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Open Access: Philosophy, Mission, & Values

Open Access

Looking through an archway to a green courtyard on the Yale campus

Philosophy, Mission and Values of the Scholarly Communication Department

Yale University’s Open Access Policy provides license- and royalty- free access to digital images of public domain materials in Yale collections. Open access digital images may be used by anyone for any purpose.

What works or content are governed by Yale’s Open Access Policy? The Open Access Policy applies to digital images of works in Yale University’s Museum, archive and library collections that are believed to be in the public domain and free of other restrictions, available through Yale’s electronic interfaces. The policy does not apply to works protected by copyright, by privacy rights, or that are otherwise restricted. Visit the links toward the end of this document for more information about copyright.

For the full policy, see Open Access to Digital Representations of Works in the Public Domain from Museum, Library, and Archive Collections. For the announcement of the policy, see Digital Images of Yale’s Vast Cultural Collections Now Available for Free

Library Supports

Yale University “as a matter of fundamental policy...encourages the wide dissemination of scholarly work produced by members of the Yale community, including copyrightable works” (Yale University Copyright Policy). The Yale University Library (YUL) supports this policy in a variety of ways:


How YUL Supports Open Access edited by Allison Wendt

Updates & Advancements

On August 25th, 2022, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released a memorandum titled "Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research."  This statement has widely become known as The Nelson Memo or the OSTP Memo.  The memo states that federal agencies that fund research must:

  1. " Update their public access policies as soon as possible, and no later than December 31st, 2025, to make publications and their supporting data resulting from federally funded research publicly accessible without an embargo on their free and public release.
  2.  Establish transparent procedures that ensure scientific and research integrity is maintained in public access policies; and,
  3.  Coordinate with OSTP to ensure equitable delivery of federally funded research results and data."

The Ivy Plus Libraries Confederation, of which Yale University Library is a member, sent a letter to OSTP on March 2, 2023, to express support for the memo.  


See: OSTP Issues Guidance to Make Federally Funded Research Freely Available Without Delay | OSTP | The White House

See Also: The Nelson Memo: Preparing for Updated Federal Public Access Policies


Recent articles about the impacts of the Nelson Memo at Yale University: White House memo pushes Yale research toward public accessibility.

Research for Life

Yale University Library Support of Research 4Life


Yale University Library is a founding partner of Research4Life, a public-private partnership of the World Health Organization; Food and Agriculture Organization; United Nations Environment Programme; World Intellectual Property Organization; International Labour Organization; Cornell and Yale Universities; the International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers; and more than 200 international publishers. Research4Life’s goal is to reduce the knowledge gap between high-income countries and low- and middle-income countries by providing affordable access to scholarly, professional and research information.

Research4Life is the collective name of five programs—HinariAGORAOAREARDI and GOALI—that provide developing countries with free or low-cost access to academic and professional peer-reviewed content online in the disciplines of medicine, agriculture, environment, technology, and law. Researchers at more than 8,000 eligible institutions in more than 100 countries benefit from online access to up to 69,000 peer-reviewed international scholarly and professional journals, books, and databases, and full-text articles that can be downloaded for saving, printing or reading on screen.  Users can search by keyword, subject, author or language; access resources in several languages; and take advantage of information-literacy training and capacity development.

The Yale University supports the partnership in several different ways:

  • The Lillian Goldman Law Library provides metadata support and collection development expertise for the GOALI program.
  • The Cushing/Whitney Medical Library provides metadata support for the partnership, and collection development expertise in selecting materials for the HINARI program. In 2015, the HINARI program received the Medical Library Association’s Louise Darling Medal for Collection Development in the Health Sciences.
  • Yale librarians serve on several Research4Life working groups and the Executive Council.

For more on the impact of Research4Life, please see the Voices page.

Contact and Support

Overhead view of Yale Libraries

For more information, contact:

Lindsay Barnett

Scholarly Communication Librarian
Yale University Library

(203) 432-2516

For more information on Health Sciences collections and services, please contact the Cushing/Whitney Medical Library at: