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Open Access

Open Access

The term Open Access when applied to scholarly publishing encompasses three related but distinct issues – author rights, accessibility, and user rights. Although other peripheral issues are often discussed along with open access, such as publishing methods, funding models, embargo policies, and ROMEO ranking, these are not the driving forces behind the open access movement.

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What is Open Access (OA)?

The purest form of open access advocates unimpeded access to scholarly research in digital format that is free from most copyright and licensing restrictions. This means that the material is available without a subscription charge for anyone to read, download, copy, distribute, print, display and modify. From a practical standpoint this means that anyone with access to the Internet can find and use, to the fullest capacity, any open access publication.

HowOpenIsIt?
"HowOpenIsIt? Open Access Spectrum", (c) 2012 SPARC and PLOS,
licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0".

HowOpenIsIt? is a guide from PLoS, SPARC and OASPA, designed to clarify the definitions of open access and includes an illustration of the open access continuum.

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Open Access and Author Rights

Under the traditional academic publication model an author typically transfers all ownership and rights to a publisher. If an author relinquishes all their rights under this model, they significantly decrease their ability to control their work and have no further rights to use the work without permission from the publisher. Advances in digital technology have allowed for new ways of dissemination with many publishers offering authors options for management of their copyright with very flexible use conditions that meet the needs of both parties. No longer do authors have to transfer all their rights in a single bundle in exchange for publication.

Open access publishing is founded on the principle that authors retain copyright and full ownership of their work. While this is the ultimate goal many commercial publishers are not comfortable with this arrangement. Instead, they allow authors to retain certain, more restrictive, rights such as the ability to post their final manuscript on their web site or freely distribute their work in course packs. It is the author’s responsibility, however, to ensure they retain the rights they want or need. Often commercial publishers ask for all rights, but will allow an addendum to their transfer agreements requesting that certain rights be retained. Examples of addenda include SPARC Author Addendum and Washington University Customized Copyright Addendum.

Open access publishers, such as Public Library of Science (PLoS), do not require the author to relinquish any rights, but may request the author to agree to a license agreement detailing how their work may be used by others. One such popular license is the Creative Commons Attribution License (CCAL) which permits any user to download, print, and distribute the published article as long as the authors and source of work are given credit.

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Open Access and Accessibility

Open access literally means access to the final published research results, open to all and at no cost to the reader. Accessibility underlies the fundamental premise that the world will benefit more when everyone can read and use scientific research results – not only those who can afford to. Digital publication across the Internet is making ubiquitous access a reality. The open access movement seeks to eliminate the cost of access and fully realize the potential of the Internet publishing era.

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Open Access and User Rights

Traditionally, publishers have controlled how articles can be used or distributed by others (including the authors) because they hold exclusive copyright. Federal copyright law allows for duplication or incorporation of content only under the conditions of Fair Use. Any other use requires the explicit permission of the publisher. Open access publishing seeks to encourage the reuse of content by placing very few restrictions or conditions on how published articles may be used. Generally, the only conditions are those of the Creative Commons Attribution License mentioned above. Readers are free to borrow figures, tables, and images to incorporate in their work as long as attribution is given. Furthermore, copies or translations of articles can be freely created and distributed to others in course packs, conference proceedings, etc. Authors and libraries are significant beneficiaries of these generous user rights. Authors are free to redistribute their work in any way they wish – on their web sites, in digital repositories, in course packs, in new journal articles – without obtaining permission and paying copyright fees. Libraries do not have to pay copyright clearance fees for open access articles when providing document delivery or inter-library loan services.

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Models of Open Access for Peer-Reviewed Publications

Open Access Publishers—No Embargo Period

Under this model, the author pays the publisher a fee for immediate release of a final published article. Users can read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full text of open access works, with the stipulation that attribution must be provided to the work. In most instances, the work may not be modified. The author or the publisher retains the copyright with either party consenting to the terms of the license or agreement that allows for open access. As of August 2011, there are over 6,500 peer-reviewed open access journals under this model.

Examples of Open Access Publishers

For additional listings of open access publishers, see:  Directory of Open Access Journals and Open J-Gate.

