New Penn State open access policy to expand reach of University research

A new policy endorsed by the University Faculty Senate supports University Libraries’ priorities

The University Faculty Senate’s strategic decision to endorse an open access policy at Penn State supports aspects of the University’s strategic plan as well as its land-grant mission.  The benefits of open access research are manyfold, including increased exposure, application and citation rates for researchers’ work; plus public visibility for both taxpayers who may have funded government research grants and other researchers worldwide who may not have access to subscription-based scholarly journals. Credit: CC-BY Danny Kingsley and Sarah BrownAll Rights Reserved.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A new open access policy at Penn State, recently endorsed by the University Faculty Senate, will greatly increase public availability of original, peer-reviewed Penn State scholarly research in support of the University’s land-grant mission.

“The Faculty Senate’s endorsement of an open access policy is a gratifying milestone for us at the University Libraries,” said Karen Estlund, Penn State University Libraries associate dean for technology and digital strategies. “Research libraries across the world, including Penn State, have been leading the charge to provide free, unobstructed online access to original research for more than two decades.

“We support the views of the Open Access movement, which assert that publicly funded research should be made available to the public,” Estlund added. “Open research from higher-education institutions like Penn State not only helps to disrupt the cost-inflation crisis of academic journal subscriptions but also supports the affordability of higher education and increases the impact of that research around the world.”

Under the policy — expected to be implemented by Penn State President Eric Barron in the fall 2019 semester — Penn State researchers will remain free to submit their work to scholarly journals of their choice. The policy also will not transfer copyright ownership of scholarly works to Penn State. In addition, a waiver option in the policy guarantees that researchers are able to opt out of open access for each one of their publications on an individual-article basis; these waivers would be automatically approved.

Progress toward the new policy began in earnest in April 2015, when the Faculty Senate passed an open access resolution. In 2017, Provost Nick Jones and Dean of University Libraries and Scholarly Communications Barbara I. Dewey charged a Penn State Open Access Task Force to “investigate and recommend opportunities to promote open and free access to Penn State scholarly output to maximize impact and availability of research and establish Penn State as a leader in the international Open Access movement.” The charge included drafting an open access policy for the University and recommending steps to implement the policy.

“The Task Force is working to ensure that the open access policy places minimal burden on faculty,” said Greg Madden, senior advisor for research computing and cyberinfrastructure and co-chair with Estlund of the Open Access Task Force. “It is one of our top priorities to implement a system that does not lead to any difficulty by Penn State faculty in placing articles into journals, regardless of the journals’ OA policies. We will be working hard to create processes that are streamlined with current workflows and transparent for all parties involved.”

The task force also was charged to recommend a “suite of strategies to advance the Open at Penn State Initiative,” which have been implemented. Open at Penn State, found at, supports University researchers in addressing and advancing affordable, discoverable and equitable access to information, scholarly research, educational resources and research data within the University community.

Provided by the University Libraries in collaboration with University and consortial partners, Open at Penn State includes Open Access, Open Publishing, Open Educational Resources, Open Source and Penn State University Press Unlocked, the Press’ open access initiative. Details about each of these initiatives are available on the Open at Penn State website

Open at Penn State, found at <a href=""></a&gt;, is a suite of open initiatives — Open Access, Open Educational Resources, Open Publishing, PSU Press Unlocked, Open Research and Open Source — now offered by Penn State University Libraries and its collaborative partners across the University. Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

Last Updated May 02, 2019