Sample Open Access Policy

Following is one version of a policy previously suggested by a group of faculty at UW-Madison. It was loosely based on the University of Minnesota Open Access Policy and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Open Access Policy. This sample policy is provided here to give an idea of the kinds of information included in such a policy and some of the options available within such a policy:


In the spirit of the Wisconsin Idea (the principle that “the university should improve people’s lives beyond the classroom”), researchers should seek to ensure the broad accessibility of their scholarly articles, which are the primary products of their research efforts. Towards this aim, and also to simplify authors’ retention of distribution rights and aid preservation, the University of Wisconsin–Madison [has adopted] the following Open Access Policy:

Each faculty member grants to the University of Wisconsin–Madison a shared, limited right to make available his or her scholarly articles and corresponding supplementary materials, and to reproduce, display, and distribute those articles for the purpose of open access. More specifically, each faculty member grants the University of Wisconsin–Madison a nonexclusive, irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide license to exercise such rights under copyright as are necessary to achieve the goals of open access, dissemination, and preservation, provided that the articles are not sold for profit, and to authorize others to do the same.

The author retains copyright ownership, unless that author chooses to transfer rights to other parties, such as a publisher. The University retains only the limited rights outlined above.

The policy applies to all scholarly articles authored or co-authored while the person is a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, except for any articles completed before the adoption of this policy and any articles for which the author entered into an incompatible licensing or assignment agreement before the adoption of this policy.

The Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education or his/her designate will waive application of the license for a particular article or delay access for a specified period of time, not to exceed 12 months, upon express direction by a faculty member. Grant of such a waiver is mandatory and not at the discretion of any person or group. Waiver requests must be made in writing, or via an online form that will be made available for this specific purpose.

The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education will be responsible for interpreting this policy, resolving any dispute concerning its interpretation and application, and recommending changes. The policy will be reviewed after three years and a report presented to the Faculty Senate.

The University Libraries will be responsible for implementing services to support article processing and to communicate with authors about deposition of particular works.