Aim and goal of the policy
The goal is expressed by article 4 of the Politecnico di Milano Statute and is contained in the first lines of the policy that has just been approved: "The Politecnico di Milano" encourages full and open access to knowledge, promoting the free circulation and widespread diffusion of teaching, cultural and organisational content, even in digital format". The Politecnico di Milano has also signed the 2004 Messina Declaration that acknowledges the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities from October 2003.
Is this the only existing policy?
No. Many universities in both the United States and in Europe (Harvard, MIT, CERN, NIH), adopt this type of policy. For a list of existing policies, see: http://roarmap.eprints.org
Many research funding agencies now require scientific articles coming from public funded research to be published in open access institutional archives in both Italy (e.g. Fondazione Cariplo) and in Europe (e.g. Horizon 2020).
Other research funding bodies have open access policies for results. Some of these policies are published in:
SHERPA's Juliet database of funder policies
BioMed Central's table of funder policies
What does the policy do for scientific authors at the Politecnico di Milano?
The web allows professors and researchers to share their own scientific articles simply and freely. In addition, some research shows that articles made available freely online are the most cited and have a greater impact than the ones that aren't.
In fact, search engine indexing of articles filed in institutional repositories increases the visibility of articles, increasing citational indices.
Recent studies show that searchability of articles on the web has a direct influence on the Impact Factor and the H-Index.
Many professors make their articles available on their own personal pages, but these may cause problems due to the limits of copyright agreements that may be signed with publishers.
This policy allows their articles to be made available legally in open access, and allows the Politecnico di Milano to support these choices via a single institutional archive.
Open access to the university's scientific production, made available via the institutional archive, guarantees and increases external visibility of the Politecnico's scientific activity, and makes the value of said activities immediately clear and assessable both on a qualitative and quantitative level, increasing the institute's image and status.
What can be done to ensure that research work is as widely available as possible?
There are several possibilities for making research as widely available as possible:
- Self-archiving the work in the Politecnico di Milano's research catalogue (U-GOV research catalogue) and providing consent to visibility. It will automatically be placed in the institutional repository Re.Public (Re.Public@polimi) and will be visible to anyone who searches for it;
- Self-archiving the work in one of the existing subject repositories, such as:
- Publishing in an open access journal. The Directory of Open Access Journals shows a list of quality-controlled scientific and academic journals that are freely accessible with full texts in a wide range of subjects.
What needs to be done to align with the policy?
The policy operates automatically to give the Politecnico di Milano a non-exclusive licence for all the academic articles by all the institutional professors and researchers with effect from its activation, 1st October 2014.
The Politecnico di Milano recommends that this policy is communicated to each publisher with which it intends to publish and that an addendum is added to each copyright licence or attribution for academic articles that declares that the agreement is first of all subject to this licence. In this way, by accepting, no publishing rights will be granted that are incompatible with the Politecnico di Milano's priority licence, which authorises open access distribution.
The Politecnico di Milan provides a type of Addendum for this purpose.
Whether the addendum is used or not, the licence to the Politecnico di Milano will continue to have effect. A standard letter will also be prepared, that will inform publishers about the existence of an institutional mandate that provides for the granting of a non-exclusive user licence to the university. The university is preparing an official letter to send to all the larger publishing companies with which it deals.
What happens if the publisher of a journal refuses to publish an article because prior consent has been given to the Politecnico to submit to this policy?
There are several possibilities.
- One is to try and convince the publisher that it should accept the Politecnico di Milano non-exclusive licence, so that it can publish the article.
- Another option is to look for a different publisher.
- A third possibility is that of consulting the Polimi work group about open access to scientific research set up by the university policy on which measures to take in order to respond to the publishing company's specific concerns.
- A fourth choice is to obtain an exemption for the article, provided for as part of the policy (see below in the section "waiving - obtaining an exemption").
When, where and how is a document filed in order to adhere to this policy?
The data entry point is still U-GOV Research Catalogue. The U-Gov form allows attachments to publications to be entered. The files are ALWAYS IN U-GOV attachments, which then transit automatically onto Re.Public.
