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Open Access Publishing Support

Information about resources, agreements, and supports for Open Access (OA) publishing provided by UVM Libraries

What is OA?

Open Access image

Open Access (OA) is both a set of principles and practices for the publication of digital content freely available to all, without fee or access restrictions for the readers.

Open Access scholarly literature is online, free to read, open to all, and typically permits much greater range for reuse and sharing than other literature. It follows the same peer review and other publishing processes as other scholarly literature.

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Benefits & Challenges of OA

Benefits of Open Access Publishing

  • Open Access articles and publications are available to the widest possible audience 
  • OA publishing promotes equity of access to research and knowledge for all 
  • OA publishing satisfies funding agency requirements for providing public access to research
  • Most OA articles and publications have higher readership and citation
  • Authors retain copyright in most cases, which is not true with traditional publishing


Risks & Challenges of Open Access Publishing

  • Author Processing Charges (APCs) charged by journals to cover the cost of publication can be very high - anywhere from $200 to $12,000
  • Predatory publishers with very low standards may present themselves as legitimate OA publishers. Selecting an OA journal requires caution and careful evaluation
  • Traditional publishers may or may not permit different Green Open Access options; these cannot be assumed to be universal

Green vs Gold vs Platinum OA

Open Access to literature is available through several different models, sometimes directly on a publisher's website, and sometimes through third-party avenues. These are commonly distinguished by a color code.

Green block

Green Open Access

Self-archiving by authors of traditionally published article manuscripts in open repositories or archives, including institutional repositories such as UVM Scholarworks

  • Typically but not always already permitted by publishers
  • May be subject to an embargo - a delay before becoming publicly readable
  • Common requirement for grant-funded research articles
  • Author may or may not own copyright
  • Free for authors
gold block

Gold Open Access

Publication in hybrid or open access journal

  • No delay in access for any reader
  • No restriction on sharing or reuse - most typically covered by a Creative Commons license model
  • Author retains ownership under CC license
  • Fee paid by authors or institutions after manuscript acceptance
    • Some publishers and universities (including UVM) participate in transformative agreements, which pay author fees via annual institutional subsidy rather than directly.
Bronze block

Bronze Open Access

Publication is available on a publisher website for readers but with restrictions

  • May or may not be a delay in access for any reader
  • May only be read on publisher website - no sharing, archiving, and sometimes no printing or downloading
  • Publisher owns copyright and may change access at any time
  • Often requires free registration to read
  • Free for authors
Platinum block

Platinum or Diamond Open Access

Publication in an open access journal or on an open access platform

  • No delay in access for any reader
  • No restriction on sharing or reuse - most typically covered by a Creative Commons license model
  • Author retains ownership under CC license
  • Typically funded by library, society, or institutional subsidy program
  • Free for authors

Hybrid vs Open Access Journals

Open Access Journals These journals are fully Open Access - all articles in the journal are Open Access by default. They may or may not charge an Author Processing Charge (APC).
Hybrid Journals These journals are by default traditionally published - articles are not accessible to readers without subscriptions, or only become accessible after a time delay after first publication. However, an author may pay an Author Processing Charge (APC) to publish their articles Open Access without delay.  

Open Access vs Public Domain

Open Access Texts are covered by copyright protection, but are available for reading or reuse because their authors permit this, typically under the terms of a Creative Commons license. 
Public Domain

Texts or other creative works are available for reading or reuse without seeking permission or offering payment because they are not covered by copyright protection. This may be because their copyright has expired or because they were ineligible for it, as is true of government works, ideas, facts, etc. 

Find more information about the Public Domain and how to determine if something is covered by it using the American Library Association's Is it Protected by Copyright? tool. 

Public Access Mandates & Policies

Many funders and institutions mandate that funded or affiliated research be published either Green or Gold Open Access in order to share supported research as broadly as possible. See your funder's Data Sharing, Repository, Preprint, Public Access and/or Open Access policies to determine your required action. 

Red Flags : Predatory Publishers vs OA

Predatory publishers frequently mimic legitimate Open Access publishers in order to profit off of the need for researchers to share their work with the broader public. Their methods are ever changing, but being aware of them can help you avoid this trap.

A formal definition:

"Predatory journals and publishers are entities that prioritize self-interest at the expense of scholarship and are characterized by false or misleading information, deviation from best editorial and publication practices, a lack of transparency, and/or the use of aggressive and indiscriminate solicitation practices."

Grudniewicz, A., Moher, D., Cobey, K. D., Bryson, G. L., Cukier, S., Allen, K., ... & Ciro, J. B. (2019). Predatory journals: no definition, no defense. Science (576)7786. 210-212. doi:

Be aware of these common red flags to avoid them:

  • Deception
    • Aggressive spamming with unsolicited emails
      • Invitations to author, frequently well outside of your field
      • Invitations to edit a "special topic" issue, in order to convince you to recruit your peers
    • Falsely claiming a high Impact Factor or high SJR
    • Proclaiming a high metric in low quality index that purports to measure academic quality
    • Falsely claiming inclusion in a respected index such as Scopus or Medline
      • Note: Actual inclusion does not preclude a journal from being predatory or poor in quality, but it makes it far less likely
    • Falsely claiming prominent scholars in the field are editors or authors
    • Falsely claiming a society association - either the society is fake or the connection is
    • False listings of journals published, either:
      • Entirely imaginary
      • Filed with plagiarized and stolen articles
      • Filled with low quality articles full of bad science and bad research 
    • Fake ISSNs
    • Journal titles very similar to the top ones in the field
  • Poor quality and lack of good practice
    • Promises of expedited peer review - typically due to the lack of actual peer review
    • Lack of peer review
    • Lack of transparency about editing, review process, acceptance rates, fees, etc.
    • Lack of editing
    • Lack of indexing in respected relevant indexes 
      • Note: This also may be true of legitimate new journals; consider carefully
    • Invitation of authors outside of their areas of expertise
    • Very broad subject inclusion
  • Lack of transparency
    • Lack of contact information or response
    • Lack of listed editorial board members 
    • Lack of clear peer review process information
    • Lack of retraction policy
    • Missing or non-specific Author Processing Charge information
      • After the journal has the article, it will charge an exorbitant fee to publish it while refusing to relinquish it back to the author

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