State University the license as defined in section one to any Scholarly Works resulting from that grant or contract.
  3. Under this policy, the author retains copyright ownership, unless that author chooses to transfer rights to other parties, such as a publisher. Arizona State University retains only the limited rights outlined in section one.
  4. The policy applies to all Scholarly Works authored or co- authored while the person is a member of the Faculty. Not included in this policy are any articles completed before the adoption of this policy and any articles for which the Faculty member entered into an incompatible licensing or assignment agreement before the adoption of this policy, nor any Scholarly Work that is not related to Arizona State University.
  5. The Office of the Provost will be responsible for interpreting this policy, resolving disputes concerning its interpretation and application, and recommending changes to the Faculty as needed.
  6. The University Senate will review the policy no less frequently than every three years and a report will be made available to the Faculty.


What is Open Access?

Open access refers to the free availability of journal articles on the public internet, permitting any user to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to analytical software, or use them for any other lawful, non-commercial purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself.

Why did we pass an Open Access Policy?

The University Senate Leadership believed that any policy concerning Open Access should come from the faculty.  This allows for consistency in requirements for inclusion in the repository, provides guidelines for any unit policies on Open Access, and gives one voice to the university.

The policy seeks to increase the reach and impact of ASU research by making it more widely available. This goal supports ASU’s charter for inclusivity and social embeddedness and has significant potential benefits for both readers and authors of research articles.

Readers, including researchers at institutions that cannot afford subscriptions to all of the relevant professional journals, benefit by being able to freely access manuscripts of articles by ASU faculty. This access can help to accelerate the research and discovery process in various fields.

Authors benefit by having a larger readership of their work.  Open access articles are more easily discovered by researchers using online tools such as Google Scholar, and are more easily linked to and discussed in public forums. This could lead to more citations to their articles. Some studies show a citation advantage for open access articles, ranging from small to more than 500 percent. All such studies show an increase in readership.

Research funders are increasingly supporting such efforts as well. The National Institutes of Health have required open access for funded research articles since 2008, and a wave of other US agencies have followed suit.

What other institutions have open access policies?

Faculties at many universities have similar policies, including Harvard University, MIT, Caltech, Duke University, Oregon State University, University of Arizona, University of Colorado, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign, University of Kansas, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and the entire University of California System. MIT has created a list of universities in the United States that have policies.

Does the policy apply to me if I don’t have a grant?

No. This policy is voluntary for authors who do not have a grant, or whose funders do not have an open access requirement.

The policy applies automatically to authors who accept grants from funding agencies which have open or public access requirement for research results.

What funding agencies require open access?

In 2013, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy released an executive order for all federal agencies with budgets of over $100 million to develop plans "to make the published results of federally funded research freely available to the public within one year of publication and requiring researchers to better account for and manage the digital data resulting from federally funded scientific research.” This comprehensive guide provides details about these agencies and their policies..

Additionally, many non-governmental funding agencies are requiring open access to research results as a condition of funding, such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the Wellcome Trust. The Open Research Funders Group is another good resource for learning about funding organizations with an open access requirement.

Does the Open Access policy affect where I can publish my work?

No. This policy does not require publication in open access journals or any other venues. ASU faculty members are free to choose the journals in which they publish.

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

When ASU faculty members publish an article, they should also work with the ASU Library to deposit a version of article into the ASU Digital Repository, as well as any repository required by a funder. Once in the repository, the article will be made freely accessible, taking into account any publisher embargo periods. The article will have a descriptive record associated with it in the repository that includes a reference to the published version and the journal in which it appears.

How have publishers responded to these kinds of policies?

Most publishers currently allow their authors to post the final accepted manuscripts in institutional or disciplinary repositories, though some publishers may require access to be restricted through an embargo period, which may vary from six to twenty-four months. Because some funding agencies have had public access policies for years, publishers are already aware of the requirements and may have a special policy in place to help authors comply. The SHERPA/FACT tool helps researchers check if journals comply with their funder's requirements, or you can contact Anali Perry for more information.

​How will I know which version of my article I'm allowed to share?

Your publication agreement will contain details about which rights the publisher claims and which rights are yours. This Author Rights guide can give you more information about copyright and publication agreements, as well as tips on retaining the rights you need to comply with any open access policy.

