Open Access literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. What makes it possible is the internet and the consent of the author or copyright-holder.
In most fields, scholarly journals do not pay authors, who can therefore consent to Open Access without losing revenue. In this respect scholars and scientists are very differently situated from most musicians and movie-makers, and controversies about Open Access to music and movies do not carry over to research literature.
Open Access is entirely compatible with peer review, and all the major OA initiatives for scientific and scholarly literature insist on its importance. Just as authors of journal articles donate their labor, so do most journal editors and referees participating in peer review.
From Peter Suber's Very Brief Introduction to Open Access.
No. Articles published in traditional journals can be submitted to an institutional repository, making them available in an Open Access form. The library supports Skidmore's institutional repository, Creative Matter, to house these materials.
An agreement signed with a publisher when submitting an article dictates what can be done with the content. In many cases, articles can be submitted to Creative Matter at the post-print, or final manuscript, stage. This is the point at which the work has passed through peer review and revision, but before the publisher's formatting, logo, etc. have been applied. For help interpreting a publication agreement, or, if you don't have a copy of an agreement signed in the past, contact your subject librarian or email@example.com.
If a publication agreement is overly restrictive, or, if you wish to retain specific rights (for example, the ability to post a copy of the article on your website), consider adding an addendum to the agreement you've been asked to sign. See next question for more information.
Signing a publication (or author) agreement typically transfers copyright to the publisher, limiting what you can do with an article. Attaching an addendum to the agreement allows you to retain your right to post a copy of the article on your website, send it to colleagues, or put a copy in Skidmore's institutional repository, Creative Matter. Attaching an addendum does not signal an attempt to take away the publisher's right to distribute your article.
A publisher may offer the option to make your article Open Access for a fee, which can be as high as several thousand dollars. There are situations where this makes sense, but we encourage you to contact your subject librarian or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your author rights before committing. To request funds from the Scribner Library, please fill out our Open Access Grant Fund request form.
Identifying all available options will enable you to distribute your work more broadly and quickly, often without paying a fee.
SPARC Europe tracks studies on whether or not Open Access articles are cited more frequently. Of the 70 studies that have been conducted, 46 have found a citation advantage, 17 have found no advantage, and 7 were inconclusive.
Based on this research, making an Open Access copy of your article available in an institutional repository like Creative Matter or by publishing in an Open Access journal will affect your impact, most likely for the better. Increased visibility and more widespread access allows your work to be more broadly read, shared, and cited.
For more information: http://sparceurope.org/oaca/
Many Open Access journals and books are peer reviewed, including all of the journals and books indexed through the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and the directory of open access books (doab). Some Open Access sources are editorial reviewed while others may have no review process.
If you are unsure whether a journal is peer reviewed, you can check the journal’s website to see its review process. If the process isn't listed on the publisher's website, that’s a good indicator that the journal is not peer reviewed and you could be dealing with a predatory publisher. See next question for more information on predatory publishers.
Predatory publishers take advantage of the Open Access model by charging authors publication fees for inclusion in fake or irreputable journals. These publishers often aggressively solicit articles from researchers.
Three quick questions can help determine if a publisher is predatory.
If you still suspect the publisher is not legitimate, the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association's Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing may help you make a determination.
Open Access articles are cited in the same way that you would cite an article from an online journal or an article from an online database.
If an article is found in an online repository, it is often not necessary to include additional information indicating this repository. This is especially true if the repository is linking out to a database or online journal for the full-text of the article. However, you may choose to include information indicating the repository. Some repositories will provide their own citing guidelines.
Use the tabs above to see examples of how to cite articles in different styles and scenarios.
Some repositories will provide full-text access to the prepublication version of an article to make it Open Access.
DOI = Digital Object Identifier
This is a unique number/letter combination assigned to articles that acts like an ISBN for a book. DOIs make it easy to locate articles in databases or through search engines like Google Scholar. When citing online articles, most citation styles recommend using a DOI instead of the article's stable URL from the database used to access the article.
DOIs are now being used by many disciplines including the Sciences and Social Sciences. Currently, they are less likely to be assigned to articles in the Humanities. DOIs, if available, should be listed in an article's database record and in the article itself. You can also use CrossRef to look up the DOI of an article.