Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 68.85
Liaison Kelly Wellman
Submission Date Dec. 11, 2020

STARS v2.2

Texas A&M University
AC-11: Open Access to Research

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Michael Maciel
Senior Data Analyst
Texas A&M University Libraries
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution offer repository hosting that makes versions of journal articles, book chapters, and other peer-reviewed scholarly works by its employees freely available on the public internet?:
Yes

Website URL where the open access repository is available:
A brief description of the open access repository:

Another website is https://www.tdl.org/

OAKTrust, the University’s institutional repository, is an open access digital repository for collecting, preserving, and distributing the scholarly output of the Texas A&M University and its partners. It provides increased access to the products of the University's research and scholarship endeavors, fosters the preservation of these digital works for future generations, promotes increasingly rapid advances in scholarly communication, and helps deepen community understanding of the value of higher education.


Does the institution have a published policy that requires its employees to publish scholarly works open access or archive final post-peer reviewed versions of scholarly works in an open access repository?:
No

A copy of the institution's open access policy:
---

The institution's open access policy:

The Texas A&M University Libraries (Libraries) is using this section to not only provide a copy of the Texas A&M University (University)’s Open Access Policy that the Libraries has established and maintains but to also address the numerous steps the University and the Libraries are taking to making publication of University authors’ works in Open Access resources easier to achieve as well as bring about a University-wide policy that requires its employees to publish scholarly works open access or archive final post-peer reviewed versions of scholarly works in an open access repository. As noted in the STARS Version 2.2 AC-11 notes this policy will not be a strictly voluntary policy but will allow for publisher embargoes and/or provide a waiver option that allows authors to opt-out of the open access license/program for individual articles, policies, and commitments.

This section of AC-11 will contain the following parts:

*** Current Open Access Policy
*** External Funding Agency Compliance Open Access Requirements
*** Charge by the Texas A&M Faculty Senate to Create an Open Access Policy that Contains an Open Access Open Access Publication Requirement
*** Recent Efforts to Broaden Author Rights to Publish Open Access

Further, it should be noted that while not having an Open Access publication requirement does not prevent an institution from receiving full points for section AC-11, it is the intent of the Texas A&M University, through its Faculty Senate, to create such a policy as another means to promote global access to information and knowledge.

*** CURRENT OPEN ACCESS POLICY ***

The Libraries is charged with maintaining the University’s Open Access Policy. Within the Libraries, it is the Office of Scholarly Communication’s responsibility to manage the Open Access Policy as well as to report to and communicate with the University’s Faculty Senate. The Texas A&M University requires that its scholars comply with funding guidelines and publish works in an open access repository.

The Libraries’ working Open Access Policy is:

The Texas A&M University Libraries “is an active advocate of open access, believing that open access can help address both the price barriers and the permission barriers that undermine global access to the products of Texas A&M University’s scholarly and creative work, as well as helping alleviate the serious issue of providing Texas A&M scholars access to the world’s scholarly literature due to rising subscription costs. Our Libraries’ programs seek to provide the tools and services that remove barriers to scholars publishing their scholarship as open access.”

The University’s institutional repository, called OAKTrust (established in 2013), is charged with collecting, preserving and distributing “the scholarly output of the University, including scholarly articles and books, electronic theses and dissertations, conference proceedings, technical reports, digitized library collections, and data sets.”

OAKTrust, in addition to providing an online archive, provides “a set of services that a university offers to members of its community for the management and dissemination of digital materials created by the institution and its community members.”

OAKTrust is in fact made up of two databases – the archival database/repository and another that provides a platform that supports both the collection of ongoing research data and the facilitation of online collaboration between research entities and/or individuals.

The Libraries’ support for Open Access seeks to provide the following benefits to the University:

INCREASED VISIBILITY, DISCOVERABILITY, and ACCESSIBILITY
Open access literature has the potential to be much more accessible than print-only or subscription-based publications. For researchers, the Open Access model removes the barriers, such as subscription costs, to accessing literature, and the inconveniences associated with this traditional model. As more scholarly information is made freely available, scholars are relying much more on materials that they can find and retrieve online. Authors, with the possibilities of alternative accessibility, must consider how their research can be found and used.

