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Open Access Publishing: Guide

What is Open Access Publishing?

Open access journals and book publishers operate on a new access model for scholarly publishing. 

Whereas most scholarly resources require either purchase (in the case of print resources) or subscription (for digital resources) and thus are not readily available to those outside the academy, there is an ongoing movement to make scholarly resources available to the public.  

The Problem

The traditional scholarly publishing system relied on subscriptions and book purchases.  Authors send their work to publishers, and publishers sell it to libraries.  

There are a few problems with this model: 

  • We are paying twice for scholarly work, especially journal articles.  Authors, reviewers and editors give their work to the publisher for free, while the publisher charges their libraries high subscription fees for the journal. 
  • The work that we do is limited to those who have institutional access. 
  • Scholarly articles and books are difficult to discover because they are hidden away in toll-access databases.
  • Commercial publishers raise their prices continuously and steeply. This is not sustainable.
  • Granting agencies often require that the results of the research they fund be made available to the public
  • Traditional publishing seldom provides opportunities to publish new and exciting formats

Open access publishing attempts to solve some of these problems by making scholarly research freely available, without access or licensing restrictions. 

What Is Open Access Publishing?

Open access is a publishing model in which readers have free access to the full text of scholarly resources online. 

Open access is compatible with peer review, and is now part of the scholarly publishing landscape. OA journals exist in every field, publish important research, and are often indexed in databases. 

Definitions of Open Access & Additional Information

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Open Access at CUNY