Comparing the alignment of University Open Access Policies in Italy

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Discussion and recommendations.

1. Open Access policies: good and Italian practices

In the present subsection, we are going to highlight whether OA policies adopted by Italian universities apply those OA schemes which are generally depicted as the most effective in promoting Open Access. In order to do that, we will preliminarily investigate what OA policy schemes are mainly recommended in order to foster and increase Open Access.

The “iron law of default inertia” (Giglia 2011) has a power which should not be underestimated (Shieber 2013). It is for that reason that policies implementing an Open-Access-by-default regime are strongly recommended (Shieber 2013) (Swan 2015) (Frankel 2010) (Commission 2016). Please note, as a preliminary remark, that for an Open-Access-by-default scheme to be fruitful, a particular regime is required also for what concerns the deposit which precedes the Open Access: it should in fact be mandatory and non-waivable. However, as we are going to deal with deposit infra (§ …), we do not deepen that theme by now.

OA policies implementing Open-Access-by-default show to be effective even when accompanied by an opt-out option: “[T]he experience at every school with a waiver option is that the waiver rate is low. At both Harvard and MIT it’s below 5 percent”, state Shieber and Suber (Shieber 2013). Even the recommendations formulated for the ten years from the Budapest Open Access Initiative – whose motto, by the way, significantly was “setting the default to open” (Initiative 2012) – left to policy-makers the choice between granting or not an OA waiver to faculty1, as if it did not weigh on the goals of the Initiative. Again, a recent research enumerated the elements of Open Access policies mainly correlated with policy effectiveness (Swan 2015): “Open Access cannot be waived”