INCREASED IMPACT
The obvious result of higher visibility of open access literature is that open access leads to increased impact and a greater citation rates. Multiple studies conducted over the last several years show that open access materials are cited at a higher rate than articles that are published traditionally.

REDUCED COST
For libraries, open access relieves the burden associated with the ever-increasing cost of serials subscriptions. Comparing data from 2015 and 2019, the CPI rate of inflation increased 6.9% while the serials rate of inflation during that same 5 year period increased 24.1%. That is, serial inflation increased at a rate 3.5 times greater than CPI inflation. Between 1998 and 2018 serials costs have increased 166%. Many academic libraries are seeing subscription costs increase greater than their purchasing budgets. This is further exacerbated by decreasing purchasing budgets. The result is that due to smaller budgets and rising costs many university libraries are canceling vital information resources. A library’s reliance on the current subscription based serials model is no longer sustainable.

To further mitigate rising resource costs the Libraries’ provide financial support and incentives for Open Access in general and specifically the University’s OakTrust institutional repository, and the OA Textbook project:

•OAKFund:
The OAKFund was established in 2015 by the Libraries to encourage participation in the OAKTrust repository as well as help mitigate publication costs. In FY2016/2017 $85K was offered. This funding has continued to increase and for the recent FY2018/2019 budget included $110K in dedicated funding for the program. This was an increase of 29%. Much of this increase was due to expanding the eligibility to participate to graduate students, in addition to faculty.

•PeerJ Memberships:
OAKFund also offers a limited number of PeerJ Lifetime Publication Plans. Eligible authors must have an article accepted for publication in PeerJ. Unlike a one-time payment of publication charges, PeerJ membership lasts a lifetime, allowing an author to publish one article per year. Even if eligible authors leave Texas A&M University, future publications accepted in PeerJ will be free of charge.

•BioMed Central APC Discount:
BioMed Central publishes 272 peer-reviewed open access journals. Texas A&M University is a Supporter Member which means that when you publish in any BioMed Central journal you will receive a 15% discount on the article-processing charge. The discount is automatically applied when BMC sends the invoice for the Author Processing Charge (APC).

•Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) Gold-for-Gold OA Vouchers:
As a subscriber to Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) journals, Texas A&M University Libraries receives a type of "rebate" for our investment in the form of open access vouchers. These vouchers may be used by Texas A&M authors to publish their papers in RSC journals free of charge, as a Gold Open Access (OA) article, without paying the normal Article Publication Fee (APF).

•OA Textbooks:
The Libraries since 2017/2018 has collaborated with the University of Minnesota on an Open Textbook Library Initiative (http://open.umn.edu). Last year, when the program first began at Texas A&M, 3,378 students in 7 classes used these free resources. This resulted in a savings of $595K in expenses these students would otherwise have had to spend. In its second year, 2018/2019 grew significantly. Fifteen classes were added to the program. 14,128 students saw savings of $1,764K – a 196% reduction in textbook burden to the University’s students. A large reason for this success was that while the program began in the Libraries’ Office of Scholarly Communications, involvement of the Libraries’ Subject Specialists led to better and more aggressive identification of classes that could benefit from the Initiative. Subject Specialist receive training on the Initiative and how to promote it. The result is that open access textbooks and custom course packs expanded from STEM courses to the Social Sciences. The program is expected to expand, in the next 2-3 years, within these fields of study as well as cross into other disciplines.

•OA Textbook Recognition Awards:
In an effort to recognize effective applications of OA textbooks the Libraries, in conjunction with the University, offers open access textbook awards and incentives (stipends) to instructional faculty. In 2017/2018 five awards, at $1,500 each, $7,500 total, were issued. In 2018/2019 twelve $1,500 stipends, totaling $18,000, were awarded.