What kinds of work does this apply to?

For most authors, it applies to scholarly articles. Such articles are typically published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals and conference proceedings. However, other works may fall under the policy if they are the primary method of disseminating research results funded by a grant with an open access requirement.

Many written products are not encompassed under this specific notion of the scholarly article, such as books, popular articles, commissioned articles, fiction and poetry, encyclopedia entries, ephemeral writings, lecture notes, lecture videos, or other copyrighted works. The ASU Open Access Policy does not impact these kinds of works, unless the authors chooses to include them in the ASU Digital Repository.

Does the ASU Library support this initiative?

Yes! The ASU Library has a long history of promoting and supporting open access awareness and activities. In fact, in 2010, the ASU Library’s Librarians Assembly passed an Open Access Resolution, declaring their commitment for open access. The library also created and manages KEEP Repository.

Why should I use the KEEP Repository when I already deposit my articles in other repositories/sharing platforms?

Libraries have traditionally committed to archiving and preserving the scholarly works in their collections. This is also true of the works deposited in our KEEP Repository and separates such institutional based repositories from social networking sites and discipline based repositories.

Commercial sites like or Research Gate are social networking platforms whose primary aim is to connect researchers with common interests and are not open access repositories. Their terms of service make it clear they could alter their service model or terminate the service without notice. Disciplinary repositories such as arXiv, and PubMed Central have a long track record and there is every expectation that they will be around for a long time. However, each of them is subject to uncertain funding from volunteer contributors or the whims of government spending. It is conceivable that these could shut down at any time and the works deposited there would disappear.

Who will be responsible for the staffing and technology required to implement the policy?

ASU Library already manages the KEEP Repository, which will easily accommodate the deposit of article manuscripts by ASU faculty. ASU Library personnel will partner with the Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development and the Office of the Provost to promote and implement our ASU Open Access Policy, including tracking the publication of ASU faculty articles, working with faculty members to deposit their article manuscripts, monitoring publisher embargoes, maintaining use statistics for faculty authors, and maintaining the repository.

Will there be any penalty for authors who do not comply?

ASU does not impose a penalty. However, funding agencies with open access requirements may withhold future funding from authors who do not comply with their policies.

Does the policy apply to co-authored papers?

Yes. In the case of co-authored articles, ASU faculty authors will need to decide the degree to which they want to seek permission from co-authors before depositing the manuscript and there is an expectation that those works will be deposited into the ASU Digital Repository.

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

The policy does not apply to articles that were completed before the policy was adopted. The policy also does not apply to any articles you write if you leave ASU.

U.S. funding agencies

The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issued a memorandum, "Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research" on August 25th, 2022 directing all federal agencies to update their public access policies and require all federally funded research to be free and immediately accessible. This expands on the 2013 Memorandum, which only required certain federal agencies to provide publicly accessible research and data within 12 months of publication. The updated guidance now requires any research that receives federal funding to be freely accessible without a delay. Agencies with research and development expenditures of at least $100 million annually will submit their initial public access plan updates by February 21, 2023. Agencies with smaller research and development expenditures will have until August 20, 2023. All federal agencies must have updated plans in place by December 31st, 2025. Further guidance on this will be forthcoming, and researchers who receive federal funding may reach out to us with questions about making their publications and data freely accessible. 

Here are some resources to help stay informed.

Funding Agency Policies

Due to the growing demand for a visible and public return on funded research, more and more funding agencies are adopting open access or data-archiving mandates as a condition of funding. Here are some of the largest non-governmental policies:

The ASU Library acknowledges the twenty-three Native Nations that have inhabited this land for centuries. Arizona State University's four campuses are located in the Salt River Valley on ancestral territories of Indigenous peoples, including the Akimel O’odham (Pima) and Pee Posh (Maricopa) Indian Communities, whose care and keeping of these lands allows us to be here today. ASU Library acknowledges the sovereignty of these nations and seeks to foster an environment of success and possibility for Native American students and patrons. We are advocates for the incorporation of Indigenous knowledge systems and research methodologies within contemporary library practice. ASU Library welcomes members of the Akimel O’odham and Pee Posh, and all Native nations to the Library.