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Scholarly Communications

The scholarly communications and publishing ecosystem, including formats of academic literature (journals, monographs, edited collections), research impact, grants, copyright, Open Access, Open Educational Resources, and non-academic publishing.

Open Access

The What and Why of Open Access

What is Open Access?

  • Open Access (OA) is the publishing practice of making scholarly research available for everyone to see immediately and for free.
  • The goal of OA is to democratize scholarly communications. 
  • OA allows people who do not have privilege of access to a well-funded academic library to have broad access to scholarly research, including government-funded research. 
  • SPARC provides a great introduction to the logic behind OA publishing. 

There are multiple models of Open Access:

PLOS Open Access logo is decided into the public domain using a CC0 dedication

Benefits of Publishing OA

Benefits of Open Access Publishing: practitioners and policymakers can apply your findings, funder and grant compliance, public can access your findings, more visibility, 18% higher citations on average, and researchers in developing countries can see your work

Benefits of Publishing Open Access by University of Waikato Library used under CC BY license

By making your work available through OA:

  • The average number of citations to your work will increase (Piwowar et al., 2018).
  • The citations to your work will also diversity to include more disciplines, types of institutions, geographic regions, and more (Huang et al., 2024).
  • Your research will more likely to be mentioned in the news (Schultz, 2021), allowing it to be seen by policymakers, practitioners, and the general public. 

Huang, C.-K., Neylon, C., Montgomery, L., Hosking, R., Diprose, J. P., Handcock, R. N., & Wilson, K. (2024). Open access research outputs receive more diverse citations. Scientometrics.

Piwowar, H., Priem, J., Larivière, V., Alperin, J. P., Matthias, L., Norlander, B., Farley, A., West, J., & Haustein, S. (2018). The state of OA: A large-scale analysis of the prevalence and impact of Open Access articles. PeerJ, 6, e4375.

Schultz, T. (2021). All the research that’s fit to print: Open Access and the news media. Quantitative Science Studies, 2(3), 828–844.

Models of Open Access

OA models are classified using a color system:

  • Green: the repository-based model. The work is made available by the author self-archiving through a digital storage site called a repository. These repositories are usually built around an academic discipline or a particular institution.
  • Gold: a journal-based OA model where the journal provides immediate, free online access to the work using an open license. These journals require Author Processing Charges (APCs) to publish. 
  • Diamond: a journal-based OA model where the journal provides immediate, free online access to the work using an open license without requiring APCs or any other fee to publish. 
  • Hybrid: a journal-based OA model where a closed journal allows a work to be made open using APCs. 
  • Bronze: a journal-based OA model where the journal provides immediate, free online access to the work. However, there is no open license for the work. These journals may require APCs to publish. 
  • Black: when the work is made freely available through illegal means.  

Full Open Access is Green, Gold, and Diamond.

Full Open Access is not Hybrid, Bronze, or Black.

"Open Access Is and Open Access Is Not" by Open Access Australasia used under CC BY 4.0 license

Questions to Ask When Considering OA Models

  • Are you considering journal-based or repository-based OA?
  • Do you have OA requirements from your funder
    • If so, do they require a particular type of OA, such as green or gold?
    • If they require green, do they have a particular repository you need to deposit in? 
  • Are Article Processing Charges (APCs), publication fees paid by the authors or funders of the research, required to publish?
    • If so, how would you get them paid for? 
    • APCs can sometimes be covered with grant funds. Talk with a representative from the Division of Research and Innovation about including APCs in funding applications. 
  • What version of the work is made open?
    • Preprint: the submitted version of an article before it went through peer review
    • Postprint: the version of the article after the peer-review process but without formatting for publication or any journal branding, sometimes called the accepted version or the author's manuscript
    • Version of record: the final published version of the article—the version in the journal 
  • Is the work shared with an open license?
    • If so, what type of license is used?
    • What permissions are granted with the open license?