This week, UC Irvine became the first UC campus to launch the UC Presidential Open Access Policy implementation, enabling UC Irvine Health Science Clinical Professors and Librarians to join their Academic Senate colleagues in using the UC Publication Management System to make their scholarly articles freely available in eScholarship, UC’s open access repository and publishing platform. 

Thanks to increasingly enthusiastic participation in the Academic Senate OA Policy, the global community (both academic and public) now has access to nearly 46,000 articles that would otherwise be locked behind publisher paywalls. Participation in the Presidential OA Policy builds on this momentum by extending UC’s OA policy participation to an additional 210,000 employees, substantially broadening the reach of UC research and scholarship, and granting UC the distinction of having the most extensive institutional OA policy in the country. UC’s OA policies collectively empower all UC employees to make their publications freely available in eScholarship, regardless of where those articles are originally published or how restrictive the publishers’ default use policies might be. 

The roll-out of the policy at Irvine is being managed by Mitchell Brown, UC Irvine Libraries Scholarly Communications Coordinator and Research Librarian for Chemistry, Earth System Science and Russian Studies, and Adrian Petrisor, UC Irvine Libraries Director of Information Technology. 

“Currently there are around 2,000 Senate faculty staff at Irvine with access to the UC Publication Management System; the first phase of the implementation anticipates to roll-out to around 1,400,” says Brown. “When fully implemented, around 24,000 people will have login access to the system, and approximately 10,000 academic staff expected to have full access. It’s a huge undertaking.“

Enabling UC staff to exercise open access rights 

UC’s Presidential Open Access Policy extends to all non-Senate UC employees the open access rights and responsibilities already enjoyed by Senate faculty under the UCSF Senate and Systemwide Senate Open Access Policies. 

The UC Publication Management System, an implementation of Symplectic Elements, has been used since 2015 to facilitate Senate Open Access Policy participation, automating the process of identifying scholarly articles for easy deposit. To date, around 27,000 researchers, including Senate faculty from all UC campuses, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory staff, and RGPO grantees have benefited from simplified policy participation using this system. The Presidential Policy will expand the use of Elements to all academic staff within the UC system.

The Presidential OA Policy implementation builds upon the plan solidified by campuses during their Academic Senate launch, granting access to groups of UC staff in phases based on their department, title code, or other criteria. “We were an early campus as a part of the [Senate Policy] pilot,” says Brown. “We had a history of adding material to eScholarship prior to the UC Publication Management System, and since adoption we’ve been very successful in encouraging faculty to assign delegates and load materials themselves.” 

Part of the appeal, he notes, is that the system provides more than just an easy way to find and deposit articles. It provides data about publications that can be reused by researchers to populate other reporting systems, saving them the time and effort of re-entry. More importantly, it demonstrates the value of presenting UC Irvine work to the larger community. “The ongoing negotiations with publishers about open access publishing is really highlighting the value of having a version of the paper available, even if subscriptions are currently not accessing it,” Brown says. 

Broad support 

Brown’s team has found support from Lorelei Tanji, UCI Libraries’ University Librarian, who has prioritized making the library an effective partner in promoting open access and increasing the visibility of campus researchers. “Prior to the [Academic Senate OA] policy, we had departments on campus who wanted to find a way to make everything they had written available for marketing and communications purposes,” he shares. 

The Department of Earth System Science, whose faculty have deposited nearly 3,000 articles to eScholarship, has been an open access pioneer at UC Irvine. In looking for collaboration and funding opportunities, Brown says, “the department saw that being able to demonstrate faculty research impact by harvesting literature would be very helpful, so they were very much onboard with adding as much content as they could.” Within the first six months of the publication management system’s launch, Earth System Science became the first department to have full open access policy participation at UC Irvine. 

Other departments are interested in replicating the Earth System Science department’s success. UC Irvine’s launch group targets in particular members of the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center at UCI Health. Like many campus research centers, the Chao Cancer Center brings together researchers from different departments who collaborate on research projects and grants. The center is looking for methods to track faculty output while also demonstrating how this work meets funder obligations. 

By the completion of the Presidential OA Policy implementation at UC Irvine, an estimated 10,000 academic staff will have full access to the Publication Management System. UC Irvine will assign department-level delegates to help with policy participation and to answer questions about the system — an approach that has worked well so far to support Academic Senate OA policy participation at UC Irvine and the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory. 

Brown cautions that UC Irvine’s approach is not a one-size solution that will fit every campus. “Every campus is different. Our campus cultures and the campus authors’ research focus we’re dealing with are different, and everyone will have their own challenges.” But there are fundamentals that work for everyone, such as taking every opportunity to communicate the benefits of open access. “We weren’t able to do it all, but we did make examples, and a few successes have built into something better. Ideally the Presidential Policy is the opportunity to reach out to the larger population.” 

Next steps in expanding access 

UC Riverside is the next campus in line to pilot the Presidential OA Policy implementation. The UC Riverside Libraries Open Access team will focus on Librarians and Postdoctoral Researchers in the first phase of their roll-out, with a launch date to be announced shortly. 

Future dates for other UC campuses are still to be confirmed. To learn more about the UC Open Access Policies and the Presidential Open Access Policy  implementation project, see: 

Alainna Therese Wrigley is the Publication Management System Coordinator at California Digital Library. She is the product and service owner of the UC Publication Management System.


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