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Copyright for Authors & Creators: Open Access

A guide to understanding and managing your work as intellectual property.

Open Access

Open Access logo

Noteworthy in Open Access

Open Book Publishers

Independent scholarly peer-reviewed publisher in the UK. “We publish monographs in the Humanities and Social Sciences, and offer the academic excellence of a traditional press, with the speed, convenience and accessibility of digital publishing.” Their books are free online and available for sale in print. Authors retain their own copyright.

Bloomsbury Academic Press

Bloomsbury Academic (still in beta) is “a new scholarly imprint with a new business model. We publish research-led books and textbooks across the humanities and social sciences, aiming to be innovative in both form and content. All our research-led books will be published simultaneously online and in print. The online versions are available under Creative Commons non-commercial licenses and all publications are promoted and sold globally. Some will be available in enhanced ebook formats later in 2011.”


An online-only journal of culture and technology, in which all authors are teamed with a technologist to create the multi-media form of their article. “Vectors doesn't seek to replace text; instead, we encourage a fusion of old and new media in order to foster ways of knowing and seeing that expand the rigid text-based paradigms of traditional scholarship. Simply put, we publish only works that need, for whatever reason, to exist in multimedia.”

Open Humanities Press

An open access publisher of peer-reviewed journals and books. Their journals focus on critical and cultural theory. Their books are published with the University of Michigan’s Scholarly Publishing Office, with several series that will be free online and for sale in paperback. One series, Liquid Books, is for experimental digital books that will be open for commentary and remixing online, with selected results “frozen” and made available as complete volumes.


A scholarly network of media studies scholars, with several different channels for publishing – the main site blog; In Media Res, a forum for analysis and discussion of video clips on a weekly theme; The New Everyday, a form of “middle-state” publishing between a blog post and an article. TNE offers a publish-first/filter-later process. Some works are published in clusters, around a specific topic. MediaCommons Press provides a platform for “peer-to-peer review,” where scholarly works (books, collections, or journals) may be openly reviewed online, sothat authors and their reviewers may engage each other.

Open Access Basics

"Open Access" is the practice of making scholarly research freely available on the web.

OA promotes broader access to research by:

    - removing price barriers

    - removing permission barriers

OA can be applied to:

  •    journal articles;
  •    theses and dissertations;
  •    monographs and book chapters; and
  •    data.

Types of Open Access

There are two ways to make your work available through open access:

  1. Green OA refers to access provided through self-archiving, often with an institutional repository, such as NYU's Faculty Digital Archive.
  2. Gold OA refers to access provided through publication in an open access forum, whether a journal or a monograph.

Even if you do not publish in an open access publication (gold OA), you can still make your work available in open access through self-archiving (green OA).

Open Access Journals - Gold OA

Image by Directory of Open Access Journals

The Directory of Open Access Journals aims to be comprehensive and cover all open access scientific and scholarly journals that use a quality control system to guarantee content.

Many gold OA journals cover the cost of publication by charging author processing charges or article processing charges (APCs) upon manuscript acceptance. These fees can range from $500 to $5,000 per article and vary among journals.

Self-Archiving - Green OA

Self-archiving is the practice of depositing an open version of your work online. It provides a means to make your work OA, even when you are publishing in a subscription journal.

Ways to self-archive:

   1. use an institutional repository, like NYU's Faculty Digital Archive

   2. use a subject-based repository, such as PubMed Central or SSRN

   3. on your own website or online profile

Most, but not all, scholarly journals now permit some form of self-archiving by their authors. To find out if a journal permits self-archiving, check the SHERPA/RoMEO list.

Even if a publisher does not normally allow for self-archiving of your work, you can still negotiate those terms into your publishing contract.

Scholarly Communications Librarian

April Hathcock's picture
April Hathcock
Elmer H. Bobst Library
Fair Use Listserv:

Funder Mandates

More and more public and private funding groups are instituting open access mandates that require that funded research be made freely available online. 

For U.S. governmental agencies, these mandates stem from the 2013 White House Directive requiring articles and data from agencies spending over $100 million a year on research be made freely available on the open web. Similar mandates can be found in other national governments, such as the U.K., as well as among many private funders.

While some of these mandates only require public access to published articles, many require public access to both articles and underlying data sets. A great general resource on public and private mandates is the Registry of Open Access Repository Mandates and Policies or ROARMAP

For more information specific to U.S. federal funding mandates, please see the Federal Funder Mandates page.


Predatory OA Publishers

Some journals, known as predatory journals charge large APCs without providing the peer review and editorial support that can be expected from a quality scholarly publication.

Common red flags associated with predatory publishers include:

  • Using false or misappropriated ISSNs;

  • Posting fake academics on the editorial board or using the names of actual academics for the editorial board without their permission;

  • Accepting and publishing articles exceptionally quickly without peer review or quality control;

  • Repeatedly contacting and harassing scholars to submit articles and serve on editorial boards.

And keep in mind, you can always contact your library subject specialist for assistance with assessing the reputability of a publisher.