Open access (OA) refers to freely available, digital, online information. Open access scholarly literature is free of charge and often carries less restrictive copyright and licensing barriers than traditionally published works, for both the users and the authors. Depending on where you publish most publishers will allow you to post either a pre-print or a post-print in a repository, allowing a version of your work to be open access. Pre-prints refer to the version of your work that you submit and a post-print refers to the final version (after revisions, but prior to pagination and branding of publisher).
The libraries manages USU's institutional repository (IR) Digital Commons. An IR is an online means for collecting, preserving, and disseminating the intellectual output of an institution. The IR works to provide open access to scholarly works, research, reports, publications, and courses produced by USU faculty, staff, students, and others. It also provides online journal and conference hosting as well as access to personal research web pages (called Selected Works pages).
There are a number of discipline specific repositories as well that can help you increase your scholarly presence within your specific field. To search for a relevant repository for you visit the Directory of Open Access Repositories.
Open Access may be achieved through two different, but complementary, avenues:
1) Green Open Access describes author self-archiving in an institutional or funder repository, a personal website, or some other freely accessible website.
2) Gold Open Access describes publication through fully Open Access journals. These are journals that make ALL of their published articles freely and immediately available on their websites. Note that some of these journals charge author processing fees in order to make content freely available to researchers. Funding assistance for such publications may be available.
Hybrid journals are traditional journals, in the sense that their revenue comes from subscriptions, that offer authors the option to make their individual article Open Access. This option will carry with it an additional fee. Hybrid journals may be a good way for individual researchers to make their works widely available. However, by providing an additional source of revenue to large publishers, they do reinforce the existing problems in the scholarly communication system and are not fully open publications. For this reason, hybrid journals are not supported by USU Libraries' Open Access Funding initiative.