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Open Access

Tools and tips to help you make your research Open.

Welcome to the University Library's Open Access Guide

This guide will introduce you to what Open Access is, how to make your research Open, and provide information on required Open Access. Use the menu on the left to navigate to different sections.

  • What is Open Access - An introduction to the basics of Open Access (OA)
  • Choose Open Access - Make your research OA
    • Find an Open Access Publisher - Tools to locate journals to publish articles OA
    • DIY Open Access (Self-Archiving)- Tools to assist you in making already published research OA
  • Required Open Access- Information on research that is required to be OA
    • Federal Agencies - Resources for researchers working on federally funded research
    • Open Access & Iowa State - Statement on OA at Iowa State

Open Access is the free, immediate, online availability of research articles, coupled with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment. - Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC)

Why Open Access

Researchers engage and invest in research in order to accelerate the pace of scientific 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.

Yet, too often, because of cost barriers or use restrictions, research results are not available to the full community of potential users.  The Internet gives us the opportunity to bring this crucial information to a worldwide audience at virtually no marginal cost, and allows us to use it in new, innovative ways. This has resulted in a call for new framework to allow research results to be more easily accessed and used— the call for Open Access. 

Open Access, SPARC

Open Access is complex

Open Access takes many forms. Here are some of the ways researchers interact with Open Access journal articles: 

  • Total Open Access journals: There are peer-reviewed journals that do not charge readers a subscription fees. These journals typically charge authors an "open access publication fee," however some OA journals do not.
  • Hybrid Open Access journals: A growing amount of peer-reviewed journals that charge readers a subscription fee are offering authors the option to make individual articles Open through an additional author fee. For readers without a subscription, some articles in which the author selected this path will be able to be read.  
  • Self-archiving, sharing, or DIY Open Access: Authors who publish articles in any kind of journal often want to share and post their work for others to read. Authors do this in many ways--through institutional repositories, personal websites, or in online communities. Self-archiving needs to be done with careful consideration of author agreements and copyright set in place by the journal that originally published the article. 

Remember: Sham journals, predatory publishers, non-peer reviewed, and journals with little impact exist in both the Closed Access arena and the Open Access arena. Before publishing in any journal, researches should take time to investigate both the journal and the editorial board. 

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