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Request for Comments & Questions: *Draft* AYS Open Access Policy

Published onOct 02, 2020
Request for Comments & Questions: *Draft* AYS Open Access Policy

This Request for Comments & Questions is for the *Draft* AYS Open Access Policy. Below you will see three sections. The first provides background information. The second has the working policy. The third is a Q&A based on the Virtual Town Hall with Peter Suber.

There are three ways to provide comments and questions:

  1. At the bottom of this page, you can post a discussion.

  2. You can highlight text and then click the annotation icon.

  3. Email Scott Jacques ( or Sally Wallace (

For options 1 and 2, you will need to create a PubPub account; it can be anonymous. We prefer people to provide comments and questions on this page so that everyone can see them.

Please submit any comments or questions no later than October 16, 2020. After, they will be publicly addressed by an ad hoc AYS Open Access Policy Committee and the Dean’s Office.


As part of AYS’s Digital Landscape Initiative, an ad hoc committee was convened to create an AYS Open Access (OA) Policy. This work began during the fall semester of 2019 and continues to this day. AYS is not unique in its pursuit of an OA policy. Currently over 75 schools and universities have rights-retention OA policies. The best policy is one that retains rights with the option of an author waiver (Suber 2012). AYS’s OA policy will be that type, drawing on the Harvard Model Open Access Policy. To learn more about OA policies, read SPARC’s “Responses to Common Misperceptions about Campus Open-Access Policies” and Suber’s “Good Practices for University Open-Access Policies.” To share your thoughts, you can create a “Comment” (i.e., “Post Discussion”) at the bottom of this page; or, email Scott Jacques at

Draft AYS Open Access Policy

The faculty and staff (FS) of the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies (AYS), Georgia State University (GSU), are committed to disseminating their research and scholarship as widely as possible. In keeping with that commitment, the FS adopts the following policy: 

  • Each FS member grants to GSU permission to make available their scholarly writings and to exercise the copyright in those writings. More specifically, each FS member grants to AYS a nonexclusive, irrevocable, worldwide license to exercise any and all rights under copyright relating to each of their scholarly writings, in any medium, provided that the writings are not sold for a profit, and to authorize others to do the same.

  • The policy applies to all scholarly writings authored or co-authored while the person is a member of the FS, except for any writings completed before the adoption of this policy and any writings for which the FS member entered into an incompatible licensing or assignment agreement before the adoption of this policy.

  • The Dean or Dean’s designate will waive application of the license for a particular scholarly writing or delay access for a specified period of time (i.e., embargo) upon express direction by an FS member. 

  • The Dean’s Office may make the scholarly writing available to the public in an open access repository. 

  • The Dean’s Office will be responsible for interpreting this policy, resolving disputes concerning its interpretation and application, and recommending changes to the FS from time to time. The policy will be reviewed after three years and a report presented to the FS. 


How do I benefit from the policy? Publishers’ copyright agreements limit when and where you can disseminate your “postprints,” i.e. the final version accepted by an outlet. The policy solves this problem. By preempting those agreements, it enables you to instantly share your postprints. Also, it enables you to republish works in additional outlets, such as first in a journal and then in an edited volume.

Why would I want to share my preprints? Publishers paywall our ideas. Few individuals are willing to pay out of pocket; institutions are cutting back on subscriptions, the cost of which increase by about 2% per year. This business model is good for publishers, but bad for you. It limits your readership and impact, especially among policymakers, practitioners, and laypersons. By sharing your preprints, you ensure that anyone can freely read your work and put it to use. 

Does the policy affect where I choose to publish? The policy does not restrict where you publish. Actually, it expands where you can publish. This is because, as mentioned above, it enables you to republish works in multiple outlets (in appropriate ways, of course).

Do I have to share or republish my postprints? The proposed AYS policy enables you to do those things, but does not require you to do so.  

If I want to share or republish my postprints, do I have to check the publishers’ copyright agreements? Because the policy preempts the publishers’ copyright agreements, it frees you from that responsibility. Without the policy, it is your duty to know and abide by those agreements.  

What if I do not want AYS to have a license for a particular work? At any time, for any reason, you can request a waiver from the Dean’s Office. This option is part of the policy.

Will a waiver always be granted? Yes, the waiver will always be granted. This is stated in the policy.

Have policies like these ever stopped someone’s work from being published in a particular outlet? No, to the best of our and Peter Suber’s knowledge. 

Have any other universities adopted this type of policy? Yes. Emory adopted it in 2011. Georgia Tech did so in 2012.

Deborah Whitley: How will this impact P&T? Sometimes junior faculty are encouraged to publish in “Tier 1” journals in their field. This open access policy may restrict them from publishing their work in such journals if journal editors must agree to this policy.
A Question: What is the plan for input from students and staff? Will they be allowed to vote on his policy as well?
Scott Jacques: “Staff” should be changed to “Research associates”
Fred Brooks: What is the problem with making the policy “opt in” rather than applying for a waiver to opt out.?
Fred Brooks: In a free wheeling discussion in our faculty meeting last week; several faculty would strongly prefer an “opt in” policy
Terri Lewinson: With regard to the following: The Dean or Dean’s designate will waive application of the license for a particular scholarly writing or delay access for a specified period of time (i.e., embargo) upon express direction by an FS member.  If embargo is requested, will the FS determine the length of time for the embargo?
Terri Lewinson: The Harvard model only requires final versions of scholarly articles. “The author’s final version—the version after the article has gone through peer review and the revisions responsive thereto and any further copyediting in which the author has participated—is the appropriate version to request for distribution.” Will our draft and working versions of articles be excluded?
Elizabeth Beck: I am concerned that in the town hall we only got information about what is good about OA and there was an offering of a critique.
Elizabeth Beck: We are giving a lot of power to address disputes to a Dean and yet we have next to no voice in the hiring process.
Elizabeth Beck: I talked with one of my publishers today and they were very clear that they would not be able to go forward with a contract if there would be an open access expectation.
Elizabeth Beck: Please define what is meant by scholarly works- If I was asked for a defintition I would include grants, syllabi, data, and more into that category. If that is the case that would potentially create huge ethical problems, which would be even further complicated by the Presidents Executive order on Gender and Race Stereotyping.
Deborah Whitley: What is disturbing about this process is the seemingly lack of control faculty have regarding where our work is disseminated. What if I am open to certain groups/outlets having access to my work, but not other groups?
Kristie Seelman: At what point is it recommended we inform journals/publishers of this college policy when submitting manuscripts to them? For example, in the past, when I’ve tried to negotiate with journals after a paper was accepted about retaining copyright / eliminating embargoes on sharing post-prints, they have refused to budge on their own policies. If we share this type of college policy upfront in a cover letter when first submitting to a journal/publisher, I wouldn’t want this policy to further deter publishers from considering our works in the first place… so I think it’s important for the college to reflect upon these issues upfront.
Dean Dabney: What is the definition of a scholarly writing?
Scott Jacques: Question received via email: I echo the definition question that Dean posted. We also have working papers we post and then replace as they are updated (noting the changes on new versions). Does this account for working papers?
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Dean Dabney: How will AYS identify new publications by an FS member and will they receive notice of a work being added to AYS Open?
Dean Dabney: Will the university provide legal coverage to persons who are subject to litigation by a publisher for their objection to the AYS policy?
Dean Dabney: Can it be stipulated in the policy that all new hires will be explicitly informed of the policy as part of the on-boarding process?
Dean Dabney: Can the policy make clear that co-authors are included without their consent?
Dean Dabney: Will the exclusion of students from the policy mean that theses and dissertations will not be included?