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Open Access Publishing : What is Open Access (OA)?


According to the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition - Open Access is the free, immediate, online availability of research articles coupled with the right to use these articles fully in the digital environment.


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Dianne Johnson
Wake Forest University School of Medicine
Coy C. Carpenter Library

Advancing the Impact of Wake Forest University Research

The WFUSM Carpenter Library is aiming to promote broad public access to the scholarly work of Wake Forest University School of Medicine. Publishing open access will improve dissemination, increase visibility, and accelerate discovery of knowledge. The Library is actively seeking opportunities for our authors to participate in 0pen access publishing. 

What is Open Access?

Open Access is a form of publishing in which information is made available to readers at no cost. Open access eliminates barriers to access and provides an opportunity for academic research or scholarly content to reach and influence a broader audience. Research is made freely available online for anyone across the world to read and cite. Open access provides many opportunities for new and innovative developments in research and publishing. 

Why publish Open Access? 

Research that is published open access is made available across the world which increases visibility. Increased visibility can contribute to increased readership and citation of your work. This exposure can positively influence your career and funding opportunities. Open access can more greatly influence research breakthroughs, improve research outcomes, and increase the chances of research being put into action. 

What are your publishing options?

Some OA publishing models include Full Gold, Hybrid Gold, and Green. Full Gold OA makes the final published article permanently free upon publication for readers to access under a Creative Commons license. Hybrid Gold OA articles are published in subscription journals and authors choose to make their article Open Access. Green OA makes the article freely available in a repository and an embargo period may be applied by the publisher.

Carpenter Library has worked to secure open access publishing opportunities for the institution. Visit the OA Opportunities at WFUSM tab in this guide for more information about each opportunity. 

Fees and funding?

Authors typically incur publishing charges from the publisher and many times those fees are high dollar. In publishing OA, there are options available to assist authors with article publishing or processing charges (APC). At this time the library does not have a fund to cover publishing costs for authors. However, we have partnered with publishing groups to afford researchers the opportunity to publish their work open access in both fully open and hybrid journals at little or no cost to the author.

Compliance? Copyright?

Many authors are required to publish their research open access by their funder or institution. Publishing OA in a journal or book enables researchers to comply with these requirements.

Open access is as much about enabling re-use as it is about making material freely available to the reader. Open access articles should be made available using some form of licensing where the author can share open access content such as a Creative Commons (CC) License. A CC license will enable authors to dictate how others use and build upon your published work. Licensing advice can be provided by the publishing company you choose to publish you open access work with. 

Should I be concerned with Predatory Publishing in Open Access journals?

The term "predatory publishing" was coined by a librarian named Jeffrey Beall to describe publishers who were publishing articles with little or no real peer review and tricking authors into paying for and publishing in unofficial journals. This subsequently allows unvetted and poor-quality articles onto research platforms.

Research published in predatory journals may be less valued and carry less weight in the scientific community. Unfortunately, predatory publishing is a growing concern for authors and Open access publishing does not eliminate that concern. It is best to consult with your librarian to get assistance in identifying predatory journals

For any questions related to open access publishing, agreements, and discounts, please contact our Scholarly Publications Librarian Dianne Johnson.

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