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Research Article

Understanding and Making Use of Academic Authors’ Open Access Rights


David R Hansen

University of California, Berkeley School of Law 2850 Telegraph Avenue Suite 500 Berkeley, CA 94705
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INTRODUCTION Authors of academic works do not take full advantage of the self-archiving rights that they retain in their publications, though research shows that many academic authors are well-aligned (at least in principle) with open access (OA) principles. This article explains how institutionally-assisted self-archiving in open access repositories can effectively take advantage of retained rights and highlights at least one method of facilitating this process through automated means. METHODS To understand the scope of author-retained rights (including the right to purchase hybrid or other open access options) at some sample universities, author-rights data through the SHERPA/RoMEO API was combined with individual article citations (from Thomson Reuters’ Web of Science) for works published over a one-year period (2011) and authored by individuals affiliated with five major U.S. research universities. RESULTS Authors retain significant rights in the articles that they create. Of the 29,322 unique articles authored over the one year period at the five universities, 28.83 percent could be archived in final PDF form and 87.95 percent could be archived as the post-print version. Nearly 43.47 percent also provided authors the choice of purchasing a hybrid paid open access option. DISCUSSION A significant percentage of current published output could be archived with little or no author intervention. With prior approval through an open access policy or otherwise, article manuscripts or final PDFs can be obtained and archived by library staff, and hybrid paid-OA options could be negotiated and exploited by library administrators. CONCLUSION Although mandates, legislation, and other policy tools may be useful to promote open access, many institutions already have the ability to increase the percentage of accessible works by taking advantage of retained author rights and hybrid OA options.
How to Cite: Hansen, D.R., 2012. Understanding and Making Use of Academic Authors’ Open Access Rights. Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication, 1(2), p.eP1050. DOI:
Published on 28 Sep 2012.
Peer Reviewed


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