The UVA Faculty Senate’s open access guidelines for faculty

Learn about the Faculty Senate-endorsed OA Guidelines, depositing your scholarship in Libra, and tips for negotiating with publishers.

Open Access at UVA

Motivated by its commitment “to disseminate knowledge openly and freely to all” and “to maximize the impact of our research and the recognition of our scholars,” the University of Virginia Faculty Senate voted in May 2021 to endorse a set of Open Access Guidelines describing best practices for making research openly available. Among other things, the Guidelines encourage each faculty member to take advantage of the University’s copyright ownership policy in order to make scholarly works freely available via Libra, UVA’s Institutional Repository. The Guidelines also set goals for making preprints, research data, and research software freely available.

In addition to the Senate-endorsed Guidelines, individual schools and departments at UVA may adopt localized open access guidelines, as well as providing recognition of open research practices and other forms of support. For example, the School of Data Science provides its team members with Open Access Guidelines and also considers Openness as one of its criteria for promotion and tenure.

I’m ready! How do I follow the Guidelines?

The easiest way to begin following the Guidelines is to deposit the appropriate copy of your work in the UVA Repository, Libra, where the work will be stored, preserved, and made freely available. Specifically:

  • LibraOpen for manuscript versions of articles, book chapters, and similar works. (Note that final published versions are not typically appropriate for deposit.)
  • LibraData for data, software, and related research products
  • ORCID IDs can be created and linked from within Libra to ensure proper attribution of your work.
  • Preprints are generally hosted in discipline-specific repositories such as ArXiv and SocArXiv, in accordance with norms and policies that vary by discipline. LibraOpen will also accept preprints.

Each Libra repository has a checklist that walks through the steps to deposit your work. If you need help, contact the Libra team.

I have questions.

We have answers! Skip ahead to…

What is “Open Access”?

Open Access refers to unrestricted online access to creative work or scholarship, typically coupled with reuse rights. These works are available to anyone in the world with an internet connection and a web browser. Payment is not required to access content.

What is an “open access policy”?

Open access policies were pioneered more than a decade ago and have since been adapted or adopted by hundreds of research institutions worldwide. They allow universities to make research and scholarship more accessible to scholars, educators, policymakers, and citizens around the world. The Faculty Senate’s endorsement of Open Access Guidelines, together with the University’s Copyright Ownership Policy, are important steps toward a full open access policy.

What does an open access policy do?

Open access policies do several things. Most importantly, they express the faculty’s expectation that their work should be freely available to all unless there is a strong countervailing interest in limiting access. Second, they typically create a license that makes it easier for a faculty member to deposit their manuscripts in a non-profit university repository, as suggested in the Faculty Senate OA Guidelines. At UVA, employees can use the license retained in the University’s Ownership Rights in Copyrightable Material Policy (RES-001) for this purpose.

Am I required to follow the Guidelines?

No. Open access policies typically include a “requirement” or expectation that faculty will deposit their work in open repositories, along with mechanisms for tracking deposits and accepting requests for waivers of the deposit expectation (and the license). It has also long been understood that “requiring” things is more-or-less impossible in an academic setting, and that the most successful open access policies are the ones that make sharing your work desirable and easy. Accordingly, the OA Guidelines set Goals, and speak aspirationally of what scholars “will” do, and the copyright license in RES-001 is automatic (so faculty do not have to “opt-in” to take advantage of their rights under that policy), but the decision whether to follow the Guidelines remains with individual faculty members.

What are the benefits of open access?

Open Access increases the visibility and impact of scholarship. Article manuscripts, data, and other items in Libra are cataloged, preserved, indexed and collocated, bringing individual and institutional scholarship together in one place and making it easy for anyone in the world to find using standard search engines and research tools.

What about publisher agreements and policies?

To fully follow the Faculty Senate’s Open Access Guidelines, faculty authors should be sure to retain the right to share their work. The University’s Copyright Ownership Policy is a helpful tool for negotiating this, but some publisher contracts are inconsistent with the policy.

After your article is accepted for publication, but before you sign the contract, verify whether or not the publisher’s contract recognizes your non-commercial right to share your work. Such permission may be:

  • included in your contract;
  • posted on the publisher’s website;
  • listed at Sherpa/RoMEO, a site that compiles information about various publishers’ policies.

If the publisher’s contract or policies do not allow you to retain non-commercial copyright for your work, you may attempt to secure it by:

  • completing the SPARC Author’s Addendum and attaching it to your contract;
  • adding your own statement to the contract declaring your intent to post a copy of your manuscript in your institutional repository (Libra), consistent with the Faculty Senate Open Access Guidelines and the UVA Copyright Ownership policy; or
  • notifying your publisher of your intent to deposit your work in Libra in reliance on the prior license in the UVA Copyright Ownership policy.

For assistance understanding publisher contracts or policies, please contact Brandon Butler or talk to your liaison librarian.