The Politecnico di Milano provides that, as of 1st October 2014, each researcher must enter:
- the product metadata, which will always be visible in open access in Re.Public;
- the digital copy of the product in the version used for internal and national evaluation, which will remain in a reserved access area;
- the digital copy of the product in the version allowed by the publisher for open access diffusion, that will be made available to the public free of charge in Re.Public.
According to what is established in the university Open Access policy: "The Author proceeds directly, or with the help of the work group, with self-archiving the permitted editorial version in the institutional archive, via the research registry, favouring the final refereed version in the institutional archive, with all basic metadata and linked to the context it belongs to".
To fill out the fields regarding the attachments in U-GOV, refer to the following definitions and indications:
Pre-print or pre-refereed
A scientific article that has not yet been approved by a peer review board (pre-refereeing).
Enter any other type of non-published document in this type, including its parts (e.g. the chapter of a book).
Relations with Publishers. Not all publishers accept publishing a document whose pre-print version has already been made public on the internet. Check the relevant publisher's policies.
A published scientific article, or one that has already been accepted for publication by a publisher after being subjected to the peer review process (post-refereeing). Enter any type of published document in this type, including its parts (e.g. the chapter of a book).
Relations with Publishers. The publisher can indicate the conditions and which version of the post-print can be filed in a repository and be made public in the internet:
- Author's Accepted Manuscript (AAM) or Draft: non-publishable version of the article, also known as Manuscript or Author version (without page numbering and graphic layout as it appears in the magazine) and indicated as the final refereed version in the policy text.
- Publishable Version: a copy of the published version comes under this definition, also known as Author copy.
Check the publisher's policies, remembering that almost all the publishers allow only the draft version to be filed.
Summary of the conceptual content of a document.
Other attached material
Indices, tables, graphs, images, preliminary parts of the text (front cover, frontispiece, contents and bibliography) and any other type of document or type of document that does not come under the definitions above.
For definition of visibility of the attachment in U-GOV
- Not public
Choose the option Not Public when you intend to make the attachment on Re.Public not visible.
The attachment will be visible on U-GOV for the author and co-authors of the product, for the system administrators and the members of the evaluation committee.
Choose the option Pubblic when you intend to make the attachment on Re.Public visible. The Public option implies the author's choice regarding the copyright policies (and relative restrictions) that the attachment is subject to.
Creative Commons (CC) Licences
The licence that is granted to the Politecnico di Milano non-exclusively corresponds to the Licence: Attribution- CC BY (Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0).
The Creative Commons licences respond to the "Some reserved rights" model where the author chooses to grant some rights to the public, in order to increase usability of its own intellectual work. To publish under the CC licence, the author must have maintained the rights for himself, and not have transferred them to the publisher, or must have obtained express authorisation from the publisher for publication under CC licence.
There are 6 types of Creative Commons licences:
- Attribution - CC BY: allows others to copy, distribute, show and carry out copies of the work and other works deriving from it, on the condition that the indications of who the author of the work are maintained.
- Attribution - NonCommercial: CC BY - NC: allows others to copy, distribute, show and carry out copies of the work and other works deriving from it, only for non commercial purposes.
- Attribution - Share Alike: CC BY - SA: allows other to only distribute works deriving from the work with an identical or compatible licence to the one granted with the original work.
- Attribution - No Derivative Works: CC BY-ND: allows both commercial and non commercial redistribution of the work, until it is transmitted in full and unchanged, giving credit to the author.
- Attribution - NonCommercial/ Share Alike: CC BY-NC-SA: allows third parties to modify, redistribute, optimise and use a work as a non-commercial basis, to the point that credit and licence is given to their new creations via the same terms.
- Attribution - NonCommercial/ No Derivative Works: CC BY-NC-ND: this is the most restrictive of our six main licences, allowing third parties to download the works only and share them with others, so that the right credit is given, but they cannot change them in any way or use them commercially.
What type of documents is the policy applied to?
The policy is applied to scientific articles. By using the definition of the Budapest Open Access Initiative, the scientific articles are scientific contributions that describe the results of the research and that the authors publish for the dissemination of scientific knowledge, without any plan for payment. These articles are generally published in magazines or conference papers after being reviewed by a scientific committee.
