Frequently asked questions

Is the policy currently in effect?

Yes. The policy went into effect on April 1, 2022, after being unanimously approved by the UF Faculty Senate on January 20, 2022. We will continue to make information available on this website and other channels such as the Faculty Newsletter.

What materials are within the scope of the policy?

The policy applies only to scholarly articles written on or after April 1, 2022. The policy explicitly excludes “books and monographs, book chapters, popular or literary writing, or instructional materials.”

Who does the policy apply to?

The policy applies to all faculty employed by the University of Florida. It will not apply to staff or graduate students for the time being.

How was the policy developed?

The policy was developed over the course of three academic years by the University Libraries Committee of the Faculty Senate. This process included consultation with faculty councils and assemblies here at UF, the Office of General Counsel, UFF-UF, and external experts, including peer institutions with similar policies. Based on this feedback, the ULC made some changes to the policy over time. It was presented to the full Faculty Senate as an information item in December 2021, and approved by the Senate on January 20, 2022.

Where should I share my work?

The policy enables sharing the accepted manuscript version or author’s final version of the article in any noncommercial repository or personal website. We recommend using this form to share via the UF Institutional Repository for the simple reason that if questions come up, UF-based staff will be able to help more easily. However, this is not a requirement. You may wish to select a subject-based repository such as arXiv or Humanities Commons, or a funder repository such as the Department of Energy’s PAGES or NIH’s PubMed Central.

The accepted manuscript version? Tell me more.

In general, the policy helps authors retain rights to the final version of an article handed off to the journal before publication. This has been peer-reviewed and corrected, but usually looks like a Word or LaTeX document and lacks the typesetting and design elements added by the publisher. If you choose to share your article with UF, someone will review your submission to ensure you are sharing the accepted manuscript version. You can find an example of an accepted manuscript in the UF Institutional Repository.

Does this policy force me to publish in open access journals?

No, absolutely not. In fact, the policy is likely to be more useful to authors who typically publish in subscription journals by giving you greater freedom to share with audiences who lack access to those publications and would otherwise be unable to read your scholarship.

Will my publisher refuse to publish my article if they know about this policy?

These policies, sometimes known as open access policies, have been implemented for nearly 15 years and are now familiar to and accepted by most publishers. If a publisher explicitly requires that you receive a waiver of the nonexclusive license to UF, you may do so via a very simple form, no questions asked. While a small number of publishers may request waivers, there is no evidence that publishers will reject articles because of the policy.

How do I let my publisher know my articles are subject to this policy?

UF is in the process of notifying as many publishers as possible that these terms are in effect. We also invite authors to attach a supplemental statement to their articles, either directly in the text or in notes to the editor or publisher at the submission or publication agreement phase:

“Notwithstanding conflicting agreements, this article is subject to the University of Florida Author Rights Policy.”

This is not required for the policy to take effect, but it is another tool for authors in cases where the policy and publication agreement do not align by default.

I already share my journal articles. Why do I need this policy?

Policies on how authors can share their own work vary by publisher and discipline. Some publishers have fairly liberal policies that let you share with other researchers, students, or post online after an embargo period. Others are silent on the topic or have more restrictive policies. This policy ensures that at minimum, you can disseminate your accepted manuscript upon publication without negotiating with your publisher.

If you’re fortunate enough to feel publisher and funder policies meet your needs, consider this policy as a way to support colleagues without these benefits.

The policy requires me to give a nonexclusive license to UF. Why is this important?

This part of the policy is critical to making the rest work. Often publishers ask that you transfer copyright to them in order to publish your article. An automatic, nonexclusive license to the University ensures that even if you sign such an agreement, UF still holds the original nonexclusive license in trust. For instance, if you think of copyright as a key, you are making a copy of that key and giving it to UF for safekeeping in case you lose or give away your own copy.

That’s a bit complicated. Have lawyers reviewed policies like this one?

Yes. As one example, Harvard’s director of the Office of Scholarly Communications has summarized a publication affirming the policy’s legality. The version of the policy at UF was developed in consultation with the Office of General Counsel.

Can I put my work somewhere for safekeeping but delay public access?

Many repository systems include options for keeping your article private for a set amount of time. This might be useful for authors who wish to comply with publisher preferences for delaying access to accepted manuscripts, often known as “embargoes.” But the Author Rights Policy explicitly grants authors the right to share upon publication.

I support nonprofit and scholarly society publishers. Will this hurt them?

This policy is not meant to undermine small journal publishers or replace library subscriptions; rather, it will broaden availability of scholarship for those who are unable to access it when those subscriptions are simply out of reach. Authors who have this concern are welcome to request a policy waiver for specific articles and are encouraged to discuss policies with colleagues in scholarly societies.

What if my article incorporates images or figures that I did not produce?

The major question here: Did you rely on fair use to repurpose the material without permission? If so, fair use also applies when sharing your article beyond the journal publication. If you received explicit permission to use the figure only as it would appear in the journal, you might need to remove it before sharing your article text, but it’s likely the permission was granted for the article in any format, not only for the specific publisher version. In general, if you’re asking for permission a good rule of thumb is to try to obtain rights to broadly disseminate the work.

What happens if I leave UF?

The policy applies to articles you write while at the University of Florida, so you would be able to keep sharing those articles under these terms even after you leave.