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About the JH Open Access (OA) Policy

  • What does the policy say?

    Read the policy here.

  • Why is Johns Hopkins doing this?

    In accordance with our mission of providing knowledge for the world, the University is committed to disseminating the research and scholarship of its faculty as widely as possible. Increased public access to research  contributes to greater impact in the broader scientific and scholarly community and advances the reputation of the University.

  • Do other universities have similar policies?

    Yes, many universities worldwide have OA policies like this, and the JH policy is modeled on policy best practices at peer institutions. ROARMAP lists institutions and funding agencies that implement open access mandates. MIT provides a partial list of U.S. and Canadian colleges and universities with such policies.

  • Is Johns Hopkins taking away my rights to my research?

    Not at all; authors retain full rights to re-use or re-distribute their work in any way they see fit.

  • What does “accepted for publication on or after July 1, 2018” actually mean?

    The policy does not apply to scholarly articles published or accepted before July 1, 2018. Nor does the policy apply to scholarly articles accepted prior to July 1, 2018 and published after that date.

  • To whom does this policy apply?

    The policy applies to full-time JH faculty. All types of faculty are included in this policy, not just tenure-track or tenured faculty. Part-time faculty are not included. Students, staff researchers, and postdoctoral fellows are encouraged to make their peer-reviewed journal articles open access, but are not required to do so.

  • Who is a “corresponding or sole author?”

    “Corresponding author” refers to the author responsible for communication with the publisher; “sole author” applies to articles that only have one author.  If an article has only one author who is a full time JH faculty member or the corresponding author of an article is a full-time JH faculty member, then the article needs to be made openly available by that faculty member through one of the methods described in the policy.

  • What is the “author’s final version” of my article?

    JH faculty publish in many different journals, all with different rules and practices regarding posting versions of an article in platforms other than the publisher’s website. You can see summaries of these rules in Sherpa/Romeo. Most open access policies request that the author’s final version be deposited in an open repository. The JH Open Access Policy defines the author’s final version as the “version of a scholarly article that is sent to the publisher after it has gone through peer review, any revisions responsive thereto, and any further copyediting in which the corresponding author has participated.”

  • What research outputs does this policy apply to?

    The policy applies to peer-reviewed journal articles. Other types of output such as essays, books, edited book chapters, catalogs, letters, editorials, poetry, music, etc. are not covered by this policy.

  • What is an “Open Access journal?”

    An Open Access journal is a journal that does not require a subscription to read or download content. If you publish in an OA journal, you have met the policy’s goal and do not need to do anything more. A list of reputable OA journals is available at the Directory of Open Access Journals. Librarians and informationists can offer tips for avoiding predatory journals.

  • What are “Open Access repositories?”

    An Open Access repository provides free content and makes that content discoverable through Google, Google Scholar, and other search engines. Some open repositories are associated with funding agencies: NIH has PubMed Central, NASA has PubSpace, and DOE has PAGES. Some disciplines use community repositories: physics has arXiv, biology has bioRxiv, and the humanities have Humanities Commons. Many institutions run repositories: Harvard has DASH, MIT has DSpace@MIT, and Duke uses the Duke Digital Repository. If a version of your peer-reviewed article appears in a repository similar to these, you are aligned with the JH policy and do not have to do anything further.

Complying with the Policy

  • How do I comply with the policy?

    Faculty may comply with the policy in two ways. First, they may comply by publishing their scholarly articles in an open access journal, depositing their article in an open access repository, (e.g. PubMed Central), or electing an open access option in a non-open journal. Alternatively, faculty (or a proxy) can use the Public Access Submission System, PASS, to deposit the author’s final version of the article in the JH institutional repository, JScholarship.

    PASS was available as of July 2, 2018. PASS currently supports submission to PubMed Central for compliance with the following funding agency public access policies: NIH, ACL, ASPR, CDC, VA, FDA, HHMI, and NASA. It can be used as a direct substitute for the NIHMS submission system, although the final review and approval steps must still be completed via NIHMS. PASS also provides a dashboard that displays deposit and compliance status for NIH grants and associated submissions. PASS includes a link to the web-based submission forms for the Department of Education and USAID. PASS will eventually support submission to other funding agencies such as NSF and DOE.

  • What can I do if a journal refuses my paper because of the Johns Hopkins Open Access Policy?

    For thousands of journal titles, this should not be an issue. The Sherpa/Romeo site provides information about publisher self-archiving and copyright policies. If the journal in question does not allow you to share a version of your article openly, you still have several options. For example, you can contact the publisher and try to negotiate an exception to their rules based on our policy. Additionally, scholarly articles whose copyright transfer or licensing terms with the publisher are incompatible with this policy are exempt from this policy. Please contact Robin Sinn to discuss the options available to you.

