University of Minnesota  Administrative Policy

Open Access to Scholarly Articles

Policy Statement

As a publicly funded land-grant institution, the University of Minnesota is committed to ensuring the greatest possible scholarly and public access to the research and scholarship produced by the University community. In addition to securing the public benefit of such access, this policy is intended to serve faculty interests by promoting greater reach and impact for articles, simplifying authors' retention of distribution rights, and aiding preservation.

Each faculty member grants to the University of Minnesota a shared, limited, right to make available the faculty member's scholarly articles and to reproduce, display, and distribute those articles for the purpose of open access. More specifically, each faculty member grants to the University of Minnesota a nonexclusive, irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide license to exercise such rights under copyright as are necessary to achieve the goals of open access, dissemination, and preservation, provided that the articles are not sold for profit, and to authorize others to do the same.

The author retains copyright ownership, unless that author chooses to transfer rights to other parties, such as a publisher. The University retains only the limited rights outlined above.

The policy applies to all scholarly articles authored or co-authored while the person is a member of the faculty as defined in Board of Regents Policy: Copyright, except for any articles completed before the adoption of this policy and any articles for which the author entered into an incompatible licensing or assignment agreement before the adoption of this policy.

The provost or provost's designee will waive application of the license for a particular article or delay access for a specified period of time upon express direction by a faculty member. Grant of such a waiver is mandatory, not at the discretion of any person or group. Waiver requests must be made in writing, or via a system (such as an online form) that may be made available for this specific purpose and that meets applicable accessibility standards.

The Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost will be responsible for interpreting this policy, resolving any dispute concerning its interpretation and application, and recommending changes to the faculty from time to time.

Reason for Policy

The University's threefold mission of research and discovery, teaching and learning, and outreach and public service includes a commitment to "making the knowledge and resources created and preserved at the University accessible to the citizens of the state, the nation, and the world.” Board of Regents Policy: Copyright (PDF) also "encourages faculty and students to exercise their interests in ownership and use of their copyrighted works in a manner that provides the greatest possible scholarly and public access to their work."


Subject Contact Phone Email
Primary Contact(s) Nancy Sims 612-624-1851 [email protected]
Responsible Individuals
Responsible Officer Policy Owner Primary Contact
  • Executive Vice President and Provost
  • Executive Vice President and Provost
  • Nancy Sims


Board of Regents Policy: Copyright states: "Faculty shall mean members of the faculty as defined by Board of Regents Policy: Employee Group Definitions, along with individuals who are not so defined but who are University employees holding faculty-like appointments (namely, University employees who teach or conduct research at the University with a level of responsibility and self-direction similar to that exercised and enjoyed by faculty in a similar activity). Postdoctoral fellows, researchers, and scholars shall have the same ownership rights as faculty and are covered under this policy."
Rights granted to the University under this policy are also retained by the author, and can be granted by the author to third parties.
Not Sold for Profit
Precludes for-profit sales, but could enable the bookstore, for example, to sell printed copies for the cost of reproduction.
Scholarly articles
"Scholarly articles" is intentionally not clearly bounded, due to the wide variety of scholarly activity undertaken across many disciplines. Since both technologies and processes of publishing are evolving rapidly, examples of items that would be included and excluded from consideration will be maintained in the FAQ. Concerns about whether the policy applies to a particular work may be mitigated by the provision that the policy will be waived for any work at the request of the author.


Faculty and "faculty-like" employees
Manage the copyright in works they own under Board of Regents Policy: Copyright.
Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost
Interpret policy as necessary, resolve disputes as necessary, review policy regularly and recommend policy changes as necessary.
University Libraries
Implement services to support article processing and to communicate with authors about disposition of particular works as described in the attached Procedures document.

Related Information

Board of Regents Policies

Administrative Policies


April 2020 - Comprehensive review. Minor revision. Eliminates a reference to review interval and report to faculty. Includes an affirmative statement that whatever system is used for grating waivers must be accessible to those who are visually impaired.
January 2015 - New policy. 1. Establishes the expectation that works created by U of M faculty will be made available for open access and dissemination. 2. Provides a mechanism for authors to request a waiver for a specific work.
December 2014