Many written products are not included in this specific notion of scientific article, such as books, advertising articles, commercial articles, narrative and poetry, encyclopaedia entries, short-lived writings, pamphlets, video conferences or other works protected by copyright; the Open Access policy has not been devised to be aimed at this type of works.
Which version of the publication is entered in the institutional archive?
For articles published in Open Access Magazine: the final post print publishable version of the article produced by the author, with all the modification made using the review process and with formatting by the publisher.
In the case of the article published in a traditional subscription journal: the digital version allowed by the publisher (post print Draft or publishable post print version).
It is important to remember to always check the publisher's policy on self-archiving.
Does the policy also apply to articles that have already been published?
No. The policy is not applied to articles filed before entry into force of the policy (1st October 2014) or articles for which agreements have been stipulated with the publisher that are not compatible with the policy in the period prior to adopting the policy itself.
The policy is not applied to articles written after leaving the Politecnico di Milano.
Is the policy applied to articles with several authors?
Yes. Each co-author of an article maintains the copyright of the article and, individually, has the authority to grant a non-exclusive licence to the Politecnico. In the event that only one of them asks to waive the policy, the article will remain reserved and with closed access.
Which is the procedure for inserting attachments in UGOV Ricerca?
he University open access work group has written a document called Inserting attachments in UGOV Ricerca (italian version). Here you can read in a schematic way the steps of inserting attachments in UGOV Ricerca, in order to publish in OA on the University repository Re.Public.
For more information you can contact the group writing to firstname.lastname@example.org
How can I request to waive transfer of the licence to the Politecnico?
To waive, an email or written notification must be sent to the university work group's email address email@example.com containing the following information
- Name of the author from Politecnico di Milano
- Title of the article
- Site of publication
- Reasons for waiving
- Is the article associated with public funding that requires Open Access?
What happens if no waiver is requested but the exclusive right is given to a publisher, mistakenly signing a publishing contract that is in conflict with this policy?
The Politecnico di Milano licence would still be valid, as it would have been granted (via this policy) before signing the publisher's contract. If the publisher maintains that the situation cannot be reviewed, the following options are available:
- consult the work group to identify possible solutions
- asking for waiver of a certain article
What happens if no waiver is requested but the exclusive right is given to a publisher, mistakenly signing a publishing contract that is in conflict with this policy?
Depending on the Italian legislation on copyright, each author of an article jointly written with others is the owner of the copyright. Each co-author can decide whether to request waiver to the policy for a certain article.
In the event that only one of them asks to waive the policy, the article will remain reserved and with closed access.
Why does the policy include the possibility of waiver? Does this not risk undermining the value?
The possibility of waiver means addressing the authors' concerns that they do not wish to compromise their possibility of working with some publishers and the desire to observe the policies of a given institution, even if in contrast with this policy.
However, even with the opt-out option, the policy modifies the standard setting in managing copyright.
The fact is that the Politecnico di Milano has the right to openly share the work of its own professors and researchers and can extend copyright to their use too.
What are the rights of scientific publication authors?
The spreading of institutional archives and OA publishing has caused most commercial publishers to draw up policies that allow articles to be stored on open access platforms.
A table of licences for archiving in institutional repositories can be found on the website SHERPA/RoMEO
Depending on the policies adopted, the publishers are classified as:
- Green - allow pre print and post print archiving
- Blue - allow post print archiving
- Yellow - allow pre print archiving
- White - do not allow any archiving
To guaranteed user rights of the publications, including the right to store in an institutional archive, it is good practice for the author to request the inclusion of a specific clause when signing the publication contract. This clause is called Addendum. Pre-prepared outlines of addenda have been drawn up by Science Commons and foresee maintaining reproduction, dissemination and communication, re-use and user rights for teaching and research purposes of the work.
The Creative Commons (CC) licences allow the author to define the rights that the author reserves with the document users, according to the "some rights reserved" model. In the world of digital communication, where conference interventions, course texts and non-published papers are diffused and shared in real time on the web, CC licences allow the author to define the usage modes, the context and the use of his work.