  • When do I need to make my article openly available?

    There are no hard deadlines. Publishing your article in an Open Access journal requires no extra steps, so in that scenario there is not any need for a deadline. If your funder requires you to deposit in its open repository, you can abide by whatever deadlines they impose; JH will not add an extra deadline. If you submit the author’s final version to JScholarship, you can do that when it fits your schedule. The sooner you do that, the more quickly your article will be accessible and the less likely you are to forget; but JH does not require submission within a particular timeframe.

  • How do I deal with a journal embargo?

    Journals may require a 6- to 24-month embargo before you can post the author’s final version of the article in an open access repository. You should follow such requirements. No deadline is included in the JH Open Access Policy. Both PASS and JScholarship work with embargo dates. You can submit your author’s final version at any point, indicate the end date for the embargo, and the system will post the files at the appropriate time.

  • Will posting articles on my personal web page meet the policy’s conditions?

    Posting to a personal web page does not fulfill the policy requirements. Personal web pages don’t offer the same functions and services as journals and repositories. These important functions and services include:

    • A permanent identifier (URI or DOI)
    • Search engine optimization
    • A workflow for long-term preservation
    • A workflow for copyright and other inquiries

    Personal web pages, even those provided by your academic department, will disappear when you leave the university, retire, or die. We want to ensure that your research is available beyond that point.

Finding OA Journals and Repositories

  • How do I identify reputable OA journals?

    A list of reputable OA journals is available at the Directory of Open Access Journals. Concerns about particular titles can be addressed to your librarian or informationist, or Robin Sinn.

  • How do I identify and avoid predatory journals?

    Your librarian, informationist, or Robin Sinn can assist with questions about particular journals. The library provides a list of resources that can help you avoid predatory journals.

  • What open repositories does JH consider acceptable?

    Repositories associated with educational institutions, funding agencies, or scholarly societies, and academic disciplines are acceptable outlets for your research.  Examples include PubMed Central, MLA Commons, and the Department of Energy’s PAGES. Any repository listed in PASS is acceptable. These sites provide open access to anyone wanting to read or download articles. There is some effort at stability and preservation of the content deposited.

  • Are sites like, ResearchGate, or Mendeley acceptable as open repositories?

    No. These sites make little effort to check for copyright compliance;  thus many publishers don’t want their content on these sites. Please use JScholarship, an Open Access journal, or a repository run by a grant agency or discipline to make your articles openly available.

PASS and JScholarship

  • What is PASS?

    The Library built and maintains PASS to support submission to JScholarship and other repositories. PASS allows you to submit to multiple repositories simultaneously, saving you time. The system went live on July 2, 2018. Work will continue after July 2, to improve the interface and to allow PASS to work with other agencies like the NSF. A new function was added in November, 2018, allowing proxy submission. Faculty can allow another JH employee to upload the documents; the faculty still needs to make a final check before the submission is complete.

    Some subscription journals charge a fee (often in the thousands of dollars) to make an article Open Access; they also submit the publisher’s version of the article immediately into a repository. Authors might pay this fee because they want the published version immediately available. If you are content with making the author’s final version available, however, use PASS and avoid paying that fee.

  • What is JScholarship?

    JScholarship is the Johns Hopkins institutional repository. You can deposit the author’s final version of your article in JScholarship. The Library manages JScholarship; it will preserve your material and make it discoverable by Google and Google Scholar. If a publisher is concerned about an article version posted in JScholarship, the library will work with the publisher to rectify the situation. You can also deposit other work in JScholarship that you want to make Open Access. Simply contact Robin Sinn,

  • What is the relationship between PASS and JScholarship?

    PASS is a submission system that allows you to submit your author’s final version to open repositories, including JScholarship, the JH institutional repository. Using PASS to submit to JScholarship places your files in the JH Open Access Collection. PASS will eventually work with a number of repositories.

  • PASS does not submit to my preferred open repository. How do I suggest a repository for inclusion in PASS?

    Please contact Robin Sinn,, the Scholarly Communication Officer, with repository suggestions.

  • How do I report questions or problems about PASS or JScholarship?

    Please contact Robin Sinn,, Coordinator of the Office of Scholarly Communication.

  • What are the benefits of submitting my work to JScholarship?

    The Library manages JScholarship; it will preserve your material and make it discoverable by Google and Google Scholar. JScholarship also provides a permanent identifier for use in citations, emails, and on websites.

