The Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions (COAPI) is a membership organization that has been working since 2011 to advance the promotion, passage, and implementation of Open Access policies at institutions of higher education. Membership in COAPI now includes 85 institutions. Membership carries no dues and is open to all North American institutions with policies in place, or those working to pass policies. The COAPI website at (http://sparcopen.org/coapi/) includes the list of member institutions, with links to policy language.

Open Access Policies: Why?

Some ask “Why pass an Open Access policy? Why not just do this work without a university or departmental policy? COAPI has created a video (http://sparcopen.org/coapi/) that explains: “Many scholars are taking action by creating Open Access policies in institutions worldwide. These policies ensure that faculty have the legal right to distribute their research as they see fit, without publisher restrictions. Open Access policies do not dictate where faculty should publish, and never require payment to participate. Instead, policies empower scholars to make their publications freely available through institutional Open Access repositories, enabling access for students, scholars and the public.” COAPI institution faculty and students open up more of their scholarship to the world each day.

COAPI members agree to a set of principles that focus on

  • the immediate and barrier-free online dissemination of scholarly research resulting in faster growth of new knowledge, increased impact of research, and improved return on public research investments,
  • developing and implementing institutional open access policies,
  • sharing experiences and best practices in the development and implementation of Open Access policies with individuals at institutions interested in cultivating cultures of open access, and
  • fostering a more open scholarly communication system through cultural and legislative change at the local, national, and international levels colleagues representing universities that are developing, have passed, or are implementing Open Access policies.

Development and implementation of Open Access policies usually falls to the university library, and those tasked with this work can find a community of practice in the group of dedicated individuals that make up COAPI.  COAPI members, while moving their own institutions’ policy work forward also have a collective focus on increasing the amount of open access literature available to readers and researchers around the world. The journey of working on an institutional open access policy, through passage of a policy by the appropriate university governance group to full implementation, can be a long one, and other COAPI members are always ready to assist by sharing a similar experience, providing useful documentation, or offering suggestions for responding to questions from faculty. COAPI is an organization that is growing while working with others on the “open” future that is being created, one policy and one paper at a time.

Getting Started

When institutions and individuals start thinking about developing an open access policy, where do they start? Many find a helpful roadmap in Stuart Shieber and Peter Suber’s regularly updated guide, “Good Practices for Open Access Policies.” https://cyber.harvard.edu/hoap/Good_practices_for_university_open-a...

Beyond the excellent published resources available, the development of an organization around open access policymaking has proven very valuable. Many representatives of COAPI institutions are scholarly communication librarians, repository specialists, or experts on open access. There are very few issues that this group has not, cannot, or will not tackle in moving OA policies forward. When passing a policy, for an institution new to such work, it also inspires confidence in the faculty audiences voting for an open access policy that there exists a dedicated organization of peer institutions that form a consulting group around best practices.

COAPI also develops tools and resources to assist others in open access policy work. For example, the COAPI Toolkit (https://osf.io/vhw6d/) has been developed where members are sharing resources and important documentation that would otherwise be difficult to obtain. COAPI also is poised to respond to any actions that are relevant to institutional Open Access policies, such as federal legislation or specific publisher initiatives that create impediments for open access policy work. Examples of these actions would be the formal response from COAPI to the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy’s 2012 Request for Information, and COAPI’s June 13, 2012 letter submitted in support of FRPAA.

COAPI is assisted in its mission by SPARC, and often COAPI gatherings can be found associated with SPARC meetings. For further information about COAPI, please contact us at COAPI@sparcopen.org

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