During its March 22 meeting, the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors approved the resolution to establish a scholarly articles open access policy, a revision to the university’s Policy on Intellectual Property 13000. As a result, Virginia Tech authors grant the university nonexclusive license to their scholarly articles in order to make them openly available through the university’s repository, VTechWorks, housed and maintained by the University Libraries at Virginia Tech

VTechWorks is an open repository, which means that anyone around the world with an internet connection can access and download journal articles, presentations, theses, dissertations, and other documents that are hosted on the site. Openly available research is cited 18 percent more, on average, than research that is only available behind publisher paywalls. Open access facilitates the advancement of knowledge and makes a greater impact on society, including economic benefits.

According to the approved policy, Virginia Tech authors will deposit an electronic copy of their unformatted, post peer-review, accepted manuscript for each scholarly article within one month after the date of its publication. Then, the university grants authors a nonexclusive license to share accepted manuscripts elsewhere. An author may waive the license for an article or delay access for a specified period of time to honor publisher embargoes. According to the policy, the university may not sell the articles.

By making Virginia Tech research and other scholarly works openly available to the public, including scholars in low- and middle-income countries, government policymakers, nongovernmental organizations, taxpayers, and alumni, Virginia Tech authors will benefit from full dissemination of their work and an increase in its societal impact. This will also help Virginia Tech meet its mission as a global land-grant university.

Since 2016, members of the Open Access Policy Working Group, created by Virginia Tech’s Commission on Research, have been drafting the policy while consulting with faculty, staff, and students across the university. The group presented its work to Virginia Tech’s Commission on Research, Commission on Faculty Affairs, and the Faculty Senate each year since 2017, and to the Commission on Graduate and Professional Studies and Policies in 2019. They have also consulted with University Legal Counsel while drafting the policy.

Working Group members will begin work on a plan for implementing the policy, which will go into effect on July 1. For more information about the scholarly articles open access policy, the Open Access Policy Working Group, and the policy’s drafting, visit the Open Access Policy Working Group information page.

By Ann Brown