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Open Access

This guide describes Open Access (OA) and presents options for OA publishing, including assistance with APCs and avoiding predatory publishers.

What is Open Access?

According to a definition by SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), Open Access (OA) "is the free, immediate, online availability of research articles combined with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment." OA materials are always available freely to the reader. Frequently, but not always, OA materials are licensed to be reused or adapted within specified limitations.

Why Open Access?

Open Access offers several advantages to both authors and readers:

  • Many people around the word lack subscription access to library materials. OA offers disadvantaged populations access to important research.
  • OA articles, as well as other "open" materials such as open data, get cited more frequently because readers do not hit pay walls.
  • OA encourages scholarly values, making knowledge more readily available to be built upon.
  • Your grant funding agency may require OA for funding.

Open Access Definitions

Defined here are some frequently-used terms:

"Green Open Access" - This is sometimes called "self-archiving." By contract, authors are permitted by publishers to upload a preprint (version of a paper originally submitted to the journal) or a postprint (version of a paper after peer review changes have been applied) to an institutional repository, such as Kent State's OAKS, or to a subject repository. Preprint servers play an important role in scholarly communication.

"Gold Open Access" - This refers to articles for which a fee is paid to make it Open Access. These fees are referred to as Article Processing/Publishing Charges or APCs.

"Hybrid Journals" - These are journals for which some articles are available only to subscribers and other articles have been made Open Access, typically by author payment of an APC or by means of a "transformative deal." Most journals now have this option for authors.

What are "transformative deals"?

Transformative deals are contracts that shift the cost of subscription-based journal access to Open Access, allowing a library or institution to pay for the costs of publishing instead. Individual scholars associated with the institution may publish in all or some of a publisher's journals with a waiver of Article Processing Charges, or APCs. Sometimes these deals offer greater access to readers, and are called "read and publish deals."

University Libraries currently participates in several transformative deals via OhioLINK. More details can be found on the Open Access Through University Libraries Collections page.