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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 Scholarship and Research Impact Challenge

Publishing Models

Gold OA

  • Involves publication in an OA journal
  • Requires a publication fee called an article processing charge (APC)
    • APCs can sometimes 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

Hybrid OA

  • Gives authors the option to make their work OA
  • Requires an APC
  • Once published, content is immediately and freely available to everyone

Green OA

  • Articles are submitted to subscription-based journals.
  • No article processing charges.
  • Involves depositing the postprint into an OA repository.
  • Article is made open access in the repository after an embargo period.

Journal and Funder OA Policies

The following are two resources that allow you to check the OA policies of journals and funders ahead of time before you submit. For the most up to date information, refer to the journal or funder's website.

Journal Policies

SHERPA Romeo aggregates information on journal open access policies. Search by journal title, ISSN, or publisher name to view a summary of their OA options, including green OA. Records in this database includes information on publication fees, copyright ownership, embargo timelines, and more. 

Funder Policies

SHERPA Juliet includes information about funder policies on open access publishing and data archiving.

Free Open Access Publishing Agreements

The University of Pittsburgh has agreements with the following publishers that enable you to publish open access in their journals free of charge. 

Wiley

  • Corresponding authors who are currently enrolled as a student or employed at the University of Pittsburgh or UPMC may publish open access at no charge to the author. To qualify, articles must be published in a Wiley or Hindawi fully open access journal (submitted on or after 1 January 2024) or published open access in a hybrid journal (accepted on or after 1 January 2024).
  • Eligible article types include primary research, review articles and cases studies.
  • To receive the waiver, corresponding authors must create an account in Wiley’s Author Services system using their Pitt (or UPMC) e-mail address.
  • For Open Access Journals, authors will also be prompted to choose a payment option where they can enter PITT as the open access account code to apply for the waiver.
  • Search Journal Finder to select from over 1,400 journals included in this deal.
  • For more information how to submit your manuscript see here.

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 waives article processing charges (APCs) for open access articles that meet the following eligibility criteria: 

  • Have a corresponding author affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh or UPMC
  • Be original research—eligible article types are research articles, review articles, rapid communications, brief reports, and case reports. 
  • Be accepted for publication in a CUP journal covered by the agreement. Use this tool and select "University of Pittsburgh" to generate a list of eligible journals.
  • Be accepted for publication on or after January 1, 2022.

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

NOTE: Other uncommon fees and publication charges not related to open access, such as page charges, may not be covered under this agreement. Carefully read the journal’s policies and instructions for authors before submitting your manuscript.

American Chemical Society

The University of Pittsburgh Libraries have signed on to a three year Read & Publish deal with American Chemical Society in conjunction with the PALCI consortium. University of Pittsburgh researchers who are corresponding authors can now choose to publish open access in ACS Publications beginning January 1, 2023. Make sure to opt-in to open access upon article submission to take advantage of this deal and use your Pitt email address to avoid delays.

Company of Biologists

University of Pittsburgh researchers who are corresponding authors can now choose to publish open access in Company of Biologists journals. To learn more, see this page on information for authors. Please use your Pitt email address when submitting to avoid delays.

Institute of Physics (IOP) Publishing

University of Pittsburgh Libraries has negotiated a transformative agreement granting an unlimited fee waiver in 2023 - 2025 for articles with a Pitt-affiliated corresponding author in almost all IOP journals. Please note: American Astronomical Society journals are not included in this agreement. IOP subject coverage goes well beyond physics—medicine, mathematics, engineering, and other science fields are also included.

Please use your Pitt email address when submitting articles in order to avoid delays. All eligible articles will automatically be made OA unless the author opts out. Please see this handy guide to submitting your article.

John Benjamins Journals

  • University of Pittsburgh researchers who are corresponding authors can now choose to publish open access in all John Benjamins journals, without APC charges.
  • To be eligible, University of Pittsburgh authors must be listed as corresponding author, use their institutional email address (pitt.edu), and have their affiliation stated in the article to be published.
  • Eligible article types include research articles, reviews, and introductory articles.
  • To be eligible, manuscripts need to be submitted between January 1 and December 31, 2024. (This program is subject to annual renewals)
  • See John Benjamins website Information for Authors of Journal Articles for more information.

Royal Society of Chemistry

  • In 2024 University of Pittsburgh researchers who are corresponding authors can now choose to publish open access in all Royal Society of Chemistry journals (apply “select institution” filter to see which titles are covered), without APC (Article Processing Charges) charges.
  • To be eligible, University of Pittsburgh authors must be listed as corresponding author, use their institutional email address (pitt.edu), and have their affiliation stated in the article to be published.
  • This program is subject to annual renewals.
  • For more information about open access publishing with RSC, see their Open Access Publishing website.

Open Access Publishing Discounts

Bioscientifica

Bioscientifica allows corresponding authors affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh to receive a 50% discount on open access charges when opting in to open access in one of their hybrid journals, all 4 of which HSLS subscribes to. See the Hybrid (subscription) journals section on Bioscientifica's website for more information.