Open Access Basics
What everyone needs to know about Open Access
Open Access Fees & Financial Assistance
The publishing process is labor-intensive and costly even when the finished product is made freely available. Increasingly, publishers have begun shifting these costs directly to institutions, research funders, and authors. Authors rarely pay out-of-pocket but often find themselves responsible for budgeting grant funds for the purpose or for seeking support from sources like George Mason Libraries’ Open Access Publishing Fund.
Open Access mandates tied to Research Grants & Funders
The majority of Open Access fees are paid by research funders. An increasing number of funding bodies have adopted policies around how published results of research should be openly shared. George Mason Libraries can help authors comply with these policies.
Author Rights Retention, Publishing Contract Negotiation
An author can often comply with funder Open Access requirements even if their work is ultimately published in a subscription journal. George Mason Libraries can help with negotiating the necessary rights at the contract stage.
Different paths to Open Access
An increasing number of major academic publishers offer an Open Access publishing option, which typically includes a fee. At the same time, authors may often deposit a version of their research publication in an Open Access repository on campus or managed by their disciplinary community. George Mason Libraries can help you choose the right path for your work.
Concerns about Quality
Scholarly quality is business-model agnostic. In order to ensure you are working with legitimate publishers, follow the Think. Check. Submit. evaluation checklist. George Mason Libraries can help.
Discoverability & Impact
Research indicates that scholarly works published in Open Access journals are more frequently cited than those in closed-access journals, on average.
Finding OA Versions of Paywalled Articles
The cost of scholarly journals and books is often high, but Mason Libraries are committed to providing Mason researchers access to the materials they need. Researchers should not have to pay article access fees.
For non-OA materials, we have cooperative Interlibrary Loan (ILL) partnerships with universities regionally, within the state, and worldwide to help get you the research and classroom materials that you need, which are not otherwise immediately available. Requests may be made through the main library website’s ILL page.
OA Search Tool Browser Plug-ins
Free versions of millions of published, paywalled articles are currently legitmately housed in distributed repositories across the country and the world.
New browser add-ons will search for free copies of paywalled articles across these numerous resources.
- The Open Access Button add-on searches numerous sources for legal, freely available full-text versions of articles. It also allows reseachers to make a direct self-archiving request to the author of the unavailable paper or dataset.
- Unpaywall provides a similar service, once installed in your browser, by indicating whether a free version exists for any article you locate online.
More About Open Access
- Open Access Directory (OAD) – A wiki maintained by the Open Access community that provides information on topics related to Open Access.
- Open Access Scholarly Information Sourcebook (OASIS) – Aims to provide an authoritative ‘sourcebook’ on Open Access, covering the concept, principles, advantages, approaches and means to achieving it. The site highlights developments and initiatives from around the world, with links to diverse additional resources and case studies.
- OpenDOAR – A directory of academic open access repositories that allows users to search for repositories and repository contents.
- Publish, Not Perish: The Art & Craft of Publishing in Scholarly Journals – A five-module course created by University of Colorado librarians for graduate students and junior faculty interested in scholarly publishing.
- ROARMAP – (The Registry of Open Access Repositories Mandatory Archiving Policies) an international registry that charts the growth of open-access mandates adopted by universities, research institutions, and research funders that require their researchers to provide open access to their peer-reviewed research articles by depositing them in an open access repository.
- Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) – SPARC provides a full suite of resources for librarians, authors, publishers, editors, and others who would like to educate themselves and help to create change in the scholarly communication system.