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Open Access

What is Open Access?

In 2002, the Budapest Open Access Initiative defined open access as the "world-wide electronic distribution of the peer-reviewed journal literature, completely free and unrestricted access to it by all scientists, scholars, teachers, students, and other curious minds." Since then, the concept of open access has grown to include similarly free and unrestricted access to textbooks, data, and other scholarly and academic resources.

Finding and Using Open Access Resources

Visit our Open Access Resources subject guide for suggested places to find open access and public domain materials including images, video, and datasets.

Publishing in Open Access Journals

Some journals are fully Open Access, meaning that everything they publish is free to read. Of these, some charge a fee to the author to cover the journal's operating costs. Examples of OA journal publishers who charge an article processing fee are BioMedCentral and PLoS. Many fully Open Access journals do not charge anything to authors, often because they are subsidized or fully supported by a sponsoring organization. The Directory of Open Access Journals indexes over 10,000 journals from around the world and provides information about their coverage and any charges to authors. Some journals follow a traditional subscription-based business model but are willing to make individual articles available Open Access on their websites if the author pays a charge. These are often called "hybrid journals" since some of their content is only available to subscribers and some is available OA.

Northeastern-affiliated authors can receive discounts on the fees charged by some publishers to make their articles available Open Access - as a benefit of either our institutional subscriptions or a membership we pay for:

Authors may also find that personal society memberships afford them a discount for Open Access publishing in the society's journals.

Deposit Your Publications in the DRS

If you want to make your research output available to a wider audience but prefer to publish in a subscription-based journal, publishers often permit authors to make a certain version of their articles available Open Access in their university's digital repository. (Sometimes this may even be required by funders.) You can check your publisher's policy about self-archiving at the SHERPA/RoMEO website, or get assistance from h.corbett [at] (subject: Question%20about%20depositing%20my%20published%20work%20in%20the%20DRS) (Hillary Corbett), Director of Scholarly Communication and Digital Publishing. Then, learn more about our Digital Repository Service (DRS) and get started with depositing your work.