Open Access policy at USI

New USI Open Access Guidelines


USI published its Open Access Policy Guidelines, which define the general approach that the University intends to adopt with regard to Open Access to the results of scientific research, a key element in the dissemination of scientific and economic knowledge and innovation.


Università della Svizzera italiana (USI) conducts scientific research of international importance and contributes to the development of its area of reference by supporting the transfer of knowledge, innovation, entrepreneurship and cultural and scientific debate. It is therefore a priority that the findings of its research are disseminated at local, national and international level in the most efficient way possible.

Open Access (OA) to the results of scientific research is based on the principle of knowledge as a shared resource: the results of academic research financed by public funds should, therefore, be immediately accessible to the public at no charge, so that they can be reused by third parties without restrictions. It has been widely demonstrated how OA boosts the visibility of research among researchers, the media and the general public. It thus promotes the transfer of knowledge and the rationalisation of financial resources available, while accelerating scientific progress.

USI, identifying itself in these principles, joined a significant number of scientific organisations, libraries, universities and research institutes in 2016, becoming the 552nd signatory of the Berlin Declaration on OA.

Furthermore, USI, like other academic institutions in Switzerland, shares and pursues the goals set by the Swiss national strategy on OA of swissuniversities and by large research funding bodies, such as the Swiss National Science Fund (SNSF).

  1. Definitions
    1. Publication: all results of scientific inquiry published or accepted for publication. In particular, this means articles in scientific journals, monographs, chapters of books or contributions to anthologies, working papers, conference proceedings, conference posters and, in general, other similar documents. For the purposes of these guidelines, patentable scientific discoveries and confidential research findings (for security reasons or out of respect for one’s personal sphere) are not considered publications.
    2. Authors: faculty, assistants and staff of USI that draw up a publication. Bachelor's and Master's students are not included within the scope of these guidelines.
    3. Institutional Repository: for USI this is RERO DOC, a platform for storing OA publications, which the USI Libraries manage and make available to authors. This term is compatible with the definition of appropriate repository.
    4. Repository idonei: non-commercial repositories, aligned with the definitions of the Berlin Declaration. These grant free access to the publications, enable data citation through persistent identifiers and apply quality metadata. They are based on internationally-accepted standards and are listed in OpenDOAR.
    5. Digital Copy is the electronic version of the final phase of a publication, and has two different versions:
      1. Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM)/Postprint: version of the publication accepted by the publisher after review (editorial or peer-review), prior to the application of the editorial layout.
      2. Version of Record (VoR): final published version containing the layout of the publisher and made available by the latter.
    6. Embargo: period of time, imposed by the publisher and calculated starting from the publication date, during which access is not granted to the digital copy stored in an appropriate repository.
  2. The role of the authors
    1. Authors make their publications accessible in Open Access.
    2. If possible, they give precedence to the publication of their work in Gold Open Access.
    3. They publish articles in Hybrid Open Access in the cases where they have transformative read&publish agreements with the publisher; in other cases, this road ought to be avoided because it leads to increased costs for USI (double dipping). If their publications are accessible only for a fee, they ensure that the embargo for the digital copies stored in the institutional repository lasts for the shortest period of time possible.
    4. They choose to apply the less restrictive licence from among those available.
    5. They endeavour, as far as possible, to not transfer the rights over their publications, to the publishers, possibly negotiating an amendment to any publication agreements with the publisher.
    6. They store a digital copy of their publications in USI's institutional repository. The deposits:
      1. are to be made as soon as possible, preferably no later than the publication date.
      2. comply with the policies of the publisher, the terms of the publication agreement and the rights linked to the data and images. In the event of irresolvable conflicts, the authors can store a digital copy of their documents according to the methods that exclude public access to the latter.
      3. cannot be substituted with archiving on academic social media platforms (Researchgate, Academia.edu, etc.), nor with publication on conventional websites.
  3. The role of USI
    1. Encourages and supports its authors during the various OA publication phases, through the services offered by the USI Libraries.
    2. Promotes the training of its staff in the field of OA and, through this staff, participates in national and international initiatives to support, promote and spread free access to scientific research findings.
    3. Operates and maintains an institutional repository for the storage of digital copies, via the USI Libraries, in accordance with the guidelines for appropriate repositories. In addition, it offers training and assistance to authors, so that the storing of articles is as simple as possible.
    4. Covers publication costs for Gold Open Access articles, if they are not covered by the SNSF, provided that the aforesaid articles are published in peer-review journals and that they undergo a consolidated peer-review process.
    5. Via the USI Libraries, negotiates and signs transformative read&publish agreements with publishers, either individually or with the intermediation of the Consortium of Swiss University Libraries, with the aim of guaranteeing OA publication possibilities that are financially sustainable in the long-term.
    6. Regularly informs the academic community, via the usual channels, of its goals, actions and status in relation to the Swiss national strategy on OA of swissuniversities, in whose implementation it actively participates.

Guidelines accepted by the Rectorate 14.09.20
Valid from: 14.09.2020