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Journal Inflation: Open Access Publishing

What is Open Access?


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.

While OA is a newer form of scholarly publishing, many OA journals comply with well-established peer-review processes and maintain high publishing standards. For more information, see Peter Suber's overview of Open Access.

In harmony with its land grant mission, USU is committed to the open sharing of knowledge. By making their content freely available to researchers, open access journals are helping to change the landscape of scholarly communication. USU Libraries supports this effort by making funds available to support the cost of publishing articles in fully Open Access journals. Additional information and an application are available from the USU Libraries website. Researchers may also write funds for Open Access publications into their grant budgets.

Types of Open Access

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.

USU Policy 586

USU's Policy 586: "Open Access to Scholarly Articles" establishes a nonexclusive license between USU and each researcher employed by the University. This non-exclusive license grants USU the right to make your work openly available through an institutional repository, such as Digital Commons. In harmony with USU's land grant mission, this policy facilitates the sharing of publications freely providing researchers, students and faculty around the world access to the materials that they need to further their research.

By establishing this nonexclusive license, Policy 586 ensures that individual researchers can maximize the impact of their works by making them freely available online. The policy also ensures that making your work Open Access is your choice, not your publisher's.

How do I make my work Open Access?

The first step to making your work Open Access is to retain your copyright. In order to retain your copyright, it is helpful to know the policies of the journals in which you intend to publish. For help determining copyright policies, you may contact us at

To make your work Green OA, simply email the final accepted manuscript of your work to, and we'll take care of the rest.

If you publish in a Gold Open Access journal, such as those produced by PLOS and BioMed Central, you likely will not have to transfer any of the copyright to your work to the publisher. Note that USU Libraries have negotiated agreements so that USU authors can publish Open Access with Taylor & Francis, Cambridge University Press, The Royal Society of London, and the Association for Computing Machinery at no charge to you. These are pilot programs, so funding is not guaranteed, but look for their Open Access options when submitting your articles or when they are accepted.

If you choose to publish in a traditional journal, you may use SHERPA/RoMEO to determine the copyright policy of that journal. If your journal grants back to you the right to post the author's post-print (final accepted manuscript) in an institutional repository such as DigitalCommons, simply email this version of your article to and we will make it Open Access through DigitalCommons.

If the publisher does not allow you to post a version of your work in the DigitalCommons, please sign and attach the appropriate publication addendum. This addendum notifies the publisher that you have previously granted USU, as per Policy 586, the nonexclusive right to make a version of your work Open Access through DigitalCommons. 

Confused about the rights you will retain or sign away when entering into a publication agreement? We are available to help you review your publication agreements to make sure that you are retaining as many rights to your work as possible.

OA Resources

Additional links