Open Access

Open Access (OA) is a movement that advocates for content that is freely accessible, usually online, to the public. In academia, OA literature provides an alternative to the current costly and unsustainable practice of allowing access to academic research solely through subscriptions. Increasingly, journal subscriptions are becoming prohibitively expensive, and as institutions are forced to cut journal subscriptions, the number of people able to access, view, build upon, and cite these research articles decreases.

The OA model of scholarly communication provides greater dissemination of research, as people can view scholarly articles regardless of institutional affiliation or finances. Institutional repositories and public repositories, like NIH's PubMed Central, are hubs for OA literature, and provide a place to showcase the work of a university or tax payer-funded research.

Digital Scholarship
Website produced and maintained by Charles W. Bailey, which includes commentaries, news and bibliographies related to open access and scholarly communication.

Open Access Publishing and Citation Archives: Background and Controversy
Congressional Research Service report by Genevieve Knezo which outlines the major issues surrounding open access publishing.

Open Access Overview
Written by the well-known proponent of OA, Peter Suber, this site provides a clear and concise introduction to the OA movement and the issues surrounding new and old publication models.

Timeline of the Open Access Movement
1966 – Present

Many peer-reviewed journals are already published via the OA model; to view a list of OA journals, visit the Directory of Open Access Journals.

In addition, many universities help authors negotiate article contracts with their publishers so that authors may retain some level of copyright over their research. Authors can create a reservation of rights addenda for a publisher’s copyright agreement via Science Commons. Reserving these rights enables authors to retain some control over the distribution of their manuscripts and to allow their institutions to deposit articles into freely-available online venues such as institutional repositories.

Further, if you receive funding for your research from the NIH, you’re required to make your corresponding work freely available via the public access repository, PubMed Central, as mandated by the NIH's Public Access Policy. FASTR legislation is currently pending and would expand the open access mandate to all federally funded research. In the interim, individual federal agencies have released their public access requirements following the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy memorandum. The University of Colorado Boulder joins universities such as Harvard in adopting a campus-wide open access and self-archiving policy.

When you deposit your work in our Institutional Repository, CU Scholar, or publish in OA journals, the visibility of your research increases as it’s easily found through search engines. Publishing in OA journals helps you protect your intellectual property rights as they usually allow authors to retain their copyright. When you deposit in CU Scholar, the long-term preservation of your scholarly materials in digital form is protected and your work becomes part of a representation of CU-Boulder's cumulative academic achievement.

With the adoption of the University of Colorado Boulder Open Access Policy (effective April 22, 2015), all faculty grant The Regents of the University of Colorado a non-exclusive, irrevocable, worldwide license to exercise any and all rights under copyright relating to their scholarly journal articles and conference proceedings. Pursuant to the Open Access Policy, faculty will provide electronic copies of the final version of the author’s peer-reviewed manuscript or published version to the University’s Institutional Repository, CU Scholar.

View the full policy.

Yes, most OA journals are peer-reviewed in the same manner as traditional journals. Typically, even in subscription-based journals, peer reviewers are discipline experts who volunteer their time to review manuscripts; thus, peer-review is financially compatible with open access publishing.

Papers published in a subscription-based journal can still be OA if the article manuscript is archived in an institutional repository or a public repository. For some OA journals, the cost of production has to be shifted from subscription fees to manuscript fees to publish. The fees are usually not paid by the author but instead paid for by the institution or written into the author’s research grant. Sometimes OA publishers will waive these fees if financing isn’t available for the author. The University Libraries offer an Open Access Fund to help scholars pay open access publishing fees.

Institutional repositories are online databases used by institutions to capture, preserve, and provide access to the intellectual output of an organization. In the case of academic institutions such as CU, institutional repositories can be used to gather and disseminate a variety of scholarly materials; this includes not only publications in peer-reviewed journals, but also products of education and research not published elsewhere such as data sets, preprints, postprints, syllabi, theses and dissertations. For more information self-archiving, subject and institutional repositories see the Libraries Repositories & Self-Archiving page.

The University Library's institutional repository, CU Scholar, allows direct submission for all CU-Boulder faculty, students and staff. Review the CU-Boulder Institutional Repository FAQ to learn more about depositing.

Directory of open access repositories worldwide.

Scholars can publish future articles in open access journals and archive all their articles in Repositories, as well as encourage their colleagues to do the same.

Guide for scholars on reforming scholarly communications.

Right to Research
A student coalition advocating for open access.

The Library runs an Institutional Repository to make the work of the University publicly accessible. It also maintains an open access publishing fund to support authors who wish to Publish in OA journals.

Librarians are available to help researchers participate in the OA movement. Consultations are available for authors who need help negotiating their copyright agreements with publishers, researching if they can legally deposit their work in the institutional repository or applying for OA publishing funds. More generally, librarians can help those who would like to learn more about OA issues and compliance with mandatory public access policies such as the NIH's Public Access Policy.