The Open Access Movement is the name given to the trend among academics to retain copyrights in their scholarly work rather than assign them to a journal or other publishing entity.  One of the primary driving forces behind the movement is the desire to freely share information without pay-walls or other barriers.

Princeton University recently joined this movement by formally adopting an open access policy for scholarly work produced at the university (see “Princeton University Faculty Commit to Open Access” and “Open access policy adopted”).  Under this policy, the faculty agreed to grant the University a “nonexclusive, irrevocable, worldwide license to exercise any and all copyrights in his or her scholarly articles published in any medium, whether now known or later invented, provided the articles are not sold by the University for a profit, and to authorize others to do the same.”  The policy is based on recommendations from a proposal (pdf) presented by the university’s Ad-hoc Faculty Committee to study Open Access earlier this year.

Princeton joins several other universities who have similar open access policies.  Many of these universities recently formed the Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions (“COAPI”), which hopes to “collaborate and share implementation strategies and advocate on a national level for institutions with open access policies.”