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Open Access at PFW

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Erika Mann
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PFW Open Access Policy


The Faculty of Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne is 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:

Grant of License and Limitations 

Each Faculty member grants to the Trustees of Purdue University permission to make available his or her scholarly articles and to exercise the copyright in those articles. More specifically, each Faculty member grants to the Trustees of Purdue University a nonexclusive, irrevocable, worldwide license to exercise any and all rights under copyright relating to each of his or her scholarly articles, in any medium, for the purpose of making their articles widely and freely available in an open access repository, and to authorize others to do the sameprovided that the articles are not sold.

Scope and Waiver (Opt-Out) 

The policy applies to all scholarly articles authored or co-authored while the person is a member of the Faculty except for 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. The Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs or his or her designate will waive application of the license for a particular article or delay access for a specified period of time upon express direction by a Faculty member.

Deposit of Articles

Each Faculty member will provide an electronic copy of the author’s final version of each article no later than the date of its publication at no charge to the appropriate representative of the Academic Affairs Office in an appropriate format (such as PDF) specified by the Academic Affairs Office. The Academic Affairs Office will make the article available to the public in an open-access repository. The Academic Affairs Office, in consultation with Faculty Senate, is responsible for interpreting this policy, resolving disputes concerning its interpretation and application, and recommending changes to the faculty from time to time. The policy will be reviewed after three years and as needed thereafter.

Notes and Explanations


“disseminating the fruits of its research and scholarship as widely as possible

The intention of the policy is to promote the broadest possible access to the university’s research. The preamble emphasizes that the issue is access, not finances [limits on publishing venues, rights restrictions, etc]. Return to text.



The wording here is crucial. The policy causes the grant of the license directly. An alternative wording, such as “each faculty member shall grant”, places a requirement on faculty members, but does not actually cause the grant itself. By granting the rights at the time of the vote for the policy, in advance of future publications, the policy frees faculty from the need to negotiate with publishers. It secures the rights even when faculty fail to request them. It secures the same rights for every faculty member, not just the rights that a given faculty member might succeed in obtaining from a given negotiation with a given publisher. The policy grants no exclusive rights to the institution, only non-exclusive rights. Return to text.


“scholarly articles”

The scope of the policy is scholarly articles. What constitutes a scholarly article is purposefully left vague. Clearly falling within the scope of the term are (using terms from the Budapest Open Access Initiative) articles that describe the fruits of scholars’ research and that they give to the world for the sake of inquiry and knowledge without expectation of payment. Such articles are typically presented in peer-reviewed scholarly journals and conference proceedings. The policy excludes scholarly writings that generate royalties such as textbooks and monographs. Clearly falling outside of the scope are a wide variety of other non-scholarly writings such as popular writings, fiction and poetry, and pedagogical materials (lecture notes, lecture videos, case studies).  Works not covered by the policy can still be placed in the repository, and with permission can be made open access.

Often, faculty express concern that the term is not (and cannot be) precisely defined. The concern is typically about whether one or another particular case falls within the scope of the term or not. However, the exact delineation of every case is neither possible nor necessary. In particular, if the concern is that a particular article inappropriately falls within the purview of the policy, a waiver can always be obtained.

One tempting clarification is to refer to scholarly articles more specifically as “articles published in peer-reviewed journals or conference proceedings” or some such specification. Doing so may have an especially pernicious unintended consequence: With such a definition, a “scholarly article” doesn’t become covered by the policy until it is published, by which time a publication agreement covering its disposition is likely to already have been signed. Thus the entire benefit of the policy’s nonexclusive license preceding a later transfer of rights may be vitiated. If clarifying language along these lines is required, simultaneously weaker and more accurate language can be used, for instance, this language from Harvard’s explanatory material (also used in the Preamble above): “Using terms from the Budapest Open Access Initiative, faculty’s scholarly articles are articles that describe the fruits of their research and that they give to the world for the sake of inquiry and knowledge without expectation of payment. Such articles are typically presented in peer-reviewed scholarly journals and conference proceedings.” Return to text.


“exercise any and all rights under copyright”

The license is quite broad, for two reasons. First, the breadth allows flexibility in using the articles. Since new uses of scholarly articles are always being invented — text mining uses being a prime example — retaining a broad set of rights maximizes the flexibility in using the materials. Second, a broad set of rights allows the university to grant back to an author these rights providing an alternative method for acquiring them rather than requesting them from a publisher. Even though the university is being allowed to exercise a broad set of rights, it is not required to exercise them. Universities are free to set up policies about which rights it will use and how, for instance, in making blanket agreements with publishers. For example, a university may agree to certain restrictions on its behavior in return for a publisher’s acknowledgement of the prior license and agreement not to require addenda or waivers. Harvard has provided a model agreement of this type as well. Return to text.


“in an open access repository”

For this is Opus: Research and Creativity at Purdue Fort Wayne. The university institutional repository is designed to expose content to searchers through indexing open to any search engine and interoperability with other repositories. The university institutional repository openly distributes content using institutional resources. Return to text.