(Source: Texas A&M University Libraries’ Office of Scholarly Communications, https://library.tamu.edu/services/scholarly_communication/)

INCREASED SUCCESS TO COMPETE FOR and WIN GRANTS
Many grant-giving organizations, including the NSF and NIH, require that pre-publications and data sets be housed in open access databases. OAKTrust provides the database and needed support needed to meet these grant prerequisites. The Libraries’ Office of Scholarly Communications not only offers the database (OAKTrust) to house these materials, but the software and expertise to support it. In late 2017/2018 a Data Management Librarian was added to the department to promote and curate the growing datasets that needed to be maintained to meet NSF and NIH guidelines.

*** EXTERNAL FUNDING AGENCY COMPLIANCE OPEN ACCESS REQUIREMENTS ***

While it has been noted in this section of AC-11 that compliance meeting external funding open access requirements does not qualify as meeting a University-wide open access requirement, it should still be noted that a large amount of research (and thus publications) arise from external funding agencies. These funding sources extend beyond just the NSF and NIH; many of which has also begun requiring open access publication. As such the University regularly audits compliance to these agencies funding requirements. Over a decade ago the University was shown not meet many (i.e., not just open access publication requirements) agency requirements While this matter was rectified immediately, the University went the extra step of creating a long-term auditing infrastructure to ensure full compliance.

*** CHARGE BY THE TEXAS A&M FACULTY SENATE TO CREATE AN OPEN ACCESS POLICY THAT CONTAINS AN OPEN ACCESS OPEN ACCESS PUBLICATION REQUIREMENT ***

As stated previously, while not having an Open Access publication requirement does not prevent an institution from receiving full points for section AC-11, it is the intent of the Texas A&M University, through its Faculty Senate, to create such a policy as another means to promote global access to information and knowledge.

In 2019, under instructions by the Faculty Senate and the Senate Research Committee passed a resolution recommending that Texas A&M develop and adopt an Open Access Policy (copy of the charge is attached in this section (Texas A&M Open Access Policy Charge). The COVID-19 Pandemic delayed the completion of this policy but it is expected to be resolved and presented during the Fall 2021 academic semester. As a template the Task Force is using Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center document for drafting an Open Access Policy (https://cyber.harvard.edu/hoap/Drafting_a_policy)

As with other Open Access Policies that have posted as part of STARS Version 2.2. AC-11 sections (and noted in AC-11) the Texas A&M University Open Access Policy will allow for publisher embargoes and/or provide a waiver option that allows authors to opt-out of the open access license/program for individual articles, policies, and commitments.

*** RECENT EFFORTS TO BROADEN AUTHOR RIGHTS TO PUBLISH OPEN ACCESS ***

In August 2020, the Dean of the Texas A&M University Libraries (David Carlson) began work to create the Texas Library Coalition for United Action (TLCUA). At present there are 40 institutions that make up this coalition. The goal of the coalition is to “think creatively about access to faculty publications and the sustainability of journal subscriptions. TLCUA [is] organized to identify the best way to change current models and the relationships between academic institutions and publishers. The goals of the Coalition are ambitious – improved access to scholarship, greater control over faculty content, and pricing models that are sustainable for strained library budgets in higher education.” The proposed changes to author rights that is being presented to publishers enable the authors with greater freedom to publish their works in open access resources alongside publisher resources.


Does the policy cover the entire institution? :
No

Does the institution provide an open access article processing charge (APC) fund for employees?:
Yes

A brief description of the open access APC fund:

To mitigate rising resource costs the Libraries provide financial support and incentives for Open Access in general, and specifically, through the University’s OAKTrust institutional repository, and the OA Textbook project:

OAKFUND:
The OAKFund was established in 2015 by the Libraries to encourage participation in the OAKTrust repository as well as help mitigate publication costs. In FY2020-2021, as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic funding sources were decreased. Funding was decreased to $50,000 and a funding cap per paper was set. While a significant reduction in funding, this total remains one of the largest among U.S. public higher education institutions. The URL https://library.tamu.edu/services/scholarly_communication/Open_Access/oakfund.html provides application and use guidelines for OAKFund .

