Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, material should only be deposited in the Repository if its deposit and posting will not infringe the rights of any publisher or other party. You are responsible for determining this.

What rights must I hold in the material in order to make a deposit and how do I determine if I have sufficient rights?

  • For works completed after the open access policy was adopted, you have sufficient rights to deposit the author's final version of the work under the OA Author's Agreement, unless you have opted to waive the policy for a particular article.

  • For works completed before the policy was adopted or for which you have waived the policy, chances are you still have the right to deposit the author's final version of the work in the repository (under the so-called "Standard Author's Agreement") by virtue of the publisher's own terms. Please email the OSC staff if you would like information about a specific journal or publisher.

  • In cases where the publisher's own terms to do not allow for institutional deposit of the author's final version, where you only have a copy of the published version, or where the rights remain unclear, you should register the work in DASH as a "metadata only" submission with optional deposit for preservation purposes. Finally, you can always contact the publisher directly and request permission for open access distribution. The OSC can provide you with a permission request template.

The SHERPA/RoMEO website provides a summary of journal publishers' archiving policies, though Harvard has not verified that information. Many publishers also provide information on their policies on their own websites.

If my work falls under the Open Access Policy, can I be sure I have sufficient rights to deposit my work in DASH?

A qualified "yes." If the publisher does not require you to waive the Policy for a particular work, then you may proceed to deposit the work in DASH under the OA Author's Agreement. The repository will then make the article openly available.

If the publishing agreement requires you to transfer the entire copyright in the article to the publisher, or to warrant that no one has a license to make the article available and you did not use an author's addendum to modify the terms to recognize the license to Harvard, then the deposit of your article in the Repository under the OA Author's Agreement could breach the publishing agreement, and potentially subject you to a claim by the publisher. Hence, where the terms of the publishing agreement are inconsistent with the license to Harvard under the Open Access Policy, you may either attach an addendum or obtain a waiver for the article under the policy. In either case, you should still deposit a copy of the article in DASH.

If my work does not fall under the Open Access Policy (or I waived the policy), how can I determine if I have sufficient rights to deposit the work?

You can (and should) always deposit your work in the repository. However, depending on the situation, there may have to be limitations on the distribution of the work from the repository.

If you are the author of the material and have not transferred the copyright, or any exclusive rights under the copyright, to a publisher or other party, you should be free to deposit your material in the Repository for distribution. Some publishing agreements require you to grant the publisher only non-exclusive rights, and thus leave you free to exercise the copyright yourself and to allow others, such as Harvard, to do so too. This is the case, for example, for true "open access" journals.

If you have published your material in a journal that is not a true "open access" journal, you still may have sufficient rights to allow preservation and posting by the Repository. For example, the publishing agreement by its terms may allow the material to be distributed from an institutional repository. (Or your article may fall under one of Harvard's open access policies. See above.) Or you may have used a generally available author's addendum that modified the publishing agreement, reserving rights sufficient for this purpose. For instance, you may have used an author's addendum provided by Science Commons.

The SHERPA/RoMEO website provides a summary of journal publishers' archiving policies, though Harvard has not verified that information. Many publishers also provide information on their policies on their own websites. If your material is subject to a publishing agreement, that agreement, as modified by any author's addendum you used, is the most reliable source of information about your rights.

Even if you do not have rights to distribute the article in DASH, you can (and should) still deposit the article under the "metadata only" option, which places a copy in the repository for archival purposes and provides bibliographic information that can be included in an online index of scholarly articles by Harvard members. The bibliographic information will be made available for broad harvesting and indexing by search engines, in order to increase awareness of your article. Thus, whether your article is under a waiver or not, you should still deposit the final manuscript in DASH.

How do I obtain a waiver for an article under the Open Access Policy?

See here for information on obtaining a waiver.

May I still deposit my article in the Repository if I have obtained a waiver for it under the Open Access Policy?

Yes. Even if you have obtained a waiver under the Open Access Policy, you may (and should) deposit your article for use in the Repository, as described above. You may have sufficient rights even if you've taken a waiver. The fact that a publishing agreement is inconsistent with the license granted to Harvard under the Open Access Policy does not necessarily mean that it prohibits the article from being included in the Repository. The license under the Open Access Policy enables Harvard to allow you and others to make various beneficial uses of the article (such as allowing copies of the article to be included in a course pack) beyond simply distributing it from the Repository; hence the publisher's own policies may be inconsistent with Harvard's license but still permit author self-archiving in an institutional repository.

Even if you do not have rights to distribute the article in DASH, you can (and should) still deposit the article under the "metadata only" option, which places a copy in the repository for archival purposes and provides bibliographic information that can be included in an online index of scholarly articles by Harvard members. The bibliographic information will be made available for broad harvesting and indexing by search engines, in order to increase awareness of your article. Thus, whether your article is under a waiver or not, you should still deposit the final manuscript in DASH.

What articles are covered by the Open Access Policy?

Visit the Open-Access Policies section of the Office for Scholarly Communications site for more information.

May I deposit material that is not covered by the Open-Access Policy?

Certainly.

What if my publishing agreement allows posting of my material in an institutional repository, but only if certain conditions are met?