The Politecnico has a pre-defined Addendum that can be downloaded from the link: http://www.sparc.arl.org/resources/authors/addendum-2007
Is the Politecnico di Milano commandeering the rights of its scientific authors' work?
No. This policy grants specific non-exclusive authorisations to the Politecnico di Milano. Those who publish maintain ownership and full control of the copyright over their own papers, subject only to prior authorisation.
The professors and researchers can exercise copyright in any way they believe necessary, including transfer of rights to a publisher, if they so desire. However, the Politecnico di Milano continues to be the licence holder and the holder of the right to distribute the article via its repository.
To avoid conflict with the publisher with which there is an intention to publish, the publisher's policy on self-archiving and compatibility of the publishing contract with the non-exclusive licence granted to the Politecnico di Milano by the university's Open Access policy should always be checked on the Sherpa/Romeo website, informing the publisher beforehand if there is an institutional mandate in place, to protect oneself in the event that it is a publishing company that does not support Open Access.
Furthermore, if the work is the result of publicly-funded research, or a project funded by the new European research funding plan Horizon2020, pursuant to the Decree Law dated 8 August 2013 finally approved by Parliament on 3rd October 2013 converted with amendments by the Law no 112 dated 7th October 2013, and based on the participation rules drawn up by the European Commission, each article must be published in Open Access and made freely accessible.
What happens if any legal problems arise when this policy is being observed?
The university OA work group comprises members of technical staff who are specialised in the library area, research enhancement service and professors, with technical skills in managing intellectual property rights. The group can provide help to support the policy and provide help to professors and researchers in difficulty.
How can an article be used that has both a publishing contract and a Creative Commons licence?
Some articles in the collection of the Politecnico di Milano's open access articles appear with a publishing copyright contract (e.g. "c2009 American Physical Society") in addition to a Creative Commons licence. The publishing contract may stated that copyright for the article has been transferred from the author to the publisher, or that the author has used a model supplied by the publishing company while waiting for copyright to be transferred, but this contract must be integrated with Addendum provisions or similar provisions that avoid conflicts with the CC licence in the Politecnico's favour and the publishing contract.
If an article appears with a CC licence, it is this licence that determines how the article can be used. The Politecnico di Milano has chosen to assign one of the standard Creative Commons licences to articles under its Open Access policy: Attribution (CC BY). This particular type of CC BY licence means that the author is free to share (copy, distribute and transmit the work) and modify (adapt) the works in the following conditions:
Attribution - CC BY: allows others to copy, distribute, show and carry out copies of the work and other works deriving from it, on the condition that the indications of who the author of the work are maintained.
Attribution - NonCommercial: CC BY - NC: allows others to copy, distribute, show and carry out copies of the work and other works deriving from it, only for non commercial purposes.
Attribution - Share Alike: CC BY - SA: allows other to only distribute works deriving from the work with an identical or compatible licence to the one granted with the original work.
Attribution - No Derivative Works: CC BY-ND: allows both commercial and non commercial redistribution of the work, until it is transmitted in full and unchanged, giving credit to the author.
Attribution - NonCommercial/ Share Alike: CC BY-NC-SA: allows third parties to modify, redistribute, optimise and use a work as a non-commercial basis, to the point that credit and licence is given to their new creations via the same terms.
Attribution - NonCommercial/ No Derivative Works: CC BY-NC-ND: this is the most restrictive of our six main licences, allowing third parties to download the works only and share them with others, so that the right credit is given, but they cannot b changed in any way or used commercially.
More information on the licence: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 international (CC BY 4.0)
What will the Politecnico di Milano do with the articles?
The Politecnico di Milano will continue to manage its open access repository Re.Public in order to make scientific articles produced by the university available and store them, all of which will have been made accessible in compliance with the policy.
The repository is stored and made accessible at the harvesting of research services such as OAIster and Google Scholar.
The repository is an installation of the open source software DSpace and, thanks to OAI-PMH technology, it will be the point on the web where the university's research products will be disseminated, so that they can be indexed by general or special search engines and by IT tools that can simplify search processes such as Primo, a discovery tool purchased by the Politecnico di Milano.
