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Meeting Updates

UMD PACT Meeting: Thursday, April 15, 2021

Peter Suber, Director of the Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication, Director of the Harvard Open Access Project, and a Senior Researcher at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society attended this virtual meeting. He also attended on August 20, 2020.

PACT members have continued to disseminate information to UMD faculty on the proposed policy; they invited Peter to their discussions of reactions so far.

Most responses have been very positive to date.

A few faculty members have asked questions and expressed concerns:

  • Concern about the time burden on faculty when depositing their articles into the depository: Peter agreed that this is an unavoidable concern because the author-approved manuscripts [AAMs] will have to be sent to the Libraries by the faculty members themselves. It is now common for publishers to use online platforms for submitting manuscripts for the peer review process and final editing, and at times, these platforms do not make it easy for the authors to obtain their own AAMs. In these cases, faculty members may request the AAMs from these publishers. However, if this is perceived as too much of a burden, it may be helpful to note that the policy does not provide for any penalties for non-deposit, it relies on faculty making a commitment to deposit their articles.
  • Concern that the published version may contain substantive differences from the peer-reviewed AAM: Peter explained that when a paper is revised by the publisher after the peer review stage, the author does not have the rights to those publisher-made changes. But the VOR (version of record) is almost always the same in regard to the meaningful content as the AAM, because that content has been peer-reviewed. In most cases, the AAM suffices for scholarly purposes, because’s it’s the peer-reviewed version of the text. Even for those who would prefer access to the VOR, if they are barred from access due to permission and price barriers, access to the AAM is far better than nothing. Presumably, the peer-review process is supposed to catch all substantive issues and edits, in any case. One 2018 study by Kelin et al, “Comparing published scientific journal articles to their pre-print versions” (International Journal on Digital Libraries, 2018), found that “the text contents of the scientific papers generally changed very little from their pre-print to final published versions.”
  • Some faculty members are already sharing their articles in different repositories and to share them again in DRUM seems like a duplicative effort. In these cases at Harvard, few attempts are made to get duplicate copies into the institutional repository. Because the AAMs are already openly accessible, this isn’t a high priority. But Harvard does carry out harvesting from a few disciplinary archives to try to mitigate this issue.
  • Some articles have more than one DOI e.g. if an author deposits an AAM into a repository that grants DOIs. Google software crawls for different versions and groups them together; Google Scholar matches papers with different DOIs. All UMD DRUM records have a DOI. A link is added to DRUM records if the article also has a publisher-based DOI. DRUM also contains datasets - a DOI is often required by journals for citing and sharing datasets.


  • The unintended consequences of not being able to find adjunct professors because they would object to this policy as part of their contractual relationships with UMD, but this seems to be related to a mistaken notion that this policy causes the authors to give up their rights, whereas this is not the case. The solution is to educate faculty about this policy as a rights-retention policy, not something that takes away rights to the university.  PACT members noted that early-career faculty seem to readily support OA.