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Scholarly Communication @ UH Manoa: OA Publishing

Scholarly communication news and events for researchers at UH Manoa

How to Make Your Work Open Access

You can create open access to your work by:

  • Publishing in an open access journal or with an open access press. For example, Biomed Central, the Public Library of Science (PLOS)Open Humanities Press, Athabasca Press, or PeerJ.
  • Publishing in a hybrid journal. A number of publishers (including Elsevier and Springer) have responded to the open access movement by offering a hybrid open access option: authors publishing in some subscription-based journals can pay a fee to make their articles immediately available to nonsubscribers upon publication. However these publishers may limit how the article can be reused. Peter Suber lists some questions to consider when evaluating hybrid journals.

Learn more about open access journals:

Quality and Impact of Open Access Materials

  • Open Access Is Compatible with Peer Review
    Open access scholarly journals practice peer review just like subscription-based scholarly journals. The open access business model does not call for any changes to the peer review process.
  • Open Access Journals Can Have High Impact Factors
    Open access content is accepted by other scholars and researchers; and studies have shown that open access articles are cited at a higher rate than those with restricted access. For example, the open access journal PLOS Biology has one of the highest impact factors among life science journals. See the Open Citation Project for a bibliography of studies on the effect of open access on citation impact.
  • Altmetrics Can Highlight the Effect of Open Access Material
    As scholars move their work to the web, alternative metrics can help analyze the effect of that scholarship. Learn more about altmetrics.

Assessing Open Access Publishers & Journals

As the open access movement grows, there are more and more open access journals and publishers arriving on the scene. While many are legitimate, the academic community is concerned about those that may be taking advantage of authors and readers.

What are predatory OA journals? How do I spot and avoid them?

Predatory open access journals charge authors large publication fees, but do not provide the value added services we normally associate with journals (such as intellectually solid peer review, editing, and/or production values). Since we work in reputation-based fields, such journals and their publishers quickly gain reputations as entities to avoid. Spotting them can be challenging, but here are some things to ask yourself if you are considering publishing with a journal:

  • Are they a known entity in your field?
  • What else have they published? How is the quality, in your judgment?
  • Do you know anyone associated with their editorial board, that you can check in with?
  • Do you know anyone who has published with them?
  • Does a web search for the journal name and the word predatory yield anything of interest from credible sources?

From Boston University Libraries FAQ: Open Access Policy at

Use the resources below to learn more about the problem of predatory publishers and to help you assess the legitimacy of a publisher or journal.

Types of Open Access Content

Open access can refer both to content that is available online at no cost, but with significant reuse restrictions, and to content that is available online at no cost with fewer reuse restrictions.

  • Libre Open Access
    Open access advocate Peter Suber has suggested using the label "libre" to indicate freely available open access content with fewer restrictions on reuse than many scholarly publications. The content of many open access scholarly journals is "libre."
  • Gratis Open Access
    Suber calls content that is freely available yet has significant reuse restrictions "gratis." For example, most articles in PubMed Central are freely available to download and read, but to reproduce them for a classroom or share them with colleagues, you may have to get permission from the copyright owner. The content of most subscription-based journals is "gratis," allowing authors to archive their work, but creating various restrictions on which version of the article may be archived, where the article may be achived, and how the author or others may reuse the article.

Who Pays for Open Access Publishing?

Open access content is distributed at no cost to the reader. Yet someone must pay for the services publishers provide. Though the conversation about how to pay for open-access publishing is ongoing, there are a few common economic models.

  • Grants or Institutional Support
    Some open access journals are funded via grants, institutional support, or other sources. The cost of institutional repositories is ordinarily borne by the sponsoring institution.
  • Publication Fees
    Other open access publishers charge authors a publication fee for each article to cover the costs of managing peer review, copyediting, typesetting and XML markup, and hosting the content. There are a number of funding sources authors can use to pay these fees. The National Institutes of Health, for example, allows grant funds to be used to pay publication fees for open access articles. You may also receive help from your university. Most journals will reduce or waive the publication fee for authors without adequate funds.
  • Institutional Memberships
    Some open access publishers also request institutional help in the form of institutional memberships. In these arrangements, scholars and researchers at member universities receive a discount on the publication fees for their articles. PLOS, for example, has an institutional membership program.
  • No-cost Institutional or Subject-based Repositories
    Authors also have the no-cost option of archiving their articles in an institutional or subject-focused repository (known as "green OA"), but care needs to be taken that permission for this is granted by the publisher and that the permitted formats are the only ones deposited.

Copyright and Open Access

  • Open access Works Are Protected by Copyright
    Open access is compatible with copyright law. The holder of rights chooses to make the copyrighted material available to a wider audience than the typical audience for material published using a subscription-based model. Whether or not you can include your publication in open access initiatives depends on the terms of any publishing and copyright agreements you sign. Carefully read any publishing agreement before you sign it and negotiate with the publisher for the rights you need.
  • Retaining Your Copyright
    If you plan to include your work in an open access repository, be sure you have retained the copyright, or that you have sufficient legal rights in your agreement with a publisher. If you transfer your copyright to the publisher, you will likely lose this option. If you make your work open access, you may also choose to permit readers to make certain constructive uses of it. Many advocates of open access encourage authors to retain their copyright and to allow reuse of their work by others, as long as the authors are credited. Licenses such as those offered by Creative Commons allow you, if you retain your copyright, to designate levels of permitted uses of your work.
  • Author Addendum
    The SPARC Author Addendum is a legal instrument that modifies the publisher's agreement and allows you to keep key rights to your articles. The Author Addendum is a free resource developed by SPARC in partnership with Creative Commons, established non-profit organizations that offer a range of copyright options for many different creative endeavors.