January 19, 2022

Boston University Adopts Opt-Out Open Access Policy

From BU Today:

Following the example of 23 of its peers in the Association of American Universities (AAU) and strengthening its commitment to the widest possible online sharing and dissemination of its research and scholarship, Boston University has adopted an Opt-Out Open Access policy for faculty scholarly articles. The policy, which was recommended by the Faculty Council and approved by the University Council, went into effect in mid-February. Under the opt-out policy, deposits into the OpenBU repository of final author manuscripts of peer-reviewed and other scholarly articles would be the default, and open access to the materials a matter of course unless a faculty member opts out by completing a waiver form on a per-article basis. Such waivers would be granted automatically.

“Moving to an ‘opt-out’ policy for archiving our scholarly work is an important statement by the faculty on the importance of the dissemination of our research results for the public good,” University President Robert A. Brown wrote in a recent letter to the faculty. “I hope that we embrace this change and make self-archiving a part of the culture at Boston University.”

In 2009, the University adopted an “opt-in” Open Access Resolution and committed to establishing an institutional repository for archiving material that would be freely available to anyone with access to the internet. Today, that repository, OpenBU, contains over 1,400 scholarly articles. Well over 4,000 scholarly papers are published annually by Boston University faculty, according to Vika Zafrin, institutional repository librarian at Mugar Library.


Judging from the experience of other institutions, the opt-out policy will significantly increase the number of scholarly articles in OpenBU. “We’re here to help the faculty distribute the products of their scholarly research as widely as possible,” says Jack Ammerman, associate university librarian for digital initiatives and open access. He adds that he and Zafrin will assist faculty in navigating any issues, such as copyright, that may be involved with archiving their work on OpenBU. (For information on the new policy, how the repository works, and open access in general, click here).


Some numbers for BU:

  • University-wide expenditures on library materials for fiscal year 2014: $11.5 million.
  • Eighty-five percent of the total, or $9.775 million, goes for periodicals and serials.
  • Of the amount spent on periodicals and serials, 90 percent (or $8.8 million) pays for electronic access.
  • BU subscribes to about 53,000 journals and serials, of which only 5,000 arrive in paper format.

Much More in the Full Text Article

See Also: Faculty at U. of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Likely to Approve Open Access Publishing Policy Next Month (March 21, 2015)

See Also: Penn State Librarians Approve Open Access Policy for Scholarly Work (March 18, 2015)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.