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Copyright for Authors and Creators: Open Access

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

Scholarly Networking Sites

Picture of a white macintosh keyboard with a green "Share" button

Image: "Share" by GotCredit via, CC BY 2.0

Some organizations offer you a place to share your scholarly output. They work as scholarly social networks that allow you to interact with others in your field and share work and ideas. It’s important to learn as much as you can about these organizations by reading their terms of use. Some, like ResearchGate and, seem like nonprofit entities but are actually run by for-profit companies who may or may not sell your private data. As such, sharing your work on their sites may be a violation of your publication agreement. Others, such as Humanities Commons or ScholarlyHub, are actual nonprofit groups run by and for scholars like you. In addition, many of these nonprofit organizations have an explicit mission to support the open dissemination of scholarship through open access.

For help in figuring out the difference between different scholarly sharing platforms and the ways you can legally share you work on them, please reach out to your subject librarian or the scholarly communication librarian.

Noteworthy in Open Access

OAIster Logo


OAIster is a union catalog of millions of records that represent open access resources. This catalog was built through harvesting from open access collections worldwide using the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH). Today, OAIster includes more than 50 million records that represent digital resources from more than 2,000 contributors. 

Open Book Publishers Logo

Open Book Publishers

One of the biggest open access academic publishers of monographs. “We are now the hub of choice for a rapidly increasing international network of scholars who believe that it is time for academic publishing to become fairer, faster and more accessible.” Their books are free online and available for sale in print. Authors retain their own copyright.

Open Humanities Press Logo

Open Humanities Press

A UK-based international scholar-led open access publishing collective with a focus on critical and cultural theory. They have partnered with a number of groups and institutions, and published open access book series and journals, including Liquid Books, a series of experimental digital books open for online commentary and remixing. They also host OHP Labs projects to explore new forms of scholarly communication and theoretically informed critique.

Media Commons Logo


A media studies scholars, students, and practitioners community network newly relaunched in 2018, promoting exploration of new forms of publishing within the field, in collaboration with NYU DLTS. Currently, they are running multiple projects including: In Media Res, a forum for analysis and discussion of media text excerpts on a weekly theme; The Field Guide, which brings scholars into dialog around professional, practical issues; and [in]Transition, a collaboration with Cinema Journal that explores the potentials of videographic criticism for film and video studies. Past projects include The New Everyday, MediaCommons Press, etc., and are now available as archives on their website.

Ubiquity Press Logo

Ubiquity Press

An open access publisher of peer-reviewed academic journals, books and data. “We operate a highly cost-efficient model that makes quality open access publishing affordable for everyone. We also make our platform available to the Ubiquity Partner Network, providing the infrastructure and services to enable university and society presses to run sustainably and successfully.” 

Knowledge Unlatched Logo

Knowledge Unlatched (KU)

Knowledge Unlatched offers free access to scholarly content. “Our online platform provides libraries worldwide with a central place to support Open Access models from leading publishing houses and new OA initiatives.” 

Center for Open Science Logo

Center for Open Science (COS)

Center for Open Science provides tools, training, support and advocacy for research incentives. Collaborating with NYU Data Services, they launched Open Science Framework (OSF) at NYU, a research platform that provides free and open source project management support for researchers across the entire research lifecycle. See also: OSF Guide.

Open Access Basics

Open Access logo

"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
  • research 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

Screenshot of Directory of Open Access Journals homepage

Image: 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 agreement.

Funder Mandates

More and more public and private funding groups are instituting open access mandates that require funded research to 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.