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Appalachian Copyright Academy: Open Access

Open Access Basics

open accessWhat is Open Access?

"Open access" is the practice of making scholarly research freely available online. This practice removes financial, legal, and technical barriers from those who wish to use the work. According to the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI), this permits "any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose." 

Scholars also benefit from open access as it increases visibility, influence, and potential benefit from their research. It helps redress global inequity of access to scholarship by dismantling cost barriers to research dissemination. Also it returns research results more swiftly and readily to the public, who provide much of the funding for scholarly work.


Noteworthy in Open Access

OAlster is a union catalog of millions of records that represent open access resources. This catalog was built through harvesting from open access collections worldwide using the Open Archives Initiatives Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH). Today, OAlster includes more than 50 million records that represent digital resources from more than 2,000 contributors. 

Open Book Publishers

One of the biggest open access academic publishers of monographs. "We are now the hub of choice for a rapidly increasing international network of scholars who believe that it is time for academic publishing to become fairer, faster and more accessible." Their books are free online and available for sale in print. Authors retain their own copyright.

Open Humanities Press

A UK-based international scholar-led open access publishing collective with a focus on critical and cultural theory. They have partnered with a number of groups and institutions, and published open access book series and journals, including Liquid Books, a series of experimental digital books open for online commentary and remixing. They also host OHP Labs projects to explore new forms of scholarly communication and theoretically informed critique.

MediaCommonsAn open access publisher of peer-reviewed academic journals, books and data. "We operate a highly cost-efficient model that makes quality open access publishing affordable for everyone. We also make our platform available to the Ubiquity Partner Network, providing the infrastructure and services to enable university and society presses to run sustainably and successfully." 

Knowledge Unlatched (KU) offers free access to scholarly content. "Our online platform provides libraries worldwide with a central place to support Open Access models from leading publishing houses and new OA initiatives."


Open Access Types

Open Access Types

Green OA - Self-Archiving: Self-Archiving is the practice of making a version of your manuscript freely available in a repository. It provides a means to make your work open access, even when you are publishing in a subscription journal. You can use an institutional repository, a subject-based repository, or on your own website or online profile. Most, but not all, scholarly journals now permit some form of self-archiving by their authors. Even if a publisher does not normally allow for self-archiving of your work, you can still negotiate those terms into your publishing contract.

Gold OA - Open Access Journals: Gold OA just refers to access provided through the publication in an open access forum, whether a journal or a monograph. It is making the final version of the manuscript freely available immediately upon publication by the publisher. Many gold open access journals cover the cost of publication by charging author processing charges or article processing charges (APCs) upon manuscript acceptance. These fees can range from $500 to $5,000 per article and vary among journals.

Hybrid OA: A type of journal in which certain articles are made open access for typically a significantly higher price (relative to full OA journals), while others remain toll access. There is a focus on who will pay the cost of publishing Open Access materials and places the cost burden on the author, the institution, the library, or a combination by means of subscription credits, debits or direct author payments.

Gratis OA: The paper is available to read free-of-charge, though its reuse is still restricted

Libre OA: The paper is made available under an open license, allowing is to be shared and reused, depending on which license is used

Predatory OA Publishers

Predatory Publishers

Some journals, known as predatory journals charge large APCs without providing the peer review and editorial support that can be expected from a quality scholarly publication.

Common red flags associated with predatory publishers include:

  • Using false or misappropriated ISSNs
  • Posting fake academics on the editorial board or using the names of actual academics for the editorial board without their permission
  • Accepting and publishing articles exceptionally quickly without peer review or quality control
  • Repeatedly contacting and harassing scholars to submit articles and serve an editorial boards

Head of Scholarly Communications