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Open Access Publication Policy: Home

Marshall University requests that faculty participate in an effort to increase the discoverability and accessibility of their research by participating in Marshall Digital Scholar (MDS). We request that you upload your final peer-reviewed research to MDS

Open Access Publication Policy

Marshall University requests faculty members upload their final peer-reviewed research to Marshall Digital Scholar (MDS) as soon as it is accepted for publication, or as soon as it is published.  In December of each year, Deans will send an email to remind their faculty to upload the pre-published, peer-reviewed manuscripts of articles accepted for publication, or published during that year. FAQ 

Rationale for the policy:

The outcomes of this policy are greater visibility and recognition of Marshall University’s status as an R-2 research institution, increased discoverability and accessibility of MU’s research output, greater impact factors for faculty research due to increased download counts and citations, greater workflow efficiency in placing articles into MDS, and actualization of the latent potential of our institutional repository.

Faculty Senate approved the Open Access Publication Policy on Nov. 12, 2020 and President Gilbert approved it on Nov. 19, 2020.


What is Marshall Digital Scholar (MDS)?

MDS is Marshall University’s open access institutional repository, which provides free access to our faculty research publications at

The arrow points to the link to upload your articles to MDS.

Who Should Submit a Manuscript to MDS?

The author. When there are multiple authors, the lead author, the principal researcher, or the corresponding author. The lead author is normally listed first in the citation and the principal researcher is frequently listed last. However, any author may submit a manuscript and is encouraged to do so.

What Manuscript is to be Uploaded?

The Author’s Accepted Manuscript (AAM) is the version accepted for publication in a journal following peer review but prior to copyediting and typesetting. Here is the link to a sample Author's Accepted Manuscript: Prenatal Opioid Maintenance in the U.S. and its Effect on Neo-Natal Abstinence Syndrome: The Case of West Virginia's Opioid Epidemic (

When is the Manuscript to be Uploaded and Where is the Upload Link?

AAMs may be deposited in the repository immediately on acceptance. The upload link is directly below the slide carousel on the MDS homepage at

Is this legal?

Yes. In fact, most publishers encourage authors to post their AAMs in an open access repository along with a link to the published version of record as long as the manuscript does not become visible to the public until after the embargo period has been completed. Some grant funding agencies require it!

Are there not copyright restrictions that prohibit this?

It depends upon what the publisher has stipulated in the copyright agreement. Most publishers permit authors to retain the right to make an AAM of their article available for public release in an open access institutional repository after an Embargo Period of 12 months or more.

How will I know if the publisher’s copyright guidelines are being followed?

The MU Libraries ensures copyright is followed and keeps a copy of copyright permissions on file for every article made public in MDS.

May an unpublished manuscript be uploaded to MDS before it is accepted for publication? Would this be considered “prior publication?”

You may upload your peer-reviewed manuscript to MDS before it is accepted for publication. This is not a violation of “prior publication” because your manuscript will not be posted until after publication in a journal, and not until any specified embargo period has passed.

What is in it for me?

Every peer-reviewed manuscript posted in MDS is re-indexed by Google Scholar This increases the relevancy ranking of your article in a Google Scholar search, moving your article higher up on the search results page. Research has shown that published articles that also have the pre-published, peer-reviewed manuscript in an open access repository are more easily discovered, easier to access, more frequently downloaded and more frequently cited. This increases the impact factor of your publications. Higher citation rates have a positive influence on tenure and promotion. Research into the increase in citation rates is documented in this article and on the following chart.

Size of OA citation advantage when found (and where explicitly stated by discipline)

% increase in citations with Open Access


170 to 580


35 to 91


-5 to 36

Electrical engineering


Computer science


Political science





300 to 450

Communications studies (IT)


Agricultural sciences

200 to 600

Copyright over the published version of an author’s research is normally transferred to the publisher. The AAM is usually the best version of a research article over which an author retains copyright. By posting this version online, an author is exercising the copyright “right” to publish and retain ownership of what is published.

Do other universities request, or even mandate, that the AAM be uploaded to an open access repository?

Over 750 universities and colleges have open access publication policies or mandates. Marshall’s request that faculty participate is much softer than most. Here are links to 13 policies and mandates.

Harvard Business School

California Institute of Technology

Florida State University

Johns Hopkins University

Miami University (Ohio)


Penn State


Rice University

University of California

University of Massachusetts Amherst

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Can Google and other web-crawlers access and index the uploaded manuscripts?

No, because they reside behind a firewall on a server operated by Marshall’s IT Department, or behind a firewall at Berkley Electronic Press, the host of MDS. In other words, until it is made visible, your article resides on the dark web.

What happens if I do not want to participate?

Faculty sometimes have important reasons not to participate. Their wishes will be honored.

What if I have copyrighted materials within my article (e.g., images, musical examples)?

Unless specifically granted by the copyright owners, such articles may not be posted in MDS.

What if I choose to participate, but change my mind after my article is posted in MDS?

Contact the MDS Administrator and your article will be taken down immediately.

What if I want to participate but one of my co-authors does not?

Most publishers allow any co-author to post an article in an open access repository without getting permission from the other co-authors. Since it is important to maintain good working relationships with colleagues, we recommend that in such cases you do not upload the manuscript to MDS unless it is required by your research grant funder.

New Faculty Instruction for Uploading to Marshall Digital Scholar

You may address questions to Larry Sheret, Scholarly Communication & Open Educational Resources Librarian.