PEERJ MEMBERSHIPS:
OAKFund also offers a limited number of PeerJ Lifetime Publication Plans. Eligible authors must have an article accepted for publication in PeerJ. Unlike a one-time payment of publication charges, PeerJ membership lasts a lifetime, allowing an author to publish one article per year. Even if eligible authors leave Texas A&M University, future publications accepted in PeerJ will be free of charge. OAKFund offers authors a Basic Plan, providing one free publication per year in PeerJ.

BIOMED CENTRAL APC DISCOUNT:
BioMed Central publishes 272 peer-reviewed open access journals. Texas A&M University is a Supporter Member which means that when you publish in any BioMed Central journal you will receive a 15% discount on the article-processing charge. The discount is automatically applied when BMC sends the invoice for the Author Processing Charge (APC).

ROYAL SOCIETY OF CHEMISTRY (RSC) GOLD-FOR-GOLD OA VOUCHERS:
As a subscriber to Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) journals, Texas A&M University Libraries receives a type of "rebate" for our investment in the form of open access vouchers. These vouchers may be used by Texas A&M authors to publish their papers in RSC journals free of charge, as a Gold Open Access (OA) article, without paying the normal Article Publication Fee (APF).

OA TEXTBOOKS:
The Libraries since 2017/2018 has collaborated with the University of Minnesota on an Open Textbook Library Initiative (http://open.umn.edu). The program seeks to support faculty in their adoption, adaptation, and creation of open education resources that can be used to improve the affordability of a Texas A&M education and enhance student success.

The program, since its beginning, has expanded every year. For FY20-21 the Libraries has identified 29 courses that will use either Open Access Textbooks or Open Access Coursepacks. This will impact 44K students and save $6.5 million in textbook costs.

A large reason for this success was that while the program began in the Libraries’ Office of Scholarly Communications, involvement of the Libraries’ Subject Specialists led to better and more aggressive identification of classes that could benefit from the Initiative. Subject Specialists receive training on the Initiative and how to promote it. The result is that open access textbooks and custom course packs expanded from STEM courses to the Business, Humanities, and Social Sciences fields of study. The University Libraries’ First Year Programs Librarian initiated an OER program for several ENGL 104 section. This involved teaching some of these sections to determine the success and expansion opportunities. This Librarian is also working with several professors in the English Department to expand the program to its Technical Writing course (ENGL 210).

OA TEXTBOOK RECOGNITION AWARDS:
The Student Government Association (SGA) at Texas A&M University has partnered with the University Libraries to establish two annual awards for faculty members who go above and beyond in adopting and demonstrating exemplary usage of Open Educational Resources (OERs) in their classrooms or taking active roles in the creation or dissemination of these open access materials. These awards seek to recognize faculty who promote or contribute to a culture of utilizing free academic resources and knowledge sharing in order to lessen the financial burden on students and mitigate the overall cost of receiving an education.

In addition to recognizing faculty members outstanding achievement in utilizing and championing Open Educational Materials, the winners will receive $500 in award money, graciously sponsored by the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President and TAMU Libraries.


Does the institution provide open access journal hosting services through which peer-reviewed open access journals are hosted on local servers with dedicated staff who provide publishing support at no (or minimal) cost?:
Yes

A brief description of the open access journal hosting services:

The Texas A&M University Libraries in its OAKTrust Institutional Repository as well in the Texas Digital Library, of which Texas A&M University is a founding member, uses as its open access journal hosting service, the Open Journal Systems (OJS) open-source software, a management and publication software produced by the Public Knowledge Project.


Estimated percentage of peer-reviewed scholarly works published annually by the institution’s employees that are deposited in a designated open access repository:
47

Website URL where information about the institution’s support for open access is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.