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GW Faculty Open Access Policy

On February 13, 2015, GW's Faculty Senate approved the following open access policy for the university. This policy has been forwarded to the administration and Board of Trustees and will take effect immediately upon their approval.  


Whereas, the Faculty is committed to disseminating the fruits of its research and scholarship as widely as possible; and

Whereas, Federal agencies either already require (as in the case of NIH) or are expected soon to require the results of taxpayer-funded research to be made freely available; and

Whereas, the startling rise in the costs of for-profit scholarly publication over the past decade or more, a trend that shows little signs of diminishing, has put tremendous pressure on the budgets of all higher-education libraries, and has directly limited the ability of GW Libraries to provide as wide a wealth of scholarly resources as the University community now needs, making it necessary for GW to join with other research libraries to develop viable alternatives to for-profit publishing; and

Whereas, the movement toward “open access” publishing has been embraced by many of the most prestigious universities in this country and abroad, and that movement has been growing rapidly; and

Whereas, the so-called “open access” model of publication offers researchers and universities an opportunity to begin to redress that startling rise in costs; and

Whereas, at those institutions that have adopted “open access” policies, the use and frequency of citation of faculty research have risen sharply as a result of the availability of those publications, raising the impact of faculty research and enhancing the institutions’ overall reputation; therefore,

Be it resolved by the Faculty Senate that an “open access” policy be established at GW, as follows: 

1. Each faculty member grants to George Washington University nonexclusive permission to make available his or her scholarly articles and to exercise the copyright in those articles for the purpose of open dissemination. In legal terms, each faculty member grants to GW a nonexclusive, irrevocable, paid-up, worldwide license to exercise any and all right under copyright relating to each of his or her scholarly articles, in any medium, and to authorize others to do the same.

2. The policy will apply to all scholarly articles written while the person is a member of the Faculty except for any articles completed before the adoption of this policy and any articles for which the faculty member entered into an incompatible licensing or assignment agreement before the adoption of this policy.

3. The Provost or Provost’s designate (normally the Vice Provost for Libraries) will waive application of this policy for a particular article upon written notification by the author, who informs GW of the reason.

4. To assist GW in distributing the scholarly articles, as of the date of publication, each faculty member will make available an electronic copy of the article at no charge to GW Libraries in an appropriate format (such as PDF) specified by the University Librarian/Vice Provost.

5. GW Libraries will make the scholarly article available to the public in a permanent and freely accessible repository. The Vice Provost for Libraries, in consultation with the Senate’s Libraries Committee, will be responsible for insuring that compliance with the policy is as convenient for the Faculty as possible, for resolving disputes concerning the interpretation and application of the policy, and for recommending changes to the Faculty.

6. The attached list of FAQs is understood to supplement this resolution.

7. The policy is to take effect immediately upon approval of the Administration and the Board of Trustees. 

8. The policy is to be reviewed by the Faculty Senate after five years.

Adopted (7-0) by the Libraries Committee, Dec. 12, 2014:

Karen Ahlquist, Music
Elise Friedland, Classics
Valentina Harizanov, Mathematics (on leave, Fall 2014)
Beverly Lunsford, Nursing
David McAleavey, English (Chair)
Edward Robinson, Forensic Science
Richard Stott, History
Ayanna Thompson, English

Miriam Galston, Law (Executive Committee Liaison)
Geneva Henry, Vice Provost for Libraries
Anne Linton, Himmelfarb Health Sciences Library
Ann McCorvey, EVPT
Scott Pagel, Burns Law Library
Jerry Wei, SA (Student Representative)


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