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Open access publishing

Open access publishing information for Stanford University researchers.

Why an Open Access Policy?

Why did Stanford's Academic Council adopt an open access policy?

The open access policy was adopted to advance the Academic Council’s commitment to disseminating the university’s scholarship as widely as possible and to reflect Stanford University’s longstanding commitment to openness in research, as expressed in the Research Policy Handbook. The policy protects the rights of Stanford faculty members to freely share their work, specifically scholarly journal articles, through the grant of a nonexclusive license to the university. 

How does the policy benefit Stanford authors?

Stanford’s Open Access Policy: 

  • Allows authors to make their work openly available, maximizing readership and impact without the difficulty or uncertainty of negotiating with publishers
  • Facilitates compliance with the open and public access requirements of many private and government funders
  • Enables Stanford to help authors make their works openly available online
  • Preserves authors’ freedom to publish in the journals of their choice 
  • Preserves authors’ freedom to decide for or against open access for each publication
  • Enhances authors’ rights to reuse publications in research and teaching.

Policy Scope

Do all Stanford authors benefit from the open access policy?

No, the policy applies only to faculty members who are part of Stanford’s Academic Council. Undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and staff are not covered by the policy, although they are encouraged to openly share their work and invited to contact the Office of Scholarly Communications with questions about navigating open access publishing options.

What materials are within the scope of the policy?

The policy applies only to scholarly articles, which are typically published in peer reviewed academic journals and conference proceedings. The policy does not apply to other types of writing, such as books, popular articles, commissioned articles, fiction, poetry, and pedagogical materials, although members of the Stanford community are encouraged to openly share all of their scholarly work.

Does the policy apply to articles written before policy adoption?

No, the policy does not apply to any articles completed or published before the policy was adopted on November 20, 2020. 

Does the policy apply to articles authored before an Academic Council member arrived at Stanford or after they leave Stanford?

No, only articles written while an author is a member of Stanford’s Academic Council are within scope of the open access policy.

Does the policy apply to co-authored papers?

Yes. If you co-authored an article with others outside of Stanford, you should inform your co-authors about Stanford’s Open Access Policy. Although each author of a jointly written paper holds copyright and has the authority to grant a license to Stanford pursuant to the open access policy, waivers of the policy can be requested to address co-author objections or concerns. 

Using and Complying with the Policy

How do I comply with the policy?

The policy operates automatically to grant Stanford a nonexclusive license to distribute scholarly articles written by members of the Academic Council. However, authors need to take the additional step of submitting a copy of their articles to the Stanford Digital Repository in order to ensure that their work is openly available for anyone to read for free.

How do I deposit an article to the Stanford Digital Repository?

Depositing to the Stanford Digital Repository is quick and easy - simply complete a brief web form about your submission and upload the related file. If you have not previously submitted material, you’ll be prompted to set up an account when you first visit the deposit interface and a member of the Stanford Digital Repository team will ensure you are able to add your open access articles to Stanford’s collection.

What version of a scholarly article should I deposit?

Stanford’s Open Access Policy asks authors to deposit their “accepted author manuscript” (AAM) to the Stanford Digital Repository. This version of the article includes changes made in response to peer review and has been officially accepted for publication, but does not include the publisher’s final copyediting, typesetting, or formatting. As such, its appearance may differ from the “version of record” (VOR) available on the publisher’s website despite containing the same content. In cases where an author has paid the publisher for open access publication or where the publisher policy permits it, authors can deposit that final version of the article to the repository instead of the accepted version.

If you have questions about the appropriate version of the article to submit, please contact the Office of Scholarly Communications.

Publishers and the Open Access Policy

Do I need to inform the journal publishing my article of Stanford's Open Access Policy?

Notifying a publisher about Stanford’s Open Access Policy is not required in order for the policy to take effect. However, authors who wish to ensure that they are not entering a conflicting publishing agreement should communicate with their editors and/or publisher about the policy and can include a supplemental statement or addendum along with their article submission or with their publishing agreement: “This article is subject to Stanford University’s Open Access policy notwithstanding conflicting agreements.”

Will journals have concerns about publishing my article because of the Open Access Policy?

The vast majority of scholarly journals regularly publish articles subject to institutional open access policies, like the one in place at Stanford, without objection.

In the event that a publisher states that they will not publish an article on account of the Open Access Policy, the author can request a letter documenting waiver of the policy for the relevant article and submit it to the publisher to allow publication to proceed. Although requests for waivers are not the norm, certain publishers - including Nature, AAAS, and PNAS - routinely ask authors to obtain policy waivers prior to publication.