“authorize others”

The transferability provision allows the university to authorize others to make use of the articles. For instance, researchers can be authorized to use the articles for data mining. The university can establish specific terms of use of the institutional repository’s content (e.g., Harvard DASH terms of use. Most importantly, the transferability provision allows the university to transfer the broad rights in the policy back to the author, so that authors can legally distribute their articles from their own web sites (as they often do illicitly now), to use them for their classes, to develop derivative works, and the like. In that sense, the policy leads to authors retaining rights, not just universities obtaining rights. Return to text.


“do the same”

This ordering of phraseology, introduced in the MIT policy, makes clear that the transferability provision applies both to the retained rights and the noncommercial limitation. Return to text.

“any articles completed before the adoption”

Application of the license retroactively is problematic, and in any case suspect. This clause makes clear that the license applies only prospectively. Return to text.

will waive”

Not “may waive”. The institution will always grant waivers, no questions asked. The waiver is at the sole discretion of the author. The waiver option guarantees that faculty are free to decide for or against Open Access for each of their publications. This broad waiver policy is perhaps the most important aspect of this approach to open-access policies. The ability to waive the license means that the policy is not a mandate for rights retention, but merely a change in the default rights retention from opt-in to opt-out. Many of the concerns that faculty have about such policies are assuaged by this broad waiver. These include concerns about academic freedom, unintended effects on junior faculty, principled libertarian objections, freedom to accommodate publisher policies, and the like. Publishers who decide that publishing authors bound by an Open Access policy is too risky, may protect themselves without refusing to publish faculty bound by Open Access policies simply by requiring a waiver as a condition of publication. 

Some may think that the policy would be “stronger” without the broad waiver provision. In fact, regardless of what restrictions are made on waivers (including eliminating them entirely). Individual faculty members can demand an exception to the policy. It is far better to build a safety valve into the policy, and offer the solution in advance, than to offer the same solution only under the pressure of a morale-draining confrontation in which one or more piqued faculty members demand an exception to a putatively exceptionless policy.

In any case, with several years of experience with these policies, it has become clear that waiver rates are exceptionally low even with this completely open waiver provision. Return to text.


The waiver applies to the license, not the policy as a whole. The distinction is not crucial in a pragmatic sense, as it is generally the license that leads to waiver requests, not the deposit aspect of the policy, and in any case, an author has a de facto waiver possibility for the deposit aspect by merely refraining from making a manuscript available. Nonetheless, if it is possible to use this more limited formulation, it is preferable in reinforcing the idea that all articles should be deposited, whether or not a waiver is granted and whether or not they can be distributed. Return to text.

“delay access”

Duke University pioneered the incorporation of an author-directed embargo period for particular articles as a way of adhering to publisher wishes without requiring a full waiver. This allows the full range of rights to be taken advantage of after the embargo period ends, rather than having to fall back on what the publisher may happen to allow. Since this is still an opt-out option, it does not materially weaken the policy. The embargo option allows a delay in making a deposited article Open Access, not a delay in depositing an article. If an author specifies an embargo on a given article, the deposit should still be made between the time of acceptance and the time of publication, but it will be a dark deposit until the embargo period expires. Return to text.


An author must direct that a waiver be granted in a concrete way, but the term “express” is preferred to “written” in allowing, e.g., use of a web form for directing a waiver. Return to text.


This term replaced an earlier term “request” so as to make clear that the request cannot be denied. Return to text.

“author’s final version” 

The author’s final version—the version after the article has gone through peer review and the revisions responsive thereto and any further copyediting in which the author has participated—is the appropriate version to request for distribution. It should include all of the charts, graphics, and illustrations for which the author has permission.  Authors may legitimately not want to provide versions earlier than the final version, and insofar as there are additional rights in the publisher’s definitive version beyond the author’s final version, that version would not fall within the license that the author grants. Publishers usually reserve the rights to any post-review copy editing done unilaterally by the journal, including the journal’s pagination, and the journal’s look and feel.  Return to text.

“no later than the date of its publication” 

The distribution of articles pursuant to this policy is not intended to preempt journal publication but to supplement it. This also makes the policy consistent with the small set of journals that still follow the Ingelfinger rule (The policy of considering a manuscript for publication only if its substance has not been submitted or reported elsewhere). An alternative is to require submission at the time of acceptance for publication, with a statement that distribution can be postponed until the date of publication. Return to text.

“open-access repository”

While the policy requires deposit in the university repository, the policy does not require faculty to make deposits themselves. Helmke library staff already make deposits on behalf of faculty, provided that faculty make the appropriate versions of their articles available. Return to text.


Specifying a review makes clear that there will be an opportunity for adjusting the policy in light of any problems that may arise. Return to text.

Copyright Librarian

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Erika Mann
Assistant Librarian
(260) 481-5404
Skype Contact: live:.cid.d1b9078503d0cd7