The path to making criminology open access (OA) is not gold but green.1 Already, publishers have pro-green OA policies. Criminologists need to take advantage of them. You should deposit your preprints and postprints in CrimRxiv or another repository. Publishers permit this practice.2 For postprints, sometimes, there is an embargo that limits when and where they can be shared. This slows the spread of scholarship, which is bad for social justice and impact.
There are legal ways to make embargoes a moot point.3 An option is to adopt a rights-retention policy, as have faculty of many prominent institutions.4 It is a great solution, except many scholars are not covered. You are among them, unless your university is on this list.
That’s not fair, so we created a solution: a voluntary green OA license that anyone may choose for their own scholarly articles.5 It is based on Harvard’s individual license for their non-faculty authors.6 Our license grants exactly the same set of rights granted in the Harvard Model Open Access Policy, for the same purposes and the same benefits.
Basically, we brought Harvard to CrimRxiv in that, now, any criminologist can be covered by a rights-retention policy. By signing the license, you grant Criminology Open Ltd (a nonprofit in Atlanta and CrimRxiv’s provider) certain nonexclusive rights to your future postprints. This makes it legal for your postprints to be on CrimRxiv, irrespective of embargoes. Also by design, the license makes it easy for authors to waive it. You do so simply by not depositing a work in CrimRxiv.
The license works best when authors sign it before they sign contracts with publishers. For that reason and because it is easy to waive, we encourage you to sign the license sooner than later.
The individual OA license reads as follows. The footnotes provide further details or translation from legalese. More detailed explanations are found in the “Explanatory Notes” of the model policy.
Criminologists7 are committed to disseminating the fruits of their research and scholarship as widely as possible. In keeping with that commitment, by signing this license, I hereby grant to Criminology Open Ltd a nonexclusive, worldwide license to exercise any and all rights under copyright relating to each of my scholarly articles,8 in any medium, provided that the articles are not sold for a profit, and to authorize others to do the same.9 This license applies to all scholarly articles I author or co-author, except for any articles completed before I signed this form and any articles for which I entered into an incompatible licensing or assignment agreement before I signed this form.10 Criminology Open Ltd will waive application of this license for a particular article if I do not deposit it in CrimRxiv within 36 months of publication.11