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Caltech Open Access Policy FAQ: Open Access Policy waivers

Frequently asked questions about the California Institute of Technology's Open Access policy.

Open Access Policy Waiver Request

Caltech Open Access Policy waivers

To whom does the policy apply (professorial faculty, students, research scientists, JPL)?

The Caltech Open Access Policy applies exclusively to tenure-track professorial faculty with appointments on the Caltech campus.  Neither graduate nor undergraduate students are bound by the policy.  The policy does not apply to research scientists or post-doctoral scholars.  The Jet Propulsion Laboratory falls outside of the purview of the Institute Open Access Policy with the exception of professorial faculty who hold dual apppointments both on campus and at the lab.

How does one get a waiver?

To obtain a waiver, fill out a simple web form informing Caltech of the following:

  • Name of Caltech author
  • Title of article (expected or working title)
  • Journal you expect to publish in

Which publishers are most likely to request a waiver?

AAAS, Nature Publishing Group, Institute of Physics (IoP) Publishing, and PNAS routinely require waivers from university Open Access policies.


What happens if one does not get a waiver, but assigns exclusive rights to a publisher anyway, by signing a publisher's agreement that conflicts with the policy?

Caltech’s license would still have force, because it would have been granted (through this policy) prior to the signing of the publisher contract. If the publisher expresses concern that cannot be remedied, you have several options. You could:


What happens if co-authors disagree about whether or not to get a waiver?

Each co-author in a jointly written article owns the copyright. Under U.S. copyright law, any co-author has the right to grant a nonexclusive permission to others. It would be up to each faculty author to decide whether to get a waiver from the policy for a given article to accommodate another co-author.


Why does the policy include a waiver?  Does the existence of a waiver procedure undermine the policy?

One of the concerns frequently raised in implementing an Open Access policy is the importance of a waiver for junior faculty who do not want to jeopardize their ability to work with certain publishers. Another was the desire to comply with certain scholarly societies' policies even if in conflict with this policy.

Even with a waiver option, the policy changes the default rights assigned to the author. The new policy gives Caltech rights to openly share Caltech faculty work and extends rights to the authors for their use as well.

Engineering Librarian

George Porter
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Subjects:Engineering