Understanding Open Access

Open Access Policies

Stanford University's Open Access Policy

On November 19th 2020, the faculty senate passed a resolution to establish an open access policy at Stanford University. The proposal included three items, which we have summarized below. The proposed policy relates to self-archiving of scholarly work and does not dictate where authors can choose to publish their work. For more information, please refer to the Office of Scholarly Communications.

Elements of the new policy:
  1. Resolution Establishing an Open Access Policy - The policy states that members of the Academic Council will grant Stanford University permission to make available his or her scholarly articles and to exercise the copyright in those articles. In practice, this will soon involve submitting the final version of articles to the Stanford Digital Repository, where they will be made available to the public under an open license.
  2. Establishing an Office of Scholarly Communications - The policy established the Office of Scholarly Communication, based in the Stanford Libraries, to be responsible for interpreting the University’s Open Access policy, resolving disputes concerning its interpretation and application, and recommending changes to the Academic Senate.
  3. Adoption of ORCID IDs - Under the OA policy, each member of the Academic Council is required to obtain an Open Researcher and Contributor Identifier (ORCID iD), with assistance provided as necessary by the Stanford Libraries.
NIH Public Access Policy

To advance science and improve human health, NIH makes the peer-reviewed articles it funds publicly available on PubMed Central. The NIH public access policy requires scientists to submit final peer-reviewed journal manuscripts that arise from NIH funds to PubMed Central immediately upon acceptance for publication.

The NIH public access policy applies to any manuscript that:
  • Is peer-reviewed
  • And, is accepted for publication in a journal on or after April 7, 2008
  • And, arises from:
    • Any direct funding from an NIH grant or cooperative agreement active in Fiscal Year 2008 or beyond
    • Any direct funding from an NIH contract signed on or after April 7, 2008
    • Any direct funding from the NIH Intramural Program
    • An NIH employee

There are four methods to ensure that applicable papers are submitted to PubMed Central (PMC) in compliance with the NIH policy and authors are free to use whichever method is most appropriate for them and consistent with their publishing agreement. To identify the submission and reporting method for a specific journal, use the submission method identification wizard.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute

After January 1st, 2022, HHMI lab heads must make any original, peer-reviewed research articles with major contributions from an HHMI lab freely available under a CC BY, a Creative Commons Attribution license, by the publication date. A contribution to a publication from an HHMI lab is considered major if an HHMI lab head or lab member is listed as first, last, or corresponding author, or as a first, last, or corresponding co-author on the publication.

An HHMI lab head can meet the requirements of this policy for a specific article in the following ways:

  • Publishing the “version of record” (the version that is published by the journal) under a CC BY license so that it is immediately and freely available to the public.
  • Depositing the “author-accepted manuscript” (the version after peer review accepted by the journal) in PubMedCentral or another HHMI-designated repository under a CC BY license so that it is immediately and freely available to the public upon publication in the journal. 

HHMI lab heads are also encouraged to consider depositing articles in a publicly accessible preprint server, such as bioRxiv and all articles subject to this policy must include a data/code availability statement detailing how data and code integral to the publication can be accessed.

Other Open Access Policies

The above list is not intended to be inclusive. To ensure you are meeting requirements related to open access, use the Sherpa Juliet tool to check the policies of the organizations that fund your work. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your liaison librarian.