This page provides some basic information about how you can publish work in journals, and place that work into repositories so that it can be discovered by anyone.
Open access simply refers to research that has been made freely available to access. While the means for this availability can differ (see the tab "Types of Open Access" to learn more), the basic premise — that research is available to read, cite and text-mine without a subscription — remains the same. Watch the embedded video below to learn more.
A key reason to support the idea of open access is that it can promote greater equity. When materials are made openly available, researchers of any affiliation — or no affiliation at all, and regardless of one's or one's institution's ability to pay — can access the material without hindrance. The knowledge thus contained in this material can be used to teach, to start small businesses or nonprofits, or for personal or professional improvement.
Publishing materials open access can also benefit the scholar working toward tenure, promotion or recognition, because wider availability of materials can increase the number of citations that the scholar's work receives. Approximately 20 percent of the faculty publications in the last year were in open access journals.
Open access publishing can further benefit libraries and institutions by providing important leverage in negotiating subscription prices, which have long been increasing faster than the rate of inflation.
The term "open access" is really an umbrella term that refers to quite a few very different models of accessing and/or funding material.
Digital Commons @ Connecticut College is a full-text repository that houses published as well as unpublished scholarly works by faculty and students, as well as a range of supplemental, curricular and historical material. In 2015, Connecticut College's faculty adopted an open access policy stipulating that, where possible, pre-print or published versions of faculty articles will deposited in Digital Commons. More than 8,000 papers have been added to Digital Commons, and they have been collectively downloaded more than 1.2 million times. What's more, nearly three-quarters of the research published by Connecticut College faculty in the last year was eligible to be placed in Digital Commons. You can visit the Digital Commons site or use this link to begin the uploading process. For more information, contact Ben Panciera, Director of Special Collections & Archives.
Outside of Connecticut College's repository, there are a number of other portals you can use to find or archive preprints (in addition to searching on Google or Google Scholar, where many such works can also be found). If you're looking to find a repository, you can search the OpenDOAR tool to find one. Some commonly used preprint repositories include:
If you don't already have a publisher in mind, you probably first want to work within your own network of colleagues and fellow scholars to identify possibilities — and/or to look at citations from sources you've used in your research — to identify some possibilities. But some of the resources below might also turn up some journals you hadn't thought of. If you're looking for open access publishers, try the DOAJ, or Directory of Open Access Journals (also linked below); one in five articles published by Conn College faculty in 2018-2019 was in an open access journal. If you're looking to see a given publisher's copyright and self-archiving policies, check SHERPA/RoMEO; nearly three quarters of faculty research is published in a journal allowing authors to self-archive.
For more on vetting and evaluating publishers you find, please see the box at right, "Evaluating Publishers."
While predatory publishers have always been around, the emergence of open access — and the prominence of its "author-pays" model — has increased attention on this issue. Unscrupulous "publishers" lure academics who are eager for citations and prestige, promising publication that is ultimately of little to no value. According to a brief written on this topic by Rick Anderson at the University of Utah, deceptive practices can include:
It's important to vet publishers before submitting your work! The website "Think, Check, Submit," sponsored by a number of prominent open access advocacy organizations, provides some solid guidelines and key questions to ask. One main question: Do you know this publisher? Have you read their articles or other materials? Is their published material easily findable, and/or indexed?
If the answer to the above is "no," you want to investigate further. Find out about the publishers' peer review process; the qualifications of editors — and whether those editors have agreed to be listed; the contact information for the publisher; the fee structure for authors; the editorial board, and whether the board mentions the journal on their own institutional websites. If it's an open access publisher, you might further ask about the publisher's affiliation with recognized industry initiatives, such as the Directory of Open Access Journals.