OA Policy FAQ

Scholarly Communications Office

What is the Digital Commons?

The Digital Commons is USU’s institutional repository. It aims to capture, preserve, and promote the intellectual output of the university while making it freely available online. This is part of a world-wide effort to develop and share new knowledge.

What is Open Access?

Open Access is the free and open dissemination of scholarly articles, through the Internet, as a means to reach an author’s widest possible audience. In the digital age, no researcher's ability to conduct potentially world-changing research should be limited by his or her access to the research of others. When we publish our works in traditional journals, they often become locked behind expensive price barriers. These barriers can prevent our works from reaching the researchers who need them. Open Access is a way for us to share our works freely, thus helping to facilitate the world-wide advancement of knowledge.

What exactly is Policy 586?

Policy 586 helps researchers retain copyright on the articles they publish, and enables them to share those articles with a wider audience. Because individual employees grant a nonexclusive copyright on their articles to the University, Policy 586 harnesses the collective power of all of University employees to give individuals an advantage when negotiating publication agreements.

What is required of employees?

Policy 586 allows the Library to post the author’s version of a published article to the Digital Commons. This is usually the final peer-reviewed manuscript, without publisher branding or pagination.

I am very busy. How much time will this take?

This policy asks only that you investigate your rights through your publication agreement, then email a copy of your article to the Library, or email us for a waiver. We are always available to help interpret publication agreements, so essentially, this policy asks only that you send an email or two.

What if I forget to request a waiver?

Waivers can be obtained after your article has been published. If you have published an article, but are not sure if you have the right to submit it to the Digital Commons, simply contact us. We’ll investigate the rights you retain through your publication agreement.

What if I am a joint author?

If you are the corresponding author for your work, we ask that you read your publication agreement, or contact the Library for assistance, then either email a copy of your article to us, or request a waiver. If you are not the corresponding author, we ask that you work with your colleagues to ensure that your work reaches its widest possible audience by reading your publication agreement, and discussing USU’s OA Policy with them. If your coauthors do not wish to make your work Open Access, simply request a waiver.

What happens if I do not comply with Policy 586?

By not complying with Policy 586, you are ensuring that some researchers do not have access to your work. You may also surrender your rights to your own scholarly work. Additionally, by not submitting your work to the Digital Commons, you miss the opportunity to make your work highly visible in Google, Google Scholar, and other search engines, as well as missing out on download counts for your work.