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Open Access

This guide provides an introduction to Open Access, "the free, immediate, online availability of research articles combined with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment."

What is Open Access?

Open Access is a publishing model that makes scholarly information freely available online without paywalls, subscriptions, or other barriers, and without most restrictions on re-use.

This video provides an introduction to and background information on Open Access publishing:

Explore the Changing Scholarly Communications Landscape

Scholarly Communication

Scholarly communication encompasses the full spectrum of the process by which scholarly and/or scientific information is produced, disseminated, accessed, and used.  Stakeholders include professors and researchersgovernment, students, and libraries and librarians.  Rapidly shifting and evolving, this LibGuide provides resources for exploring and understanding scholarly communication.

Resources for Scholarly Communication

  • SPARC: http://sparcopen.org/
    • An alliance of universities and libraries advocating for more open access to scholarly and academic resources
  • CSU Affordable Learning Solutions: http://affordablelearningsolutions.org/
    • The California State University's program to provide no- or low-cost solutions for learning materials
  • OpenDOARhttp://www.opendoar.org/
    • A directory of open access repositories, including a searchable repository database, a tool for searching repository contents, and statistics on repositories
  • Alliance for Taxpayer Access: http://www.taxpayeraccess.org/
    • A citizen's advocacy group that tracks legislation and policy related to access to taxpayer-funded research
  • Right to Research Coalition: http://www.righttoresearch.org/
    • A student advocacy organization for student's right to access information, including through Open Educational Resources (OER)
  • Open Access Scholarly Publisher's Association: http://oaspa.org/
    • A trade association of OA publishers interested in issues related to scholarly publishing, production, and dissemination
  • Association of Research Libraries Scholarly Communication: http://www.arl.org/focus-areas/scholarly-communication
    • A group of major research libraries in the U.S. and Canada, ARL provides recent issues and resources related to scholarly communication
  • Society of Scholarly Publishing: https://www.sspnet.org/
    • A non-profit for increasing networking and communication across the scholarly publishing sectors, SSP also has a blog, the Scholarly Kitchen, with frequent posts on new issues in scholarly communication.

Open Access

Open Access, often abbreviated as OA, is a mode of publishing and disseminating scholarly and other information for free, without restrictions on access or sharing of that information.  

What are some reasons Open Access has gained traction as a mode of scholarly communication?

  1. Increased costs for libraries, scholars, and the public to access information (See "2016 By The Numbers" in Library Journal's 2016 article, "Fracking the Ecosystem: Periodical Price Survey 2016").
  2. Increased expectations for publicly funded research to be available to the public (Office of Science and Technology Public Access Policy Forum)
  3. Researchers are looking to new models of publishing and disseminating information to increase impact of research and spur innovation (Public Library of Science: Innovation)

See the video from Piled Higher and Deeper (Ph.D.) Comics below for a deeper look at the issues surrounding Open Access.

Open Access Terms

Green OA is the practice of providing access to information either in pre- or post-print form, often through self-deposit at an institutional repository, like the Fresno State Digital Commons or the University of California's eScholarship.

Gold OA is access provided through an OA journal, which makes all published content available online for free.

Gratis OA is free access to content.

Libre OA is free access to content as well as additional rights, such as the right to modify or disseminate a work.

Pre-print is the form of a journal article prior to submission and peer review.  Journals may allow authors to archive pre-print version of their article in an institutional repository.

Post-print is the form of a journal article after submission, peer review, and changes made by the author to prepare the article for publication, but is not formatted in the journal style (i.e., with headers, columns, font changes, or other journal stylistics).

Author's Rights

As an author, you have rights related to the publishing of your work.  While scholarly publications have traditionally requested transfer of copyright upon article acceptance, the changing nature of scholarly communications has paved the way for authors to negotiate terms related to their intellectual property.  Here are some options if you are interested in retaining more rights related to the dissemination and access of your work post-publishing:

  • Consider publishing in an open access or hybrid journal

Many journals default to Open Access: perhaps the most known example is PLoS, the suite of journals published by the Public Library of Science.  Rather than transferring copyright upon publication, OA journals and authors agree to a license agreement that allows the full and open use of the article by both parties and by reader/users.  A hybrid journal is one that publishes both traditional and open access articles: generally, the OA articles are published openly through a fee paid by the article authors.  This fee can often be included in grant proposal for research, as grant funders generally support the dissemination of the research they fund.

 

  • Negotiate your rights

As an author, you can request to retain total copyright over your work, and license the publication of that work to a journal.  You may also negotiate for other elements of rights retention related to how many and by what method you may make copies of your work available.  For an extensive list of potential rights to consider, as well as tools for crafting an addendum to a publishing agreement, see the Author’s Rights section of this guide from Florida State University.

 

  • Research the policies of the journals you publish in

Being aware of the access policies of your key disciplinary journals can be helpful when choosing a publication.  SHERPA/RoMEO is a database that profiles and grades journals based on their open access policies.  The HowOpenIsIt? Open Access Spectrum (OAS) from PLoS provides another tool for evaluating the “openness” of a journal.

 

Unfortunately, there are journals that take advantage of the Open Access mission, and attempt to use the shifting nature of scholarly publishing to make money.  At Fresno State, we often receive spam emails in the form of a “call for articles” from these types of publishers.  For more on pseudo-journals, see this article from the New York Times.  Don’t confuse these publications with reputable OA journals! One list of high-quality, peer-reviewed journals is maintained by the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) at https://doaj.org/. A second list that takes the opposite approach and lists potential predatory journals is maintained by a research librarian: Beall's List of Publishers is available at https://scholarlyoa.com/publishers/. Be aware, however, that neither of these lists claims to be comprehensive, and journal titles still require critical review.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons is a form of licensing intellectual property (IP) different from traditional copyright, in that it gives the IP holder more flexibility in deciding how they would like people to access and use their information: this means that the creator doesn't need to negotiate licensing with every individual user of their IP, making open uses of information more efficient and achievable.

See the video Get Creative! below from Creative Commons about what Creative Commons does, why, and how.

Interested in using Creative Commons for your own work?  Use Creative Common's "Choose a License" tool for finding the right license for you and your work: https://creativecommons.org/choose/

Fresno State Digital Repository

The Fresno State Digital Repository (FSDR) is the open access repository for the intellectual and cultural capital of California State University, Fresno. It collects, preserves, and provides access to the scholarly, creative, instructional, and administrative work of campus faculty, staff, and in some cases students.

Why Contribute?
Increase visibility and access for deposited scholarly/creative works
       Meet funding agency requirements

             Disseminate your research or artistic work as it develops

                   Support Open Access and Open Education

                         Ensure persistent access and preservation

                               Preserve our legacy

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