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The Graduate Health & Life Sciences Research Library at Georgetown University Medical Center

Open Access Publishing and Resources

Guide to open access content and publishing, including NIH Public Access requirements

Open access journal selection - considerations

Authors who have decided to publish open access articles should consider the following when determining where to submit their manuscripts for publication.

  • Compliance
    If the research was funded by NIH, does the journal comply with NIH Public Access Policy ?  If funded by another agency do they have an open access requirement?  The SHERPA Juliet database tracks the open access requirements for major funding agencies.

  • Indexed
    Is the journal indexed in a database such as Web of Knowledge, MEDLINE, or PsycINFO?  Journals indexed in databases such as MEDLINE are considered to be of higher quality due to a rigorous acceptance policy. Indexing in a database also provides greater exposure to the research.

  • Reputable
    Although open access publishing removes some of the traditional barriers to publishing,  it also has seen a rise in questionable scholarship, peer-review problems and business tactics.  Many reputable publishers are members of industry organizations such as the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association or the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).

  •  Publication Fees
    Open access publishing has shifted the cost of publishing from subscribers to authors or institutions. Authors can refer to  the  Sherpa Romeo list of major publishers (see access link below) and their article fees for open access publishing.  Support for open access publishing may be available via a grant award.  Dahlgren Memorial Library has a limited number of subscriptions that provide waived or discounted author fees to affiliates.  These are listed on the Authors- Open Access Article fees page. 

  • Creative Commons - Understanding Copyright Licenses
    Authors and creators publishing content as open access have a say regarding how their work is to be used by others.  Creative Commons Licenses are free, standardized copyright licenses very frequently used by authors and publishers to legally share content in an open access environment. 

  • Levels of Open Access 
    Those involved in open access publishing make a distinction between the "levels" of the open access content. The differing strategies involve methods for making the content available and the level of reuse permitted.  Some common levels of open access are:

    • Green open access refers to the author's ability to self-archive (usually in institutional repositories such as DigitalGeorgetown) published works for free public use.  

    • Gold open access refers to works published in an open access journal and accessed through the publishers' website. Reuse is permitted with acknowledgment/citation.

    • Hybrid open access refers to subscription journals in which some of the articles are open access.  Authors that wish to have their articles in these journals as open access will often pay an article processing charge.

    • Bronze open access refers to content provided on the publisher site and freely available to read but can not be redistributed or reused.

Not sure where to submit? / Avoiding predatory publishers

Predatory publishing is a practice in which journals solicit authors to submit articles to a journal that does not provide the editorial or publishing support associated with legitimate journals.  Often a fee is charged to authors to publish in these journals.  The links below lead to resources to help authors evaluate the quality and legitimacy of a journal.

Authors' Rights

Authors can retain their rights to journal articles, books and other materials published as open access.   

Further reading