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Sharing Your Research Data and Publications:
What You Need to Know About Open Access

Open Access is the free, immediate, online availability of research products coupled with the rights to use these research products fully in the digital environment. Open Access ensures that anyone, anywhere, can access and use these results.

The rise of Open Access is a response to the mismatch between a) the possibilities for communicating research in the digital age and b) the current print-based model employed to communicate this research. In an era when access and reuse restrictions have become artificial, state, federal, and private research funders are increasingly scrutinizing the practices of the legacy publishers who effectively sequester new research findings from most of the world population. Open Access repositories and publishing enables researchers to share and disseminate the findings of their research in interactive, publicly accessible, and engaged modes of dissemination. You can learn more in the Library’s Open Access Policy guide (

1. Campus Open Access Policy

On October 19, 2015, the Senate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus approved a University Policy on Open Access to Research Articles. This policy grants the university a nonexclusive, irrevocable, worldwide license to exercise all rights under copyright to distribute the scholarly articles produced by faculty members.

In the policy, the faculty observed that Open Access, by providing the widest possible dissemination for research, enhances benefits to the state, region, and world while also raising the visibility and profile of the researchers at the university. Under the policy, researchers will retain copyright to their work. Work published before adoption of the policy is exempt from it. Further waiver provisions are available for specific articles upon request.

With this important policy, based on recommendations from the University Senates Conference for all three campuses, the University of Illinois joins other premier research institutions, including Harvard University, Stanford University, and the University of California (whose policy serves as a model for the Illinois policy) in affirming the importance of access to high-quality research without barriers to access and use. Faculty wishing to take advantage of the OA policy can do so by depositing qualifying articles in IDEALS (, the Illinois Digital Environment for Access to Learning and Scholarship. Please contact the IDEALS team ( or contact your subject specialist with questions.

a. Waivers to the Campus Open Access Policy

Rarely, a publisher requires its authors to opt out of the University of Illinois Faculty Senate’s Open Access Policy for a given article. The policy provides a means for this to be done. To opt out and obtain a waiver for a specific article, one simply needs to fill out a brief form (, notifying the Provost’s Designate of his or her need, and providing the citation for the paper for which the waiver is needed.

2. Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Mandates

In February 2013, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issued a policy memorandum directing federal agencies to develop policies to make the publications and data resulting from funded research freely available to the public. The agencies have begun releasing their policies, many of which include a new requirement for data management plans (DMPs) as part of the proposal process.

The Library provides consultations on article and data management planning and compliance with these public access mandates. We are happy to work with individual grants analysts at the department level, or principal investigators (PIs) and graduate students.

Details about the specific policies and requirements are found in the Library’s Mandates FAQ. Feel free to contact the Research Data Service (, Scholarly Communication and Publishing staff ( or your subject specialist with questions.

3. Research Deposit Options: IDEALS and Illinois Data Bank (IDB)

IDEALS ( collects, disseminates, and provides persistent and reliable access to the research and scholarship of faculty, staff, and students at Illinois.

Faculty, staff, and graduate students can deposit their research and scholarship directly into IDEALS. Departments can use IDEALS to distribute their working papers, technical reports, or other research material. Undergraduate students can also submit the work they present at the Undergraduate Research Symposium (for more information, visit Files deposited in IDEALS are indexed by academic search engines like Google, Google Scholar, and the Open Science Foundation’s SHARE.

Depositing in IDEALS meets the campus Open Access Policy’s requirements for distribution, and may meet funding agencies’ public access mandates as well. You can also track how frequently each item is downloaded from IDEALS.

Researchers who have data that is appropriate to make publicly available can use Illinois Data Bank  (, a free, self-serve publishing platform that centralizes, preserves, and provides persistent and reliable access to Illinois research data.

Read more about the Illinois Data Bank at

4. Copyright

Copyright Librarian Sara Benson offers workshops and consultation services on issues related to copyright ( While Sara cannot offer legal advice, she can help you to identify information and issues you may want to consider in addressing your copyright question. Information provided on the site, unless otherwise noted, is based only on U.S. Copyright law. Copyright law in other countries may vary from that of the United States.

5. Digital Publishing and the Illinois Open Publishing Network

The Illinois Open Publishing Network (IOPN) is a network of publications and publishing initiatives that is coordinated by the Scholarly Communication and Publishing staff at the Library. IOPN offers a suite of publishing services to members of the university community and beyond to facilitate the dissemination of high-quality, open access scholarly publications in innovative, digital formats. IOPN services include infrastructure and support for publishing open access journals, monographs, and multi-media digital projects. IOPN staff also work with the Publishing Without Walls initiative (, a Mellon Foundation-funded initiative to build new models for scholarly publishing and capacity for library-based publishing.