Some open access peer-reviewed journals utilize Creative Commons as a licensing tool for authors. Creative Commons is a freely available licensing tool for authors and institutions to designate copyright permissions to their work. Creative Commons can also be used for scholarly works that are not published in peer-reviewed journals.

There are four license conditions available under Creative Commons:

  • Attribution
    Users can copy, distribute, display, and perform the copyrighted work — and derivative works based upon it — but only if they provide attribution as indicated by the creator.
  • Share Alike
    The creator allows others to distribute derivative works only under a license identical to the license that governs the work.
  • Non-Commercial
    Users can copy, distribute, display, and perform the work — and derivative works based upon it — but for non-commercial purposes only.
  • No Derivative Work
    Users can copy, distribute, display, and perform only verbatim copies of the work, not derivative works based upon it.
  • Delayed Open Access Journals
    Some publishers allow for free access to entire back issues or select final published articles after a specified embargo period. The bulk of the copyright is usually retained by the publisher, with the work governed by Fair Use.

Examples of Delayed Open Access Journals

  • Entire Back Issues
    • PNAS—PNAS provides free access to entire issues (1915 to current) six months after print publication.
  • Select Articles
    • NEJMNEJM provides free access to “original research articles” (1993 to current), six months after publication.
    • Science—Science provides “registered users” access to “research papers” (1996 to current) one year after publication.
Self-Archiving

Most publishers allow authors the right to post the peer-reviewed version of an accepted manuscript on an institutional or laboratory website. The bulk of the copyright is usually retained by the publisher, with the work governed by Fair Use.

Examples of Publishers Which Allow Self-Archiving

For additional listings of publishers that allow for self-archiving, see: SHERPA/ROMEO.

Institutional Digital Repository

Institutional digital repositories serve as a repository for the intellectual output of an institution. The bulk of the copyright is usually retained by the publisher with the publisher, with the work governed by Fair Use.

Examples of Institutional Digital Repositories

Subject Digital Repository

Subject repositories serve as a repository for materials related to a particular subject matter. The bulk of the copyright is usually retained by the publisher, with the work governed by Fair Use.

Examples

  • arXiv: arXiv is an e-print service hosted by Cornell University containing of physics, mathematics, and computer science literature. Washington University Libraries contributes annually to arXiv.
  • PubMed Central (PMC): PMC is hosted by the National Library of Medicine and contains biomedical and life sciences literature. Authors funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are required to comply with the NIH Public Access Policy by submitting a copy of the peer-reviewed version of an accepted manuscript to PMC. This is a “public access mandate” and is not considered an open access model by NIH as most of the manuscripts are subject to U.S. and foreign copyright laws. PMC allows access to NIH-funded works under the principles of Fair Use.
Open Access “Hybrid Model”

Some publishers offer authors an open access option to designate their final published article as open access for a fee, with no embargo period. Users can read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full text of open access works, with the stipulation that attribution must be provided to the work. In most instances, the work may not be modified. The author or the publisher retains the copyright with either party consenting to the terms of the license or agreement.

Examples

For additional listings of publishers that offer paid open access options, see: SHERPA/ROMEO.

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Subsidized Open Access Fees for WU and WUSM Authors

The Washington University Open Access Resolution, passed in 2011, encourages faculty to publish their research in open access journals. Publishing in open access journals usually requires an article processing fee to offset the cost of publication. To help support authors who publish in open access journals, Washington University Libraries and Becker Medical Library have opted for membership status as part of journal subscriptions to open access publishers and select journal titles which allows faculty a discount on article processing fees.

 

JOURNAL/PUBLISHER

FEE INFORMATION

INFORMATION

WU or WUSM STATUS

American Chemical Society (ACS) Author Choice

Authors from a subscriber institution are entitled to a discount on article processing fees for open access articles. Additional discounts apply if authors are ACS members.

ACS Author Choice

WU and WUSM are subscriber institutions.

Biochemical Journal

Authors from a subscriber institution are entitled to a discount on article processing fees for open access articles.

Portland Press Opt2Pay

WU and WUSM are subscriber institutions.

British Journal of Cancer (Nature)

Authors from a subscriber institution are entitled to a discount on article processing fees for open access articles.

