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New whitepaper offers ten simple steps to maximizing campus-wide research impact

For immediate release
April 28, 2008

For more information, contact:

Jennifer McLennan, SPARC
(202) 296-2296 ext. 121
jennifer [at] arl [dot] org

Kaitlin Thaney, Science Commons
(617) 395-7413
kaitlin [at] creativecommons [dot] org

Washington, DC and Cambridge, MA - April 28, 2008 - SPARC and Science Commons have released "Open Doors and Open Minds: What faculty authors can do to ensure open access to their work through their institution." The new white paper assists institutions in adopting policies that ensure the widest practical exposure for scholarly works produced, such as that adopted by the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences in February.

Co-authored by SPARC and Science Commons, "Open Doors and Open Minds" is a how-to guide for faculty, administrators, and advocates to formulate an institutional license grant that delivers open access to campus research outputs.  Some institutions are considering such policies as they work to comply with new requirements for public access from national agencies including the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

The white paper details the motivations behind the Harvard policy, offers a concise explanation of U.S. Copyright Law and how it relates to the scholarly publishing process, and makes specific suggestions for faculty and advocates to pursue a campus-wide policy. The guide offers a detailed plan of action, a series of institutional license options, and a 10-point list of actions for realizing a policy and adopting the right University License to meet the institution's particular needs.

Three different licenses, which are granted to the institution by the author, are offered for consideration:

Case 1. Broad license grant - a non-exclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide license to exercise all of the author's exclusive rights under copyright, including the right to grant sublicenses.

Case 2. Intermediate license grant - involves license restrictions that modify the scope of the license grant in Case 1.

Case 3. Narrow license grant - grants to the university only the right to deposit the article in the institutional repository, and to make it available through the repository Web site.

The paper also recommends mandatory deposit of articles in institutional repositories. Mandatory deposit may be adopted regardless of the licensing policy chosen.

"The Harvard policy is a recognition that the Internet creates opportunities to radically accelerate distribution and impact for scholarly works," said John Wilbanks, Vice President of Science at Creative Commons. "As more universities move to increase the reach of their faculty's work, it's important that faculty members have a clear understanding of the key issues involved and the steps along the path that Harvard has trail-blazed. This paper is a foundational document for universities and faculty to use as they move into the new world of Open Access scholarly works."

"Everyone - faculty, librarians, administrators, and other advocates - has the power to initiate change at their institution," said Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC. "By championing an open access policy, helping to inform your colleagues about the benefits of a policy change, and identifying the best license and most effective path to adoption, it can be done."

"Open Doors and Open Minds" and the 10-step action list is openly available on the SPARC Web site at

For further details on the sponsors' advocacy and author rights programs, please visit SPARC at and Science Commons at


Science Commons

Science Commons designs strategies and tools for faster, more efficient web-enabled scientific research. Science Commons identifies unnecessary barriers to research, crafts policy guidelines and legal agreements to lower those barriers, and develops technology to make research data and materials easier to find and use. The goal of Science Commons is to speed the translation of data into discovery and to unlock the value of research so more people can benefit from the work scientists are doing. Science Commons is online at


SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), with SPARC Europe and SPARC Japan, is an international alliance of more than 800 academic and research libraries working to create a more open system of scholarly communication. SPARC's advocacy, educational and publisher partnership programs encourage expanded dissemination of research. SPARC is on the Web at