Open access is strategic for Carnegie Mellon.  Members of the campus community actively promote open access, routinely provide open access to their work, and heavily use open access resources.  Open access benefits researchers in their dual roles as authors and readers.  

Approved by the Faculty Senate November 13, 2007


  • Scholars and their professional associations share a common interest in broad, rapid and affordable dissemination of peer-reviewed literature
  • Universities subsidize scholarly research and then must purchase published findings at increasingly high costs because scholars transfer their copyright to publishers
  • Many Carnegie Mellon faculty are interested in providing open access to their work because it increases the impact of their work and Advances the interests of the scholarly community
  • The technical skills and support available to help faculty provide open access to their work by self-archiving it on personal or department websites are uneven across departments within the University.

Therefore be it resolved that the Faculty Senate strongly encourages Carnegie Mellon faculty to

  • Know their publishing rights
  • Retain the right to self-archive their work
  • Self-archive and provide open access to their work in keeping with publisher open access policies
  • Continue to maintain the highest academic standards – (Deleted: see motion below.)

Be it further resolved that
The Faculty Senate strongly encourages the Office of Legal Counsel and the Libraries to

  • Continue the Authors’ Rights and Wrongs program to help faculty understand the issues

The Faculty Senate strongly encourages Computing Services and the Libraries to

  • Provide tools to help faculty retain the necessary rights and self-archive their work

Open access disseminates as broadly as possible research publications authored by the CMU community, encouraging use and increasing citations and impact.  Open access also enables the CMU community to access research publications authored elsewhere around the world, many of which the University Libraries cannot afford to purchase.  For the past decade, CMU has been actively encouraging open access:

2003 – Provost Mark Kamlet signed the Budapest Open Access Initiative Declaration.  The University Libraries began to conduct research into acquiring copyright permission to digitize and provide open access to books and, in consultation with the Office of the General Counsel and the Office of Government Relations, to advocate for change in intellectual property and technology policy, including providing open access to scholarly publications arising from federally funded research. 

2007 – The Faculty Senate passed the Open Access Resolution strongly encouraging CMU faculty to make their work available open access.  The University Libraries and the Office of General Counsel, began the Authors’ Rights and Wrongs lecture series, later renamed the Scholarly Communications Forum.  Speakers in the lecture series are often members of the CMU community.  CMU faculty Joseph (Jay) Kadane, David Danks, and Barbara Johnstone participated in a Forum Panel on Open Access.

2008 – CMU faculty Jay Apt, David Dzombak, Hyung Kim, and David Yaron participated in a Forum panel on Open Access in Chemistry.  The Faculty Senate passed the Central Repository Resolution encouraging the university to provide funding to create a central open access repository for research publications and encouraging faculty to deposit their work in the repository.

2009 – In response to the Central Repository Resolution, the Office of the Provost funded Research Showcase to preserve and provide open access to work produced at Carnegie Mellon.  The University Libraries began participating in the annual worldwide celebration of Open Access Week. 

2010 – The University Libraries released Research Showcase and formed the Scholarly Communications Committee.    

2011 – Faculty publishing in BioMed Central (BMC) and Public Library of Science (PLoS) open access journals asked the University Libraries to join BMC and PLoS to receive membership discounts on Article Processing Charges (APCs) to publish open access.  CMU faculty Steve Feinberg and Tim Deliyannides of the University of Pittsburgh participated in a Scholarly Communications Forum on Open Access E Journals: View from the Top.

2012 – The University Libraries joined BMC and PLoS to receive membership discounts on Article Processing Charges (APCs) for campus authors publishing in BMC and PLoS (open access) journals.  Faculty interested in open access and other scholarly communications issues joined the Scholarly Communications Advisory Board formed to help the University Libraries plan and prioritize initiatives, develop strategies, address federal regulations, and keep abreast of evolving disciplinary practices and faculty concerns.  The Advisory Board unanimously recommended that the University Libraries create a fund to help faculty pay Article Processing Charges (APCs) to publish in open access journals, and encouraged the Libraries to draft Guidelines on Author Rights and Preservation.  The Libraries drafted and began to disseminate for discussion Guidelines on Author Rights and Preservation.  

