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Scholarly Communication Services - Publish in Open Access (OA): Publish in Open Access

Why publish in Open Access (OA)?

Open Access LogoAn Overview.  Scholarly and some creative works are communicated through the commercial publishing industry (also known as academic, scholarly, or professional publishing).  After the work of authors is accepted for publication, authors usually sign copyright transfer agreements (CTAs) which give publishers the copyright for their work; this means the publisher has control over the use and distribution of the work and usually limits an author's ability to share it through e-mail, social media, learning management systems (LMS) or other means.  These works then are limited to readers who have subscriptions (individually or through a library or organization) or those who willing to pay through a paywall.

As an alternative, many scholars and other academics are publishing their work through Open Access (OA) publishers.  The main reasons for doing this include:

  • Availability: the work is more openly available to the general public and other scholars, and by passes toll-access or paywalls.
  • Control: authors have more rights to share or distribute work from maintaining copyright and selecting Creative Commons (CC) licenses.
  • Public access mandates: OA publications may help authors fulfill government or other funder mandates to share their sponsored work with the public.
  • Teaching and learning: authors can openly share their work with students online or in face-to-face settings.
  • Promote scholarship and ideas:  others may get ideas or produce inspired work through the OA articles they can read.

OA Publishing & Funding Models.  OA publishers use one of 3 models: green, gold, and hybrid.  Due to the funding models used by OA publlishers, publishing in Open Access may involve some costs when submitting manuscripts.  However, bear in mind that most OA publishers do not have charges; 72% of the journals listed in DOAJ do not have any.  Here are some common costs from the publishers that may charge them:

  • Submission Charge: when submitting a manuscript, some publications may ask for a nominal fee ($10 to $75) to cover costs of the editorial and review process.
  • Author Processing Charge (APC):  a fee used for accepted works to offset the costs of publishing in an OA publication; may range from $50 to $3,500.

OA fees can often be waived by request, or through individual or institutional memberships with an OA publisher (or its sponsoring organization).

OA for Published or Unpublished Works.  OA can be considered for both published works and those yet to be published:

  • Published Works (Green OA):  Publishers may allow authors to self-archive or share certain version of their work in limited ways; see your publisher's policies about OA and sharing.
  • Unpublished Works (Gold or Hybrid OA):  Authors can submit their unpublished work to OA publishers.  They can find Gold OA publishers, or submit their manuscripts to commercial publishers who have hybrid journals and make OA work available through fees. 
Green Open AccessGold Open AccessHybrid Open Access

Types of Open Access Models:

  Type of Publisher Author Publishing Costs (APCs) Availability/ Version Copyright/ Creative Commons Licensing Self-Archiving
Green Toll-access, commercial publisher None Post-print; Embargo possible for version of record. Publisher retains copyright. Author may request author addendum for limited copyright uses. Post-print
Gold Open Access (OA) publisher APCs vary, or none Final version of record. Author typically retains copyright. Work can be shared by Creative Commons (CC) licenses. Final version of record allowed.
Hybrid Toll-access, commercial publisher APCs vary Final version of record. Publisher (typically) retains copyright. CC license varies. Dependent on publisher.

See the following SCS LibGuides for related or additional information:

Find & Evaluate OA Publishers

Selected Open Access (OA) Publishers

Hybrid Journals. Some commercial publishers produce hybrid OA publications where authors can pay an Author Processing Charge (APC) to make their work openly available in publications that usually have toll-access (pay to read) or are subscription-based (readers need a subscription to view a full work). 

What if my work is already published? You may have options for adding your work to an institutional or disciplinary repository (known as Green OA). Many commercial publishers have policies for authors who wish to self-archive their work, make it available through a repository, or otherwise share it.  

Here is a selected list of publishers with hybrid journals, along with their OA policies that define what authors can do:

FAU Libraries OA Services

Presentations on OA Publishing