Open access publishing

Open access is a publishing model that enables the free online accessibility of journal articles and scholarship, permitting any user to read and use these works. Open access fuels innovation through knowledge transfer by reducing barriers to reading discovery, and sharing.

For more information about open access in general, please see our Open Access resource guide.

What is open access publishing?

Open access publishing makes your research freely available online. This can be done either by publishing directly in an open access journal or by archiving your publications in an open access repository.

There are numerous peer-reviewed journals that provide open access publication. The Directory of Open Access Journals lists thousands of open access journals that meet standards of quality and is searchable by title and subject. The Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association represents publishers with at least one open access journal and which have high standards of publishing ethics.

Some subscription journals will allow you to make your article open access by paying an additional fee at the time of publication; these journal are referred to as hybrid open access journals.

You can also make your articles freely accessible by placing versions of your articles in the UA Campus Repository. Most publishers will allow you to post the final accepted manuscript.

UA Open Access Policy

The University of Arizona is committed to sharing its research and scholarship as widely as possible. The UA Open Access Policy supports this by committing UA faculty to share their research through our open access repository.

Federal funding agencies

Most federal funding agencies are now requiring both data and publications resulting from federal grants to be made publicly accessible.

Open access funding support

The University of Arizona Library is committed to supporting open access to both scholarship globally and to the published work of the UA campus community. We do this through memberships, support of OA initiatives and projects, pre-arranged discounts to Article Processing Charges (APCs), and our support of the UA Open Access Policy.

UAL has institutional memberships with the following publishers which offer discounted or waived article processing charges for UA-affiliated authors:

In addition, the Library invests in open access initiatives such as arXiv, SCOAP3, SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Research Coalition), and the Open Textbook Network. Read more about the details of the agreements above and about our additional Open Access support.

Author rights

UA scholarly authors own the copyright to their books and articles unless and until they assign these rights to a publisher or other party. You can retain control over access to your works by managing these copyrights yourself. One step towards this is to only sign publishing agreements that leave you in control of the future uses you want and expect.

The Open Access Directory maintains a list of authors addenda and other alternative publishing agreements. Learn more in our guide to authors rights.

Predatory open access publishers

While open access publishing provides great benefits to authors, researchers, scholars, and readers alike, this publishing model has been subject to abuse. Predatory or deceptive publishing are terms describing publishers or entities that exploit authors by charging publication fees (commonly known as article processing charges) yet don’t deliver on their promise to provide editorial and publishing services (such as peer review) that are associated with legitimate publishers. Deceptive publishers typically prey on a researcher’s need to publish in order to get an academic appointment, gain promotion, or achieve tenure.

Open access is not in itself an indicator that a journal or its publisher is deceptive or predatory. The unethical behavior and business practices that these publishers engage in are deceptive and predatory. Common qualities of predatory publishers include making false claims about a journal’s impact factor, composition of the editorial board, inclusion in quality indexes, high standards, and peer review.

There is no single database of all predatory publishers (a blacklist) or legitimate open access publishers (a whitelist). However, the most trusted and comprehensive resource to date is the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). This community-curated online directory indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals. DOAJ maintains a public list of journals that have met explicit standards of best practice in open access publishing.

Visit our Predatory Publishing research guide to learn more about predatory publishing, how to identify a predatory journal, and to find resources to help you select reputable open access publishers.

Contact us

Ellen Dubinsky
Scholarly Communication Librarian