Contact Information
last updated: 10/16/2013

Open Access

What is Open Access? 

Open access (OA) literature has been defined as digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. OA materials may be downloaded and shared freely thus they have the possibility to be more widely read and cited than literature that appears in a closed-access, or subscription, journals.


Open Access does not mean lower quality

 An oft cited myth regarding Open Access is that it is not peer reviewed. This is just false. There are methods of OA communication that may not be peer reviewed, like some blogs or wikis for example; however, there are many rigorously peer-reviewed options as well. Peer-reviewed OA journals have the same quality control filters as traditional journal publishing, but their content is made freely accessible.


Gold versus Green 

There are two major types of Open Access publishing: Gold and Green. Gold OA refers to publishing in an open access journal that provides immediate access to the article. Examples of Gold OA publishers are BioMed Central and the Public Library of Science (PLoS). Green OA is a method whereby authors publish in any journal (open or closed access) and upon publication self-archive a version of the article in an OA institutional repository, subject repository such as RePEc, or central repository such as PubMed Central.


Understanding of the types of Open Access can be confused by “Hybrid” OA journals. These journals are closed access but provide a Gold OA publishing option for individual articles for which their authors (or their author's institution or funder) pay an OA publishing fee. An example of a Hybrid OA publisher would be Springer and its Open Choice option.


The Economics 

Just because something is freely available online, does not meant that there were no costs involved in placing it there. Open access publishers have tried various methods to support this type of publishing, and the current state of publishing is still in flux as no one method will work for all publishers. Some will charge author fees, some are subsidized by institutions, some are subsidized by scholarly societies. There is no one size fits all solution.


How do I find Open Access materials? 

Generally, most people find open access materials through a search engine such as Google. You can also search for open access journals through the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) or look for articles in repositories. A list of repositories can be found through the Directory of Open Access Repositories (DOAR).


How Can I Support Open Access? 

  • Deposit your work in IUScholarWorks Repository.
  • Publish your work in open access journals.
  • Publicize open access journals by using them in your own work and incorporating OA articles into your syllabi.
  • Read more, become informed. A good place to start is here


Indiana University Libraries and Open Access 

The IU Libraries support open access in a variety of ways. The primary method is through a suite of services called IUScholarWorks. We offer an open access IUScholarWorks Repository to disseminate and preserve your work. We offer a full-service publishing platform through IUScholarWorks Journals. We also offer data management tools and services through IUScholarWorks Data. We also offer a copyright advising service to answer questions and help you manage your copyrights.

last updated: 10/16/2013