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Open access: Scholarly publishing

Open Access explained

This brief video (8 min.) features a good overview of Open Access publishing:

Open Access defined

Open Access publications are free to read on the open internet. Readers can download, copy and distribute an Open Access publication, as long as credit is given to the authors. Readers do not require a subscription or any other form of payment, either personally or through their university or library, to access the content. Open Access differs from Open Source, a descriptor often used for software with open code, free to download, use and modify.

Benefits of Open Access

  • Authors who publish in Open Access journals retain their copyright and control their own work.
  • Research indicates a citation advantage for Open Access papers—they get noticed and cited at higher rates than other articles.
  • Open access articles are freely available to the public and to researchers from the global community.
  • Open Access fulfills the mandate of certain funders, like the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) or the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which require that research generated from their grants be made freely accessible within a certain period of time. Check SHERPA/JULIET to see if a funder has an open access requirement.

Ways to make your work Open Access

1. Publish with an Open Access publisher.

Scholarly Open Access journals are subject to the same rigorous peer review that subscription based academic journals are, and many have high impact factors. However, they use different funding models when compared to traditional subscription journals. For example, see PLoS Biology and thousands of other Open Access journals listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals. The SFU Open Access Fund will cover the cost of publishing in many Open Access journals.

2. Deposit your work in a repository.

To help you determine whether you can archive a copy of your work in a repository like Summit, look to SHERPA/RoMEO. This website provides a summary of permissions that are normally granted by publishers' copyright transfer agreements.

3. Publish in a traditional subscription journal that allows you the option to make your article open access.

Some traditional publishers will allow authors to pay an additional fee to "unlock" an article and make it freely available. For example, see APS Free to Read and  Springer Open Choice. Although the article is free to read, licensing and copyright restrictions may still apply.

More information on how SFU supports Open Access.

See also: