Open Access Policy FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions about the Policy

Purpose and Aim of the Policy | Complying with the Policy | Scope of the Policy | Opting Out | More Help


Purpose and Aim of the Policy

Why are we doing this?

Per the Policy, “The Faculty of UMass Worcester is dedicated to the widest possible dissemination of the products of its research and scholarly pursuits to colleagues and to the public.” Making scholarly publications freely available via eScholarship@UMMS, the University’s digital repository, is one way of demonstrating this dedication.

What does the policy do for me?

The web makes it possible for faculty to share their articles widely, openly, and freely; in addition, research has repeatedly shown that articles available freely online are more often cited and have greater impact than those not freely available. While many faculty already make their writings available on their web pages, some are prevented from doing so by perceived or actual limits set on such sharing in their publisher copyright transfer agreements. This policy will allow you to legally make your writings openly accessible, and it will enable UMMS to help you do so.

How is this different from the NIH Public Access Policy?

The NIH Public Access Policy requires that all peer-reviewed journal articles resulting from NIH-funded research must be made available to the public via PubMed Central within 12 months of publication. A large number of UMMS faculty and researchers receive NIH funding and thus are subject to the rules of this Policy. The University’s Open Access Policy seeks to collect all of the scholarly output of UMMS under one umbrella, eScholarship@UMMS. It applies not only to publications resulting from NIH-funded research, but to all publications produced by faculty.

Complying with the Policy

What do I have to do to comply with this policy?

Follow the steps found on the OA Policy website: complete and attach either the standard addendum or waiver request to the copyright transfer agreement, return the agreement and attachments to your publisher, and deposit your final, peer-reviewed manuscript in eScholarship@UMMS.

What if a journal publisher refuses to publish my article because of the prior permission given to UMMS under the policy?

You have a number of options. One is to try to persuade the publisher that it should accept the UMMS non-exclusive license in order to be able to publish your article. Another is to seek a different publisher. A third is to consult with the Library’s Head of Research and Scholarly Communication Services, Rebecca Reznik-Zellen, for assistance. A fourth is to obtain a waiver for the article under the policy (see more below under Opting Out.)

What is an author addendum and why do I need one?

An "author addendum" is a legal document. The typical addendum is a short document, used to amend the agreement issued by a publisher.

When and how do I submit a paper to eScholarship@UMMS under this policy?

Papers should be submitted as of the date of publication. To submit a paper under the policy, upload the author’s final manuscript, post peer-review, via the web form.

Scope of the Policy

What kinds of writings does this apply to?

It applies to “scholarly articles.” Using terms from the Budapest Open Access Initiative, scholarly articles are articles that describe the fruits of research and that authors give to the world for the sake of inquiry and knowledge without expectation of payment. Such articles are typically presented in peer-reviewed scholarly journals and conference proceedings.

Many written products are not encompassed under this specific notion of scholarly article, such as books, popular articles, commissioned articles, fiction and poetry, encyclopedia entries, ephemeral writings, lecture notes, lecture videos, or other copyrighted works. The Open Access Policy is not meant to address these kinds of works.

What version of the paper is submitted under this policy?

The author's final version of the article; that is, the author’s manuscript with any changes made as a result of the peer-review process, but prior to publisher’s copy-editing or formatting. If you are publishing in a journal that allows the final published version of the article to be placed in the repository, that version is preferred.

Does the policy apply to articles I’ve already written?

The policy only applies to articles published after _____. (date the Policy becomes effective)

Does the policy apply to co-authored papers?

Yes. Each joint author of an article holds copyright in the article and, individually, has the authority to grant UMMS a non-exclusive license. Joint authors are those who participate in the preparation of the article with the intention that their contributions be merged into inseparable or interdependent parts of the whole.

Does this interfere with the University’s policies on patents?

No. The resolution only asks that peer-reviewed, published articles be deposited, not non-public research or proprietary materials that might be subject to patent exploitation by the University or the individual researcher.

Opting Out (Obtaining a Waiver)

How do I opt out?

To opt out, fill out the waiver form available from the OA Policy website and email a copy to

More Help

The scenarios below present specific examples of addressing compliance based upon the type and/or name of the publisher you are working with:

Credit: Portions of the text above are adopted from the MIT Open Access Policy FAQ site,