July 28th, 2009
One of the advantages of the Harvard open-access policies is that the university’s cumulation of rights allows it to negotiate directly with publishers on behalf of covered authors. Such discussions can lead to win-win agreements in which Harvard authors can more simply comply with the open-access policies they have voted and publishers can express solidarity with their academic community partners while avoiding bureaucracy like addenda or waivers on a per-article basis.
We first took advantage of this possibility with an agreement with the American Physical Society. The APS wanted clarity on some issues regarding how the Harvard open-access policies would be used in providing access to APS-published articles before they could see themselves clear to fully supporting the open-access policies. The university was happy to provide that clarity in that our plans were wholly consonant with what APS wanted. The result was an agreement that was a win-win for both APS and the university. APS agreed to acknowledge the policy and not require addenda to their publication agreements (much less waivers of the OA policy). In return, Harvard made clear that for articles covered by the OA policy it would
- Refrain from using facsimiles of the publisher’s version of the articles unless the publisher permits;
- Not charge for the display or distribution of articles;
- Cite to the publisher’s definitive version of the articles and link to them where possible;
- Authorize others to use the articles only subject to these same restrictions.
We’ve now concluded a large handful of such arrangements and have started listing the publishers and journals that have been supportive in this way in a listing of publishers who are “easiest to publish with”. The listing provides a resource for our faculty to let them know which journals they can publish in without waivers or addenda. Already, we have affirmations from scholarly societies (APS, American Mathematical Society, American Economic Association), non-profit publishers (Public Library of Science, Berkeley Electronic Press), commercial publishers (BioMed Central, Hindawi Publishing), and university presses (Duke, Rockefeller, and University of California Presses). We expect more to be added soon.
Publishers interested in being added to the list of “easiest to publish with” should contact the OSC. We’re happy to work with publishers to simplify compliance with the open-access policies.
In fact, we were already operating under just such conditions. The OA policy only provides a license to Harvard for a version of an article if the author controls rights for the version in its entirety. We were not charging for the display and distribution of the articles, and the uses we had envisioned were noncommercial uses. We already viewed it as crucial that we highlight the definitive version, even going so far as to modify the repository software to provide links to the definitive version on search results pages as well as individual document pages.