UA Open Access Policy

On April 4, 2016, the University of Arizona Faculty Senate passed an open access policy that calls on the faculty and university to distribute faculty-authored scholarly articles to the widest possible audience through the UA Campus Repository. The new policy was drafted by a faculty task force charged to “review how we as a faculty might act in order to expand access to our scholarly and research outputs.” 

The task force put forward a framework largely on open access policies previously passed by faculty bodies at universities including Harvard, MIT, Duke, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Penn State, Oregon State University, and the University of California system.

See frequently asked questions about the policy.

Policy text


The Faculty of the University of Arizona is committed to disseminating its research and scholarship as widely as possible. As part of a public, land grant university, the Faculty is dedicated to making its scholarship available to the people of Arizona and the world to maximize its impact. Furthermore, the Faculty recognizes the benefits that accrue to themselves as individual scholars and the scholarly enterprise from such wide dissemination, including greater recognition, more thorough consideration and critique, and a general increase in the exchange and creation of knowledge. In keeping with these considerations, and for the primary purpose of making our scholarly articles widely and freely accessible, the Faculty adopts the following policy:

Grant of Permission and Limitations

Each faculty member grants the University of Arizona permission to make their articles freely available in an Open Access repository. Such permission and the associated deposit of articles in a repository are consistent with the existing University of Arizona Intellectual Property Policy. This provision does not transfer copyright ownership of faculty articles, which remains with Faculty authors under the existing University of Arizona Intellectual Property Policy.

Scope and waivers

The policy applies to all scholarly articles authored or co-authored while the person is a member of the University of Arizona Faculty except for articles published before the adoption of this policy. Upon request by a faculty member, the University of Arizona will waive the deposit requirement for a particular article by that faculty member or delay access to the article for a specified period of time unless the waiver or delay is prohibited by applicable law, regulation, grant, or contract associated with the creation of the article in question. 

Request a waiver

Deposit of articles

To assist the University of Arizona in archiving and disseminating scholarly articles, the Faculty commit to helping the University obtain copies of its articles. Specifically, each Faculty member who does not obtain a waiver to deposit in the university’s Open Access repository will provide an electronic copy of the final accepted (post-peer review) manuscripts of his or her articles to the University of Arizona, by the date of publication, for inclusion in an Open Access repository. When appropriate, a Faculty member may instead notify the University of Arizona if the article will be freely available as an Open Access publication. Faculty members who have waived the deposit requirement may nonetheless choose to submit a copy with the University of Arizona for preservation purposes.

This policy does not in any way prescribe or limit the venue of publication for faculty members, who retain the right to publish articles in the journals or other venues of their choice. This policy neither requires nor prohibits the payment of fees or publication costs by authors.

Oversight of policy

The University Libraries, in consultation with Faculty Senate leadership and the Office of the Provost, will be responsible for implementing this policy, resolving disputes concerning its interpretation and application, and recommending any changes to the policy. Changes to the text of the policy will require approval by the Faculty Senate. The University Libraries will provide a report to Faculty Senate on the impact of the policy within three years.

The Faculty Senate calls upon university units to develop and monitor mechanisms that would render implementation and compliance with the policy as convenient as possible for the Faculty.

Frequently asked questions

Purpose and aim of the policy

Complying with the policy

Scope of the policy

Purpose and aim of the policy

Why are we doing this?
The goal is expressed in the first line of the policy: “The Faculty of the University of Arizona is committed to disseminating its research and scholarship as widely as possible.” The policy seeks to increase the impact of UA research by making it more widely available. This goal supports the UA’s land grant mission, 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 UA 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, and possibly 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. 

Is UA’s policy unique?
No. Faculties at many universities have similar policies, including Harvard University, MIT, Cal Tech, Duke University, Oregon State University, University of Colorado, Penn State University, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign, University of Kansas, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and the entire University of California System.

Will the policy affect where I can publish my work?
No. The policy does not mandate publication in open access journals or any other venues. UA faculty members are free to choose the journals in which they publish.

Complying with the policy

What do I have to do to comply with this policy?
When UA faculty members publish an article, they should also deposit the final accepted manuscript of that article into the UA Campus Repository, which is managed by UA Libraries. Once in the repository, the article manuscript will be made freely accessible, taking into account any publisher embargo periods on such versions. The manuscript 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. For details on depositing your article manuscript, see the Faculty Publications Collection in the UA Campus Repository.

Can I opt out of the policy?
Yes. There is a waiver option through which a faculty member can request that an article not be subject to the policy. The waiver is easy to request and automatically granted upon request.

Why have a policy if faculty members can automatically get a waiver?
Including a waiver option acknowledges faculty members’ academic freedom without impeding the underlying commitment to improving access to faculty articles through Open Access. The policy articulates an expectation that faculty observe the policy by depositing the final accepted manuscripts of their articles into the UA Campus Repository. In this way the policy sets the default to “opt-in” with the option to “opt-out” via a waiver. Harvard and MIT, which have had long-standing Open Access policies, report waiver request rates of less than five percent.

Will there be any penalty for authors who do not deposit their article manuscripts?
No. We hope that you will see the UA Campus Repository as an opportunity to share your work more broadly. If you do not get around to depositing the article manuscript to the repository, you may receive an inquiry requesting a copy of the manuscript that UA Libraries may deposit on your behalf. However there is no penalty if you do not.

How have publishers responded to these kinds of policies?
Most publishers allow their authors to post the final accepted manuscripts in repositories, though sometimes the publisher requests that access is restricted through an embargo period that can generally vary from six to twenty-four months. If the publisher of the article requires an embargo period before the manuscript is made accessible, the UA Libraries will observe that embargo unless otherwise instructed by the author. 

Who will be responsible for the staffing and technology required to implement the policy?
UA Libraries already manages the UA Campus Repository, which will easily accommodate the deposit of article manuscripts by UA faculty. UA Libraries has faculty and staff members who will be dedicated to implementing the UA Open Access Policy, including tracking the publication of UA faculty articles, working with faculty members to deposit their article manuscripts, issuing waivers when requested, monitoring publisher embargoes, maintaining use statistics for faculty authors, and ensuring the repository is functioning at optimal levels to facilitate the discoverability of article manuscripts. 

Why should I use the UA Campus 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 the UA Campus Repository and separates such institutional based repositories from social networking sites and discipline based repositories.

Commercial sites like or ResearchGate 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, PubMed Central, and SSRN 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. 

Scope of the policy

What kinds of writings does this apply to?
It applies to scholarly articles. Such articles are typically published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals and conference proceedings.

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 UA Open Access Policy does not impact these kinds of works.

What version of the paper is submitted under this policy?
The final accepted manuscript the article; that is, the author’s manuscript with any changes made as a result of the peer-review process, but prior to publisher’s copy-editing or formatting.

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 after leaving UA.

Does the policy apply to co-authored papers?
Yes. In the case of co-authored articles, UA faculty authors will need to decide the degree to which they want to seek permission from co-authors before depositing the manuscript, but the policy does cover co-authored articles and there is an expectation that those works will be deposited into the UA Campus Repository.

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