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Open Educational Resources / Open Access Journals

Introduction to Open Access Journals & Repositories

"Open access" content is available in a way that makes it easy to use in any digital or traditional scholarly context. The impetus behind this research guide is to make it easier to find materials that you can include in your courses and research without the university buying licenses to these materials and yet remaining legal and fair in our respect for copyright and licensing agreements.The goal here is also to give you a feel for the scope of freely accessible materials already available online.

There are two types of materials that will be included in this guide:

  1. Free online materials (that may be under copyright, but can be accessed without the library licensing/user authentication requirement). Use of these materials can reduce the costs of scholarship.
  2. Materials that are truly "open access", in other words, licensed through Creative Commons or found in the public domain, for free use and reuse. 

Materials of the first type may be linked to directly. Materials of the second type may be linked to and/or uploaded and republished to online learning platforms / digital reserves. Pay close attention to those materials which - though they may be free to work with - fall under "all rights reserved" or other restrictive copyright terms. Use of these materials would require a decision about "fair use". 

"Open access" journals are those journals (available immediately upon publication (no embargo)) at no cost to readers. These journals also meet the criteria of scholarly publishing, such as peer-review and the coverage of scholarly and scientific subjects and usually fall under CreativeCommons licensing. The ease of publishing in the online environment allowed the proliferation of these journals in recent years. Be aware that there are "open access" journals that are provided by "predatory publishers" whose primary mission is to profit by asking scholars who publish in these journals to pay a fee for their materials to be published. The resulting product is often substandard to traditional scholarly materials. Besides open access journals, there are other opportunities for scholars to publish online and make their materials publicly accessible through digital repositories, such as institutional repositories run by a college or university's library. 

How Open Is It?

Expanding Public Access to Publicly Funded Research Results

Public Domain Resources

Work that is in the "public domain" is work that was either never copyrighted (e.g., publications by the U.S. government) or is out of copyright (copyright's expiration = lifetime of copyright holder + 70 years in the United States, other countries may not use the same time period - See 

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.

Open Textbooks

Open Ebooks

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