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Open Access: Overview

A guide to open access for Macalester faculty, staff, students.

What defines an open access publication?

Open Access means that online access to the information is unrestricted and free of charge. More thoroughly, an Open Access publication or service is one that meets the following two conditions:

  1. The author(s) and copyright holder(s) grant(s) to all users a free, irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual right of access to, and a license to copy, use, distribute, transmit and display the work publicly and to make and distribute derivative works, in any digital medium for any responsible purpose, subject to proper attribution of authorship[2], as well as the right to make small numbers of printed copies for their personal use.
     
  2. A complete version of the work and all supplemental materials, including a copy of the permission as stated above, in a suitable standard electronic format is deposited immediately upon initial publication in at least one online repository that is supported by an academic institution, scholarly society, government agency, or other well-established organization that seeks to enable open access, unrestricted distribution, interoperability, and long-term archiving (for the biomedical sciences, PubMed Central is such a repository).

Adapted from the Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing, June 20, 2003

Advocating for broad access to information and remaining agile in the face of rising operating costs are essential issues for academic libraries for reasons of economic and social justice.  While we recognize that faculty and students often need to publish in specific commercial publications due to promotion and tenure factors, we strongly encourage faculty to retain their rights as authors. Publishing in a commercial journal often requires signing away certain author rights, but we can work with faculty and students to negotiate their rights before signing restrictive copyright agreements if it is not possible to publish in open access journals.  You may read more in our section on Author Rights.

With over 9,000 journals in the DOAJ, you can look for topics or browse by subject.