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Open Access Publishing: Where to Start

This guide accompanies the workshop "Open Access Publishing: Where Do I Start?" co-sponsored by the Grad College and University Library.

Frequently Asked Questions

Iowa State University does not have a campus-wide policy regarding open access publishing. However, the ISU Library and Faculty Senate have both put forward motions in support of OA in recent years. To read up on these documents, visit our Open Access Principles and Strategies.

Open access to research is free for readers, but there are costs involved in making that research available. There are various economic models in place and others still being developed.

One model that exists is for there to be a payment when the author submits an article. Usually this charge to publish an open access article is covered by research grant funds or institutional funds like the VPR’s Publication Subvention Grants.

Other economic models are also being used. For example, some open access publishers, such as the Public Library of Science (PLoS), require author payments, but these are waived for institutions who’ve purchased a membership with the group, as the ISU Libraries have for our authors.

Other titles are supported by a membership model. Institutions pay a membership fee to support the free publication of all OA articles. Open access publication in Open Library of Humanities journals is free for all authors, regardless of their institutional affiliation, thanks to the support of members. Iowa State University Library is proud to be a member of the OLH.

Finally, some journals are entirely open access; every article is available without restriction or fees required. These are usually supported by a scholarly society or foundation.

ISU has prepayment or membership agreements with multiple OA publishers. We deposit a lump sum with the publisher, who takes payment from these funds if a UCL author is eligible for open access publication. The payment process is very straightforward for authors.

To find out more, visit our Open Access Agreements webpage.

ISU encourages authors to make their work open to read through our Digital Repository wherever possible. This makes your research findable for other scholars without requiring fees. However, there is often an embargo period in which your article will be held before it can be publicly released on the Digital Repository’s website.

If ISU does not have an agreement to pay APC’s with your publisher, you may be able to acquire funding through the VPR’s Publication Subvention Grants.

If an ISU graduate student is the corresponding author on an open access article, they may be able to have their fees waived if we have a membership or agreement with the publisher.

If we do not have an agreement with the publisher, you may consider applying for a hardship grant. Most open access publishers offer waivers for authors in third-world countries or at institutions that do not have the funding to support their publication.

Graduate students cannot apply for the VPR Subvention Grants to cover their open access publication fees unless they are also a P&S staff member with a pay grade of 37 or higher.

You can send the ISU Digital Repository a copy of your pre-print (the draft of your article you submitted to your publisher) or post-print (your accepted manuscript after peer review but before publisher formatting) as soon after the acceptance or publication of your article as you’d like.

If you have not published in an open access journal and there is an embargo on articles published in your chosen journal, the DR will keep your article hidden until the date when it can be publicly shared.

An embargo period is a length of time in which access to the full-text version of an article is only available through subscription to the publisher’s journal or, in some cases, on an author’s personal website. The average length of an embargo for a scholarly article is 12 months.

During this time, you can send the Digital Repository a copy of your article, but it will not be publicly published until the embargo has ended. You do not need to keep track of this time yourself. The Digital Repository staff can handle this process themselves.

The ISU Digital Reposistory is a great place for sharing your research articles, abstracts, conference proceedings, and student publications. For data, we have a separate repository available at ISU, DataShare.

DataShare provides free and open access to research data produced by Iowa State. The repository is administered by the University Library in partnership with Office of the Vice President of Research and Information Technology.

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