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Scholarly Publishing & Communication

A guide for Faculty and Librarians covering DigitalCommons@WayneState, Author's Rights, Open Access, and other related topics.

What is Open Access?

What is Open Access?

Open Access refers to free, unrestricted online access to scholarly and/or peer-reviewed publications. Open Access is often split into two models:

  • The self-archiving model: The author(s) deposit a version of a published (or in progress) work in an open access repository, such as DigitalCommons@WayneState, PubMed Central, or arXiv. These may be subject to a publisher-mandated embargo restricting access for a specified period of time.
  • The open publishing model: The journal (or other publishing entity) makes the article Open Access upon its publication. Some publishers require author(s) to pay an article processing charge (APC) in order to publish an article openly, though many do not.

There are many Open Access options that exist outside of these two models, such as Open Access journals that do not charge APCs.

Green vs. Gold Open Access

The term "Closed" is used for the traditional, subscription-based publishing model, and the terms "Green" and "Gold" are often used to describe two different implementations of Open Access related to the models described above. Green OA is most often used to refer to the Self-Archiving model of Open Access, while Gold OA is used to refer to the Open Publishing model when an APC is required.

The chart below is intended to a quick way to compare these three models based on who is being asked to pay for an article: readers or writers. (or neither!)

For readers
For writers


No cost

"Green" OA

No cost
No cost

"Gold" OA

No cost

Benefits of Open Access

Aside from the obvious benefit of helping to make scholarship more accessible and affordable, Open Access provides

  • Researchers with increased visibility, usage, and impact for their work
  • Access to scholars working outside of "traditional"/Western European research institutions who have historically been excluded from scholarly conversation in many disciplines
  • Improved reputation for researchers and their host institution through increased citations
  • Improved quality of research through open, transparent and reproducible research practices

Paywall: The Business of Scholarship [documentary film]

Open Access@WSU

WSU Libraries have actively encouraged the spread of open access through several initiatives:

  • Partnering with the Office of the Vice President of Research, WSU became members of BioMed Central; this provides faculty and graduate students with 15% off of article processing charges when publishing in a BioMed Central, Chemistry Central, or Physical Math, all open access publications
  • Provide easy and free method for open access publishing tool for faculty, staff and students via DigitalCommons@WayneState
  • Increased the visibility of open access journals to WSU Library users by including open access journal titles in our library catalog
  • Provide open access options for student electronic theses and dissertations

Open Access Resources