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Scholarly Publishing and Communication

What is Open Access?

Open access (OA) can be defined as content that is “digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.” (Suber 2012)

Some of the benefits of OA include:

  • Free, immediate, and equitable access to content
  • Promotes collaboration and scientific advancement
  • Higher citation rates and research impact

While this page has a focus on OA articles, other research outputs can be published OA as well. Read more about OA benefits and debunking common myths in the article Benefits of publishing your work open access: debunking myths.

Open Access Funding Support

Free OA Publishing with Cambridge University Press

The NorthEast Research Libraries Consortium (NERL), which the University of Pittsburgh is a member of, has a Read and Publish agreement with Cambridge University Press (CUP) that will waive article processing charges (APCs) for open access articles that meet the following eligibility criteria: 

See CUP's guide to learn more about how publishing open access under this agreement works.

Bioscientifica

Bioscientifica allows corresponding authors affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh to receive a 50% discount on open-access charges when choosing the gold open-access option in subscription journals. HSLS subscribes to all 5 of their subscription journals. See the Hybrid (subscription) journals section on Bioscientifica's website for more information.

Publishing Models

Gold OA

  • Involves publication in an OA journal
  • May require a publication fee called an article processing charge (APC)
    • APCs can be covered or reduced by research funders, institutions, and sometimes by the journal publisher
  • Once published, content is immediately and freely available to everyone
  • Find Gold OA journals in the Directory of Open Access Journals

Green OA

  • No article processing charges. Articles are submitted to subscription-based journals.
  • Involves depositing a version of the manuscript in a journal repository.
  • The version of the article that is permitted for submission can vary based on publishing agreements or funder requirements. See the section on journal and funder policies below.
  • Article is made open access in the repository after an embargo period.

Hybrid OA

  • Involves publication in a subscription journal that allows authors to pay for their article to be OA
  • Once published, content is immediately and freely available to everyone

OA and Copyright

Open access generally uses Creative Commons (CC) licensing to manage copyright. This is part of the journal submission process, ensuring authors get credit for their work and clearly defining any terms related to usage of that work.

There are six CC licenses:

Need help choosing a license? The Creative Commons License Chooser can help make suggestions based on your needs.

Journal and Funder Policies

Journal Policies

Although you can visit a journal's website directly to find the terms relating to OA, you can also locate this information on SHERPA Romeo. This is a database that allows you to search by journal title, ISSN, or publisher name to view a summary of their OA policies. This includes any applicable publication fees, copyright ownership, embargo information, and more (when applicable). Additionally, you can browse by country or publisher rather than searching for a specific journal or publisher.

Funder Policies

Although you can visit a funder's website directly to find the terms relating to OA, you can also locate this information on SHERPA Juliet. This is a database that allows you to search by funder/institution name to view any policies or requirements on open access, publication, and data archiving.