BJC OPEN - FAQs for Authors

WU and WUSM are subscriber institutions.

International Journal of Developmental Biology

Authors from a subscriber institution are entitled to a discount on article processing fees for open access articles.

Subscription Information

WU and WUSM are subscriber institutions.

Journal of Instrumentation (JINST)

Authors from a subscriber institution may publish three open access articles per year at no cost.

Journal of Instrumentation (JINST) Information

WU and WUSM are subscriber institutions.

Journal of Medical Internet Research

Authors from a subscriber institution may publish one open access article per year at no cost.

Journal of Medical Internet Research Support and Membership

WU and WUSM are subscriber institutions (Silver).

Liebert  Publishers

Authors from a subscriber institution are entitled to a discount on article processing fees for open access articles.

Liebert Publishers Open Option for Authors

WU and WUSM are subscriber institutions.

Oxford Open

Authors from a subscriber institution are entitled to a discount on article processing fees for open access articles.

Oxford Open.  If membership number is required, contact WU: Ruth Lewis; WUSM: Cathy Sarli.

WU and WUSM are subscriber institutions.

Portland Press

Authors from a subscriber institution are entitled to a discount on article processing fees for open access articles from select journal titles.

Portland Press Opt2Pay

WU and WUSM are subscriber institutions.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)

Authors from a subscriber institution are entitled to a discount on article processing fees for open access articles.

PNAS Open Access Option

WU and WUSM are subscriber institutions.
(2014 site license)

Royal Society of Chemistry

Authors from a subscriber institution (Packages A or B) are entitled to a discount on article processing fees for open access articles.

RSC Open Science Fees
RSC Open Science FAQ

WU and WUSM are subscriber institutions (Package A).

Society for Endocrinology Journals

Authors from a subscriber institution are entitled to a discount on article processing fees for open access articles.

Society for Endocrinology Journals Open Access Form
List of Society for Endocrinology Journals

WU and WUSM are member institutions.

For more information: WU: Ruth Lewis; WUSM: Cathy Sarli  

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Statements on Open Access

Three significant initiatives that form the basis of the definition of Open Access are the following:

  • Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities, 2003
    The Berlin Declaration was drafted to promote the Internet as a functional instrument for a global scientific knowledge base and human reflection and to specify measures which research policy makers, research institutions, funding agencies, libraries, archives and museums need to consider. [WU provost Edward S. Macias signed this declaration for Washington University, Nov. 1, 2011.]
  • Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing, 2003
    The Bethesda Statement is the most generally accepted definition of open access in the United States. In April 2003, a group of individuals interested in promoting open access to the scientific literature met at the headquarters of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and drafted a statement of principles that is now referred to as the Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing. The Bethesda Statement is endorsed by NIH.
  • Budapest Open Access Initiative, 2002
    The Budapest Society Institute (OSI) met in 2001 to discuss the progress of advancing free access of research articles on the Internet. [WU provost Edward S. Macias signed this declaration for Washington University.] Budapest Open Access Initiative Recommendations for the next 10 years, 2012.

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University Mandates on Open Access

A number of universities have enacted or proposed Open Access resolutions that require faculty to submit their peer-reviewed works to an institutional repository as a means of promoting open transmission of knowledge by highlighting their intellectual output in the interest of scholarly communication.

Enacted:

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University Resolutions on Open Access

Some universities have enacted Open Access resolutions that encourage faculty, not require, to retain their rights to the peer-reviewed version to allow for submittal to an institutional repository as a means of promoting open transmission of knowledge by highlighting their intellectual output in the interest of scholarly communication.

For more details on other open access initiatives at US universities and worldwide, see: ROARMAP.

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Funding Agency Public Access Mandates

See Public Access Mandates for a listing of public access mandates issued by funding agencies.

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Related Reading

A Very Brief Introduction to Open Access by Peter Suber.
University Public-Access Mandates Are Good for Science by David Schulenburger. PLoS Biol 7(11): e1000237.
Open Access (SPARC)
Open Access Now (BioMed Central)
Open Access Scholarly Information Sourcebook (OASIS)

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Last updated: January 2, 2014

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