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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

UIUC Open Access Policy: Home

Information about the university policy on Open Access to Research Articles, approved by the UIUC Faculty Senate on October 19, 2015.

Quick Facts About the Campus Open Access Policy

Introduction to the Open Access Policy

Open Access is the free, immediate, online availability of research articles coupled with the rights to use these articles 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.

Campus Open Access Policy

On October 19, 2015, the Senate of the Urbana campus approved a university policy on Open Access to Research Articles. It was approved by the Board of Trustees on May 19, 2016. This policy grants the University a nonexclusive, irrevocable, worldwide license to exercise all rights under copyright to 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 new policy, 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. The policy is based on recommendations from the Illinois University Senates Conference (USC) to the Senates for the Chicago, Springfield, and Urbana campuses. 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.

Waivers to the Campus Open Access Policy

Rarely, a publisher requires its authors to opt out of the 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. The policy waiver can be filled out online.


IDEALS, the Illinois Digital Environment for Access to Learning and Scholarship, 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—unpublished and, in many cases, published—directly into IDEALS. Departments can use IDEALS to distribute their working papers, technical reports, or other research material.


Scholarly Communication and Publishing offers workshops and consultation services on issues related to copyright. While we cannot offer legal advice, we 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.

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 (DMP) 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.

Waivers & Deposits

Scholarly Communication and Publishing