What is Open Access?

Open Access refers to scholarly literature that is digital, online, free of charge and free of most copyright and reuse restrictions (Peter Suber).

For more information about open access see the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) Open Access page.


Open Access @ KU

26,000 +
The number of items in KU ScholarWorks

120,000 +
The number of downloads of the most popular KU ScholarWorks item, Greetings from the Teklimakan: a handbook of Modern Uyghur

The year that the KU Open Access Policy was approved by the Faculty Senate

13 million +
The number of times that items in KU ScholarWorks have been downloaded

The number of works by undergraduate students in KU ScholarWorks

The number of dissertations and theses in the Pre-1923 Dissertations and Theses collection.

KU Faculty's Open Access Policy

The first formal step taken by KU faculty toward an Open Access Policy was the Faculty Senate’s 2005 Resolution on Access to Scholarly Information, which established KU ScholarWorks; and signaled faculty’s interest in and support for open access. In 2009 and 2010, Faculty Senate passed the KU Faculty Open Access Policy, asserting faculty rights to make their published scholarly articles openly accessible. KU is the first public institution to adopt an open access policy after Harvard, MIT, and Stanford’s School of Education. As of 2019, over 75 US universities, public and private, have adopted similar open access policies. As the Provost’ Designate under the policy, the Shulenburger Office supports faculty in a variety of ways to make their scholarly work as visible as possible.  

To best leverage the Open Access Policy, faculty should affirm the license. Occasionally a publisher may require a faculty member to opt out of the Policy for a specific article, in which case the author may submit an Open Access Policy Waiver Form.

See Get Started for additional information.

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  • Ada Emmett
    Director, Shulenburger Office of Scholarly Communication & Copyright, KU Libraries

  • Josh Bolick
    Scholarly Communication Librarian
    Shulenburger Office of Scholarly Communication & Copyright, KU Libraries

  • Marianne Reed
    Digital Initiatives Manager
    Digital Initiatives, KU Libraries

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