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UMD's Senate Approves Policy to Enhance Equitable Access to Scholarly Publications

New policy aids in removal of price and permission barriers for anyone seeking UMD's peer-reviewed scholarly work

Sundial on McKeldin Mall.

At its meeting on April 6, 2022, University of Maryland's Senate voted to approve a new institutional policy that will advance equitable, open access to the University's research and scholarship. In alignment with the University's land-grant mission and its social justice values, the new policy, entitled "Equitable Access to Scholarly Articles Authored by University Faculty," aids in the removal of price and permission barriers related to discoverability and access for anyone seeking UMD's peer-reviewed scholarly work. 

The policy was spearheaded by UMD PACT, a campus-wide working group sponsored by the University Library Council, the Office of the Provost, and the Division of Research. The benefits and features of the policy are summarized briefly below: 

Equitable Access License

Through the policy, faculty members grant certain nonexclusive rights over their scholarly articles to the University of Maryland. This grant of nonexclusive rights, called the Equitable Access License, allows the University to distribute peer-reviewed versions of the articles free-of-charge to the general public, through DRUM, the University of Maryland’s online institutional repository. Faculty members commit to depositing (self-archiving) peer-reviewed versions of their scholarly articles into DRUM. The policy includes waiver and embargo options to enhance author freedom and control over their work. 

Authors are not required to submit new scholarly articles to any particular type of journal, such as open-access journals. Instead, the policy intentionally ensures that authors retain the freedom to submit new work to the journals of their choice.

Benefits of the New Policy

A chief benefit of the policy is the way it fosters open access itself, by minimizing the need to rely on costly publishing fees and subscriptions. Passage of this policy means that more of the University's timely research and scholarship will be available freely to those who seek it, and that more of UMD's research will be found, read, and cited. Under the policy, authors gain the ability to make their work openly accessible without the difficulty or uncertainty of negotiating with publishers. The policy preserves authors' freedom to publish in the journals of their choice and enhances authors' rights to redistribute and reuse their work for research and teaching. 

Implementation, Next Steps

When the new policy is approved by UMD's president, the UMD Libraries will work with campus stakeholders to implement the policy over the coming 2022-2023 academic year. This will include developing policy guidance, engaging in education and outreach about the policy, and designing workflows and tools to make policy compliance as easy as possible for faculty authors.  

More details about the policy and an extensive FAQ are available on UMD PACT's website. If you have questions or comments, please send a message to the Libraries' Open Scholarship Team at lib-open-scholarship@umd.edu.  

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