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Institutional Policies

Institutional policies can be voluntary and mandatory.  Voluntary policies request or encourage researchers to make their work Open Access by self-archiving it in the institutional repository: mandatory policies require this. The baseline, voluntary, rate of self-archiving by researchers to make their work Open Access results in around 15-20% of the research literature being Open Access. This baseline value is not much increased in institutions with voluntary policies on Open Access. So, although voluntary policies were initially popular, new institutional policies are now usually mandatory.
Mandatory policies, on the other hand, do bring the high level of self-archiving that provides a university with the increased visibility and impact that Open Access promises. Arthur Sale’s data provide evidence to support this statement (see a summary of Arthur Sale’s findings that evidence this). What is more, researchers themselves do not object to being required to make their work Open Access (see data to support this statement).
The table below summarises existing Open Access policies.

Mandatory policies 

 Institutional  111
 Departmental  28
 Multi-institutional  1
 Funder  47
 Total 187

The growth in mandatory policies has been increasing rapidly, as shown in the graph below which shows their cumulative growth.



The first university-wide mandatory policy was implemented by Professor Tom Cochrane, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Queensland University of Technology in Australia, in 2004. Since then, growing numbers of universities and research funders have followed suit. A list of policies developed by universities, research institutes and research funding agencies is maintained at the University of Southampton. As this is a self-registering service, supplemented by the list owners adding policies that they have discovered serendipitously, this list under-represents the actual number of policies in existence.

Mandatory policies should be coupled with a clear case explaining why the university wishes to collect its research outputs in one place – for internal record-keeping, for research assessment, as a central locus for access to the outputs of any individual, group or department, and so on.  In this way, a mandate becomes a non-controversial part of institutional operations.

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