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Open Access

Open Access publishing - this guide explains the open access publishing movement & shows how to find use, and publish articles & papers to OA journals & repositories

Open Access Publishing - a Guide

This guide focuses on "Open Access" publishing (scholarly journals/articles that do not require a subscription to view). 

If you're interested in the topic of "Open Educational Resources" (OER), please review our OER LibGuide, where we cover OER (what they are, how to find, use, adapt & make them) while highlighting what's happening at CCSU (& statewide) to promote OER.


Introduction to Open Access Journals & Repositories

SPARC defines OA as:

Open Access is the free, immediate, online availability of research articles coupled with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment. Open Access ensures that anyone can access and use these results—to turn ideas into industries and breakthroughs into better lives. -

"Open access" (OA) journals provide articles that do not require a subscription to view. This guide will offer information on the quickly-evolving world open access publishing and help you find materials without the library purchasing costly database subscriptions or paying fees to access these materials. Pending your academic discipline, you may be able to find a number of reputable OA journals to use in your research or to publish in so that you can broaden the impact of your scholarly work.

"Open access" journals are those journals that provide some or all of their articles (available immediately upon publication (no embargo)) at no cost to readers. OA journals (those that are reputable) meet the criteria for high-quality publishing, such as the use of peer review.

How do OA journals support themselves without charging for access?

OA journals may charge an "APC" - article processing charge (i.e., a publication fee). In some cases, universities or libraries have funding to underwrite APCs. CCSU does not currently (2021-22) offer this option at a university-wide / library level, but check with your academic department for potential sources of funding for APCs for reputable OA journals. Grant seekers may want to budget for APCs in their grant applications.  

The ease of publishing in the online environment allowed the proliferation of some journals that bill themselves as "open access", but are offered by "predatory publishers" whose primary mission is to profit by asking scholars to pay article processing fees. The resulting product is not the type of quality, peer-reviewed journal scholars should be using in their research or publishing to.

To find OA articles, you can use CentralSearch's "Open Access" facet, use Google Scholar, or Unpaywall

There are other ways to access scholarly articles at no cost. Authors are often able to "self-archive" their publications in open institutional or discipline-specific repositories (pending the terms of their contract with proprietary publishers). 

Global scholarly equity is a concern that drives many countries' legal requirements that researchers publish their work in open access journals. In the United States, many federal grants require researchers to provide open access to the results of taxpayer-funded research - see more at:

How Open Is It?

Scholarly Publishing & Openness, Self-Archiving

Open Access Journal Resources

Below, you'll find a list of resources helpful for finding open access journals. Please also review the next box with information on "Open Access Journals: A Critical Analysis". If you are not using a curated list of open access journals, but rather searching on the open web for open access journals, you may get results that include predatory / low-quality titles.

Open Access Journals: A Critical Analysis

Since Beall's list went "dark", it's been hard to figure out which open access publishers are predatory/problematic. There are new commercial subscription-based products from Cabell's, offering either "white list" or "black list", but the library does not currently subscribe to these. Instead, diagnosis of how "predatory" a journal may be can be done by you, as the scholar, or with the help of a librarian. The criteria used by Cabell's to determine if a journal should be blacklisted are openly available at and worth a look.

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