Michigan State University

We are excited to announce that we have moved to a new catalog. Please report any problems you may experience to Discovery Services by calling (517) 353-8700 or by filling out our feedback form.

Note: Borrowing from other Michigan libraries through MeLCat continues to be suspended until further notice.

To learn more information, please see our FAQ page.

Open Access Publishing

Open access (OA) as defined by the Bethesda Statement is a publication model based on free and unrestricted access to scholarly research output that is archived in at least one online repository supported by an academic, scholarly, or government agency.

The traditional model of scholarly publication relies on publishers to facilitate the process of selection, peer review, editing, and dissemination. Libraries, in turn, purchase and provide access to these published books and journals. OA is an alternative publishing model that retains the selection, peer review, editing and dissemination, but makes the published work available for free to all users from the point of publication. The costs of publishing are borne not by the readers but by the authors themselves, government grants, universities, and other agencies.

Note that "open access" in this case refers to publishing scholarly output See these other library web pages for MSU support of publishing open textbooks and other open educational resources.

Why might one want to publish open access?

  • Visibility: Open access allows anyone to access and read academic work without paying for subscriptions or fees on a publisher’s website. This means researchers who don't have access to large libraries are able to read and use these publications.
  • Less restrictions on use: Open access publications often use Creative Commons licenses that allow your materials to be used for teaching or sharing without paying extra fees.
  • Citation Rate: Some studies have shown that open access publications tend to receive more citations than subscription-based publications. See: Does open access publishing increase citation or download rates?
  • Compliance with research funder policies: Many funding agencies now require some kind of public access to research publications resulting from their grants. In the United States, National Institutes of Health funded projects have a public access policy (see: NIH Public Access Policy). Public access is required after 12 months, so this is not technically “open access” but embargoed public access.

Why might one not want to publish open access?

  • A few high impact, quality journals and monograph publishers still do not allow open access publishing.
  • Many of the fees to publish open access are very high, although this pertains more to gold open access.  

Open Access Journal Article Publishing

Open access journal article publishing has become fairly common. There are two main OA publishing options, green and gold.  See Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).

Gold: Publish in open access journals or in hybrid journals with an open access option

OA journals or hybrid journals with an open access option provide a venue to publish your work that facilitates free and unfettered access immediately. There are multiple types of journals that allow open access:

Green: Self-archive and make available open access copies of your work

This is a no-cost option.  Many publishers do not allow for Gold open access publishing, but do allow authors to self-publish a pre- or post-print copy of an article or book chapter in an institutional repository or individual web site. Check SHERPA RoMEO to see what is allowed for different journals.  You will also need to pay attention to your author agreement with the publisher of your work.

What repositories are available to me for self-archiving?

Open Access Monograph Publishing

Open access monograph publishing is a growing trend as publishers experiment with models that might work for funding it. There are more complications than for journal publishing as there is often more publisher involvement in monographic publishing than in journal publishing and each monograph is very costly to produce. See Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB).