Expand open access policies to include all members of the MIT community

Cara Manning
October 16, 2015

One of MIT's missions is to disseminate its research results to the world. In this spirit, the MIT faculty unanimously approved a very powerful and effective open access policy in 2009, that allows authors to legally make their publications freely accessible. Many other institutions have since adopted similar policies. However, the MIT Faculty Open Access Policy only applies to papers that are coauthored by an MIT faculty member. As a result, a significant portion of the scholarship produced by the MIT community is not covered by this policy.

For example, there are nearly 100 graduate students in the MIT-WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography who do not have MIT faculty supervisors. Therefore, they are not protected by the MIT Faculty Open Access Policy and are not able to submit any of their papers to MIT DSpace. I am sure many other individuals on campus (e.g., research scientists and postdocs) have run into the same issue with publications lacking a MIT faculty coauthor. I would strongly support any efforts by MIT to establish open access policies for all MIT scholars.

Additionally, I would encourage MIT Libraries to consider allowing MIT graduate students who do not have an MIT faculty supervisor (e.g., because their supervisor is at another institution) to be eligible for reimbursement of open access publication fees through the Open Access Article Publication Subvention Fund (OAAPSF). Currently, only MIT faculty, research scientists, and postdocs are eligible to receive funding from the OAAPSF.


Kai von Fintel on October 27, 2015

I couldn't agree more. See the news from California where the entire UC system just put such a sweeping OA policy in place: http://osc.universityofcalifornia.edu/2015/10/groundbreaking-presidentia...

Erik Lee Stayton on November 30, 2015

This policy is very important for the humanities at MIT, where papers are less likely to have faculty coauthors even when the student has an active MIT supervisor. Many of my colleagues' papers are currently unprotected, since it is standard in the field to publish single-author articles as a graduate student.