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Scholarly Communication - Open Access

Open Access

The Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities provides a quick overview and definition of open access.

There are, broadly, two ways to achieve open access. One 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 campus repository. If you maintain your copyrights, you are free to deposit your publications where you like. However, if you sign over your copyright to the publisher of your journal, you need to be check to see what your agreement with the publisher allows you to post.

SHERPA/RoMEO out of the UK lists the archiving and other copyright policies of thousands of journals so you can see what version, if any, of your article can be posted on the web.

Authors' Rights

UA scholarly authors own the copyright to their books and articles 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.

Possible Predatory Open Access Publishers

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. His criteria isn't always clear, but journals listed here should be regarded with at least some skepticism about their quality and peer review practices.

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.

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.

"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


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

Last modified: May 7, 2015