Dear Faculty at UCSF,

Congratulations on passing a vote that commits you to Open Access. It looks as though this process came after much discussion and I hope this is a conscious and active shift towards what for many researchers is a passive consideration.  It’s now been 24 hours, so naturally there are people coming out with support and criticism of what you have done.  As a potential collaborator, maybe someday colleague, and not-yet-tenured person, I’m hoping to pick your brains.  My library has a similar policy in place for the library faculty and these are some areas I’m curious about…

  • What changes are coming with the tenure process to reflect this commitment?  Will there be recognition that authors may have chosen OA over a Big Name? Does the administration openly support this? Are there any altmetric considerations of impact being considered?
  • What mechanisms are going into place to share when exemptions are asked for/given?  This is not to shame the authors. Okay, maybe a little shame, but more, I’d like to know which publishers and which journals are refusing to work with authors who have committed to OA.
  • Do you have a support system in place for when an author gets backed up against the “you must sign over all of your rights” and they pull an article? Speaking as one who has done it,  this is gut-wrenchingly hard to walk away from these things, particularly if you are a non-tenured faculty member.
  • Are you looking at the journals where you are editing and peer reviewing for OA friendly policies? Can you start that conversation with the editorial board? If they’re unwilling to budge, is there somewhere else that you could lend your prestige and expertise?
  • How are you helping your fellow faculty identify OA friendly publishers, journals, and calls for publication?
  • How are you talking to your students about this? While the conversation is currently primarily among the faculty and definitely needs to be happening there, it also needs to be in the classroom as well.  Please tell your students about what you’ve done and why.  As your students are publishing, can you help them find OA options?
  • Tell job candidates about this. Ideally they will have done their research on the institution and will already know this, but with a limited number of hours in the day, they may need a reminder.

I hope over time you’ll share more about how this is going! Mandates and proclamations come and go. They’re great, right up until we shelve them with the strategic plans that are gathering dust.  While part of my Tuesday OA Tenure blogs are about documenting for myself what I’m doing towards tenure, it’s also a way to force myself into accountability. People read, people notice, people watch.  Hopefully, people mimic.

As the news stories emerge, I hope to find out the best practices that you are applying and figuring out what I can borrow to share with my colleagues.

And again, congratulations on a big step forward!