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Open Access: Library Support

Open Access

Open Access Support: Overview

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:

Open Access Collections

Yale Library's current Approach to funding Open Access (OA) collections is to experiment with different types of models. In keeping with this experimentation, the library has developed guidelines for evaluating new OA collections for funding. As the OA landscape continues to evolve, the library will review and update these guidelines. 

Considerations for providing financial support to OA collections: 

  • Demonstrated benefit or potential benefit to communities worldwide (e.g., scholars, primary/secondary teachers and students, public libraries, governments).
  • Value to Yale community (e.g., students and faculty who use OA materials; authors who publish their work OA.) If Yale Community benefits, consider Yale Library's obligation to participate in funding and not be a passive beneficiary. 
  • Discoverability of OA content, so that it can be found and used (e.g., indexed in Google Scholar, and/or important discipline-specific systems such as PubMed Central/Medline).
  • Guarantee of long-term access to and preservation of content with a trusted third -party preservation service (such as LOCKSS or Portico)
  • Accessibility: Compliance with the Level AA criteria of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1, published by the World Wide Web Consortium's Web Accessibility Initiative.
  • Reputation of the publisher or organization. 
  • Business model: Evidence of a plan for sustainability; financial transparency for funding contributors. 
  • Transparency of governance structures and processes; opportunity for library to engage in governance. 
  • Preference given to initiatives and programs from mission-aligned organizations.

Approved by the Collection Steering Committee, December 9, 2021


APC-based Open Access Models: Financial Support

What’s an APC?

What’s an APC-based library-subsidized model? “APC” stands for Author Publishing Charge or Article Processing Charge. The author (or the author’s institution or the author’s grant funding) pays a fee to make the article open access.

Yale Library currently supports three types of APC-based library-subsidized models:

  • Library funds the entire cost of Yale author publishing. Example: PLOS. Library pays a flat fee to obtain an APC waiver for all authors.
  • The authors gets an APC discount. Examples: BioMed Central, SpringerOpen, Frontiers.
  • APC discount is a benefit of the library’s subscription (i.e., no additional cost to the library beyond the subscription fee). Examples: Science Advances, PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences).

Problems with APC-based models

Inequity: The original author-pays APC model means that authors who lack funding have been unable to publish their articles as open access. Shifting individual costs to libraries may perpetuate this problem; i.e., wealthier institutions have the means to support their authors’ OA publishing, while less well-funded institutions do not.

Potential lack of transparency: APCs can range widely, and many publishers do not provide a justification or breakdown of the cost. (See PLOS for an example of good transparency.) This makes it difficult to determine if publication costs are being fairly distributed between publishers and institutions.

Why does Yale Library support APC-based models?

Our current approach is to experiment with several different types of Open Access (OA) models. APC-based models have a strong presence in the OA publishing landscape, and many Yale authors publish under these models. Library engagement with APC-based models allows us to support Yale authors and to negotiate with publishers for author rights, fee structures, and—ideally—eventual transformation away from APC-based models.

Considerations for library funding of APC-based models

These are in addition to the general guidelines above, which also apply to APC-based models.

Highly desirable:

  • Pure OA (not hybrid) or actively transitioning to pure OA.
  • Author maintains copyright; work published under a CC license allowing broad reuse.
  • Transparency in how APC charges are calculated.
  • Focus on equity (publisher has a plan to move away from the APC model or address issues with the current waiver system).

Models or aspects of models we will not agree to:

  • Requirement that library mediate transactions between authors and publisher (e.g., library has to verify author’s institutional affiliation).
  • Annual amount of institutional publishing is “capped,” meaning that if the article cap is exceeded, either the library would have to increase its payment to the publisher or the author would have to pay the APC. Capped publishing introduces an unacceptable level of risk to the library budget or to the library’s ability to provide consistent service to Yale authors. 
  • Models that require the library to establish a deposit account with the publisher from which APCs would be drawn.
  • Clauses in the publisher agreement that are not allowed under current licensing guidelines.

Approved by Collection Steering Committee, December 9, 2021

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: