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Open Access

Contact for assistance with questions regarding open access

Making Your Articles Open Access

1.) ( automates making a journal article open access in accordance with journal policies - just paste in the DOI and follow the steps.

2.) Sherpa Romeo ( is an online database of academic journals' self-archiving policies. Authors can enter a journal's title and see which version of the pre or post-publication of the manuscript the journal permits them to make open access and when, such as uploading to the Brown Digital Repository (BDR)

3. Have a funder that requires Plan S open access? Use the Plan S-compliant journal finder:

3.) Questions about making a paper open access? Contact your librarian at

Selecting an Open Access License

Creative Commons are a set of licenses recommended for open access works. While you and your co-authors still retain the rights to your work (unless dedicated to public domain), these licenses provide upfront non-exclusive permissions to readers and users, letting them know how to use your work without having to seek your permission (and letting them know when they need to seek your permission, e.g., for commercial use or creating a derivative work). For most journal articles, chapters, and monographs, the Brown Library recommends selecting the least restrictive license (CCBY) when possible; however, authors concerned about the use of their works (e.g. for training AI without their consent) may want to consider the CCBYNC (non-commercial uses). Since these are non-exclusive permissions, if an entity wanted to use your work licensed with CCBYNC (or CCBYND prohibiting derivative works) for AI training, that entity would have to ask you and your co-authors for permission. It is also important to read any agreements before you sign to ensure that you are aware of what exclusive permissions you may be asked to grant to a publisher. In cases when you do not agree to the publisher's terms (such as allowing the publisher to use your work for training AI or use by a 3rd party) then you can ask for changes, such as by using the author's addendum to request updates before signing (see below).

If your work is federally-funded, the Authors Alliance recommends applying the Federal Purpose License in addition to Creative Commons (FPL allows for sublicensing and serves as a pre-existing license in case of signing over any exclusive rights to ensure public access). 

Before signing an author copyright/publication agreement

Signing over copyright does not have to be all or nothing. Authors can ask their publisher for permission to retain certain rights before signing, such as using your own work for teaching purposes, or posting a pre-publication version of a work such as a final peer-reviewed manuscript or pre-peer reviewed manuscript (pre-print) on your personal website or depositing and disseminating the work for free, global access via your institution's online repository like the Brown Digital Repository (BDR), or creating a translation and/or derivative work in the future, among others. Contact for assistance with understanding self-archiving conditions in a publication agreement.

SPARC offers an online addendum form for authors to adapt and fill out to request certain permissions, such as the ability to self-archive a version of their work on their personal websites and in their institution's repository, to send to journal/publishers before signing the author publication and copyright agreement.  For example, authors receiving permission to self-archive can then deposit their manuscripts in the BDR at the appointed time using the upload tool available at or by contacting the BDR at for assistance.