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Open Access and Scholarly Communication

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What is Open Access

Open access (OA) is scholarly research that can be accessed online and read for free. It has less restrictive copyright and licensing than traditionally published research so that it can be more freely shared.

In traditional publishing, journal publishers generate revenue by charging libraries and individuals subscription fees.  An article’s copyright is usually transferred to the publisher from the author, and the publisher controls all rights to the use of the article. The people who can read an article are those who can afford a subscription or have access to a library with a subscription.

OA publishing often involves a cost to the author to publish the work: some OA journals charge a fee, often called an article processing charge. However, the author then usually maintains their own copyright and the work can be redistributed, shared, and freely accessed in the manner of their choosing.

If you do want to publish in a journal that charges a fee, check the tab on this guide for Adelphi Assistance for information on how the Provost's office can help cover that charge.

Legitimate Open Access

Green OA publishing is the self-archiving of published or pre-publication works for free public use. Authors provide access to preprints or post-prints (with publisher permission) in an institutional depository, archive, or author website.

Gold OA publishing are works published in an open access journal and accessed via the journal or publisher's website. Examples of Gold OA include PLOS (Public Library of Science) and BioMed Central.

Hybrid OA publishing (or, Paid OA) is open access to an article in a subscription journal when a fee is paid to the publisher by the author. An example of author's pages for hybrid open access is Online Open by Wiley.

There is a full list visit Publishers with Paid Options for Open Access from SHERPA/RoMEO.

Rogue and Pirated Access

Rogue access through an academic social network such as ResearchGate and allows for sharing and communication with researchers in one's field, but the articles on them are not always in copyright compliance.

Pirated access though websites such as  Sci-Hub are illegal downloads of copyrighted articles already published in journals.  Ironically, Science magazine has published research that shows that Sci-Hub has great usage from areas that are near major universities with good access to journals. (

Researchers may find it easier to log onto illegal websites such as this one rather than access the journals through their library's online resources, but this has negative impact for the original journal authors.

If your research begins with Google Scholar it is best to access it through the database list on the Library's website since it will then link your search results to the Library's collection of online journals and resources.  Articles not found in the collection can easily be obtained through our Interlibrary Loan services.