New Policy Aids Faculty to Retain Publication Rights

Utah State University has joined an emerging national trend and the ranks of a growing number of the country’s universities in adopting an official “Open Access” policy. USU’s University Libraries headed the effort.

 “For the library and, indeed, the whole university, this is a momentous occasion,” said Richard Clement, USU’s dean of libraries. “It enables faculty authors to retain rights to their own publications and to make the fruits of their research and scholarship freely available to all.”

The new open access policy — officially known at USU as Policy 535 — ensures that all employees at Utah State University retain the ability to share their publications with colleagues, students and the public upon their publication. The policy was first unanimously approved by USU’s Faculty Senate in April, followed by approval by the President’s Executive Committee with the endorsement of USU President Stan Albrecht.

“This policy reflects the university’s support of and efforts to utilize new technologies to share its research and scholarship with the citizens of Utah and beyond,” Albrecht said. “I commend University Libraries for leading the way in this initiative and for providing the support that will be necessary for its implementation.”

In adopting the policy, Utah State joins the ranks of universities that include Harvard, Princeton, MIT, Duke University and the University of Kansas, among others. Utah State is among the leaders in public universities in this effort and is the first university in Utah to formally adopt a policy.

“Currently, many of the journal articles written by USU researchers, as well as their colleagues across the country, are published behind expensive price barriers,” said Andrew Wesolek, scholarly communications librarian for University Libraries.

“The open access policy assures that researchers retain some of the copyright on their articles,” he said. “These researchers may then freely share their works with a much wider audience.”

With USU’s approved policy, faculty members will be provided language to help amend their publishing contracts and retain some of the copyright to their works. Then, faculty will deposit their work in USU’s Open Access Institutional Repository — the Digital Commons — where it will become immediately and openly available to the world. The University Libraries’ Scholarly Communications Office ( will assist faculty with the process.

A policy waiver is available in cases where a researcher chooses to work with journals that require them to surrender their copyright.

“This policy is part of what it means to be a land-grant institution in the 21st century,” Clement said. “By helping faculty members retain the copyright to their articles, we are ensuring that the people of Utah have access to the results of research conducted at one of their major publicly funded institutions.”

The officially adopted policy and procedures are available online. The policy can be found through Digital Commons ( and the procedures are at the University Libraries Open Access and the Digital Commons website (