Open access: Scholarly publishing

Scholarly Publishing and Open Access plus a stylized book with the open access symbol

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.

The two main types of open access are Green Open Access and Gold Open Access.

  • Green Open Access involves self-archiving your work in an open access repository, such as Summit at SFU.
  • Gold Open Access involves publishing in an open access journal. There are plenty of high-quality, peer-reviewed open access journals to choose from.

See Ways to make your work open access, below, for more information about selecting a platform for open access publishing.

Benefits of open access

There are several benefits to both Green and Gold Open Access, including:

  • Authors who publish in open access journals (Gold Open Access) 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 (Ottaviani, 2016).
  • Open access articles are freely available to the public and to researchers from the global community, giving your work a greater impact overall.
  • Open access fulfills the mandate of certain funders, like the Tri-Agencies, 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.

Read some testimonies from SFU scholars on why they’ve chosen to make their work open access.

Ways to make your work open access

Download the handout: How to make your work open access

1. Choose an open access or traditional subscription journal

a) Open access journals

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. 

See How do I assess a publisher, journal, or conference? for help with choosing a high-quality open access journal for your publication. 

This method of publishing is sometimes known as Gold Open Access. The entire journal is free to read immediately and completely at time of publication. 

The Directory of Open Access Journals provides information about thousands of peer reviewed Open Access journals.  The SFU Central Open Access Fund will cover some or all of the cost of publishing in many open access journals.

NOTE: 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. These articles are ineligible for SFU OA funding. 

b) Traditional subscription journals

Many journals will allow you to retain your copyright on your manuscript so you can share it freely in an open access repository or elsewhere such as your department website. This is known as Green Open Access, or self-archiving.

See Know your rights as an author for information on locating and negotiating archiving permissions to reproduce, reuse and publicly present your work for non-commercial purposes.

See Finding a repository for information about your options for self-archiving your work.

2. Self-archive your work in a repository such as Summit, SFU’s Research Repository

Bring greater visibility to your work by depositing it in SFU’s Institutional Repository or a disciplinary repository.    

Archiving your work in a repository allows you to:

  • Comply with funding mandates that require that your work be made open access;
  • Preserve a copy of your work in perpetuity knowing that your work will never be lost or deleted;
  • Share a consistent permalink to your work on social media and other sites, providing stable, ongoing access.

    What is a repository?

    A digital repository is an online collection of research associated with an institution or a discipline. Repositories provide barrier free online access to a range of scholarly publications including journal articles (pre and post prints), conference proceedings, and more. Research placed in a repository is made openly available through open access, helping to insure that your work is shared, accessed, and used widely.

      Finding a repository: Summit, data, and subject repositories

      Summit: SFU’s Research Repository

      An openly accessible database containing the scholarly output of SFU's authors. Summit is used to communicate the results of faculty and graduate research back to the community and comply with funder requirements such as those from CIHR, Genome Canada, and others. By depositing your work in Summit you are adhering to the SFU Open Access Policy.

      SFU Library can work with you or on your behalf to deposit your articles in Summit. Be sure to confirm which version of your paper you can deposit to Summit before getting started.

      Which version of my paper can I deposit in Summit?

      Data repositories

      Learn more about sharing and publishing your research data.

      Subject repositories

      Subject repositories, also called pre-print servers, collect and share research outputs related to particular subject areas. Colleagues in your field may search subject repositories for related research. Depositing your work here can increase the reach and impact of your work.

      Well-known subject repositories include:

      Search the Directory of Open Access Repositories for a complete list of local and international subject and institutional repositories.

      Contact us for information or assistance in locating a suitable repository in which to share your work.

      Funding for open access publishing

      SFU Library holds institutional memberships and participates in publishing agreements with many academic publishers, some directly and some as part of library consortia. Certain open access publishing discounts are available to SFU authors.

      Eligible SFU authors can apply to the SFU Central Open Access Fund for funding towards article processing charges for fully open access journals.

      You can also request funds for open access publishing as part of your grant proposal when applying for research funding.

      Understanding open access policies

      Tri-Council Open Access policy

      Many funding agencies are adopting open access policies that require funding recipients to make their research freely accessible. The Tri-Council agencies (CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC) have an open access policy on publications. Understand what these policies mean for you, and how the library can help.

      Tri-Council Open Access Policy: How the library can help

      SFU’s open access policy

      In January 2017, SFU Senate endorsed the Open Access Policy (OAP) acknowledging the commitment of SFU faculty, students, and postdoctoral fellows to share the products of their SFU research with the broadest possible audience. 

      Complying with the open access policy allows you to take advantage of all of the benefits of making your work openly available

      To satisfy the policy requirement in one easy step, SFU researchers can provide an electronic copy of the finalized text of their published articles to the Simon Fraser University Library. The Library will make the articles available to the public, taking into consideration requirements for access delay.

      Publishing open access books

      Many university presses and other publishers produce quality, peer-reviewed open access books and monographs.

      In order to insure you are selecting a reputable publisher for your open access book or monograph, follow the same steps as you would to assess a journal. See How do I assess a publisher, journal, or conference? for details on the steps to take and what to look for.

      Some publishers are beginning open access programs to share books more widely. Check with your publisher to see if they offer any open access options.

      If you plan to deposit your book or book chapter in an open access repository, check with your publisher for any copyright limitations. You can also include an addendum with your publisher agreement to retain your right to deposit your work.

      Browse the resources below to locate Open Access publishers for books and monographs.