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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

What is Open Access?

  • 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 lifts access barriers for researhers  (don not have to have a subscription to the journal)

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. Sometimes OA journals have to charge an article processing fee (called APCs) on accepted articles, to be paid by the author or the author's sponsor (employer, funding agency). 

Based on Peter Suber's brief description 

Why publish in an OA repository or journal?

Why publish in an OA journal?

  • Make your research and data free available to satisfy funder (e.g. NSF) mandates
  • You find an OA journal 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?

  • Your have applied for a patent
  • Be aware of department/college policies if you are seeking tenure or promotion

Excellent guide from UCSB 


Data Repositories

Open Access Tools

CSULB funding for Open Access publishing

CSU Elsevier Agreement

Books of interest