Skip to main content

Open Access Policy: FAQs

Introduces the KAUST Open Access Policy and answers common questions about it.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What version of the paper should be submitted under this policy?

The author’s final version of the article; that is, the author’s manuscript with any changes made as a result of the peer-review process, but prior to publisher’s copy-editing or formatting.


2. I prefer that only the final published version of an article be made available, why does the policy ask for the accepted manuscript, which may have errors in it that were later corrected?

Publisher policies vary in the permissions they grant for redistribution of publications in repositories. Some only allow redistribution of the final version of record, while others specifically state that the final publisher version may not be redistributed. Some options you may want to consider:

  • Include publisher policies among the factors you consider when selecting a journal to submit your research to, and submit more to journals that allow reuse of the publisher version.
  • If publishing in journals that do not allow reuse of the publisher version, you may want to check if they offer an option to pay a fee to license the article in a way that allows the publisher version to be included in the repository.


3. Does the policy apply to articles I’ve already written?

No, it doesn’t apply to any articles published before the policy was adopted (June 30, 2014), nor to any articles for which you entered into an incompatible publishing agreement before the policy was adopted. The policy also does not apply to any articles you write after leaving KAUST.


4. Does the policy apply to co-authored papers?

Yes. Each joint author of an article holds copyright in the article and, individually, has the authority to grant KAUST a non-exclusive license. Joint authors are those who participate in the preparation of the article with the intention that their contributions be merged into inseparable or interdependent parts of the whole.


5. Do I need to get my coauthor's permission to deposit our article in the KAUST repository?

No, under copyright you are entitled as the coauthor to assign rights. However, as a matter of good practice, you should consider notifying your coauthor that you will be providing a copy to the KAUST research repository in compliance with the KAUST policy.


6. After leaving KAUST, I will publish articles on research conducted with KAUST funding. At the time of publication, I will no longer be current KAUST faculty. Will this work be encompassed by the policy?

Under the current version, the policy applies only to researchers employed by KAUST. It does not apply to all researchers using KAUST funds. However, articles resulting from KAUST funding could be added to the policy in the future if that is KAUST’s wish. Such an open access requirement would be similar to the stance taken by leading research funders such as the US National Institute of Health, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the Wellcome Trust.


7. Will complying with the KAUST policy be complicated and burdensome for faculty?

No. Your only obligation to KAUST under the policy is to provide KAUST with a copy of your final manuscript or to request a waiver (this will be automatically approved). Library staff will simplify this process to the extent possible.


8. Will KAUST own the copyright to my articles?

No. The policy only gives KAUST a non-exclusive license to openly disseminate your article. You can exercise your copyrights in any way you see fit, including transferring them to a publisher if you so desire. However, if you do so, KAUST would still retain its pre-existing license and the right to distribute the article from its repository.


7. If I publish in an open access journal, why should I deposit my final manuscript in the KAUST repository as well?

Preserving your work in the university's repository ensures access even if the publisher's policies change.

For legal reasons, the KAUST policy specifies that you deposit the "author's final version of each article" rather than the publisher-formatted version. However, when an article is published in a journal that permits open access to the publisher-formatted version, submitting this version satisfies the policy.

The Library harvests KAUST articles from open access journals and deposits them in the KAUST repository. This minimizes the extent to which you have to resubmit open access articles. However, this process does not capture all open access articles and it remains your responsibility to make sure that all of your articles are properly deposited.


8. What if a publisher refuses to accept the KAUST addendum?

You have a number of options:

  • Try to persuade the publisher that it should accept the KAUST non-exclusive license in order to be able to publish your article.

  • Seek a different publisher.

  • Consult with the Library ( to address the publisher’s specific concerns.

  • Obtain a waiver for the article under the policy.


9. If a publisher consistently does not accept my author addendum, do I need to request a waiver every time I publish with them?

Yes, the policy states that the university will "waive application of the license for a particular article...upon express direction by the author." This allows KAUST to track research output and evaluate the extent of publisher cooperation.