Open Access (OA)

Open Access (OA) materials are freely accessible to the public with the right to use the work in the digital environment. See SPARC's definition for more details.

OA publications do not charge users fees or subscriptions, which allows them to reach broader audiences than traditional publications. 

OA publishing typically occurs via the following methods:

  1. Authors post their work freely online via Google Scholar, institutional repositories, social media, OER collections, etc.
  2. Authors publish in traditional journals that offer an OA option.
  3. Authors publish in journals that are entirely OA.

Be aware methods #2 and #3 may cost money. Since OA does not require money from the user, the publisher may charge the author a publishing fee to earn money. Authors may choose methods #2 and #3 because they may be considered more prestigious than method #1. Many OA journals are reputable, but some may be predatory to get money from authors without offering prestige.

If you want your materials to be OA, carefully consider your options and your financial abilities. Talk to your colleagues about OA and specifically how it might affect your tenure and promotion, if applicable.

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