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Open Access: Open Access and Resources

How Open Access Impacts You


You’re researching a topic in Google Scholar. You find a great article, click on the link, and end at a publisher’s website asking for $25 before you can view the article.

While your first course of action should be to check local holdings through the Murphy Library website and explore the fabulous interlibrary loan/document delivery service we have at UWL, wouldn’t it just be easier to get access to the article wherever you find it for free?

What you need to know about Open Access

The open access movement aims to unlock scientific and scholarly research, making it freely available to all immediately after publication.

Steering Clear of Predatory Publishers

While depositing pre- or post-prints of scholarship in MINDS@UW or another repository is considered "green" open access, publishing your scholarship in an open access journal is considered "gold" open access.  While not all gold open access journals require author fees, many do charge fees in order to sustain their business model.  Unfortunately, many fly-by-night fledging publishers may sense an opportunity to scam scholars; these publishers are considered predatory.

How can you make sure that your publisher is not predatory?

  • Check Ulrich's to see if the journal is listed and where it is indexed:

Ulrich's Online (ProQuest/SerialsSolutions)  Icon  Icon

Provides bibliographic and access information for over 300,000 periodical publications, including popular and trade magazines, scholarly journals, monographic series, newsletters, newspapers, and electronic serials published throughout the world.
  • Use the following checklist, provided by Declan Butler in Nature, as a guide for assessing publishers and journals:

    How to perform due diligence before submitting to a journal or publisher.

    • Check that the publisher provides full, verifiable contact information, including address, on the journal site. Be cautious of those that provide only web contact forms.
    • Check that a journal's editorial board lists recognized experts with full affiliations. Contact some of them and ask about their experience with the journal or publisher.
    • Check that the journal prominently displays its policy for author fees.
    • Be wary of e-mail invitations to submit to journals or to become editorial board members.
    • Read some of the journal's published articles and assess their quality. Contact past authors to ask about their experience.
    • Check that a journal's peer-review process is clearly described and try to confirm that a claimed impact factor is correct.
    • Check the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association to see that the publisher is listed as a member.
    • Use common sense, as you would when shopping online: if something looks fishy, proceed with caution.

Further reading

Control Your Copyright (from UW-Madison Libraries Office of Scholarly Communication and Publishing)
Important information about how you can retain copyright to your scholarly work, including sample contracts and addenda.

An Open Letter to All University Presidents and Provosts Concerning Increasingly Expensive Journals by Theodore Bergstrom and R. Preston McAfee

Journal Cost-Effectiveness Database
Use this database to see if the journal to which you're thinking of submitting a manuscript is cost-effective.

The High Cost of Scholarly Journals (and What to Do About It) 
Published article from Change magazine by Richard Edwards and David Shulenburger.

Language Protest-The six editors and 31 editorial board members of Lingua, a top linguistics journal, have all resigned to protest Elsevier pricing

SPARC: Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition

Create Change
A resource for faculty and librarian action to reclaim scholarly communication.

Project RoMEO (Rights MEtadata for Open Archiving)
Self-archiving terms from many publishers.

Sample Publishing Agreement Language-PDF Edition 
(Same but Doc file agreement)

Make Your Research Open Access

There are many ways to get involved with open access. Explore student resources or faculty/staff resources to get started.

Luckily, The UW System has an open access repository designed to store, index, distribute, and preserve the digital materials of the University of Wisconsin. 

Many publishers will allow authors to post a pre-print or post-print version of their articles to a digital repository (such as our own UW Digital Collections Center MINDS@UW mentioned before) or to self-archive on a personal website. Search for a summary of permissions normally given as part of publisher's copyright transfer agreements at SHERPA/RoMEO. Please read the FAQ at MINDS@UW for a good overview of questions to ask before publishing and actions to take after publishing. Learn about what faculty can do to support open access.

You can also support open access by choosing to publish your research in an open access journal. There are already thousands of scholarly, peer-reviewed open access journals; chances are good that there are some excellent publications in your field of interest.

Collections of Open Access Journals / Dissertations / Theses