2013 – The University Libraries created a fund to help faculty pay Article Processing Charges (APCs) to publish in open access journals; see Financial Support for Open Access Publishing.  The Scholarly Communications Advisory Board approved the Guidelines on Author Rights and Preservation .

Carnegie Mellon strongly encourages CMU authors to make their work available open access.  Members of the CMU community are increasingly self‐archiving their work (the green route to open access). 

A study of faculty websites conducted in 2007‐08 revealed that:

  • 42% of CMU faculty had self‐archived at least one of their works on a personal or departmental website.  
  • Roughly 40% of the works cited on faculty websites had links to an open access copy, including 58% of the technical reports and 32% of the journal articles.  
  • The gap between the opportunity to self‐archive journal articles and the practice of self-archiving journal articles was 64%.  Roughly 7,400 more journal articles could have been self‐archived in compliance with publisher policy than were self‐archived.  

Surveys conducted in 2010 by the Office of Institutional Research and Analysis discovered that 83% of CMU faculty and 83% of CMU graduate students had self‐archived at least one of their works on a website or repository.  

As of July 2013, Research Showcase, CMU’s open access repository, contains 11,455 works authored by CMU faculty and students.  The works have been downloaded 1,738,825 times.  More than half (56%) of those downloads occurred in the past year.  Campus authors have also deposited their work in open access disciplinary repositories, including arXiv and Social Science Research Network (SSRN).

Discounts and financial support for publishing open access

CMU faculty and graduate students are publishing their work open access in hybrid and open access journals (the gold route to open access).  Open access publishing often incurs a fee known as an Article Processing Charge or APC.  The University Libraries has memberships and site licenses that provide discounts on APCs.  The Libraries also sponsor a fund to help CMU authors pay reasonable APCs to publish open access if they have no grant funds that can be used to cover these costs.  Details on these and other initiatives to encourage open access publishing are available on the University Libraries' website.  See Financial Support for Open Access Publishing.

Speak with your liaison librarian or see the FAQ on Open Access Publishing to learn more about APCs.

Managing open access journals and conferences

CMU’s Research Showcase repository software supports publishing open access journals and conference proceedings.  Features include managing article submission and peer review, and publishing and hosting open access to journal articles and conference papers.  See, for example, the Journal of Privacy and Confidentiality and the Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on the Universal Digital Library.

Surveys of CMU faculty and graduate students conducted by the Office of Institutional Research and Analysis in 2010 revealed that they heavily use other people’s work available open access on the web.  Survey respondents rated use of open access resources as important to them in their academic work.  Open access resources helped them keep current in their field, save time, and be productive.  Open access resources also helped them find information in other fields, be effective instructors, and enrich student learning experiences.   

Troll Covey (2009).  The Ethics of Open Access to Research.  Library 2.0 Symposium. Yale Law School, New Haven, CT. Apr. 2009.  (slides)  Video available on You Tube.

Troll Covey (2009), Faculty Self‐Archiving Practice: A Case Study

Troll Covey (2009).  Self‐Archiving Journal Articles: A Case Study of Faculty Practice and Missed Opportunity. portal: Libraries and the Academy 9.2: 223‐251.

Troll Covey and Sutkus (2011).  Open Access and Library Resources Compete in Importance.

In collaboration with Carnegie Mellon’s Office of Government Relations and the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), the University Libraries advocates for public access policies, opposes legislation that would thwart the mission of the academy, and responds to federal requests for information.  Recent advocacy efforts include

  • Letter to Congress opposing the Research Works Act (2012)
  • Response to the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Request for Information (RFI) on Public Access to Peer-Reviewed Scholarly Publications Resulting from Federally Funded Research (2012).
  • Response to the OSTP RFI on Public Access to Digital Data (2012)