  • I need help using PASS.

    You can contact either Caitlin Carter,, or Robin Sinn,, with questions about using PASS or suggestions for improvement.

    Videos are being created. See the current list below. Please contact Caitlin or Robin for further questions or suggestions for topics.

    Proxy submission to PASS


Copyright and Images

  • Why would subscription journals allow their articles to be published with Open Access?

    The NIH Public Access Policy requires journals publishers to make the author’s final version of an article supported with NIH grant funding freely available in PubMed Central within one year of publication in the journal. That law went into effect in 2008.   In 2013, the Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP) issued a similar requirement for federal agencies that grant more than $100 million in R&D funds. Many universities followed suit, creating their own open access policies.  ROARMAP tracks the number of open access policies globally.  Most journals and publishers have changed their author agreements in order to comply with these policies. Some journals will allow the submission of an author’s final version only if a university has an open access policy.

  • What about copyright transfer agreements?

    If  your copyright transfer agreement does not allow you to submit your author’s final version to an open repository, you may write to the journal requesting a change before you sign or click through the agreement. For the reasons mentioned above, many journals have a back-up agreement available.

  • The journal won’t let me submit my author’s final version to JScholarship. Now what?

    If a journal will not give you permission to make the author’s final version of your article openly available, you do not have to submit it to JScholarship. You do not have to request a waiver or notify us.  But if you would prefer to have your article openly available, please contact Robin Sinn to discuss options that might be available to you.

  • I do not have permission rights for some of the images in my article. What should I do?

    You have several options if you do not have permission to openly share the images in your article.

    1. You may submit a version of your article that does not include the images unless you are submitting to PubMed Central*.
    2. You may submit two files – one file with just the text, which will be openly available, and a supplementary file with the images that will be kept in a dark archive, unavailable to readers.
    3. You may choose not to submit any part of the article, if the images are so integral to the article that it cannot be understood without the images. You do not need to notify us or ask for a waiver.
    4. You may seek approval from the publisher to include the images.

    Please contact Robin Sinn or Caitlin Carter if you wish to explore these options.

    *If you use PASS to submit to a funder’s repository, you must abide by that repository’s restrictions. For example, the NIH requires that all images be submitted to PubMed Central, no matter who owns the rights.

Open Access Outside the Open Access Policy

  • May I make other research outputs openly available?

    Yes, you have many options available to you if you wish to make your text, images, slides, or data openly available. Your librarian or informationist can provide information about those options.  If you are primarily interested in data, Johns Hopkins Libraries Data Services can help you.

  • May I submit other work to JScholarship? May staff or students submit work?

    Yes, JScholarship’s purpose is to gather, distribute, and preserve digital materials related to the Johns Hopkins research and instructional mission. Content is deposited directly into the appropriate collection by Johns Hopkins faculty, students, and staff, and includes born-digital or digitized research and instructional materials. PASS can be used to deposit materials into the Knowledge for the World collection. Please contact Robin Sinn,, with questions.

Open Access and Scholarly Publishing

  • Is Open Access harming journals published by scholarly societies or small publishers?

    There is no credible evidence for harm, and Open Access has been operating in some disciplines for a decade or more. Scholarly publishing is changing. The virtue of making scholarship free for all to read resonates with many researchers and the academic missions of their home institutions. Many funders and institutions are supporting this move.

  • Will publishing open access articles affect tenure and promotion?

    The Open Access Policy will not affect tenure and promotion since faculty will continue to publish in their journals of choice.

  • How should the author’s final versions be cited?

    The metadata the author provides will provide most of the citation information. JScholarship, or another open repository, will provide a permanent identifier (e.g. JScholarship ID or PMCID) for use in the citation.

  • Will a reader be able to move from the open version of my article to the published version, on the publisher’s website?

    Some repositories have the capability to link between open versions and published versions of articles. JScholarship does not currently possess this functionality but we could develop it if necessary.

  • May I replace the author’s final version with the published version of record?

    Yes, if you have permission from the publisher to do so.

  • May I edit the author’s final version that I submit to PASS?

    When you submit your manuscript through PASS your files are sent intact to the submission system for the final repository in which the manuscript will reside.  You will have access to the same editing and correcting functions available in the final repository’s submission system – for example the NIHMS system for PubMed Central.  Note that there are no mechanisms for making corrections for manuscripts deposited in JScholarship. In JScholarship, we can remove access to one version using a “tombstone,” which maintains the citation chain, and upload a new version that is connected to the tombstone.

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