New Systemwide Policy Makes UC Research Accessible to Public

The University of California adopted a new Open Access Policy in October that will allow any scholarly articles published by UC employees to be accessed worldwide for free.

This new policy builds on the existing methods within the UC system to make scholarly research more accessible to the public. The policy does not limit the ability of students and UC employees to publish in academic journals, but rather allows others to access their work in a multitude of ways.

The Academic Personal and Programs Office released a statement on Oct. 23 explaining how the new system will not increase publishing costs for authors.

“This Open Access Policy allows University Authors to maintain legal control over their research articles while making their work freely and widely available to the public,” the press release states. “The policy does not require University Authors to publish in open access journals, or to pay fees or charges to publish; it commits the University and University Authors to deposit a version of each article in a digital repository.”

Christopher Kelty, professor of information studies and anthropology at UCLA and chair of the Presidential Open Access Policy Task Force, told the UCSD Guardian that this policy is different from previous ones because it opens up publishing rights to a more diverse group of students and employees.

“This policy extends open access to all the people in the UC system who are not members of the Academic Senate, expanding the policy to close to 30,000 additional UC researchers and academics including adjuncts, lecturers, post-docs, clinical researchers, etc., who also write scholarly articles,” Kelty told the Guardian. “The presidential policy extends the policy that the Academic Senate passed in June of 2013 to all those people, giving them the right to make their work openly and freely available.”

Under this policy, the University of California can publish any and all academic works produced at any of the campuses regardless of whether a publisher or journal decides to publish the articles. This will allow students and faculty to publish a single article on various platforms. Previously, publishing companies had sole control over distribution of the academic works.

Kelty explained that because UCSD is a campus very involved in research, the OA policy will be very useful to employees and students.

“It will affect UCSD as much as all the other campuses, though because [San Diego] has strong health sciences and a diverse research profile generally, it will be something that many people at UC San Diego can take advantage of,” Kelty said. “If there are a lot of academic appointees beyond the regular tenure-track faculty, then the presidential policy will have a significant impact for them as well.”

Eleanor Roosevelt College senior and psychology major Humna Gardezi said she foresees this policy facilitating the research process for students.

“As someone who is interested in conducting research in the future, I am very happy to see that this policy is making it easier for students to publish their work on such a wide platform,” Gardezi said. “As a student who has spent hours on research papers, knowing that more information is being made available with fewer restrictions is very gratifying and will help out a countless number of people.”