Where can I get information on the Rutgers Open Access Policy?

Visit http://www.libraries.rutgers.edu/researchers/open_access for complete information on the policy including background on the Senate resolution, the Policy text from the official Rutgers Policy Library, and the topic of open access.  Other information on open access (including a brief printable fact sheet, http://www.libraries.rutgers.edu/RutgersOAFactsheet.pdf) as well as contact information is also available. Consultation is available on any topic related to SOAR and the Rutgers Open Access Policy. We are glad to discuss any aspect with you.

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When does the policy go into effect?

The Rutgers Open Access Policy became effective on Sept.1, 2015. The policy is prospective, covering articles accepted for publication after Sept. 1, 2015. Authors do not need to deposit articles authored before this date (but they may wish to do so).

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Who is covered by the policy?

All faculty, doctoral students and postdoctoral scholars are covered by the policy. Educational initiatives and outreach will target other categories of graduate students. The policy is inclusive of all Rutgers scholars, meaning all members of the faculty, as well as Rutgers graduate (doctoral) and post-doctoral students, while they are employed by, or enrolled at, Rutgers.

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What is SOAR?

SOAR is “Scholarly Open Access at Rutgers,” the repository website/portal where authors can deposit their scholarly works and discover the open access publications of other Rutgers faculty and graduate students.  Once a work is deposited in SOAR, it becomes discoverable in Google and other search engines, and the material can then be accessed by anyone with internet access who would like to read it. SOAR is a service of RUcore, the Rutgers Community Repository. It has been developed as a specific site in support of the Rutgers Open Access Policy.

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What kind of work is generally covered by the Policy?

The Rutgers Open Access Policy applies to scholarship for which there is no expectation of payment. This would generally describe journal articles, conference papers, working papers, allowable book chapters, and similar types of scholarship. Falling outside the scope of the policy are a wide variety of other scholarly writings such as books and commissioned articles, artworks, popular writings, including fiction and poetry, and pedagogical materials (lecture notes and videos, case studies, etc.).

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What is the “gold road” for publishing; what are “open access journals?”

“Gold Open Access” refers to the "open access journals" route to open access. There are many journals that make all of their published articles immediately available on the internet for reading (and sometimes reuse). Other journals have a mix of some traditionally published articles (subscription) and some articles made open access by authors. These mixed content journals are called “hybrid journals.” Some open access journals charge fees to authors to publish (APCs), but the majority of open access journals are free for authors.  There are many business models in use for journals at present. Open access journals publishing is often called “Gold Open Access.” Publishing in an open access journal usually allows the author to deposit the "Version of Record," or publisher version in SOAR. 

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Does this policy mean that I have to publish in an open access journal?

No, publish in the journal of your choice. You do not have to change your chosen publication outlets to comply with the Rutgers Open Access Policy; you do not have to publish in an open access journal (but you may wish to). There are many quality open access journals, and most carry no fees. However, the policy only stipulates that a Rutgers scholar will deposit a publisher-allowed copy (often the author final version (post peer-review and including all revisions), called in SOAR the “Accepted Manuscript (AM).” The Accepted Manuscript (AM) is often your final Word doc. After this point, often the publisher will brand its proprietary version of the article as the “Version of Record (VoR).”   SOAR uses standard terminology, and refers to this final author copy, post peer review (version available at the time of official acceptance for publication), as the “Accepted Manuscript (AM).” If you have any questions about which version to deposit, please contact us.

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What are “predatory” (or bogus) open access journals?

Are open access journals less credible than traditional journals? Because it is easy to publish on the internet, and to charge money to (often unsuspecting) authors for publishing their articles, there are many journals (and publishers) that are not credible, and authors need to be aware that these “bogus” journals are out there, and actively soliciting articles and conference papers. Contact your subject librarian if you need assistance with examining journal titles for quality.

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Do I have to pay a fee for open access? Doesn’t open access cost money?

Journals have many different business models, whether subscription or open access, for instance. Rutgers authors continue to publish in the journal of choice, and send a final copy of their accepted manuscript (often a Word doc) of each article -at no charge- to SOAR.  There is never a fee for deposit in SOAR, and open access via SOAR carries no charge to author or reader. The author deposits the final author version (Accepted Manuscript (AM)) in SOAR. This deposit of author final versions without any embargo (delay) is allowed by the majority of publishers (~65%). Even more publishers allow open access to the author’s final version with a short embargo (delay).  

Some authors might wish to choose an open access option for a particular article in a subscription journal, and would need to pay a fee for making their article open access, but that type of paid open access is not part of the Rutgers Open Access Policy. If your traditional subscription publisher is asking for 3000 dollars, for instance, to make an article open access, you would not choose that choice, but publish the usual way and deposit your Accepted Manuscript in SOAR, at no charge. You do not have to choose the "open access choice" and pay a fee when publishing with a traditional subscription publisher.

The policy does not ask authors to change their preferred publication outlets in favor of open access journals. If an author does publish in an open access journal, the author would also deposit the article in SOAR.

