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Scholarly Communication - Open Access

Open Access

"In a better world, high-quality, peer reviewed information would be freely available soon after its creation; it would be digital by default, but optionally available in print for a price; it would be easy to find, and it would be available long after its creation, at a stable address, in a stable form."
- John Unsworth and Pauline Yu

Authors' Rights

UA scholarly authors own the copyright to their books and papers unless and until they assign these rights to a publisher or other party. You can retain control over access to your works by managing these copyrights yourself. One step towards this is to only sign publishing agreements that leave you in control of the future uses you want and expect.

The Open Access Directory maintains a list of authors addenda and other alternative publishing agreements. Selected approaches are highlighted in the UA Libraries Copyright Guide. The Copyright Guide is also a resource for more information about copyright.

Open Access

The Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities defines open access as peer reviewed literature that is freely available to the reader to copy, use, distribute, transmit, and display publically and to make and distribute derivative works subject to proper attribution of authorship, as well as the right to make small numbers of printed copies for their personal use.

Open Access (OA) is a vital access model that provides for broad distribution of scholarly output and allows researchers and other authors to reach a wide readership. There are, broadly, two standard methods of achieving open access.

One method is to publish directly in open access journals. (This is often referred to as "gold OA.") The Directory of Open Access Journals lists numerous peer reviewed open access journal across all disciplines. There are several business models available to support open access publishing.

The other standard method of achieving open access (usually referred to as "green OA") is to archive publications in an open disciplinary or institutional repository. SHERPA/RoMEO lists the archiving and other copyright policies of thousands of journals. has a series of clever videos (in both German and English) that explain open access.

Open access as an access model is supported by a variety of business models. This leaves an opening for abuse. Jeffrey Beall has pulled together a list of Predatory Open Access Publishers who exploit the author-pays business model for their profit with little care for peer review or other checks on quality.

Open Access Publishing Fund

The University Libraries and the Office of the Vice President for Research have created an Open Access Publishing Fund to support campus authors who would like to publish in an open access journal but have no funding available for Author Processing Charges. Details are here.

Open Educational Resources (OER)

Open educational resources spur innovation and knowledge creation both for independent learners and in the classroom by allowing teachers and students to adapt and build upon resources to meet their specific needs. OER Commons offers over 30,000 openly licensed instructional materials free for students or instructors to use for a broad range of teaching and learning needs. Materials are searchable by topic and grade level.

The Open Courseware Consortium, which started at MIT and now has members worldwide, is another site with a wide range of openly available resources as well as news about open courseware activities.

Open Repositories

Disciplinary and institutional repositories host a range of openly available resources for reading and re-use. The Directory of Open Access Repositories has over 2,000 listings of repositories around the world. The University of Arizona Campus Repository is a growing resource.



Dan Lee,
Director, Office of Copyright Management & Scholarly Communication
(520) 621-6433

Last modified: October 21, 2014