Open Access Resources
The library supports and encourages open access. Learn about Open Access definitions, policies, and ways to engage.
Open access is the “the free, immediate, online availability of research articles coupled with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment. Open Access ensures that anyone can access and use these results—to turn ideas into industries and breakthroughs into better lives.” OA removes both price barriers (subscriptions, fees) and permission barriers (some copyright and licensing restrictions) to accessing and using materials.
Benefits of OA
- OA improves the pace, efﬁciency, and efﬁcacy of research
- OA increases authors’ visibility, and thus the potential impact of their work
- OA removes structural and geographical barriers that impede the free circulation of information
- OA increases the possibility of collaboration, which means there is a higher likelihood of better work and more capacity building.
- OA enables the re-use and analysis of published material to build new knowledge
- OA sparks innovation and facilitates interdisciplinary research and exchange of ideas
- OA strengthens the dissemination, review, and development of breakthroughs, not only for the benefit of research and academic communities but for society at large.
Science Europe Working Group on Open Access. (Revised September 2015). Science Europe Principles on Open Access to Research Publications. Licensed under CC BY 4.0. D/2015/13.324/3
Concerns and Misconceptions of OA
- Reputable publications are not OA
Submission standards and the peer review process are completely separate from whether or not the publication is OA. If you want to choose with a prestigious publication that is not OA, they may still permit you to deposit a pre-print of your publication in an OA repository (like Scholarship@Claremont). The DOAJ has quality control guidelines for journals and authors that must be approved before they will add a journal to their directory. Studies have found that OA publications are cited more than traditional publications.
- Authors have to pay to make their publications OA
Estimates are that between 25-35% of OA journals charge publication fees (known as Article Processing Charges or APCs). These fees help cover the costs of hosting, review and editing. A few things to keep in mind: fees can often be paid by funders or your college, rather than out of your own pocket. Also, you can negotiate with traditional publishers to make preprints and postprints of your work available in an OA repository, for no charge.
- Someone can steal and publish your work if you make it OA
Your work is still protected by copyright when it is in an OA publication, just as it would be as if it was published through traditional means. If someone does copy your work without attributing it to you, you have a copyright infringement case. Attribution is still required for OA content
- A lot of OA Publishers are considered predatory
There have always been vanity presses and publishers who are more interested in making a profit than supporting and promoting excellent research and scholarship. OA has its share of questionable publishers. There are several resources that you can consult to determine if an OA publisher is credible or predatory:
- Think, Check, Submit – provides a checklist to help you determine where to publish
- Stop Predatory Journals – a crowd sourced list of predatory journals, updated regularly.
- Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) – a forum for editors and publishers of peer reviewed journals to discuss all aspects of publication ethics.
- Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) they can’t guarantee that no publisher or journal on their lists is predatory, they attempt to include only high quality journals and publishers.
- Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) – If a journal isn’t predatory, the publisher should be a member of the OASPA.
Resources for learning more about OA
- Authors Alliance (2015). Understanding Open Access: When, Why, & How to Make Your Work Openly Accessible. Licensed under CC BY 4.0.
- Suber, Peter (2009). Open Access. The MIT Press. CC-BY-NC.
- Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC). (2016). An Intro to Open Access. Licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 UK.
Use unpaywall.org, a free Firefox and Chrome plugin, to find OA content. It harvests over 50,000 OA journal repositories from all over the world.
OA repositories are online platforms that preserve and provide access to open access material, often in the form of article preprints, reprints, data, theses and dissertations, and media. Sometimes books are also made available in OA repositories. Repositories do not perform peer review, but the publications they host may have gone through some form of peer review. OA repositories are usually associated with academic institutions or disciplines. You might consider adding your work to your institution’s repository (Claremont’s is Scholarship@Claremont) and a disciplinary repository, to expand its reach and discovery.
Here are some examples and resources for finding OA repositories:
- OpenDOAR: The Directory of Open Access Repositories
- Repository 66 – OA Repository Maps
- Re3data.org: Global Registry of Research Data Repositories
- Directory of Repositories for Open Data
- ArXiv.org: e-Print archive for the fields of physics, mathematics, computer science, quantitative biology, quantitative finance, statistics, electrical engineering and systems science, and economics
- CORE: OA Repository for the Humanities (hosted by MLA)
OA journals are often peer-reviewed.
- Use the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) to search or browse for titles
- OA books are available in Library Search (interfiled along with other content)
- JSTOR & Project Muse also have OA Books
- The Library contributes to Knowledge Unlatched program – it takes a collective procurement approach to pay for books to become OA
- For information on funders’ open access policies, search the SHERPA/JULIET database of funders’ policies and requirements on open access, publication, and data archiving.
- For tips on assessing an unfamiliar publisher, see the University of Minnesota Libraries site for guidance.
- For help evaluating open access publications as you consider appropriate publication venues, or invitations to serve as reviewers or editors, see Grand Valley State University’s guide on Open Access Journal Quality Indicators.
- The Claremont Colleges Library does not provide funding for Author Processing Charges (APCs), but we can can help you find sources of funding where available. For more information on APCs and Publishing Fees, see the Open Access Scholarly Information Sourcebook article on APCs and publishing fees.
- For other questions on self-archiving, see the Open Access Scholarly Information Sourcebook’s, “Self-archiving” FAQ page.
- For more information about publisher policies and permissions, including self-archiving, given as part of your publisher’s copyright transfer agreement, search your publisher on SHERPA/ROMEO.
- For information on funder policies, including self-archiving, for self-archiving search SHERPA/JULIET.
- For information on how to submit a pre-print, post-print, or self-archive a copy of your work, see the Claremont Colleges institutional repository, Scholarship@Claremont.
An OA book or journal article gets cited the same way a traditionally published book or journal article would be cited. Preprints, postprints, and other gray literature found in OA repositories are cited differently though. The Chicago Manual of Style and the American Psychological Association have helpful tips for citing these materials. For other styles, consult the latest edition of the manual.
Chicago Manual of Style
The online Chicago Manual of Style has helpful information about citing preprints and postprints in Chapter 14, Documentation I:Notes and Bibliography.
The APA Style blog has a helpful post about citing pre-published materials.
The print version of Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association also has helpful information about citing preprints on pages 198-200.