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Open Access Research Policy: Athabasca University

Open Access Research Policy

Department Policy Number

Effective Date

November 15, 2006


Provision of access to information and knowledge is a defining feature of both the classical and modern university. High subscription costs charged by some journal owners are causing drastic cuts in the number of subscriptions to scholarly journals available to academics either personally or in libraries. This restriction on access is of concern to both professional scholars and the general public. At the same time, the Web has opened up access to information at a very low cost. These two factors create an opportunity for Athabasca University (AU) to make a public commitment to Open Access research publishing.

Publishing in an Open Access journal has always been a right at AU; however, making one's research products available to the general public should be equally encouraged, especially in an 'open' university.


Open Access

Adapted from the 2003 Berlin Declaration found at Open access contributions must satisfy at least one of two conditions:


Distributing in an open access publication in which the author(s) and right holder(s) of such contributions grant(s) to all users a free, irrevocable, worldwide, right of access to, and a license to copy, use, distribute, transmit and display the work publicly and to make and distribute derivative works, in any digital medium for any responsible purpose, subject to proper attribution of authorship (community standards, will continue to provide the mechanism for enforcement of proper attribution and responsible use of the published work, as they do now).


A complete version of the work and all supplemental materials, in an appropriate standard electronic format is deposited (and thus published) in at least one online repository using technical standards (such as the Open Archive definitions) that is supported and maintained by an academic institution, scholarly society, government agency, or other well-established organization that seeks to enable open access, unrestricted distribution, inter operability, and long-term archiving.

Digital Repository

A "collection capturing and preserving the intellectual output of a single or multi-university community" (The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition [SPARC] found at

Self Archiving

The process of making documents, where the copyright may belong to another person or organization but that are made publicly accessible, into a digital repository.


AU requests that faculty, academic and professional staff deposit an electronic copy of any published research articles (as elsewhere accepted for publication) in an AU repository. The contract with the publisher determines whether the article is restricted (lives in the repository as a record of the AU's research but is not accessible online by searchers) or open access (accessible online by searchers).



AU faculty, academic and professional staff are encouraged to contact the copyright holder and request permission to publish the research concurrently in an open-access format.


Nothing in this policy shall contradict the AUGC - AUFA Terms and Conditions.


The type of repository mentioned in the policy shall conform to international standards for Open Access. See Budapest Open Access Initiative found at


Other published or unpublished creative works are welcome for inclusion.


Academic and professional staff are encouraged to post previously-published works.




Procedures will be determined in consultation with the AU Library.

Approved by

Athabasca University Academic Council, Motion No. 199-6, November 15, 2006

Amended Date/Motion No.

Related References, Policies, and Procedures

This policy should be reviewed every two years.

Applicable Legislation/Regulation

Responsible Position/Department

Office of Research Services


Office of the University Secretariat, March 2007