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Open Access

Contact open@brown.edu for assistance with questions regarding open access

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Does publishing open access mean I have to publish in an open access journal?

A: There are many paths to open. Many non-open access journals have policies allowing authors to self-archive a version of their article and some may offer some type of open access option. Look up your journal on the SHERPA RoMEO website or contact your journal to inquire about their self-archiving policy. If the journal does not have a policy consider asking the journal for permission before signing the author copyright agreement. Check out the tab "Author Rights" on the left of this guide to learn about the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) author addendum that you can try to add to your agreement to negotiate self-archiving permission from your journal.

Q: Does open access mean I have to pay in order to publish?

A: There are many paths to making a work open. While some open access models may rely on authors paying a fee it is not the only path for making your article open. Many non-open access journals may have policies allowing authors to self-archive a version of their article. Look up your journal on the SHERPA RoMEO website or contact your journal to inquire about their self-archiving policy. At this time the Library and University do not have dedicated funds for publishing OA and faculty and students should contact their department chair and deans. Check out the tab "Paying for Open Access" on the left of this guide to learn more.

Q: Are open access journals less rigorously peer-reviewed?

A: Being open access does not inherently affect a journal's peer review process and or rigor. Authors should critically evaluate any journal, open and non-open, before submitting their manuscript. Check out this guide's tab "Find Open Access Journals" and "Beware Unethical Publishers" to learn tips for evaluating scholarly journals and contact your librarian for assistance with locating and evaluating journals in your field.

Q: Can I put my papers on ResearchGate/Academia.edu

A: If you are not the copyright holder for the paper, then check your journal's policy to see if it allows self-archiving on a for-profit platform. If you no longer hold the copyright a strategy to avoid copyright infringement is to only place the citation metadata instead of the full-text PDF.

Q. If I publish OA won't my work be plagiarized?

A. Making your work open does not inherently mean someone will plagiarize your work. An individual can plagiarize a non-OA publication as easily as an OA publication. In the case you have signed over your copyright to a journal or if you are the copyright holder of the work, if you discover your work has been plagiarized, contact your journal editor and publisher immediately to report the infringement as well as inform your department chair and advisor to make the University aware. Similarly, if the plagiarism involves a thesis/dissertation contact the Graduate School immediately to report the infringement to make the University aware. You should be prepared to provide details to support any infringement claims to the editor/publisher for the publication in which one of its authors is being accused of plagiarism.