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Open Access Publishing

Lightly adapted from the Open Access Publishing guide, by Larissa Gordon:

Defining Open Access

Open Access (OA) means that information is:

  • freely available
  • published digitally online
  • has few restrictions on its use or reproduction

What are the origins of the OA movement?

  • The OA movement is the result of a recent scholarly communication crisis, where the pricing model of academic journals became unsustainable for many educational institutions. 
  • That crisis, combined with the low cost of online publishing and distribution, led to a dramatic increase in OA publications.

Authors can make their works OA through several avenues:

  • Self-Archive a copy of their work in a subject or institutional repository (Green OA). DASH (Digital Access to Scholarship at Harvard) is Harvard's institutional repository.
  • Publish in a fully OA journal  (Gold OA). These journals are not subscription-based, but instead, get financial support by asking authors to pay Article Processing Charges (APC), or are funded by scholarly associations or institutional funds. Harvard's Open-Access Publishing Equity (HOPE) fund supports researchers who choose to publish in these journals by reimbursing reasonable article processing fees for articles authored or co-authored by Harvard researchers, published in eligible OA journals, for which no alternative funding is available.
  • Publish in a Hybrid OA journal. These journals operate using a subscription-based model but do give authors an option to choose to pay an APC to make their work available open access.

Who Benefits from OA publication?

  • Faculty: increased visibility and availability of work can lead to it having a greater impact.
  • Students/Teachers: increased access to more information can enhance learning, especially in developing nations.
  • Libraries: increased access to information for patrons, for less money than the subscription journal model costs.
  • Universities: greater visibility of research outputs.
  • General Public: greater access to information, especially to the results of publicly funded research.

How does this impact my grant-funded research?

In addition to giving researchers increased access to information, and making a researcher's own work more accessible, many funding bodies, such as the National Institutions of Health (NIH), require that the works produced using their funds be made accessible to the public. Countway Library's Publishing & Data Services team supports researchers in complying with NIH's Public Access Policy.

Learn More

Learn more about Open Access by watching this brief video, or exploring the association websites listed below.

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