Will this proposed policy force me to publish in open access journals?
No, absolutely not. In fact, the policy is likely to be more useful to authors who typically publish in subscription journals by giving you greater freedom to share with audiences who lack access to those publications and would otherwise be unable to read your scholarship.
Will my publisher refuse to publish my article if they know about this policy?
These policies, sometimes known as open access policies, have been implemented for nearly 15 years and are now familiar to and accepted by most publishers. If a publisher explicitly requires that you receive a waiver of the nonexclusive license to UF, you will be able to do so with the click of a button, no questions asked.
I already share my journal articles. Why do I need this policy?
Policies on how authors can share their own work vary by publisher and discipline. Some publishers have fairly liberal policies that let you share with other researchers, students, or post online after an embargo period. Others are silent on the topic or have more restrictive policies. This policy ensures that at minimum, you can disseminate your accepted manuscript without negotiating with your publisher.
If you’re fortunate enough to feel publisher and funder policies meet your needs, consider this policy as a way to support colleagues without these benefits.
The policy requires me to give a nonexclusive license to UF. Why is this important?
This part of the policy is critical to making the rest work. Often publishers ask that you transfer copyright to them in order to publish your article. An automatic, nonexclusive license to the University ensures that even if you sign such an agreement, UF still holds the original nonexclusive license in trust. For instance, if you think of copyright as a key, you are making a copy of that key and giving it to UF for safekeeping in case you lose or give away your own copy.
That’s a bit complicated. Have lawyers reviewed policies like this one?
Yes. As one example, Harvard’s director of the Office of Scholarly Communications has summarized a publication affirming the policy’s legality. The version of the policy under consideration at UF was developed in consultation with the Office of General Counsel.
Which version of my article am I allowed to share?
Generally, the lowest risk option is to share the accepted or final manuscript, not the publisher’s version or version of record. This usually looks like a Word document and lacks the typesetting and design elements added by the publisher.
I support nonprofit and scholarly society publishers. Will this hurt them?
This policy is not meant to undermine small journal publishers or replace library subscriptions; rather, it will broaden availability of scholarship for those who are unable to access it when those subscriptions are simply out of reach. Authors who have this concern are welcome to request a policy waiver for specific articles and are encouraged to discuss policies with colleagues in scholarly societies.
What if my article incorporates images or figures that I did not produce?
The major question here: Did you rely on fair use to repurpose the material without permission? If so, fair use also applies when sharing your article beyond the journal publication. If you received explicit permission to use the figure only as it would appear in the journal, you might need to remove it before sharing your article text. In general, if you’re asking for permission a good rule of thumb is to try to obtain rights to broadly disseminate the work.
What happens if I leave UF?
The policy applies to articles you write while at the University of Florida, so you would be able to keep sharing those articles under these terms even after you leave.