Fact Sheet on the Illinois Open Access to Research Articles Act (Public Act 098-0295)

Public Act 098-0295 or the “Open Access to Research Articles Act” requires that the University of Illinois (along with other public universities in Illinois) establish a Task Force to design a proposed policy regarding open access for the scholarly articles produced at the University. The Act specifies a number of issues that the Task Force must consider when recommending such a policy. The Task Force must be put in place by January 2014, and the final report must be issued by January 2015.

Full text of the Act can be found at: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/publicacts/fulltext.asp?Name=098-0295

Who will appoint the Task Force?

Chairperson of the Board of Trustees

Who must be on the Task Force?

Voting members:

Must include but is not limited to:

  • the university’s library,
  • faculty (including, where applicable, a labor organization that represents faculty)
  • university administration
  • each campus

Non-voting members:

Must include but is not limited to:

  • a publisher who publishes scholarly journals

What are the responsibilities of the Task Force?

  • The Task Force will review current practices and design a proposed policy regarding open access to research articles given a set of issues outlined in the Act (see below).
  • The Task Force shall conduct open meetings with advance notice.
  • On or before Jan 1 2015, each task force shall adopt a report with its findings and recommendations including:
    • A detailed description of any OA policy the Task Force recommends that the state or university adopts
    • A plan for implementation
  • The report must be approved by a majority of the appointed Task Force voting members.
  • Minority reports may be issued.
  • The report will be submitted to the Board of Trustees, the Board of Higher Education, both chambers of the General Assembly, and the Governor.

Does the Act specify what the open access policy should be?

No, the Act does not specify what the open access policy should be, but leaves it to the task force to determine “how the public university can best further the open access goals laid out in this Act, whether by creation of an open access policy for the public university, creation of an open access policy for the State, or some other mechanism.”

However, the Act does lay out a number of issues that the Task Force must consider. These are outlined below with additional notes and context where necessary.

How are peer institutions addressing open access?

Many public and private universities are establishing open access policies. For example, the University of California system, through their Academic Senate, recently instituted an open access policy: http://osc.universityofcalifornia.edu/openaccesspolicy/. A full international, list of institutions that have OA policies can be found here: http://roarmap.eprints.org/.

How is the federal government addressing open access?  What are the ramifications of the open access requirements from federal grant-making agencies?

In particular, the recent directive from the White House Office of Science and Technology requires that federal grant making agencies file a plan for providing open access to scholarly articles funded by federal grants in late August. See http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/ostp_public_access_memo_2013.pdf.

The National Institutes of Health have had a public access policy in place since 2008. See http://publicaccess.nih.gov/.

How does the university preserve the academic freedom of scholars to publish as they wish while still providing public access to research?

This issue has been addressed in many open access policies by:

  • Allowing scholars to request a waiver or opt out of the policy when a publisher does not permit providing open access to an article.
  • Not specifying that scholars must publish in open access journals.

Who and what should be covered by an open access policy?

Some of the areas targeted by the Act to be considered are: theses and dissertations; research materials digitized using State funding; data collected by covered researchers; research conducted by part-time, adjunct, or other non-permanent faculty; research where at least one of whose co-authors is  covered by the policy; research progress reports presented at professional meetings or conferences; laboratory notes,  preliminary data analyses, notes of the author, phone logs, or other information used to produce final manuscripts; or classified research, research resulting in works that generate revenue or royalties for authors (such as books), or patentable discoveries.

Most open access policies in operation today focus on peer-reviewed journal articles.

What version of a research article should be made openly available?

Most open access policies specify that it is either the published or the final manuscript post peer-review version should be made openly available.

How does the university design a copyright policy that meets the needs of the public as well as of authors and publishers?

What are the disciplinary differences in academic and publishing practices that should be reflected in an open access policy?

What would oversight over such a policy look like?

How would reporting be managed?

How would such a policy be enforced?

Can the university use existing scholarly repositories?

Illinois’s scholarly repository is IDEALS and is available at: http://ideals.illinois.edu/.

What is the cost of maintaining an institutional repository?

Is there potential for collaboration between public universities regarding the use and maintenance of repositories?

What are the benefits and drawbacks to researchers of institutional support for publishing in open access journals where there are Article Publication Charges (APCs)? What is the fiscal feasibility?

Some institutions maintain a fund (often administered by the library) that researchers can apply to to support publishing in an open access journal where there are APCs. You can see a list of such institutions at http://www.oacompact.org/signatories/.


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