Guide to Compliance with the HMS Open Access Policy

[If you are a non-faculty affiliate of HMS or the Harvard Chan School of Public Health (HCS) submitting in accordance with an NIH grant you have received, please go to this link or contact us.]

Under the Harvard Medical School's Open Access (OA) Policy, HMS faculty grant Harvard University a nonexclusive right to distribute their covered scholarly articles, so long as the articles are not sold for a profit. Faculty provide a copy of the final manuscript to the Provost's Office, which then makes the articles freely available in Harvard's open-access repository, DASH.

Under the National Institutes of Health (NIH) public access policy, investigators must submit their final peer-reviewed journal manuscripts arising from NIH funded research to the digital archive PubMed Central upon acceptance for publication. They must also reserve sufficient rights to allow such submission and distribution from PubMed Central.

Harvard's open access policy and the NIH public access policy share the goal of providing free online access to peer-reviewed research articles. Because both policies apply to many of the same papers, the HMS OA Policy enables faculty authors to comply with both policies at the same time, through the same process.

This guide explains how HMS faculty authors can take advantage of that process.

Guide to Participate in the HMS Open Access Policy

The following instructions are for HMS faculty submitting articles subject to the HMS open access policy.
If you are a non-faculty Harvard affiliate submitting in accordance with an NIH grant you have received, please go to or contact us.

FIRST STEP: Assistance Authorization Form
Complete an Assistance Authorization Form.
This allows Harvard staffers to assist you by depositing articles in DASH on your behalf. It also functions as a written affirmation of the HMS policy. (Faculty need only complete this form once. If you have completed an "Assistance Authorization" form in the past, you can skip to step two)
SECOND STEP: Quick Submit
Complete the HMS Quick Submit form to submit a new peer-reviewed manuscript to DASH.
Once you complete the Quick Submit form, an HMS OA liaison will deposit your manuscript into DASH and, if required by an NIH grant, also into PubMed Central.

Addendum: Some publishing agreements require that authors transfer the entire copyright in their articles to the publisher, or grant exclusive rights that are incompatible with both the HMS and NIH open-access policies. The addendum is a proposed contract modification that would let you retain the rights needed to keep your publishing contract consistent with the HMS and NIH policies. The Office for Scholarly Communication provides an easy to use form to generate a custom addendum for your use.

Once you fill out the addendum, print, sign, and date it.

Sign and date your publishing agreement.

Immediately below your signature on the publishing agreement, write: "My agreement is subject to your acceptance of the attached addendum." If you fail to do this, the addendum may be ineffective.

If your publisher uses a click-through publishing agreement, we recommend that you email your editor your completed addendum. If there is a text field on the click-through agreement, you should enter text to this effect: "My agreement is subject to the addendum sent by email to [editor's name] on [date]."

Make a copy of the publishing agreement, your addendum, and your cover letter for your records.

Mail the publishing agreement, your addendum, and your cover letter to the publisher.

Waivers: If a publisher requests a waiver, but you prefer not to waive Harvard's license, please contact the Office for Scholarly Communication for guidance. If you decide that a waiver is necessary or desirable, you can complete the simple waiver form.

A waiver for a given article means that you relinquish the permission previously granted to Harvard through the open access policy to make a version of that article open access. Even if you obtain a waiver for a given article, however, under the HMS policy you should still provide a copy of the peer-reviewed manuscript to DASH for (nonopen) preservation.

If you are an NIHfunded author and decide to obtain a waiver for the article under a Harvard open-access policy, you must be sure to reserve rights sufficient to comply with the NIH policy when you enter into a publication agreement for the article. For this purpose, you can use the HMS waiver form.
If you have any questions or difficulties, please contact Scott Lapinski at the Countway Library or Harvard's Office for Scholarly Communication. We are here to help.

Scott Lapinski, Scholarly Communication and Research Librarian
Phone: (617) 4326784

Office for Scholarly Communication
Widener Library G-20
Harvard Yard
Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone: (617) 4954089
Fax: (617) 4950370