Have we talked about the legislation and rules surrounding OA and my university recently? I’ve had those conversations elsewhere but not here, as memory serves.

If you’d like a quick primer on current OA legislation and don’t mind a little self promotion, I’d suggest starting with the article that I wrote with Dorothea Salo for College and Research Libraries News published in September.

My research falls potentially under five levels of rules and requirements insofar as open access may be concerned: federal, state, university, campus, and college. And all of that will come with obligations prior to any of my own personal requirements and demands and certainly does not yet consider anywhere that I may be publishing.

Federally, things are pretty easy for me.  I don’t get federal funding from anyone at present–a goal for the future–and so I’m not under the NIH Public Access Policy or any of the soon to be forthcoming mandates out of the OSTP and other federal agencies.  That said, I still keep an eye on the rules because I work with a lot of people who do get that funding and who are trying to stay compliant. Knowing what they’re having to do and duplicating it (e.g. writing data management plans) even when I’m not required helps me to understand what they are doing.

On a state level, recently we’ve had the “Biss Bill” or SB1900.  Note that the preceding link is not actually what passed and became law, it is the original wording and that raised a lot of eyebrows.  What passed and became law in August was Public Act 98-0295.  The short of it is that by January 2015, the public universities in Illinois need to have a report from a task force that looks at the aspects of open access and improving access by the public to the research generated on our campuses.

Our task force has been formed and my Dean is a member. The task force will be at the university level.  Whatever they come up with in the next year, that will be the next layer that I have to follow. I think they’re looking at what UC passed earlier this year. It should spawn some interesting conversations.

There’s nothing separate currently being done at the campus level.  It’s possible that something else could happen; I’m on a campus level committee for data management that could lead to a couple of local tools that wouldn’t be university wide so there will be procedures to follow there.

And finally there is my college.  I’ve pointed to it before but it’s worth noting again that the faculty of the University Library passed an Open Access Mandate in 2011. It’s a Green mandate and has an waiver clause.

Finally, once that’s all said and done, we get to my personal preferences (pretty well known if you’re here) and the requirements of the publishers. My personal preferences point me only to publishers who are most likely to comply with all of these levels above so overall I’m in good shape.  It does get murky though.

One further area that I haven’t touched on is collaboration. Whose laws win?  In the case where you have a funder, this is usually clear, funder’s rules win.  As other research institutions and colleagues begin to have a patchwork of requirements, researchers will need to navigate which repositor(y/ies) a prepub can go in, whether it can go in more than one, whose mandate trumps–if needed; who needs to get a waiver.  That will only compound with the more sites/authors added on.  My policy of Gold OA works for me and, so far, with my research partners, but I have already run into situations where that would have been an issue.

As the laws and mandates keep changing, it’ll be interesting to see how faculty react and adapt and what impact we’ll see more expansively released research to have.