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Open Access at Vassar College

How does Vassar's Open Access policy work?

The policy grants to Vassar College specific non-exclusive permissions to Vassar College for any scholarly article that a faculty member completes.

You retain the copyright in the article and can exercise your rights in any way, including transferring copyright to a publisher.

Vassar College will post the text of the preprint version of the article in Digital Window, Vassar's institutional repository.

Who should submit an article? When and how should it be submitted?

Scholarly articles should be submitted in electronic format (e.g., Word, PDF), ideally around the time of publication.  They can be submitted by the author or the author's designate (e.g., a department's administrative assistant).

Eligible faculty

The policy applies to all scholarly articles authored or co-authored while the person is a member of the Faculty of Vassar College. Work completed prior to appointment at Vassar can be submitted at the faculty member’s discretion.

Eligible work

The policy applies only to work completed after passage of the policy on May 10, 2017, but older articles may be submitted to the repository at the faculty member's discretion. Contact for more information.

What type of work is included?

The scope of Vassar's open access policy is peer-reviewed journal articles. As the Budapest Open Access Initiative states, this freely accessible material should be "...that which scholars give to the world without expectation of payment. Primarily, this category encompasses their peer-reviewed journal articles..." 

Not all versions of articles are covered under this policy. In general, Vassar's Open Access policy covers author's draft/pre-print and author's final version/post-print versions.


Author's draft or pre-print: the version of the paper initially submitted to a journal publisher for consideration, or any earlier draft.

Author's final version or post-print: the version of the paper accepted by the journal for publication, including all modifications from the publishing peer review process.

Published Version: the version of the paper distributed by the publisher to readers of the journal, incorporating any copy editing done by the publisher, showing the final page layout and formatting of the published version, and possibly including the publisher's logo.

For more information, contact

How do I know what policies my publisher may have around my self-archiving and open access?

An excellent way to check on publisher's policies is through SHERPA/RoMEO.  The service describes itself as:

SHERPA RoMEO is an online resource that aggregates and analyses publisher open access policies from around the world and provides summaries of self-archiving permissions and conditions of rights given to authors on a journal-by-journal basis.

Vassar College Libraries can help facilitate these policies to provide you with as many options as possible. Contact for more information.

What if a publisher refuses to publish my article because of Vassar's open access policy?

In some cases, a publisher may have specific concerns about preprint availability of your accepted journal article. The following options can help ameliorate this concern:

  1. Limited embargo - it is possible to provide an embargo for your work for a particular time period to satisfy your publisher's requirement. This is a common practice and one that our repository can accommodate with ease.
  2. Waiver - if necessary, you can apply for a waiver with the Dean of the Faculty to exempt this particular work from the policy.

Vassar College Libraries can help facilitate these policies to provide you with as many options as possible. Contact for more information.

What if a publisher requires an addendum?

An "author addendum" is a simple legal tool used to amend the agreement issued by a publisher. Publishers' agreements concerning publication of articles may contain provisions that are inconsistent with the license granted to Vassar College under the Open Access Policy. A good addendum and set of guidelines is the SPARC Addendum, which allows you to select or opt out of individual rights normally bundled together.

What if a co-author objects to the terms of the policy and wants to opt out?

Each author in a jointly authored work owns the copyright and has the right to grant a nonexclusive permission to others. Should you choose to accommodate a co-author's objection, you can submit a request for a waiver through the Dean of the Faculty.

What about third-party materials such as images?

When you seek permission to use third-party material in an article, be sure your permission allows the material to be used in all forms and media, including Vassar College's open access repository. Third-party material may also be incorporated in your article under Fair Use.  Please contact Tom Porcello, Vassar's copyright officer, for more information.

How can I find out more about open access?

I understand the benefits to Open Access, but I do not want my article to be made OA. What can I do?

It is possible to get a waiver. For more information, email

Does this website provide legal advice?

Like many library resources and consultations, this website provides education, information, and resources to help faculty understand the Open Access resolution and to assist in making their materials available online. It does not provide legal advice.

How long will it take for my article to be added?

The time to process and post your article may vary depending on the time of year.  Once it is posted, you will receive an email notifying you that it is available.

What is a pre-print? What is a post-print?

A pre-print is the draft version of the article as the author submitted it to the publisher for consideration.  This draft is pre- peer review and has not been revised.

A post-print is the author's version of the article that was accepted for publication.  It includes all modifications and revisions made as part of the review process.

The published version is the article as it appears in the distributed publication.  It includes copy-edits made by the publisher, and the finalized layout and formatting.  A pdf downloaded from the journal is a published version.