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Open Access Toolkit  

Last Updated: Sep 14, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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What is Open Access?

The first organization to define open access was the Budapest Open Access Initiative who defined it as:

"...Free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself.

The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited."

In academia, open access can be an alternative to costly research journal subscriptions. Open access materials are usually available under Creative Commons licenses and are most often found in either open access journals or institutional/disciplinary repositories. Recently, the definition of open access has been expanded to include books, book chapters, conference papers, theses/dissertations, and data sets that are made freely available.


Myths About Open Access

Open access journals are not peer-reviewed and are of low quality.
Most scholarly open access journals are peer-reviewed, but some, as with subscription journals, are not. The Directory of Open Access Journals includes more than 10,000 titles and all are peer-reviewed.

If I want to publish open access I have to submit my article to an open access journal.
Articles can be submitted and published in any journal you choose and still be made openly available through an institutional repository, but you may need to follow embargo periods or other restrictions.

Open access isn't needed. Researchers have access to research via databases or interlibrary loan.
Library journal subscriptions vary widely between institutions, so researchers do not have access to all the available scholarly literature. More and more license agreements forbid supplying interlibrary loan copies to other universities, so you may be unable to get certain articles.

Open access undermines copyright
Open access works within current copyright law. Work is copyrighted from the moment it is fixed in a tangible medium (such as typing it into a Word document and clicking Save). As a creator, you retain that copyright until you give those permissions away.

Open access will destroy the scholarly publishing system and cause journals to fail.
Open access is a new model for scholarly publishing. Many journals support publishing open access articles, but have time-limited embargoes on those articles. Journals make most of their money within the first year of publication after which articles can be made open without loss of revenue. 


Open Access Week 2015


Why Make My Work Open Access?

Open access increases the visibility and impact of your articles. Studies have shown that open access articles have higher citation counts than subscription-only articles.

Making research accessible in an institutional repository makes scholarly information available quickly so research can move at an almost constant pace. 

Open access publishing makes research results available to everyone rather than keeping the results hidden behind a paywall.

Open access journals usually allow authors to retain their copyright, protecting their intellectual property.

Many government agencies have mandates that require tax-funded research to be accessible to taxpayers.

Open access supports the goals and values of NDSU, specifically the land-grant mission to serve our citizens.


Get Help

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Call the reference desk at: 701-231-8886


North Dakota State University Libraries
NDSU Dept #2080 PO Box 6050
Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Reference (701) 231-8886
Circulation (701) 231-8888

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