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Library resources for engineering faculty: Open Access

This guide was originally developed to support a joint presentation on ORSP and Library Resources


This page is under construction! Ultimately, it will provide more targeted information for engineering faculty and graduate students.  Consult our main guide on Open Access Publishing.  


What is Open Access?

What do we mean by Open Access (OA) literature?

  • It is digital, online via the Internet, free of charge and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions of the author or copyright holders
  • OA is compatible with peer review, and all the major OA initiatives for scientific and scholarly literature insist on its importance.
  • OA literature is not free to produce, even if it is less expensive to produce than conventionally published literature.
  • OA offers better ways to pay the bills than by charging readers and creating access barriers
  • Business models for paying the bills depend on how OA is delivered.

There are two primary vehicles for delivering OA: OA archives or repositories and OA journals.

OA archives or repositories per se do not perform peer review, but simply make their contents freely available to the world. They may contain unrefereed preprints, technical reports etc. and refereed postprints and, often a combinations of these. Archives may belong to institutions, such as universities and laboratories, or be based on subjects (examples: physics and economics and ???). Authors may archive their preprints without anyone else's permission. A majority of journals already permit authors to archive their final referred, corrected copy (postprints) (more on this later).  See Institutional Repositories.

OA journals, on the other hand, do perform peer review and then make the approved contents freely available to the world. Their expenses are sometimes subsidized by the hosting university or professional society. Sometimes OA journals have to charge a processing fee on accepted articles, to be paid by the author or the author's sponsor (employer, funding agency). OA journals that charge processing fees usually waive them in cases of economic hardship.

Based on Peter Suber's brief description

Open Access: the six myths to put to rest:


Open Access Tools

Why publish in an OA repository or journal?

Why publish in an OA journal?

  • One way to make your data free available to satisfy funder (e.g. NSF) mandates
  • The OA journal is in a specialized area that is not covered by standard scholarly journals
  • You want to make your research freely available worldwide to your peer researchers
  • Evidence shows that open access journals get more citations

Why not to publish in an OA journal?

Tenure requirements:

  • Be aware of department/college policies
  • Not advisable to have all your research in OA journals perhaps one or two with documentation to show why you published in the particular journal

Excellent guide from UCSB 



Data Repositories