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Will Rutgers pay the OA fees (APCs) for me? Does Rutgers have an Open Access Fund on which I can draw to pay article processing charges (APCs) or membership fees required by publishers?

At this time, Rutgers does not have a dedicated Open Access Fund for payment of open access fees, open access memberships, or article processing charges (APCs). Such a fund will be under consideration in the future as the open access policy implementation proceeds. For now, many funders will allow payment of these funds from grants, and authors may have other sources of funding for such payments (or may request fee waivers where appropriate). Authors may inquire of their departments or offices of research for possible funding. Rutgers does not currently have institutional memberships with publishers such as BioMed Central.

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My publisher is asking me for payments to make my article open access; how do I respond?

Some open access journals charge fees, referred to as APCs (Article Processing Charges). These fees are often charged to grants, and the university currently has no dedicated fund to pay these APCs for open access journals. Authors need only deposit their final version (Accepted Manuscript (AM)) into SOAR.  Often, authors may experience confusion when some traditional subscription journals charge thousands of dollars for making a single article open access. In this case, the subscription journal will offer the option to the author of paying to make the article open access. Paying these fees is not necessary; subscriptions are already paid by institutions and individuals. This type of publication scenario may be referred to as “hybrid” with both subscription and open access fees paying for articles found within the same issue of a journal The Rutgers Open Access Policy does not require any payments to publishers in this hybrid business model. Authors may have thought that the Rutgers policy requires this type of open access publication. Instead, the author’s Accepted Manuscript (final Word doc, for instance) is deposited in SOAR without charge.

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How many other universities have this type of open access policy?

Other institutions having similar open access policies include MIT, the University of California system, Harvard, University of Kansas, Rice, Princeton, Penn State, UNC, and many others. For a listing of other universities with policies, see ROARMAP (Registry of Open Access Repositories Mandatory Archiving Policies) at roarmap.eprints.org. More and more institutions are passing OA policies, and the majority of those institutions have passed (or are passing) policies that are referred to as "Harvard style" open access policies. Many funders, especially since the Obama Directive of 2013 passed also have similar types of open access policies, ensuring the public availability of taxpayer-funded research results.

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How does the Rutgers Open Access Policy benefit me?

Depositing your articles in SOAR allows your scholarship to be disseminated on the internet. SOAR is crawled by Google, making Rutgers scholarship freely available to readers around the world. Making your work open access in this way increases citation impact, according to many studies. Your work will reach a worldwide audience, enhancing the visibility of your scholarship. Rutgers’ collective scholarship will reach the widest possible audience. Usage statistics provided by SOAR for each of your articles can help demonstrate impact for reporting purposes. You will see the reach of your work as usage statistics show not only downloads, but geographic distribution of readers. SOAR usage statistics can be reported out in useful ways to show a measure of reach and impact of an individual article.

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Is there a simple handout about the policy that can be copied and distributed, for instance in my department?

A simple handout, a fact sheet with all pertinent details can be found at: http://www.libraries.rutgers.edu/RutgersOAFactsheet.pdf   The Rutgers Open Access Policy fact sheet may be distributed widely. The fact sheet includes information on the policy as well as names of individuals involved in the OA Policy work as well as those that directed implementation (Rutgers Open Access Policy Implementation Working Group).This handout may be useful for dissemination in departmental meetings or other gatherings, for instance. The fact sheet is a "one stop shop" for introducing the policy to an audience.

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Can I “opt out” of the policy itself, or for any individual article?

The policy applies to every article (or similar work) authored by a Rutgers scholar that is accepted for publication after Sept. 1, 2015. However, an author may opt out of depositing a particular article by submitting the Opt-Out Form (available from the "Waivers and Forms" section of the SOAR site.  The Rutgers Open Access Policy provides for an “opt out” for an article at the express direction of the scholar. Rather than using the “opt-out,” scholars should deposit their article in SOAR at the time of final acceptance for publication, and the repository can delay (embargo) the access to the article for a period of time if necessary. Options are available. All final author versions of articles, “Accepted Manuscripts (AM)” are deposited into SOAR at the time of acceptance for publication. Even if the article cannot be made available immediately, the article’s “metadata” (descriptive elements) will be discoverable online. This allows maximum discoverability of all of Rutgers scholarship. If you need more information before depositing, or have questions about whether you need to opt out, please contact us. We are happy to discuss any particulars.

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Should I opt out if I don’t know what my publisher allows me to do with my article?

No, SOAR staff will research publisher permissions so you do not have to know what is possible in terms of depositing your article in SOAR. The policy does stipulate that all articles, usually the Accepted Manuscript (AM) version shall be deposited at the time of acceptance for publication. Articles that cannot be made open access right away will be “embargoed” (delayed) until that time which the article can be made available. At the time of official acceptance for publication, the author often has the “Accepted Manuscript” in hand, and then can make the SOAR deposit.

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What happens when I leave the university? Do I take my scholarship with me to my new institution, or does it remain in SOAR?

You leave your scholarship in SOAR, and if you’d like, you can deposit those same articles in your new university’s repository, or just continue to point to the links to the SOAR articles. As academics move between institutions, scholarship can be deposited in one or more institutional repositories.

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