What is Open Access?

Open Access (OA) scholarship is free for anyone in the world to access and read online, in contrast with subscription-based content, which requires a login, institutional affiliation, or payment to access.

To learn more about how you can publish your work openly, visit our How To Publish Open Access Library Guide


How do I make my research open?

You have many options for making your research open. If you know prior to publication that you would your research to be open, you can find an Open Access publisher. In some situations, it may not be possible to publish your work with an OA publisher. In these cases, you will want to investigate your options for self-archiving. These are known as Gold and Green Open Access, respectively:

The Gold Route (OA Publishing)

In this path, research is made open by the publisher at the time of publishing. Often, gold OA journals are sustained by charging open access publication fees (instead of subscription fees), but some are funded by other sources and do not require an author fee.

Examples of OA journals include PLoS ONE and Agronomy. You can search the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) for a journal in your discipline. 

The Green Route (Archiving)

Green Open Access is better known as "self-archiving." Green OA gives authors the ability to share their research articles, conference posters, and other works in online repositories.

A wide variety of options are available, including disciplinary repositories (e.g. arXiv and PubMed Central) and institutional repositories (ISU Digital Repository).

Previously published research can be self-archived, as can pre-prints and manuscripts for unpublished research and white papers.

Open Access Business Models

There are a few distinctions between publishing models found under the broad banner of "Gold" Open Access publishing. Some notable models are outlined below. 

Fee + Subscription "Hybrid" Open Access

Hybrid open access refers to a publishing model in which a subscription-based journal allows authors to make their articles open access if the author pays an article publication charge (APC). Authors who do not pay this charge can still have their work published, but it will only be accessible behind a paywall and institutions will have to buy a subscription to access the journal's content.

Some examples of hybrid open access journals include: Journal of Food Engineering, Information Technology and Tourism, and Stochastic Processes and their Applications.

    Fee-Supported "Pure Gold" Open Access

    All articles are peer reviewed, formally published, and made available with no subscription paywalls. The full text of articles are freely available online immediately upon publication. Journals are supported by the payment of an article processing charge (APC) by the author, institution, or research funder of the accepted manuscript. These fees may be waived if the author does not have access to funding.

    Some examples of APC-supported gold open access journals include: PLOS ONE, Archaeology International, Journal of Probability and Statistics, Applied Sciences, and BMC Genomics.

    No Fee "Diamond" Open Access

    Authors do not need to pay a fee or receive a waiver to have their work published openly. All articles are peer reviewed, formally published, and made available with no subscription paywalls. The full text of articles are freely available online immediately upon publication.

    Some examples of no-fee open access journals include: Glossa: Journal of General Linguistics, Journal of Research in Innovative Teaching and Learning, Metaphysics and Archives of Physiotherapy.

    Journals are supported by scholarly societies, organizations, or membership programs. Because of this, they do not need to charge author-facing fees to cover publication costs.

    Learn More

    • Open Access Publishing: Where to Start: This "how to" guide provides a step by step process for those interested in finding, evaluating, and publishing open access journal articles & book chapters. 
    • Author Rights: Copyright, Publishing, and You: This guide is meant to help you find journal-specific information on authors' rights, open access information, strategies about copyright and publishing options, and steps you can take to retain ownership of your work.