For articles that do not fall under the Open Access Policy, the Repository supports a number of conditions sometimes imposed under publishers' archiving policies. These include:

  • Citations and Notices: You provide a citation to the journal in the "Citation" field during the submission process. This field can also be used to add any disclaimers or notices that, according to applicable publisher requirements, must appear in the repository information about your article. If the publisher requires that the notice be embedded in the article itself, you can do this by including the required notice on the first page of your material before you deposit it in the Repository. If you have deposited before publication and later need or want to add a notice citing to the Published Version, you can contact the Repository administrators with help in updating the deposited copy.

  • Link to Publisher's Website: You may provide a link to the definitive version of the article at the publisher's website using the "Link to published article" field.

  • Digital Object Identifier: Digital Object Identifiers are permanent identifiers for digital objects that some publishers provide. They appear as a sequence of punctuated digits and letters, like "10.1000/182". If the publisher requires you to provide the DOI for the article in the repository entry, it can be provided as part of a URL by preceding the DOI with the prefix "http://dx.doi.org/" (for instance, "http://dx.doi.org/10.1000/182"). This URL can then be provided using the "Link to published article" field.

  • Delayed Distribution: If the publication agreement allows distribution only after a certain date, you can specify the date on which your material will first be made publicly available in the Repository on the License screen in the submission process. The Open Access Policy, however, requires that you provide your material to the Repository no later than the date of publication. Some publishers also limit the version of your material that may be posted in an institutional repository. As explained below, you can choose the version of your material that you will submit to the Repository.

Which version of my article or other material should I deposit?

You may deposit any version of your material that you have the right to include in the Repository. You may have the right to include some but not all versions. It is worth distinguishing various versions of an article:

  • Author's Draft: the version of the paper initially submitted to a journal publisher for consideration, or any earlier draft. (The SHERPA/RoMEO site refers to this as a "pre-print.")
  • Author's Final Version: the version of the paper accepted by the journal for publication, including all modifications from the publishing peer review process. (The SHERPA/RoMEO site refers to this as a "post-print.")
  • Published Version: the version of the paper distributed by the publisher to readers of the journal, incorporating any copy editing done by the publisher, showing the final page layout and formatting of the published version, and possibly including the publisher's logo.

Some journal publishers allow posting in an institutional repository of only one of these versions; others allow posting of more than one, or all, of these versions. Some publishers do not allow posting of any version. You can find a summary of journal publishers' default policies on the SHERPA/RoMEO website, though Harvard has not verified the accuracy of that information. A publisher's default policy may be modified by negotiation in individual publishing agreements or through the use of an author's addendum. Because Harvard's policy operates automatically to give the University a prior license in any scholarly articles faculty members complete after its adoption, that license takes precedence even without use of the addendum, unless it is waived for a particular article.

Generally, you should not submit for distribution a copy of the Published Version — such as a publisher-generated .pdf of the article as published — unless the publishing agreement (perhaps as modified by any author's addendum) affirmatively allows you to do so. If the publisher has made changes to the text or graphics of the article, or the publisher's logo is included, the publisher may have rights of its own in that version.

The Open Access Policy requires that you post the Author's Final Version or the Published Version. If you do not have the right under your publishing agreement (perhaps as modified by any author's addendum) to post either of those versions, it is advisable to obtain a waiver for the article under the Open Access Policy. Depending on the terms of your publishing agreement, you still may be able to post an Author's Draft if you wish.

Note also that some publishers may be unwilling to accept a paper if an Author's Draft has been posted in an institutional repository prior to the article's date of publication; others may require that the Author's Draft be removed upon publication in their journal. Before you deposit an Author's Draft for posting in the Repository, you may wish to check pre-publication requirements of journals to which the paper may subsequently be submitted.

What if there are multiple authors of the material?

Multiple-authored works can be deposited in the repository. Before depositing the material in the Repository, you should make sure that the other authors also wish to do so.

What if my material incorporates copyrighted material owned by another party?

If you are submitting an article or other work that includes third-party material protected by copyright (such as, e.g., an image) for distribution from the repository (that is, not as a "dark" submission), you need to have the right to incorporate that material and to allow it to be posted in the Repository as part of your work. Under some circumstances, fair use may allow you to include the third-party material, in which event you need no further authorization. (The Office of the General Counsel at Harvard provides information about fair use and related copyright principles.) If not, you need appropriate permission from the third-party rightsholder.

If you cannot obtain the rights to distribute the third-party material in the repository as part of your work, you can (and should) still deposit the article under the "metadata only" option.

Might I lose patent rights on inventions described in my material if it is posted in the Repository?

Yes. If your material describes a potentially patentable invention, you should contact the Office of Technology Development so that the patent rights issue can be addressed before submitting your material to the Repository.

What rights will Harvard receive in the material I submit to the Repository?

Harvard will have the non-exclusive right to preserve and make your material publicly available without charge from the Repository, as it may evolve. If your material is subject to the Open Access Policy, Harvard also will have the additional non-exclusive rights granted under that policy. In all cases, however, the copyright in the material will continue to be owned by you (or the publisher or other party to whom you may have transferred it).

No, this web site provides information and resources to help you use the Repository, but does not provide legal advice and should not be relied upon for that purpose. If you would like legal advice about your rights, obligations, or individual situation, you should consult your own attorney.