The faculty of the University of California (UC), the largest public research university in the world, have adopted an open-access policy in which they commit to make their research articles freely available to the public.
The policy, adopted on 24 July, was made public by a press release issued on 2 August. It covers 8,000 UC faculty on all ten of the university’s campuses, who commit to grant UC a non-exclusive licence to research articles they author, provide copies of their articles to UC and to make the articles available through Creative Commons licences.
In the press release announcing the policy, Chris Kelty, associate professor of information studies at UC Los Angeles and chair of the UC University Committee on Library and Scholarly Communication, said that the policy “sends a powerful message that faculty want open access and they want it on terms that benefit the public and the future of research”.
The release notes that UC is the latest of more than 175 universities to adopt similar policies. As with policies adopted at other institutions, however, faculty can opt out of the policy or delay the appearance of an open-access version of their work.
That aspect of the policy is controversial. In a 2 August blog post titled ‘Let’s not get too excited about the new UC open access policy’, UC Berkeley biologist Michael Eisen, a co-founder of the open-access Public Library of Science journals, describes the policy as “completely toothless”.