FAQ about Open Access

Why Open Access? What is the benefit to me as a faculty member? What is the benefit to CSUSM?

Open access provides increased visibility of and access to the research produced at CSUSM. The immediate and widespread availability of material in ScholarWorks provides worldwide access to scholarship, particularly to those that don’t have paid subscriptions to academic journals. The increased visibility and accessibility often results in increased readership and more citations. It is online access to the scholarly output of the campus community anytime, anywhere there is a computer and an internet connection and helps to remove the obstacle of privilege to scholarship.

My research was funded by a grant and the granting organization has said I must make my findings publicly available. Would depositing it in ScholarWorks cover this requirement? 

Some grant and funding organizations have open access requirements for their recipients, requiring them to place their research into publicly accessible repositories like PubMed Central. The National Institutes of Health has had an open access requirement for granteessince 2008, and recently announced that they will begin holding back funding from researchers that do not comply with this requirement. The Taxpayer Access to Publicly Funded Research Act (AB609) requires the final copy of any peer-reviewed research funded by California State Department of Public Health to be made publicly accessible within 12 months of publication. Meeting the requirements of AB609 will necessitate engagement and education initiatives with scholarly communication stakeholders across all California-based institutions.

Do I have to get permission from my co-authors to contribute to ScholarWorks?

No. Under US copyright law, any joint author can give nonexclusive permission to copy and distribute the work, so long as they share profits with the other joint authors. To deposit an article in ScholarWorks, you grant CSUSM a nonexclusive license and no money changes hands. From a legal perspective CSUSM authors can post their articles without checking with their co-authors. The best practice is to treat ScholarWorks like other co-authorship issues – determining author order, reporting contributions, etc. You should discuss the issue among co-authors as part of the writing and publication process.

What kinds of writings can go into ScholarWorks?

Authors are best situated to understand what writings fit the category of “scholarly articles” within their discipline, and are welcome to rely on the policy for all articles they believe fall into this category and to deposit them in ScholarWorks. If faculty desire to deposit additional content such as conference proceedings or data sets, please contact the Library.

What are my rights as an author? Can I deposit my work in ScholarWorks if I signed my copyright over to the Publisher?

Every publishing agreement is different. Some journals request that you sign over your copyright to the journal or the journal publisher. You should READ the publication agreement before you sign it and make sure you understand what you are agreeing to. If you have already signed a publishing agreement, you may still be able to negotiate to have your article included in ScholarWorks. More information about Authors Rights is available on the Scholarly Communication research guide.

Can faculty members make their work open access if it has copyrighted images in it?

In some cases yes, and in some cases no — it depends on whether you had to sign an agreement to get access to the image you used. If you didn’t, because the image is in the public domain or your use of it was fair use, then the work can be made publicly accessible with the image included. If you did sign an agreement, review the agreement to see if it allows broad use of the image as long as it is in the context of the article. If the terms of the agreement would not permit public access to the image in the context of the article, you have a few options:

  • Contact the other party to the agreement to get permission;
  • Get a different copy of the image from a different source with better terms, or depending on your discipline, see if there is a different image that will meet your needs;
  • Deposit a version of the article that does not include the images so that readers can still read your argument/analysis; readers unfamiliar with the images who want to fully understand your arguments will need to get the version of record through other channels.

What happens if I need to request that an item be removed from ScholarWorks, the institutional repository? 

Please direct queries and questions to scholarworks@csusm.edu, or the current Scholarly Communication Librarian. If there isn’t a current Scholarly Communication Librarian, please contact the librarian liaison for your department.

Do other campuses have OA Policies?

Yes, many other schools have open access policies. The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Research Coalition has more information about open access policies around the globe.

How was this resolution of support written?

The Resolution in Support of Open Access for Faculty Publications was written by the Library & Academic Technology Advisory Committee (LATAC, now called Technology Policy and Advisory Committee TPAC), a standing committee of the CSUSM Academic Senate. It was presented to the Senate in the Spring of 2014 and passed with a unanimous vote of support.