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Faculty Publishing

What is Open Access?

Open Access is the:

  1. free,
  2. immediate,
  3. online availability of research articles
  4. combined with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment.

The power of the Internet and the consent of the author or copyright-holder make OA possible.

Above Definition by SPARC

Further Reading: "A Very Brief Introduction to Open Access" by Peter Suber

A Deeper Dive into "What is Open Access"?


Want to find out what your favorite journal's open access policy is?  Search for the journal title in SHERPA/RoMEO to find out what you are permitted to do with your article post-publication.

Green: archive pre-print, post-print or publisher's PDF
Blue: post-print (final draft post-refereeing) or publisher's PDF
Yellow: pre-print (pre-refereeing)
White: Archiving not formally supported

Remember that you can ALWAYS ask to retain the right to self-archive your article!

Institutional Polices on OA


See University of Massachusetts Amherst Open Access Policy for example.

Public Toolkit of OA Policy Resources

The Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions (COAPI) Toolkit includes a diverse collection of resources related to OA policy initiatives.


Jacalyn Kremer, Dean of Library -  / ph. (978) 665-3833

Connie Strittmatter, Strategic Projects Librarian - / ph. (978) 665-4222

Why is Open Access Important?

We engage and invest in research in order to accelerate the pace of scientist discovery, encourage innovation, enrich education, and stimulate the economy — to improve the public good. 

Communication of the results of research is an essential component of the research process; research can only advance by sharing the results, and the value of an investment in research is only maximized through wide use of its results.

The Internet gives us the opportunity to bring this crucial information to a worldwide audience. This has resulted in a call for a new framework to allow research results to be more easily accessed and used — the call for Open Access.

Above from SPARC's Why is Open Access important?

Further Reading at What Faculty can do to Support Open Access?

How Open Access Empowered a 16-Year-Old to Make Cancer Breakthrough

Misconceptions about Open Access Publishing

Myth 1 – Open access journals are not peer reviewed.

Myth 2 - All open journals charge publication fees.

Myth 3 - You must choose between prestige and going open.

Myth 4 - Open access is ok for second-rate work, but not first-rate work.

Myth 5 - Post-print archiving violates copyright.

Taken from Danny Kinglsey's "Busting the top five myths about open access publishing". 

Further Reading: Boston College's "Open Access Myths: Busted!"

Consider: Beall's List of predatory publishers and journals.

Consider: Grand Valley State University Library Open Access Journal Quality Indicators

Author's Rights Resources from Scholary Publishing and Resources Coalition (SPARC)

Open Access Journal Directories & Repositories

There are two primary vehicles for delivering OA research articles: OA archives or repositories and OA journals.




    Access to 1,453,499 e-prints in Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Quantitative Biology, Quantitative Finance and Statistics.
  • Public Library of Science (PLOS)
    Publishes seven peer-reviewed open-access journals in a variety of scientific disciplines offering 215,000+ open articles.

Social Sciences

  • Social Science Research Network
    SSRN´s eLibrary provides 825,453 research papers from 403,798 researchers across 30 disciplines.
  • IDEAS: Economics and Finance Research
    Contains 2,500,000 items, part of a large volunteer effort to enhance the free dissemination of research in Economics, RePEc.
  • Research in Agricultural and Applied Economics (AgEcon)
    Contains working papers, conference papers and journal articles in applied economics, including the subtopics of agricultural, consumer, energy, environmental, and resource economics.