The Politecnico di Milano can also allow others to distribute the content, on the condition that the articles are not sold for profit. For example, professors at other institutions could be given permission to make copies for free distribution to their own students. However, the Politecnico di Milano does not have and cannot grant others the right to sell articles for profit or to sell a book containing articles for profit.
Can the articles be used to supply research or other services from companies such as Google?
Yes, the Politecnico di Milano licence allows other commercial and non profit institutions to use the articles to supply research and other services, as long as the articles are not sold in exchange for royalties. This is also true if the services generate advertising revenue or if the companies must be paid for the services. For example, the licence allows the Politecnico di Milano to authorise the articles to be gathered or indexed by research services (such as Google Scholar), or retrieved by IT tools that can simplify search processes (like Primo), so that are found more easily and used to provide other added value services, as long as the articles are not sold for profit.
The Politecnico di Milano could also authorise the articles to be used in a commercial service that provides information taken from articles, such as, for example, bibliographic data or lists of citations, but cannot authorise use of the full text. Any agreements would be consistent with the objectives of open access, guaranteeing wide visibility and availability of academic articles.
Who will control implementation of the policy?
The university's OA work group set up by the policy itself. Its members will deal with development of processes and procedures, supporting the university's participation and providing reports on how the implementation plan is developed.
The work group will also have the task of monitoring the policy's progress and of presenting a report on the matter by 31st December each year.
Will this policy damage journals, scientific societies, small publishers or refereeing?
There is no empirical proof that journals are closed, even when all articles are freely available. The main companies in the field of physics have no impact on their publishing programmes, in spite of the fact that for more than 10 years, almost all the literature on High Energy Physics written in the same period has been made available in an open access archive (arXiv). Journals will still be necessary for their added value services, such as logistic peer review, copy editing, and website maintenance.
How will this policy influence other universities, in particular the small ones?
Many universities are moving towards Open Access. We expect similar polices will be adopted by several universities, the general climate for scientific communication will improve, to the benefit of all high education institutes. Smaller universities may not have the resources to build their own repositories, but shared repositories are beginning to be available for such cases.
What does the Politecnico di Milano expect from this Policy?
The policy should increase the impact of Politecnico di Milano's research, making it more widely available and visible. Studies show a great advantage of citation for open access articles, that go from 45% to over 500%, but restrictive publishing business models limit widespread sharing via heavy conditions in contracts with university libraries and individual authors. For example, many editors ban authors from publishing their work openly on the internet, and publishers commonly "rent" access to their content, placing accessibility at risk after the cancellation of subscriptions. Execution of a systematic search and advanced indexing are forbidden in almost all contracts.
The policy will give Politecnico di Milano the means to negotiate better conditions with publishers, a necessary effort in a context of market consolidation: the five largest journal publishers now hold most than half the total market revenue, and over the last 15 years, the price of scientific journals has increased three times faster than the Consumer Price Index.
How is the granting of a non-exclusive licence to Politecnico di Milano compatible with making it able to exercise all copyright rights?
The legal framework of copyright is that it is impossible to give away what you don't have. The Politecnico has been granted non-exclusive rights; therefore it will not, in turn, but able to grant exclusive rights.
The Politecnico di Milano, however, will be able to exercise all the other user rights protected by copyright, including reproduction, visualisation, distribution and the possibility of creating works coming from articles that come under the policy, on the condition that these activities are not for the purpose of making profit.
Why is this an automatic requisite? Why not suggest that each author must individually preserve a licence for open access distribution?
Experience has shown that the "opt in" systems have little effect on the authors' conduct. For example, in the United States, before the American Congress had made it a necessary requisites, participation in the NIH public access policy was optional. During that period, the level of compliance was only 4%. Experience in many sectors showed that the "opt out" systems manage to obtain much higher degrees of participation compared to "opt in" systems.
The individual authors will benefit from a single, organic policy as it makes it possible for the Politecnico di Milano to work with publishers on the authors' behalf, simplify procedures and increase access.
Why does the policy not offer an embargo period before publishing the articles, so that the Politecnico di Milano version does not appear until after official publication?
Different subjects have very different lifetimes for journal articles, which makes it very difficult to include a certain period of time in a global policy. However, "opt out" exists for authors whose publishers request a delay prior to making articles available.