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Open Access

The library supports and encourages open access. Learn about Open Access definitions, policies, and ways to engage.

What is Open Access?

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.

Open Access resources remain the intellectual property of their creators, who have attribution rights as well as control over the integrity of their work, often through the use of Creative Commons licenses.

On August 25, 2022, the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP) issued a memorandum on Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research calling on federal agencies to make “articles resulting from all U.S. federally funded research freely available and publicly accessible by default in agency-designated repositories without any embargo or delay after publication.”  The memorandum can be found linked on the SPARC website. The Scholarly Communication and Open Publishing unit at the Library will continue to keep you informed as things develop.

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 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 post prints 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:

Resources for learning more about OA

How to Find OA Content

Use, 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:

OA journals are often peer-reviewed.

Many traditional publishers have begun to offer OA publications. For instance, Luminos for the University of California Press and the University of Michigan Press

  • 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

How to Publish OA

Consider submitting to one of the Claremont Colleges open access journals in Scholarship@Claremont or browse these resources:

  • 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 Murdoch University 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 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.

How to Cite OA Content

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.

Open Access Week

Every year, The Claremont Colleges Library celebrates Open Access Week, a global initiative that brings wider awareness to the potential benefits of open access.

Open Access logo (open lock)
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